Calling Demisexuality a Slut-Shaming Identity Uses the Logic of Christian Fundamentalists

This is an observation on demi critics who believe the statements “I’m demisexual” and “I don’t experience sexual attraction to people I don’t know very well” are an attack on people who have sex with people they don’t know very well: the logic they’re using to reach that conclusion is indistinguishable from the logic of fundamentalists who oppose same-gender marriage.

Said fundamentalists believe that, by denying the option for same-gender partnerships to gain the same kind of legal recognition that cross-gender partnerships have access to, they are “protecting the sanctity of marriage,” i.e. same-gender couples getting married would be an attack on cross-gender marriages.

The term “slut-shaming identity” as applied to demisexuality is based on the idea that “I don’t feel what you feel” is disrespectful to other people’s choices.

These demi critics believe that describing yourself as demisexual is tantamount to shaming every person who has sex with someone they’re not strongly bonded to (which, incidentally, may include some demis).  Fundamentalists believe that same-gender marriages existing is tantamount to saying that cross-gender marriages are worthless and no longer sacred.

Being demi is an insult to allos.  Being gay or bi is an insult to straights.

The reasoning isn’t any different.

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11 responses to “Calling Demisexuality a Slut-Shaming Identity Uses the Logic of Christian Fundamentalists

  • caelesti

    I’ve seen that argument (esp. that it’s “normal, expected behavior in hetero women) but they are not drawing a distinction between feeling sexual attraction & acting on it. Plenty of people only have sex with people they have had a longer relationship with, but among allosexuals it’s common to feel sexual attraction to strangers but not act on it. I think most people who identify as asexual, demi etc. are just trying to figure out their own identities rather than judging other people’s behavior. Someone in one of my Facebook groups was describing their limited experiences with sexual attraction, and I linked to the AVEN wiki on demisexuality and they had an “AHA” moment. With the arising of this term though, I do wonder if younger people especially are feeling a lot of pressure to engage in casual sex and feeling they need to justify lack of interest. Even so, that is easily done without slut-shaming.

    • acetheist

      Oh that’s definitely true as well — not understanding that demisexuality actually describes an orientation and not a preference.

      Glad that wiki page was helpful for them!

    • Nicolai Gamulea Schwartz

      “With the arising of this term though, I do wonder if younger people especially are feeling a lot of pressure to engage in casual sex and feeling they need to justify lack of interest.” – I totally agree with this observation. This is the main reason I wouldn’t adopt such a label for myself (although I had a similar “aha” moment, swiftly left behind when I realised that I was only feeling what a sensible, civilised human is expected to).

      My thinking is that the so-called “allos” are usurping a normative position which used to put pressure against them (the dreaded slut-shaming thing). Now, in our openly oversexualised society, “romantic love” is derided as a last-century foolishness, and it’s romantic monogamous people’s turn to be marginalised as “demis” for being somehow sexually incomplete.

      So no, it’s not that “demis” are slut-shaming the “allo”s – it’s the other way around. It’s that promiscuity has been edicted as the new norm, slut-shaming has been turned into a taboo, and people with a more considerate / exigent sexuality have been pushed into a corner and forced to adopt a whole new sexual identity for themselves. One that’s named “incomplete”. This word is an instrument of social engineering, and I wonder what interest group is actually pushing it. I also worry that it’s illegitimate and harmful to many, especially the young.

      And no, sexual orientation refers to the gender of the partners. Demis are still hetero, homo or bisexuals, they only require a certain level of intimacy in order to feel enough attraction to acknowledge and act upon. It’s just like other people requiring some intellectual stimulation, or some champaign and good manners, or some shared tastes in music or clothing or social background, or any other sort of personal requisite.

      • Spade

        “I totally agree with this observation.”

        Well, I certainly agree that young people are pressured into having sex.

        “I was only feeling what a sensible, civilised human is expected to”

        Dude, you’re sounding kind of elitist here.

        “My thinking is that the so-called ‘allos’ are usurping a normative position which used to put pressure against them (the dreaded slut-shaming thing).”

        Uh, how exactly? And are you thinking that sex-shaming doesn’t still happen?

        “Now, in our openly oversexualised society, ‘romantic love’ is derided as a last-century foolishness,”

        Well, among some people, but I wouldn’t call it a reigning ideology. If so, aros wouldn’t be ignored and harassed like they are.

        “and it’s romantic monogamous people’s turn to be marginalised”

        You’re kidding, right?

        “Demis are still hetero, homo or bisexuals”

        Do you know the term “sample size”?

      • caelesti

        I’m not sure if you are familiar with the overall asexual spectrum community & movement? The way you are talking about it does not seem as if you are supportive.
        No one is forcing anyone to label themselves. The ace community exists as a resource to people who want to be a part of it. It’s not my community, but as a bisexual/pansexual, I can sympathize with others who identify with orientations that the general public is in denial about its existence.

  • Calum P Cameron

    It’s also the logic of the Men’s Rights Activists who insist that an egalitarian approach to gender is an attack on manhood.

    Wherever one looks, the belief that acknowledging the validity of a concept constitutes an attack on its antithesis is depressingly common.

    • acetheist

      Also a good point.

      What I like about this comparison is that these are two groups (demi bashers and Christian fundamentalists) who you know wouldn’t agree with each other. The former tend to be of a somewhat liberal/feminist bent who feel like demisexuality makes a mockery of LGB identities and acts as a form of misogyny, whereas the latter… wouldn’t see a problem with “slut-shaming” to begin with (not the term I prefer to use for that concept, but rolling with it here).

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    You have written so many wonderful things that I’m going to have to link to on my gray & demi 101 page on Tumblr. Thank you!

  • Nicolai Gamulea Schwartz

    I’m not sure “allos” is the right word either. The prefix comes from Ancient Greek ἄλλος (állos, “other”) and would mean “alternative” rather than “full”. Ortho- would be a Greek prefix for “straight”, “proper” or, in this case, “complete”. As if to be normal is to be indiscriminate…

    • Spade

      I use “allos” as a shorthand for “allosexual”, which is the term adopted in the online asexual community to refer to people who are not on the asexual spectrum.

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