“Oh, I admire you so much for waiting for love!”
If you’re on the asexual spectrum, you will be forgiven if you rolled your eyes at this comment. I think you would even get away with some snark: “Yes, and let me tell you, getting through life’s hard when you uniformly hate everything. I can barely stand you!”
I know people mean well (sometimes) but let me ask you: Do you enjoy it when someone talks down on you? Or infantilizes you because, for some reason, they think their experience in one area of life makes them the expert on everything? Or dismisses you entirely because “you don’t know what you’re talking about”?
Look, we are not any more naive, childish, or foolish than any other group of people. Hell, as I conceded to my therapist, “maybe I will change my mind with the right person“. That doesn’t inherently make me any more naive than someone who assumes that having sex with will automatically “level up” a relationship.
Aces may not make love, but we know about it, darlings.
If you bothered to ask me, here is what I would say:
There are many different kinds of it, and all of them are wonderful. You love your family (or you do not). You love your friends (they are your people). You may even love a select few romantically. You will want them to be happy and feel good – up to and including having sex with them, even if you might take it or leave it yourself.
We know that love is not at all guaranteed. Not even the one that’s taken for granted. There’s nothing quite like experiencing other people’s entitlement about your body (even the ones who previously had no interest in it) to make you appreciate the difference between shallow regard and real affection.
We know that love is patient. It makes an effort. It shows up, always. It takes pains, even when there is no obvious reward. There is no “what’s in it for me?” with love; there is kindness and empathy.
We know that love is self-protective. That sometimes, loving a person means letting them go. That facing the consequences of bad behavior is better in the long run than constantly being protected from your own bad choices.
We know that love can only exist with mutual respect. When you treat each other as adults who know their own minds. When you don’t make decisions for someone who did not ask it of you. We know that this requires us to listen, to let go of our own anxiety and fear of rewriting the narrative; to abandon any idea of us “knowing better” or “being able to read someone else’s mind”. We eat the humble pie because the people we love deserve our respect. We do not accept anything less.
And we know that sometimes, love makes us frustrated. It makes us want to write long-winded pieces for online publications about all the things we share with the rest of the population, just to help the people we love understand us a little better. Just so that they can see where we’re coming from.
You’ll have to forgive me.
I’m only human.