The few who know me on a personal basis – a few close friends and my family – know that I am a solemn young woman; my pessimism and cynicism dismay them. They also do not understand, among other things, my disdain for romance and sex. Throughout my life, I have found out that I am an anomaly of sorts. Some say I purposely rebel or that my avoidance of romance and sex is a cover for my insecurity, a fear of rejection. Look: I have been rejected and left so many times that I am not surprised when people bounce. Life continues on as normal.
Something that troubles me about modern society is the prevalence of hookup culture. Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that I do not care if people hook up, since that is their choice and right. But for some with my frame of reference, it is soul crushing. It has even made me bitter because I feel alone and even more isolated, lost in this world.
When others hook up, it baffles me, but I do not think any less of them. I have classmates that engage in this, and they are people whom I admire immensely. Unlike many in my life, I do not feel arousal or sexual attraction just by looking at a man, no matter how handsome he may be. I currently harbor something of a crush on a fellow whom I shall not disclose (I can’t have readers telling him, now can I?), but it has never been sexual.
Sure, I feel shy when I see him, as I try to avoid eye contact, hoping he will never see me, wondering if maybe he can smell that I’m crushing on him or read my mind. But I do not think, “oh he’s sexy, I would want to sleep with him.” This is not because I'm the “Virgin Mary,” as some have told me condescendingly, but that I do not know this man. Sure, he is physically attractive and intelligent, polite from the exchanges I had with him on Facebook (I could never speak to him face to face, damn this crush), but I do not know his story, his past or what kind of man he is.
For all I know, he could be an angel in disguise or a raving maniac (I hope it is the former). This is not to say sex never crosses my mind, but that I can never – or at least very rarely – feel arousal or sexual attraction just by looking at someone attractive, unlike many guys (I have met more girls than guys who are similar to me in this regard or who do not yet indulge in their sexual attraction to someone until emotional intimacy has been established) who I have come across online and in real life. This puts me at a huge disadvantage in the dating scene. Recently, I met someone who wanted a relationship with me but was very hungry for sex ASAP. For someone like me, who identifies as demisexual, which is a person that requires a strong emotional bond to find someone sexually attractive, this blew my mind. I could not understand how one could want sex so soon without having known someone for some time or even having met them in person. I could not understand how someone being something as superficial as “pretty” could be enough for him to want to have sex. It is to the point where I have pondered that maybe I'm insane or sick. I have felt great distress, because the prospect of finding a meaningful, emotionally intimate relationship seems even more unlikely, especially when I am a strange or “alien” young woman in my personality.
But the problem is not that I am sick or insane. The problem is that I seek an emotional connection when many are happy to have meaningless, no-strings-attached sex. That does not make either me or them evil, but it makes it more difficult for people like me, who are not that interested in sex to begin with and/or crave an emotionally intimate relationship, to know someone's story, hopes, dreams and fears. Maybe the men I have come across didn't mean it, but I felt objectified in that they focused on my physical appearance and not who I was as a person. They did not care to understand me as a woman; they seemed so focused on the physical, the superficial, that I could not help but feel resentment. It was sex first and then MAYBE (most likely not) love second.
However, even those who enjoy hookups have told me it is far more meaningful to have sex with someone you care about. Sex with someone you do not love is physically enjoyable, but there is not much else between the people, other than sex. Ultimately, it is simply a physical release that offers little in terms of companionship, care and so on. For many, it is awkward to finish and know you will have to leave, essentially strangers, despite having just seen each other at your most vulnerable. Yet it is attractive, even though people know it will never provide the love they desire, because it is pleasurable and many do not have the patience, emotional availability or willingness to have a committed relationship. It is, of course, very common on college campuses such as NU, where a junior told me hookups were far more common than serious relationships.
Either way, I know I am on the outskirts of society in many ways, and I decided at a young age not to engage in an empty, superficial relationship just to avoid being alone. I’d rather be single for the rest of my life, dedicating my time to my art and humanitarian causes as a writer. I know many will see this as sad and will keep telling me I will find someone. But I truly doubt it, as well-meaning as they are.
I have learned to appreciate the freedom and strength of being alone, without having to be pressured by others into doing things I do not care to do. Perhaps somewhere in the world, someone feels exactly as I do and one day we will cross paths. Whether it happens or not, I do not care; living a meaningful, spiritual life will be my life’s purpose.