A Day in the Life of a Bi Asexual

169249078_475b70b357_zTo round of Asexuality Awareness Week, we asked our readers to tell us their stories. Here Julia takes us through how it feels to identify both as asexual and bi.  From getting tired of always being the teacher to so many inappropriate questions, you may find some familiar issues…

“Why is the group called Lesbian and Gay?” I ask, somewhat naively.

“As opposed to what?” answers one of the organisers.

“LGBT…”

“LGBTQ…”

“LGBTQA…”

I’m sitting in an Amsterdam park having a picnic with a group of LGBT people who have met through meetup.com. I’ve been in the country a fraction over 24 hours. I’ve just moved to a new city, and I’m determined to meet new people and not wallow in the self-pity of my country going to pot. Alas, my lack of sleep means I’ve not stopped my mouth running away before my brain catches up. I’ve opened The Can of Worms.

Get a big enough group of LGBT people together and at some point in a discussion on equality campaigns, pride and the like, the subject of what the acronym should be will come up. We had reached that point. We discuss the pros and cons of the various initialisms, when from the corner of the group a quiet voice proffers forth a question.

“What does the A stand for?”

“Asexual” answers another.

“Do we even have any A’s in the group?” Inquires a third.

“We do.” I reply.

“I’m not sure we do” answers one of the organisers.

“We really do.” I add.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

There’s an almost audible click in their brain as they realise what I’m saying.

“Oh”.

Straight people think that LGBT types come out once, and that’s it. But the reality is somewhat different. Every time someone else needs to know you have to come out again. This is simple enough when you’re lesbian or gay. Trans identities are becoming ever more understood and so can be relatively simple too, at least among certain groups. Bisexual. That’s a mine field at the best of times. I appreciate that I’m preaching the choir here, but bare with me.

You’ve probably had all the questions when you come out as bi, “Are you just confused?”, “But when you’re dating a man/woman, you become gay or straight, right?”, “Do you find your crotch hurts sitting on the fence like that?” and so on.

When you come out as asexual, you get a similar array of invasive questions: “So you don’t like sex?” “you don’t like people?”, “Do you masturbate?”. It’s not quite as distressingly misunderstood as bisexuality, but it’s certainly not something people fully comprehend, even among the LGBT community.

Try explaining to someone that you are a bi asexual, and I hope you’ve got some time…

At this point I should say that I do not speak for all bisexuals, I do not speak for all asexuals, and I most certainly do not speak for all bisexual asexuals. I can only speak from my own personal experience.

Bi visibility, or the lack thereof is well documented, it’s why we have our own bi visibility day and associated activities. But if you think bisexuality is invisible, wait till you experience asexual invisibility. Your average person on the street may have to google just know what asexual means. For many, a lot of the time, we look just like single people, maybe without so much moaning about not getting any…

So if you take bi invisibility, and then asexual invisibility, you kinda get invisibility squared. Try explaining to someone that you are a bi asexual, and I hope you’ve got some time, cos you’re best bet is to sit them down with a cup of tea. This one may take a while.

In a way it’s a linguistic problem. Bisexual has the word ‘sexual’ in the name: it implies sex; the a in asexual implies no sex.  I sometimes wonder if I should be saying “biromantic” rather than “bisexual”, but now we’re taking invisibility squared and making invisibility cubed.

The difference between being asexual and aromantic – that is, not having romantic desires –  is a myth I have to dispel pretty much every time I talk about asexuality. (This is where the not speaking for everyone comes in) some asexuals are aromantic and some aren’t. I’m not. It does confuse things at times. It gets even more confusing when you remember that not all asexuals are completely absent of sexual desire, for some it’s there, just low. Take it or leave it.

To an extent this leads to situations where I am less than comprehensive when explaining to people. If I don’t have time for an inquisition, I tend to just say I’m a lesbian. People understand that. It’s simple. I’m sure somewhere some readers are clicking the back button in frustration, how can she deny bisexuality like that?But sometimes I don’t want to have to give a lecture on gender theory and sexuality (who does? We’ve got better things to do than Intro to Sexuality all the time! – ed.)

If I have time for a chat, or the person I’m talking to is likely to know what it means, I say I’m bi. It’s easy enough to answer the questions that come with it, I’m getting real good at it now.

But if I have the time, if I’m in the mood to be a teacher, if I think the person I’m talking to should know about it, or if perhaps I’d really like to go out for dinner with her, and maybe a nice walk and perhaps snuggling down to watch a movie, I’ll mention being a bisexual asexual. I’ll order a couple of mugs of tea (which is surprisingly hard in Amsterdam), and we can do the Q&A.

And so it goes. A life of invisibility squared. Of being a lesbian, but being really bad at it*. Of having to give a full lecture on sexuality and gender theory at a frequency most outside of the gender studies department of a university would never dream of. Of wondering where does a romantic asexual meet like minded people? Forever wondering if an Asexual can date someone who’s sexual? Does that relationship work?

Life’s Complicated.

…oh and I’m poly too. But that’s a topic for another day…
*This is how a friend once described me.

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Julia

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3 Responses to A Day in the Life of a Bi Asexual

  • Kylee Marchant says:

    I really liked your story because i’m Bi- Asexual too and i have countless of people believe I am faking it or I just don’t know my own way yet. Life is complicated. I hope to know the rest of your story one day… maybe, its alright if you don’t : ) . well thank you for the story BYEEEEEEE! Bi-Asexual for life

  • Juliet says:

    hi i’m seventeen and i think im bi and ace. is it hard dating and finding someone who won’t be all weird about it? i’m afraid I won’t find anyone again who would be open to me, regardless of whether they’re straight or gay.

  • EAT MY ASS says:

    when i heard bi asexual, my mind was blown.

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