I always knew that I wasn't straight, or at least, not "straight" in the sense that I was 100% only attracted to the opposite sex. As a little girl, I knew that I was "supposed" to like boys, even though for the first thirteen years of my life, I really did not see the appeal. When the ultimate slumber party truth or dare question, "Who do you like?" was asked, I'd come up with the name of a boy that I considered to be my closest friend but looking back, I definitely had crushes on some of my best girlfriends. I just hadn't known they were an option.
Still, as I progressed through high school, I finally began to see the attraction of some of the boys in my grade. I found a very small population of the boys that my high school had to offer physically attractive, (especially the one with blue eyes and dark hair that sat next to me in 10th grade Chemistry class, but more on him later).
I was also a bit late to the party in terms of kissing. The day before I started middle school, I remember talking to two of my friends about the all-important topic of "kissing boys" and found that I really could and did not want to participate in. They were both so eager to start their kissing careers but I just did not feel the same way. I found kissing, or more explicitly, making out, to be disgusting and I really had no interest. When I expressed this to my mom, she reassured me, "You're just young, there's no need to rush into kissing," and I later found that she was right, though not exactly in the way I had expected.
I thought that experiencing sexual attraction was universal. Sure, everyone starts out as thinking, "Ew, sex? Not for me, no thank you, I'll stick to my coloring books," but then somewhere around the end of puberty it hits you out of nowhere like, "What is this 'sex' you speak of and how to I get some?" But even halfway through high school, at 16 years old, I still did not experience this urge that all my health classes had assured me would come.
Even my celebrity crush fantasies didn't go as far as to venture into anything of a sexual nature. They usually stopped at kissing and, I don't know, maybe we'd get breakfast food afterwords if that's what Benedict Cumberbatch wanted to do (this was also the point in my life when I discovered BBC's 'Sherlock'). If I'm being completely honest, the whole idea of sex repulsed me. I did not want to think about it, let alone have conversations about it. The people that I found to be attractive were physically appealing, maybe even kissable, but certainly not for sleeping with.
Here's what I have come to realize about my own sexuality; looking back, all of the crushes I'd developed throughout my life were solely on close friends, people that I had an emotional connection with because we had lengthy conversations about life, love, and (probably) Beatles music. But it wasn't until I was 17 that one of these crushes actually turned out to be mutual and I had my first and current boyfriend. We've been together for over 3 years now and if I'm being completely honest, it wasn't until after one year together that I felt comfortable even approaching the starting point of physical intimacy. (Although there was quite a lot of kissing and very good kissing, at that).
It took time for me to feel comfortable enough with my boyfriend, not because I didn't trust him or I intentionally wanted to make him "wait for it," but because that's how my sexuality works. In the past year or so, I've been coming to terms with what exactly my sexual preference is, and I can only say for 100% certain that I'm attracted to my boyfriend; I genuinely am not sexually attracted to anyone else. Other people are definitely still physically attractive, (and yes, I do mean other people, not just men), but while I am in a heterosexual relationship, I consider myself to be demisexual, a sort of halfway point between sexual and asexual.
For me, emotional intimacy before physical intimacy isn't a preference, it's a necessity. Myself and others who identify as demisexual or "gray-sexual" are only experienced with a specific partner or partners. Demisexuality is not a "millennial fad" for "special snowflakes," but a valid sexuality for those who experience sexual attraction through a person by person lens.