There are two major things people ask you when you say you're asexual. The first is "Like a plant?", and the second appars to be "Were you molested as a child?", according to the moderately sized community of asexuals I've been observing from afar via the internet. I've been spared the second, thank goodness, but the first is a common reaction when I bring up the word. A particularly memorable incident was the time that I baffled the poor girl working the booth spreading information about LGBTQ issues at my college.
Sexual identities are a big thing in our modern society. They're important to most people. People identify with one of a few labels, like Straight, Gay, or Bi to cover the main three, in order to express what they themselves experience everyday. The concept didn't exist a century ago, but it's now the default way of viewing human sexuality.
Interestingly enough, I didn't have one of those labels until recently. Most people, I'm of the impression, give their sexuality some thought in their teenage years. I had absolutely no interest in such things and, even after learning of the concept, never applied it to myself.
As a child I was frequently told that one day I would meet someone, fall in love, and get married. As a slightly older child I was told to "just wait until I was a little older" and I would be crazy about members of the opposite sex. As a teenager people began to assume that I was interested in dating. As an older teenager people began to assume that I was dating. These days people tell me "you just haven't met the right person." Most of these were said with a sly wink-wink nudge-nudge attitude that had absolutly no meaning to me.
For a long time I had no idea how unusual it was, not to be attracted to people. I found people interesting enough on the inside, and really, isn't that what everyone really wants? To be loved for what's inside? Well, yes. But not just that. While I can recognize what is astetically pleasing in another person, that data is no different from recognizing that a vase is unusually tasteful. I can see that it is in fact beautiful, but that knowledge has no significance.
Even now I am reluctant to define myself. Society's ideas of what a member of a defined sexuality should act like can be ridgid. I do not know whether I shall ever pursue a romantic relationship, as I feel no dismay at the idea of an unpaired life. I may, if I ever have the inclination, but honesty would be a must in regards to the other person. A truely ideal relationship for myself would be either a friendship similar to the romantic friendship of the Victorians or a relationship that placed me as the "third wheel" of a romantic couple. That would be most pleasant. Perhaps I could look after their children sometimes.