Category Archives: Demisexual satisfaction

Asexual identity, anthropologically speaking

Two idle trains of thought collided in my head. One was that I usually refer to myself as demisexual with “insiders” (the asexual community and close family) and asexual with “outsiders” (everybody else). The other, well, my language studies included a lot of crossdisciplinary training. We wallowed around in anthropology long enough to internalise several core concepts, such as etic and emic. Etic labels are imposed on a community by an outside observer. Emic categories are what a community develops internally.

Awsum Can Haz Werdzª

It’s no secret that the asexual community spent a lot of its early years generating words. These primarily helped people identify themselves and talk about themselves amongst each other. Here’s a glossary on the Asexuality Archive and the “Everything Asexual and Aromantic” series if you prefer to watch a video.

With the versatility of the English language, these words quickly became versatile, gaining colloquial versions, used as adjectives (ace person) as well as nouns (all the aces)… Several have become mainstream enough that they have been put into or expanded upon in dictionaries, such as the OED last month.

Ace or Queer Sociolect

All this leads me to consider… Is our language distinctive enough to consider ourselves, as a subculture, a speech community? Do we have enough a unique enough vocabulary and set of syntactic oddities to be a sociolect?

Another possibility came up when I did a little bit of digging. Apparently there was a queer sociolect in the sixties and seventies, called Polari. One paragraph this blog article caught my eye:

“Even though a secondary language was needed to support it, if well informed, a person could communicate heavily in Polari. However, its use in more modern times is questionable. Why? The language code would work in binaries (male/female, homosexual/heterosexual, masculine/feminine) and didn’t allow for description of non-binary classifications. For example, words to explain gender fluidity, bisexuality, asexuality etc., just didn’t exist.”

So another possibility is that now, four decades later, we filled a so-far-empty niche in a broader queer sociolect, and contributed a couple words to mainstream English in the process.

I am not at all qualified enough to offer any conclusions on this subject. As language geek and demi/ace person I did want to put the question out there, however. It creates a space to describe how I identify myself.

I, Ace or Demi person

Let’s say the asexual community is a speech community, or part of one. Let’s say the vocabulary we’ve generated has become an ace sociolect or part of a queer sociolect. In that context I am able to express two distinct levels on which I speak of my identity.

Namely, as an informed insider trying to decribe myself towards outside observers, I say I am asexual. This fits in a larger (etic) set of labels, known as sexual orientation, that is familiar to most English speakers. I only need to define the single new word in order for them to fit me into their world view, and then get accepted or rejected.

Among insiders, the asexual community and its allies, such as my close family, I choose a different label. I say that my asexual identity is primarily demisexual. I can add a gender identity and romantic orientation to further specify what I think I am. Thus making use of a far more nuanced set of labels we created to talk amongst ourselves.

Thus some old theory I learned in college and my thoughts on ace identity intersected. I thought in sharing it might be of some use. And, well, it just tickles my fancy how much we’ve been able to affect language, over the years.

ªprovided by the Lolcat Translator

trainscolliding

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Pride, Coming Out and Representation

The theme for July’s Carnival of Aces is Then and Now. Let’s compare the summers of 2015 and 2018.

Summer 2015

I am still reeling from the shift, going from identifying as a heterosexual barred from falling in love by her insecurity to a more confident woman still seldom feeling sexual desire… demisexual. The inciting incident for this personal journey was a little over a year ago. I have lurked in the AVEN forums and set up a blog on WordPress, liking the long-form writing. I work through the questions my new identity throws up by writing and reading about them.

A city trip to Amsterdam coincides with Pride, at the start of August. With a thrill, I decide to go, wishing to be amongst other people who have a different orientation. Each museum advertises exhibits, the entire city centre sports flags for my entire stay. The place is proud of its pride and glad for its popularity. With a museumcard I happily browse through galleries and follow a tour guide through a zoo while he explains about homosexual animals.

On the day of the parade, I take out the eye pencils I bought, black, silver, white and purple, and draw flags on my hands. I walk until I hit the main canals, where crowds cluster, wreathed in colourful clothes and cheery music. I run into an aging lesbian I met earlier that week, who thought I was questioning-and-in-denial when I tried to explain asexuality – a practice run, with a stranger in a strange city, before I dare to tell family. We end up talking about how she claimed long-term relationships among lesbians often enough become queer-platonic relationships when they enter their second or third decade. We stay together that day to have someone to share comments with while we watch the floats and boats go by.

I feel a little lost, I am the only one like myself. Still, the day becomes a precious memory. Even in this time and place where there is no fight for rights, the people come to be uniquely blessed. Each time I see people together, I realise they could be friends or family or strangers or lovers, in any combination. This one day a year, anyone could be any sexuality and not be outnumbered. Too, I realise as I look better and see they can be any gender and have a good chance of meeting more people like themselves. It’s a one-day vacation from heteronormativity, from gender roles. It releases something in me.

I leave early, because there isn’t a party for people like me and I don’t much feel like beer or celebrating my sexuality. Still, I smile at all the families who start to leave along with me. They came here to teach their kids this, I realise, a broadening of horizons. Not a bad day out, either, with the festival foods and mellow atmosphere and colourful boats and people and places. Loads more fun than a documentary at school or a representative of the COC (LGBT centre) coming to talk. I find myself hoping they tell all their classmates.

The next day, my last day, I decide I want a souvenir, a symbol of when I went out to celebrate my orientation, even just to myself. I buy a ring with a black band in the middle and put it on my right middle finger. There, I decide, I’m out. A little more sure of myself I go home. I sit my family down, one by one, to come out to them.

Summer 2018

After a hiatus, I’ve been blogging again for a while. I have moved and joined a more conservative church, since my own denomination wasn’t around. It caused a whole host of insecurities and fears to upend itself over my head, even though I thought I’d reconciled my faith and my demisexuality. Seems I absorbed some of the poison out in the public domain just fine, even if I was accepted in my personal circle.

I have had an asexual orientation long enough that I am starting to lose the sense of what it was like to think myself heterosexual. One warm night, staying with family, I walk to the bathroom half-asleep in only a shirt and startle at an outrage squawk from my brother. It takes me minutes to realise what the problem is. My body has simply become my body, comfortable and only covered for my comfort. No longer a source of questioning what might make it seem sexy, or shame for what others might see in it.

I am finally confident enough to take the step deliberately into the dating world, though it’s still a slow shuffle as if across an iced-over road. I start to accept that lacking the wish to have sex does not mean I have give up what I do wish to have, most especially kids, far more even than a partner. Not yet, I decide, but I jot down what would be practical to know or prepare in advance and start to research at what point down the line it would be possible, responsible, good. I consider whether to adopt or to carry my own.

I speak in gender-neutral terms of a potential partner. While I am romantic, wish to be romantic, I don’t really know towards whom. I realise I find people striking on first impression, or their minds intriguing to explore further. By these two methods do I identify people to like, people to love. It is by convention that I determine which way it is appropriate to build a relationship with someone, with friendship an easier path and the romantic scarcely explored.

I mentally redefine demisexual when I read about the three instinctual drives: sexual, romantic, attachment. Demisexual: the sexual drive may trigger when attachment (trust, respect, familiarity, community, collaboration, cohabitation) is present.

The gradual paradigm shift has trickled into my writing, which I’ve picked up again. I cannot withhold my changed understanding of relationships, of love. Each story, by the time I’m writing character profiles, contains an asexual character or a relationship somewhere between frienship and romantic and sexual or someone who wishes never to have a relationship at all. Because these are the things I’ve been thinking about for years, to puzzle out. My mind is too full to avoid them.

I realise with dread I am on the point of another coming out. My friends, my family know I am demisexual. But I’ve been comfortable almost never talking about my orientation. People never really ask about the ring or the absence of a relationship. It feels a little naughty, to be differentunder people’s noses, most of them never realising.

However, if I wish to publish, if I produce something good enough, being asexual will not just be part of my personal identity, but part of my public identity. On Linked-in, on my bio, answering questions from strangers.

Yet, yet.

I remember that Pride. I remember that atmosphere, that all orientations and genders were accepted on that one day. I remember that people brought their kids from across the country. I remember feeling alone in having an asexual orientation, even as I felt affirmed in being not-heterosexual.

I want to write and these stories call to me. Working through the implications and insecurities of this identity has shaped my voice, because it’s taught me so much that’s worth telling.

So, a year from now, maybe two, maybe three, somewhere there’ll be another story with ace characters, by me. Not really because I’m brave or much of an activist, but because it will, hopefully, make for a good story.

Attraction Not Required (Yet?)

With much hemming and hawing I’m edging into the world of dating, mostly because dammit, I want to try thing thing out and not just sit on the sidelines talking.  Can’t say much’s happened yet, aside from me feeling a little more at home tentatively saying I might like someone… just full of confidence, me.

Here’s what did happen: I stopped worrying I needed sexual, or at least romantic, attraction to even start dating.

It just doesn’t happen, with a few stats and a photograph in a profile. And I’m learning that that’s fine.

All I need is a ‘huh, something in common, may want to chat, might want to meet.’ A spark of general interest. Doable.

A few of those developed into chats, with either lacklustre response or none at all. I’m starting to suspect the folks on the other end are good at liking, not at chatting, and I’m not the best in keeping my phone to hand either.

But. But. It feels like a big fear’s been put to rest, the first of a few big hurdles that made me feel I couldn’t cross into this dating thing without being somehow fake.

I do not need to be attracted, at least in this initial stage. It’s fine just getting to know people.

That’s a relief.

It likely won’t stay smooth sailing, but at least I’m getting out of the harbour.

Ride that Rollercoaster!

This post was written for the May Carnival of Aces hosted at Prismatic Entanglements, on Nuance and Complexity…

I

For months I’ve been at this point, dipping my toe into dating sites only to pull it back out quickly.

Drift across the kitchen, cooking, my mind still there, browser window still open.

Oh, god, to do something mostly new, where I feel too old. Where others start as kids, teens, adolescents.

Can I be small again? Bumbling?

Can I take the rejection, when it comes, again and again and again?

Can I allow it not to matter? How do others even do this? Where is the manual?

Not tonight, I decide. Wooden spoon clenched between ring and middle finger, I swipe the window away with my thumb. Cheeks burning, I stir the pasta.

Coward.

Hungry coward, though.

“Dinner!” I smile at the people I do have, try to focus, to forget a longing for family I carry in my heart.

II

“Verlangen” is the more visceral desire, craving and the more cerebral longing, missing.

“Koesteren” is to cradle or hold carefully, used figuratively, speaking of tenderness and cherishing.

“Houden van” is literally “(have) hold of” and is the most common translation of “to love” but I like “liefhebben” better, which is more properly “to hold dear”.

“Verkeren” is oldfashioned as a verb, “verkering” is the relationship between the acknowledgement that there is anything more than a meeting or a hook-up, and (optional) the engagement.

Centuries of “verkering”: 13th, to turn around, a change. 15th, to associate with, 17th, to associate with a person with the intention to get engaged, 20th century, to be in a romantic relationship.

These are the words in my head, when I think and lurk and procrastinate.

III

These words are absent:

“Begeren” to desire, usually sexually. The noun: lust.

“Vrijen” is both being glued together in public and having sex.

IV

To say you wish without taking action is to make the dream a wistful lie instead of a hopeful truth.

I have trawled through calendars of events.

I have made known to a dozen people how hard it is to start on something.

I have nitpicked dating sites and types of events to find objections, based in pop culture, based in insecurity.

I have yet to start.

V

Finally I sit down and write and write until I’ve peeled the onion to the core.

I do not have dating friends I can ask to tag along.

I do not have places I go out regularly.

I do not have a time in my week where romantic interest is likely to happen.

I do not have the experience I would wish even to say what is normal and what is not.

I do not have clever words or social smoothness to make flirting come easily or at all.

I am so dreadfully scared of all the firsts, the immediacy of emotion that comes with new experiences combining with going into a foreign domain alone where the contact is personal.

“Eelt op je ziel” translates to calluses on the soul, a buffer between you and the world, being inured.

I go into this nearly new.

Bare. Naked. Tender.

VI

I sit with my phone in my hands. I appear as the rest do, just waiting for my bus, spending time.

In truth, I am staring at a black screen, suspenseful soundtrack thumping in my head.

I put my head in my hands and scold myself.

VII

“Just do it.”

“You have to start somewhere.”

“It starts with simply meeting people.”

“Don’t give it so much weight.”

“Be less harsh with yourself.”

Grace.

Mercy, not elegance.

Letting go and being alright with feeling foolish.

VIII

Let’s start with one, just one.

I download the app.

I find out about the wonderful world that is verifying through Facebook you exist.

I delete the app.

Facebook and privacy. Speak of antonyms.

I have an old account with which I did a lot. I learned, through others’ bad experiences, not to let apps access such information.

I’m in luck. An acquaintance suggests a solution over coffee.

I make an empty facebook account with just my name and picture. Only needs an alternate email address.

I download the app again.

IX

Filling out the profile goes smoothly.

Months’ hesitation means I already have a profile picture.

I fill out the questions like it’s a psychology test, just go with the first impulse.

First drafts can be edited.

I hit the questions about my preferred partner and pause, thumbs hovering over the keyboard on my screen.

I sit down and sigh.

I am demisexual.

I have no idea what my romantic orientation is.

X

I have a post half drafted entitled “An Elusive Romantic Orientation”. I love the title. I dislike the post. Too whiny, too incoherent.

I have been able to figure out I see relationships as growing, organic. Trees and perennials and bulbs that flower for a month and seeds that may never come up.

I have been able to figure out I wish for a romantic or platonic context, so I know what to cultivate about relationships that are otherwise very diverse.

I have been able to figure out I regard platonic as the default, easiest and safest and most known.

I have been able to figure out that defining something as romantic is like installing extra features and permissions, to my mind. Go for the thrill of flirting. Exercise a greater measure of territoriality and physical affection. Dropping more masks and showing more weak spots and thinking more tender thoughts.

In secret, tend a little flame which burns with hopes for a year from now, sharing time, sharing lives, sharing homes, sharing needs, sharing families and friends, sharing nights and days.

Just a small flame, that appears in idle thoughts before falling asleep and in a belly full of mellow warmth when watching a romantic movie or another couple walking down the street.

“Waakvlam” is a pilot light, the single flame that keeps watch, always on in case something needs to be heated.

I have figured out that, yes, I am romantic. Even that I lean strongly towards monogamy.

I still haven’t figured out the prefix.

XI

The prefix to romantic – when it is something other than “a” – is tied to the partner.

The gender of the prospective partner I need to fill out.

If asked, I would say I primarily, even perhaps only, want to interact on the romantic level. Well, and intellectual and emotional and social and… but.

So much else about a partner is more in the foreground, when I try to think of it, in memory or fantasy.

What do you put before -romantic if partner gender is simply less relevant?

XII

The lack of a word for the thing my brain’s settled on drives me to distraction for a few days.

However, this time the quandary cannot be left to languish unresolved.

I have a profile to complete.

I consider all the gender-neutral words I’ve been using and decide follow the same line here. Simply leave the option for gender open to all of it, and scroll on.

XIII

When it comes to personal information, I have another decision to make. Do I say I’m asexual up front?

I do not even consider demisexual. That is a word for the in-group.

I struggled with disclosure when it came to my new church, feeling I had to represent asexuality because of the potential for controversy.

Yet the fact that I feel compelled to be public about such a personal fact makes me want to keep it private all the more.

“Be open if you have nothing to hide” is an attitude that makes me want to close off.

If I am not trusted for what is hidden about me, I am not trusted.

If I am not free to keep myself hidden, I am not free to entrust myself to others.

I do not put my sexuality on my profile.

XIV

I click to complete it.

I consider taking the initiative in getting in touch and chicken out.

It’s alright, I tell myself. Let’s see what happens.

“Laat het over me heenkomen” feels to me like stepping into the surf to let the waves play around my legs or drown me, depending on how rough the sea is.

XV

After the first day I stuff my face into my pillow and laugh until I cry.

I have plenty experience with online communities.

The non-commital likes.

The awkwardness of having a chat conversation with a complete stranger.

The sudden absence of the other person.

I have feared this so much and yet it feels so familiar, so easy.

I decide to set a time to check it, like other communities, and put my phone down.

Time to write about this.

XVI

Much dawdling and a harrowing ride ended in an anticlimactic stop.

This is only the beginning, but I hope the end of the emotional rollercoaster.

Time for some unhealthy snacking and people watching at this fair.

Demisexual Body in Action

My contribution to the March Carnival of Aces, about physical health and bodies. Go check out all the contributions.

Explicit language about sex, though I try not to be graphic.

I

For twenty-five years all the landmarks of developing sexuality and romantic relationships pass me by.

I blame my impopularity, my insecurity, my anxiety, my depression.

I have a few crushes. I think those feelings are attraction.

II

I look at a man I have known for several years.

In disbelief I feel my lower stomach roil with heat and my groin clench. I flush.

I flee to the hallway and slide down a wall.

That was sexual attraction. Out of nowhere. Already waning.

I realise I have never, ever felt it before.

My mind explodes.

III

I find the word “asexual” online. I read, ferociously.

I am demisexual, I decide.

I feel highly relieved.

IV

The general practicioner looks at me. “Are you sexually active?”

“No.”

V

I tick the box for single on the document, on every document.

VI

I am in Amsterdam during Pride week.

I buy a purple dress and paint flags on my hands.

No one recognises asexuality as a thing. I comfort myself with forum hopping.

Weaving through the crowds I realise the most important thing about Pride is intangible: lack of expectations.

People bring their kids to experience a place and time when anyone’s sexuality and gender can be anything and it is okay.

VII

It is festive, but I am alone and unknown. I leave early.

On the way home I buy a black ring and put it on my right middle finger.

There, I am out.

I take a photo.

VIII

I fill out another form. Yes, I’m single, dammit.

For the first time, I want there to be a question about sexuality.

IX

“I’ve been flirting with you for ages!”

“I honestly didn’t notice.”

“Oh my God.” Skype makes his laugh a muffled thing. “Do you like me? I mean, you were not responding, so.”

“…yeah. But. I wasn’t gonna say anything. This is online.”

“You were just gonna pine. Pathetically.”

“Well, yeah. I’m… kinda glad to be having this conversation, though.”

“Me too.”

I discover that being in love comes with heightened awareness, especially of my body in the world.

Flirting, once I’m aware, is an addictive adrenaline rush.

X

I feel tender, vulnerable.

I stop blogging. This is for me.

XI

“Your vagina’s kind of narrow.”

I glare at my doctor. What part of ‘never sexually active’ was unclear?

“You never masturbate?”

I shrug. “Yeah.”

She grimaces. “This may hurt.”

She slides in the I.U.D. Aside from a dull ache, it’s fine.

Five years’ worth of birth control, installed.

XII

Our flirting, our conversations continue.

I am shameless. I grew up in a culture open about sexuality. I see no reason to hold back.

I find my imagination has the greatest influence over my body.

Anticipation can buzz for an entire day beneath skin.

I want touch, I crave it.

XIII

The flip side, he lives in another country.

I love the attention, the banter.

I want company. I want another body, close.

XIV

The calls become explicit too, sometimes.

I delight in the celebration of body, it is so new.

I am, perhaps for the first time, interested in manly bits.

I love the touch, even imagined, even removed. Giving and taking.

I love the gaze. I love the sounds. I love the play of talk and touch and exploration and affection.

XV

However, as it becomes more… focused, it becomes less interesting.

Reality is less without imagination fully engaged.

The more it is about just the genitals, the less my body and mind are into it.

The popping, crackling full-body fizz as we suggested, flirted, started, settles down into a low, steady buzz in my belly, depressingly familiar from masturbating.

Now, as then, orgasm is simply an end. A sudden stop to pleasant sensation, like stepping in a cold shower.

I have learned not to let that buzz culminate and tip over, but now it does.

“Did you finish?” he asks and I answer in the affirmative.

I do not fake that, but I fake how it makes me feel.

I fear he notices.

We end that call and I curl up wanting to cry.

Orgasms do not work as advertised and I want an afterglow badly.

The foreplay is not supposed to be the highlight, dammit.

XVI

When I start counting in months, I feel his physical absence acutely.

The difference with friendship turns out to be the level of preoccupation and the territoriality that comes with it.

He is a missing limb, in my thoughts but never under my hands.

XVII

We drift apart. His disinterest grows and I become stiffer the longer I want more than I can have.

XVIII

I move.

I start babysitting, for some money.

Children, I discover, like touch, especially when they can dictate it.

Since touch has always equaled affection in my family, it is very, very easy to love the kids.

I also discover babysitting can stop from one day to the next.

The first time it ends I cry for several days on the couch, I simply think I am sad.

The second time was longer, much worse, and I realise how much more territorial I was over kids than even a romantic partner. Even when I knew they were not mine.

I am preternaturally aware of my womb for several months.

After the third time is bad, so bad, I swear off babysitting.

XIX

I fill out another form. I tick single, and no, for sexually active.

XX

A year in my new town, I finally feel comfortable to start touching the people I have come to know.

A hug, a supporting hand.

I do not realise just how much it relaxes me until I am asked what’s made me so cheerful.

XXI

I meet my new doctor.

“I am not sexually active, no. I am on the asexual spectrum.”

She gives me a weird look at my wide, wide smile.

XXII

Two years seems to be the mark for me to be settled enough to start feeling attracted to people.

A grinning woman, oozing charisma and feminity, makes me weirdly cheerful and want to stare like a creepy stalker.

At the coffeestore, to make it more cliche.

No flush, no buzz, though. No desire to touch.

Oh, oh. Aesthetic attraction, I realise. For a real, live person.

XXIII

I meet a young woman, single.

She is going to be a foster parent.

It is a revelation. Many ways lead to Rome. I need not take the most common one.

XXIV

My anxiety hits me over the head again, out of nowhere.

My sex drive remains. I still feel the occasional attraction, mostly aesthetic or romantic, once even the flush of sexual.

I blamed all the wrong things when I was young.

I am demisexual, and it is simply my nature, not a symptom.

 

I have tried to cover all the feelings that relate to my body and are encompassed by my demisexuality.

This is not a complete account, I have chosen to include the first (or only) time I felt or acted on certain attractions.

I decided to leave out times when that attraction was not directed at a real person but a fictional character, especially since sexuality seems to function very differently in imagined and real scenarios.

Questioning the partner selection process

i

The starting point: a TED talk by Helen Fisher on romantic love that is part of my reading up on sexuality.

I perk up five minutes in.

“I began to realize that romantic love is not an emotion. In fact, I had always thought it was a series of emotions, from very high to very low. But actually, it’s a drive.” (5:27)

ii

My notes, based on what she says –

Three drives – three parts of the process

  • Sex drive – to notice – select people to have a relationship with from a crowd
  • Romantic drive – to focus – exaggerated attention, behaviour and emotion towards a specific person
  • Attachment drive – to remain – a stable bundle of affection, attraction and behaviour towards a person to whom one has committed.

(May trigger in any order – important later)

iii

I hesitate, then make a second list.

  • If sex drive not(/rarely) triggered – asexual? – alternative selection process?
  • If romantic drive not triggered – aromantic? – alternative method for focusing on specific person(s)?
  • Attachment drive – independent from either

iv

In the first flush of ideas of what it could potentially mean, the sweeping click-click-click of possible patterns, I dream big. Research statements for bold, new discoveries.

Attachment drive independent becomes –

The potential succes of relationships that asexual and aromantic people start is entirely independent from their romantic or sexual orientation.

Sex drive / romantic drive not triggered becomes –

Asexual or aromantic people formulate alternative methods to select and court potential partners from (zed/allo)sexual or -romantic people.

Alternative methods perhaps implies –

Asexual or aromantic people use methods to select and focus on partners similar to those they use to select and notice people to form other sorts of relationships with.

v

As I am writing reality trickles back in.

2018, not 1998.

Not Terra Incognita. Just new to me.

I sigh and go to add questions to my subjects-to-read-up-on list.

vi

Demisexuality means this: sex drive may trigger simultaneously with or after attachment has formed.

This is why I may be dismissed: these drives do not necessarily trigger in order for anyone.

Attachment may come before sexual attraction for anyone. Romantic feelings may come before sexual attraction.

vii

Asexuality: sex drive exists, but is irrelevant.

This is why I dislike being dismissed: I have been sexually attracted, in passing, to only half a dozen people in my lifetime. Other feelings, however, I have felt far more often.

Alternative methods are developed.

viii

If one chooses to try for a relationship. If. Or it happens accidentally.

If.

If.

I am amatonormative, (and heteronormative?).

Aware, but still stuck with these trappings.

ix

Progress. Not answers, but some questions to ask.

  • How do I select anyone I wish to know better from among strangers?
  • How, from that point, do they become friends or a potential partner?
  • What makes that difference for me?
  • How do I become territorial or obsessive over people for a time?
  • What emotions/attractions/behaviour/thoughts overflow if one person preoccupies me?
  • What does attachment look like for me (if I have enough data to say)?
  • What are my alternative methods?
  • What are others’ alternative methods?
  • Do we see a difference in our brain, do we have something that lights up instead of the regular instincts?

x

I begin and discard several blog entries entitled The Three Drives.

I know too little yet, about brains, about sexuality in brains.

About myself.

xi

What questions do I elect to answer first?

xii

Also progress, no need to go back and edit impersonal “we” and “you” back into “I”.

Self-acknowledgement.

I think, therefore I am.

Demisexual. Questioning. Discovering.

Delighting in it.

Sexually-liberated-modern-woman self versus demisexual self

I.

I read a book on feminism, women and desire, femininity and sexuality. Another. And another.

My head gets stuck, thinking. I confuse several people with my doubts, speaking of it.

What does it mean, I wonder, I ask the page. For a demisexual. Or cross out demi and insert whatever applies.

Sexual freedom on the asexual spectrum. Liberated. How? What does that even mean?

I realise, exactly that.

Freedom, to be a complete individual with honest desires. No more and no less than what I am.

A shape of desires unique to me. To explore.

II.

The freedom to explore. The myth – until I believe it, until it is fact – that I am worth an exploration. A sort of Grand Tour of the sexual world in words… until I come home.

Where I belong, with words and language that I shape.

To word the shape of myself, this new thing.

Take a bucket list. Cross out what I – only I, not what-I-should-be – don’t want to try. Keep what I do want.

The freedom, to edit later, how I worded myself first. To evolve, too, in the shape of my desire.

III.

The desires I have, not what-I-should-be.

Should. A standard. A standard that is meaningless, if the world still assumes humans are all sexual.

IV.

I am free to deny. Liberated to say no. Or maybe. Or a little bit. Or very rarely, with that someone I meet once in a blue moon.

Maybe, in a few years, I’ll desire you that way. I will not desire you now. This is okay.

V.

I am free. Yet.

It is a freedom that is an ideal, itself a desire. A freedom that takes years, to reshape myself gradually after that first break from being sexual.

A freedom that can be lonely, because “no, nothing, thanks, I’ll sit here, quietly” can be easier than a full reshaping of the self until it can be said: “This, this is what I do want.”

To dare say.

VI.

But, I want. I want to word myself positively. I want to be free. I want to speak in desires.

I want more than to simply say: I want no sex, I seldom want sex, I want sex very rarely with maybe this person in that circumstance.

VII.

I feel I am bursting at the seems with want. For a full partnership, for love, for a future.

Sex, the thing unwanted, seems paltry.

I do not want to live defined by that.

VIII.

So, I attempt words. I try to reshape the self. I strive for the positive, for the wanting.

The freedom to desire only what I want. No more, no less.

The freedom for words, for actions, unpunished. Room to speak. Room to grow.

The desire for acceptance, for fulfillment.

IX.

A life in freedom.

A self free to desire.

Desires freely worded.

Freely denied, too.

X.

A freedom that only invites and does not demand.

Isn’t that desirable?

I can unite my desires and my freedom. I will.

I want to, to reconcile these, and have words.

I Want Your Love (No Regrets)

Got Valentine on the brain.

I do not want your naughty bits
I don’t want any sex
I do not want your dirty talk
No beast with the two backs

I do not want your nakedness
I do not want you bare
Unless you wish to sunbathe too
Unless you wish to share

I do not want your fondling
I do not want your touch
Unless you lack attraction too
Want cuddles just as much

I really want your loving, though
I really want your heart
I really want to love you too
I really want to start

I really want to share a life
I really want your mind
I want to know just what you think
Return that trust in kind

I really want to know the joy
I really want to court
To buy the roses down the street
Cook food that you adore

I want your love and no regrets
Society can fuck off
To love you, honestly myself
True love, so help me God

Demisexual Physicality

For my contribution to January’s Carnival of Aces, I hope to explore how my sexuality impacted my view of my physical self. Sex and gender feature obliquely. A person is much more, and I hope I can delve a little into those deeper layers.

First, words

Being demisexual means, to me, that my lust or arousal is triggered very rarely, and always, only, within the context of a pre-existing significant emotional connection, whether the person on the receiving end is real or fictional. On a day-to-day basis, this means I experience the world stripped of all sexual connotations and subtext, the way we imagine only a child can. I know it’s there, the same way I know the planet is round. As an intellectual point of interest only.

Physicality, for the purposes of this post, is the sense or experience of the body. Body image. The experiencing of sensory input. Bodily contact, movement. The material part of myself.

Agency

Here’s where sexuality and gender played the biggest role.

As a woman I often saw – see – my body in third person. Subject to the approving eyes of others, which made shopping a harrowing experience when I let the insecurities get to me. I wasn’t particularly aware of it, until a large part of those doubts disappeared.

Redefining my sexuality meant I wasn’t obligated to feel love or lust like others anymore. There was a new normal that gradually asserted itself.

What I didn’t expect was for that ball to bounce back. I stopped imaging my own body as attractive or sexy. It became a (much less sexual) collection of all the features that remained. Healthy, tall, cold or hot, numb or sensitive, tired or brimming with energy.

Other people’s view of me became just that, somebody else’s problem. I sloughed off much of the fear and worry with losing that objectivation. My physical person turned into a tool to experience myself and the world as it was.

If I still step outside myself it is with much more enjoyment. My wardrobe is far, far more varied. Dressing myself has become an exercise in gender performance* or practical consideration or deliberate presentation.

Experience/Senses

The asexual community was really good for me when it came to deconstructing concepts such as relationships and attraction, how these aren’t simple, how these aren’t the same for us. How they might be different for each individual, in fact.

Thing is, I don’t have much to go on. I don’t feel attraction often, I haven’t a big history of many relationships that I cannot sort into easy categories like “friends” and “family”. So beyond some self-examination and speculation, it’s not a productive place for me to go.

However, I do have a fully functioning body. What’s that doing, then, if it’s not feeling the lust other adults do? Cause I certainly don’t feel frigid, or like a mind in some earthly prison. I am much happier now than I ever was with my body, in fact.

Turns out it’s just… experiencing the world. Sunshine on skin. Fresh food for tastebuds. Physical exercise for stretching muscles and losing energy. Good music for the ears.

I was grounded in my senses like any other human being. It should have been self-evident, perhaps, but it was a revelation. Because once I knew, I could do it more deliberately. And the world is a fantastic place. Who knew?

Affection

I feel I have been told: being asexual means you’re less happy because you cannot experience that ultimate completion of the ultimate connection between human beings that is the sexual act for expressing romantic love. Accepting asexuality, or demisexuality, means that – on some level – you will be alone. I feel I have been told a lie.

We probably cannot fulfill – and must redefine – some societal expectations and our normative role, within our cultures. True. We will probably need to be braver to find what we seek, and seek longer than the average Joe. True.

But.

I cannot love more or less for having redefined myself. I do not seek less affection from my peers and my family and my community.

In fact, I seek more. I find more. Because, get this, I finally know what I want. Having my world stripped of all the illusions that came with thinking myself heterosexual, means a haze of confusion that isolated me from others is gone.

For example, I feel (fear?) that I’m rarely going to have a sexual or romantic partner. I also know I want physical affection. Just because repeated experience tells me I feel better for having it. So I dare to cross some of those lines that my individualistic society draws, and hug, and touch, within the context of all the platonic relationships I have. What I find if I dare is, most people respond, often smiling, in kind.

I know that I want to feel good things, and together with someone. So I simply go do stuff I like, and bring some company. Intimacy and shared experience achieved.

And yes, that’s simplification, but the lesson I am learning remains, which is, I want stuff from people, together with people, and often they’re simple, about touch and company and intimacy, and there are many ways to get those things. And because it’s all about finding ways to love people and be loved, this journey of discovery is in and of itself enjoyable.

So

I hope I have been able to give you a glimpse of how discovering my sexuality has had – by and large – a positive impact on how experience my body, in relation to itself, the world and others. I am very curious to hear how your sexuality has impacted you, on this and other levels.

It’s a subjective experience, and one that evolves, but I do believe it’s a significant one. For me, at least, it’s meant a lot to have an ace spectrum along which I could (re)define myself. It’s given me back my body in ways I didn’t even know I’d lost it. I hope it’s helped you in some ways too.

_______

*I hope I’m not overstepping any bounds here, but I feel that, even being a cisgender female, there are days when I am, if you will, more or less feminine (and in Dutch female and feminine would be the same word, here (vrouwelijk)). It plays a significant role in what I put on in terms of clothing, jewelry, make-up, hairstyle, how I walk, and yes, sometimes even influences my choice of activity, or is influenced by my choice of activity perhaps, I’m not sure. The biggest deal – for me – was how much of this remains once sexual subtext/connotations were taken out of the equation, and it’s all the more enjoyable for it.

What sexiness is

So after reading up on sexiness… This post and all those it links: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/an-exploration-of-not-wanting-to-be-sexy-and-of-never-feeling-sexy/

I realised, I’m unaccustomed to thinking of myself as sexy, and as nice as it is to be appreciated that way… it’s made me rather self-consciousness. Especially since I rarely consider anything visual sexy myself, as in causing the buzz in my mind and lower body that’s a precursor to desire or causing attraction.

So,  as celebration and affirmation, here’s a list of what I find sexy.

Minds. Interesting bubbles of humanity. I could be delighted by them and revel in them all the livelong day.

Acts-ideas-agents. The trifecta of the body’s input, the mind’s input and the heart’s input. Done right, any input that works on all three levels and is contextualised as “sexy” can get really intense. Charged.

Sensation. Touch. Just. Works.

So, considering all that, am I sexy? All of the sexiness I perceive is based in interaction, preferably the reciprocal kind. It’s rather hard for me to consider it a personal quality.

Although… If a person is the source of much of it… It does tend to get associated with him. So, perhaps, after being sexy with a person for a while they become it, by association.

Aut of Spoons

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Controlled Abandon

an apartment full of books, a heart full of dancing, a mind full of math, a life full of queerness

Asexual, Aromantic, Agender

Ace Film Reviews

Asexuality goes to the movies

Prismatic Entanglements

dew-covered spider web of condensed thoughts

Genderweird

An autistic, asexual, gender neutral person exploring life beyond the gender binary.

Reflective Ace

Reflections on identity and other stuff