In Defense of Demisexuality

Obviously, I am obsessed with sex and the politics of sex. I spend large chunks of my day staring at arguments about sex, kink, and gender. Equally immoderate chunks of my night are spent writing about those things. Sometimes, I even have sex. I think it’s serious business. But I have a dark, secret heart hiding under my patriarchy-smashin’ words and thoughts. For reasons I don’t understand and can’t explain, I’m very seriously disposed to long-term, committed monogamy. Recently, and even more depressingly, that monogamy has been with hetereosexual cis men. I am the worst and most boring sexual revolutionary.

Thankfully, even this identification is something that can still get you into fights as long as you call it “demisexuality.” Haven’t heard of it? It’s the orientation that’s sweeping the nation! Or, rather, the social justice blogosphere, Tumblrverse and other non-locations. It’s sexy! It’s exciting! It’s controversial and people are angry about it!

Demisexuals are those who “do not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone,” and it is “more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships.” This is the definition I’ve heard most often, and it’s the definition I’m going to use. In fact, it’s the definition I do use. I identify pretty strongly as demisexual which is where my problems begin.

Charles wrote a post about the internet giving us new words and identifications. That post is partially about me, because within the last year, I came across the term and immediately saw myself in it. I’d been trying to explain my experience of desire to Charles for months, and there it was, written in someone else’s hand. It was a  revelation. I was finally able to actually succinctly explain who I am and what I feel. It’s important to me and it’s a term that makes my history and behavior make sense.

So, I care about demisexuality and want to defend it from detractors for myself and for other demisexuals, but also because I think the arguments being leveled against it are bad and wrong. So let’s look at some of those, shall we?

Demisexuality Is Fake
The common anti-demisexual argument is that demisexuality is not a real “thing,” is not a special or interesting enough to be worthy of distinction, or is just an attempt to “queer the straights.” This queering would allow heteros and normies access to the sweet, delicious queerness that is so coveted in feministy and social justice circles, despite those hets being unsexy, normative lamers.

This post from Thought Catalog does a pretty good job of phrasing these arguments if you’d like to read them from the horse’s mouth. I think they’re pretty wrongity-wrong.

McDonovan comments that “demisexual people are confused” about what “demisexual” means and use many conflicting definitions. Zie seems to suggest that demisexuality isn’t a thing worth talking about because it’s an identity that lacks a consistent definition. Ignoring the fact that terms like “genderfluid” don’t have consistent definitions almost on purpose, this is still a pretty vacuous argument. Because there sure do exist standard definitions of the word. And if people are using conflicting definitions it says nothing about the veracity of the identification and everything about the lifecycle of a term that is still under discussion. Also, this shouldn’t be news but sometimes people on the internet play fast and loose with their words. Maybe they’re confused, maybe they’re inarticulate, maybe they’re not actually demisexuals, maybe they’re part of a vast cabal that’s trying to discredit demisexuality. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter because none of that means there’s no such thing as a demisexual.

The next issue McDonovan finds with demisexuality is that “most of the population” fits the fairly accurate definition zie has managed to scrounge from the conflicting ones. This notion that demisexuality is broad enough that everyone fits betrays a serious misunderstanding about the kind of feelings demisexuality describes. There is, or can be, a difference between being sexually attracted to a person and actually wanting or being willing to have sex with them. You can say “I’m attracted to you but I wouldn’t actually want to have sex with you,” and demisexuality lives inside this distinction.

I think it’s likely that many, even most Americans would only have sex with people they feel emotionally connected to. I think that’s a fair assessment. But it isn’t a description of demisexuality. Demisexuality is about desire and arousal, not just sex and who you do it with. It’s not merely that I’m only interested in having sex with people that I love, it’s also that I feel a complete absence of desire or sexual feelings toward everyone else. Ever. What makes me demisexual is that absence. What makes me demisexual is that I’ve only ever been sexually attracted to three people in my whole life. My partner is sexually attracted to that many people during particularly sexy bus rides. And you can tell me that most of the population is like me, but I just don’t think you’re right.

And, luckily, I have evidence backing my belief. Namely, porn. If most of the population were demisexual, there would not be pornography, at least not like there is now. One of the reasons why I knew I was demisexual is that I have never been aroused, in the slightest, by pornography or erotica, even if the porn was high quality and/or of stuff I like. I can’t think of strangers sexually in a way that affects me. It just doesn’t work. But porn wouldn’t exist if people weren’t stimulated by images of strange people doing naked things. Not to mention the tremendous number of images of sex and sexuality in the media. If everyone were demisexual, sex wouldn’t sell. But it does. As such, not only is demisexuality an orientation, but it’s an orientation distinct from the way most people experience sex and desire.

But, let’s take a step back for a moment and let’s imagine that the confusion is true. Let’s imagine that the word “demisexual” really does mean “a person who experiences desire the same way as almost everyone in the world.” That doesn’t actually invalidate the word in any way. In fact, I argue that we’d still need and use it. We need it like we need “heterosexual” and “cisgendered.” We need words that precisely describe the norm just as much as we need precise descriptions of deviations from that norm. If we accept this, then claims of demisexuality are safe from labels of “queering the straights” or “special snowflaking.” Even in its most debased form, the word remains valid and a useful identification. Again, I do think that the word is more clear and specific than that debased definition, but the point is it’s never not useful.

Being Demisexual is Not Being LGBT
I’ve seen some folks get angry at notions that demisexuals might try to claim LGBT/queer identities for themselves, and even might invade and “invalidate” LGBT/queer spaces.

There are things that I agree with in this argument, and things that I don’t. I want to be careful. First of all, asexuals and people on the asexuality spectrum are literally not necessarily LGBT. You can be a straight (or heteroromantic) asexual. This isn’t particularly controversial. But I do think that LGBT organizations and movements and sex-pos organizations and movements should strive to better include asexuals and people on the asexuality spectrum. So, that means demisexuals should be included, too. This is doubly true because one can very easily be a demisexual queer. Like Your Humble Editor.

It’s also true that demisexuality has to do with how and when you desire, while being queer often has to do with who you desire. And those are two different things. And maybe sometimes two different things get to have two different spaces. Maybe queer spaces, depending on what they’re trying to accomplish, shouldn’t necessarily feel pressure to include heterosexual or heteroromantic demisexuals. I think that might actually be okay. What isn’t okay is the anger with which these demisexuals are excluded and the derision that accompanies it. Demisexuals also have few spaces of their own, which is unfortunate. But these are problems that can be solved. For now, though, I will merely state that the relationship between LGBT people and asexual spectrum people is one that’s fraught and could stand to be improved.

Demisexuals Are Not Oppressed
The last common complaint about demisexuals and demisexuality is that demisexuals claim that their sexuality is an axis of oppression. McDonovan’s post and this Womanist Musings post angrily, but pretty effectively, make this argument.

And, perhaps shockingly, I agree. I do not experience “demisexual oppression.” No one has ever reacted to it with hatred or disgust. In the four years I’ve been demisexual, I have not even had it get in the way of my finding fulfilling and happy sexual relationships. I’d be very interested to hear other demisexuals explain why they feel their sexuality causes them oppression, but I find it absent in my own life. The mistake demisexuality’s detractors make
is that they take wrong or mistaken claims of demisexual oppression and transform them into notions that demisexuality is itself somehow bad, stupid, useless, or fake.

The fact that demisexuals aren’t oppressed doesn’t mean demisexuality is uncomplicated, though. It’s strange, and sometimes actually difficult to be a demisexual in a more-sexual world. For example, I wonder what it’s like to be a demisexual searching for a partner. Does OkCupid even work for demisexuals? Will people think you’re leading them on, being a bitch, or a cocktease, or that your standards are just too high? I don’t know, but it seems like a tight spot to be in.

These difficulties multiply in feminist and sex positive spaces. I intend to talk about this in much greater detail later. For now, though, I’ll leave off with an example: demisexuality made it easy for me to slip into sex-negativity and slut-shaming. It took me a long time to understand that casual sex can be a morally okay and emotionally safe thing for people to do. Sex outside of a committed relationship sounds very unappealing and possibly dangerous to me. I had to learn that just because that sort of sex would probably be bad for me didn’t mean that it was bad for everyone who had it or that people having it were messed up. Even now, it can be hard for me to understand why, for example, my partner might be interested in fostering a sexual relationship with someone he likes, but who is emotionally distant. To me, it seems so awful and bad. I have to remind myself that he’s not like me, step back, and trust him.

Being demisexual amongst people whose sexuality is closer to normal can be tricky. It can be hard to figure out exactly what and where your differences are and how to deal with them when they arise. But what matters most is that those differences do exist. It’s not always easy to be demisexual, but it is a real way to be. Even if it’s not an axis of oppression, even if can be difficult to define, demisexuality remains legitimate, valid, and worthy of respect as an orientation and identity.

Comments

  1. Asexuals as not-queers: I agree. I bothers me that the T is in LGBT. We can be straight as well, following your essay. So I would vote for the LGB on one side and being queer (aces and ts included) on the other side. Or all just as queer with no letters at least…

  2. In the article, the author wonders what it would be like for a demisexual on OkCupid. I actually married the man I met on OkCupid two months ago! I only recently identified as demisexual, because before then, I didn’t know what it was. My first boyfriend actually told me something was wrong with me because I didn’t experience the same level of sexual desire as him. Meanwhile, I thought he was addicted to sex. I thought everyone was like me. I definitely found out differently when I went to college. There, it seemed EVERY guy I met wanted me physically, but couldn’t care less about ME, me as a person. It was distressing, disheartening, and lonely. As soon as a guy found out I wasn’t going to have sex with him within the first three dates, he was gone. After college, I took a break from the dating world. I spent a year working six jobs to stay afloat until I finally found a full-time position in another state. I became friends with some new people, and they had some very odd (or at least to me) views on sex. They made fun of a girl in the group who, like me, waited to have sex until she loved the person she was with. They called her “vanilla” and talked boldly of their sexual experiences. I kept quiet because I was exactly like the girl they made fun of, but didn’t want to be ridiculed by the only “friends” I had. Many of these girls had mentioned trying OkCupid, and, being in a completely new place, I decided to give it a whirl. I actually liked it, almost better than dating in person! I put the least-sexy pictures I could find as my profile pictures, so I was able to minimize the disgusting sexual remarks many girls get. I also thoroughly read the profile of any guy who messaged me before messaging them back. This gave me a chance to connect emotionally just a little bit before I put myself out there and met a guy in person. The first guy I met in person is now my husband. While I didn’t have the word “demisexual” to explain how I was at the time, he understood my needs and was very patient with me. I may be one of the lucky ones, but I found on line dating to be the best way to go for me!

  3. sanitybreach says:

    This is pathetic. It doesn’t accurately describe demisxuality at all, you butt in your own personal belief’s on it instead of an unbias explanation on it, while insulting sexualities that are not queer [ex. boring]. Love is beautiful, weather you have sex or not, or whoever with.

  4. really old post but I want yo say something…
    I’m confused about my sexuality…
    I may want to have sex with someone…
    the foreplay might be so good, but I’m still very dry down there….
    I’m not turned on by looks until I have spoken to the person…
    even the bf I claim to really love can’t keep me wet…
    I get bruised through continued thrusting
    I empty my mind totally before sex but I don’t feel it
    I pretend to feel it but I don’t…
    I read erotica and write erotica but I’m not turned on by the characters except I think of myself being there

    I have only been sexually attracted to 3 people my whole life but I have slept with more than three trying to find out why I can’t stay wet…
    but with those 3 people…
    I felt like I was never going to dry up… and I never did…
    help me! I’m confused

    • Hi Temi,
      I’ve never posted on a forum of any sort before, so please don’t hold it against me if I start to ramble. Like you, I am also confused and am attempting to share on here as a way to start to work through this whole idea. Based on the date of your post, I’ll assume that like me, you also have only recently discovered this sexual/demisexual/asexual terminology and are probably trying to figure out where you fit in the spectrum. I related to a lot of what you said. Please excuse any vulgarity, I’m going to try and keep this clean.

      To set the scene: You meet someone and find something attractive about this person. Whatever it is, they’re easy on the eyes, funny, smart, charming, make you feel good, etc. or any combination thereof. So, you go on a date with this person, get to know them, the date goes well, invite them back to your place, lots of flirtation, everything is going smoothly. And so mentally, you decide that you want to have sex with this person, and then when the moment comes….nothing’s happening on your end. There’s no obvious physical signs of arousal. In your case, there’s no moisture, no lubrication, etc.

      I’ve been there…. It sucks…The elusive physical sign of arousal in my case is the erection…and sometimes it’s easier to explain away than others: I drank too much, ate too much, I was tired, felt a little under the weather, stressed out about work, family life, whatever…the list goes on. But after a while, all these little excuses and seemingly isolated events start to add up. And I started to feel like, maybe there’s something wrong. Like physically, mentally, psychologically, bio-mechanically….whatever.

      Guys talk about girls, you know, probably similarly to how girls talk about guys. Sex is a huge topic of discussion with countless stories about what happened out at the club this weekend, about who hooked up with this one and that one or whatever. I’ve never been interested in that kind of promiscuity, but when I listen to other guys talk, the idea that there’s something wrong with me gets reinforced. So what’d I do? I went to the doctor. I thought maybe there’s a reason I’m unable to perform. At the time, I was dating a really beautiful, fun, cool girl and couldn’t understand why I was having such difficulty in the bedroom. I mean, I wanted to be there..with her..I wanted to please her and enjoy sex with her. And she reciprocated those wants and desires. We would play with each other manually, orally, and I could usually get started with traditional p in v sex…but found it difficult to complete….I would lose my erection after a while. It messed with me, I’m sure it messed with her, too. Actually, I know it did, she told me she had discussed it with her friends, and it wasn’t normal. So, I go to the doctor and he confirms that there is nothing physically wrong with me, did some blood work and other tests to make sure my testosterone levels were ok, I didn’t have a hernia and whatever else could be getting in the way. I do not nor did I ever have ED. I am perfectly capable of getting and maintaining an erection….just not with her. She broke up with me before I had a chance to discuss it with her, though I can’t imagine how that conversation would have gone. I’m sure our less than satisfying sex life played a role in the break up, but she was also having a bit of a life crisis for various reasons. In retrospect, I think that played a bigger role in the relationship than we were acknowledging. She was holding back from me, not allowing herself to feel that powerful pull to be with me on a deeper, more intimate(not sexual) level…I’m not trying to lay blame, but on some level I think I picked up on it and shut down my own feelings in the process…

      I guess what I’m trying to say is this: we’re not light bulbs…we don’t get turned on by anything as simple as the flick of a switch…Maybe some people are and can, but there’s a lot more that goes into it for people like you and me. Does it make us weird? Maybe…but who wants to be normal anyway? At some point, doesn’t having sex for the sake of having sex get a little….repetitive? Boring?

      Like you, I’ve had sexual experiences at either end of the arousal spectrum and some that were in the middle. As a man, I feel compelled to go out on dates and try to bed women, but that ends up feeling really empty to me, and there’s nothing arousing about that at all, which makes dating very difficult. Every once in a while though, I find a woman who completely blows my mind. I’ve been trying to figure out what it was about these women. One came out of nowhere, we met at a party, she came on strong (but not slutty), made it clear that she was very interested in me and not in anyone else. She made me feel special. More recently, another woman was a co-worker, we were friendly ahead of time, mild flirtations here and there, and then one day it just happened, we kissed, started spending time together, and made it clear that we wanted to be together. Again, I felt special. In both of these cases, the sex was incredible. It was quite the opposite of any other failed sexual attempts. You speak about feeling like you were never going to dry up…I felt like I was never going to go soft, like I was stiff as a brick (again I apologize for any vulgarity, just trying to be literal). And all I wanted to do was share with these women the amazing feelings I had, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. All of it. The first girl was probably a little shocking, the other came on slowly, but in both cases there was an intensity that just wasn’t there with other relationships. We could talk and laugh for hours, wanted to be in each other’s company all the time, made vacation plans and went on mini trips to great cool places together. And felt like equals. Felt special.

      Thus far, none of these relationships have worked out, which is why I’m here, trying to figure it out. And it’s frustrating…I’m almost 30, some of my friends are married, most are at least in long term relationships. People, usually women, ask me things like why am I single. I hate this question because I don’t have an answer and it forces me ask the same question of myself, as if there’s something wrong with me. As if, I ought to “take advantage” of my single life and lay down with every woman that walks by…or at least be asking every woman out on a date. Fact is, it’s exhausting…dating, I mean…and a little painful, too…there’s so much rejection and nowadays, it’s so easy to be dismissive of people. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this. That’s really a topic for another forum and in no way am I trying to suggest that dating difficulties are restricted to any one type of sexuality/preference/lifestyle….sorry, I’m rambling

      But finding that there apparently Is some sort of community of people out there who think, act and respond similarly to these situations is pretty encouraging to me. To know I’m not the only person who thinks this way…that feels pretty great. I guess this is a fairly new term, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who think this is fake and not real. I’m not looking for a label, or a flag, or a parade. But maybe if we start to talk about it a little more, we can shed some light on the idea that some people are turned on in different ways than others. Does that make us individual, precious, little snowflakes? Isn’t everyone, regardless of what it is they’re particularly into? Or aren’t into, as the case may be?

      Just a thought

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks for the great post, Brian. I don’t think you should need to worry so much about “vulgarity”; this is, after all, an article designed to increase awareness, openness and understanding about sex, so there’s nothing wrong with discussing the topic as long as you do so with respect and courtesy, which you did. Sex is a perfectly natural thing, and neither it nor discussions of it are inherently dirty, scandalous or vulgar.

        If you find it encouraging to be part of a demisexual community, I just recently joined one myself, and so far it’s been enlightening and supportive. If you have Facebook, you can join it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DemiOriented/1592809907661564/

  5. Thank you for this. I recently realized that I am, in fact, demisexual, which explains so much of my adolescent confusion. But I have been hesitant to ‘come out’ or talk about it as anything groundbreaking specifically because I do not want to co-opt and impinge on queer spaces and pretend I understand queer oppression. I was very conflicted about how to engage with this new, budding identity. This post has helped a lot. Thank you so much!
    [Also, In answer to your question about demis searching for a partner: for me, it’s been tough and lonely but sites like OKCupid seem absolutely repulsive so there we are]

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your mind. I had never heard of the term Demisexual until yesterday and feel that, finally, I am not alone in this. I have wondered at times if I was asexual because I have never been aroused by pictures of “hot” men or women, and absolutely nothing happened to me when I would search pornography. I thought that maybe pornography just isn’t geared towards women, and that this was a women’s issue. However, when I tried searching porn just for straight women, I had no reaction still. I also had no reactions to people on the street other than noticing they have the typically aesthetically pleasing face or body type. Did that make me desire and or want them? No. I know I wanted a partner, but the sex always seemed forced and for the other person. I never truly enjoyed it and I thought that maybe that’s just the way it is for a woman. That is until I truly fell in love. For the first time I’m my life I was feeling true sexual arousal. I even had my first orgasm. For the first time sex was also about me, it was a beautiful act between two people that truly cared for each other. Recently I found out my partner cheated on me awhile back and has lied/hidden it for some time. I can’t feel the sexual arousal towards him right now because all I feel is pain and confusion. I didn’t understand why having sex with a person he just met would in any way be more appealing than with someone who cared. I couldn’t wrap my head around why he would want to do this, until now. Reading this makes me understand that I am different. He’s a heterosexual man, he’s admitted sexual arousal to almost everything representing female sexuality. I simply don’t feel the same way towards sexual representations of strangers and couldn’t possible imagine a situation where I would want to cheat. It’s nice to learn that I am not alone in this. I’m not sure if our bond will hold strongly through this, however, I do know that from now on I will be up front with how I feel and ask the same from my partners to prevent future strife.

  7. Thank you. I have never come across this term before. I thought I was broken. I was raised in a family that taught you should have lots of sex before marriage. I thought that was what you were suppose to do and so I spent years putting myself out there and not enjoying it. I never felt dirty or ashamed but could not figured out why I did not enjoy it. I felt broken and like a failure . I got married to a man who was intellectually my equal but the sex was not enjoyable and I thought it was just because of me. Years later I am now in a relationship that has only been going on two months and I can not get enough of him. He is always on my mind, I long to be near him, and the sex is amazing. He stimulates my mind and body and until I came across this article I did not understand what was different. That may be TMI but thank you. This makes sense to me now and I am glad to know that others feel the same as me.
    P.S. I met him on OK Cupid. LoL

  8. Demisexual...or Asexual says:

    Hi, this post is pretty old, but I wanted to comment, anyhow, specifically on the “demisexual oppression”. I both agree and disagree with you that it does not exist. On one hand, it’s true that most people do not react with the anger or violence that the LGBT community receives. It’s also much easier to live as a demisexual or as an asexual without hiding or sharing the fact that you are demisexual/asexual – after all, it refers specifically to intimacy/sex, which is something only discussed with potential or current partners and perhaps very close friends/family members.

    On the other hand, while I haven’t felt “oppressed”, per se, when I discuss my intimacy choices (which I do very rarely), I do feel ostracized. My mother, in particular, has absolutely no understanding for my lack of sex drive. She’s the type of woman who is incredibly comfortable with her own sexuality, and who previous to being in a long-term, committed marriage had no problem sleeping with multiple men. She even still jokes about sleeping with “sexy” famous men (which, of course, she would never actually do – she loves my father and would never seek intimacy outside their marriage). She has kindly (I’m not being sarcastic, she really did say it in a kind way) told me that I have a problem because I don’t want to jump every cute guy I see. Even friends (including some who have never had a sexual relationship) who do not necessarily “sleep around” but who have an immediate sexual attraction to their “type” (even if they do not act upon it) think that my lack of sex drive/desires for complete strangers is odd.

    Few people are particularly cruel or mean about it, but do make it clear that they think my sexuality (or lack thereof) indicates that there is something wrong with me, and that I need to have it fixed. Unfortunately, a few men *are* cruel about it, to the point where they believe that I am simply playing “hard to get”, and simply need to be convinced or forced to have sex with them. However, I believe this is not due to my demisexuality (or asexuality), but because they look for reasons to wield sexual power over others, and my lack of sex drive makes me an easy target. After all, no amount of cajoling or foreplay will ever convince me to sleep with someone I have no emotional attachment to – in fact, it will probably just completely turn me off both emotionally and sexually – so the only option to get me to have sex is by force. For these particular men, I think my lack of sexuality is actually a turn on.

    Overall, while I have not felt necessarily oppressed, for a long time I did not understand why I wasn’t “normal” like everyone else. I was sure there was something wrong with me because everyone else seemed to be sexually active and/or wanted to be sexually active. For instance, while my friends would giggle about celebs that they would want to bang, the most I could say was that I thought so-and-so was attractive. When I was younger, this usually resulted in others simply thinking I was a “prude”. Heck, even my “sex is only for marriage” religious friends had discussed their wild desires for sex, saying how difficult it was to abstain. The only people who had ever reacted as though my lack of sexual desire was normal was another demisexual (she was the one who actually introduced me to the term), and the girls who pretended to have no sex drive because sex was a sin (I’m still in touch with two of those girls, and, ironically, both of them ended up pregnant outside of a relationship).

    I’m very glad, however, that you seem to have not encountered this. It’s not a nice feeling thinking that you’re inherently broken or that the way you’re sexually attracted to people is the “wrong” way. Not oppression, exactly, but more a severe lack of acceptance.

    • This has been my experience as well. Thank you for sharing. I don’t consider myself oppressed, but I do have a similar experience with my mother, who does not understand and thinks I just need to go to the doctor. I never could understand how everyone else seemed to easily just fall into relationships with other people, while I poured so much effort into the only person I had ever been remotely interested in, and failed because he wasn’t as interested in me. I assumed that everyone had that level of difficulty in finding someone that they were attracted to, and that the chances of that one person finding someone who was equally attracted to them had worse odds than winning the lottery. It didn’t make sense to me that so many people had significant others. The math didn’t work out.

      Under a lot of societal pressure to date, because that’s what normal people do, I did eventually find somebody. There was a lot of pressure early on to get physical, which didn’t interest me, but I thought that was what I was supposed to do. We dated for two months before I finally gave in and had sex with him, though I do not remember our first time at all. I remember thinking during that time that consent meant that you wanted to have sex, and that wanting to have sex meant that you had decided to have sex. I had no understanding that wanting to have sex meant enthusiastically wanting to have sex, not just making up your mind to do it even though you really would rather not.

      I married him. I thought that sex was a novelty and he’d eventually not expect it anymore. Again, assuming that he was like me. (At this point, I still had NO clue that my sexuality was not “normal.”) We’ve been married for almost fourteen years. We basically have a sexless marriage, which is fine with me because I don’t enjoy sex. I actually think it’s pretty gross, to be honest. Not so fair to my husband, but it works for me just fine. Our marriage is not great, mainly because I don’t want a husband. I wanted a roommate at the time, but now I make enough money that I don’t need a roommate, so I just put up with him being in my house. We have a child together, or we would have divorced many years ago. I have no motivation for a “happy” marriage, because whenever things improve, he wants more sex, so I sabotage it to avoid the sex.

      Advice I’ve gotten on how to fix our marriage includes having sex even if I don’t feel like it, because once I start, I’ll get in the mood (seems to be good advice for most people, but doesn’t work in my case), or go to a therapist/talk to a doctor because there must be something wrong with me. So yeah, people try to tell me I’m broken, but I honestly don’t believe that. I tell my mother that I hate being married mostly because I hate sex and she just says, “well you need to figure that out!” It’s taken me many years to discover that my sexual identity is not “normal.” And while I do not feel oppressed, I definitely feel misunderstood!

  9. Demisexualitry is just a word to explain how some people are driven and or turned on. Its basically our ability to want to screw someone. Some folks are easily attracted to many women or men, depending. I know a lot of men who are pick up artists and they are all basically very attracted for sexual purposes to just about any woman they meet. I however am not. Have you ever seen a woman, say a beautiful woman, walk by a dozen men–their heads turn. I’ve learned to mimic that behavior in a crowd. I just don’t feel it. However, I love sex with someone I love. If in a situation where I have sex with someone I don’t have feelings for, I really do not enjoy it.

  10. Anonymoose says:

    Hi, on your point about Demisexual opression, is it possible for those who identify as demisexual because outside of after being in a commited relationship for a few months, they are pretty much identical to a sex-repulsed asexual to experience asexual oppression?

  11. I’m a 32 year old female virgin and for the first time in my life, I make sense to myself. I thought I was broken (I was molested as a small child but knew other people who were treated worse and went on to have healthy sex lives), I’ve thought I was gay because I wasn’t attracted to men but I’m not attracted to women either, I thought I was asexual until I developed sexual attractions to close male friends. I thought maybe if I hooked up with a random guy (I’ve certainly had enough offers) and just started having sex something would click but I could never go through with it because there was 0 physical attraction on my part. My problem is I’m only sexually attracted to people I respect and trust (and only some of them) and it takes time for me develop that. And on the subject of demisexuals and porn I find porn aesthetically interesting but not arousing with the exception of ones I’ve found that actually have character development that allows me to form at least some emotional connection with the people involved. And as far as dating sites go I’m using OKC. I look for someone who had a ridiculously high match (95+) including in the friendship category and talk to them a long time before we meet.

  12. Thank you for raising awareness on this disregarded topic.

    I myself have always felt ‘different’ in my private and sentimental life. I never develop interest in sexuality per se, unless I feel a deep, strong emotional connection with a certain person. While the ceaseless showing off of vulgar intercourse without any love disturbs me deeply. I rarely express my annoyance about it, because I have found out the usual reaction is incomprehension or derision. When I was younger I would suffer, silently, for this. When there was a sex scene in some teenager movie I would go to the bathroom with an excuse and cried a lot and got stomachache. Now I avoid certain movies, books and conversations before they begin. Above all, I keep these feelings for me. But it’s unfair. Vulgar sex or dirty jokes offend my emotional sensitivity, but people take that for prudery…it’s not. I’m not even christian and quite a rebel to all social conventions. I am not interested in what others do. But don’t come and tell me what I should or should not do in my private life. Give me my own freedom. I stopped looking for (or hoping to find) people to date years ago because it made no sense to me – I felt uncomfortable and afraid, I just wanted to run away. On the other hand I strongly believe in true, loyal friendship.

    I didn’t know the word to define this way of being was ‘demisexual’. But surely I am. Hope more respect will come for people like us and more info on this topic. Through my life hard times I have learned to respect and love myself – I deserve respect as a demisexual, too. I shouldn’t be almost forced to keep it for me not to be judged. Our so called ‘democratic’ society and mainstream culture don’t contemplate freedom for demisexuality…

    I don’t like labels but I feel better knowing there are others who feel the same or similar than me.

  13. demi-girl says:

    Hi. I only recently discovered that this word demisexual existed. And to be quite honest, I’m a little relieved. I’m a woman in my 30s and I’ve never had the desire to sleep with people. Ever. Unless I was in a committed relationship with them and we had a connection. My only three meaningful relationships I have been intimate in have all been relationships that started off as friends in some way. Anyone else I ever dated, or tried to end.. failed miserably, as I just wasn’t into it. So, I stopped dating. Because I felt it was a waste of time. I had no desire to date. Or meet people to make out with or sleep with. Or anything. And the idea of being intimate with people.. was repulsive to me and just not happening. Often, I’d be called a prude and similar things. But I don’t think of myself of such. Cuz I’m not. I’m very open and sexual in a relationship once I open up with them.
    The gender of the person doesn’t play a role for me when i connect with someone. So, it doesn’t matter if it is a male or female who I connect with. I don’t choose that. It just happens. There is no gender barrier for me to connect with someone.

    Anyway, I’m just rambling now.. but, I wanted to say.. I was really relieved that i did find this term and other people talking about this the internet.. Because for a long time.. I just thought I was strange and different. And i never understood why I was the way I was. To know there is a label doesn’t make me feel good that I’m a “label”.. it just makes me feel relieved that I’m not a weirdo.. and not the only person experiencing this. So, it all makes sense to me now.

    Thank you for your article. I can see why people would have a problem with this term. I’ve told two people.. and I’ve had different reactions from both. One of them was even slightly offended.. thinking I was insulting her for having sexual desires for others and thinking I was better than them. Which is not the case at all. :-/

    I wish there were more information and material about this on the internet though as I did not find that much. I don’t get why it has to be so controversial. Like you said.. it is not about not wanting to sleep with people until you’re in a committed relationship. it’s not about that at all. It’s the fact that you have absolutely no desire or want to. and that’s the difference.

    Thanks for your writings 🙂

  14. LadyJunk says:

    I am definitely in the camp of demisexuals who are often thought of as misleading, consufing, a tease, overly selective, conceited, etc. (uh, yeah, OkCupid was kind of pointless…) Because I’m also in a poly relationship, I am sometimes thought of as jealous, controlling, or not-really-poly. Why wouldn’t I want to replace those negative, incorrect labels with one that actually describes who I am and why I don’t want to date you even though you’re cute?
    When more-sexuals (to borrow your term) find out about my demisexuality, and believe that it exists, they pause and are then surprised at how many more variations of sexuality exist than they previously thought. And that’s a cool thing! “So you’re super dirty, cleverly flirty, have a very high sex drive – and there are only a few human beings on the planet that you’ve ever wanted to even passionately kiss?” YES!!! And I can’t help it!!!
    Understanding anything on the asexual-to-more-sexual spectrum shouldn’t be a diagnosis or like trying to understand hipsters. It is a way of correctly interpreting human responses and choices beyond those that we have never stopped to question and that society takes for granted. Just because you may want to fuck every other person, doesn’t mean others do. Just because a kiss means something to you, doesn’t mean it has that same significance to the person you’re kissing. Just because my family thought bisexuals would want to fuck everyone, doesn’t mean they do. And I certainly don’t.

    PS: I enjoy porn. Not sure what that says about me. Demisexual voyeur? Haha.

  15. If emotional bonds are the sole determinant of sexual attraction, how is the sexual attraction determined after the emotional bond is formed? If sexual attraction necessarily follows the formation of an emotional bond, how could you explain friendships or family members? How could a loss of sexual attraction over time be explained by this?

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Heh. I’m afraid I can’t answer that first question in a very satisfying way. How is any kind of sexual attraction determined? For me–and I do speak only for myself–it’s usually been something like this: I like a person. We’re friends. I fall in love with that person. I start to develop sexual feelings for them as this occurs.

      I think you’ve misunderstood how I’m using “necessarily.” I think you think I’m saying is “When I form an emotional bond, sexual attraction follows.” I am actually saying this: “If I don’t form an emotional bond, sexual attraction cannot exist.” An emotional bond is necessary, but not sufficient, for sexual attraction.

      As for who gets the sexual attraction, and who doesn’t… I’m sure that varies person to person, just like it does with folks who aren’t demi. Some people probably require a certain amount of intimacy, others need romantic love, still others probably wait until a special something they can’t quite define appears. Relationships are mysterious.

      I don’t think there are ironclad rules about when a demisexual must be attracted to someone, there are only rules about when a demisexual is able to be attracted to someone. Being in love with someone allows for me to be sexually attracted to them, but I don’t imagine it forces me to be sexually attracted to them.

  16. I identified strongly as asexual until after I became close friends with my now-fiance and asked him out.
    Outside of my fiance, I experience undirected sexual arousal only maybe once or twice per month, generally corresponding to the day I ovulate and the day I start my period. The only porn that does anything at all for me is BDSM porn between two women who are both clearly enjoying it (or at least are decent enough actresses?). I’ve realized that I’m aroused by the situations they’re in and imagining myself in those situations with my fiance (and I think seeing other men’s penises kind of weirds me out, so straight porn does nothing for me). Being able to acknowledge that I enjoy being submissive, in a sexual context only, took me a long time and caused me a lot of confusion. But the fact remains that that kind of thing arouses me, but I have never been attracted to anyone other than my fiance and can’t really imagine how distracting it would be to be attracted to random people or to want to talk to someone just based on what they look like. I appreciate this post as I’m continuing to try to understand my own sexuality, and I think demisexuality is important to acknowledge because if I assume that what I feel is “normal”, then it gets much harder to understand why behaviors like flirting, casual sex, etc. are appealing to others and much easier to instead judge people who enjoy them.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      I have similar feelings about porn some of the time: I can definitely enjoy it by thinking about how much I’d like to do that thing, or have it done to me. This is less arousing, though, and more like looking at food and thinking “Man, that looks good, I’d love to eat that,” even while I’m not hungry. It certainly helps if folks look like they’re having a good time, but that’s a little complex for me.

      I always found it so easy to judge people for what they enjoy. Learning not to was a big step, and can still be difficult.

      • I would have thought that’s how most people enjoy porn – it’s how I do, and I’m far from demisexual.

        I don’t have a problem with finding a new word for things that are actually a majority experience. But I think that:
        1) Demisexual writing as I’ve seen it so far focuses on demisexuality as a supposedly oppressed minority, rather than discussing that this is something many people can identify with and dissecting the culture which makes us assume everyone else is hyper-sexual and ourselves as inadequate
        2) Relatedly, I’ve seen demisexual identified people use that as their ‘LGBT/oppression cred’ to join in discussions of oppression of LGBT people as though their experience are directly comparable to persecuted LGBT kids (and I’m including some really serious stuff, not ‘it was awkward explaining to my parents but it was basically okay’ type stories)
        3) I’ve also seen it turn to sex negativity and slut shaming super easily, as though only/mostly feeling attracted to people you love is a superior way to be, not like you other indiscriminating women who make me want to vomit just thinking about the things you do with STRANGERS oh my god yeuck – as though this was such an unusual thing to say and proof of the speaker’s special oppressedness, rather than dovetailing neatly with common or garden misogyny.

        Basically, I’d find demisexuality fascinating if the discussions focussed on things like the general culture’s attempt to sell sexiness and how alienating that is to almost everyone, on constructing your own view of relationships and sexuality against the grain of standard narratives, that kind of thing. But mostly what I see isn’t like that, it’s an attempt to turn a perfectly common and not particularly oppressed model of attraction into a Super Big Deal rather than an interesting reframing. Most of the conversations that I’ve seen seem to be about how unfair it is that people aren’t taking them seriously. Which, eh. Isn’t that easy to take seriously 😛

        • I recently discovered the term ‘demisexual’ and it has literally changed my life. I’ve never felt more comfortable with a term because it genuinely describes a huge aspect of my identity that I have been struggling with for years. I think your first point falls back into a misunderstanding of what demisexuality is. And while you may think that a majority of people would be able to identify with it, in my experience with friends and peers, I cannot see that being the case. That is NOT to say that demisexuals are oppressed. Much of the conversations you had seen may reflect a trend I’ve noticed. Non-demi or asexual people assume that demisexuals are calling themselves oppressed which forces demis to explain and defend their identity which makes it seems like they are crying oppression. But this really is just a misunderstanding. I my experience understanding demisexuality, accepting this identity is more about community and feeling comfortable with myself than it is about politics or oppression.

          Also, to address the issues with claiming LGBT identities. I truly understand where you are coming from (I work with a lot of these situations as an ally.) However, as a heteroromantic male, being demisexual, and effectively asexual for most of my time in high school and middle school, I was targeted as LGBT for not fitting the societal norms of masculinity. This could be a reason some demisexuals identify with the term queer. I don’t currently, but I can understand it.

      • Richard K says:

        @Olivia
        “I have similar feelings about porn some of the time: I can definitely enjoy it by thinking about how much I’d like to do that thing, or have it done to me. This is less arousing, though, and more like looking at food and thinking “Man, that looks good, I’d love to eat that,” even while I’m not hungry. It certainly helps if folks look like they’re having a good time, but that’s a little complex for me.”

        EXACTLY!

  17. 1) lots of demisexuals, and indeed full-on asexuals will talk openly about their own porn consumption – often with the justification that it’s a compartmentalized visual stimulation without being attracted to that person. so that isn’t really proof of anything. in any case, the vast majority of porn is consumed by men, and most of these criticisms have come from women.

    words like “heterosexual” and “cisgender” should be less understood as comfy self-aware identities than as positions of social dominance. i don’t want people to be invested in their heteroness or their cisness; these are constructs that need to be obliterated because their existence is dependent upon a social order built on the othering and violent hatred of people like me. i don’t think that’s a comparison that does the concept of demisexuality any favors.

    2) it is actually controversial – many heteroromantics insist that they still aren’t “straight,” as if the distinction is in any way relevant from a material queer perspective. and straight/arom aces need to be a lot more thoughtful about their use of LGBT resources. like the LGBT student groups dealing with them all around the U.S. and beyond right now.

    3) then social justice minded people should not really be obligated to devote nearly as much attention to it as has been expected of us in recent years, should we? essays might make a person feel empowered, but individualism is a dead end. material conditions can be described in fewer words so that we can focus on fighting to improve those conditions instead of standing around falling in love with our own uniqueness.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      1) The porn thing is on me. I don’t know many demis. I don’t talk to a lot of ace-spectrum folks, so I didn’t actually know that so many asexuality spectrum folks did porn. I don’t, obviously. I don’t get it at all. A lot of folks in the comments have called me on my misinformation. I’ve been thinking about ways to change the article to reflect the fact that I’ve learned stuff since I wrote it. I haven’t yet, and that’s my fault.

      First of all, I don’t think that an understanding and respect for one’s own privilege necessarily cancels out comfort in an identity. Folks are what they are. Second, I don’t think identities other than “cis” and “hetero” are any less constructed than those identities are. I also don’t particularly stand for their elimination. It seems to me that, even in my much hoped-for post-gender utopia there will still be many people with vaginas who embrace traditional femininity and/or the label “woman.” And many of those people will experience romantic and sexual attraction to people with penises who embrace traditional masculinity and/or the label “men.” In short, there will always be straight people. I see no reason to think that’s inescapable.

      These points, however, are kind of moot. This piece is my best attempt at a 101 and GMP is, in a lot of ways, a space where 101s are necessary. Most of my readers are heterosexual men. Most of them don’t seem to be feminists. Some of them are even hostile to social justice and its related schools of thought. Cisness and heterosexuality, however, are things they identify with and will defend. That’s one of the reasons why this comparison is in there. It’s very basic. Deliberately. I’m doing my best to write to my core audience, even if I might rather my core audience be made up of people like you.

      2) That’s a good point and I appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I think it’s fair to assert that heteromantic asexuals don’t really fall under the LGBT umbrella. But I also don’t think that their orientation is normative and I respect that. As such, I definitely hope that we can find spaces where LGBT people and asexuality-spectrum people can find spaces to co-exist and represent their collective non-normativity.

      3) I’m not demanding attention from the social justice-minded. What I want from folks who read this article is to believe that demisexuality is a real identity and respect it. That’s actually it. I haven’t particularly seen demi folks demand attention from social justice folks. Personally, I’m not in love with my own uniqueness. If I were, it’s not demisexuality isn’t the aspect of my identity I’d talk about. Likewise, I haven’t seen many demi folks who seemed to me to just be in love with uniqueness. I’ve seen a lot of us be in love with the term “demi,” but I think that’s mostly because we’re thrilled to be able to explain ourselves and communicate effectively about who we are and how we feel.

      • Richard K says:

        Hi, I enjoyed your article and found most of it quite accurate.
        I am 100% DemiHetero, I am in my mid-50s and have only ever had 3 intimate partners, and that is probably one too many.
        I have never felt, and am unable to really understand, ‘lust’. I have never felt lust for anyone in my life.
        When I have been asked what my ‘type’ was, my reply was always that my ‘type’ is whatever the person I was in love with was like. I HAVE TO know, like and respect a person deeply before I ever feel anything more than friendship for them.
        Yes, pornography is a completely separate thing. It satisfies a physical urge with no connection to the real world or real people.
        I enjoy looking at attractive females in the same way as I enjoy looking at scenery, paintings, etc with no desire to possess. Mostly what I find myself thinking if I meet someone I find attractive in any way is “I’d like to get to know her better”

        It was good finding this definition recently as I had spent about 40 years wondering if I was somehow unique in my attitudes and feelings.

        The thing I haven’t really seen anyone else say is that it is a lonely life on the whole as even the partners I have had (two for over 14 years each) never seem to be able to understand just why I act and feel this way.
        However, I would not change to the promiscuous ‘norm’ for anything!
        Cheers

  18. wellokaythen says:

    “Demisexual” sounds to me like a fetish for a particular style of bra. Or like a dark-haired divorcee with children who has a much younger male lover. (Pronounced “deMEEsexual.”). Good thing you explained it more fully. : – )

    Labels of sexual categories are proliferating and subdividing, and I think that’s kind of a good thing. But, it means that you can’t really have much confidence that a new word will catch on, because there will probably be some refinement of it immediately afterwards. This also means that people need to approach words with a little sense of humor and not get too obsessive about linguistic perfection. All single-word labels for sexuality are problematic.

    The fairest, most accurate thing, which is where we seem to be headed, is to treat one’s sexuality as an “essay answer” and not a “fill-in-the-blank answer.” Where the language of sexual orientation (and “orientation” is not the best word, either) is going is towards smaller and smaller subdivisions. “I think of myself as a ______, which to me means ….” And then statement would often prompt a conversation when the listener says, “I never liked that word ____, because to me it has a bad connotation. I actually prefer _____.” And before you know it, you’ve had a stimulating conversation about what you like and what they like.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Wellokaythen, I’ve actually written that shit out before. It was nearly a blog post. Charles convinced me not to.

      But, yeah. Somewhere on my computer, there’s definitely a document that talks about how I identify as a cis-female femme, queer demisexual submissive masochist and what literally each of those terms means to me. I’m pretty happy about that, though. It’s important to talk about boundaries with partners. And I think it can be important to talk about what identities and labels mean, too. I think that can be super great.

  19. Reading this post, I’m strikingly reminded of this cartoon, on a most excellent strip:
    http://xkcd.com/1095/

    I’m honestly at a loss whether to admire or pity you (admittedly, you’ve asked for neither). It’s articles like this that remind me to take a step back and look at the big picture. You can indeed parse the world of the demisexual -and have – but whither the lesbian demisexual? What about bisexual demisexual men who can only generate arousal with an emotional attachment to a man? Bidemihomosexuals?

    My point is, you’ve thought this through, and arrived at a lot of conclusions which I can’t call untrue. Why? I can’t escape the suspicion that, as you zoom in on the fractal edges of sexuality, you’re trying to find a way to make yourself unique. And that’s fair – but this is nothing that the world should care about. It’s way too esoteric and postgender to matter to anyone – no?

    I’d rather support LGBTQ folks from over here on the straight side, and not worry too much about demisexuality.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I hate that cartoon. I’m always getting lumped in with the plastic straw “hobbyists,” when in fact that whole concept is just an attempt by the “professionals” to discredit the movement for complete equality. They refuse to accept that I am attracted to both swizzle sticks AND straws. “Just pick one already!” is what they say to me.

      😉

    • anonymous says:

      Hi there…thanks for at least making an effort not to be demeaning 😛 i can see where you’re coming from, but the problem with your perspective is that you’re treating any attempt to have new words to describe sexuality as being part of an effort to address oppression. And that isn’t really true — because human gender, sexuality, and romance are very very complex, like how the specturm of colors is made of much more than red, yellow and blue. Therefore, having a word to talk about a facet of sexuality that exists but doesn’t usually lead people to encounter bigotry (although it can…I’m demisexual and can be attracted to both men and women for example, for example. Do you think fundamentalists are going to make a distinction before they yell at me? :P) is just about being able to communicate more clearly, not always about fighting oppression!

      Since you linked a comic, I’ll link you a comic. My view of human sexuality is the one in the third row of this comic: http://www.viruscomix.com/page528.html It’s complex stuff! Like the rainbow. All we can do is TRY to describe it…that’s why so many words are popping up these days, because it’s hard to quantify straightforwardly. When I first began discussing LGBT issues on the internet after being an advocate IRL for a while, I was boggled to discover there was all this stuff other than heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender. Like, I didn’t understand why the word “pansexual” existed at all and why people didn’t just call themselves bi. For a couple days I guess I had a pretty snooty internal attitude about it, until I came to the conclusion I have above – that it’s not about “feeling special” it’s just about human feelings being complex, and well worth attributing extra terms to! And I still believe that. So people can coin whatever terms they feel they need, for the sake of facilitating communication. Lots of people would need multiple words to describe theirs, like the “joke” examples you gave, but I don’t think that’s a reason to make fun of them.

      Going back to the color example, it’s like having a word for puce. A single shade of somewhat obtrusive green isn’t all that important maybe, but the fact that the word “puce” exists makes it convenient to discuss on those occasions when we may need to, or it’s the EXACT color you want for your wall/knitting wool/puce wedding cake.I’d like to think that if a word can exist for a silly shade of green, then it’s perfectly fine of me to expect a nice convenient word to exist for my particular flavor of libido! 😛 It’s there to make it easier to talk about with other people, not to cry out about oppression olympics. I have met faaaaar more people saying “Why are you claiming to be an oppressed sexual minority?!” than I have demisexuals claiming to be one (have met none of those…), since people think that’s the only reason to coin a word – and it’s not!

      • Olivia Davis says:

        Feast, I understand and appreciate your comment. Those fractal edges of sexuality absolutely exist. I’ve been staring into that abyss for months and there really is no end. I absolutely see where you’re coming from. I do think it’s important to the world, though, for three reasons:

        1) It makes individuals happy. You don’t have to care about it, because you’re not demi, but knowing that demi exists is really important to me, and to many other demi folks. So, it’s important to the world, because it’s important to people in the world, yeah?
        2) A lot of demisexual people are LGBT, too. Most of us don’t have gender preferences, so we do happen to fall under that umbrella. I’m definitely queer.
        3) The proliferation of these terms is, in my opinion, pretty great. Each term helps us think about and interrogate sexuality, and I think that interrogation can be pretty important on a cultural level.

        Otherwise, I just agree with pretty much everything the anon has said and really appreciate it. Thanks a lot, anon! I couldn’t have put it better myself, and I’ve always loved that comic.

      • By the way, Puce is pink, not green. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puce

        According to Wiki: Puce is the French word for flea. The color is said to be the color of the bloodstains remaining on linen or bedsheets, even after being laundered, from a flea’s droppings or after a flea has been killed.

        Your random factoid of the day. (I know, I always assumed Puce was green too!)

    • There are ways to identify your romantic attractions as a demisexual (also as an asexual). For example, I’m a Biromantic Demisexual. A “lesbian demisexual” would be a Homoromantic Demisexual. It’s basically the matter of taking your Bi-, Homo-, Hetero-, Pan-, or what have you, and tacking it onto the word romantic. These terms were originally to denote the romantic interests of asexuals, but as demisexuality falls into the asexual spectrum, they have been adopted into this too. There are also aromantics, but I won’t go there right now. 😉

  20. You can’t just make a new word and then shove it on everyone, that isn’t how the development of new words works,when someone tries to create a new word, at first people will be hesitant to take it, and will stand against it, this is normal and you should let it slide, you can not argue a word into existence.
    this is part of the problem I have with all these so called ‘identities’ people just seem to make stuff up and then when we don’t believe what they say we’re branded as hateful.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Gin, thanks for your comment!

      I think it very much can be how the development of new words work. Words like “kilobyte” and terms like “nihilism” were invented by people to explain things. They were coined. And then they were picked up and ended up being accepted terms. And if people argue that x is the term we should have for y, and enough other folks find that argument persuasive… Yeah. I think you can argue a word into use. Look at what I’ve done with this thread. There are a couple of people in it who hadn’t heard of “demisexuality” before and now either identify with it, or just believe it exists. So, it looks like I argued a word into their vocabularies.

      The problem that words for identities have is that we’re only now in a position where we can actually openly describe “genderqueer,” “demisexual,” “polysexual,” and the like. And we kind of need words to describe these things so that we can effectively communicate about what we are and what we want. I understand how weird it feels to be presented with a massive list of new terms you have to use in order to communicate with people, but I ultimately think it’s a very good thing.

      As for hate… Well, first of all, look at this thread. No one is calling anyone hateful. Second of all, what’s hateful is not a reluctance to use a word. It’s not a curmudgeonly linguistic perscriptivism. It’s not even a certain crabbiness about all of the new words you have to learn and remember. What treads much closer to hateful in my book is a refusal to believe people when they say “This is how I feel.” It’s the assumption that they’re making things up. It’s the decision to put the word “identities,” in scare quotes and to call them “so-called identities,” instead of merely “identities.” Can you see how people might be hurt and offended by that?

      • Thanks so much! Words are powerful. Demisexual is the first term I’ve come across that perfectly explains what is going on with me. I have had a very frustrating sex life. It destroyed my marriage and has made post-divorce dating a especially hellish experience.
        My own situation is complicated by the fact that I am a female submissive, slightly bisexual. A lot of my struggles to experience desire came out of feeling like I was not being sufficiently dominated. I realize now that I am content with a less rigorous domination if I already have an emotional connection. Combine the emotional connection and the right level of domination, I experience intense sexual desire.

  21. I also wanted to thank you, Olivia, for this article.

    I have been struggling for years to understand myself. It wasn’t until earlier this week my best friend told me she thought maybe I was a demisexual based on what I had told her. Demisexual is a term I had no knowledge of until she mentioned it. It made me curious enough to do a search on it. I am glad that I ended up here. I am still not sure this is exactly what I am, but it is the closest thing to my own experiences I’ve ever heard of.

    I work in a gym, so I’m around a lot of beautiful people quite often. But it’s as everyone on this forum has said, in that I can appreciate these people aesthetically, but I am not ATTRACTED to them… And sometimes, honestly, I don’t even notice that they’re good-looking until a co-worker points it out, and then I’m “yeah, he/she is cute, I can see why you’d think that.” NOT “oh, yeah, he/she IS hot/fine/banging, etc” – the words they would use.

    Also, I have attempted to have sex with people I was dating twice but each time it was so uncomfortable in a clinical detached sort of way that I couldn’t go through with it. Those relationships ended up not lasting very long after, unsurprisingly… So, I am nearly 30 years old, and have only ever been sexually attracted to one person in my life, and that came after being friends for three years. Although I can watch porn, and experience arousal, unlike some of the commenters on here; it is only because when I do so, it is imagining myself and the ONE person I’m attracted to in those situations being portrayed. Not because I find anyone in pornography even remotely attractive.

    I won’t say that all this means I’m in anyway oppressed, but it IS hard to explain to everyone else. All of my friends (and I have quite a few) all fall in what I would say the “sexual” group. Some are straight, bi, pan, etc. But none of them are asexual or any form thereof. They don’t understand at all.

    When I was a teenager I thought maybe I just had higher morals than others. (I may have been judging some of my sluttier friends) But it’s been years since then and now I realize my morals weren’t higher, it’s that I just really had NEVER experienced what they were going through then – and still do. Whenever I mention something to someone about it (and they actually believe me) they tell me there’s something wrong with me. They say its because I need to lose weight (although that is true now, this has been an issue far longer than my weight has been) or they say that it’s just hormones, and if the doctors put me on medication, then I would feel like them. Like “normal.” Which is something I’ll still have to think about. I don’t know if it would help or not. Or even if I want it to. Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’re not. And if they aren’t, then where would I be? Apparently, it leaves me a demisexual. And that’s okay.

    Again, thanks for this article. It, as well as the responses, have done a lot to reassure me that I’m not as alone in this as I thought.

  22. Sorry but for what i read here, most women, if not all women are demi??? My question is, are there women who are not demi? I think its pretty common for women saying they only want to have sex with men they are in love right??? So demisexuality is not really rare among women. Its more interesting to me hearing men talking about demisexuality, if there are men like that, i want to really know. I wont have sex with women i dont have feelings, because i wont, not because i’m not aroused, so i’m not demi.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I think you’re misunderstanding.

      To my knowledge, demisexuality is more common among women than it is among men. That’s true.
      I know plenty of women who will have sex with people they don’t have strong emotional attachments to, though. They’re really interested in casual sex, or even anonymous sex, even. It’s possible that most women won’t have sex with people who won’t have sex with men they don’t have feelings for—just like you won’t with women who you don’t have feelings for. But as you said, that’s not being demi.

      I think most women aren’t demi. I think most women can or do experience sexual arousal with or from folks they’re not in love with, or seriously emotionally connected to. Most women are able to look at someone who meets their standards and feel sexual attraction, even if they wouldn’t act on it.

      • yeah i’ agree. But i’m really interested in demisexuality among men because i havent found men who claimed they are demisexuals. ( but to be honest the first time i know the term demisexual is from this article ) I know some cases that guys describe themselves as asexuals and cant have sexual attraction toward other women , maybe they are just demi and havent found someone they love??

        • You’re coming off as seriously sexist and heterocentrist here.

          I think there’s an issue with people who are socialised as female who are also attracted to men feeling safe enough to explore their sexual feelings. Maybe there is a trend of women choosing to wait to have sexual encounters until they get to know someone, but I don’t think that is because they don’t feel a sexual attraction to someone until they have an emotional connection to them – it is because they may not feel safe acting on their feelings. There’s a huge difference between not feeling a huge amount of sexual attraction to someone you don’t know very well and not having the privilege of being able to get into sexual situations with strangers due to systemic misogynist oppression that tells you that if this person sexually assaults you, you will be blamed. The expression of women’s sexuality has long been curtailed and harangued against by Western culture, but this does not mean that having to operate within that is something that women find “natural” or even necessarily want.

          • Olivia Davis says:

            I agree completely. =)

            Thank you for the comment! The only thing I’d add is that some women—and some people who are not women!—are, in fact, demisexual and it’s not necessarily about safety for us. This is a fact that can be frustrating because those sorts of misogynist paradigms you’ve talked about can make us demis confused about our behavior and what motivates it. Likewise, it can look like we’re embracing certain icky notions about how dating “should” go, which is very unfortunate.

  23. My same sex female partner is a Demi, and so also was a close male friend in grad school. They are both so happy to have a term to most-accurately describe themselves. I had thought most demisexuals could “go either way” (I didn’t think they had a particular sexual preference), but it makes sense there would be a spectrum for that like everything else. Thanks for the neat article!

    • Olivia Davis says:

      To my knowledge, most demis aren’t picky about gender, exactly like you said. I don’t think all of ’em are, but I’m not totally sure I’ve encountered a wholly homo or heteroromantic demi before.

      You’re welcome, though!

  24. shinylavarocks says:

    Hi! I know I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to add my thanks to you for writing this. I was the same as a lot of the other people who have commented: I read the description of demisexual for the first time and went, “Wow, for the first time I’ve found something that fits for me!”

    I’ve always been sex-positive (once I realized that sex could just be friendly exercise for some people, even if not for me, my only admonishment to anyone was “be safe”) but without any of the, you know, actual sex on my part. And that led to some seriously weird conversations, and some tension in various quarters. (I’m bisexual, and explaining to a man that I’m into him romantically but just not feeling it yet sexually is for some reason much more — expected? maybe — than explaining the same thing to a woman, I’ve found.) I’m 36, and have only honestly wanted two people in my entire life to touch me sexually, really wanted it in the way other people describe attraction and arousal. Once my feelings were in that zone, sex was frequent and great good fun.

    I haven’t been in a relationship in a few years (life’s just been happening) and was on the verge of deciding I must really be asexual, since I didn’t find myself missing the sexual element of relationships. I have cuddly friends, and that was satisfying to me in a way that had nothing to do with my libido. (I have a fetish I can use to get release if it’s becoming a bothersome urge, but the only time libido has translated to “want to have sex with this person” is the two I mentioned.) I don’t see people walking by and go “wow, I would sleep with him/her.” I honestly felt the greatest aesthetic response of my life to the David (M’s). Real people provoked no greater response in me than a marble statue, unless I loved them.

    I once described my understanding of sexuality (as in, the bar each person has for having sexual relations) as a sliding scale between, “We see, we smile, we fuck, we love it” to “we understand, we trust, we love, we fuck, we love it” and had people tell me I was right except that *nobody* was actually on the latter end of that scale, not *really*, unless they had some kind of Puritan hang-ups or sexual dysfunction. I was never quite brave enough to raise my hand and say, “But I was talking about me!”

    I’m babbling, sorry. It’s just that I only tripped over this term in the past few days, and it felt so *right*, and then of course the next thing I saw was the Womanist blogging about it, and it really threw me. All my life I’ve identified as bisexual, I’m biracial and just generically weird, and you think identifying with this word means I’m trying to be a pretty purple snowflake? *Really*? And so many people seem to think that.

    Thanks for the validation, both in your post and in opening a space for the comments everyone has left. I really needed to see this!

    • I had something like that happen, when I was trying to “come out” to a friend. She said, “Oh, hon, you just haven’t found the right person yet.” Someone I’ve known for the better part of a decade. I almost hung up on her. Or screamed. Or cried. It’s so offensive when people assume that you don’t know yourself on a level as personal as this… Just because it’s not YOUR sexuality doesn’t mean it’s, y’know… nonexistent.

      I really wish I’d had the term to throw out to my hateful roommates a few years ago who openly mocked me for not wanting to have sex. Or several months ago, when I was in school and my classmates were asking about my lack of a love life and I just spat out, “I… just don’t… do that.”

      • Olivia Davis says:

        Psh, no such thing as late to this party. This party rocks all the time.

        I’m lucky. Infatuation hits me hard and fast, and then is still able to smoothly transition into a functional relationship. I’ve yet to run into “I think you’re neat romantically/as a person, but sexual feelings have yet to blossom!” with people in such a way that it’s caused issues. But, man, I can imagine it causing so many issues. That’s why I’m still so scared of OKCupid and hunting for new partners. So far, I’ve mostly lucked into them.

        I don’t much miss sex, either, when I don’t get it. I miss the intimacy of it, and I miss my partner, but I don’t get horny. Ever, actually. If I’m in a relationship, sometimes I wish we’d have sex more than we do, because it sure is a nice time, and sometimes I worry that, since we don’t have sex as much as we used to, maybe there’s something wrong? But I don’t crave it. I can get excited about people I don’t love, like, “Wow! She’s really, really good looking!” Because I can tell that people are sexually attractive. I know what sexy is. I even like it. I just don’t feel it.

        It’s funny… A lot of people seem to complain that if you’re demi you’re either too normal, or too much of a prude. Which is weird, because the differences between being either of those things and demi seems absolutely clear to me.

        You only just found it?! Well, shucks! Congratulations! Welcome! Mazel Tov! I’m happy you’re here. Don’t get me wrong, I understand where folks are coming from: there is a big push in certain communities to be special. And, especially in social justice areas, it’s hard not to feel special. It’s hard to be just another white, cis girl because everybody else has issues and they might turf you out of their discussions if you’re not special enough. But reactions to new identities are far too hostile, and it’s always shitty to tell someone they can’t have an identity, especially if it you haven’t even… talked to anyone with that identity.

        I’m thrilled to have provided validation. I don’t know what else I’ll write, but this might be the most important thing I’ve written yet. It’s actually unbelievably wonderful to have made something that so many people have appreciated. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing. It’s one of my great hopes that people will find this post before they find the Womanist post. I’d like it if people got some support before they get torn down again. I’d like to encourage that buoyant I-finally-fit feeling to last as long as possible. I’m here to help.

        And, Sarah, yes, very yes. Also, super boo to people who don’t trust you with your own emotions and feelings. Super boo to those people. They are not constructive, and they hurt people. Also their behavior is super douchey.

  25. You’re a special snow flake/////

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Aw, thanks! That’s nice of you to say, especially since you don’t even know me. I like to think I’m special, but sometimes I feel insecure about it. I really appreciate such an unexpected compliment.

      Seriously, though, if there’s something you’d like to talk about, I’m prepared to discuss and defend my claims.

  26. This was a great article- I enjoyed reading it, and it really helped give more of a definition to demisexuality.

    When I first read about demisexuality, I could identify with it- I have never been genuinely sexually attracted to someone in my life with the exception of my current boyfriend (of over four years). whenever I would say I thought someone was attractive, I meant that I thought they were attractive like a room is attractive, or like a paitning is attractive, or like flowers are attractive. Like I said, I have never been genuinely sexually attracted to any person, with the exception of my boyfriend. However, there is more to the matter, that really confuses me about… myself. :s

    I enjoy sex itself, as an activity. Though I thrive on thoughts of romantic first-times between two people who are in Love, I merely shrug at the thought of a steamy, passionate one-night stand. However, (imagining I had never met my current boyfriend) when it comes to sex, if I ever had to have sex and be intimate with someone, I feel that I would be equally comfortable doing so with a woman or a man. Taking this into consideration, I would be a biromantic demisexual. However, it isn’t so; Though I whole-heartedly believe it is possible for other women to fall in love with women, I just can’t imagine myself falling in love with or having a romantic emotional connection to another woman. The idea of it just doesn’t… register with me. I simply can’t fathom it in myself. I can only feel a romantic emotional connection to men.

    By this logic, would I just be a heteroamorous demisexual? Or something wierd… like a hetero-romantic, demi-bi-sexual? I know you don’t have to put a label on yourself, but I enjoy having a solid name to identify certain aspects of myself.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I’m thrilled you liked it and glad to have helped.

      As for labels… There’s a certain point, I think, they can become slightly confusing and unhelpful. If I were in your situation, I think I’d call myself a bisexual, heteroromantic demisexual, but I might also go with “heteroromantic demisexual,” and carefully explain that, while I identify as demi, romantic connection isn’t absolutely necessary for me to actually feel sexually attracted to someone.

      Perhaps you are one of those “connection, but not necessarily love” demis, who also happens to be heteroromantic? Does that makes sense to you?

      • You guys realize you are just setting the whole queer movement BACK, alienating potential straight-allies and wasting time that could be better spent helping actually oppressed minorities, right? You are not queer, you are just on the normal, acceptable, legal spectrum of sexuality and no one will ever side-eye you until you start making up crazy words to try to stand out and get your share of the oppression olympic medals.

        Maybe worry a bit more about “coming out” with your flavor of the week sexuality when it prevents you from marriage or adopting children or has you bullied, beat up or executed.

        Bored, spoiled white suburbanites who have never once been threatened with death growing up because of who they are like myself and my friends were. I don’t hate you or wish you ill, I just wish you would do something positive or useful for the queer community instead of spending time labeling yourself in a desperate attempt to stand out from the herd.

        • Olivia Davis says:

          Hi!

          Did you read my article? It looks like you might have missed some points.

          First of all, you’re confusing me and a lot of other people in this thread for someone else. I’m queer. Gender does not affect my attraction to people. I haven’t had many partners, but I’ve still managed boys and a girl! Most demisexuals are queer, too in that we tend to be pan or biromantic. To clarify, I’m not claiming demisexuality as queerness. I never did that. I’m merely saying that demisexuals can be queers, too.

          Third, did you just mock oppression Olympics and then play them? I do not think that demisexuality is an axis of oppression. I’ll repeat that: I do not think demisexuality is an axis of oppression. But I do think it’s an identity that is real and affects people’s lives, sometimes even in negative ways. Read the other comments if you’d like to see some folks talking about the unique strangenesses of being demi.

          Fourth, I’m pretty sure all demisexuals aren’t white. I happen to be, but that’s quite an assumption you’ve made.

          Also, sorry. The queer community is not important to everyone. But being able to explain yourself and having words to call yourself is important to a lot of people. Being able to call ourselves “demisexual,” having a name for what we are, is a titanic good for many of us. Again, I urge you to read the other comments and learn about our experiences.

          Finally, please stop trying to strip us of our identities and please don’t assume things about our motives . That’s impolite and you know it.

        • DUDE! Did you even read the article? First of all the author (and most of the commentors) agree that demisexuality isn’t usually something that is met with bigotry or discrimination; in fact it’s just kind of frustrating to explain to people, but we don’t usually have trouble passing. So it is not an axis of oppression. That is right there in the article! Lots of things aren’t an axis of oppression and are still good to discuss! Having a particular sort of sexuality and discussing it with other people just indicates we want to share our experiences with others who have similar ones (look how much “oh wow, you too? I thought I was the only one! This is so cool” is going on in this comment thread), not that we want to act special or play “oppression Olympics” or whatever.

          Second, a LOT of demisexuals are bi/pan too and capable of attraction to any gender (this descriptor fits me), just read the thread. And a lot of us are not strongly attached to our gender identity either. And I’m not white or suburban, or especially spoiled or bored either 🙂 Assumptions are bad!

          • Olivia Davis says:

            Whoops, I’m sorry! I lost track of your comment and failed to respond in a timely manner. Which is a shame, because I really appreciate what you’ve brought to the table!

            Thanks for helping me speak up for us! And thanks for proving my point that not all demisexuals are cut from the same white, suburban cloth. I found that assumption to be pretty frustrating, but didn’t know of anyone that I could point at in order to undo it. It’s very kind of you to speak up.

  27. You know, the more I read about demisexuality, the more I start to think I may be a Demisexual!

    Okay, I’ll admit there have been times where I felt pressured into just having casual sex because according to some people its wrong to be a male virign in his twenties (21). But I never have found the idea of having sexual relationships with random strangers to be appealing! I don’t know them, I dont want to lose my virginity to them. and I just don’t find the idea of casual sex to be appealing! I want to be in a loving intimate relationship with someone that finds almost everything about me to be appealing! I guess I want my soulmate!

    I’m not entirely sure if this makes me demisexual or not, but I dunno!

    thanks for reading this.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Hi, Sam!

      First of all, let me be clear that I’m in no way here to police your identity or tell you what you are or aren’t. Sexuality is finicky and complex and it’s up to you to decide what definitions you fit, not me.

      Having said that, I think you’re running into an important distinction and it’s not 100% clear to me which side of the divide you’re falling on. Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like casual sex is unappealing to you. You’re not interested in it. It’s not what you want. However. Demisexuality means that you’re not sexually attracted to people who you’re not already in a relationship with, not just that you wouldn’t have sex with people you’re not already in a relationship with. It definitely means “I wouldn’t have sex with you,” and “I don’t want to have sex with you,” but also “I am not attracted to you. I lack the urge at all to have sex with you, independent of my moral conclusions.”

      Does that make sense?

      • Hi, Olivia
        Thanks for responding.
        I guess that does make sense in a way. I guess what I meant in my previous post is that its not that I have sexual attraction to any women that I find visually appealing, but rather that I feel pressured into doing so. I guess that doesn’t make me actually demisexual but to be honest, I’m not sure what that does make me! Maybe its because I equate sex with love, and the idea of me trying to lose my virginity to someone that I wouldn’t have feelings for would be very weird because what if I had started to develop feelings because they willingly wanted to have sex with me and I mistook that as Romantic feelings rather than just purely sexual! I mean what if I started to become attached to that person and they find it repulsive because they were only in it for the sex!

        I guess that just makes me a hopeless romantic then *lol*

        But thank you for responding, I appreciate it!

  28. Great article!

    It’s been a little disheartening to see the opinions people hold about demisexuality; I only discovered the label recently (as in earlier this week) and it fit me so perfectly. I’m over the moon about having a name for the way I’ve felt- I’ve spent years thinking something was wrong with me- but reading all this stuff about how my identity isn’t real or I’m confused or I’m making things up to seem like a super-special snowflake is quite frankly a bit insulting.

    It makes me hesitant to start coming out to my friends, or try to explain at least, because I’m not sure they’d understand or even accept it.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Heh. It’s time for me, again, to say to a commenter “yep. I understand completely.” I’m in permissive live-and-let-live oriented social circles, so I never felt like there was anything exactly *wrong* with me. I did feel different and it didn’t feel good. I did feel confused about the slutty, wonderful fun everyone else was having and wondered why I didn’t want to have it. Trying to explain myself was very difficult. And then, suddenly, a label. And it all made perfect, crystal clear sense.

      It was only after that that I learned my perfect label was controversial. And I was insulted too, and mad. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote this article. I wanted to say, once and for all, almost, “this is real, and it’s me.”

      I encourage you to come out to, uh, everyone. I think that once we stop being weird, our position will become less assailable.

  29. I could have almost cried when I read this. I had no idea what so ever that what I feel was a) ‘real’ and b) had a name. I only came across the article by chance. Whilst I’ve had my share of sexual partners, I’ve only ever been sexually attracted to three. Ever. I’ve literally laid back and thought of my country with the others. It’s not that they were sloppy lovers, or horrible people, and I liked them well enough, but I wasn’t sexually attracted to them. I likened it to ‘the spark’. I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with me. I noticed my attraction to them dwindled at the relationships tailed off…maybe I’m confusing matters. In an effort to find some one (and to keep my friends quiet) I’ve been on several dates, but none of them, not one, strikes me as sexually attractive. I’m completely indifferent to them. Am I too picky? Porn does nothing for me..though my vibrator does (*cough*). Maybe, I am too picky!

    • Olivia Davis says:

      It’s hard for me to explain how happy I am to have brought you a word, a label, and security in who and what you are. Because it is real, and it does have a name. I understand how important that can be. I’m thrilled that you found this and extra thrilled if it gives you even a modicum of hope or happiness.

      “The spark” is something that made a lot of sense to me before I discovered the identification, too. I definitely thought I was just really, really picky. It’s hard for me to think that there’s actually anything particularly wrong with “too picky,” though. It can put you in some tricky positions, but lowering your standards might just end with you being very unhappy.

  30. Former asexual identifying, somewhat grey-a here, and someone who experiences little sexual attraction to people (I’ve had maybe two crushes in my life?)

    …We need to divorce the idea of sexual attraction from that of libido. Asexuals can consume porn and masturbate all the time. It’s the lack of wanting to have sex WITH another person. That is what defines ace. I, as a grey-a person, still consume a fair amount of erotica (mostly text-based, visuals don’t really do much for me), and yet I am really ONLY sexually attracted to my boyfriend. I see other people as aesthetically attractive, but not sexually.

    Porn consumption and libido has nothing to do with ace spectrum-ness. At all.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Hi, Skidd, thanks for your comment.

      I hope that my article didn’t suggest that no demi people can like porn. I merely meant that I find my lack of interest in porn to be an expression of my demisexuality. I find them to be things that go together, which is what I meant. Also, in my brief wanderings through ace and demi communities, I’ve found people saying “I’m ace/demi/grey-a but I like porn,” as well as the opposite, and even people claiming, as I’m inclined to, that their disinterest in porn is an expression of their identity.

      Having said that, I think your suggestion is really interesting. It’s hard for me to let go of my thoughts on porn as an expression of my demisexuality, but I can see how people clinging to notions that you have to have a certain stance on pornography to identify as a person on the asexuality spectrum could potentially become dangerous and confusing. Do you think it’d be useful to add (yet another) label? Something like “Asexual, libidinous” and “demisexual, demilibidinous,” etc? That seems a bit much to me, but it might actually be useful.

      • Victoriana says:

        It’s already a label, actually – some aces refer to themselves as “libidoist” or “nonlibidoist.” 🙂 (Not to be confused with the now-defunct “Official Nonlibidoism Society,” which was heavily anti-sexual and elitist.)

        Anyway, great article – it means a lot to see other demis standing up and explaining why ill-informed opinions like the ones you linked are, well, ill-informed, since it can lead to shitstorms and nasty trolling. Thanks for putting yourself out there. ♥

        • Olivia Davis says:

          Color me utterly unsurprised.

          Also, thank you! Those articles really upset me, actually. I read them and just thought, “You have never talked to a demisexual, have you? Never.” And it was doubly sad for me because they, despite seeming as though they’d never spoken to one of us in earnest, were ready to condemn the shit out of our identification and even flatly call it fake.

          I’m happy to put myself out there and really happy at what this article has brought to people. It was my pleasure.

  31. Ah, yes. This is a great piece. Being myself demi, I just love it when people get serious about it. 😉 There’s nothing more irritating than being denied the space to be yourself without people, left and right, trying to deny your existence. I say, more power to demisexuals! We’ve got our own struggles, and though they aren’t particularly bad (if compared…), having to constantly defend ourselves can be quite tiring too. Let’s spread the word about demisexuality so people can get used to us and stop being so annoying!

    Also, I think your comparison between demisexuality and bisexuality (in one comment’s answer) is spot on, and, on a side note, I definitely find it amusing that I can be both a slut and a prude just by being myself. (Go, go biromantic demisexuals, hahahaha.)

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I was really shocked when I found out it was so controversial, and doubly shocked when I learned that it’s controversial with other ace-spectrum people (though, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been since my experience with asexual folks has suggested to me that a fair number of ’em are pretty stuck-up and.or defensive about their sexuality, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t look kindly on interlopers). I was particularly alarmed by the vitriol of the Womanist Musings post. Sheesh, ma’am, have you ever talked to a demisexual?

      The secret joke I’ve developing is that demisexuals are totally oppressed. They’re just oppressed by other sexual minorities and social justic-y people because nobody believes we exist and is excited to call our identity fake. It’s pretty lame.

      Also, I know! I’m really pretty slutty….for my partner. Everybody else just ranges from “um, no,” to “ew!”

  32. TheSunIsRising says:

    I always just assumed that this was just the way I worked, and that other people probably had a different way of operating when they had casual sex. I never thought of it as being a form of sexuality before, but now that you’ve pointed it out, it makes a lot of sense to me. What’s interesting to me is that before I became sexually active, I had plenty of sexual fantasies and so forth, but it was a total turn-off to insert either myself or someone that I knew into any of them. They had to (and still have to) be completely about strangers in my head, nothing first-person. Even now, I can’t fantasize about my boyfriend in that way. I can recall appreciatively things we have done together, and feel a certain amount of desire because of it, but I can’t masturbate to that. Ew. Weird. I do appreciate certain erotica, but porn makes me uncomfortable.
    It’s interesting that this should have come up, because for a while now I have been curious about trying to get intimate with women, perhaps in the context of a threesome with my boyfriend, and we’ve discussed it a few times. The problem for me is that, while objectively I am attracted to the idea of sex with a woman, I definitely cannot put any real woman into that role. Even women I find attractive, I cannot think of sexually without cringing because the thought of having sex with someone I don’t feel a strong connection with and trust implicitly seems truly awful to me.
    Thanks for writing this post, and explaining this so articulately. It’s comforting to know that other people feel like this and it’s not just me being a weirdo who’s too into relationships or something. Especially in college, that feeling can sometimes get a little strong, when a lot of your friends are really into more permissive sexual relationships and you start to think that maybe you should be, too.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I’m super-happy to provide you with a label, or to help you think and engage more with your sexuality or experience of desire. That makes me really happy.

      Heh. Sometimes with movie stars, or people I think are good looking, my thought is something like, “Hey, I bet it’d be fun to watch them make out with someone equally attractive.” But if I think about them touching me, I go “ew! No! Why would they–or I!–want that? We don’t know each other!” I’m happy to see other people’s intimacy, because intimacy is beautiful and awesome to me. I enjoy it, but it still doesn’t arouse me. I can’t masturbate to thoughts of my partner, either. I think it’s partially because masturbation isn’t that fun for me, so I can’t get that into it, but telling myself a story about us doing something awesome almost never enhances my experience.

      “[T]he thought of having sex with someone I don’t feel a strong connection with and trust implicitly seems truly awful to me.” Yep. Yep. Exactly. I precisely know what you mean. In a perfect world, maybe fully knowing that you require emotional intimacy before physical intimacy will help you to navigate your way into some ladypants? That would be neat!

      I’ve definitely often felt bad/weird about not being in those permissive sexual relationships. Especially because loving more than one person and having them love you back sounds so absolutely awesome. Buut my bar for intimacy is a little high, so it’s yet to work out. Also, thanks a ton for your response. I’d hoped to tell people what demisexuality is, make them believe in it, and just maaaybe help a couple of people find something they identify with. This response has been pretty overwhelming and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m so glad to have helped. We are not alone.

      • I am so glad you wrote this article. It, and a lot of the comments, have really helped explain things in my mind and I’m very grateful 🙂

  33. rick420_69 says:

    I don’t know, “demisexuality” seems awfully similar to normal human behavior. Do you really think that being heterosexual entails barely being able to contain your libido every time a member of the opposite sex strolls by? Let me tell you, that is abnormal behavior right there. Additionally, the idea of only becoming sexually interested once one is involved in an emotional relationship sounds suspiciously similar right wing conservative views on sex.

    • LOL… yours are exactly the kinds of misconceptions Olivia’s article was trying to address. Please read it more carefully.

      • Olivia Davis says:

        Thanks, Paige!

        rick420_69, Nope! I don’t think that being heterosexual–or in this case, merely sexual–entails barely being able to contain your libido every time someone you find good looking strolls by. And I do think that a person like that would be pretty abnormal. That’s not at all what I’m saying.

        I’m saying that I lack desire for people. I’m saying that when I look at an attractive person I think “what a pretty person,” in the same way that I think “what a pretty statue,” or “what a pretty painting.” I’m saying that I’ve never had sexual fantasies about strangers, friends, or people I had crushes on. I’m saying that I actively don’t want to have sex with anybody but my partner, and it’s not just because I’m soo in love with him or he’s soo great (though, I am! and he is!) and why would I want anyone else? It’s because I like a lot of people a whole lot, but if I even think about kissing them, I think “eew, no.” Even for people I think are really, really aesthetically good looking. I have only ever wanted three people, in my entire life, to touch me sexually. Even fleetingly. Even in fantasies.

        If that’s normal, please tell me that I’m wrong and that this is all a farce. But it’s very different from how anyone else I’ve ever known has experienced desire.

        It sounds right wing. I know that. I’m actually pretty uncomfortable with the fact that my sexuality is kind the platonic (heh) ideal for people who don’t think folks should be having sex. I think that’s a bummer. But, uh, it’s actually just how I am. I might be other ways if I could! I think that having tons of super slutty sex with good-lookin’ queers with sweet haircuts looks like a whole lotta fun! Also, I think it’d be just the coolest to have a threesome with my partner and at least one pretty hot male acquaintance of his. But, actually, I can’t bear the thought of doing that. Another Olivia in another world, but not this one. This one’s demi.

        • rick420_69 says:

          What i’m trying to say is that you are describing what seems to be normal behavior for most people.

          • Olivia Davis says:

            Let me be clear: My outward behavior is probably pretty similar to the outward behavior of a whole lotta people. I have partners. We have sex. I don’t have sex with anyone else. It’s a good time. What’s different is my experience of desire.

            And I do think it’s different. Just about everyone I know has kissed more people than I have, or has had more sexual partners. Most people I know get off to porn, or find it arousing. A lot of them have things they’d like to do/with movie stars, or at least they like to imagine doing these things. Most people I know have sexual fantasies. Most people I know sometimes masturbate to things that aren’t their partner. I’m different.

            Also, it might seem normal to you because it is normal for you. That is, you might be demisexual? It’s a possibility.

  34. I can be aesthetically attracted to people (the way I might be to a statue, or a painting), or just a feature of someone (ie long straight hair, long wavy hair etc). This doesn’t make me sexually attracted. Not one bit. It’s just a visual preference, like the landscape I’d prefer seeing from my window in the morning.

    I can’t say I’ve had a lot of sexual experience so far, but I’m a reactive in sexuality, and can only do it with someone I trust to some degree. I also get attached a bit too fast with sexuality, so I made a conscious decision of not having no-strings-attached sex, ever.

    Porn does nothing for me. Erotica involving sex does nothing for me. Domination narratives can do something for me, but it’s the domination/helplessness itself that matters, no sex involved. Imagining such (like a dream) can cause a sudden urge of sexual feelings (and extreme sensitivity compared to normal), that lasts around 5-10 minutes. I have no idea why. I’m anorgasmic AFAIK. Unjust domination narratives (where one party is unfairly beaten down) will anger (or scare) me a lot rather than arouse me.

    I like Johnny Depp as an actor, his roles and all. I wouldn’t even think of having sex with him. Cause I don’t know him. I need to feel trust with the person right off. Can’t do that through a screen, only in person. My boyfriend is one such person.

    I also like the ice cream analogy. I also can go without sex for years. I like cuddling very much more. My libido is almost only reactive (the rest could be channeled into productive stuff, since masturbation is never on the menu). I’d be the ideal partner of an asexual but not aromantic person.

    My demisexuality makes me appear pansexual, since I can connect with most. Regardless of their sex, or gender, or plumbing.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Yep. I pretty much grok all you’re saying. I’ve been trying to pin down an explanation experience of aesthetic, not sexual attraction to other humans for months now. It never seems to take. The biggest difference I see is that I’m not anorgasmic. Though, I was for the first, like, nineteen years of my life. Fantasy-like thoughts of doing things I enjoy sometimes excite me, but rarely in a way that I’d call arousal. My interest is just… very piqued.

      I think I’m probably panromantic. My partners have been male and female. But I’m so goshdarned picky I don’t even know. Plus, the prefix “pan” is not one I particularly like, just for personal reasons.

      Thanks for commenting. It’s actually really great to have so many people sharing experiences pretty similar to mine. I’m not real used to seeing myself in so many others.

      • (I’m a trans woman who doesn’t and probably won’t get bottom surgery btw).

        This hyper-sensitivity when I dream of something I fantasm about helplessness-wise is weird. It happens out of the blue in a non-erotic dream (I don’t have any either, but just specifying). It doesn’t happen awake mostly (though it can wake me…it will be middle of the night or something). It’s the only time I can truly sustain an erection (not that I’m a big fan) and cannot pee (rest of the time I can with no problem, regardless of hardness).

        It makes me curious, but since I’m not about to penetrate anyone (won’t ever, and haven’t ever), and don’t really like masturbation, it’s just a weird thing. It doesn’t feel like a release exactly, but it might be one…its not like I got a basis for comparison. I can’t provoke it willingly either.

        • Olivia Davis says:

          That’s really interesting.

          Our of curiosity, have you experimented any with helplessness and being dominated in your waking life? I wonder if you might get the same reactions from that. Assuming those reactions feel positive to you and you’d want to seek them out.

          • I’ve tried, and haven’t had the same happening. Plus some of those experiences have been a bit too painful to enjoy them as much (like metal handcuffs, believe me, it hurts if you’re not in an exactly ideal position with them).

            • Olivia Davis says:

              Metal handcuffs can be downright dangerous!

              I wish I had something more productive to say than “Huh, that’s interesting. I wonder why that is” but I am no sexpert. Apologies.

  35. I haven’t quite figured out what my sexuality is. It is true that watching strangers have sex does absolutely nothing for me. But at the same time I still have erotic dreams (though the dreams usually involve some degree of emotional attachment) and I can be aroused by certain articles of clothing/fantasies. One of my hobbies is painting/drawing and I feel that many of my works would fall under the category of erotica. So I’m not sure if it’s a kink or if it’s demisexuality.

    I do get “crushes” fairly often but they seem different from the sexual attraction that I feel for my partner. In terms of actual libido, my past partners have told me that I am *too* interested in sex. I am extremely reclusive and so this likely contributes to my lack of sexual exploits/opportunity for meeting potential partners. It seems like there are a few specific things that can make me interested in sex and one of them is a feeling of emotional connection. In many ways it seems that my sexuality–while it can include humans–is more of a collection of emotional responses to abstract imagery–textures, patterns, colors–and similar sensory input that does not directly relate to sex with another person.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Thanks for your comment, Agemaki. I encourage you, like I encouraged Slackjaw above, to talk about this and explore it more. I think that, really, only good can come of thinking hard and seriously about sexuality and it sounds like you have some interesting things to consider anyway. Sexuality seems to me pretty inexplicable. Personally, I rather love labels and rather love having names for things, but I don’t think they’re actually necessary for everyone.

      I was asexual until I was nineteen, at which point I shifted and became demi and have been demi since then. I didn’t have erotic dreams before I was demi, but I sometimes do now. Sometimes, they’re about my friends, or people that I’m not sexually attracted to in waking life. This doesn’t get in the way of my identification. I like certain clothes and certain fantasies, too, but often in terms of my partner. I’ll see something that reminds me of him, or something that we do, and I’ll get excited about them. I’ll learn to like things with him and then like them more generally afterwards.

      I’ve also written a fair amount of erotica and am very, very interested in sex and sexuality and stories involving those things, even if they don’t necessarily arouse me. Sex is interesting and fascinating and can be very meaningful to people, and erotica sometimes explores that intimacy and meaning in ways I enjoy.

      tl;dr Sexuality is complex and awesome. You don’t need a label in order to be. Exploration is good. Thank you for the comment.

      • Wow! I’m so glad I found this article and these comments…I’m a nineteen-year-old that until recently identified as asexual (well, not in a very public form, as it didn’t come up often), but have come to regard myself as demisexual over the course of the last year or so. Porn does nothing, and reading and writing erotica is very interesting to me (mostly because the concept of people’s feelings and thoughts during sex, especially if there’s an interesting or unconventional twist to the relationship, is interesting) but has never been arousing. In spite of being an entirely sex-positive feminist I always thought I found sex altogether unappealing, but I’ve come to realize that people exist with whom I can form an intense enough emotional connection to desire it. Additionally, I do now have semi-erotic dreams sometimes (none involving outright sex or nudity, but I know what the feeling of arousal is like now and that I can probably experience it. Cool!)

        I’m glad to have found this label because I’m also more comfortable with it than asexual — which, thanks to the asexual internet community, I’m aware can sometimes mean that a person likes to masturbate, watch porn, et cetera but isn’t interested in being intimate with another person. That’s not an accurate descriptor of me and is in fact the reverse of my feelings, only enjoying sexuality if there’s a person I love deeply involved. It’s interesting — I know that labels are imprecise and complex and shouldn’t be used to overcategorize or dichotomize, but discovering terminology I can identify with is so reassuring and positive an experience, because it gives me means to describe my experiences better and to know that I’m not alone or defective (or in this case, immature, a “prude”, or a liar, all things I’ve been called. Although that’s irritating, though, I do agree that demisexuality isn’t an axis of oppression…it’s just inconvenient to convey, heh.)

        • Olivia Davis says:

          I’m really glad you liked the post. Having so much support for this little fringe issue is just fantastic. I’m floored and grateful to be able to be in a position where I can yell publicly about demisexuality outside of the niches where it’s usually talked about.

          Personally, I love a lot of erotica. I think sexuality is important to a lot of people and watching people engage with what’s important to them is a good time for me. Plus, I’m reallyreally interested in romance, and sex is often an expression of romance, and so that’s awesome. It’s all very fascinating and sometimes flat-out wonderful. But, for me? Arousing? Naah.

          Oh, man. Oooh, man. So, I was asexual until I was nineteen. I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say that you know what sexual arousal is like *now.* I didn’t for a very long time and it’s awesome to hear someone in that same boat.

          I don’t enjoy sexuality much unless there’s someone else around, either. I find masturbation to be mostly pointless.

          Also, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Knowing that there exists a label for what I am and how I experience things was absolutely comforting and positive for me, too. It’s so good to be able to explain what I mean in just a few words. Before, I would grasp at words, I would use anecdotes, I would try to explain, but never quite do it. And then, poof. “Demisexual.” And it’s a done deal. It feels wonderful. I’m glad it feels good for you, too.

          Also, it pisses me off when people try to take that away by claiming it’s not real, it’s overly-special, etc, etc. Because, goddammit, this identification is mine and I don’t want anyone to take it away.

  36. “Demisexuals are those who “do not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone,” and it is “more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships.”
    “And, luckily, I have evidence backing my belief. Namely, porn. If most of the population were demisexual, there would not be pornography, at least not like there is now.”

    I like porn. I can be extremely sexually turned on by people I have never met and I can even fantasize and masturbate to women I have no emotional connection to. But its difficult for me to have sex with someone I don’t emotionally connect with. It depresses me. And if I meet a women and I don’t emotionally connect but I think its heading towards sex I get depressed and try to end it.

    Its like there is a war between my brain and my penis. My penis is actually quite effective in the short term…he can sometimes even fool my brain temporarily into thinking there is an emotional connection. And fool the woman too. But my brain always wins in the end and shuts everything down before my penis gets anywhere. This can be extremely frustrating for everyone.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Your experience doesn’t sound to me like one that matches up with demisexuality. Demisexuals generally, I think, fail to actually feel that initial arousal. Not that I’m here to judge, police, or try to have any influence on the way you identify and what labels you claim for yourself.

      However! Even if you don’t find that you fit into that box, I think you’re a great example of why terms like “demisexual” can be important, not just to the people who *do* fit into the boxes. They pack identities into small, sometimes quite neat packages. So, if you ever wanted to explain your experience of desire to someone, you could say something like, “I conduct relationships pretty much as though I’m demisexual. I can, but really don’t like having sex with people I’m not emotionally connected to.”

  37. Yeah, this is totally me. I hadn’t heard the term before, but it completely describes me. I know exactly what you mean about being sexually attracted to someone without actually wanting to have sex with him. I can look at a really attractive guy, and think or say “That guy’s HOT!” but it doesn’t translate to me wanting to go ask him for a date. And I’ve always been really puzzled by people who could fall all over themselves to go have sex with someone they don’t know just because of their appearance. Like you, it took me quite a long time to figure out that some people really want these types of experiences and they can be something other than really icky. 😀 And like you, I haven’t wanted to actually have sex with very many men. More than 3 I suppose, but not much more, and they’ve all been men that I knew pretty well by the time I became attracted to them. I also don’t enjoy porn at all. I find it incredibly boring and soul sucking.

    I don’t feel “oppressed” by this exactly, certainly not in the same way that LGBT et al have been oppressed. But it’s been a difficult road for me in this era of sexual permissiveness. I hang around with a lot of artists, musicians, and people of all sorts of orientations, and It seems that many people mistake demisexuality for being a prude. Or as you say, think I’m “leading them on.” It also really annoys me if a strange guy hits on me, so I really downplay my sexuality in public. I don’t wear revealing clothing or high heels or any of that. This definitely helps in terms of being able to talk to men and become friends with them without the sexual element getting in the way, but then by the time I become attracted to them, many men have either assumed I wasn’t interested so they’ve lost interest, or they never have any to begin with because I didn’t present myself as the sexy package when I was first getting to know them.

    That’s really the main difficulty that I have with it. Once I’m IN a relationship, I enjoy the hell out of sex. And I definitely have a healthy sex drive. But it’s really difficult for me to find a partner in the first place because my way of doing things doesn’t go along with the rules of “modern” dating at all.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Yep.

      I understand everything you’ve said exactly, right down to hanging out with artists, queers, etc, and feeling kinda prudish. Next post is probably about those feelings. And! Down to having a pretty darn normal, happy sex drive once in a relationship.

      Before that, though? Affection, friendship, even finding another person attractive. Sometimes even really, really attractive. But it never translates to thoughts of sex. Never.

      I’m super glad to have helped you find the term. =) I hope it makes you feel like your experience of sex is comprehensible and something you an effectively and succinctly talk about. Knowing that “demisexuality” was a thing sure did that for me.

  38. Gosh. I never knew there was actually a term for what I experience, at least regarding the way I seem to experience attraction.

    I’m still a bit hesitant to outright identify myself this way, as I find porn diverting enough when I’m in the mood for it (though more as a response to a particular kind of boredom than a vessel for arousal), but I feel extremely uncomfortable with sleeping with someone who I haven’t formed some kind of connection with first. It’s never felt like an adherence to old fashioned values (or something along those lines) – I’ve never had an intrinsic issue with promiscuity (provided that everything’s above-board), but it’s never really felt ‘right’ for me. I can count the number of women I’ve felt real desire for in my life on one hand, and all of them were people I had formed some kind of connection with. But I find it very interesting that there’s actually a way to identify this, as when I try to explain it to people it’s often assumed that I’m either lying or somehow mistaken about my own sexuality.

    All I can say is, you’ve definitely given me something to think about.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that my article has provided you with something to think about, even if you don’t end up identifying as demi. Part of the point of my writing this was to defend demisexuality (clearly), but another big part was just to say that it exists and explain what it is. It feels absolutely fantastic to know that I’ve accomplished that goal for you. Thanks for telling me!

      Incidentally, while I was researching this piece, I definitely saw people talking about being demisexual, but liking porn, or liking it occasionally. For me, my disinterest in porn was one of the many things that fell into place when I discovered demisexuality, but I don’t think that has to be the same for you. There do exist spaces for demisexuals on the internet. If you’re interested and want to talk, I encourage you to find them.

      Thanks again! =D

      • Ha, now worries.

        Do you know of any good net spaces to check out? I’ve had a friend recommend AVEN, but are there any others that you think I should look at?

        • Olivia Davis says:

          I don’t actually spend almost any time in demi spaces on the internet. So I can’t actually vouch for any of these places, though I did scrounge them up for you.

          AVEN is, to my knowledge, the number one internet place for asexuals and people on the asexuality spectrum. Demisexuals can get a bad rap there,though, in the same way that bisexuals have historically gotten kind of a bad rap in LGBT spaces. “Come on, just decide, pick one,” “you’re not *really* asexual, so you don’t belong here,” etc. I hear it’s still a great space, it’s just not without its problems, especially if you’re demi. And possibly gray-a, too. (Gray-as are neither demisexual nor asexual. They feel desire sometimes, but not always and not necessarily in patterns that are easy to make sense of. Sometimes their desire waxes and wanes. Gray-a is the “queer” of the asexuality spectrum. It’s kind of a catchall for people who don’t fit into other boxes. In case you didn’t know.)

          I don’t trust Livejournal as far as I can throw it, but this demi community actually ranks really high on Google. So it might actually be worth it. http://demisexuality.livejournal.com/

          Lastly, and most promisingly is Demi Grace, a forum just for demisexuals, gray-as and their allies. I might start there if I were you. http://demigrace.forumotion.com/

          Good luck!

  39. Peter Houlihan says:

    “The common anti-demisexual argument is that demisexuality is not a real “thing,” is not a special or interesting enough to be worthy of distinction, or is just an attempt to “queer the straights.” This queering would allow heteros and normies access to the sweet, delicious queerness that is so coveted in feministy and social justice circles, despite those hets being unsexy, normative lamers.”

    I’ve seen that phenomenon crop up a little. I thought the whole point of “queer” was to create a group name which included the het members of LGBT subculture. Personally it bothers me that a het person would feel that their sexuality is anything less than cool and interesting. Not quite the reaction the queer revolution is going for.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      *well, part of the point. I certainly understood inclusivity and non specificity was a feature of queerness.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I’ve found that weird, too. In fact, my next post is likely about that weirdness.

      You might be better educated on this subject than I, but my understanding is that “queer” is less for het LGBT people, and more for people who don’t like the way that “bisexual” reflects the gender binary, lesbians who fall in love with and marry men, and other people who don’t quite fit into boxes. I understand it as kind of a “I’m not quite normal,” catchall.

      And I think that people remain protective of LGBT identities and queer identities because those identities are politicized and rendered powerful in ways that heterosexuality isn’t. To include everyone in queerness is to let go of that power, and I think people are reluctant to do that. I pretty much disagree with this, but I think it’s a complex issue and admit that I’m not the most knowledgeable person about this.

    • Quadruple A says:

      Exactly. You put this much better than I could. An important function of Queer theory is to bring to light that dimension of otherness that sexuality poses both to our self-identify as autonomous rational beings and also the gap between how we construct sexuality and sexuality as it actually functions in society.

      • Olivia Davis says:

        Thanks! I like the way you put that “the gap between how we construct sexuality and sexuality as it actually functions in society.” I think that’s a really neat place to position queerness. I hadn’t thought of it exactly like that and I think it’s really apt. So, thank you for phrasing it that way.

  40. I love this article! It made me laugh out loud. I’m also one of people who rarely finds other people sexually attractive. That doesn’t mean I think everyone is ugly; I can appreciate attractive people (men, in my case, because I’m straight) but I hardly ever feel any desire for them unless I feel a strong connection. At the same time, I’m super horny. It’s just that it’s a kind of undirected horniness, except when I’m n a relationship. And with porn, I just find it boring. I have really, really tried to like porn, because it would be so hip to be one of those women who talk about how they are ultra sex positive and love porn. But the sight of all those penises going into vaginas does absolutely nothing for me. Zilch. My boyfriend and I once downloaded a porn movie that had rave reviews on all these feminist and female-friendly porn sites and I almost fell asleep.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Yay! Thank you for loving it! Also, goodness, what made you laugh? Am I funny? My dad would be so proud if I were funny!

      I know exactly and precisely what you mean by the the difference between appreciating someone attractive and actually desiring them. Exactly. I didn’t talk about it in the post because the distinction seems fine and is difficult to talk about with people who don’t get it. But I know exactly what you’re talking about.

      My feelings on sex are like my relationship to ice cream: It’s awesome. I like it lots and lots. If it’s offered to me, I’ll probably take it. But I don’t need, or even necessarily think about it every day.

      I also know what you mean about wanting to be one of those hip women who likes porn. It is kind of sad not to be one. But porn sometimes actually grosses me out, even nice porn. So, it’s not to be. Quelle dommage.

      • “I am the worst and most boring sexual revolutionary” — that made me laugh! Also, “unsexy, normative lamers.” 🙂

        Reminds me a little of a Jon Stewart bit where he talks about starting a movement of reasonable people. Imagine thousands of people marching and chanting “Let’s … Be … Reasonable!” that’s the only revolution I’d join, probably!

        • Olivia Davis says:

          Heh. Well, we hope you’ll join us! We’re the moderate radicals, the reasonable revolutionaries. It’s kind of in our mission statement. We’re all about measured response and consideration over here. We want to smash gender roles and liberate sexuality! But, hey, it’s okay if you end up liking Jersey Shore in our utopia. As long as that’s your choice.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The second strategy was seen in SlightlyMetaphysical’s post earlier, but can be seen in much older articles as […]

  2. […] do identify as demisexual, those who don't, and people who are confused of what demisexuality is: Defending Demisexuality. Reply With Quote […]

  3. […] of information on demisexuality; the second one goes into it more in-depth. Demisexual – AVENwiki Defending Demisexuality — The Good Men Project The same would also be true of people who are asexual, though to an even greater extent. […]

  4. […] Davis defends demisexuality as a legitimate sexual identity, but not an axis of oppression; Renee of Womanist Musings calls out the appropriative tactics of […]

  5. […] on as soon as they see a hot naked lady (as opposed to women, who are, the textbooks assure us, all demisexual). They will cruelly lead women on and deceive them into believing that they’re in a romantic […]

  6. […] A great post about misconceptions about demisexuality. I’ve wanted to write about this for a while, but it seems like few things bring out nasty […]

  7. […] Davis defends demisexuality on the Good Men Project. You may or may not have heard of demisexuality, so I’ll let her […]

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