I don’t want to write this post. I really don’t. See, the whole world seems to believe that there’s no such thing as asexuality and that asexuals are people who are confused, or repressed, or secretly gay or G-d knows what. And I don’t want to add to that. But, I began this blog as my personal journey through the world of asexuality and dating. My journey’s took a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t expect it to take, and now I’m at the point where I’m questioning exactly what I am. So what better place to express all my doubts, and confusions and questions then in this blog?
This really is nothing new for me. I started wondering if I was actually demisexual back in January. I just wasn’t self-aware back then to know exactly what I felt, so I wrote the blog and forgot about it a few days later. But lately, I’ve been thinking about looking for a romantic partner, and the more I’ve dreamed of finding someone, the more I’ve been aware of questions about who and what I am.
It’s somewhat of a terrifying journey, because at the end of it I might find that after everything I’ve done to become visible as Ace, that’s not who I am after all. And so I’ve kept my thoughts and feelings mainly to myself (my life coach and a few close friends know and are supporting me while I try to figure this out.) But this morning I woke up way too early and can’t get back to sleep, so I’m going to share anyway.
Okay…having said all that… I don’t know where to begin. The thing is that I don’t experience sexual attraction — or I don’t think I do — but I do sometimes experience sexual desire if certain conditions are met. So I guess that’s where I’ll begin.
First of all, last night I was trying to figure out what sexual attraction is because my personal identity kind of hinges on it. See, lately I’ve noticed that when I meet someone I might notice they have nice eyes or a nice body shape but I never have any feelings of wanting to do anything physical with that person. So if sexual attraction means having feelings of desire because someone is pretty or whatever, then no I don’t have that. But if it just means the thought that a person is “hot” or “gorgeous,” without any desire to do anything with them attached, I’ve always had that.
The problem is that it’s difficult to explain what attraction actually is, especially to someone who might not have experienced it. Wikipedia says that sexual attraction is “the ability to attract sexual interest.” Oh so helpful. At first I found this really annoying and circular because it didn’t tell me anything about what I wanted to know. But I kind of understand. You can’t explain sexual attraction. It’s an abstract concept. That’s why I don’t know if I experience it or not. I mean, I think John Barrowman has beautiful eyes. Does that mean I’m sexually attracted to him even though I’ve never thought anything beyond that?
Okay, so let’s leave that aside because it doesn’t seem to have an answer. The fact is that I’ve figured out that I might enjoy having sex ONLY as an expression of deep emotional intimacy. For me, the emotional always comes first. I don’t feel the desire to have sex with random people or celebrities or whatever. But if I feel emotionally intimate with someone then I might want to do some things sexually with them as an expression of my deep emotional connection with them.
As best as I can tell, three things need to happen for me to feel any sexual desire.
1) Emotional intimacy — the person’s gotta get behind my walls and me behind theirs so we see everything about each other.
2) Some sort of feeling that the person is beautiful… that feeling that they have nice eyes or whatever.
3)The other person initiates sexual activity
I put the third one in bold because it seems to be a major part of the equation. See, for a while I thought I was aromantic. The reason I thought I was aromantic was because I have lived with my best friend for several years and we are very clear that we are not interested in more than friendship with each other. But I felt that emotional closeness with her. After we both agreed last year that our relationship was in danger of falling into a grey area between friendship and romance, and both seriously started dating other people and untangling our lives from each other a little bit, I thought, I wanted to find someone who was as good a friend to me as she was.
So I thought, I could live forever with a friend and who cares about whether I ever have any physical contact with the person. Therefore, maybe I’m aromantic.
But here’s the thing. Lately, I’ve been feeling that an aromantic relationship would not fulfill me. This is where things get sticky and I get embarrassed and feel my desire to write this blog slowing way down. Because it’s not that I COULD be physical within the context of a relationship. It’s that… I want to be. And wouldn’t that make me… kinda sexual?
I’ve looked back on my previous relationships and I’ve realized that in every romantic relationship I’ve been in, I’ve wanted to hug, kiss and cuddle. Okay, so far typical romantic asexual, right? Well, if and only if the other person has initiated going beyond that, I’ve developed an interest. Obviously the emotional connection has to be there because when people want to be sexual with me and I have no emotional investment in them, more often than not it really upsets me. But if I’m in a relationship and the person wants to be sexual, not only do I consent, but I start discovering that there are certain things I like and want to do and look forward to doing.
My relationship with my best friend didn’t develop that way — she wasn’t into me that way and so she didn’t initiate anything of that nature and thus I didn’t develop sexual feelings for her. (Which is good because I would have had more of a mess if I had…) But because the emotional closeness I had with her was so close to what I wanted I got confused and thought it was all I needed.
So I guess that does make me demisexual or something. I can’t say I’m purely 100 percent asexual at this point. Lately I’ve been saying I’m quasi-asexual.
I’m trying to remember it’s just a word and its only purpose is to help me define what I want, but it’s really hard to let go of a label that has been me for as long as I can remember, and I don’t want to betray the asexual community or the people that I have helped encourage.