This is a cross-post from my much more personal blog made to catch any more personal ideas and thoughts that don’t fit in other places online. Because my identity is important to me, and shapes a good deal of what I do, I want to share it with you as well.
Today is national coming out day, so I’ll honor the occasion by coming out:
It’s a kind of asexuality.
All asexuality means is that I’ve never, or very rarely, felt sexual attraction to someone. Demisexuality is one of the many shades between sexual and asexual (grey-asexuality), in which a person doesn’t experience attraction unless there is a deep emotional connection with that person. I’m also heteroromantic, meaning that I experience romantic attachment to the opposite sex.
Human sexuality is more fluid and nuanced and diverse than most of us are given a chance to imagine. Beyond straight/gay/bi there is a whole range of other flavors of sexual orientation – pansexual, demisexual, asexual, sapiosexual, and the list goes on, growing as we develop a greater vocabulary with which to express how we do or do not feel attraction.
It’s like sexuality is an ice cream parlor. Some people love one kind of ice cream – say, rocky road, and even if they taste a few others will always choose their standby (straight). Other people split their affection between a few, bouncing between butter pecan and strawberry, maybe (Bi). And then there are the those who can’t get enough variety, and they aim to try something new pretty much every time, always excited by the variety of things they enjoy (Pan). Others, (asexuals) don’t much care for ice cream. Some are lactose intolerant, others will have some on occasion, but for whatever reason it’s not their thing.
In this metaphor, as a demisexual, I like ice cream okay, but don’t really understand the big deal about it. But if I do want ice cream, I want vanilla cookie dough with chocolate chips. If I can’t have that, I’ll pass, thanks.
And in the real world, between cookie dough ice cream and sex, well, it’s a genuine toss-up.
It has taken me 33 years to find these terms – asexuality and demisexuality – for what I am, and I am still learning about what this means as a definition for others, and for myself.
Defining the difference in how different sexual orientations see the world is difficult, and very well discussed in this article.
Figuring out these differences has required me to begin to ask different questions: questions like “What does it feel like when you meet someone you think is attractive?” and comparing that to my experience, relating it back to how I actually feel, and now how I have been taught to interpret my experience.
It began with understanding that my perception of the world is not main-stream, and that I had been lead to understand my aesthetic appreciation of someone was sexual attraction, but it’s very different.
I have never looked at someone and felt a hit-to-the-pants need to be sexual with them. Not ever. Not even in puberty (though I have learned to fake this for the sake of social norms).
It’s like how I have never liked tomatoes my whole life. They are incredibly bitter to me, and no home grown garden ripeness has ever changed that. I thought the bitterness was like the bitterness of coffee; you learn to like it. It wasn’t until I finally asked someone what tomatoes tasted like to them that I realized most people think they are sweet, and that I have a genetic bitter receptor.
Similarly, I honestly thought I was kind of normal until I realized that people meet strangers they think are “sexy” and actually want to have sex with them.
I guess I thought it was like tomatoes – some people can get past the bitterness, and others can’t. I never realized everyone wasn’t to some degree faking their sexual interest like I was.
Then someone gave me this quiz one day, and my whole perception of reality began to change.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have sex or hate sex, have no libido, or can’t be in relationships. It also doesn’t mean I live a cold, unloving existence. It just means that, as a demisexual, I feel no sexual attraction unless I experience a deep connection with someone.* Luckily, I found this connection in Irowboat (my chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream), and we’re going on 15 years of companionship.
So there it is: I’m out of the closet, if it really was a closet – more of a curtain in the corner. I’m demisexual, asexual, and generally asexy. I’m sure I will discuss this more in time, as the spirit moves me.
If you want to know more about asexuality, demisexuality, pansexuality, or super tasters, then please use The Google and find out all you ever wanted to know. If you have anything to ask or add in good heart-feels to my personal experience, please feel free.
And if you want to dismiss asexuality as not existing, then that’s cool too. I get to have my own reality, and you get to have yours.
*I have had many people argue that this is how female sexuality works, but anyone who has been in a room with any combination of women, wine, and talking about sex will know this is categorically untrue.