I think the most groundbreaking discovery of this week — perhaps this year — is the discovery that I probably am demisexual.
Just when I thought I had figured myself out, I discover that I might just be a member of the LGBTQ2IA+ community afterall.
Gosh — so many thoughts!!! My mind is bursting with epiphanies and “ah hahs”. But let’s start at the beginning. How did I come to this revelation?
As you all know, and as I have detailed ad nauseum on this blog, I am single (very, very single) and my sex life is non-existent. I have tried, for the last thirty-one years of my life, to figure out why that is. Why am I single, even though the great majority of people have told me that I’m attractive? Why am I single, even though there are and have been many men who have expressed interest in getting to know me better? Why am I single, even though I’m personable and friendly? Why am I single, even though I am able to form and maintain many great friendships? Why on earth am I still single?
Over the years, I have literally explored every possible avenue. I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t interested in the great majority of men (and women) that I meet. At one point I thought that I might be asexual, but I quickly dismissed the idea because I am interested in sex. Sex interests me. I have sexual thoughts. I have sexual fantasies. I have been sexually attracted to people — just a very, very select few people. I never questioned my heterosexuality — I am and have been exclusively sexually attracted to (again, a select few) men (up until this point at least). I didn’t see my selectivity as a problem or an indication of something greater, so I always just chalked it up to the fact that I “just haven’t met the right person yet.” (Until now.)
I remember when I was articling I’d often have conversations about sex and relationships with a certain one of my female colleagues (you know — typical workplace banter). And I distinctly remember her telling me that she saw something that she just had to show me and it was a video of these two Black guys wearing almost nothing, dancing and gyrating on a stage. And I distinctly remember smiling politely and shrugging. I also remember her saying something to the effect of, “Don’t you think these are the hottest men ever?” and I remember her practically salivating, while I was more like, “lol. Two men dancing on a stage.” And I remember her saying to me (jokingly), “Simone, you’re dead inside.”
And for a while, I quietly wondered if I was dead inside. While I knew that I was sexually attracted to men, I didn’t find the great majority of men sexually attractive. I remember scrolling through Instagram and the following appeared on my feed:
View this post on Instagram
What better way to celebrate #NationalDarkChocolateDay than with a selection of men guaranteed to improve blood flow? Swipe through to pick your poison 🍫. (📷 in order of appearance: Aug. 2017 photographer, @dennisleupold; Jan. 2018 photographer, @michaelrowephoto; March 2018 photographer, @dennisleupold; July 2018 photographer, @michaelrowephoto)
And it did nothing for me. Absolutely nothing. I could not relate to the caption (or most captions about #MCM for that matter). Naked men (in general) do not and have never turned me on. When I see six pack abs and a chiselled body, I’m not immediately thinking about the things I want that man to do to me. Instead, I think, “Oh. A six-pack. Cool.” When female friends get hot and bothered about being able to see a man’s package through his pants, I honestly never care. When friends would show me pictures of guys and ask me, “Don’t you think he’s sooooo hot?” I would reply, “Yeah…” or “I guess” or “whatever floats your boat.”
Growing up, I did not have any celebrity crushes (except Brian Littrell from the Backstreet Boys, but even then, I wasn’t sexually attracted to him), or any pictures of any guys on my walls (compared to my sister, who basically had a shrine to B2K and Usher in her bedroom). I don’t remember having any crushes on boys (or girls, or anyone for that matter) either. I am told that a couple of boys had a crush on me in elementary school. I did not “like” anyone in high school. There was one time I saw a guy in the hallway and I do remember thinking to myself, “I think he’s cute,” but it was a fleeting thought and I was more concerned with not being late to Chemistry as opposed to testing the chemistry with my fellow classmates. There was one guy who I would always see studying at the Glendon library when I was in undergrad, and I thought he was good-looking, and every so often I’d try to study at his table, but yeah — that was basically the sum total of my interaction with the opposite sex.
My first serious crush (hot and bothered, “you look so good to me,” I want to have sex with this person, I want him to be the father of my unborn child) came about when I was twenty-five.
As I neared my late twenties with narry a boyfriend in sight, well-meaning friends suggested that I “try online-dating” — the cure-all for modern dating woes. Online dating had never appealed to me, and not only because of the “calibre” (stated euphemistically) of men on there. It never appealed because I just didn’t get it and with what little I knew about myself, I didn’t see how it would work for me. How could I possibly ever get to know and form a deep and abiding emotional connection with someone via text? (I’m not your typical Millennial). But I tried to remain open. I will say though that in all of my Tindering and Bumbling about, I always felt like I didn’t have enough information to know whether or not I was interested in the person staring back at me on my phone. I only swiped because that was what I was supposed to do on these apps — never because I thought “omg that guy is fine af.” A face didn’t cut it. A five-line profile wasn’t enough. Plus, I knew and liked men in my day-to-day life who I knew I never would have chosen had they popped up as a match on Bumble based on looks alone.
I’ve always felt like I needed more information — like I needed to know more about the person before I could truly appreciate his body. Show me a man who is conventionally attractive and I’ll be like, “That’s nice.” If I discovered that said man and I have lots in common and that he’s kind and sweet too — then and only then would I be able to appreciate the physical package.
Oftentimes, you only realize you’re different when you compare notes with other people. Whenever I would hang out with Jonathan, I mean… Jonathan was always noticing cute guys left, right and centre. I, on the other hand, was always oblivious to the attention and/or presence of men. (“Huh? Cute guys? Where?”)
When I’d show him my Bumble matches, he’d be like, “Swipe on that one. Yes. No. No. No. Yes. Oh — he’s cuuuute. Hell yess. Yes. No. No. Nuh uh. Hell nah. Nope. Yes,” without even reading the bios, whereas I would be like, “Umm, I guess I’ll swipe right? What does his bio say? *scrolls down* Is he a Christian? No. Okay. *Swipe* *Next guy* He’s okay looking. *Next guy* He’s okay looking. *Next guy* There’s nothing about this guy that I find attractive but he’s Black so we’re probably a match. (I’m right. Phone buzzes and app prompts me to start a conversation that I never wanted to start in the first place.) *Next guy* He grew up in Toronto! Ummm…. this guy kinda looks interesting. What does his bio say?”
When I’d go somewhere among people and return home, many times a friend would ask, “Were there any cute guys there?” You guys — guys are never on my radar when I’m out in a crowd. In fact, it’s only when I’m asked this question that I would reflect and remember that “Why yes, there were beings of the opposite sex in my vicinity, but I did not take an interest in any of them.”
I had a moment a while ago where I was like, “Simone, have you noticed that you’re rarely attracted to or interested in anyone?” and I had to pause and ask myself why that is. I can count on one hand the people to whom I have been sexually attracted in my entire lifetime. I’m definitely interested in having a relationship, but I can’t give off vibes that I am interested or attracted to you if I’m not actually interested or attracted to you (aka, if I don’t know you).
And then just this weekend someone from my Aqua Zumba class asked if I would be watching the SuperBowl and I said that I was boycotting it because of the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick (#boycottnfl) and the lady replied, “well at least you get to see good looking men playing and running around” and I tried to smile one of my most genuine smiles even though I felt awkward and I couldn’t relate but I sincerely hoped that she couldn’t tell that I couldn’t relate. I never found (albeit athletic) men running around in tight pants remotely appealing or arousing.
So late Saturday night while I was wasting time on Instagram, randomly scrolling, I came across the following photo which I immediately added to my IG stories. It changed my life forever:
It all finally clicked. I just might be demisexual. I mean, I’m an introvert after all (INFP/INFJ for the win!!).
I finally understood why online/app-based dating always felt like a royal waste of time, and why first dates seemed like death to me. I finally understood why the few crushes on guys that I actually had were a very big deal for me. I finally understood that it wasn’t a coincidence that it is only when I was emotionally connected to a guy that sexual feelings would develop. I finally understood why a “one night stand” held no appeal for me. I finally understood why the bodies of random men never got me wet, and why I thought that while Brian Littrell looked good, I never fantasized about sleeping with him (or any celebrity, for that matter. I remember reading something about how many little girls masturbate while thinking about their celebrity crush and that was such a foreign thought to me). Any man that I have fantasized about (or tempted to fantasize about — gotta keep that lust in check!!! *ahem*) have always been men that I actually knew.
I felt validated. And when we feel odd or lonely or weird or out of place, as I often do, validation is a wonderful antidote.
Since this discovery, I’ve been researching demisexuality and my mind is blown (you can learn more about it here, and here). I took an online test that confirmed my newfound revelation (I scored 80%) and I have been binge watching videos on demisexuality and learning so much about asexuality. I’ve also joined all of the Facebook groups.
YOU SCORED 80
You got 50 points or above meaning that you are Demisexual!
As a Demisexual, you only develop feelings of sexual attraction for a person after developing deep emotional or mental connections with them first. This means that you may spontaneously develop feelings of desire for any person in your life of whom you are closely bonded with. Otherwise, it’s very rare for you to feel any immediate attraction to a person based on looks or personality.
For this reason, you fall into the middle of the Asexual and Sexual spectrum, experiencing no primary attraction to people, but forming secondary attraction to people you’ve connected with deeply.
As such, it’s very rare for you to feel aroused by pornography or to be manipulated by societies use of sex to sell products. Also, it’s very uncommon and perhaps impossible for you to cheat, or to feel attracted to many different people in your life time.
In summary, you:
Must first bond closely with a person to feel sexually attracted to them.
Rarely experience “love at first sight”.
Don’t experience any primary attraction to people, e.g. breasts, asses and muscles are aesthetically pleasing, not sexually arousing.
Can be perceived as “frigid” and sexually “aloof”, often being mistaken for Asexuals.
Can develop feelings for best friends, work partners, study buddies, family friends etc.
Rarely sleep around or cheat in relationships.
Are sexually attracted to very few people in your lifetime.
Only interested in having sex with people you love.
If you would like to read more about Demisexuals, take a look at our Are You a Demisexual? article!
We know so much about gays and lesbians, but comparatively little about asexuals (or “aces” as they are colloquially called). Asexuality is a whole other world that I knew very little about and am now just delving into. Did you know that demisexuality is on the asexuality spectrum? It’s half-way between sexual and asexual (graysexual!). This video explains more and is an excellent introduction to the topic:
“I’m a virgin because I’m demisexual and haven’t found someone I want to have sex with.” <—– this hit me in the feeeeeeeels.
Allow me to share my life and my dating history in the form of a cartoon (illustrated by Courtney Wirthit):
Now, I typically eschew labels. I’m not vegan, and I don’t eat Paleo — I just eat food. Somedays I have grains, and somedays I go without. Some days I have meat and for some meals I don’t. Again, I just eat food.
Similarly, I don’t like labels when it comes to sexuality because labels don’t often allow for the fluidity that sexuality demands. New York Times bestselling author and blogger Glennon Doyle Melton had always (to our knowledge) only had sexual relationships with men. She even married one. But then she met and married soccer-star Abby Wambach. First-lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, once publicly identified as a lesbian. Now she’s a mother of two and married to Bill deBlasio, Mayor of New York City, in what seems like, by all accounts, a very happy marriage. In commenting on this shift, Chirlane herself has said that she doesn’t like labels.
That said, it is so helpful to be able to name something, and it is reassuring to know that in the naming of that thing, you can find community. Knowing this tidbit of information about my sexuality affirms my decision to stop using those bloody dating apps and adds clarity on how I form relationships, how I connect with others and why I relate to people the way that I do, which I find helpful. It has made me realize that men who have been interested in me may not have pursued anything further because I seemed “aloof” or “uninterested” or “unattracted” or “frigid” or a “prude,” when, in reality, subconsciously and unbeknownst to me, I was more concerned with trying to determine if an emotional connection existed and I wasn’t necessarily “uninterested.” It gives me language to explain to potential partners about my perceived reticence or lack of interest in having sex until a relationship is formed, and it is a reminder to me that I need to seek out men who are also intent on establishing an emotional bond before a sexual one.
In some of the Facebook groups to which I now belong, there has been talk about “coming out” and “when people have come out.” I didn’t realize that coming out as demisexual was a thing. In writing this blog post, I never once considered that someone might think ill of me or my life might be endangered because I have discovered another depth to my sexuality. In fact, I was excited to share this news! But I guess my hetero-privilege is showing.
And it makes me think — religious circles tend to demonize the entire LGBTQIA population. In “coming out” as demisexual (I never thought I’d ever “come out” as anything…), I have committed no sin. All I’m saying is that I need an emotional connection to someone before I can be sexually attracted to them, which is not sinful. Similarly, intersex people are people who are born with both genitalia. They have committed no sin. People think that being gay is sodomy and an abomination, whereas no one says (or really talks about) asexual people. Asexuals are not similarly stigmatized. In fact, arguably, asexual people are mentioned in the Bible (as eunuchs). It’s so interesting to see how some populations in the LGBT community are derided as sinful, whereas others, such as asexuals, are accepted, or at the very least, tolerated.
In the words of one girl from the Demisexual Acceptance Facebook group, “I just came out of a closet I didn’t know I was even in.” I’m writing this blog post because a) I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it! b) to spread demisexual awareness and c) because maybe someone will relate to my story and discover that they too are demisexual. Maybe you, like me, are like “I never knew this was a thing/I never know there was a name for this! I’m not weird after all! There are other people like me!”
Knowledge is power. I’m just really happy about this newfound knowledge about myself.
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