For 14 years of my life, I identified as asexual. When my friends asked me if I thought someone was hot, I could barely understand what those words meant. My dream for a partner was to be best friends and to live together forever-– without sex entering the picture.
In the crushes I did experience, I would occasionally have a desire to hold hands or kiss the person. More often, I wanted to be emotionally close to the person I was crushing on. But sexual attraction wasn’t in the picture.
Then, in 2012, I medically transitioned. I’d read that some transgender people experienced more sexual feelings after transition–- partially because of hormones-– but mostly because they felt more comfortable in their own skin. I didn’t think that would happen to me, but as I prepared for my first testosterone shot, I braced myself for anything.
It’s been eleven years since my transition and I haven’t noticed anything majorly different about the way I experience attraction. However, I have learned more about who I am, and I now identify as demisexual. For the most part, it fits me better. I still don’t often have sexual feelings when I first meet someone and don’t know whether my intense urge to get to know them better is a desire for friendship or a crush. Later, as I get to know them, I might start thinking of them as a potential partner. I still don’t have a lot of sexual feelings; and if I do, they usually come later, after my partner initiates them.
My core identity didn’t change after my transition, but I continue to learn about myself.
I Realized I Was Far More Attracted To Women Than Men
But before my transition, I exclusively dated men. They were usually men who felt and presented more feminine.
I had always identified as bi-romantic, meaning I was romantically attracted to more than one gender.
It’s clear, looking back, that I had tried to “split the difference” by dating men who might have identified as women if they had been free to do so. My partners didn’t want to accept their femininity, and I was refusing to accept my masculinity, so we entered into twisted, abusive relationships where we both deeply hurt each other regularly.
After accepting myself as a transgender man and beginning to explore transition, I became interested in dating women, and that desire intensified once I started hormones. I still didn’t have any sexual feelings beyond an urge to kiss women that I found attractive, but my romantic desires began bending almost exclusively toward women.
I still consider myself bi-romantic today, but it’s much more rare for me to find a man more attractive than a woman.
I Began To Understand What Crushes Looked Like For Me
As I mentioned earlier, I realized I was demisexual after I transitioned. I don’t have sexual feelings at ALL when I first meet someone, so concepts such as feeling butterflies or finding someone sexually attractive at first glance are foreign to me.
One of the ways I experience my demisexuality is that I might meet someone and feel an intense urge to learn everything about them and share everything about myself. (I’m also autistic, so this may be part of why I experience these feelings.) I don’t do that, of course, but I do have pleasurable, excited feelings about the possibility of getting to know the person better.
Before my transition, I found these feelings confusing. Nowadays, I understand that that’s the demisexual equivalent of a crush, which is based on the desire for emotional intimacy, not sexual.
Understanding that has been so helpful. I don’t have to waste time and energy trying to figure out how I feel about someone. If I am experiencing a demisexual crush, I can relax and get to know the person better, aware that my feelings about them may or may not change.
I Developed More Of A Sex Drive, But Not More Sexual Feelings
Testosterone allegedly increases sex drive, and some asexual trans men worry about how it will affect their sexual feelings.
After transitioning, I do have more feelings like I need to take care of myself sexually, but this need isn’t accompanied by the desire for a particular person or any sexual fantasies. It’s just a desire for physical release. There’s a big difference between sex drive and sexual attraction.
Most of the changes I experienced after I began my transition were subtle. As I became more comfortable with who I was, I became more willing to admit to myself and others what I did and didn’t want in relationships, and more open to the feelings I did – and didn’t – have.