by Vianca Masucci
I always know that I’m in love when the otherwise absurd love songs on the radio begin to make sense to me. As I sat at a stoplight singing along to one of Taylor Swift’s new tragedies, I realized that I had fallen again. My mind turned; I thought my busy career, mommy issues, and persistent resting bitch face would prevent this from happening. This love was something unexpected. Six months ago as I trolled my current boi’s OKCupid profile, my initial reactions did not suggest this outcome.
That’s not to say I didn’t dig him–his profile was painfully awkward in flavor with undertones of endearing insecurity (a positively adorable combination) and he spoke on his deliciously radical views with such genuine passion. What worried me were some of the answers to his OKCupid compatibility questions:
“How long can you go without sexual release?” His answer: A week or more.
“Which best describes the role of sex in your life?” His answer: Sex is something I only enjoy on occasion.
“Would you date someone who was not interested in sex?” His answer: Yes.
“Bye, Felicia.” My internal critic dismissed this boi immediately. As a person who spends much of her time thinking about, writing about, and having tons of sex, this was an egregious red flag. You see, momma has a big appetite and she likes to eat. So, sexual incompatibility has always been scary to me because I have a pronounced hunger phobia. Every part of me between my bellybutton and my knees urged me to swipe left, but there was something ‘right’ about this boi. After months of riding the single struggle bus from my big, lonely, cat-filled apartment to terrible dates and back (alone), I was ready to take a chance. So I ‘starred’ the boi and to my surprise, he had starred me as well.
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Our first date was unexpectedly charming. I arrived in full critic mode—suspecting that he would be significantly less sexual than I, I was careful to keep my eye out for other conflicting differences. After all, I knew that the sex issue would be as much as I, a Petey-Pablo-style freak-a-leak, could handle. But, within the first hour of meeting the boi, all of my worries dissolved like sugar in water and I sipped that sweet tonic as I poured myself out to him. That was the effect that this boi had on me. Not wanting to leave his side, I decided to spend the night with him. We crammed ourselves onto his twin sized bed, limbs entwined, and we slept together…but not with each other.
Cuddling in bed the next morning, the boi told me that he identified as Gray-A (his sexuality existed somewhere between asexual and sexual) and, generally, had minimal interest in sex though he enjoyed the act. My mind began to spin but I knew that our relationship was too green for me to worry about compatibility. Being the sex positive advocate I am, I did not assume to know how our sexualities would interact. Instead of shutting down, I talked to him about his sexuality and how it functioned. Gray-A is a fully loaded term and I wanted to understand exactly what it meant to him. Though we had different sexual tendencies, we shared distinct similarities, particularly fetishes. There was enough overlap for me to be comfortable continuing to pursue the relationship.
After spending four glorious but minimally sexual weeks practically living together (insert U-Haul joke here), I knew it was time to address the issue before attachments were formed and feelings were hurt. After years of giving advice on sex and sexuality, I knew the textbook approach to an issue like this. The first step was to understand my own feelings:
“Do you like this person?” My answer: Yes.
“Enough to sacrifice some of your sexual preferences?” My answer: Yes.
“Do the benefits of making the sacrifice outweigh the risks?” My answer: Yes.
“What are the benefits?”
This question was vital to distinguishing actual benefits from perceived benefits. As someone with a strong aversion to dating, I had to be sure that I was pursuing this relationship for the right reasons (e.i. not because I wanted to get off the struggle bus). But it was clear: I love this boi because he helps free me from a mind that is always cooking up a stir-fry of fears, anxieties, insecurity, and frustrations. He does for me what five years of therapy and a wide variety of “medication” could not—he reminds me to give less than or equal to zero fucks about basic shit. The peace this boi gives me is worth a reasonable compromise, I thought.
It was time to broach the subject of sex with my boi. We carved out a date and time specifically for this—an important tactic for separating the conversation from external influences. I suggested that we both come to the table with a list of absolute needs, hard and soft demands, and a statement of individual boundaries. What proceeded was a an almost business-like negotiation. By the end, we had produced a well-reasoned operating manual for our sex life. We were both happy with this compromise.
I hit my first wall about a month after our negotiation. With the red tide approaching, I felt particularly frisky. I amorously approached my lover and tried to initiate sex. He flatly refused. I felt rejected, sexually frustrated, and undesirable. After brooding for some time, I realized that these feelings stem from my own insecurities and not my partner’s behavior. Sometimes, my partner is not going to be interested and it has nothing to do with me. I began to understand that sex does so much more for me than satiate a primal hunger—I was using sex to reassure myself of my partner’s interest and manage my insecurities. Epiphany! Perhaps there are internal forms of intimacy that provide this relief, I thought. Collecting some toys, I finally decided to go into my room to scratch the patch. As I played, the boi intuitively came into the room and talked dirty to me, incorporating our mutual fantasies into his sexciting narrative. My buzzer went off immediately. We were both happy with this compromise.
Two months ago, I noticed a change in the boi. He took a greater interest in my body. He began to initiate sex more frequently. Getting him over the O-hill was no longer a Sisyphean task. One night after some bomb.com.org.uk sex, he had his own epiphany. “I like sex more now. But only with you,” he said, “I think that I am more of a demisexual.” Demisexuals are folks who only feel sexual attractions when they form deep emotional bonds. I smiled inside, ‘Does that mean that he loves me?’
Today, the boi and I are happily in love. Though creating a sexual topography that suits our differing sexual natures has been difficult, we thoroughly appreciate the journey of self-discovery this opportunity has provided. Examining our individual sexualities has not only brought us closer to one another but closer to our queerness. And we are fucking proud to continually combine our queer flavors to create the delicious sundae of queerness that is our love.
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Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Vianca Masucci is a health advocate working to eliminate health disparities in underserved populations. Her voice is influenced by her experiences navigating this world as a queer, Afro-Latina with a thousand-year-old soul and an insatiable appetite for social justice. Her Meyers-Briggs personality type is IDGAF.