I'm aware that I'm about to ask a question that is emotionally fraught for most of us. Even asking it might offend someone, although that's not my intention. Might as well get to the crux of it:
Can you be too young to identify as asexual?
I'll let you know right now that I can't answer this. It's difficult because, I would hope, we all have the interests of the youth at heart, especially kids going through similar things to what we went through. But our advice to people who seem like younger versions of ourselves is going to hinge on the things we experienced or wished we experienced at that age. That said, this question is often met with, "Would you tell a gay kid they were too young to know?" But the fact is that the experience of being gay is still extremely different from being asexual. As a gay teen, you can go to support groups, LGBT centers, or organizations like GSAs at your school (depending on where you live). There are a variety of good books for and about gay teens. There's a good chance you'll know someone else who is gay, and you can see out gay people in the media. None of this exists for asexual kids. They can identify as queer and join a LGBT group with the rest of them, but that doesn't guarantee anyone will know what asexuality is or how to support them in it.
A lot of our childhoods and teen years were not that easy, sometimes downright difficult. It's understandable that we'd want the next generation to have an easier time than we did. And being asexual isn't easy, especially since, like I mentioned in my last post, real-life support is lacking. So like any older sibling or parent would, we worry. Personally, I worry that many asexuals' only outlet for community, AVEN, may not be the best influence on the youngest of asexuals. I know that the impressionability of young people varies widely. However, AVEN can be full of bizarre ideas about sex and sexual people that a young person without a lot of experience in the world might take too closely to heart. If you look at people on AVEN that espouse, for example, extreme anti-sexual ideals, most of them are young. I've been on AVEN for almost four years now, and it seems like people are getting younger and younger. In most circles, I'm young at 25. On AVEN, I feel like a parent.
Of course, my concern about very young asexuals comes from my own experience. I realized I was asexual at 20, which I think was good for my own circumstances. Any later would have been problematic. But I think any earlier, and I would have been too self-conscious about being asexual. For me, it wasn't until college that I realized most other people were interested in sex. Maybe it's better to realize this at 13 or 14, especially if it helps you to avoid having sex just to fit in. But the idea of a 14-year old feeling excluded while their friends talk about sex just makes me sad. I'm glad that I got to be more innocent of all that for so long.
So, what if that 13-year-old is really a "late bloomer", and will start experiencing sexual attraction a year later? We don't want to call them "late bloomers", because the same thing was said disparagingly to us, whether we were 13 or 30. But we wonder how to convey the main concern that I believe people have about very young asexuals: If they do indeed start to experience sexual attraction later, will they be willing to admit that they're not really asexual, or will they hold on to the identity beyond reason? I know that some might, and some might not. Maybe the better question is not "what is too young?", but "how can we best support these young people?" It pains me that I can't protect a child from the confusions of this world, but since when did young folks listen to their elders, anyway?