Posted by: Shula Asher Silberstein | 22 January 2011

Do Asexuals Speak the Same Language?

As a person with Aspergers, I sometimes have trouble saying what I mean and understanding what other people are trying to say. So lately I’ve been thinking about the whole language difficulty when it comes to sexual orientation, or lack thereof.

I’ve been forced to think about this more than I’d like recently. I live with my best friend, as I’ve written about so many times in this blog. We are not romantic partners; we are sisters. And I wouldn’t want it to be anything other than that.


Lately Hadassah’s longings for a boyfriend have been stronger than ever. I’ve known all along that she would eventually want a sexual and romantic partner… she would eventually want to live with that person and share her life with that person and… and, well, she and I would be just friends like we’ve always been just friends.

I’ve never considered her more than a friend but at the same time living with my best friend is so very very close to what I want, much  more so than I realized. Not in a romantic sense, because I really wouldn’t want to date my sister in any case. But the thing is, I’m not sure anymore that I am biromantic. I think I might be aromantic. I’m not sure only because I’ve never been in a romantic relationship that was healthy. All of my relationships have been based on the other person wanting sex and not understanding why I didn’t, or thinking my religious beliefs were silly and needing to be changed, or thinking my gender identity was problematic because I simply don’t identify as female.

So this is where the language thing comes in, and where I wonder whether asexual people and sexual people actually speak the same language even though they use the same words, and also wonder how much of it all is impacted by my difficulties with communication in general.

We had a long talk the other night where I tried to explain myself and I don’t think I did a very good job, because Hadassah explained to me how she would be different towards me if we were dating than she is now, and it’s only three days later that I’m realizing that 1) I wouldn’t want to date her anyway and 2) I was trying to say that I want to live with a close friend, ultimately, not that I want to date the person I live with or necessarily anybody. And 3) That I don’t get why people hold their romantic partners to a higher standard than their friends anyway.

So here’s the problem. For me the lines between best friend and romantic partner are very blurred, to say the least, and perhaps non-existent. The only difference I see between what I have now and what I ultimately want (other than the obvious one of this situation being more temporary than I would like) is that I would sleep in the same bed with the person. I think. I wouldn’t want to have sex with them, though. So maybe even that isn’t necessary. I would be able to kiss them in a romantic way if I wanted to… something I tend to like to do in a relationship but have no desire for when I am not dating. Other than that, the person would be my best friend… and we would be committed to each other’s well being and plan our finances together and care about each other and do all the things Hadassah and I do now… except it would be with someone else.

But for her, as we talked about, friendships are way different than romantic partnerships and a friendship simply cannot meet her needs.  I understand that. I just wish I had the words to explain how I feel and what it is I really am looking for from whoever I ultimately end up with. Because it just seems to me that as an asexual the same words she uses to describe what she wants, words like relationship and falling in love, do not mean the same things that I mean when I use those words. For me, living with a best friend is the kind of non-romantic relationship that I could be happy with forever. And so most likely I am looking for another best friend, not for a romantic partner.

She and I have talked about all this and I know she understands it intellectually just like I understand intellectually why other people have the need to have sex, but there are no words to explain why what seems a natural progression for her is so painful for me.  The thing that sucks really has nothing to do with her. It has to do with the fact that very few people speak the same language I do. I can’t really talk to anybody about this situation because nobody gets it, nobody has a frame of reference to get it. I don’t have the energy to first explain that yes, I am asexual and no, I don’t want a hormone shot or counseling to make me sexual and I wasn’t abused as a child and I don’t have a physical problem and yes I have Aspergers but that’s not why I’m asexual and yes I’ve dated but neither gender does anything for me.

So I  feel like I am alone with my feelings and therefore they are more intense than they need to be. I’ve delayed writing this blog for a while because I don’t want Hadassah to think I’m angry at her or that I want something more out of our friendship than she wants. But I don’t want to keep these feelings to myself anymore because then I will end up angry and resentful and wishing for things I can’t have.

I just wish there were words to express exactly what I mean that made sense to the rest of the world.



  1. […] Stephanie Silberstein at Meowing at the Moon wrote about attempting to construct a common language to communicate with her neurotypical, non-asexual best friend in Do Asexuals Speak the Same Language? […]

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