I have always been unsure of my sexuality.
I suppose I should have guessed it from a young age. Perhaps when I watched High School Musical for the first time and ended up printing out a photo of Vanessa Hudgens in a bikini and sticking it on my wall by my bed.
Perhaps when the lesbian episode of Skins series three aired and afterwards I cried and cried, exclaiming to my mum that that was what I wanted, I wanted to be with a girl. I don’t think she took much notice but looking back I realize there were always a lot of signs that I may not be completely heterosexual.
I grew up, consistently dealing with a nagging thought in the back of my mind that no, I don’t want to be with a man, I want to be with a woman. I had relationships, some pleasant and some horrific, and there was a constant pattern emerging – I was the one that always did the breaking up, and I know for certain that fifty percent of the time (or rather, three out of my six short relationships) I ended because I had an undeniable, indescribable crush on a girl.
There was only one issue – I didn’t know how to stop having sex with men. And I did enjoy it at the time, although I could never fully enjoy it unless I was fantasising about a woman. This would be something I would keep a secret, and lie constantly that it was fun and I had a brilliant time. Despite me never really feeling satisfied afterwards, I carried on the only way I knew how.
I went through a promiscuous phase around the age of nineteen. Then, I started feeling a lot of pain in my cervix. I got examined (for the first time, there I was shaking in the doctor’s chair, terrified of the fact I was getting metal instruments shoved inside me) and they found I had abnormal cells developing and that I would have to go for an operation to remove them. This put me off from that moment on, and even after my operation, it made me squeamish to have anything inside me. I was shaken for days afterwards.
That is when I became celibate.
It wasn’t a hard decision for me, considering I’d never liked being sexually active anyway. Looking back, I have no idea why I always felt the compulsion to sleep with people. I suppose it was me keeping up with my own shameful reputation. But as soon as the first two months or so flew by, I began not only re-evaluating my lifestyle choices, but I also began re-evaluating what I really wanted and desired.
As the weeks and months went on, my head became clearer. I was completely detached from my previous identity as a primal human being, and it almost felt as if I was rediscovering myself. It felt as if I was doing my pre-teen years over, mentally realizing what I truly enjoyed. And the thing I truly enjoy is women.
About six months in to my celibacy I realized that the idea of a penis ever being near me again made me feel sick. The idea that I had ever been in contact with one repulsed me to no end. I had tried, in fact I had almost had sex at one point yet I backed out and I could never imagine putting myself in that situation once more.
I have no sexual or romantic feelings towards men. I’m unsure that I ever did. I wonder if I may have purely been infatuated with the idea of having a boyfriend, but not really wanting it – then, when my rose tinted glasses came off, I dumped them. My longest ever relationship lasted four months after all, it’s not like I spent a great deal of my teenage years with one person.
I’m not implying that those pseudo-relationships I had were meaningless, because each time I ended another one I realized more and more what I wasn’t looking for. I wasn’t looking for someone controlling. I wasn’t looking for someone nonchalant. I wasn’t looking for someone humorless.
I wasn’t looking for someone with a penis.