Two friends have recently tried to set me up with boys and I just don’t really seem to feel anything. When I try to explain to my friends that I’m only starting to get used to even talking to boys and haven’t yet gotten to the “looking at boys” stage most girls hit around fifteen, they pretty much tell me that it’s about time I did, as if it’s like flipping a switch or something.
I’m pretty sure I’m not into girls because, with my largely female social circle, I’d have figured it out by now, right? And, well, I don’t have romantic fantasies about girls when I do daydream. Which I don’t, much. But if I’m twenty-five and a guy’s never inspired stomach butterflies, then…what? I was worried I was asexual for a while, but I guess when I do have romantic daydreams they’re about guys, so could it be I haven’t met my type yet?
Anyway, my friend is trying to set me up with a guy who is apparently “really into me.” As far as I know, he’s intelligent, a good conversationalist, and a nice guy. The problem is, I don’t have any feeling that says, “I want to be near this person a lot.” Granted, he hasn’t blatantly come out and asked me out yet (and if he doesn’t, I’m not going to say anything), but I definitely don’t want to lead him on or make him feel like he’s always the guy who gets “friend-zoned” or something when chances are the problem’s with me, and my lack of hormones, and not with him.
The thing is, I honestly think I’m one of those women out there with a fairly low libido, or maybe I’m demisexual or something, I don’t know. But should I be finding out by wading into the dating game? Because the idea of spending a romantic evening with someone I only want to have good conversation with doesn’t seem right.
I was never particularly worried about any of this until my friends made a big deal about it. So…should I be trying to date? Is my not dating during my teen years the reason why I’m so stunted in the hormone department now? Are romantic feelings and hormones like a muscle: the less you exercise them the more stunted they become?
Do you know of other women who only started noticing guys in their late twenties or early thirties? Is this normal? Or, not unusual? Am I still just a late-bloomer? — Late-Bloomer?
Out of you whole letter (which was even a couple of paragraphs longer before I edited it), the line that stood out to me the most was this: “I was never particularly worried about any of this until my friends made a big deal about it.” And that just sucks, because maybe your friends mean well, but what they’re doing — making you feel like you have a problem when you don’t — is cruel.
You don’t have a problem. I can’t say that what you feel about dating and sex and being (or not being) attracted or interested in anyone romantically is normal, necessarily, but I also don’t see it as anything to worry about at all. Who are you hurting? No one. And if YOU aren’t bothered by your lack of desire for anyone — or you weren’t bothered by it until your friends pointed it out and made you feel like a freak because of it — than no one else should be either.
What does your lack of romantic interest in anyone mean? I don’t know. It could mean you’re asexual or demisexual. Or, it could mean you simply haven’t met anyone who turns you on. Maybe you’re straight or maybe you’re gay. If you think your feelings could be repressed because of your traditional upbringing, you could always try talking to a therapist. Or, you could experiment a little. I mean, that’s what dating IS, no matter what your orientation. Any time any of us goes out with someone, we are playing a game of “Is this a match?” And oftentimes it’s not. But sometimes it is. And agreeing to get coffee with someone or see a movie or go for a walk in the park doesn’t mean you owe that person anything. You’re playing a game of “Is this a match?” just as he or she is, and the best way to find out if there is a match is to actually, you know, spend time with that person. If you realize that it isn’t a match, you have still fulfilled your end of the bargain by giving it a shot. That’s all you owe when you agree to a date.
So… yes, I do think you should try dating. But only if you feel like it. And only if you’d be doing it for yourself and not because your friends think it’s time. It’s quite possible that, as you get to know people in date-like settings, something will click and there will be a “switch,” as you say, where your hormones start sending messages to your brain that there’s a possible connection. That connection may not happen on a first date or a second date or a third. It may never happen at all. And I can’t tell you with any certainty that the chase for that feeling would be worth the effort for you if the effort feels too much like work (but I can tell you with certainty that, for many people, the chase for the connection most certainly IS worth the effort when they finally find it). If it’s effort you can mostly enjoy, either because you enjoy the company of others or the effort is bringing you closer to knowing yourself or you simply really, really like getting coffee with people, then go for it.
But you shouldn’t feel like you have to do anything that you don’t want to do. And you shouldn’t feel like you need to be anyone other than yourself. It’s ok if you’re still figuring out who, exactly, you are, and what you like and what turns you on. I don’t know that any of us ever totally know ourselves. But with age and experiences — and, yes, relationships — we get to know more. And we grow more comfortable in our own skins and with our own decisions and with the quirks that make us unique. Late-bloomer or not, you’ll get there.
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