Monday, November 16, 2015

Culture Corner 11.16.15


Demisexuality

Our flag
"Well, why do we need to have so many labels anyway?"

"You just think you're a special snowflake."

"Typical Tumblr kid."

I'm here to talk about demisexuality today (further proving my point, Blogspot doesn't even recognize it as a real word), a sexuality and culture many do not know about or seriously acknowledge. I figured the best way to structure this post would be in an FAQ, Q & A format.

What the heck is that? 
Literally meaning "half-sexual," demisexuality exists (roughly, I haven't measured it with my yardstick) halfway between pure asexuality (no sexual attraction whatsoever) and full on hetero/homo/bi/pan/I'msorryifI'mforgettinganythingelse-sexuality. Demisexuals require a strong emotional bond with someone before they experience any sexual attraction to them, which may or may not include any romantic attraction. A demisexual does not necessarily become sexually attracted to every person they develop a strong emotional bond with.

There's a difference between sexual and romantic attraction? 
Sexual attraction is basic lust for a certain person--"I'd want/like to have sex with them." Romantic attraction is a pull towards a certain person to do romantic things (which differ from person to person) with them, like holding hands, going on dates, cuddling, etc.

So, you have to be romantically attracted to them before being sexually attracted to them?
Demisexuals may or may not be romantically attracted to people. Romantic attraction exists on a spectrum, too. Remember, they just need some sort of strong emotional bond, romantic or not, to be sexually attracted to a person.

People are complicated. Why are you trying to label everything?
Well, I think these "labels" serve less of a purpose of justifying the needs of an insecure kid to be 'unique' (an accusation I've heard many times) but rather form communities and let people who identify a certain way feel less isolated. I mean, especially since sexual attraction and casual sex relationships play such a prominent role in the larger American culture. Identifying with this--and any--sexuality isn't the adoption of a trait, but rather the naming of one that has always existed within the person.

So...you have no sex drive whatsoever?
Demisexuals can have a sex drive outside of sexual attraction! It sounds confusing, but a sex drive is merely, according to the dictionary, "the urge to seek satisfaction of sexual needs." Sexual attraction, again, is feeling a draw or allure to someone sexually. Having needs to satisfy and feeling sexually drawn to someone are not the same thing. Some demisexuals have little to no sex drive; some have huge sex drives. I happen to have one. Yes, people are complicated.

I'd say most people would rather know a person before having sex with them. Why do you think this qualifies as a specific sexuality?
There's a difference between sexual attraction and actual willingness in the moment to have sex with someone. Who you're sexually attracted to is out of your control, and so is the when you're sexually attracted to people. You may or may not choose to have sex with the people you're sexually attracted to.

Are you disgusted by sex, real or portrayed?
Personally, I'm not. Some demisexuals are repulsed by and/or uninterested in sex. Depends on the kind of sex too... Next question.

Are you sexually attracted to everyone you form a close emotional bond with?
No. It's a required prerequisite for sexual attraction, not a guaranteer.

How do you know which specific genders you're attracted to?
That's actually a great question that I rarely get...that I don't really know the answer to myself. In addition to being demisexual, I happen to be in a committed relationship (4 years strong!) with Kristian, a male. I don't have the time or freedom to discover such things, and I'm not unhappy about that. But romantically? I'd say I've been romantically attracted to many genders. (And no, I'm not romantically attracted to every person I meet. Jeez.) Again, in the general sense, different people will have different gender preference romantically and sexually.

-.-
Once upon a formative year, I saw the term "demisexual" being thrown around on Tumblr (one learns many things on Tumblr). I did my research and also a double take. Either the NSA's spying had gotten so bad that someone had actually written an article about me, or I was identifying with this obscure (to me at the time) sexuality. 

In high school I lived in a state of confusion regarding the creation of romantic relationships. People would find others attractive first, ask them out, and then get to know them as friends. Because I was am a self-centered teenager, I didn't realize that this is how the vast majority of romantic transactions go. I knew what it was to fall in love, but I didn't understand the concept of having a physical 'type' (causing many instances of unrequited love and heartbreak). I mean, I know what physical beauty is, but it just doesn't connect at all with sexual attraction/preference.

16-year-old Alex: "What do you mean you've talked to her one time and already want to date and  bang her (and not necessarily in that order)!? Because she's hot?!" 

I still don't understand what it's like to be sexually attracted to someone you don't know. Please feel free to contact me after reading this article to answer a brief survey. is it something like spidey-sense

The more I type, the more I feel like one of those MLG fedora-toting 'nice guys' who says they only find personalities 'hot.' *sigh*

All I can say right now is thank God I have Kristian, because I'd be continuing what I did before I met him: falling in the slow love of emotional attachment while the other person only saw faces.


-Alex

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