I first encountered the idea of human asexuality as a teenager, and even considered that it might apply to me, but I still thought I was probably allosexual (not that I knew that term at the time!)
At the same time, I was aware that I was different from my peers. I knew I was not like the sex/romance-obsessed teenagers depicted in mainstream enterntainment – and I knew my peers weren’t like them either. At the same time, I also could tell that I did not have the same interest in sex or romance as my peers.
One of the reasons I thought I was allosexual was that I felt, for lack of better terms, proto-sexual feelings and proto-romantic feelings. This is why I think I was a grey-asexual when I was teenager, though since then I flowed so far over to asexual side of the spectrum that ‘grey’ no longer describes my orientation.
I assumed these proto-feelings were exactly what everyone was talking about, and that I was simply less interested in them, or that I was too busy, or something. But all three of those points are false.
I had peers who were busier than me, yet still had time for sex and/or romance, because it was a high priority for them.
And it’s not true that I wasn’t interested. I was fascinated by my own proto sexuality/romanticism. I loved analyzing my own feelings. It was like an aquarium inside my psyche that I could study for hours.
Of course, a love for analyzing the fine gradations of one’s own feelings is one of the signature hallmarks of asexual culture. But I didn’t know that when I was a teenager (in fact, I didn’t realize until The Asexual Agenda pointed it out).
And finally, those proto-sexual/proto-romantic feelings *are not the same* as full-blown sexual or romantic feelings. My teenage peers were not quietly navel-gazing – their sexual and romantic feelings swept them up. What I felt was related to what they were feeling, but it wasn’t the same thing at all.
I think that if someone with a deep understanding of asexuality and aromanticism had interviewed me as a teenager, they would have been able to tell that I was on the ace-spectrum. In retrospect, it’s obvious. Only ignorance obscured my true orientation.