(why can’t all relationships be as simple as this one?)
First of all, yes, I’m talking about this in a blog post, rather than texting you about it, or sticking it on Facebook. It’s not that you’re not important to me, it’s just that (as you’ll soon see) my sexuality matters very little to me, but might be important to you; sticking it on a post you can read if you’re interested, but ignore if you’re not, is a nice middle ground between ramming my sexuality down the throats of people who really aren’t into that sort of thing, and hiding an inherent part of my character. So thank you for caring, and with that out of the way, we can get on to the main part of this post.
I am a panromantic demisexual. This means that I can only find people sexually attractive if there is a preexisting strong emotional bond between me and them, and this bond is not dependent on gender. This doesn’t mean I want to sleep with every one of my close friends, but that such a bond is merely a prerequisite. If I were heterosexual, for instance, my pool of potential partners would be cut roughly from the seven billion humans on earth to the three and a half billion women (and I’m assuming everyone is cis, and things like age aren’t an issue for the sake of keeping this example simple; sorry about that); but for me, that pool shrinks from seven billion to about four, because there are four people I know who I consider close enough to be potential romantic partners. And, for what it’s worth, I find one of those four actually attractive; in practice, this means I have one out of seven billion people to choose from if I want to be in a relationship. As a result, don’t expect an ‘I’m dating someone!’ post any time in the near future.
I’ve spent a lot of my life not caring about sexuality; you are my friend, not my gay friend, or my straight friend, or my asexual friend. I thought this was because of a broader apathy I have towards group identities, such as my indifference to someone’s gender or race when I’m interacting with them. But my disinterest in sexual identity has grown to the point that I actively avoid learning about people’s sexuality or relationship status, because those things don’t matter to me; I simply don’t see an overwhelming percentage of the human population as sexual beings.
This leads to some rather interesting behavioural quirks I have, that suddenly make a lot more sense: I’m uncomfortable hitting on strangers at bars, because the idea of engaging with someone romantically before establishing a platonic connection is weird; I can’t really comment on aspects of physical attractiveness beyond ‘that top matches those shoes’ because I don’t care about people’s physical bodies; and I have a weird habit of staring at people when they’re holding hands or kissing in public places, because those kind of relationships are so bizarre to me that I oggle at them with the perplexed air of a Victorian gentleman beholding a rhinoceros for the first time. I’ve always been awkward and apathetic towards, but not totally isolated from, romantic relationships, but finding out that there’s an established, while uncommon, term for it is a massive relief that I’m not just a stoic loser who ‘doesn’t get’ romance.
But this entire post is highly strange for me. Demisexuality is, by definition, a sexuality about an absence of or limit on sexual activity, so declaring it in a blog post seems like a bit of a squib – Guys I have a big announcement: I won’t be making an announcement! I won’t be getting a white, grey and purple pride tattoo, nor will I bemoan the lack of demi representation in mainstream culture. This is why I didn’t, after much thought, title this post ‘Coming Out’; nothing has changed in me as a person, and the performative, liberating element of a coming-out is rather lost on me, who is just as stoic and uninterested in dating as ever. Maybe it’s for your sake – this whole minor inquest into my own sexuality was sparked by my friend thinking I’d asked them out, whereas in reality they’re not one of the sacred four who I could actually consider sleeping with – and I want you to have the most precise, up-to-date image of me in your head so that any reasons you have for liking or loathing me are at least accurate. Or maybe I just needed an idea for a post, and my friends’ anniversary yesterday, and resulting romantic mushiness dotting my Facebook and Twitter feeds, put me in a vaguely romantic mood (well, as romantic a mood as I can entertain).
Either way, I’m James, and I’m a panromantic demisexual.
– Demisexuality Resource Center – a much more eloquent, detailed look at demisexuality