The Power of Words: Not / Coming Out

Hi long term readers. Remember this series? No? Well, the last one was in 2017. Before that it was 2015 so I guess I am way overdue.

“Coming out” – two words that say so much without saying very much at all.

“Coming out” – two words used by a quite specific community about life experiences so very different from the majority.

“Coming out” – two words for and by a community that has and continues to suffer the most horrific violence and abuse even in so-called “civilised” societies.

“Hi mum and dad, hi best friend/partner/other person I trust and love… I have something to tell you.”

Once I hit puberty I came to realise that it was girls that caught my eye and never boys. It’s understandable that the idea of “coming out” would never be an experience I’d have to go through.

But I would eventually have a realisation that would lead to such a coming out.

I probably knew back then but neither had the self-awareness to question it, nor the understanding of the nuances of attraction to realise I was different.

Hello, I’m Matt and I am a demisexual (a type of asexual). This means I need a strong emotional bond to experience sexual attraction, something that can take years to manifest or may never manifest even when I come to love that person deeply on a romantic level.

I’ve done it twice in the last six months.

Coming out number one: The “I’m relieved but really doubting myself” coming out to the world

On 25th September 2022, I posted an email thread to my Twitter Circle (the close friends list essentially that only people added to the list can see) and on the 27th I went public with my first Medium article on the subject of my demisexuality.

Click the image to read that article.

The tl;dr version is that I experience no sexual attraction towards strangers… ever. I have developed romantic attachment with relative ease when dating or in relationships, but it does not naturally follow that sexual thoughts and feelings will develop, only that these are prerequisites for sexual attraction.

Lust unconnected to romantic attraction is so rare that I can only remember it happening twice in my life and I’m not entirely certain that is really what happened at the time in either case.

On the flipside, my crushes are romantic in nature and because of that strong trust bond, tend to develop towards friends. So I sometimes get weird situations where sexual attraction suddenly develops for those friends out of nowhere with no previous hint it was coming.

They very often disappear within a few weeks, with some lasting no more than a couple of days before evaporating as mysteriously as they arrived(!) and always to women I’m already acquainted with.

While there was a lot of relief in this realisation especially in having answers to questions that I’d clung onto for years and in some cases decades, the concept of coming out still seemed alien.

As a sex and romance favourable hetero attracted demisexual, I’m indistinguishable from the typical straight man. And this is why I had such a hard time at the beginning accepting my own process of coming out. At best I felt like a fraud though more like I was lying to myself than to others. At worst I felt I was appropriating a term (coming out) and a community (LGBT+) that didn’t belong to me.

And so I hesitated to call it “coming out”. I didn’t in the Twitter Circle and I didn’t when I went public. According to my Twitter history, I didn’t use the term “coming out” for another few weeks. I still wasn’t comfortable using that term then as I still felt very much in a “but what if I’m not…?” phase.

It was also not coming out most of this time because deep down, I was in this weird flux state where I was so aware of how straight I felt while still being consciously aware of how different I felt from the experiences my actual straight friends experience.

But my experiences are different. Not just slightly – nothing that justifies previously accusations of being little more than a hopeless romantic, but vastly different.

Coming out number two: Acceptance and coming out to myself

A few weeks ago, I was writing yet another article for my Medium publication The Ace Space when a small yet important thing happened. In one paragraph I wrote the words “straight” and “heterosexual” and then stopped writing.

I don’t know what compelled me to stop but for some seconds I stared at those two words looking from one to the other.







And I thought “these words are alien to me”.

I didn’t mean they were literally alien like reading a sentence in Klingon in a mass of English that had no contextual reason for being there… I meant the concepts were alien to me. They weren’t my labels; they belong to other people, but not to me or my experiences. In that moment I think the process of coming out completed.

This was as big a revelation to me then as all the pennies that dropped in those precious few days in September.

Coming out for an asexual or aspec person isn’t just about telling the world, it’s acknowledging that your experiences are different from what society expects from romance, sex, and relationships.

It’s an acceptance that your experiences have probably limited you in some way, impacted your ability to even form relationships. It’s an acceptance that you were different enough for others to notice. It’s an acceptance that you’ve probably been masking your true nature through your life up to that point.

For hetero attracted demisexuals and demiromantics specifically, it is letting go of that self-doubt and accepting that you exist in the grey area between asexual/aromantic and allosexual/alloromantic, that though you may pass as straight your experiences are anything but.

If you’d like to read more about demisexuality, my small Medium publication The Ace Space is where I generally write about this stuff. Click the banner to go there…

2 responses to “The Power of Words: Not / Coming Out”

  1. This is such a great post, Matt. Thanks so much for sharing, and for putting into words what so many of us experience. It has been such an honour to follow your journey.

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