This is my first ever submission to Carnival of Aces, the current theme of which is “Many Ways to be Ace”. My way of being “ace” is to be demisexual, which in practice means I’m 100% asexual until I fall for someone, when I suddenly become 100% sexual towards that person. This puts me in an oddly liminal position. Ideally, I’d like to think I have a foot in both camps, since I know what it’s like to feel sexual attraction but also what it’s like not to. But I sometimes worry that other people won’t see it that way.
When I first joined the asexual community, the word “demisexual” wasn’t in common use. As a result, I struggled to define my relationship to it. Since I did experience sexual attraction, I couldn’t technically be asexual. On the other hand, I felt much more affinity with asexual people than with allosexuals. I wasn’t quite an asexual, but I wasn’t just an ally, either. I identified with asexuals, but not as asexual. I was a member of the community but not the identity. Et cetera, et cetera.
Even now, the word “demisexual” is little used outside of the ace community, which makes explaining myself to allosexuals difficult. Generally, I try to avoid the topic. I’ll happily talk about asexuality and answer any questions other people have, even about demisexuality. But there’s a difference between answering academic questions about an orientation and answering personal questions about oneself. Unless they come from someone I trust, I dislike doing the latter. So, unless someone specifically asks about my personal identification, I don’t bring it up.
That’s only a problem outside the community, though. Inside the community, people generally know what demisexuality is, and they’re open to and understanding of all kinds of ace-spectrum experiences. When faced with the allosexual world, I still sometimes question my ace-credentials: “Am I really qualified to speak for this community? Am I ace enough to represent it?” But within the ace community, I feel accepted. And that’s what makes the difference, in the end. Even if I am “sexual” to a degree, I find most sexual experiences impossible to relate to. It’s the asexual community where I feel I belong.