My Sexuality, a History

Demisexual isn’t a common label, or one that you adopt out of the blue. For me, and in the handful of stories I’ve read, it was an act of recognition, a satisfaction of finding a label for symptoms of a sexuality that wasn’t entirely normal. It’s not a label with a history of oppression. It’s not one that’s likely to lead to more than puzzlement in our family and friends. But it’s definitely been an epiphany, to be able to say, I am demisexual. I have an accurate term that goes with the description I’ve compiled of my sexuality.

I’m going to be describing what I’ve understood about my sexuality in a pair of posts. Here I will focus on the chronological perspective. The other on what I notice of my sexuality in daily life. They’re a personal account, not meant as a general definition, that I hope will clarify how I came to call myself “demisexual”.

When I was twelve, I had a crush. A vague memory of a tall boy with curls and grey eyes remains, but what still stands out in my mind: I loved this guy for who he was. He led our group on long hikes, and walked alongside the slowest member. He was able to pull together a group of arguing pre-teens, when he was only thirteen. And he was always fair, talking to us, or talking for us as a representative. It was innocent, normal, and it ended when he moved away.

When I was fourteen, my classmates were developing quickly and exploring kisses and crushes and staying up until midnight to dance awkwardly to late-nineties pop music. I wasn’t worried, since I was rather a geek, and I had several friends just as awkward and hesitant about all the sex stuff and developing bodies and let’s just focus on the brave new world on the internet, all right? We were the MSN Messenger people and the Livejournal teenage angst blogs and the text-based RPGs of yore. And at school parties we could still join in the Macarena, so.

By the time I was sixteen, I was well into a proper bout of depression and feeling like an alien anyway. Not being in love or wishing for sex felt normal when I was fighting to find the will to go to school each day.

By the time I was eighteen, I was glorying in being a first-year university student, finding friends, getting intellectual highs from doing what I loved all the livelong day and exploring all the interests I hadn’t dared to in high school. Sex wasn’t much a part of life if you didn’t party much and weren’t in a relationship.

At twenty I was entering a serious sexual crisis, because I didn’t exactly desire it, but I was sick with the desire for a partner and a family. I had loved kids for a long time and found it a lot of fun to work with them. And I was good at it. It took several months to accept that I might not get what I want until I found the self-respect and courage to step out into the dating scene. So I started on the self-respect.

Twenty-two-year-old me was back into a serious depression, worse than the last, and sought therapy not just for the symptoms but also the origin for the deep insecurities and their self-destructive consequences. It was a big turnaround.

At twenty-four I felt myself again, liberated, and far more secure than I’d ever been, and beginning to build a proper identity as an adult. Enjoying and expanding platonic relationships, taking risks in personal activities, daring to start a search for a dream job.

I was happy, and at peace with the fact that I would probably remain sexually inactive for the rest of my life.

And that was the point where my libido came roaring to life, after it had gone into near-constant dormancy halfway through puberty. I’d only felt attracted to the occasional fictional character. I was able to masturbate only rarely. I had romantic fantasies aplenty, but not really sexual fantasies.

After that point, I felt attracted to several guys I knew well, even two women, bunches more fictional characters, male and female. I even had two moments that I stood on a turning point where, if I had pursued the guys, I’d have fallen for them, hard, but I didn’t, knowing they were already attached.

There were still gaps, though. Strangers were as genderless to me as before, just… persons. Commercials that based themselves in sex appeal were still silly. Attraction still started with a combination of admiration and the same click I had with good friends, desire didn’t follow until I’d seen a person frequently for six months, and couldn’t happen at all if I didn’t trust the person.

So I started hopping through the internet, to see what women were up to these days when it came to sex. I started indulging in late night fantasies and physical exploration, to see what worked, what didn’t. Mental stimulation seemed far more powerful than physical, to the point where the best sort of masturbation was done in comfy clothes, hands behind my head and eyes closed.

At twenty-six, I discovered the word “demisexual”, a type of sexual where the libido worked intermittently, and emotion was very important. It fit so very well.

I pulled off my headphones, sat back in my chair and said, “he he”. In English, it’d have been, “finally”. It was such a big, giant relief.

Looking back, I think the biggest revelation is that not only do I need to have an emotional connection with another to be physically attracted to them, I also needed to have the mental space and the emotional peace I didn’t get until my mid-twenties in order to truly have a sexual drive in general.

The way I’ve started to wish to have sex in my mid-twenties doesn’t match what descriptions I have and have witnessed of teenage sexuality. I am not insecure about what I want, just ignorant, nor do I feel a pressing need to get it immediately. I feel ready to take on a long-term relationship, should dating go somewhere, but not the urge to go there immediately. I am an adult, and wish to have the sex life of one, not like a teen.

The coolest part of being demisexual? It has its advantages, too. Because I needed to be at peace with myself before I even wanted sex, I am alright being single. And because I know a person before I desire them, and that person knows me, I have a far better chance of predicting if it could go somewhere when I’m attracted to someone.

In the next part, less of the past and more about the present.

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Posted on May 13, 2015, in Personal reflection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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