I’ve written before about my sort of complicated experiences of sexual attraction, framing it in terms of demisexuality. I am not always entirely comfortable embracing demi as part of my identity, however.
I find that when other people talk about demisexual experiences, the kind of strong emotional bond that they require in order to experience sexual attraction takes something on the order of years to develop. And this doesn’t really reflect my experience, or at least not my more recent data points.
At the same time though, it is clear that my experience is not the norm, and I kind of want to start there. Here’s what I know about me that seems to be different from allosexual people:
- I have literally never met or seen a person and felt sexual attraction to them or desire for them based on that first impression. I *do* experience strong aesthetic attractions – there are people that I find very pleasant to look at, or voices I find myself loving to listen to, but this is definitely not a sexual kind of pleasure. I am also pretty clearly alloromantic, in that I can very quickly develop sort of fuzzy feelings of wanting to be closer to and get to know people better, and wanting for them to notice me and reciprocate those feelings (which is the best way I can think of to describe ~romantic feelings right now). And I know a spent a lot of my life rounding these sorts of feelings into sexual attraction, even though it is clear ti me now that most people (i.e. allosexuals) these feelings will at least sometimes have a sexual element attached or alongside them.
- Also possibly important: there is little to no correlation between my experience of aesthetic attraction (i.e. liking the look of) a person and actually developing romantic or sexual attraction for that person. This is sort of where I identify partially with demisexuality: as I understand it, this is somewhat equivalent to saying that I don’t experience “primary sexual attraction” (which I seriously have so little understanding of that I am apparently putting it in scare quotes, y’all). And it’s not as if I am just working on a slower curve than allosexuals, where I first experience aesthetic attraction, and that becomes romantic, and then sexual. My initial aesthetic response to people has no bearing whatsoever on whether those other kinds of feelings will develop, because they are simply based on entirely different things.
- I experience sexual attraction rarely. And this isn’t about having high standards, or even just very specific preferences. I don’t have an identifiable type across any variable I can think of, really. And I often find myself “crushing” (really more like squishing) out on people who are just generally awesome in all kinds of ways, but just not feeling it for them in a sexual way for no apparent reason. Being in this space with people has caused me a great deal of confusion, since I used to have a bad habit of rounding this up sexual attraction, and then not understanding when it really obviously wasn’t.
But, once I get to this point in my analysis, I start to feel like I really have no idea what my sexual attractions *are* based on.
I mean, it is actually true that most of the sexual partners I have had in my life are people I had known for between three and five years before the relationship become sexual, and this is a thing that I have in common with many demisexual people. But, then again, my more recent data points include time-lines from first in-person meeting to sex on the order of 12ish hours (with the person who was to become my husband) and a few weeks (with my boyfriend of now a little over a year). So, I mean, I don’t know anymore?
On the (other) other hand, though, it’s not as if there’s a rule that says “strong emotional connection” must automatically imply a years-long relationship. Because, I mean, that first date with my husband was pretty spectacular (totaling 36 hours before I really had to go home and attend to real life responsibilities), and the kind of thing that allowed for intimacy of a real kind to develop quickly. It was very open-ended, and we just kept exploring the city and finding more things we wanted to do together. And if I’m being totally honest, I developed feelings for him so fast that I actually felt comfortable saying after we had had literally just that one (admittedly epic) date, that I already thought I was falling in love with him. I seriously said that. Out loud. To another human being. (Confidential to RS: I don’t think I ever actually told you that. But now you know <3)
So… maybe this post just turned into an exercise in reconfirming what I had already previously concluded re: me being demisexual? It is definitely the most useful model I've found in helping me navigate and understand this stuff, at any rate.
Which is less interesting than I thought it was going to be, actually. But I shall post it anyway. I actually have more to say on this topic, re: the fact that I am also kinky, which I haven't talked about much here, if at all. The ways that my kinkiness interacts (or doesn't) with my experiences of sexual attraction are actually kind of interesting, at least to me.