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.
I’ve stumbled into a cul-de-sac with this series, which is what this post moans about. The next two posts will be a two-parter for this blog post series about the Gay Pride, because it was a rather life-changing event.
I think the joke’s on me… I started “I Want to Have Sex Like…” with the honest intention of discovering what sort of sex I’d want, if I ever came to the point where I chose to have any. Yet in my analysis of Captain America and Sherlock Holmes I find myself focusing on characters’ relationships, emotional engagement, treatment of each other, whether consent happened… Which are related to sex, but don’t exactly help me discover what I’d like between the sheets… Not to mention that what I find attractive in fantasy or reality.
Not sexual fantasy
I have found writing about this subject, ignoring what others say I should feel, very helpful. I’ve spent a lot of time going through forums and articles and videos and blog posts, and find that I’m starting to get a grip on demisexuality, at least as an identity I’m comfortable wearing. So I will continue this series.
But I’m muddying the waters if I pretend it’s all sexual fantasy.
Why’ve I called it that up until this point? Well, because I wanted to know what I have in the place in my mind where most have the thing labeled “sexual fantasy”. What you might use during masturbation. What hits you on a visceral level when consuming media. What people trying to get a date salivate over. Why selling things related to sex, or selling things by pretending they are sexy works at all. This thing I do not understand.
Besides, this exercise was not meant to flesh out what I’m supposed to think, but what I actually feel and imagine to be attractive. So. What does that mean for the future?
We’ll continue the analysis of items of pop culture as planned. From this point forward, I’ll focus on attraction on different levels consciously. I believe this broader focus accurately reflects how I experience that which is attractive, what I would desire and what I’d want in a (sexual) relationship. Sex is just… a potential part of it, and has no priority.
Different levels of attraction will be distinguished. For example, what’s gorgeous is aesthetically attractive. What I want to touch is sensually attractive. A person whose mind I want to assimilate like a Borg… intellectually attractive. Romantically attractive is a bit vague to me… so I’m probably going to mix that up with calling people emotionally attractive.
A second distinction which I’ll hope to get across is between that which I might fantasise about, and that which I would wish to do… or at least try. So, the distinction between what is attractive and what is desirable. The former is a far larger category than the latter.
I have decided that I love you. After mapping out the entire shape of your being in the years that we have known each other, I love you. The greatest flaws you have made and deepest needs I cannot help with and darkest nights that I felt as much as you. I love you.
The initial flame has died, not even sexual, but this curious admiration and the pull to be near you, always, hear what you say, every word. I choose to build on that, every day. I choose to love you again, longer, more, other, every moment.
The shape of us together has become a creature almost independent of us, the intangible member of our trinity. The length of our time together and the richness of our memories and the diversity of ways in which we constructed, deconstructed, destroyed and mended what we share and who we are. I love you.
Oh, the soul of you is beautiful. Joy, discerning the shape of your mind entire. I have tasted every flavour of your spirit. To know them all and be two whole creatures independent in one unit so intimate. I love you.
The synchronicity of us has grown. What you pick up in the store is what I need a day later and a vacation I bookmark is the escape you wish for after a busy day. I love you.
It is an act I perform every day. A choice I make every day. A habit I maintain carefully. Investment and gift and necessity. I love you, because it is logical.
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Liberties were taken with the script format.
When I open my eyes I am on the sofa, still dressed and you in a chair, crick in your neck. I fail to rub the sleep out of my face and the pain out of my lower back while you blink and take in the ceiling.
“Omelet?” I ask.
“Tomatoes and peas, please.” Your shoulders crack and sleepy warmth pins my hip and arm to the counter.
I smile. The more veg your food is, the lighter your heart. I hip-check you out of my way and make us breakfast while you shower.
“My turn for dinner?” you ask, halfway through the omelet.
I nod. “Jenny’s coming as well.” When you grumble I shoot a pea at you nose and you flick drops of lukewarm tea at me.
When you put down your fork I snatch clothes from my room before you can hog it again to play with your hair. “Oy!” you say from yours and I laugh at you.
A courtyard and tiny houses built before Columbus sailed or Constantinople fell.
I close my eyes and open my mind. There you sit, sunning yourself after you’ve done your laundry. When your friend comes back from mending clothes at the girls’ orphanage you might have a beer on the porch.
I’ve peeked into your house before, offended, centuries late, that you had to give up what sexual freedom you had in order to gain the freedom of movement this life offered.
You believed in God, but most, you wished for the city, for freedom. So here you came to live amongst other women, each your own house. Your own bed to rise from at dawn, your own meals to cook.
This second visit, I wonder.
Did you feel not quite right amongst friends? Did you wonder about what they whispered behind hands? Given more choices, which would you have made?
When you saw your friends’ courting and their swollen bellies, did you wish for it?
I reconsider… perhaps the celibacy was in itself part of your freedom, rather than a price payed.
In the late Middle Ages, some women lived in an begijnhof or beguinage.
Murmurs and low light.
I peer between my lashes. The litany of “Lord, I ask you…” does not abate. I lean my forehead on my right hand, unused to continuing prayer beyond five minutes. My left has rested on your shoulder since we started, overlapping two others.
I speak into the silence next, two sentences before I falter, though received with two hissed yesses, and another continues speaking.
I squeeze your shoulder, which sagged when tension left it. The air sits warm and heavy around us all.
When we open our eyes you are near to crying. We all touch, near strangers though we are, hands all over each others’ backs and shoulders. Loath though we are, we leave, glancing back.
That Sunday and the next, I come back, as the others do, drawn into orbit while you update us patiently. When we linger, I speak as if you are my friend and you look at me oddly. We laugh and finally introduce ourselves.
As weeks wear on we will greet each other, but the pull to draw near leaves, a ripple smoothing back into more mundane interaction, a little strand of connection left behind.
Mere words translate into facets of a concept, slotting into the structure you’ve spent the past few hours building in my mind.
I straighten a sore back and tighten feet frozen in curls around chair legs.
I do not verbalise questions before you launch into their answers. We have established who sends and who receives today, I only bounce back short summaries to check I am following.
An amused waitress stops by long enough to pour more coffee in our cups and sweep her eyes over us to save the tableau for an observation later, when we pay, back from our little world of two.
Our eyebrows will have travelled miles over our foreheads before we sit back, breathless, exhilarated. Minds released from their rapport.
Come home, when asked, I will not have words to explain dates without touching, intimacy without physicality.
I will pause, hesitant, until the memory of your idea asserts itself and leave me thinking and reshaping it for hours.
I don’t feel discriminated against… I do feel a little invisible. That seems to be the trend where asexuality, in all its varieties, is concerned. For me the result was ignorance: realising there was such a thing as demisexuality in my midtwenties… in a country where variations in sexual orientation are actually part of secondary school sex ed curriculum. And reading other ace people’s stories has made me realise that’s actually not all that late to discover your ace identity. Two posts I’ve read this week show the other side of invisibility: erasure. What you encounter after you’ve discovered your sexuality, and other people remain ignorant, sometimes wilfully so.
On the Asexual Artists blog1, Emily Griggs replies to the question, “Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?” that, “A little over a year ago, I attended a panel on queer comics at a major comic event. One of the panelists began their answer to a question with the phrase that was something like “the queer experience is about the moment of sexual attraction.” The other panelists and the audience nodded along, and I was far too shy to raise my hand to disagree. I’ve never experienced overt aggression or belittlement for being ace, but that passive erasure was deeply painful.I was just starting to get back into comics, I was trying to write a script for one myself, and here a room of people who should have been my greatest allies were telling me that I didn’t belong without even noticing what they were doing. And it’s a kind of microaggression that’s happened again and again to me in all areas of life: this passive assumption that sexual attraction is universal.”
Flying While Falling Down blogs that her sexual identity’s been evolving from her initial sexual orientation as a lesbian to her current position, of being asexual, and that part of that was not feeling accepted by an explicitly sexual community anymore…2
One thing that really resonated in Emily’s interview was her description of a common misconception she encountered: “the idea that asexual people don’t enjoy sex or have low/nonexistant libidos by definition. It’s hard to make people understand exactly what not experiencing sexual attraction feels like, and how it’s different from the above.” I do not feel sexually attracted to people, precisely, but I can see myself having sex and getting other things out of it… emotional satisfaction, physical closeness, and at some point down the road, maybe procreation.
In addition, I feel that sexual identity, from attraction to action, from fantasy to solo-exploration to something involving partners, is far, far more complicated than we give it credit for. It’s really, really not an on/off switch, or even an ace/gay/bi/hetero dial.
The real upside, though? Even when ‘erased’, or late to the party due to ignorance, knowing more about your sexuality means that you aren’t invisible to yourself any longer. “I have the language to explain my needs and preferences without lies or half-truths” says Emily, and it’s true, given a label, and given the words, means being able to know who you are, and verbalise who you are and what you want. So even though I feel a little bit uncomfortable sticking on a label that makes people go “What’s that?”, it’s with fizzy-drink fuzzies that I realise I can answer the question.
P.S. And when they react to your answer? Well, at least I know enough to answer the most common misconceptions.3 And AVEN’s done a survey, useful for some stats to back up your explanations.4
- Asexual Artists’ interview with Emily Briggs.
- Flying While Falling Down’s post “Changing Labels: Letting Go of Being a Lesbian”
- The Stranger’s article on Misconceptions about Asexuality
- AVEN’s census