My name is Arianna. I am 25 years old. I’m an actor. I’m from Italy, but I live in Queens, New York now. I am asexual. And no, there is nothing wrong with me. It’s not just that I haven’t found the right person. I am not a victim of childhood trauma. This is just who I am, and I can’t see how I’m hurting anybody.

You might be confused what these things have to do with asexuality, but as a social, actively dating, asexual woman, I run into these misconceptions all the time. That’s why I hope you’ll allow me to set the record straight.

When I was in high school, pretty much all of my female friends had boyfriends, were casually seeing someone, or had a crush on a guy. I didn’t really understand that. For a couple years, I just thought, Oh, I haven’t met the right person yet. But when my friends talked about how they felt when they had sex or how much they wanted to have sex, I started getting confused, because I didn’t feel that way. If they talked about an attractive celebrity, I would agree in the sense of, “oh, that’s a nice painting” or “that’s a nice guy.” But unlike my friends, I didn’t think, Oh my god, I really want to have sex with that person. So I started digging.

Eight years ago, there wasn’t much about asexuality online or in general, and most of what I found I found on Tumblr. I started following an asexual blog, and just seeing people’s comments and posts, that was exactly how I felt. I began posting myself, and no one thought it was weird, so I shared with friends. Some of them did find it a bit weird, but a lot of them thought it made sense. They were like, “”Oh, yeah! Asexual. There’s a name for how you’ve always been.” I was lucky.

You might be curious, and that’s cool, but unless we’re close friends, it’s not OK for you to ask me whether I masturbate.

But it’s not like I immediately accepted who I am. There were points when I definitely didn’t want to be asexual, especially because we live in a society that’s so sex-oriented and sex is everywhere. It’s all people talk about when you’re a teenager and in your early 20s. I wanted to be like the others, to fit in and have something to share. 

It didn’t help when I encountered people who either asked too many questions or were clearly trying to change me. You might be curious, and that’s cool, but unless we’re close friends, it’s not OK for you to ask me whether I masturbate. I once went on a coffee date with a guy who basically said, “Oh you feel like you’re asexual? Let me change that.” It’s just like the stories you hear of a straight guy telling a gay woman, “Oh you’re a lesbian? No maybe you haven’t tried this or that. Let me change that.” 

But right now, I’m happy with myself. My closest friends still talk to me about sex and their sex lives, and I don’t even feel weird about it. It’s as if I’m hearing about a movie I haven’t seen. The fact that they still have these conversations with me makes me feel good. It doesn’t make me feel like a freak or anything, or as if they’re trying to protect me.

I’ve never been in a relationship, but I’ve definitely had crushes on and fallen in love with people. A part of me is a hopeless romantic. I like the idea of ice skating in Central Park and Valentine’s Day and getting an engagement ring someday. I’m open to dating people who are asexual or not, because a person is a person. I’m pretty much cool with anyone as long as whoever I match with is able to accept me and not force me to do anything. So while I set my sexual orientation as “straight” and “asexual” on Tinder, I choose to see everyone. 

One last thing: I don’t know if I will ever have sex, because I think that sexuality can be fluid. I haven’t had the desire to have sex for 25 years. However, I don’t rule out that in another 25 years, I might feel differently. I’m giving myself the freedom to evolve and see how things play out. For now, it brings me so much peace to accept who I am.