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My 'Chicken or the Egg' Scenario of Being Asexual and Having Lyme Disease

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I remember when I hit puberty, and my friends started commenting on how hot or attractive they found people. I would agree, noticing that they were conventionally beautiful. But I couldn’t really see why it mattered – I’d always been told: “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

The more I learned about sex, the more I thought it was fake. Sure, it was talked about basically everywhere, but I didn’t understand it. Was the world playing a practical joke on me?

“Sex is a natural, human thing,” people would say. If that was true, then how could I be a human and not want sex? I felt broken, confused and lonely in a time where everyone else was discovering this amazing new thing called sexual attraction. Imagine my relief when I discovered the term asexuality. I was no longer alone! There was a whole community of people like me. I wasn’t broken, this was just something that happened sometimes. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. There are many stories like mine. We are normal. We are healthy. We are asexual.

But I wasn’t healthy. Something was wrong. I was getting stomach pains so intense that all I could do was curl up on the floor. I was getting migraines that would last up to a month with no relief: I would pass out in the shower. My periods lasted for weeks. I was losing weight despite eating healthy. I became bedridden. I could no longer do the things I loved.

My diagnosis story is sadly the same as so many other people who have chronic illness. Years of mistrust and random diagnoses that made no sense. After many years and a lot of battles, I got diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Another relief! I was no longer alone in my suffering. I had answers, I had another community.

I had too many answers. One day, as I was reading through the many symptoms of chronic Lyme disease, my eyes fell on one bullet point: loss of sexual drive and lowered libido.

I was in denial. It couldn’t be true, I must’ve been ace before I got Lyme. Or was my asexuality, a thing I proudly embraced, not something that was destined for me? Was it yet another thing Lyme now controlled in my life? I felt like if I acknowledged this, I could no longer be ace.

It was my own personal “chicken or the egg scenario” (which came first?). And the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve learned to accept that I am both a Lyme warrior and asexual. People can become asexual from a lot of things: natural processes I won’t pretend to understand, trauma, mental illness, physical illness, and disabilities. I would never dream of invalidating any of those people, so why on earth would I invalidate myself?

Getty image by Gearstd

Originally published: September 19, 2018
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