Am I asexual, aromantic, or am I trying to label myself to provide an excuse for my inexperience?
I’m a dude in my 20’s and I’ve never been in a relationship, on a date, or even watched porn. But I don’t think I’m asexual because I masturbate weekly using my imagination or softcore erotic literature, but anything with genitals or sexual acts really turns me off. I’ve gone months without masturbating because I don’t usually derive pleasure from it, only a sensation of release. I do mentally notice attractive woman, but I also haven’t had a crush on anyone since high school. I’ve tried dating apps, but never met anyone from one and I’ve never come close to asking out anyone in person.
Every week, when I call my parents and grandparents, they ask if I’ve “met” anyone, and frankly I’m ambivalent if I want to. I have what I consider a happy life: hobbies I enjoy, my dream job as a scientist, and friends that I appreciate. I do often feel lonely, exacerbated since I’ve moved halfway across the country, but I don’t think its lonely because I’m loveless, more of an existential we are all alone on a darkling plain. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship so maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about?
There are a lot of reasons I justify to myself not trying to get in a relationship: I hate being touched, months usually go by between physical contact more substantial than a handshake. I’m very introverted; I’m outgoing at parties and gatherings, but I then feel drained. I’m also very private. I don’t talk about myself at all if I can help it, and hate confiding anything to anyone, but will happily chat about movies or politics or whatever.
Additionally, I’m a member of a small ancient religious community that is quite endogenous and I’m very committed to my faith. Even worse from a number’s perspective, I’m a member of a caste that can only marry co-religionists, even converts don’t make the cut. And I know dating doesn’t equal marriage, but it still feels wrong.
From an outsider’s perspective a relationship seems to be more of a burden than a boon. One of my worst flaws is a tendency to get annoyed with other people quickly. When I spend extended periods of time with anyone, even the people I’m closest to: my siblings, good friends, etc., I have a great time initially, but friction builds up over little things and I stop having fun. I don’t see why a romantic relationship would be any different. Finally, I’m just so accustomed to doing everything alone that it would require major disruptive changes to a routine I like.
But everyone else I know seems to enjoy their relationships! And as a good scientist I’m all about testing hypotheses. I know that if I wanted a relationship I’d have to expend serious effort, but there lies the crux of the problem: Would I actually enjoy a relationship but haven’t experienced one yet because of inexperience and laziness OR am I not temperamentally suited for relationships because I’m asexual or aromantic and I should just stop worrying about familial and societal judgement? More succinctly: Should I at least give romance a try before determining it’s not for me?
-Ace or Joker