Am I asexual? I am 24 years old and I have been in two relationships. One with a man that lasted 1 year and one with a woman that lasted 6 months. I have had about two crushes in my life. I was sexually abused when I was seven years old and again when I was 14 and again when I was 19. Do people just become gay because they have been abused? I like orgasms but it’s just easier to give them to myself. Am I just incapable of connecting on a physical level? Is there any hope for me? Should I just [accept] that I am one who should always be alone?
Your history of sexual abuse has most likely played its role in your perception of relationships, your seeming inability to connect on a physical level, yes. That’s no reason, however, to give up hope for a healthy, committed relationship.
You’re 24, have had two relationships, and two crushes. There’s nothing abnormal or incorrect about that; sounds like a fair number and natural to me. We’re all very different and in very different ways. Everyone’s life is unique, everyone’s tastes are varied, and we all express ourselves differently. I, myself, was a late bloomer in that respect… to the point where some of my relatives assumed I was gay because I wasn’t as open or expressive about my crushes at the age of 12 as my sisters and cousins were. Relationships aren’t a game and there is no high score or checklist of things that should be compared to contemporaries. In the end, relationships are about what makes each of us happy, not about proverbial notches on the bedpost.
I don’t believe that people “become gay” as a result of abuse. The notion that one gender is inherently more prone to being abusive than the other doesn’t hold water. People are people, regardless of gender—a monster is a monster. Is it possible that there could be a correlation? Sure. People being attracted to both genders falls more in line with personal tastes, though. I, for one, could never “become gay”; I just don’t like dudes that way.
Based on what I’ve read in your letter, I don’t think you’re asexual. You enjoy orgasms and, therefore, are not “without sexual feelings or associations”. The fact that they’re easier to achieve on your own doesn’t mean you’re asexual.
There is, indeed, hope for you (to use your words) and I don’t believe that you’re incapable of connecting on a physical level. The fact that you want to do so means that you’re fully able. With the history of abuse you’ve described it seems only natural that you might have hesitations or difficulty in maintaining a physical relationship, but that’s not the end of the world and not any reason whatsoever to abandon hope.
Do what makes you happy, what makes you at peace and comfortable in life. Patience is, as is often said, a virtue. There is no need to force or rush anything. The day may come when you’ll cross paths with someone and enjoy every syrupy, romantic cliché. It also might not. That’s no reason to give up if it doesn’t, though. Live every day and enjoy living it. You’re 24. You have many wonderful years ahead of you. Everything in due time.
A few Christmases ago, my mom gave me a rather timely gift. She took a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, decorated it ornately and framed it. I think it might apply to your situation.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Just my $0.02
 Definition 3 of “asexual” from the New Oxford American Dictionary that comes bundled with Mac OS X