After a great deal of reflection over recent experiences, I’ve made the decision to no longer identify as gay. For reasons I’ll get to in a few hundred words, I identify chiefly as a homoromantic (or androphilic) demisexual.
To explain, I’m going to respond to questions from an online “Are you a demisexual” test. It’s not scientific at all, but does hit on some of the key aspects of the demisexual identity.
Here we go. This will probably go over my 1,000-word limit, but to hell with it.
1. I fall in love with the inner character of a person after becoming close to them. Their outer qualities are unimportant to me.
This is a mixed bag. While there are physical characteristics about guys that I do and don’t find attractive, and am more likely to find attractive, there are things that become non-issues if I’ve fallen for a guy’s inner beauty.
2. When experiencing sexual pleasure with another person I haven’t bonded closely with, I focus more on the feelings in my body than on my attraction to the person.
This was definitely true during my slutty hookup years. Sex was something I pursued because I thought that’s what gay men were primarily interested in, so it was something I thought I should pursue. While the sex was sometimes good and there were things I enjoyed doing, it wasn’t much different from masturbating. It was only with guys who I felt a strong connection to, like Seth, where physical pleasure became more transcendent, where I could get out of my head and focus on my partner. That happened only a handful of times.
3. I’m aesthetically attracted to certain people’s faces and bodies, but I’m rarely interested in them sexually.
Case in point, Tom Daley. We’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics around the house, men’s diving in particular… for reasons. I recognize the attractiveness of the faces and bodies of certain guys, but don’t want to fuck them.
4. It’s extremely rare for me to take any sexual interest in the body of a stranger.
5. I find relationships very daunting and difficult. Sometimes I’ve gone into them without having any true feelings of attraction.
While there were aspects of my previous boyfriend, Jay, that I liked and was attracted to, I wasn’t attracted to or in love with him. Fear of being single at age 30 overrode my better judgement.
6. I’ve never experienced “love at first sight”.
I experienced what may have been a version of this with Seth the first time we met, but it wasn’t love. It was the idea of him I found attractive.
7. I’ve been single a lot longer than most people I know.
Type “single” into the search box above and see how many entries return.
8. I’d much prefer to masturbate than be sexually involved with a person I have no feelings for.
See answer to question 3.
9. I have a libido, but I rarely sleep around. The thought of having a “one night stand” makes me feel a bit sick.
This is what complicates everything. I do miss sex. Namely, the good parts of it, fleeting moments where I felt a connection, where I got the faintest taste of what I’ve been looking for.
10. Sometimes I find myself developing sexual attraction in close platonic friendships.
This has been one of the biggest benefits of realizing I’m demisexual—understanding why I tend to fall for guys I get close to. It doesn’t necessarily help me not fall for anyone, but it does help contextualize what’s going on.
11. Watching lustful scenes in movies rarely makes me horny. I find them either boring or amusing.
I’ve definitely experienced this while watching movies with gay guys, especially scenes depicting sex between men. I only find myself getting turned on if there’s a suggestion of emotional connection and intimacy between the characters. Otherwise it’s just weird.
12. I notice that the culture I live in is very sexually-charged, so I tend to feel a bit alienated.
Definitely true of me when I’m around gay men. Everything is about sex in some way, whether it’s innuendo, an overt comment about the speculative size of a guy’s cock, or discussion about some fetish someone’s into.
13. I rarely cheat in relationships.
See question 15, below.
14. I’ve never understood the attraction to porn. I’m not at all aroused by it.
This is and isn’t true for me. As with question 11, the only porn I find at all arousing is depictions of actual couples in which there’s real affection and intimacy.
15. When I’m in a relationship with someone who I’ve bonded closely with, it’s almost impossible for me to feel sexual attraction to anyone else but them.
Jay and I had several three-ways when we were together. For me, it was a kind of dissociative experience where it was difficult to stay aroused with the other guy. The only good time for me was when I bottomed for him and a friend of ours, and <rant> I was reminded of what it was like to be with a partner who didn’t just lie there and expect me to do all the work.</rant>
16. Sometimes in close friendships or relationships I spontaneously develop sexual feelings of attraction. It confuses me.
See answer to question 10.
17. I often feel asexual. I’m just not that attracted to people.
See answers to questions 3 and 9.
18. I’ve been called “cold” or “frigid” before in relationships.
This is unfortunately true, and in hindsight it was a consequence of not actually being emotionally attracted. It was confusing for everyone.
19. I’ve only been attracted to a very small number of people in my life. I rarely have crushes.
Genuinely attracted, yes. There have been brief crushes and flings, but they never lasted. Seth was the closest thing I’ve had to a long-term attraction.
20. I’m extremely uncomfortable with sexual advances from other people.
Huge YES to this concerning gay guys. It’s not just that I’m not emotionally attracted to them. A major part of the discomfort is that I realize they, as gay males, think I’m similarly wired to them, and want the same things—fun, flirty, frivolous, no-strings-attached sexy times. This ends up making me feel even more broken, hopeless, and out of place than ever, and combined with the sense of missing what moments of physical and emotional intimacy I’ve had (along with the existential worry that I’m never going to find a guy with whom to build that sense of home I’ve been writing about) becomes intensely, emotionally upsetting.
So those were the questions. It wasn’t scientific by any means, but it really helps paint the picture of how I’ve been mislabeled all these years. Just because I’m attracted to other men doesn’t automatically make me gay. There was another prefix that was always a better fit.