On Demisexuality

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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Siggy
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On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:51 pm

Let's talk about demisexuality. By "demisexual", I do not mean the broader definition of being between asexual and sexual. I am referring to the more specific definition, which is sexual attraction only to certain "special" people. I can think of a bunch of variations of the definition, just off the top of my head.

  1. Someone who, in Rabger's model, only experiences secondary sexual attraction, not primary sexual attraction (ie attraction which is not based on instantly available information)
  2. Someone who only experiences sexual attraction to people who are emotionally close.
  3. Someone who only experiences sexual attraction following romantic attraction.
  4. Someone who only experiences sexual attraction only to one particular person.

I think it's a highly useful and necessary category. But I'm not a fan, because it's too good. In my experience, whenever I describe demisexuality, nearly everyone finds something to identify with. It reminds me of the Forer effect, which is the tendency of people to rate vague descriptions of themselves as highly accurate (this is how astrology works). It's nice and all that people find something to identify with, but what happens when they realize how common it is?

Illustrative anecdote: One of my friends reacted to demisexuality by saying it described her. She said she could never understand celebrity crushes. But then she went on to say that it seemed kind of pointless. Should we also have a word to describe people who are only attracted to nice people?

My response to her: The motivation of "demisexual" is to describe people who share much of asexual experience, but with a few glaring exceptions which prevent them from fully identifying with asexuality. Strictly speaking, the definition of demisexuality may allow it to describe lots of people, but the only people who find it useful as an identity are those who experience demisexuality in its extreme.

Do any of you agree/disagree with my assessment?

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:15 am

Let's talk about demisexuality


I agree with that so much I finally registered an Apositive account.

Demisexuality could never really have anything approaching a governable definition, because there isn't always an obvious difference between demisexuality and the major sexualities. As you say, it's about sharing asexual experience. Or maybe that's too vague a term, without specifying the sort of experiences demisexuals share with asexuals. For me, it's the fact that no other sexuality comes anywhere even vaguely close to who I am, while asexuality is completely there apart from the technicalities. But I think there's a difficulty in picking out where demisexuals are different from sexuals. I think two people could have completely identical sexualities, and one would find demisexuality useful while the other might not.

To answer your question about 'demisexuality in the extreme', I think that the only people who can really count as demisexual are those who really couldn't have a coherent identity if the label didn't exist. However, I wouldn't like to stop non-asexish people identifying with the label. Part of living in a culture with a range of sexualities is that you can look at other people's ideas and see how they fit your own. For example, a sexual could learn something useful about romantic orientation from an asexual. An asexual could learn something useful about reciprocity from the lesbian concept of 'stone' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_butch]. And a sexual could, for example, learn something useful about the way intimacy can be linked to sexual feelings from demisexuals.


*watching topic interestedly*

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby ily » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:30 am

Yes, let's!

I'm not demi, but I've tried to explain it to a few people. After they get over the "oh, come on, you're telling me about another obscure orientation" thing, I find that people don't understand how demisexuality is different from sexual people who are just waiting to have sex until they're in love (or something). I would guess the difference is that for whatever reason, the demisexual has never been, or can't be, sexually attracted to anyone besides this "special" person. While a hetero/homo/bi sexual who is "waiting for the one" to have sex might experience sexual attraction to others. They just wouldn't act on it unless that person is "the one". I think that's the main difference. I find that most people who haven't spend a lot of time thinking about sexuality tend to confuse orientation and behavior.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:21 pm

Cool, so two people on the internet agree with me. So I must be right. :)

ily wrote:I would guess the difference is that for whatever reason, the demisexual has never been, or can't be, sexually attracted to anyone besides this "special" person. While a hetero/homo/bi sexual who is "waiting for the one" to have sex might experience sexual attraction to others. They just wouldn't act on it unless that person is "the one". I think that's the main difference. I find that most people who haven't spend a lot of time thinking about sexuality tend to confuse orientation and behavior.

Honestly, I feel like we have to make an even harsher distinction than that. It still fits too much inside the sphere of "normal" sexuality. Some people are just so monogamous that they feel they cannot be attracted to anyone besides their current significant other. Love can affect people in funny ways like that.

I also feel like the issue is further confused by all those nonsexual forms of attraction that we discuss so much. I have this picture in my mind--it's not a very nice picture--of some AVENite who claims to be a hyper-romantic demisexual. He tells everyone that he likes the female form and likes looking at many of the girls, but couldn't imagine wanting to jump their bones. But as soon as he enters a relationship, the only context for him for which sex is feasible, that nonsexual attraction turns sexual. So how could he know that the previous attraction was nonsexual? And is the asexual identity really all that useful to him?

I guess I favor a more radically exclusive definition of demisexual. Demisexuals are effectively asexual outside of serious relationships. And when they enter relationships, it takes them much longer than usual to experience sexual attraction. But I fear this definition may be too exclusive for many demi-identified AVENites. Perhaps I should say, it's not so much a definition as it is a suggestion of who might find the identity most useful.

I guess I should disclose that I don't strongly identify with demisexuality myself. I'm gray in both primary attraction and secondary attraction. So, yeah...

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby The Gray Lady » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:19 pm

ily wrote:I'm not demi, but I've tried to explain it to a few people. After they get over the "oh, come on, you're telling me about another obscure orientation" thing, I find that people don't understand how demisexuality is different from sexual people who are just waiting to have sex until they're in love (or something). I would guess the difference is that for whatever reason, the demisexual has never been, or can't be, sexually attracted to anyone besides this "special" person. While a hetero/homo/bi sexual who is "waiting for the one" to have sex might experience sexual attraction to others. They just wouldn't act on it unless that person is "the one". I think that's the main difference. I find that most people who haven't spend a lot of time thinking about sexuality tend to confuse orientation and behavior.


Yeah, there is that... but I think the usual cultural narrative is something along the lines of "I don't like most people, but I love you/am attracted to you because YOU'RE SPECIAL." This fits in pretty well with the post I have half-written about what seduction means, actually. It's supposed to take you by surprise. It's supposed to be "I don't usually do this, but..." It's supposed to happen because of some overpowering mix of physical traits and personality, all these charismatic qualities that the seducer has. It gives him all the credit, or her all the blame (because honestly, let's not pretend that a woman ever really gets "credit" for being seductive--it may happen in some circumstances, but it's very, very rare).

On a broader level, due to the persistent influence of the Romantic writers, we are now very invested in the idea that each of us is somehow special. That there is something which makes us all unique... which, while it might be true to some extent, we are really only unique in the exact combination of qualities that we possess. But we are taught when we are little that we are all unique and special because nobody else has the same fingerprints as we do, and that idea persists into adulthood. But if every person believes that he alone stands out from the crowd, what do you get? Just a crowd of people who think they all stand out.

I think there is a farce that a lot of sexual people tend to pull on their partners, insisting that they are the ONLY one who has ever made them feel this way, blah blah blah. Sometimes that is even an outright red flag for abusers/manipulators, but I think quite a lot of people who are not abusers will do this too. It's part of the cultural script... so of course demisexuality sounds stupid in that regard. It sounds like "I'M A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE YOU'RE A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE LA LA LA I GET MY OWN TERM AND YOU GET TO BE THE EXCEPTION." (And to be honest, I think there are a lot of people who are drawn to asexuality for that reason as well.)

Honestly, I had no idea that "demisexual" had any broader definition beyond Rabger's model at all until I read this thread. And even then, I've always found the term really weird. I mean sure, I guess you could call me demisexual. If I experience "sexual attraction" that would be the only way I could do it. But I think the problem is confusing emotional attachment with sexual attraction. I'm very emotionally attached to C, and I want to have sex with her sometimes. I enjoy it. I like some aspects about her body, like how (ridiculously!) soft to the touch it is. But does that mean I'm sexually attracted to her? I'd say no.

I think we should be careful to separate "sexual attraction" from reasons why you'd want to have sex. Doing it because of a deep emotional attachment is... not the same thing as attraction, in my book. Because "attraction" carries the connotation of being the thing which (initially!) draws people together. So I would question whether it's actually sexual attraction that people are experiencing after developing such a strong attachment that they begin wanting to have sex with their partners, or something else.

How DO we all want to define sexual attraction, anyway? That's the biggest issue, I think.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:59 pm

The Gray Lady wrote:It's part of the cultural script... so of course demisexuality sounds stupid in that regard. It sounds like "I'M A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE YOU'RE A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE LA LA LA I GET MY OWN TERM AND YOU GET TO BE THE EXCEPTION."

Yeah, that's pretty much what I was trying to say. Our goal, of course, is to make asexuality and its variants normal and legitimate. But demisexuality just sounds so normal, that it plays into a cultural script. People will not be seen as weird for being demisexual; instead they'll be seen as weird because they have a whole special label for it, and believe they're special because of it. If we want to legitimize demisexuality as a public label (as opposed to one that's only used by the in-crowd), we either have to debunk the cultural narrative, or narrow the scope of demisexuality.

Debunking the cultural narrative doesn't seem feasible to me. Sure, we can point to Tim Minchin's song ("If I didn't have you, someone else would do") and stuff like that. But at the same time, we'd have to uphold this special group of demisexuals who allegedly really do fit the narrative. I don't think I could do it.

And that's why I'd rather narrow the scope of demisexuality.

Honestly, I had no idea that "demisexual" had any broader definition beyond Rabger's model at all until I read this thread.

Yeah, I should link to AVENwiki's article on demisexuality. It was written in June 2009. People on AVEN frequently take this article as the authoritative definition.

I think we should be careful to separate "sexual attraction" from reasons why you'd want to have sex.

I believe that the demisexual claims not just to want sex, but to want sex specifically because s/he experiences sexual attraction. There are other possible reasons to have sex, but sexual attraction is the one that applies to demisexuals.

Doing it because of a deep emotional attachment is... not the same thing as attraction, in my book. Because "attraction" carries the connotation of being the thing which (initially!) draws people together. So I would question whether it's actually sexual attraction that people are experiencing after developing such a strong attachment that they begin wanting to have sex with their partners, or something else.

I've never thought of attraction as just being that which initially draws people together. Or maybe I did think that at one time, but I think I had it beaten out of me. I need to reflect on this a moment...

Yeah, I think I disagree. Once a person is in a relationship, it may not be the exact same kind of sexual attraction at work, but I think it still fits under sexual attraction under a reasonable definition. To use an example, say a closeted gay man enters a relationship with a straight woman, and later decides that he's gay and tells her about it. So he basically admits to not being sexually attracted to her. If sexual attraction were only important in initiating the relationship, his gayness would be moot, since they somehow managed anyways. But his gayness is not moot, it's important, and has serious consequences for their relationship. Ergo, sexual attraction is important even after the initial stage of the relationship.

Or, if you're worried about definitions, I suppose I could just say that X is important after the initial stage of the relationship, where X is something which is determined by said gay man's gayness.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:11 am

Siggy, I don't think our current definition of demisexuality invalidates itself, too much. Although my definition of it tends to be quite different from the AVENwiki's, as I have a tendency to lump demisexuality in with grey-a-ness. The way I would explain this is that some people feel very little, very rare or very abstracted sexual attraction, so it often makes sense to identify along with those people who don't feel it.

Interestingly, I got the 'maybe you'll meet someone who'll sweep you off your feet' response for the first time today. While I was figuring out how to respond to that, I started to think about why people believe this, and I think it's based in this myth that one person is special for you. It's a myth which has sustained marriage and monogamy through the centuries, but it tends to invalidate asexuality, demisexuality and aromanticism. When everyone else around you is getting feelings for a wide variety of people (to appropriate a phrase from teen romance: the Cosmic Horn http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Cosmic%20Horn*), and you don't share those feelings, it's annoying when people try to pretend attraction works your way anyway.

I think there definately needs to be a bit more questioning of demisexuality as a realistic label. But I'm scared we might become like the gay biphobes who think bisexuals are faking it just because their sexuality fits into the existing culture better.

*side-note: am slightly peeved that, when you type "Angus, thongs and..." into google, only one of the suggested results doesn't follow with 'perfect'. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I wouldn't bother to ask.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby The Gray Lady » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:13 pm

Siggy wrote:Yeah, I think I disagree. Once a person is in a relationship, it may not be the exact same kind of sexual attraction at work, but I think it still fits under sexual attraction under a reasonable definition. To use an example, say a closeted gay man enters a relationship with a straight woman, and later decides that he's gay and tells her about it. So he basically admits to not being sexually attracted to her. If sexual attraction were only important in initiating the relationship, his gayness would be moot, since they somehow managed anyways. But his gayness is not moot, it's important, and has serious consequences for their relationship. Ergo, sexual attraction is important even after the initial stage of the relationship.

Or, if you're worried about definitions, I suppose I could just say that X is important after the initial stage of the relationship, where X is something which is determined by said gay man's gayness.


Mmmm, I don't think that example really works to counter what I was thinking. Of course sexual attraction is not the only reason anyone would initiate a relationship. And sure, it can still be important later on. But the gayness would be primary sexual attraction, wouldn't it? I don't see an argument here for how secondary sexual attraction develops, and how it is similar enough to primary sexual attraction to still actually be called "sexual attraction" and be reasonably well understood (the way that the gayness in this hypothetical situation is understood to be primary sexual attraction, which I think is typically what people mean when they say "sexual attraction" in general).

What I was trying to say is, "primary sexual attraction" is qualitatively very different from "secondary sexual attraction." And it seems so different (with the current given definitions, i.e. primary = physical traits & charisma / secondary = emotional connection) to me that I just don't think I can buy that wanting to have sex because of an emotional connection really counts as sexual attraction. I mean, I used to... before I had the experience of being technically described by that definition, and seeing for myself how completely different it is to the usual idea of sexual attraction. There's nothing about C's appearance or personality that arouses me or excites any kind of erotic passion in me, per se. Even though I do have a great admiration and deep affection for her personality, and an ever-growing appreciation for her looks... it's not the same. I really can't say I'm sexually attracted to her. I suppose that's pretty similar to the gay guy who was in denial... isn't it?

So while I think that maybe there is such a thing as becoming sexually attracted to someone through familiarity, the definition on that wiki page, the way it stands now? Just doesn't hold any water for me. I think it's got to at least be physical or personality-based, or else it would be so different from the typical idea of sexual attraction that it's just not useful to call it that at all.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:20 pm

SlightlyMetaphysical wrote:I think there definately needs to be a bit more questioning of demisexuality as a realistic label. But I'm scared we might become like the gay biphobes who think bisexuals are faking it just because their sexuality fits into the existing culture better.

Yeah, of course. I'm not enthusiastic about that either.

If demisexuality is premised on "I'm attracted to this one person, because s/he is my soulmate, the one person in the universe who I could ever love," then I reject that.

But when I put it that way, I realize that demisexuality is not about fate or soulmates or anything like that. I'm sorry I framed it that way in my last comment.

I'm sure that for demisexuals, as much as anyone else, the person who they end up with is contingent upon chance, circumstance, timing, location, etc. And this does not in any way invalidate demisexuality, because demisexuality was never about that. Demisexuals just require a different kind of circumstance to be attracted to someone (ie developing emotional closeness as opposed to meeting them for the first time on an elevator); though these circumstances are rarer, that doesn't mean they require the cooperation of a cosmic fate.

So now that I've backtracked a bit, let me regroup.

It's manifestly true that many people are not demisexual. Lots of my friends frequently say that such and such guy/girl is hot, even though they've never met them. Those friends are disqualified from demisexuality. However, I feel like there's a significant minority of people who say that they're only attracted to people they've known for a long time, or only towards their current partner. So let's say that I'm making a presentation about asexuality to a sexual audience, and one person says they technically fit under demisexuality. What strategy do I take?

My favored strategy: Many people experience demisexuality, but some more than others. Even if you do not find the label useful, others find it useful because it has a greater effect on their lives than it may have for you.

Let me add that this is just a strategy towards the public. We can use an entirely different strategy within the community.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:20 pm

To Gray Lady:
Okay, now I just think I'm confused about what you're saying. I've lost track of what we're arguing about.

Are you trying to argue that what demisexuals experience is not sexual attraction? And from this, what conclusion are you trying to draw?

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:38 am

Siggy, thanks for re-considering your position on demisexuality and the myth of soulmates. Although it's interesting how they interact, and something I'd never thought about before you brought it to my attention, I think demisexuals still tend to assume that they have the capacity to date many people. Whether that's what everyone else assumes about demisexuals is another matter.

Yes, it'd be nice to have a (recommended) official line on what makes some people demisexuals and some just people with demisexual-like qualities, and I think:
Many people experience demisexuality, but some more than others. Even if you do not find the label useful, others find it useful because it has a greater effect on their lives than it may have for you.

is a pretty good one. Simple enough for most people to get, and yet not dismissive of either group.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby The Gray Lady » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:42 am

I'm saying: If the definition (as stated on the wiki) of what "secondary sexual attraction" is, is so broad as to technically describe ME... Then that's a really, really bad definition. Because what I experience is most definitely NOT sexual attraction! (Which I have felt on a few extremely rare occasions, so I can tell the difference.)

I'm not necessarily saying that they don't experience sexual attraction, just that if I'm being described when they talk about it... then they're really just not being specific enough in the definition. I have no idea what "secondary sexual attraction" is actually supposed to even MEAN because nobody has described it thoroughly yet. What I see a description of is fondness and emotional attachment coupled with (apparently?) a desire to have sex because of that. If this is the kind of attraction that you develop as you get to know someone and get used to how they look/act, and start to find their physical features/personality arousing or inspiring intense erotic passions... THAT is more what I'd call sexual attraction. But there is no description at all of physical/charismatic attractiveness when people talk about "secondary sexual attraction," so the definition is not linked to the definition of "primary" sexual attraction strongly enough for me to make a connection.

Ok, so if you're still confused, check this out:

Secondary sexual attraction being attraction to another stemming from emotional connection (usually romantic) or status or how closely the person is in relationship to the other.

* Secondary sexual attraction
an attraction that develops over time based on a person's relationship and emotional connection with another person


That is vague as hell, isn't it? What on earth is even "sexual" about that description, aside from that word being in the term that is being described? Are we supposed to just ASSUME that there is some kind of sexual aspect to it that apparently nobody is interested in describing? What, is everybody too embarrassed? If there is some kind of connection which makes "secondary sexual attraction" just as sexual as "primary sexual attraction"... then what is it? And how does it differ from just wanting to have sex with someone you're NOT attracted to, because you love them and physically can enjoy sex?

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby KAGU143 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:48 am

I have never agreed with Rabger's theory, definition, or whatever it is. It is so vague and "contingent" that it is, in my opinion, essentially meaningless.
I have always made a distinction between asexuals and sexuals based on whether or not the person experiences sexual attraction. Full stop. Whether it occurs several times a day or only after years of being married, experiencing sexual attraction is a characteristic of sexual people.
The definitions of demi/hemi/semi or other "grey area" types of sexual attractions have always perplexed me, although I have not challenged it on AVEN because it isn't enough of a problem for me to risk starting a war.

I have generally considered the people who identify as Grey-A's and etc. to be what WOULD have been considered "good, morally upright" people only a few generations ago. Back then, they would never have considered themselves to be anything other than perfectly normal. Only today, with our society's perverse obsession with sex-sex-sex all of the freakin' TIME have these people begun to be distinguishable from the ravening hoardes that surround them.

I think it is important to distinguish sexual attraction, which is a drawing force that includes desire for sex, from elimination of sexual resistance (for lack of a better term), which simply results in a neutral position toward sex. Once a person is completely neutral toward sex then other forms of attraction can make it seem worthwhile, even if it holds no interest at all for its own sake.

I know this is splitting hairs, and it is ONLY my own opinion, but I would say that a hypothetical person, perhaps tentatively identifying as asexual, who has been in a long-term relationship and then finds that they are sexually attracted to their partner is, (surprise!) actually a sexual person after all - just at one extreme of the bell curve.
If they instead find that they are no longer put off by the idea of having sex with their partner, even though they don't actually want it for its own sake, then they are still asexual.
The problem, of course, is that nobody, including the person themself, can know what they will experience until the situation occurs.

I am very interested in this discussion and will watch to see where it goes.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:22 pm

The Gray Lady wrote:If this is the kind of attraction that you develop as you get to know someone and get used to how they look/act, and start to find their physical features/personality arousing or inspiring intense erotic passions... THAT is more what I'd call sexual attraction.

Actually, that's pretty much how I imagined secondary sexual attraction. But you're absolutely right that the definition on AVENwiki is much more vague than that.

Anyways, I'm not a big proponent of Rabger's model. I feel like the only reason it gets so much attention is because it's on the AVENwiki. And the reason it got on AVENwiki is probably because a few editors liked it. As understand it, Rabger is just this forumgoer on AVEN, and he proposed this model one time on AVEN. People propose models all the time, and I'm not sure why this particular one got solidified into asexual canon. Anyways, the way I see it, we here on Apositive have at least as much expertise on asexuality as the editors of AVENwiki.

I'm more of a proponent of Storms' model. Or rather, a double Storms' model, one for sexual attraction and one for romantic attraction. In this model, I usually explain demisexuality as an interaction between mismatched romantic and sexual orientations. This best matches definition #3 ("Someone who only experiences sexual attraction following romantic attraction.") I was influenced by this paper, which unfortunately does not appear online anymore.

Of course, my model is just as apocryphal as any. But you'd think at least Storms' model would appear on AVENwiki. It doesn't.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:42 pm

KAGU143 wrote:The definitions of demi/hemi/semi or other "grey area" types of sexual attractions have always perplexed me, although I have not challenged it on AVEN because it isn't enough of a problem for me to risk starting a war.

LOL, I think if anything there are a higher percentage of gray-As on Apositive. But we won't start a war with you. :halo:

I have generally considered the people who identify as Grey-A's and etc. to be what WOULD have been considered "good, morally upright" people only a few generations ago. Back then, they would never have considered themselves to be anything other than perfectly normal. Only today, with our society's perverse obsession with sex-sex-sex all of the freakin' TIME have these people begun to be distinguishable from the ravening hoardes that surround them.


Probably true! And I think there's nothing wrong with that. A label doesn't need to be useful in all possible cultural settings in order to be useful.

Personally, though, I tend to greatly underestimate the sexuality of people around me. This contradicts the idea that I'm just reacting to an apparent hypersexuality in culture.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Mon May 03, 2010 3:20 am

The Gray Lady wrote:I'm saying: If the definition (as stated on the wiki) of what "secondary sexual attraction" is, is so broad as to technically describe ME... Then that's a really, really bad definition. Because what I experience is most definitely NOT sexual attraction! (Which I have felt on a few extremely rare occasions, so I can tell the difference.)


I'd always assumed that this was the definition of secondary sexual attraction- not actually being sexually attracted to someone, but aroused enough by the idea of sex with them to make it work. Secondary sexual attraction is basically sexual attraction without sexual attraction. Or that's how I read it. The fact that it's called 'attraction' I'd always considered a misnomer.

KAGU143 wrote:Whether it occurs several times a day or only after years of being married, experiencing sexual attraction is a characteristic of sexual people.


Completely agree. However, some people are technically sexual and functionally asexual. If you experience one burst of minute sexual attraction every ten years, you still need and want the same things asexuals do. That, I believe, is where demisexuality lies, rather than in the idea that there's a state inbetween "Feels sexual attraction" and "Doesn't feel sexual attraction", whiche there clearly isn't.

KAGU143 wrote:I have generally considered the people who identify as Grey-A's and etc. to be what WOULD have been considered "good, morally upright" people only a few generations ago. Back then, they would never have considered themselves to be anything other than perfectly normal. Only today, with our society's perverse obsession with sex-sex-sex all of the freakin' TIME have these people begun to be distinguishable from the ravening hoardes that surround them.


Just wanted to point out that there were still 'ravening hoardes' a few generations ago. The only thing different was that they were shunned into silence. Admittedly, there is now pressure to oversexualise your account of yourself, but if demisexuals seemed normal then and aren't now, that's only because we have a better understanding of what's really normal.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby KAGU143 » Mon May 03, 2010 9:14 am

I'm not 100% convinced that we have a better understanding of what is normal today. Maybe. But. My personal suspicion is that the truth about normal sexuality, if there is such a thing, will end up trying to define such a wide spectrum of sexual desires and behaviors that the whole concept of "normal" will be essentially meaningless - much like saying that the normal hair color for humans is ... something or other.

What we DO have today is a profit-driven system which will do just about anything to make a buck. Rule #1 in advertising is to create a perceived need, and it is extremely easy to make people so self-conscious about their personal appeal that they will spend huge amounts of money trying to conform to artificially created standards.

Sooo .... how many of the people who act like they are stuck in rut are REALLY that way, and how many of them only feel like they have to ACT that way in order to be seen as desirable partners? Women in particular, but I think that men get caught in the same trap.
I don't know the answer, but any time that the advertising media gets involved in anything I automatically assume that a lot of truth-bending is taking place.

I have often wondered if much of the interest in asexuality, as an identity, is a social backlash from normal people who are simply tired of pretending to have more sexual interest than they really have.
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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby ily » Tue May 11, 2010 8:23 pm

SlightlyMetaphysical wrote:However, some people are technically sexual and functionally asexual. If you experience one burst of minute sexual attraction every ten years, you still need and want the same things asexuals do. That, I believe, is where demisexuality lies, rather than in the idea that there's a state inbetween "Feels sexual attraction" and "Doesn't feel sexual attraction", whiche there clearly isn't.


I think that's an important part of it. Asexuality is a definition, but it's also a community of sorts, or at least a potential community. There's the possibility you could fit into one, and not the other. If you experience sexual attraction but it doesn't impact your life, then the stuff asexuals are talking about (which I rarely, if ever, see discussed elsewhere) are going to seem relevant to you, even if you're not technically asexual.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Mage » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:12 pm

Personally, I have yet to see anyone claim to be demisexual in order to validate their need to be "special" or to prove to their romantic partners that their relationship is unique. However, I have been openly describing myself as demisexual for a few months now (wasn't so open before, and was questioning) and in my experience I get the same basic response from sexuals: that's so ideal!, usually followed by the variant, I'm sexually conservative, too!
I then do a face-palm and explain that I don't judge other people's sexual orientations, and that my orientation is not some kind of noble choice that I made. I can't really predict if I'm going to feel sexual attraction towards someone, though the two times it has happened I have been deeply in-love, which makes me identify as demisexual. I've been in love and not felt sexual attraction as well, and except for those two people I am otherwise asexual. In truth, my orientation has nothing to do with being sexually conservative because a) I didn't do anything sexual with either of the people I felt sexually attracted to, and b) so far I have only had sex with people I felt no sexual attraction to, which I did for the sake of experimentation.
I don't want to call myself a sexual person because I'm really not, and I need the support of people who are not sexual. I would simply call myself asexual, and sometimes I find it useful for the sake of community, but then I would be lying if I happen to feel sexually attracted to someone in the future and we do have sex based on that attraction. Claiming demisexuality is a means of being authentic, for me.

I would like to know who came up with this model, which I found on AVEN awhile ago.
Image

I find it useful, even though I have a hard time understanding the difference between primary and secondary sexual attraction--all sexual attraction seems to be all the same to me, you either feel it or you don't. To me "secondary" sexual attraction sounds like the desire to give a present to your loved one because you'll enjoy their happiness, rather than actual attraction.

I really do like that web though, and the distinctions between different kinds of attractions. For example, I do often see people who I think are incredibly good looking and I want to be around them for that reason (aesthetic attraction) but I still don't feel sexually attracted to them. But since others have said that thinking someone is hot means you are sexual, it seems that anyone who identifies as asexual but thinks that some people are good-looking is not really asexual (according to that definition). However, I think if we're going to define ourselves as asexuals based on not experiencing sexual attraction, then we HAVE to accept that there are multiple kinds of attraction which are separate, rather than just romantic versus sexual.
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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby ily » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:41 pm

Mage wrote:But since others have said that thinking someone is hot means you are sexual, it seems that anyone who identifies as asexual but thinks that some people are good-looking is not really asexual (according to that definition).


Really? Who says that? I may be asexual, but my vision works fine. ;) Besides, we've all been told what "hot" people look like 100,000 times in movies, TV and magazines. Thinking someone's hot AND wanting to have sex with them is a different story.

I've seen the web before and it kiiiinda makes my head hurt. Maybe it would make more sense to me if the labels were over the "webby" parts, rather than the axes? Because I don't know to which section the labels are supposed to refer...

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Dargon » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:04 am

ily wrote:
Mage wrote:But since others have said that thinking someone is hot means you are sexual, it seems that anyone who identifies as asexual but thinks that some people are good-looking is not really asexual (according to that definition).


Really? Who says that? I may be asexual, but my vision works fine. ;) Besides, we've all been told what "hot" people look like 100,000 times in movies, TV and magazines. Thinking someone's hot AND wanting to have sex with them is a different story.


I've seen that said countless times at AVEN by countless members before I left. The whole "true/pure" asexual garbage. Boggled my mind as well. I find some kittens cuter than others, but I am not sexually attracted to kittens. Likewise I find some people more aesthetically appealing than others, yet I am not sexually attracted to them either.


With regards to the web thing, it is an interesting model, however all it does is combines 32 different single variable axes into one chart. While nice and concise, it can be painful to look at all that data in one place, and as such, I personally prefer leaving all the axes individually rather than trying to combine them into one model. Not to mention some of those axes seem unimportant to some, and other axes could be considered important. Sexuality is just too complicated to attempt to explain the whole thing with a single model.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Mage » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:37 pm

The axes confuse me too! What appeals to me is the varying levels of attraction, that multiple genders as well as non-humans are included, and the recognition of multiple types of attraction. Grrrrr...I just really want to have a model that is understandable so I can workshop it! I want to boggle the minds of my sexual friends, in particular. ha. Though you do have a point, sexuality is so complicated that perhaps any attempt to completely define/control it is unhelpful.

Oh I think I'm coming to an epiphany...maybe I should say I'm gray-a rather than demi because demi is so specific and dependent on Rabgers, and gray-a is very open. Hm. This will require some introspection. I'm so glad this board is here, everyone really makes me think!
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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Dargon » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:16 pm

The axes on that model make perfect sense to me. Each spoke is a single axis with zero at the center. Each color is a variable on said axis. Really simple to understand in my opinion.

Now when it comes to defining sexuality, trying to encompass everything about sexuality into one model is kind of silly, but defining individual aspects is not. In fact, defining certain aspects is quite helpful.

If I may draw an analogy I came up with not long ago. In physics, we don't have a single variable defining the entire motion of an object. We use many variables, such as speed, acceleration, and direction. Some of these are independent, some are dependent on other variables, and none of them fully encompass everything about the movement of the object. However each variable tells us something about it, and by looking at them individually or all together, we can learn a great deal regarding the motion of an object.

Same applies to sexuality. There is no one model that can explain everything about sexuality, but looking at the little models, either separately or all together, we can learn a great deal about someone's sexuality.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Isaac » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:08 pm

The Gray Lady wrote:
Secondary sexual attraction being attraction to another stemming from emotional connection (usually romantic) or status or how closely the person is in relationship to the other.
* Secondary sexual attraction
an attraction that develops over time based on a person's relationship and emotional connection with another person

That is vague as hell, isn't it? What on earth is even "sexual" about that description, aside from that word being in the term that is being described? Are we supposed to just ASSUME that there is some kind of sexual aspect to it that apparently nobody is interested in describing? What, is everybody too embarrassed? If there is some kind of connection which makes "secondary sexual attraction" just as sexual as "primary sexual attraction"... then what is it? And how does it differ from just wanting to have sex with someone you're NOT attracted to, because you love them and physically can enjoy sex?

I think you're right. Moreover, what's sexual on primary sexual attraction if it "may or may not lead to arousal or sexual desire"?

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby disjointed » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:36 am

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with a "pure asexual" clarification...I certianly fit that

where it goes wrong is when some get all pompous and believe that this definition is the only definition or shade within the asexual spectrum

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Typical P. Pinecone » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:43 pm

I've got to agree with disjointed.

The Gray-A, and Demi areas are important, not only for our community, but for further psychological exploration of human sexuality.
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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Isaac » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:09 am

I think you've misunderstood me. I want to make definitions clearer in order to make things useful for questioning people, regardless where in the spectrum they are. The motivation for reliving this thread is that we're starting a wiki in the Spanish-speaking asexual community and I'm contributing to it because the English one was very useful for me two years ago, and I want to allow the same to those who can't read English. This made me reread the English definitions carefully and notice the incoherences. Especially, what Gray Lady pointed out is one of my objections.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby disjointed » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:07 pm

I think thats the trouble Isaac

in any language the asexual spectrum appears to be very fluid for what I see as the majority due to the high turn over of young feeling thier way asexuals who in general tend to be not after some discovery..even some who thought they were asexual get into a relationship then become grey

your right though in that definitions of types do help at least draw the enquirer into a direction at least even if it maybe not the end direction

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Siggy » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:05 pm

If you are writing a wiki, I think you can do much better than the English AVENwiki. Seriously, the whole thing seems frozen in time since 2006! For some reason, Rabger's Model is presented as far more authoritative than it really is. Most people don't seem to know... Rabger is just some AVENite from however many years ago who wrote a post talking about modeling. Seriously, the thread is right here. Rabger is his username, not his real name. It's purely by chance that he happened to propose this near the time that they wrote the AVENwiki. The only reason anyone ever talks about Rabger's Model is because it's been enshrined on the AVENwiki.

I also find it weird that the AVENwiki has an article on ABCD types. This is an old typology proposed when the nonlibidoist faction was still alive... and it was disastrous. David Jay personally told me that he had to step in and officially tell people to stop using the ABCD types. This should not be in the wiki, except perhaps in a historical note.

On the other hand, the wiki fails to give enough prominence to the Storms Model. It's like the most basic model of orientation which includes asexuality, it should be the start of all modeling attempts. AVENwiki barely mentions it.

Sorry... I'm ranting about the AVENwiki again. ETA: LOL, I think I repeated some things I've already said in this very thread.

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Re: On Demisexuality

Postby Isaac » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:11 am

Thanks for the comments, Siggy. This historical information is relevant for the first paragraph in the entry on Rabger's model. If you're interested in this new wiki, this is the URL http://wiki.asexuales.tk/. I didn't know AVENwiki is frozen from so long ago, especially, from so close to the formulation of the model. This explains the artificially increased relevance it has. I knew that it was proposed by an AVENite nicknamed Rabger, since the link is also in AVENwiki, and even that Rabger is a portmanteau from rabbit and tiger. My relation with this model is a bit historical, since I came across it looking for a different thing three months before my questioning, and I remember asexuality because of having found Rabger's model. I also found interesting its distinction of different things people usually merge.

I knew Storms' model thank to this post by Pretzelboy, and I'm a fan of it, but I think it's not the most basic including asexuality. I think Kinsey's X represents asexuality too. I recently blogged (in Spanish) about the relation between Kinsey's scale and Storms' model, and I plan to blog about the relation between both and AVEN's triangle. So, I'll write an entry about Storms' model.

I think that Rabger's model is necessary for explaining demisexuality, and this term should be in the wiki, since "demisexual" is uses in Spanish AVEN forums and some newbies ask for the definition from time to time. The ABCD types are not used in these forums, so they shouldn't be in the wiki. Moreover, we have a clearer terminology: (a)romantic with(out) libido.

Your suggestions are welcome, and even your help if you command Spanish good enough.