'This Is What It's Like to Be Demisexual'

At a certain age we are all inevitably taught about the birds and the bees. I remember a whole lot of talk about having sex, but not much about not wanting to have it.

As a demisexual, I now realize that had I been provided with the right information growing up I would have realized who I was a long time ago. For the uninitiated, asexuality is when you do not feel sexual attraction or do not desire sexual relationships.

Demisexuality is within that spectrum and people, like myself, who identify this way do not feel sexual desire until forming a strong bond with another person. Even when the bond is formed, sex is never a priority.

There are many subsets of asexuality, including people who are aromantic. This means that, along with their asexuality, they do not desire romantic relationships of any kind. Asexual people include individuals who are heterosexual or homosexual and is not related to abstinence or celibacy, which are conscious decisions typically based on belief systems or personal choice.

I first learned about asexuality in my mid-twenties. After coming out as a lesbian I had begun attending a wider array of events geared toward members of the LGBTQIA community. Sometimes I would see that gatherings for asexual people were taking place.

I learned about asexuality in passing, and while I appreciated that there was terminology for people who weren't particularly interested in sexual relationships in the way that many people are, I didn't think that it could be a part of my own identity at the time. I had written off my aversion to sexual relationships as a character flaw. I thought it must be a product of a mild religious upbringing, social anxiety, and sexual abuse I experienced at a young age.

During my mid-twenties, I found myself in plenty of awkward situations as I stumbled my way through the exploration of my sexuality and did what I felt was expected of me. If you're in a relationship with someone and you're fooling around, sex usually comes along with that, right? When you like someone and go out in a group with other people, isn't it normal to cozy up and spend most of the night making out in a corner somewhere? If you meet an attractive stranger at a club, or a party, aren't you supposed to make out or hook up?

Yet, no matter what kind of sexual experience I had, good or bad, something was always missing.

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The flag for demisexuality. getty/iStock

Though I tried to get back into dating apps and websites as I approached my thirtieth birthday, nothing spoke to me. I realized the rising culture of casual hookups facilitated by the swipe of a finger didn't appeal to me. So, I began to look up information about people who weren't interested in pursuing sexual relationships and stumbled upon websites and personal videos of people describing what asexuality was.

Along the way I learned about the various subsets of asexual people, including demisexuality. I realized that my feelings were more similar to being demisexual because the core aspects of asexuality struck a chord with me but sex wasn't something that I felt I would never want again.

I often recall a particular memory when I reflect on my demixsexuality from the perspective of an adult.

I was in junior year of high school and I was on the school soft ball team, attending a sleepover at one of my teammate's houses. As we laid in our sleeping bags around the front room, one of the girls suggested that we all share what our number one sexual fantasy with a guy was. I remember instantly being mortified by the question. It would take me another year to realize I was gay, so in that moment, all I all I was sure of was that I did not want to answer the question.

asexuality, demisexual, sexuality
Jessica Vazquez is a video producer, writer, and artist living in California. She identifies as demisexual, which sits within the spectrum of asexuality. Jessica Vazquez

The closest thing I had to a fantasy at that point was kissing one of my teammates, who I had a major crush on, and that's a cat I was never planning to let out of the bag. By the time things got around to me I felt like it was better to be honest instead of making up a story.

When I confessed to the group that I didn't have a sexual fantasy about a guy, they were pretty shocked. I attempted to cover for myself by saying I didn't have a sexual fantasy at all. A barrage of prying questions were thrown at me after that, but I just shrugged my shoulders and sunk into my sleeping bag. I didn't attend any team sleepovers after that.

As I struggled with accepting my asexuality it often felt like I was back in that moment. Trying to disappear surrounded by people who seemed to always know what was going on while I floundered in the darkness.

I understand now that learning how to communicate what I actually want and owning my asexuality is the first step to healthier relationships and I'm happy to have the resources afforded by the internet. There are so many video interviews, short films, podcasts, and forums to find information on the experiences of other people going through the same journey as me.

I highly recommend asexuality.org to anyone who may be questioning if they are asexual, demisexual or those simply seeking information to understand these identities better. They've been doing great work for a long time to educate people on the topic.

I'm 33 now and I haven't done much dating since realizing I was demisexual, and it's not necessarily easy meeting new people in the midst of a pandemic. Despite the bleakness of the times I still feel hopeful that one day I'll be able to meet someone who is understanding of how I feel, and perhaps even feels the same way.

Jessica Vazquez is a video producer, writer, and artist living in California. She is the co-host of the Queer Comics Podcast on the Geek Therapy Network and livestreams games on her spare time at twitch.tv/elheygamez. You can learn more about her work and other projects on her website www.elheygamez.com and follow her on twitter @Daburninator22.

All views expressed in this piece are the writer's own.

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