Asexuality and Aromanticism ~ Questioning and Identifying

Figuring out an orientation can be tricky and can come around in many different ways. I'm here to share how this can occur.

I was talking to a couple of people a few months ago about sexuality and figuring it out. One of them said that they'd never gone through a stage of questioning and were always content with knowing they were hetero. This actually surprised me slightly, since I had assumed (a bad thing to do) that most people questioned and that that was the norm when it came to being a teenager.

Questioning can be a different process for everyone. This period can be long or short, confusing or simple, important or unimportant. I've read countless stories online of people knowing they were different from the beginning, or randomly identifying with something unexpectedly. Therefore, it is important that we should be able to have the information ready for anyone who needs it. 

Personally, I was one of the people who's questioning process took about 5 years. However, I feel this was mainly down to the fact I wasn't aware that the orientation I currently identify with existed. With my case, and lots of others in the ace/aro community, they way we've found our identities is through the internet. Unfortunately, the education system isn't very well adapted to talk about anything other than heterosexuality, so even finding out there is a spectrum came as a surprise, whereas the internet is surprisingly well adapted to talking about diversity. Places like Tumblr, YouTube or even somewhere like Movellas can be extremely helpful in learning about these topics. Even if the people who learn these things don't identify with them themselves, it is still encouraging an open mind and hopefully means that, in the future, these people may be able to help others going through a questioning process. But, this can be used for all sexual and romantic orientations in general.

From talking to lots of people, they've said that they've quite often been aware that there was something different about themselves, but didn't completely ID the way they do now. There was lots of different ways to get through a questioning phase, such as trying to understand how you feel in more depth, researching lesser known orientations to see if you can relate to any of them, or trying out different terms and seeing how you feel about them (the main ones for this tended to be bi- or pansexual, since they didn't have different attractions towards different Genders). You can even just ignore it if you don't see it as that big of a deal. However, the one thing I wouldn't recommend would be to try and repress it or forcefully ignore it. While there is a chance you are heterosexual, if you feel different, there's probably not much harm in looking into anything you think may be of interest. 

For example, the first time the word quoiromantic appeared for me was back in February, in an asexuality series Ashley Mardell created on YouTube (which I would definitely recommend). Rather than identifying with it immediately, I made a note of it on some paper to look into later and didn't actually have any other thoughts about it until I finally looked it up a few weeks later. Contrary to what some may think, it won't necessarily be the case that an orientation will resonate with you immediately. It's likely to take a bit of time to get used to, especially in a world like ours, where sex and romance is the norm, but, if it has a positive impact on you and your sense of identity, it's probably worth it.

So, if you are currently going through a questioning stage or have already, I hope this has helped. Feel free to leave a comment below about how it went/is going and how you went about it. On the other hand, if you haven't gone through a questioning phase, I hope this helps you to understand what other people around you may be going through. 

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