Monday, 31 August 2009

Shout it from the rooftops

(warning: stream of consciousness approaching)

I am demi-homo-sexual. And I am proud.
That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. Ten minutes ago was the first time I ever thought that. This is my story. And asexuality has a place in that story. But it isn’t everything any more.
Before I found AVEN for the second time, I had a range of theories of what I was. I bounced mostly from straight to gay and back again, but neither fitted. I had some theories about why my crushes on men weren’t as a gay person should have experienced, firstly that homosexuality was tied to masochism in my personal sexual view, and lastly, right before I became asexual, that I was sexually attracted only to straight men. It’s true I probably do have homomasochistic and straight guy fetishes, which overcomplicate my sexuality horrendously by being right in the blurry bit between a fetish and a sexuality (I may talk about fetishes and asexuality some other time, at which point I’ll go into these in more detail).
On the whole, I’ve always been reluctant to admit that I have any homosexual feelings whatsoever other than these fetishes. I’ve been refusing to let myself think this, but part of the reason is possibly because of how homosexuality is considered in society. I’m not afraid of it, since a couple of my friends came out, guys dating has been the most natural thing in the world, but maybe those who exist between the binaries, bisexuals and asexuals, often find themselves going with the ‘right’ sex, to satisfy their ingrained homophobic socialisation.

However, there is a larger and more sensible part of my reluctance to own this sexuality as anything other than aesthetic attraction. I’ve always struggled to see what purpose coming out as homosexual would serve. I certainly couldn’t come out as gay, since I’m either hetero- or a- romantic.
My sexuality towards men is pretty much gazing at them and sighing a bit, described excellently on this blog- these two posts particularly. I don’t want to have relationships with them. I don’t even want to have sex with them, as actual sex would definitely not satisfy this attraction.
But I have to admit that there is a sexual element. It’s not the primary element, by any means, but men in sexualised situations generally spark my attraction easier than men in non-sexualised situations, where the attraction is (unless they really are incredibly pretty) often more passive.

The problem is that, up until now, I’ve ignored these feelings, shut my ears and said, “I can’t be thinking this because I’m asexual, and I’m asexual because I can’t be thinking this.”
I ignored the fact that many people who happily call themselves gay or straight probably just have my level of sexual-aesthetic attraction, but pointed in the same direction as their romantic attraction. How can I claim I’m different from them?

So I’m not doing. I’m going to call myself demisexual (well, I’m going to introduce myself as asexual, still, but you know what I mean), and when I say it, I’m going to know that the grey area is between asexuality and homosexuality, even if it’s still mostly asexual. I’m going to do this because calling myself asexual homoaesthetic took too much effort censoring myself from all the feelings that didn’t quite fit.
I’m looking forward to using a more open-ended term, because now I can accept everything I feel, without having to worry about recategorising my sexuality every time I feel something new.

If you’ve read this far, I applaud you. I’d like to finish with two morals to this story, one a warning to asexuals, and the other a warning to asexophobes.

To asexuals, and demisexuals, I would say that it is, indeed, very easy to leap at the asexual label, because it (and we) makes so much sense, when nothing else ever has to you. It’s very easy to assimilate, slot yourself into the asexual boxes and cut off the corners that don’t fit. But someday, you need to face your sexuality and decide if it really does fit absolutely. That’s why we have labels like demisexual and grey-a, they’re basically asexual with the boundaries taken off, where you can be who you really feel you are.
I always used to say that I’d be happy changing my sexual label if I got any evidence that I was sexual. It was true, but the evidence would basically have to be writing in the sky, and the fact that I was throwing myself on everyone with a pulse. I wasn’t looking for evidence that I was just a little bit away from asexual.
It’s important to let those little things in, even if it means you’re one step away from the asexual label. In the words of the asexy flowchart: Sorry, you’re not asexual. But you can still be a cool person.

To asexophobes, who often have the idea that asexuality is somehow confining, that you adopt the label and rigidly stick to it, you’ll have read this (if you do read asexual blogs) with glee. But I’ll happily join Venus in saying that asexuality has been the greatest help to me in coming to terms with my exact identity.
Without asexuality, I had the choice of only straight, gay or bisexual. The discourse within the asexual community opened my eyes not just to the possibility of not having attraction, but of all the different types of attraction available. Asexuality has given me a label which I still use, and will probably feel comfortable using for a long time to come, but, in the year since labelling myself as asexual, I have questioned myself far more thoroughly and gained more of an insight into my sexuality than in all of the other years of my life put together.

I have things to figure out, but I have a space to do that in, and a community that will support me no matter what.


  1. i enjoy your blog very much. it's refreshing!

    "I’m not afraid of it, since a couple of my friends came out, guys dating has been the most natural thing in the world, but maybe those who exist between the binaries, bisexuals and asexuals, often find themselves going with the ‘right’ sex, to satisfy their ingrained homophobic socialisation"

    I'm glad for you! But I, on the other hand, have few friends in general and whom happen to be "out" so I still have a fear. But really the larger issue for me is that I haven't really got around to sorting my feelings by myself without my thoughts being tainted by intellectual ideas, labels and theories, about sex and sexuality.

  2. Congratulations on figuring yourself out more. I sometimes wonder if I'm somewhere between asexual and celibate, because once in a while I'll have feelings that could possibly be sexual - but I know I still don't want to act on them. Once you've found the nice little category of 'asexual' for yourself, I agree it's hard to keep questioning yourself to find out if you truly fit, when it's nice to feel like you belong somewhere.
    Also thanks for the link *hands cake* :)

  3. Don't pressure yourself too much on a label. Labels are for clothes after all, we as humans are too complicated for these specific identities. We transcend so many of the labels put on us. Is a jock only into sports, no many have other hobbies and interests. Is a gay person only sexual and doesn't think of anything else, again no.

    Btw great blog I spotlighted you on mine today.

  4. This is certainly an interesting perspective (and I've come here from Queers United btw *waves*).
    I also sort of agree with Queers United about the "Don't pressure yourself too much on a label" thing.

    I was always happy just being who I was, and it was only the pressure of society - the constant "so, still no one special in your life? What do you mean, you're a virgin, you must be kidding!" from people around me that made me "adopt" the asexuality label, because it helped me explain who I was to THESE PEOPLE, and I could go "look, I'm not alone" to them. I certainly know that in my head it's slighly more complex than that, without having a need to find an EXACT label for it.

    So yeah. But great blog!

  5. Queers United and Clarissa, thanks for the interest. I agree, with the variety of asexual labels, it's so tempting to pin yourself down into something rediculously small and fussy. Clarissa, I completely agree, asexuality is mostly an external label to validate yourself to the world, and we have to wonder why we keep trying to find smaller and smaller boxes that members of the public would find impossible to understand.
    In this post, I tried to play with that idea, and it's actually liberating for me to call myself demisexual grey-a, because it breaks down some of the boxes, and I'm left still with flexibility within my label.