This post is my very first for National Coming Out Day. I must admit, putting this on the internet feels very scary, even for me, who talks about sex seemingly all the time. Yet as a sexology student, it is remarkable to me that I’m “coming out” now, some 30 years after I first recognized an interest in “boys.”
Before I began to study human sexuality, I’d lived my life up to that point as a Catholic, heterosexual, white-passing Indigenous, cisfemale, born and raised in the Midwest, socialized to be deferential and not question authority.
As a young girl, I didn’t ever have celebrity crushes, never swooned over a boy band member or anything like that. I did have that classic Farrah Fawcett red bathing suit poster on my wall, but that wasn’t because I felt any sexual attraction. I loved how authentic and beautiful she looked. Oh, how I wanted blonde hair like hers.
When I got to college and eventually became sexual with others, alcohol was involved. I knew I was “really picky” because there wasn’t anyone I was even interested in spending more time with. Finding partners I was actually interested in was difficult, though alcohol would remove this hesitation for me, …and I drank a lot. But with mature, educated eyes now, I see this was demisexuality had I known it was even a thing. More on this later.
Studying sexuality at the graduate level in adulthood began a process of liberation for me. But I might be misattributing this liberation since I also started these studies right as I entered the divorce process. A hypersexual spurt followed the divorce, fueled by alcohol, abandonment issues, and a desire for male attention. I was, what one could politely call, a “hot mess.”
In 2012, I decided to stop drinking. That may have been a factor in noticing shifts in myself; I didn’t have much sober sex before studying sexuality. In the years that followed, I began to see the difference between mere intercourse and mindblowing sex, where I felt like sex connected me to the person energetically. And there was a BIG difference.
I entered my current relationship around the time I gave up drinking. My partner and I used to play with others in play party settings, but that lifestyle didn’t arouse me. It felt performative.
I tried to understand why casual sex at play parties became uninspiring. What was most interesting was being with my partner in those sexy spaces but keeping to ourselves. I only felt attracted to this partner, with whom I was deeply connected and genuinely loved. Back when I was single and sober, I had plenty of offers, but I didn’t have the interest, desire, or arousal.
As a demisexual, I experience sexual attraction after developing an emotional connection. Alcohol just obliterated or obfuscated that. Demisexuality is not some “moral high ground” where I choose not to sleep with other folks. I am not attracted at all, nor do I have any genuine sexual interest. And even some friends I know really well don’t “turn me on.” While I can recognize and appreciate attractiveness, I don’t lust after celebrities or random people in the street, but I seem to have a type that could attract me.
I recently discovered that I am also an androphile; I’m attracted to what is typically represented in “masculinity.” Note that the person does not have to be a man or “male.” The person I’m attracted to could be of any gender. My education and experiences have given me the opportunity and freedom to observe that I am attracted to butch folks who aren’t men and trans men. To provide a visual example, there are three more examples of people who I find attractive in this video,
Being attracted to people who are not men puts me under the queer umbrella. That said, I recognize that my experience is different from many other queer folks. Both because of how people perceive me AND because my relationships (thus far) have been with cis men. And yet, that doesn’t negate my queerness.
I’ve wondered how many people would be something other than what they are now if alcohol and other drugs were out of the picture. Religion too! A few questions come to mind: who benefits from keeping people numb and disconnected from their sexuality? Those who would take advantage of us? Why do we need to be disconnected from the ability to love who we want to love? Pretty radical thinking for a kid who grew up in the Midwest.
Coming Out Privilege
I recognize the privilege of “coming out” with information like this. I acknowledge that as a straight-passing, mostly white-presenting, self-employed cis woman, I am free and (hopefully) safe to share information this personal and potentially controversial. Sadly, in the day I write this, not everyone is as free to have their “coming out.” I hope for more sexual freedom for all of us.
I also share this to demonstrate the thing you may already intuitively know: that sexuality is fluid and can change throughout your life. Just sit back and pay attention.
Please remember this:
- You are loved and worthy of love and respect, as you are, RIGHT NOW.
- It’s never too late to tell people who you are, even as you are just discovering it for yourself.
- And you don’t need to come out to anyone, especially if you don’t feel ready or safe.
If you’re comfortable sharing, what have you learned about yourself over the years?
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