Boosted by her friends’ encouragement, Abena showed up in front of Senna’s door the next morning at 11 am. Since it was a Saturday, she knew that he would be up and about at the time even if he slept late. She didn’t call him first because she was afraid he might not be receptive. She needn’t have worried about that though, because he smiled widely when he opened the door and saw that it was her. “Abena! What a surprise. Come in!”
For a few seconds, she was shocked. Had he forgotten what happened between them yesterday? She watched him warily as she followed him inside.
“I’m sorry,” she blurted out before she could lose her nerve, eyes widening when his apology chorused hers.
“Why are you sorry?” she asked him, confused.
“I didn’t mean to put pressure on you yesterday. And I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable,” he apologised.
“Oh. But…you did have a point, and that’s why I’m here. I need to talk to you.”
“I don’t want to lose you,” he said quickly, afraid that she was going to break up with him.
Abena’s eyes softened. “I don’t want to lose you either. I really like what we have.”
Breathing out in relief, he pulled her onto the double sofa in his apartment’s living room and sat next to her. “What do you want to talk about then?”
“There’s something I need to tell you. I should have told you sooner to avoid the mixed signals you were seeing. And I’m sorry I didn’t.”
“What is it?” he asked nervously, not seeing where this was going.
She took a deep breath. “Senna, I’m a demisexual.”
He frowned. He had seen the word somewhere before but couldn’t remember what it meant. Now he wished he had paid more attention. “What does it mean?”
“It means that my sexuality is a midpoint between sexual and asexual. I do feel sexual attraction, but only after I’ve developed a strong emotional bond with someone.”
He frowned, the wheels turning in his mind. “What you’re saying is that you’re not sexually attracted to me.”
The toneless way he said it caused a lump to form in Abena’s throat. “It’s not you. It–”
He barked out a humourless laugh. “Isn’t it though?”
She reached for his hand earnestly, willing him to believe her. There was one horrible moment when his eyes dropped to her hand. She knew he was contemplating pulling away from her, but to her relief, he didn’t.
“Honestly, it’s not a you thing. It’s a demisexual thing. I’m not sexually attracted to any man. I never see a man and think about sex. I’m not capable of feeling lust with anyone until after we’ve had time to develop an emotional connection.”
Like she did with her friends, she explained it more until he finally seemed to understand. But then he frowned as he remembered something. “When I first told you about my feelings for you, you confessed that you had a crush on me.”
She smiled, understanding his confusion. “I do have a crush on you, but I’m not sexually attracted to you. Yet.” she hastened to add.
“How is that possible?”
“A crush is not always sexual, though. Remember that kids have crushes too. So yeah, demisexuals can have crushes based on non-sexual factors. For example, I’m drawn to your sense of humour, your kindness and intelligence, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re so fine. But it’s not sexual.”
“And here I was thinking I would seduce you with my naked chest,” he teased.
Relieved that he was taking it well enough to tease, she assured him, “Trust me, I would enjoy the view a lot.”
He gave her a look. “But it won’t make you want to reciprocate by also taking your top off.”
“At least not yet. Right?” he wanted to be sure.
“Right. I need the deep emotional connection first.”
“But you also said that the deep emotional connection does not necessarily guarantee sexual attraction either.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“This means that we can keep dating and getting closer, and while we could form a deep emotional bond, it may end up not being any different from what you have with Kiki and Nora. Or even Kwasi. Because your situation is like how a straight man needs a person to be a woman to be attracted to them but will not necessarily be sexually attracted to every woman.”
Abena nodded. It felt good to be understood and validated this way, but at the same time, the sad tone Senna was using as he realised the precariousness of their relationship was killing her.
He continued in that same sad tone. ” Which means that this whole thing might just end in friendship and possibly heartbreak, for me, because I’m already more than half in love with you, Abena. And I’m also ridiculously sexually attracted to you.”
Abena felt a deep spark of happiness at his admission but slumped when she realised how he must feel not knowing if she would reciprocate or not.
“I’m sorry. I can’t help it. If I could choose who to be sexually attracted to, you would be the first on my list. But I can’t control my sexual attraction.”
Senna rubbed his hands over his face, feeling confused and kind of scared. He had said he was almost in love with her, but he had lied. He was already desperately in love with a woman who was not sexually attracted to him – yet – he added hastily. That was hopeful, right? It wasn’t that she felt attraction like other people but didn’t feel it for him. There was some hope, although how much hope could not be calculated. Still, his two past relationships had proven that having initial mutual sexual attraction did not guarantee a successful relationship either. It was always a risk to give your heart to anybody.
Taking a deep breath, he decided to take a plunge. “There are never any assurances in any relationship regardless of how they start. But you’re everything I admire and want in a woman. You’re beautiful, smart, kind, assertive, and just all-around wonderful. I knew this the first time I saw you, and getting to know you has confirmed it even more. So yeah, I’m going to give this a chance and work on strengthening our emotional connection. Just let me know how I can do that, and I will. I’ll do anything to make this work. Not just because I desperately want to get into your pants – because I do – but because I honestly believe that you’re it for me, and I would like a future with you.”
Abena’s eyes welled as her heart burst with emotion. She pulled him into a deep hug. “Thank you for not giving up on us. I do have feelings for you, and I’m sure they will grow with time. Every day I feel closer to you, and it becomes harder to say goodbye when we part. And I enjoy kissing you more each time. I just need some time; we’ll get there. And you’re doing awesome already in strengthening our emotional bond.”
He looked at her in surprise. “I am?”
“Yes. You’re sweet, kind, and patient with me, spend time with me doing stuff we both enjoy. You engage in meaningful conversations and show genuine interest in my thoughts and feelings on every subject. Even more, you respect my boundaries and are not pressuring me. You always ask for consent and have created a pressure-free environment for me to explore intimacy with you at my own pace. You’ve been great, Senna. Even when you didn’t understand me.”
Abena hugged him some more, overcome by emotion.
“I’m going to do even better now that I know,” he promised. “But please don’t get startled if I get hard around you. And it might take a while for my dick to understand that he won’t be getting any action for a while, but ignore him. I have enough self-control.”
She laughed. “The poor thing. He’ll survive.”
She kissed him deeply, enjoying the closeness with him. This time, when she felt his hardness, it didn’t startle her.
After they pulled apart, he smiled at her. “So, you’re saying our relationship is going to be a slow burn?”
She felt an intense rush of happiness at his teasing, and could not wait to be sexually attracted to this wonderful man. Hugging him again, she said into his chest, “Isn’t that great? Slow burns produce the best kind of fire. Plus, they last longer.”