top of page

Opening Up: A Personal Exploration of Asexual Identity

By Gokul KP

In a society obsessed with romantic and sexual relationships, I started a journey of self-discovery, finally embracing my asexuality at the age of twenty-three. As I navigated the pressures of societal norms and misconceptions, my understanding of this intrinsic part of my identity gradually changed.

I grew up in a world that always seemed to be fixated on the romantic and sexual elements of human relationships. Due to this and the misconceptions and pressures my social environment placed on individuals like me, I had to constantly adjust and adapt to limited, narrow narratives of love and attraction. Consequently, I could only embrace my asexuality after I was twenty-three years old, many years after I realized I was queer. Even back then, I had yet to fully grasp my sexuality and the concept of asexuality as a whole. So, I never saw it as this profound moment of self-discovery and empowerment; I was mostly relieved that I could finally label something that had been in my mind for quite some time.

And frankly, I was never more comfortable or happy. Acknowledging my asexuality changed my life, and I have since felt a sense of confidence in myself. It has even acted as a stimulus to speak up more and reduce the stigma prevailing around the subject today.

An introduction to Asexuality

According to The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), an online forum founded for creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of the asexual community, an asexual person...

"...does not experience sexual attraction — they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are, just like other sexual orientations. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community in the needs and experiences often associated with sexuality, including relationships, attraction, and arousal."

I had no clue about the identity when I came across the term ‘asexuality’ for the first time, and it took another two years for me to discover that I may be asexual. Before this, I had attached my versions of definitions to the word, which were flawed and stereotypical. My sexuality has been fluid throughout my life. So, when I started sensing a lack of sexual attraction over some time, I believed it had to do only with the people I was interacting with in a romantic/sexual/platonic/alterous manner. Soon enough, this gave rise to a lot of confusion, and I began to feel that there was something wrong with me since I was different from all my peers who were thriving in their dating and intimate lives.

I had many queer friends when I came out, but there was no reference point to explore my asexuality. But once I put in the effort to read up more and connect with people from the ace spectrum online (my first ace friend came into my life coincidentally), I started accepting my sexuality as a valid and legitimate orientation, deserving of recognition and respect. This newfound understanding lit a spark in me back then, which catalyzed my drive to speak up more and push for more visibility and acceptance.

Navigating and Understanding Asexuality

It was never a smooth journey. Yes, I was fortunate to have a safe space around me where the chances of queerphobic experiences were low. And it felt very liberating to finally talk openly about how I genuinely felt. However, the general understanding of asexuality was limited, and even among the ones I spoke to, the perception of an asexual was that of a sex-repulsed person who does not experience anything sexual and lacks any kind of sex drive or libido. It felt like I was inside a domain I did not know of, and one wrong step would have dire consequences. In hindsight, the fears were unfounded, and there was never really a risk of anything terrible happening. But for a young and queer teenager who recently came out, those were intimidating times.

Despite this, I held on and tried to understand all possible aspects of being ace using my feelings and experiences as well as listening to others. In this regard, stumbling across Cody Daigle-Orians, who goes by @acedadadvice on Instagram, helped me immensely in letting go of self-doubts and taking the load of societal expectations off my back. Soon, I found the courage to self-assert and started deriving joy by being open about my asexuality and putting myself out there. Gradually, the process resonated more with me. It felt like gaining access to something that was refused to me all this while because the world dictated who I should be instead of letting me choose.

Whatever I have learned in this journey has come chiefly from online accounts of people talking about their experiences — how they started out navigating uncharted waters and reaching a position of confidence and conviction today. But I always look forward to meeting fellow aces — I am constantly striving towards a place where my openness invites conversation, although I know I have a long way to go. I have already started becoming more frank with anyone who wants to talk and understand more about asexuality. It sometimes comes with the stark reminder that asexuality is often misunderstood and ignored, and many still stick to their prejudiced views on any sexuality outside the ‘LGB’ in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. But it eventually becomes a safe space where I don’t need to feel vulnerable to express my thoughts and feelings, and my friends/acquaintances need not hide their curiosity and ask questions without the fear of being judged. Who knows, it may even let them introspect and explore their gender and sexuality!

But I never limited myself to these individual conversations either. Due to the progressive circles I was a part of, I could easily share my insights and thoughts online without being bullied or persecuted. It was a true blessing and a privilege many didn’t have. These posts bred further questions, comments, and messages, and I was slowly able to shed a tiny spotlight on a topic many are ignorant about.

Sharing And Speaking Up

On a personal level, a sense of pride has replaced the shame and distress that once clouded my self-perception. I no longer feel isolated or like an exception. I see myself as a part of a diverse tapestry of human experiences, where my actions contributed to the mosaic of the identity we were collectively building. I am lucky to find strength in my vulnerability and resilience in the authenticity I refused to relinquish.

I don’t think the pursuit of self-empowerment will ever stop. It is ongoing and studded with moments of self-discovery and periods of growth. I continue to tackle and navigate the nuances and complexities of my sexuality to the best of my capabilities. Whenever I share my stories and engage in conversations with the queer community, I contribute to a rising wave of voices that have been historically targeted and silenced. It inspires me not to bow down and retreat, as I believe their repercussions will always create outward ripples that will influence lives, ignite debates, and foster more understanding.

Coming out as asexual transformed my life in ways I could never fathom. There is no shame or guilt I attach to myself anymore. Whenever I talk about my queerness, I am never apologetic. In my own small ways, I am trying to erase the silence and stigma around asexuality and advocating for ace visibility. My journey has offered me plenty of chances to grow, be vulnerable, connect with people, and discover myself as wholly as possible. And I hope nobody is ever denied that experience — your identity and feelings are valid, and your voices are always worth listening to.


About the Writer

Gokul KP (he/him) is a Queer writer and aspiring journalist from Kerala, India. He holds an engineering degree and works as a Business Manager in Bangalore, India. His work, which spans fiction and non-fiction, has appeared on multiple websites and online publications, and has covered topics related to mental health, politics, mainstream media, pop culture, and gender & sexuality. He also tries to use the platforms available to him, including his Instagram account (@kpgokul), to spread awareness about climate change, LGBTQIA+ rights, feminism, etc. He is an ardent 'horror' fan and considers Stephen King a source of inspiration.


bottom of page