I’m writing this on 15th February, and for the past couple of days my social media has been full to the brim of Valentine’s Day posts. There have been posts from people in relationships, posts about how a relationship status doesn’t define someone’s worth, posts with tips for people who are feeling lonely, and posts from people happily single.
However, despite the multitude of Valentine’s Day posts, I could not find any validation, reassurance, or comfort from posts discussing how hard Valentine’s Day is for people questioning their sexuality, as there were none. So, naturally, I thought I’d write one myself.
Here is a whistle-stop tour of my experiences with sexuality. When I was at secondary school, I learned that sexual and romantic attraction are very different things. I learned the term ‘asexuality’ (where someone experiences no/very little sexual attraction to any gender) when I was around age 16, and realised that this term is something that I could relate to. I assumed, however, that I was romantically attracted to the opposite sex only, and I’ve never really questioned that. During the past couple of months though, I’ve started to wonder whether I am romantically attracted to people of the same sex, and I’ve realised that the compulsory heterosexuality that we are surrounded by in society, has meant that I’ve spent most of my life assuming that I was only romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex to me.
Over the years I’ve come to terms with asexuality/greysexuality, and I’m still coming to terms with it now. However, this is the first Valentine’s Day where I’ve realised that I might not romantically fit into the neat, heteronormative box that I’d assumed I fitted into. And it’s left me feeling really uncertain, confused, and lonely. I spent the day pressurising myself to decide on a label, wondering what type of relationship I’ll be in in the future, and overthinking whether I should talk about it to my friends or whether it’s “just a phase”. All of this was, no doubt, exacerbated by it being the most romantic day of the year.
I’d hoped to see a post on social media written by someone who is experiencing the same or similar things, but I didn’t. And that left me feeling very alone.
So, for anyone who has been struggling with the same things, here are some messages that I am reminding myself of.
- It’s okay to have found Valentine’s Day difficult.
- It’s okay to have not decided on a label yet, or to ever decide.
- You are valid to question your sexuality in adulthood. It doesn’t have to be something that you have always known.
- It’s okay to be angry at compulsory heterosexuality.
- You are not alone.
I still have no idea who I’m romantically attracted towards, and that’s okay. I’ve realised that there is no need for me to panic and decide on a label right now, or even ever! I am valid, and you are too.
I hope this has helped anyone else who has struggled this year.
Some helpful resources:
A video about compulsory heterosexuality, that I learned a lot from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq5S8O0FpS8
Details for Switchboard, an LGBT+ UK helpline: 0300 330 0630 / https://switchboard.lgbt
Notts LGBT+ Network: https://www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk/kb5/nottinghamshire/directory/service.page?id=p3oeeFhzuNk
A list of different sexualities and their meanings: https://www.healthline.com/health/different-types-of-sexuality#why-it-matters