Today I had a nasty shock when I went to leave a link to my prior post on the “Shameless Self Promotion Sunday” post over at Feministe. That nasty shock was because I came across a nasty, ignorant post about demisexuals. (Don’t worry, we asexuals got plenty of mud slung at us as well) Here is a link in full to the post in it’s drivelling entire (although I suggest not clicking; the author doesn’t deserve any more hits): On the “demisexuals”. It’s full of the usual stereotypes directed at asexuals and demisexuals, and is so full of stupid I literally had to clap my hands in applause to the author.
Now I am going to quote and address her points because well, such stupid shite should not go without a rebuttal on the internets.
“Have you heard of people who have started calling themselves “demisexuals“? These are folks who claim they are being oppressed for only being able to desire sexually people whose personalities they like and with whom they want to have a romantic relationship. “
No, that’s incorrect. However, I’m not surprised you didn’t bother to do any actual research into the topic you’re discussing. That seems to be your usual modus operandi. As fas as I can tell, there are no sexual orientations who’s creation as an identity was rooted mainly in oppression. Sexual orientations are identities usually created to describe the way one is attracted to people, who you are attracted to, etc. Demisexuals are actually people who cannot experience sexual attraction toward someone unless they already know that someone closely and have forged a strong emotional connection.
To be honest, I don’t understand the difficulty people are having with understanding this identity. To me, it seems like it’s probably not an uncommon state to be in, even if many people don’t develop for themselves a specific identity in relation to it. To me, the more words we have to describe what we want from relationships, and what we are open for, the better. I cannot see how more clarity, more specificity, in regards to our sexualities can be a bad thing.
As for the claiming-oppression bit, most demisexuals do not claim to be oppressed because of their sexuality. And I cannot for the life of me understand why they get that associated with them more than any other group that has some members who think they are oppressed (like polyamorists. Some poly people think they are oppressed by society. But I have heard no one saying “Oh, polyamory? That’s that identity based on people thinking they are oppressed for having multiple partners.”)
“Everybody is now bashing such folks for daring to claim they are oppressed but I wanted to point out that, as ridiculous as the idea of society persecuting these “demisexuals” is, these are people who are suffering from a sexual problem.
That’s funny. According to your blog bio, you are not in fact a medical doctor, let alone one specializing in psychiatry and human sexuality. So yes, please tell us more about how an entire group of people is suffering from sexual problems. Or, you know, you could quit making wild assumptions about hundreds of people you don’t know, have never met, and know nothing about.
“To be a “demisexual” you have got to be a person who has interiorized the idea that sex is bad and dirty and who needs to justify his or her sexual desires as being at the service of some socially acceptable goal (e.g. finding a stable relationship.) “
Ok, you must know what you said sounds pretty stupid. I’d love to hear if you actually have anything to back up this little theory of yours, although I seriously doubt it. You know what? Some people can get it up for the hot guy they just met in the taxi. Other people can’t. Big deal. You don’t need to make baseless assumptions like “Oh, they can’t get hot for the guy in the taxi till they’ve had dinner with him a couple times? Golly, they must think sex is dirty and wrong and eviiiiiiiiil!!!!11”
Or you know, they could just be someone who needs to know taxi guy a little better before they can experience sexual attraction. But yeah, go ahead and go with the over-complicated, negative option because that’s more dramatic, right?
“The problem with treating them compassionately, however, is that such folks with stunted sexualities are extremely likely to act as an oppressive force. These are the people who have fits of hysteria when they realize that others might be having sex just for the sake of enjoyment. Anti-choicers, anti-contraception folks, anti-pornography and anti-masturbation crowd – these are all people who have stunted their own sexualities and hate everybody else for not doing the same. “
Now you get down to the good stuff! Asexuals and demisexuals are all oppressive, hateful, sex-negative, and our sexualities are stunted, have I got that right?. Nice. Ever heard of the word, “stereotype” much? I’ll go ahead and educate you though. Many asexuals and demisexuals masturbate, enjoy porn, enjoy having sex just for the sake of enjoying it, are pro-choice, are pro-contraception, anddddddd, here’s the shocker: most of us are sex-positive. Sure, not all of us are. But, the same is true for people who aren’t asexual or demisexual.
Isn’t it nice to know there are people out there who think things like this about us? They’ve never met us, but they already magically know that we’re conservative sexually-repressed oppressors just because we’re asexual or demisexual. You know, the lack of research done by the author into this topic she felt justified in spouting off oh-so-knowledgeably about really does amuse me. There are so many anti-asexual people on tumblr that have got our number so much better. They may say we’re spoiled socially awkward hipsters who like wearing scarves and chilling with our cats and panting after Sherlock, but you know what? At least they bothered to look at us and base their generalizations on something (you know, other than their own imagination).
And that makes their crap kind of funny. It’s funny because those people have added an element of truth to their stereotyping; a lot of us DO like Sherlock. A lot of us probably are socially-awkward college kids who have cats. But you know what is actually a rarity among asexuals and demisexuals? The conservative, repressed, sex-negative type. You really don’t see that too much among us, in fact, I can’t think of anyone ace or demi that I have met or seen anywhere that is anything like the stereotype Clarissa paints at all.
Clarissa appears to be just yet another ignorant person who would prefer to create and perpetuate negative, stereotyped ideas about asexuals, and make the world a little more ignorant and hateful towards us. I wish my fellow aces much luck and support in dealing with this kind of ignorant assholery out in the world.
(Notes/Disclaimer: I am not demisexual, so I am not the best source on such matters. I can say I am, however, a better source of info on demisexuality than Clarrissa; in fact, so is my dog. To any demisexual readers, I hope I have described your orientation accurately, fairly, and have not did it any disservice.)