Hello. Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with me. What should I call you?
Tell me about yourself.
Orientation: Demisexual, heteroromantic, bisensual, panaesthetic.
Gender identity: cisgender girl
Gender presentation: gender nonconforming
Do you feel like parts of your identity are conflicting?
Lots of people debate whether or not I count as LGBTQIA+ or queer or whether I’m straight because I’m heteroromantic, but because I’m demisexual I am under the ace umbrella. Also lots of people think demisexuality isn’t a thing, or else that everyone is like that, or it’s just people wanting to be “special,” all of which is false.
Also I am a cis girl but I dress in an androgynous and gender nonconforming fashion, partly as a way to desexualize myself and prevent others from sexualizing me by my appearance. This started as an unconscious choice and I only much later realized why I feel more comfortable in more modest and androgynous clothing.
Have you come out to people? How were their reactions?
Mostly close friends, and other ace-spec people and their allies. One friend thought it wasn’t a big deal but was glad I found the word helpful. She also was not surprised, and said that when she heard the term demisexual, she thought, “oh, there’s a word for [my name].”
Another friend I’m nervous about coming out to since many years ago she said that a bisexual friend with a preference for guys wasn’t really LGBT enough.
I don’t feel a need to come out to my family, as I would have to do a lot of explaining and it wouldn’t functionally change much in their expectations, because I still want to be in a serious relationship with a guy someday.
I don’t want to come out generally because I’ve felt excluded from both queer and straight spaces and only want to come out to people who I know will be accepting.
What would you say are some advantages of being demisexual either in general or for you personally?
The advertising adage “sex sells” doesn’t work on me—its harder to trick me with those kinds of advertisements.
Also there is a nice internal community with lots of things I like—puns, dragons, cake, swords, etc.
What are some disadvantages?
Feeling excluded from not only different communities but from common experiences and vocabulary. When friends are talking about sexual things, it’s like a different language. I don’t know what’s hyperbole and what’s literal. I don’t know what euphemisms actually mean in terms of what people feel and experience.
When I was in middle school, it made me uncomfortable when friends talked about sexual stuff, though I didn’t know why, so I asked them to stop, and they did, for much longer than necessary to the point that some of them think I’m still uncomfortable with the whole thing even though now I have a much better understanding and greater comfort level with the subject.
Also sometimes jokes go over my head. Again, in middle school and high school, I would often say something innocuous and then my friends would make a sexual joke out of accidental double entendres in my words, which made me really uncomfortable, so I trained myself for years to think though my words before I spoke and analyze them to make sure there was no accidental innuendo. I still do this.
Tell me about your relationships.
Being heteroromantic, I do want a relationship, but being demisexual makes it hard to look for relationships because I’m uncomfortable with being sexualized, and if someone else comes on too strong too soon it puts me off. I’m also only interested in a serious relationship—no casual hookups, they have 0 appeal to me—but don’t want to jump into anything serious to start with in case attraction doesn’t develop. Basically I need to do casual long-term dating or be friends first.
Being demi means it takes getting to know someone to tell whether or not I’m attracted to them. I had a two month relationship with a sweet guy that mostly consisted of eating meals together. At the end of the time he asked if this was going anywhere, but I still wasn’t attracted to him so I said no, and we remained friends. I didn’t know I was demi then.
Another guy I was attracted to, after forming an emotional connection with him, and we talked about relationship possibilities, but it became clear to me that he was mainly interested in the physical aspect. I didn’t rule anything out but said that we’d have to get there emotionally first. He said “I have my whole life to spend with nice girls. Right now I want to spend time with curious girls.” I found that really offensive and uncomfortable, and we did not end up in a relationship. It turned out I dodged a bullet—years later I found out he was a rapist.
Last summer a guy was flirting with me, and I senses potential there, but it turned out he was polly and already had an anchor partner and other people he was dating. I respect that lifestyle but it’s not for me. I emotionally commit fully to romantic interests, and it would be unbalanced if they didn’t do the same for me. So that didn’t work out.
Let’s talk about representation in the media. Are there any characters that you can identify with?
Two of characters who I always identified with by my favorite author turned out to be ace—Keladry of Mindalen and Sandry. Sir Percival from the book Dust is also ace, as is Jughead from the Archie comics.
I literally yelled aloud in joy when I encountered my first representation of a canonically demisexual character in a webcomic I was reading—Aviale. It’s a really good comic (explicit, so don’t read if you’re sex repulsed).
I headcannon Rey from Star Wars as ace, personally.
I would like to see more canonically demi characters, and more ace characters who aren’t also aro.
Anything you’d like to see more (or less) of in the ace community?
The ace community is great! I’d like more acceptance from the larger queer community, though I’ve heard there is more acceptance of ace spec people outside of Tumblr discourse.
Are you doing anything pride-related during Asexual Awareness Week 2018?
Any vocal support for ace spec people from friends, acquaintances, or public figures is always appreciated.