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IntrovertedSoul19

Effected by people assuming my sexuality

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Hi! Its my first post here. Im aro ace and just had something that’s been bothering me and wanted to get advice from you guys. Lately I’ve been stressed out and realizing how I look to other people. I  feel very uncomfortable and I think I now understand Shawn mendes’s interview where he said that he alters his behaviour so people don’t assume he’s gay. I’ve never had this problem before. I don’t do any thing that comes off as gay besides I guess not being so feminine or dressing feminine. I’ve  never thought how people viewed me or maybe even thought I was lesbian based on the fact I’ve never had a boyfriend or been interested in dating. I didn’t see it like that but now it’s come to my attention and I’m starting to be more aware of what I come off as to people and I hate it. Earlier in the year at college I was meeting my friends new friend. I’m really good at picking up body language and what not. My friends new friend who I had just met (female) asked me “so do you think any of the professors are hot? What’s your type” and I could tell she had probably asked my friend about my sexuality while I went to the bathroom. I knew it was a question to determine who I was into which kind of pissed me off because it was a way to confirm I’m into men or women. I went with it and didn’t let on that I knew what she was doing. I just told her one professor was attractive. I felt bothered for the rest of the day because of it and I don’t sexualize anyone so I felt uncomfortable saying I found that professor attractive. I guess it’s just college and people are horny thinking about that stuff. I don’t like how people are assuming my sexuality and it makes me feel like I’m not being seen. I don’t know why it bothers me if people perceive me to be gay because there’s nothing wrong with it but now it’s starting to bother me how I have to put more effort to be seen as who I am. It stirs anxiety and makes me feel anxious which people then pick up on which then REALLY makes me look like I’m hiding my sexuality. It’s like now if I can sense someone thinks I’m a covert lesbian I start behaving like a covert lesbian by trying to prove I’m not? It feels wrong and me pretending to be straight feels wrong too because I’m not romantically or sexually attracted to any gender. Does anyone else pretend to fit in? How can I stop feeling uncomfortable about people assuming my sexuality and what’s the proper response for when they do?

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Why not tell them the truth? If people assuming your sexuality or pretending to be straight makes you uncomfortable, it seems the right thing to do. That's not easy, in particular if they don't know about aro and ace, but in the end it will make you feel better. Because even if people don't believe you, at least you will be true to yourself. 

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I liked what @nonmerci said.

 

My take on it is:

 

Things you can't control:

  • People making assumptions about you based on incomplete information.
  • People believing the information you tell them.

Things you can control:

  • What you choose to tell people
  • How you dress, etc.

 

Some ideas:

To me it makes sense to concentrate on what you can control and not stress overly about what you can't. If you feel okay talking directly about your (a)sexuality, you can do that. Another idea is that there might be visual markers you could use/wear that would signal it, if you wanted to communicate it in that way instead? I don't know much about the ace community, but I hear people wear custom t-shirts, rings, etc. Also, I'd assume most people your age will probably have heard about asexuality already and it has gained more visibility recently (e.g. the TV show Bojack Horseman has an ace character). So, it may not be as big an issue for other people to 'get it' as you might expect?

 

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@nonmerci I’ve actually hinted that I’m asexual (to my college friends not my family) because I know that being asexual is more understood and has more awareness. But I also don’t have crushes and I know aromanticism isn’t as close to being popular among average people and they wouldn’t understand. Even for other people like my moms friend or people who barely know me I don’t want want to explain myself to them. I don’t think I owe people who aren’t in my life a run down explanation of my aromanticism and asexuality. And wooow lol I guess I just found the answer. My closest friends know about me being aro ace so it’s no big deal. But with new friends it’s a sensitive topic and I don’t know what they’ll understand about being a romantic and not having romantic attraction without viewing me as someone’s who’s weird. Have you told your family? 

@NullVector thank you a lot. What you said reminded me I can’t control what people think of me based on incomplete information. I just find it dumb how based on how I dress people want to assume I’m gay and make awkward ineudnos about it I’m just like?? I’m not gay, you’re just making me feel uncomfortable by assuming I’m gay. But they interpret that uncomfortbleness as me being closested! You really can’t win in these situations and I hate it. From now on I’m going to have the mindset that I can’t  control what others think about me because it’s impossible and exhausting to even try. So those assumptions will be theirs to carry and not mine

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8 hours ago, IntrovertedSoul19 said:

From now on I’m going to have the mindset that I can’t  control what others think about me because it’s impossible and exhausting to even try. So those assumptions will be theirs to carry and not mine

Cool.

 

The way I framed what I wrote was heavily influenced by stoicism, by the way. If you liked it and want a bit more you could watch this and/or read this.

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On 6/22/2019 at 5:32 AM, NullVector said:

Cool.

 

The way I framed what I wrote was heavily influenced by stoicism, by the way. If you liked it and want a bit more you could watch this and/or read this.

I read it last night thank you. I’ve read into stoicism and like the philosophy 

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I've had all kinds of people assume I'm either gay or straight, so personally I feel like worrying about appearances isn't very productive. Plus no one should get in the way of you dressing in the way that is most self-expressive for you. As for how to deal with people in the moment, my personal strategy is to laugh and act like what they're saying is absurd to me. Ex: if someone asked, "Who's your celebrity crush right now?" I'd frown, scoff/laugh, and say something like "yeah I don't get those man." If you make yourself look confident enough, people may be taken aback, but hopefully they're more likely to take you seriously. I try to make it clear that not only am I specifically not gay/not straight, I'm not into anyone period. With acquaintances/people who probably won't know what being aro-ace means, I focus on giving them the definitions instead of the words.

 

Also, if someone's flirting with you and you express discomfort, that person should come to a complete stop, no questions, and no matter if they think you're just closeted. Heck, let them think you're being frigid even. That's their problem. I totally sympathize with feeling caught up in other people's perceptions and having mixed emotions about seeming gay though. It can be super jarring and make me want to shrink away from the situation, but it's possible to take that feeling of indignation turn it into a comeback. 

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tbh some people will even think that if you do come out.  like they can't accept that you're not romantically and/or sexually attracted to anyone; they think you're hiding or repressing that attraction, whatever gender(s) they think it's towards.  like i told a friend my orientation and we were talking about platonic relationships and i talked about my best friend and he said "i think you love her romantically".  he thought it was more likely that i'm heterosexual and homoromantic than het aro.  not that that's not a possible combination, but it's not common, and more importantly, i'd told him my orientation and my platonic feelings for my friend!  another friend thought that since i'm virgin i must be gay or religious (i am that, but that's not the reason).  others assume my lgbt+ community involvement/allyship must mean i'm gay or bi.  and of course pretty much everyone who detects any indication of my heterosexuality assumes i'm also heteroromantic, though probably unconsciously.  all this to say, it kinda sucks, but it just be like that.  like the others said here, you can tell people your orientation or not, that's your choice, but either way they can make assumptions you might not be able to change.  just like, try to associate with people who don't make you uncomfortable and remember that what you know is more important than what others think.

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On 6/25/2019 at 6:23 AM, aro_elise said:

tbh some people will even think that if you do come out.  like they can't accept that you're not romantically and/or sexually attracted to anyone; they think you're hiding or repressing that attraction, whatever gender(s) they think it's towards.

 

A guy on Personality Cafe: "I'm sceptical of asexuality, cos it overlaps with sexual repression". Although historically sexual repression was an important factor, and of course it still is in heavily traditionalist societies.

 

Human cultures do have stereotypes that align with various combos:

-asexual and aromantic - model Catholic priest, or Buddhist monk

-asexual and romantic - archetypal Victorian lady. Today people will assume such a person is conservative, religious, etc. If you are male, add the low testosterone effete guy stereotype.

-sexual and aromantic - archetypal playboy ("making love for him was fun, he never needed anyone"). People will assume such a person is emotionally shallow, and very selfish.

-sexual and romantic - normalcy

 

I've also noticed that men are more expected to be sexual, and women to be romantic.

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On 6/24/2019 at 10:16 PM, treepod said:

I've had all kinds of people assume I'm either gay or straight, so personally I feel like worrying about appearances isn't very productive. Plus no one should get in the way of you dressing in the way that is most self-expressive for you. As for how to deal with people in the moment, my personal strategy is to laugh and act like what they're saying is absurd to me. Ex: if someone asked, "Who's your celebrity crush right now?" I'd frown, scoff/laugh, and say something like "yeah I don't get those man." If you make yourself look confident enough, people may be taken aback, but hopefully they're more likely to take you seriously. I try to make it clear that not only am I specifically not gay/not straight, I'm not into anyone period. With acquaintances/people who probably won't know what being aro-ace means, I focus on giving them the definitions instead of the words.

 

Also, if someone's flirting with you and you express discomfort, that person should come to a complete stop, no questions, and no matter if they think you're just closeted. Heck, let them think you're being frigid even. That's their problem. I totally sympathize with feeling caught up in other people's perceptions and having mixed emotions about seeming gay though. It can be super jarring and make me want to shrink away from the situation, but it's possible to take that feeling of indignation turn it into a comeback. 

This is really good I’m going to use this. I think it’s annoying to suppress my clothing styles too so I just don’t and let people assume. Though sometimes I do find it annoying and it will make me feel less confident in my style. This is actually funny! This girl was flirting with me my first year of college and I had no idea because same sex you think they’re just friendly. And when I realized what she was doing I felt uncomfortable and just started avoiding her. Explaining you’re asexual to people they could understand but aromantic I really don’t think so. So I kind of leave them with no explanation. 

On 6/25/2019 at 12:23 AM, aro_elise said:

tbh some people will even think that if you do come out.  like they can't accept that you're not romantically and/or sexually attracted to anyone; they think you're hiding or repressing that attraction, whatever gender(s) they think it's towards.  like i told a friend my orientation and we were talking about platonic relationships and i talked about my best friend and he said "i think you love her romantically".  he thought it was more likely that i'm heterosexual and homoromantic than het aro.  not that that's not a possible combination, but it's not common, and more importantly, i'd told him my orientation and my platonic feelings for my friend!  another friend thought that since i'm virgin i must be gay or religious (i am that, but that's not the reason).  others assume my lgbt+ community involvement/allyship must mean i'm gay or bi.  and of course pretty much everyone who detects any indication of my heterosexuality assumes i'm also heteroromantic, though probably unconsciously.  all this to say, it kinda sucks, but it just be like that.  like the others said here, you can tell people your orientation or not, that's your choice, but either way they can make assumptions you might not be able to change.  just like, try to associate with people who don't make you uncomfortable and remember that what you know is more important than what others think.

THIS!!! I told one of my friends I was aromantic a year ago and I explained it to her everything and sent pictures of memes of it. And she sometimes makes gay jokes and I can tell she watches for my reaction. I find it annoying that she thinks I’m closested when I already explained to her what I am so it kind of makes me feel angry. When someone thinks you’re hiding something and you have to put MORE effort into showing you’re really not it’s just so exhausting and makes you act as if someone who’s closested proving they aren’t gay. Nobody would believe you can’t be romantically attracted to anyone and that’s what makes it hard. Because I’m just not giving them an answer and if I do they’ll think I’m either closested still or crazy. You can’t win 

@Spacenik86 this is so true all those stereotypes. I don’t think people will ever truly understand not even I do. I just know that this is my nature and this is how I function and work. I can understand romantic attraction from what I’ve seen on movies or around me but I can’t FEEL it for another person. The desire to kiss I don’t have. Liking someone platonically but not romantically. I wish people would stop trying to put peoples in boxes and stereotypes and just try and understand that everyone is different. Different strokes for different folks

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1 hour ago, IntrovertedSoul19 said:

@Spacenik86 this is so true all those stereotypes. I don’t think people will ever truly understand not even I do.

 

Stereotypes make things easier, if most (say 70%) of men who don't want a romantic relationship are of the "playboy" type, it's too easy to forget other men might have the same attitude for a different reason.

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1 hour ago, IntrovertedSoul19 said:

Though sometimes I do find it annoying and it will make me feel less confident in my style. This is actually funny! This girl was flirting with me my first year of college and I had no idea because same sex you think they’re just friendly. And when I realized what she was doing I felt uncomfortable and just started avoiding her. Explaining you’re asexual to people they could understand but aromantic I really don’t think so. So I kind of leave them with no explanation. 

Some people understand, it really depends. If you don't want to tell them, you can also say you're not interested in her, without talking about your orientation.

 

11 hours ago, Spacenik86 said:

 

-asexual and aromantic - model Catholic priest, or Buddhist monk

-asexual and romantic - archetypal Victorian lady. Today people will assume such a person is conservative, religious, etc. If you are male, add the low testosterone effete guy stereotype.

-sexual and aromantic - archetypal playboy ("making love for him was fun, he never needed anyone"). People will assume such a person is emotionally shallow, and very selfish.

-sexual and romantic - normalcy

That's true and that upsets me. 

Other variation if you're ace, aro or not : you lack of confidence. Or if you're a woman, you are frigid. When people don't understand, instead of trying to, they put you in the box of a stereotype they already know.

If you're an aro allo woman, people will call you a slut. If you're a guy, you are using women. Anyway you can't win. 

 

All this makes me think of a Kelly Carsons's song : you can't win. She enumerates different situation, show in you never won in society. There is this part :

"If you're straight, why aren't you marry yet? If you're gay, what aren't you wearing a flag? "

We could add : "If you're ace, you should do a therapy. If you're aro, you just haven't find the one yet". That's how some people reacted,  sadly.

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