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Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Self Imposed Asexuality


A person who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction.  The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) indicates that unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who some people are (sounds familiar, no?).   AVEN website

I don't believe that I'm asexual.  However, as I've learned more about the lives of young LDS gay people I've wondered if many of us didn't pass through a period of self imposed asexuality.  I know that I did.  When I was in high school I was not interested in girls.  I was most interested in the cute guys.  

But, I knew from what I'd learned at church that homosexuality was incredibly evil.  It was not possible to live with my feelings of attraction to men and at the same time to live the life of an active LDS church member.  I knew I would go to hell if I was gay.  Obviously, I did not want that outcome.  As a result, I buried my true feelings so deeply that in fact I became a self imposed asexual person.

In other posts I've mentioned that I've wished I had been more outgoing, more social, more wild, had more outrageous fun, and been more experimental during my high school years.  I could not relax, be me and enjoy life.  Along with being incredibly shy, I think one of the main reasons why I could not relax and be young and passionate was this self imposed asexuality, which was my constant battle to keep bottled up inside.  

I am only now really understanding the damage that I did to myself during those years and the walls I built by not being true to myself.  Also, as I've mentioned before, I believe the LDS church was complicit in this harm.  

Fortunately, I am healing and I'm grateful for that.  Hate and anger are very corrosive.  Part of that healing for me needs to be forgiving the church.  I think I'm making some progress in that area as well.  I'm enjoying life as never before but I still feel that I probably missed out on some important things along the way.  I believe that God intends for young people to be happy and enjoy the gifts of youth.  I don't think my experience is unique.  


In case you're wondering, below is the generally recognized symbol for asexuality.


4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! I've actually been wondering if I'm asexual. Kind of like a second coming out... or maybe not. I don't know :P

    I've also been trying to figure out if this asexuality is something I imposed on myself, or if I really don't experience sexual attraction. It's hard to figure out what is actually me and I often catch myself wondering if this comes from repression encouraged by the Church.

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  2. I'm sure there's a lot of us who went through this. I tried so hard to suppress my feelings for guys and always found some excuse to explain why an attraction for girls hadn't "kicked in" yet. First it was because I wasn't sixteen. After all, who would be interested in dating before you're allowed? Then it was because I was preparing to go on a mission, then I was a missionary, and then I had just gotten home and hadn't had time to adjust yet. I could never decide if I was the weird one for not being interested in girls or if the other guys were the weird ones for being so obsessed. I often thought that they were faking it.

    It was about a year after I got home from my mission that I ran out of excuses. I was at a stage in my life when anybody else would be looking for a relationship, but there was just no interest. At that point I labelled myself as asexual and I kept telling myself that I was for about six months.

    For me that was the intermediate step I needed in order to look back on my life and think back to all my suppressed memories of feeling an attraction to guys, which really doesn't fit with the description of not experiencing sexual attraction. I'd have to say that telling myself I was asexual was a lot easier than admitting to myself that I'm gay. I really wanted to believe that I was asexual.

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  3. Wow. What a post. Pardon the forward nature of the question, but did you masturbate as a teen and if so were your thoughts about guys? If you didn't, man I actually admire you. From the time I was 13 on, I considered it a remarkable accomplishment to go three days without engaging in a little self love.

    I think I had the opposite situation, but with the same results. I knew that I was very sexual, and my fantasies were about boys. But, similar to Joe, I thought it was a phase. That I would wake up one morning and be normal. That I was simply a late bloomer and my pathetic, fumbling interactions with other boys were just normal "fooling around" I would grow out of.

    The sad part now is that I recognize that during high school I really did have romantic feelings for a few boys. Not just sexual, but emotional longing. And I think at least one of them would have reciprocated. Maybe wishful thinking and distorted memory, but I truly believe he was more likely than not interested in me.

    No, I wasn't asexual. Ever. But like you, mes amis, I hid what I was. Although I actually enjoyed high school very much, I could never truly, truly be me.

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  4. Thanks for your great comments. I'm glad I was able to post something thought provoking.

    To apronkid, I'm sure I felt as you express in your comment. You may want to discuss your feelings with someone you trust to help you sort out your true identity. For me it was just a matter of time and experience before the truth became to obvious to ignore any longer.

    To Joe, man can I relate to what you went through!

    To ControllerOne, hum...how to be discrete...oh hell, the whole world can read this anyway. Why yes, masturbation was a highlight of my young life and yes, it was mostly while fantasizing about guys from school. I can relate to the emotional longing as well. As you say, looking back now I can see a few relationships with other boys that might have gone further if I had been willing to reciprocate. But then that might have propelled my life down a different pathway and I would not be where I am today. Is that good or bad? I can't say. All I can say is that here I am today, and I'm OK with that.

    Life is tough enough without living a lie and pretending to be something we are not. Particularly, when we each have gifts and talents that we refuse to acknowledge because of someone else's belief system. I hope my blog can be of some encouragement to a young gay person. Just live! and be true to yourself.

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