T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 96715
posted 08-30-2012 10:24 AM
So I was reading another thread on one of the boards here, and I came across someone using the term "demisexual". Since I was unfamiliar with that term (I know a-, hetero-, and homo-) I did a search through the homepage of this website. When I came up blank I Googled it. So, now I have a basic definition as "someone who requires a deep emotional connection before feeling sexually attracted to someone". When I read that I felt a kind of almost-subconscious zing of understanding. But, this is urban dictionary/wikipedia and I have serious doubts about the validity of either of those sites. Before I go off exploring the idea of relabelling my sexuality, I was wondering if someone here could perhaps provide me with a more detailed description/view of what demisexuality is (or, alternatively, point me in the direction of valid online sources)??
Member # 90293
posted 08-30-2012 10:37 AM
To be very frank with you, we'd never heard the term either. People are coining new terms for sexuality (and for everything else) all the time. In fact, the terms heterosexual and homosexual weren't used until the mid-19th century, and we certainly know that there were heterosexual and homosexual partnerings before that. These days, the place where new terms start does seem to be Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia, or both. What I'd ask you is, while the definition resonates with you, is the term important, particularly knowing that it's not in common usage right now? The argument could be made, I think, that what demisexuality is describing is more of a relationship preference, a preference or a need to be deeply connected to someone before sex happens. So, it seems less about sexual attraction or lack thereof, than about the kinds of relationships (for example, casual hookups versus long-term relationships, which aren't the only two options of course) that a person chooses or needs. I know this isn't a cut-and-dried answer. There are rarely cut-and-dried answers when it comes to these kinds of sexuality and relationship questions. It's more of figuring out what one wants, and how one is going to get that. Does that make sense?
Member # 79774
posted 08-30-2012 01:04 PM
for some people, but not all, demisexuality may be considered under the asexual umbrella. One of the places I know of where asexuality, including demisexuality, is discussed is AVEN http://www.asexuality.org/home/ (EDIT: feel I should add, as far as I know The Gray Area is fine, but on other parts of the forums there is occasionally strong feeling against people who do experience sexual attraction, which may be unpleasant or unhelpful for some people.) Not all asexual people agree with all of AVEN's perspectives, but it's still a useful hub for many. There's a section of the forum called "The Gray Area", which includes demisexuality. So, if you're interested in reading other people's perspectives, that might be somewhere to look at. I've heard something different from what Robin writes above, too: I've come across this from an attraction angle, with people describing only feeling attraction toward a person they're already emotionally attached to, which does seem a rather different thing to a decision or desire to actually have sex or to a relationship preference. So there's certainly no consensus on this, and I think that just represents the massive possible range of human experiences that there are! And Robin certainly makes a very valid point about the wants and needs that different people have. In descriptions and discussions of demisexuality that I've come across, though, the key point seems to have been lack of attraction (which is where the asexual umbrella comes in) rather than behavioural choices and/or even essential wants and needs. Of course, wants and needs can hugely influence attraction, so, there are complex discussions about this! My understanding has been that people may find it useful to identify as demisexual if they feel significantly excluded or different from the way most people describe and relate to sexual attraction, if they feel more "at home" with asexual outlooks and discussions than with non-asexual ones. In itself, only being attracted to people we're already deeply emotionally attached to isn't a peculiar thing or something that Has to have a label or be particularly marked out as different in any way. As with everything to do with orientation, and even everything personal generally, I think the real point is for each of us to find what seems right for us, what we're most comfortable with, and what works best for us for feeling like we have people or community we can relate to. [ 08-30-2012, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]
Member # 96715
posted 08-30-2012 01:54 PM
Oh the joy of falling into a vague, grey category again!
Thank you both for your responses. I'm going to check out the website that Redskies listed and see what I can find over there. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you both said. I've found in the past with relationships and friendships alike I find I have a hard time getting close to someone unless I can see that there is (or the potential for) a strong emotional connection. And I definitely cannot wrap my head around the idea of casual hook-ups. Not that I have anything against people who enjoy doing so, it's just not for me. Which I think is what you might have been saying, Robin. I don't so much need a term or a label to be comfortable with what I want out of a relationship. But I am coming to recognise the value of self-understanding and sometimes having a word to use as an umbrella for the various feelings can be helpful in reaching that point. I don't know if that made much sense. I find it very interesting how many new words are cropping up lately surrounding the concept of sexuality, etc. It seems to me that it would be easier to leave everything undefined and have people just sort out for themselves a definition that works for them personally!
Member # 90293
posted 08-30-2012 06:51 PM
It makes sense to me. You need a certain thing (or things) to be present in order for there to be a relationship and a sexual connection. Other people need certain things; yours is emotional connection, while for other people it could be a variety of emotional, sexual, or physical things. Yes, it would be much easier if things weren't defined, but people love to put other people into categories, or at least to know what categories people say they're in. On that note, you might find this article from our Web site interesting: Q is for Questioning If you're interested, you can read more about what I was saying above about how the labels heterosexual and homosexual are relatively new (150+ years is new when talking about language and history) in the book Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank
Member # 96715
posted 08-30-2012 10:51 PM
I'm glad that what I was saying made sense. I know that I've tried to have a similar discussion with some of my peers and they just look at me like I'm some foreign being. It's unbelievably gratifying to have someone not only get what I'm saying, but also confirm it's validity. There is certainly a sense of satisfaction that comes with having a definitive label to put on one's feelings (especially in being able to state that there are "others like you"). But I am also quite happy with the idea of just being able to confidently say that I need X in order to be comfortable in a relationship (whether it be sexual or platonic). I have downloaded a copy of the book to my tablet and I am planning on reading it while I wait around in the airport all weekend. It looks really interesting (especially because I'm kind of a history junkie) so I'm looking forward to it. Since I'm going to be spending a lot of time just sitting with nothing to do this weekend, do you have any other book recommendations? They don't need to be historical, I'm just really interested in exploring this topic and learning as much as I can.