What Is Demisexuality?

What Is Demisexuality?

I’m demisexual, but three years ago I’d never even heard the word…
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When I wrote about privilege a few months ago, I mentioned that I’m demisexual. While the LGBTQIA community is generally becoming more visible, and many non-heterosexual terms are now common knowledge, “demisexual” is still a mostly unknown term. I didn’t even know it until a few years ago, and since having a word that describes my experiences has improved my life, I’d like to explain it to you.

Unlike most of my classmates in junior high, who seemed constantly interested in how attractive they found movie stars, I have never in my life looked at a complete stranger and thought, “Damn. You are hot.” Like many demisexual people, I can count the number of people I’ve ever been sexually attracted to on one hand.

Demisexual is an asexual-spectrum label, which means it’s related to asexuality, or lack of sexual attraction. Demisexual people usually don’t experience sexual attraction, but can become sexually attracted to a specific person after we’ve formed an emotional attachment.

That’s not to say that I can’t “see” that a stranger is physically attractive. I mean that when I look at someone with sculpted features, rather than desiring to be intimate with them, I’m more likely to think, “Huh, that person has physical features that our society deems ‘attractive,’” and then move on with my day. I watch rom-coms and fail to engage with the characters’ plight. Usually I end up shouting at the movie screen, “That person’s a jerk! Sure, they’re pretty, but you two have nothing in common! Why do you want to have sex with them?!”

I’m like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, able to make observations but nearly always disengaged from the desires that most people would insist that all humans have. And that insistence that all people experience sexual attraction all the time is why the demisexuality label is so important to me.

In seventh grade, I had to make up a crush so that the other girls would stop asking me who my crush was. I didn’t have a crush on anyone. I never had. But everyone else had, and no one would believe that I didn’t. I started questioning myself. Did I really not have a crush on anyone? If everyone gets attracted to people, and I didn’t, was there something wrong with me?

Eventually I learned the word “asexual” and thought, “Hey, maybe not having crushes is natural after all.” But then things got complicated: I did become sexually attracted to someone. Was I not really asexual? Was this my sexual awakening? But no, it was just that person, and as my emotional attachment to them faded, so did my attraction to them. I thought that something must really be wrong with me, if I was neither asexual nor not-asexual.

Not everyone sees labels as important or useful, but for me they beat the alternative. People who fit into categories that go unacknowledged are stuck with the awful notion that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, that they’re broken and need to be fixed. But when something has a name, it has a kind of validity that silence and confusion could never give it. When I first saw the word “demisexuality” in a Tumblr post, I Googled it out of pure curiosity, and after I read the definition, I had to remind myself to breathe. “Oh my god,” I thought, “this is me. There’s a word for what I am. Other people experience the world the way I do. I’m different, but there’s nothing wrong with me.”

I know I wouldn’t have had the awful idea that there was something wrong with how I experienced sexual attraction if earlier in my life I’d seen or read an experience I could relate to. Though rom-com characters are found relatable by people who experience sexual attraction regardless of emotional attachment, they don’t fit my experience. My experience is that I spend several months learning about a person’s virtues and what we have in common and gradually fall in love with them and only then do I find them sexually attractive. Then, when I fall out of love with them, I suddenly no longer find them sexually attractive. I’ve never seen this scenario depicted in a movie. And when I fail to react with as much excitement as the people around me to a hot celebrity, or when I “fall out of attraction” with someone, I still have to remind myself that I know it’s normal, because for the first eighteen years of my life, I had no reason to think that it was normal.

If demisexuality becomes common knowledge, then there will be one more group of kids in the next generation who won’t grow up thinking they’re broken. I hope this article will help.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Donald Trump's Ilhan Omar Tweet Fuels Islamophobia In America

His tweet only encourages Islamophobia and potential violence against Muslims in the United States.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar is a name that has sparked much controversy since her election to the House of Representatives in 2018. Omar was first widely praised for being the first Somali-American to serve in Congress as well as one of two Muslim women elected to Congress. She later faced backlash over her views on Israel and has been accused of being anti-Semitic. Most recently, Omar has faced controversy over her speech at a CAIR event, during which she stated that "some people did something" regarding the events of 9/11. Donald Trump responded to this statement on Twitter, posting a video repeating Omar's words over footage from 9/11.

Taking a look at the replies to this tweet is enough to understand just how Trump's response influences his supporters as well as others who may see the video. His tweet has inspired a storm of very blatant Islamophobia: among these replies are images of Ilhan Omar over a background of photos from 9/11, tweets associating Omar with ISIS, and condemnations of the Quran and Islam as a whole, using either out-of-context quotes or simply false information to support these claims. Whether or not you support Ilhan Omar, it is not difficult to see how harmful Trump's tweet can be to the Muslim community.

His tweet only encourages Islamophobia and potential violence against Muslims in the United States.

The statement taken from Omar's speech is also only a minute portion of the entire speech, which is available on YouTube. Omar's speech focused on the association of all Muslims with terrorism - the response to Trump's tweet, in effect, only proves her point. Her statement that "some people did something" was taken extremely out of context.

Omar's intent was to highlight how 9/11, in particular, created a very hostile environment for all Muslims in the United States.

Her point was that all Muslim Americans faced consequences for the actions of a few, only due to the fact that the perpetrators of 9/11 claimed to share the same religion. Personally, I understand some of the outrage at her statement about 9/11, but I do not feel that Omar intended to diminish the events of 9/11. I understand her statement as diminishing the perpetrators' roles in the Muslim community, emphasizing that they are only a small fraction of the group and do not represent all Muslims.

Regardless of your feelings towards Omar's statement, it is clear that her quote was still taken out of context, and that the wave of Islamophobia directed towards her and all Muslim Americans is unwarranted. She has not, in any way, supported the actions of terrorists, nor has she tried to justify any of their actions. In fact, she even says later in the same speech that Muslims should speak out against members of their own community, stating, "... as Muslims, we are called on to stand up for justice and to speak the truth, even if it is against ourselves, our parents, and our close relatives."

Ilhan Omar is not a terrorist, and she does not deserve to be likened to one.

Donald Trump's tweet was both distasteful and irresponsible on his part. He took one line out of an entire 20-minute speech and used it to condemn Ilhan Omar, and, in effect, attack the Muslim community as a whole. Whether he intended to do so or not does not matter. What matters is that his portrayal of Omar's words will have an effect on people's views of not only Omar, but all Muslims in America. He is instigating Islamophobia and possible violence against Muslim Americans, and in the role of President, he has the platform to have a widespread impact on the environment that Muslim Americans must live in.

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