December 2017
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why I identify as demisexual / what makes sex worth the effort / sexual vs sensual touch / kissing


icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

The main reason I consider myself demisexual is that the actual 'sex' part of sex doesn't interest me. It's the things that I get during sex other than physical stimulation that make sex valuable to me. Things that make sex worth it for me are...

1) energy play that is easier and more intense because my body is revved up (exercise or roughhousing play works for this too, or some drugs I'm sure).
2) the intimacy of having someone watch my body and listen to my sounds when I am totally uninhibited. (being very drunk and dancing would provide this too, but is more work and expense).
3) the emotional high that my allosexual partners get from sex which makes them more relaxed and affectionate, sometimes for days after.
4) learning about someone in a wordless way through their reactions and desires.
5) in-depth discussions of feelings. I don't get much out of sex despite the above unless we talk out the experience afterward. This has been a difficulty for me because frankly most people are really bad at talking about sex and not great at talking about their feelings either, but I've had the occasional lover who was naturally good at it and others deliberately built their skills.

I don't experience any particular touch as always sexual, not giving or receiving. Nor do I experience any touch as inherently non-sexual. For me, sex is about intention more than anything else. I can't stand for my non-sexually-meant touch to be taken as sexual by someone else. Even if I am in a sexual relationship with them and often enjoy sex with them, if I am not wanting and intending sex, I don't want my touch to be taken that way. Along the same lines, I can often miss "I wanna have sex" signals because I don't apply sexual thought to touch unless that is invited. Someone once literally put their face in between my breasts and I did not interpret this as an expression of sexual interest (later they told me that it was and I realized that most people would probably have taken it that way).

I sometimes enjoy giving/receiving touch that would usually be sexual as purely sensual instead. Touch with that level of intimacy minus the urgency of sex makes for the most tender touch I can imagine. But then, I am not sure this translates for other people because my body still responds in a sexual way eventually. It just feels completely different and makes me almost want to cry (not in a sad way, but like I'd cry at a particularly beautiful piece of music). I've experienced this with Topaz, Kylei, and (to a much lesser extent) my ex-spouse.

I do like the physical sensation of touching other people's genitals. If not for all the mental associations, I would probably like to touch them often in non-sexual ways. That is, not for sexual pleasure but because they feel nice, warm and soft and close. I could cup my hand around them and have it held in place by their thighs which would feel very intimate (whether they were clothed or not). If not for people being ticklish or otherwise uncomfortable with the idea, I'd probably enjoy putting my hands in people's armpits for the same reason.

I like kissing for prolonged periods of time in certain positions and at certain moments. If my nostrils are both clear and we are sitting/laying/standing in a way where there is no weight on my chest and my nose isn't getting squished, so I feel like I can breathe, I like it. But I hate that feeling of being smothered and I will pull away quickly when that happens. I am also sensitive to if someone else is getting squished (that is, if I feel like I might be making them feel smothered, I can't enjoy kissing them even if I can breathe easily, probably leftover habit from being with someone with asthma). I don't like mouth-kissing randomly or briefly because for me to enjoy it I have to be fully into the moment, which takes effort, so I either want to be kissing OR cuddling not usually a mixture. My cuddly-kisses are usually on everyplace other than the lips.

I've never had the chance to kiss an asexual or demisexual person (as far as I know). I feel like I would experience that kissing very differently. I have found that I experience kisses much more sexually with someone who thinks of kissing as inherently sexual, so I imagine that with someone who didn't experience them that way I would get to feel what kisses are like without any sex in them. I am not entirely sure that I would not have a bodily response that would seem sexual (I often shiver and twitch) so I would want to try it with someone who wouldn't find that troublesome.

I don't know if I could enjoy non-romantic kisses on the mouth. I've tried it once and it didn't appeal; I think mouth-kissing is the most romantic kind of touch, for me, except maybe kissing someone's sternum. Of course, romance and sex are completely separate entities for me, which is a whole other post.

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Comments
volamonster ══╣mushroom's dragon╠══
Ahhh, this is a wonderful entry, I loved reading it. It's rare for me to know someone like you, who so thoroughly explores their feelings and thoughts about touch, sex, not-sex, and more. Which is part of why I do not like it when MOST people touch me; I can't trust they aren't going to interpret things in a way I don't want, and I will end up feeling coerced (even if just coerced into some kind of cuddling I'm not comfortable with). But people like you, rare though they may be, are a blessing because you will communicate and you think about these things and you are self-aware and it's just wonderful.
belenen ══╣connate╠══
awww thank you for this affirming comment. It's true that to be good at consent you need to have good self-awareness! I have known many people who have accidentally broken someone's boundaries because they weren't aware of their own attitude/behavior/needs/etc.
wanderipity ══╣╠══
Wow I agree. Sex is about intention.

Ive never really understood or looked up the definition of demisexual, but the way you explained yourself as a demisexual made it easy for me to understand.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
Well, my definition is specific to me -- different people will define it different ways. For some people, being demisexual means that they never experience sexual attraction except after being in a loving relationship for a period of time. For others, it can mean that they will have no sexual desire for a period of time (months or years) and then briefly have sexual desire, and then not have it again for a long time. Basically demisexual is not quite asexual (where you never experience sexual attraction) but not allosexual either (people who experience sexual attraction in the average way).
stray_infinity ══╣╠══
I enjoyed reading this post. I think I might have confused sensuality for sexuality, or maybe I like a mix.

I have a fetish for giving. I like getting reactions, feeling another person's bare skin on my lips and hands - the tautness of the skin on one's neck, the top of the toes, pressing my lips deep into the upper thighs, drawing a stiff nipple into my mouth. The sensation just thrills me. I revel in knowing that another person gave me permission to experience their body. Maybe that's where the sensuality comes in, the bit you were describing in the very beginning of this post?

I very much enjoy #4. Verbal communication could wear me out. I try to find accurate words to convey what's on my mind in such a way that I end up using a lot of mental energy. I love to people watch. Finding spots that bring a person pleasure is like finding treasure. I did something well. The person is enjoying my presence.

Do you receive physical attention well? I have anxieties about that. I never know what my reactions should be. Do I watch the person? Do I close my eyes? Do I stay still? :S
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
For me the difference between sensuality and sexuality is in the intention. When a masseuse gives you a backrub, you know they have non-sexual intentions so you don't experience it sexually, but if your lover gives you a backrub as foreplay, you can feel that energy and it's a totally different experience.

#4 is nice, but by itself would definitely not be enough to make sex worth it for me.

I imagine I receive well. I deliberately focus on the sensations and do my best to be fully present in the moment. It's as though the only part of me that exists is the part being interacted with. It can be hard to get past the urge to perform, but if I feel like I have to perform with someone rather than be unedited and fully myself, I just won't have sex with them. I'll either get more comfortable first or just not bring sex into our relationship.
safranfoer ══╣╠══
This entry is everything
belenen ══╣confused╠══
heh, thanks? what do you mean?
xochitl ══╣╠══
I can relate to a lot of this. All the stuff that goes along with sex has really been more interesting to me than the physical parts. I've been wondering if I'm on the asexual spectrum lately. I'm sure it's interconnected with my aspergers (and the accompanying sensory/social problems & problems with gender roles) but I guess I'd always assumed I was like, "regular ol' straight girl" and the older I get the less that seems true.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
Yeah, I kinda think of it like queerness, in that we wouldn't need these definitions and identities if there wasn't a norm that people are punished for deviating from. I imagine that with no social pressure to be straight/cis or choose between binary options, at least 3/4ths of people would be non-binary in their gender and sexuality. I imagine that without being trained to perceive sex as proof of love and the glue for relationships and the proof that you're a worthwhile person, most people would be somewhere between asexual and allosexual.
eristic_writer ══╣╠══
"in-depth discussions of feelings. I don't get much out of sex despite the above unless we talk out the experience afterward. This has been a difficulty for me because frankly most people are really bad at talking about sex and not great at talking about their feelings either, but I've had the occasional lover who was naturally good at it and others deliberately built their skills."

This. As a fellow demisexual, this deeply resonates with me. In the popular imagination, sex is a sort of performance. Each party goes into it blind, behaves differently than they do in their "real" lives, and then only discusses the performance if there's a problem. And often then only with much prodding. It makes sex difficult, and often downright painful.

I always hated kissing until I met my husband, and I think it's because he approaches kissing/sex in the same way I do, so both felt less like a pressured performance. I think you will find that sex with a demisexual partner does feel less pressured, which can make it more meaningful, but it's more of a quantitative difference than a qualitative one--at least for me.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I think it might actually work the opposite for me, because I would fear that we wouldn't be in sync, and so if my demisexual partner wanted sex I would feel a pressure to say yes because I might not get a chance later. I would resist that pressure of course, but I can't imagine not feeling it. Maybe we'd just naturally sync up? I dunno. The most relaxed in sex I have felt was with Kylei, because they wanted sex all the time but they were always okay with a no, so I never felt the need to rev myself up and I never felt bad for saying no. When I'm with a partner who wants sex more rarely, I have a hard time saying no in that I will say no but then feel regret after, like I messed up my rare chance. (I've never been with a demisexual person but I have been with people whose desire changes based on how much energy their daily life is taking from them)

I'm just super curious as to what kissing without any sexual energy in it would feel like!
adarutoshoppu ══╣Vikings 「Odin Descendant」╠══
that's right. on so many levels!
belenen ══╣confused╠══
Well, I couldn't be wrong, since it's just about my own preferences! ;-) what do you mean? what parts resonated with you?
meri_sielu ══╣raven lovers╠══
There is so much truth to this... It's really enlightening. :)
belenen ══╣curious╠══
thanks! what parts made you feel "ah-hah!"?
meri_sielu ══╣magpie/crow friends╠══
Definitely the parts in which you describe how you touch and how the intent is not always sexual at all but more out of a desire to be close and intimate and to share with the person you care deeply about. I am like that with a select few of my friends that I wouldn't ever even dream of sleeping with in a sexual manner at all. When I snuggle and touch with them in this way it feels like there is an electric aura of the bond between us around us, and it almost feels like I could physically touch a manifestation of it. It just feels lovely to be close to someone in that manner.

In order for me to want to engage with sex with someone I have to feel an incredible strong and mutual bond and be comfortable letting them into that most raw and vulnerable state, because I give myself wholey to someone when I do, like the last piece of a puzzle and they see everything I am in that moment. It's why it hurt so much in the past when I misread signals and shared that with people I thought felt the same as me and did not, and why I am struggling now unable to share that connection with Drew. Once I give that over it's very hard to give it up.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.