do you think we as a society can finally acknowledge that “this thing didn’t have a name until recently” doesn’t necessarily mean “this thing did not exist until recently” or (worse) “this thing doesn’t exist at all”

Let’s also agree that “this thing did not have an English name until recently,” does not necessarily mean it was nameless.

I was talking to my coworker (who is over three decades older than me) who is both my friend and kind of like my mentor to adulthood, and we got to the topic of significant others. I already came out to him as not-straight, which he was really cool about, thankfully, but I don’t know how much he understands about my sexuality.

He’s not like my relatives who are “you just haven’t met the right man yet” (or woman, for the more liberally minded relatives), but he does often say “maybe you’ll meet a woman you’re into, so until then you have to work on your social skills.”

He’s right about the second half–I do have social anxiety, though I’ve been trying to mitigate it by going to weekly tabletop rpg nights–and the first half isn’t nearly as presumptuous as what my relatives say, but I’m not sure if he quite makes the connection when I say I’m ace/aro.

I’ve explained before about finding people aesthetically pleasing, but not sexually compelling or “attractive.” Some people–yes, even guys, I’ll have to explain–are pretty, but that doesn’t mean I want a relationship with them. My coworker nods and says, “I was like that, too, before I met my wife.”

And I was dreading hearing about “finding The One” and “love at first sight” and “just knowing,” but instead he talked about how they became friends first. About how they had mutual friends who kept trying to set them up with each other on dates, but neither of them wanted to be forced into anything. He talked about how he finds other people “sexy looking" but doesn’t want to have sex with them and he doesn’t get aroused by them. He can acknowledge that certain features are more attractive to him, but because he doesn’t know that person it’s kind of just looking at a nice statue.

And all I could think was “oh, you’re demisexual.”

But I didn’t say it. Because labels aren’t for people to use on others, but for people to help identify themselves.

And even though he and I are friends I don’t want to tell him he’s something when he’s pretty comfortable with his identity already. And, frankly, how would that change his life anyway? He’s married with a kid, he’s not in the market for dating so his demisexuality doesn’t affect his everyday life.

But I have to wonder, if demisexual was a more popular term when he was my age, would he comfortably self-identify as such?