Hi, I have been questioning my sexual orientation and gender identity for quite some time now and I’m just very confused about it all. I am a female and have never had a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or have even been really attracted to someone. Two years ago I developed an emotional relationship with another female but it was not like we were dating or had any prospects of dating and there was nothing physical about the relationship, but I was in love with her and she loved me. This made me think I might be a demiromantic asexual, but I’m still unsure because I have a lot of social anxiety so I don’t know if that is where my possible asexuality stems from. And then there is my gender identity. I don’t feel physically comfortable as a female or a male, so I wear clothes that are a combination of both. This makes me think that I am maybe third gender or something. I tell my friends I’m asexual and third gender, but I honestly don’t feel certain about it. Any further advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
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Feeling at times asexual while also being unsure with yourself about what gender you identify as are issues that often go hand in hand, especially where you also recognize you have some social anxieties. First off, let us point out that you have obviously already given these issues a lot of thought, and we commend you for being so well spoken about them.
The fact is that many people experience a crossing over a questioning both who they are sexually or romantically attracted to (if anyone) and what gender they feel most comfortable identifying as. Coming to a resolution and clearing thinking about those matters often involves simply going through the process of living life, experiencing different kinds of relationships, and meeting people and seeing how they are either similar to or different from you. Having social anxiety can be an impediment to those processes.
All three issues – social anxiety, gender identify, and sexual orientation – are things that working with a therapist can help you get a better handle on. Is that something you have considered? Certain psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers specialize in dealing with people who question their own feelings and attitudes about gender and attraction while also helping to address the apprehensiveness you can feel particularly when meeting new people. You are right to suspect that your feelings of demiromanticisim might in part stem from the need to build a sense of trust with a new friend or possible romantic interest in order to overcome your anxiety. Of course, working with a therapist of some type can also offer you additional strategies on how to mitigate your social anxiety – which could let you explore more relationships and learn about who you truly are in terms of romantic or sexual interest. If you have never worked with a therapist before, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to one.
If you are between the ages of 13 and 24, you can also meet people through Trevor Space, our online social networking site. You might find that your anxieties about meeting and talking with new people are mitigated online. This site is our hosted equivalent of Facebook – where LGBT and questioning youth can safely meet others and talk about their feelings. Visit it at trevorspace.org
Getting “certainty” about your gender identity and attractions can take a while, but it is facilitated by meeting others and building friendships over time. Remember you can also always call us at the Trevor lifeline to talk with one of our counselors about next steps you might take toward finding a medical professional to talk and work with. Please feel free to do so anytime at 1-866-4U-TREVOR.