Good morning everyone! We’re starting today early with an interview! Daniela is a fellow booklover/blogger and kindly agreed to have us ask some questions. 😉
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Daniela, I’m 27 and from Germany. I’m working for a book publisher and most days I really love my job. Yep, I’m that uncool. Just kidding. I have a history of psychological issues (with absolutely no connection to being ace spectrum, but it made me feel especially broken and I thought this was the reason for being not normal, sorry for this tmi). I curse a lot?
When did you first hear about asexuality?
I think it might have been 2015? Maybe 2014… I’m trying to remember if it was on Tumblr or on Just Love. I do know that I still wouldn’t know about it without an internet connection! Thank you, school education that only taught about heterosexuality. You did an absolutely great and not at all harming job.
How long did it take you to realise you’re asexual? How did you know?
I grew up with friends, family and media going on and on about who they would like to fuck (please feel free to censor this to ‘sleep with’ if needed!) while I was there being like ‘I’m not interested in any of these boygroup-guys or any boy I know?’ And I was really not popular with this opinion. People thought I was either boring (at best), frigid, a late bloomer, or a lesbian.
I felt broken, stupid and to be honest worthless, because I couldn’t make myself feel sexual attraction to anyone. I was diagnosed with some mental health issues and I stumbled between believing those were the reason for not being interested in anyone and being not interested in anyone as the reason for my mental health issues (so stupid now that I think about it). I won’t tell you any more because I don’t want to trigger anyone and I’m still afraid of being rejected because of this.
On good days I tried to believe the late bloomer part and that felt realistic when I fell in love with my wonderful girlfriend (I was nearly 18 back then and she’s still my first and only love). I never felt comfortable with being a lesbian, because I felt and still feel like I could fall in love with every gender. But we didn’t have sex and everyone expected us to do ‘it’.
Year after year, meeting her after meeting her my friends asked me if we ‘finally did it?!’ But it never was a priority for us. I explained it with us having a long distance relationship so of course we’ll need time to have this we-need-to-have-sex-right-now! feeling. There were m/m books I read with the ‘gay for you’ trope and I felt like that could be a thing for me. But I didn’t really ‘connect’ with this.
And then when I was 24 I finally read about demisexuality and asexuality and how it’s a spectrum.
How you can be interested in sex without feeling like you need to have a person right now or you will die.
How there is a difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction.
How it is okay to want to sleep with someone but feeling like you don’t need to do it.
How someone can love you even if you don’t put out.
How a kiss can simply be a sign of love and not a means to make you have sex.
How you are not broken if you don’t feel sexual attraction.
How you still deserve to live even if you’re a virgin in your 20s.
How you’re not alone.
How you are alright and don’t need to change.
How you still can be happy.
How important do you think asexual representation is?
It’s as important as every other representation there is. We know how there were and still are therapies ‘against’ being gay, how people are made to have sex with the ‘right’ gender to be ‘cured’ and most of us – all remotely sane people out there – know how horrible this is.
But those therapies are not only for gay people, ace spectrum persons get raped to be ‘cured’ and this is horrible as well! When we don’t know that the asexual spectrum is a thing, we end up feeling alone and we might try everything we can think of to stop feeling this way, to finally be ‘normal’ and this has to stop!
What would you like to see more of in terms of ace representation? What is something you’re missing from the representation out there?
I think most of all I miss it being a spectrum. There are many aces out there, who are repulsed by sex. But there are aces, who are neutral or sex positive and this part of the spectrum needs to be portrayed as well.
There is another thing I really miss, though. Happy relationships with allo people! A relationship between someone who feels sexual attraction and someone who doesn’t can be as happy or as unhappy as every other relationship as well. Sex is not the thing that defines a relationship? Or would you say old people whose body’s don’t let them have sex anymore aren’t in a relationship anymore?! I hope not!
As a reader: Is it important to you whether a story with an asexual MC’s is written by someone on the ace-spectrum?
I wanna say “no it’s not!”, but there is a slight uncomfortable feeling with this. I have read books about ace characters by allo authors and some of them were… shit. But this doesn’t mean they can’t write great ace characters! They just have to research, be able to feel empathy and please for the love of God use ace sensitivity readers! I just feel kinda safer about reading an ace spec book if I know an ace spec author has written it. Although own voices can be phobic as well…
If people would just learn one thing about asexuality today, what would you like that thing to be?
It’s a spectrum and ace spec people are individuals so there is no ‘one true way to be ace’!
Do you identify yourself as someone included in the “Queer-Umbrella”?
I feel included, but this may have to do with being not hetero-romantic (see how cleverly I don’t say what romantic identity I have? It’s because I haven’t figured it out). So even without being on the ace spectrum I would be included. BUT I will fight you to death if you say hetero-romantic cis aces aren’t LGBTQIA+! On a good day. On a bad mental health day I would simply unfollow and block you. I have done this on many occasions, so I understand if ace spec people don’t feel included, since there are many acephobic assholes out there. But those people are wrong.
What would you tell someone who’s struggling with their own asexuality? Maybe they’re wondering where they fit in the spectrum, or maybe they’ve just realized they do fit but don’t really know where that leaves them now.
You are not worthless or broken! You will find something you’ll feel comfortable with (even if it’s “I don’t care what I am!”) and it’s okay, if you ‘leave’ the ace spectrum after figuring out it doesn’t fit you. Talking to ace spec people and asking them stuff might help.
And finally: Rec us a book with an ace main character! 🙂
I’m a rebel who doesn’t care about rules so I’ll rec three! Okay, this is a lie, I can’t decide and there are important reasons for giving three choices… please don’t hate me!
- How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune: I think of this book as the book that made me realize I’m ace spec so it will forever have a special place in my heart. I even recommended this book in a job interview quite some time ago because I somehow feel safe telling people to read this. It’s about finding yourself and hipsters, what’s not to like?! I don’t tell them said hipster is ace though… FYI I got the job, but I declined it.
- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: This book is a rare gem because the mc is ace and hetero-romantic. Yes, not every ace spec person is not hetero-romantic! It’s a fun read but very thoughtful at times as well and may be a great book to give someone if you want them to learn that there’s this thing called asexuality and you aren’t sure how they feel about reading m/m or f/f books. Although I don’t understand those people, because every orientation is valid and important and how can you not like someone because of their orientation?!
- His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto: One of the most romantic love declaration scenes I’ve ever read. Maybe the most romantic love declaration scene. This book is simply love and every one of you has to read it!
Thank you, Daniela!
If you want to know more about asexuality or have questions, we’d advice you to check out AVEN. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, which we found really helpful.