The Dreaded Explanation

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The Dreaded Explanation

Post by OwlSaint on Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:02 pm

The dreaded and beloved question, "What is demisexual?" that often accompanies coming out to someone when you feel you can trust them with a more nuanced description of your patterns of attraction.

It's great when they ask, because it means they are genuinely interested and want to learn about it and it is a chance to educate a friend and spread the use of a term that could potentially change how the broader culture thinks about sexuality.

And it's always when I find myself the most tongue-tied.

So, how do you explain it?

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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by ratherdrinktea on Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:24 pm

I'm not a demisexual but the way that I explain it is this.

Demisexuals are sexually attracted to people after forming an emotional attachment to a person. I usually get this:

"Isn't that the way most people are"

And that's where I tell them the difference between demisexuals and other people is that demisexuality is a sexual orientation. As in they are basically asexual until they...are not (I know that's not exactly politically correct but it kind of works for some reason).

"well doesn't that make somebody sexual then"

Well does a bisexual woman who is dating a man become straight? Is she gay if she dates a woman?

No, and demisexuals aren't automatically the same as sexuals when they experience sexual attraction and they aren't the same as aces when they don't.

Anyway I don't know if this made any sense at all but...yea.

-(note: I used the term sexual for people who aren't on the ace spectrum because I don't want to say non-ace and I can't think of anything else, I'll change it once I come up with something better.)
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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by epochryphal on Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:31 am

I like tea's work there! Nicely done.

I don't id as demi either, but I do a fair amount of visibility work. I talk about demi's needing to have interacted with someone for sexual attraction to even be possible. (I don't really get into fictional characters and how there's a sort-of interaction there first too.) I also draw a strong distinction between the emotional connection needed and presumptions that this must be romantic. And I firmly situate demi's in the ace (umbrella-term-ace) community.

I talk about the importance of respecting people's self-identifications, how they've sought them out for a reason, how demisexual folk are still alienated by normative culture, how attraction and behavior are entirely separate and this internal experience isn't acknowledged or considered in depth (for instance, how can a demisexual person identify someone they will grow to feel sexual attraction towards if their goal is a sexual relationship? there is no such guarantee). I try to cut off the idea that demisexuality is idealized by again pointing to behavior vs attraction, but I do find that argument difficult.

I guess this is more geared towards a 101 presentation than a one-on-one interaction (haha, see what I did there, I am proud). I also freeze up with spontaneous informal educational opportunities; I much prefer scheduled workshops.
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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by Great Thief Yatagarasu on Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:36 pm

ratherdrinktea wrote:I'm not a demisexual but the way that I explain it is this.

Demisexuals are sexually attracted to people after forming an emotional attachment to a person. I usually get this:

"Isn't that the way most people are"

And that's where I tell them the difference between demisexuals and other people is that demisexuality is a sexual orientation. As in they are basically asexual until they...are not (I know that's not exactly politically correct but it kind of works for some reason).

"well doesn't that make somebody sexual then"

Well does a bisexual woman who is dating a man become straight? Is she gay if she dates a woman?

No, and demisexuals aren't automatically the same as sexuals when they experience sexual attraction and they aren't the same as aces when they don't.

Anyway I don't know if this made any sense at all but...yea.

-(note: I used the term sexual for people who aren't on the ace spectrum because I don't want to say non-ace and I can't think of anything else, I'll change it once I come up with something better.)

THIS. I ALWAYS get "but that's like normal people" whenever I try and explain. I also get "you probably just have a low sex drive, which is normal". And when I say "but I feel much different to people my age," I get "that's because society is over-sexualised." Lovely.

I tend to explain it better when I DON'T use the term demisexual. I say "I just don't want to have sex outside of any committed relationship", and that somehow makes people nod their heads and back off (because I think it'd be really easy for me to get sexually attracted to someone once I've been dating them for a while, so it's not actually a lie). Coded language and vague phrases seem to work better than giving a complete label do.

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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by Midnight Lady on Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:26 pm

[quote="Great Thief Yatagarasu"]
ratherdrinktea wrote:I'm not a demisexual but the way that I explain it is this.

I tend to explain it better when I DON'T use the term demisexual. I say "I just don't want to have sex outside of any committed relationship", and that somehow makes people nod their heads and back off (because I think it'd be really easy for me to get sexually attracted to someone once I've been dating them for a while, so it's not actually a lie). Coded language and vague phrases seem to work better than giving a complete label do.

Seconded
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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by Corinius on Fri May 25, 2012 12:42 am

The way I've always explained it (even before I identified as demisexual or even knew the term existed) is thus:

It's like having lost your glasses. You can see people and know that they're male or female but you don't notice those details that are usually considered a turn on for people, all that stuff is blurry. I don't see the "cute little smile", or that "sexy walk"; I can tell that she's smiling, or that she's walking.

Because of this, it's only when I get to know someone that I can develop an attraction to them.

Hope this analogy helps you as well!

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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by enlightenmentachieved on Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:50 pm

When I came out to my fiance, I was rather tongue-tied and completely lost at how to tell him. Finally, I told him, "I'm not heterosexual, or homosexual or bisexual. I'm yousexual."

Is that a good way to say it?

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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by Aisling on Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:58 pm

We consider that an excellent way to say it, if it applies to you personally. We've used a similar phrasing with our own fiance, actually. ^_^
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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by unpolished_pearl on Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:04 pm

Corinius wrote:The way I've always explained it (even before I identified as demisexual or even knew the term existed) is thus:

It's like having lost your glasses. You can see people and know that they're male or female but you don't notice those details that are usually considered a turn on for people, all that stuff is blurry. I don't see the "cute little smile", or that "sexy walk"; I can tell that she's smiling, or that she's walking.

Because of this, it's only when I get to know someone that I can develop an attraction to them.

Hope this analogy helps you as well!

^^^ This is the way I've pretty much been describing myself for years. Even before I knew what "demisexual" meant (Hell, I hadn't even heard/read the term before six months ago).

I also like to describe it like going to an art museum. I appraise people the same way I do paintings and sculptures. Some things I prefer to look at, others I don't. It's like, I prefer Mark Ryden's art over Picasso, it's 100% an aesthetic thing.

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Re: The Dreaded Explanation

Post by Raising Cain on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:33 am

I explained it to my boyfriend today, like this:

"I am able to observe that someone looks pleasant, but there is no attraction there unless I have an emotional bond. While most people begin being attracted to someone firstly by how they look, for me it's the emotional connection that starts this attraction.

In short, I'm attracted to you because I love you and we're both best friends and boyfriend/girlfriend. I can look at another man/woman and think they look nice, but its the same as looking at a picture and thinking it looks good. That's why I feel comfortable wearing whatever I want, because as long as you like it, and I like it, I don't care." Smile

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