Everyone, Except for the Exceptions: A Recap

Recently a visitor decided to engage me in a discussion in the comment section of this post, arguing that the label of demisexual isn’t “necessary” (the particular comment thread begins here).   As much as it may feel like banging your head against a wall, I believe it can sometimes be beneficial to engage with your detractors directly, if only to see what happens.  Here are the highlights:

>Here (the name they gave themselves) initially claimed “the real issue with demisexuality is that it defines a willingness to have sex”
>(see if you can spot how many times they contradict themselves)
>then said “Certainly people exist who would only be sexually attracted to those they have a close emotional bond with and for whom a desire for anything less would not manifest. And of course bodily sex could be had even WITHOUT this. But there is nothing about this very real pattern of behavior that defines it as anything OTHER than a pattern of behavior, in other words a preference.”
>before they switched to saying “From what I see this ‘demisexuailty’ is not describing anything that isn’t already a part of human nature” and “This behavior seems to be a part of every individual on some level”
> “And no, I’m not saying ALL people are demi but I’m saying the glaring majority of the world sounds exactly like the definition for demi”
> “Whereas from what I can tell, demisexual behavior exists in varying levels throughout every orientation and throughout every human being”
> “No I would not consider all humans demisexual, as ‘demisexual’ seems to be merely the highest point on it’s spectrum”
> “I feel like I don’t have a substantial enough reason to believe in demisexuality”
> “What I mean to say is a substantial enough reason to believe it’s its own separate sexuality. So yes, what I meant is that my thoughts are focused one how we consider it rather than it’s existence.”
> “The definition of demisexuality has been explicitly stated multiple times ALREADY. It’s only being sexually attracted to individuals once a strong emotional bond has been formed with them. If you examine this quality at different degrees from extreme to zero, it would span all sexualities. YES what is now called demisexuality, if looking at it this way, would represent the high range of this scale. I don’t consider this a contradiction because I include zero in this model.”

>Here cited the dictionary at some point
>I basically pointed and laughed at them, but in a more explanatory way
> “Mocking the use of the dictionary is ridiculous.”

> “I’m not trying to prove anything, but rather to see proof so that I can get some information on this topic that is not based in testimonial, but rather science.”
>I explained how this kind of scientism is not useful for increasing the likelihood of a scientific study being done on the topic.
>They told me I “sound offended”.
>more scientism
>more scientism
>After some prodding from me, they revealed that they study philosophy and are not themselves a scientist.
>They followed this up with, “And by the way, it’s irrelevant, it’s even irrelevant where you’re coming from, as everyone has the right to think critically and examine any range of topics.”
>So I said, “Oh, so are you saying now that you don’t necessarily need scientific backing to reason through an issue and arrive at valid conclusions? Very well, I agree.”

>They added as an aside, “Are you aware the term as well as the original concept is purported to have been invented by an RPer playing a game?”
>I replied, “Yes, I am aware of that rumor and its popularity among demi critics. Here’s the real origin story.”
> “I don’t really care about the origin story”

>They whined a lot.
>I mean a lot.
>At first about me continuing to reply to them but also about things like the fact that I was offering them links.

>They tried to support their “everyone’s a little demi” claim by arguing that negative feelings toward a person could influence sexual desire, which is something they considered relevant, apparently.
>(they also conflated the words desire and attraction a lot, among other things)
> “Could you feel sexual attraction for the hottest piece of westboro baptist church?”
> “Well, it doesn’t really work to ask me that, because I don’t really find people very hot to begin with.”
>They later asked, “As for your being able to be sexually attracted to people you strongly dislike, how can you be sure you are not the minority instead?”
>(apparently abandoning the idea that this impossible, they switched to thinking of it as simply rare, apparently — and apparently still think this is relevant to demisexuality at this point, because to them having a strong emotional bond to someone and having positive associations with a person are close enough to count as the same mechanism)
>In response to that question, I asked, “Are you using ‘you’ in a general sense here? Because I’m not allo. You know that, right?”
> “How would I know anything about you?”
> “Well, you’re on my blog, and there’s an ‘About’ page, and the name of this blog is ‘the ace theist’…”
> “I don’t read your blog”

>They got offended at me telling them they didn’t talk like a scientist.
>Interpreting that as an insult, they told me I didn’t talk like a scientist either.
>Which is appropriate, considering that neither of us are scientists.

>more scientism
>like kinda bizarre scientism
> “But why don’t you TELL me why something that’s been put through a trial should be viewed as… what, less, than something that hasn’t?”
>what in tarnation
>So I answered, “I’m not going to give you reasons for that because that’s not something I believe.”
>Apparently opposing scientism means opposing science?  And yet they told me they understood what scientism was.

>There was also this fun bit where they claimed that demisexuals are the majority and stated, “for this reason I don’t believe terming it as it’s own sexuality is correct.”
>(implying that the reason we shouldn’t have a word for it is its frequency in the human population)
> “Wait — most people are heterosexual, correct? Should we not have a word for heterosexuality then?”
> “No, I still believe we need a term for heterosexuals (and homosexuals, etc.) This is because heterosexual is completely separate from other sexualities, and heterosexuals are completely separate from individuals of another sexuality.”
>So now we don’t need a word for demisexuality because it’s not “separate” enough.
>Great consistency there.
> “Are you the kind of person who argues we shouldn’t use the word pan because we already have bi, then?”
>Don’t think I got a direct answer to that.
>They did respond to one of my related points, though.
> “Being a man and being attracted to men, being a man and being attracted to men and women. You could consider this as overlapping, but within the existing sexalities there is no criteria that links them all together at once.”
>But they use this to insist that demisexuality is present in all individuals “to varying levels”, allowing that for some, that level is zero.
>You might as well say that same-gender sexual attraction is present in all individuals to varying levels, and that for heterosexuals and asexuals, that level is zero.
>Dangit, I should have made that point while we were still on-topic.
>They appear to have run out on me now.
>They’re still posting comments, but they’re not making points anymore.
>The comments have progressed from 30% whining to 100% whining, so basically they gave up.
>If they want to try again, I’ll be around.

6 responses to “Everyone, Except for the Exceptions: A Recap

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    Wow. This person’s devotion to scientism, citing the dictionary, AND inability to conduct a discussion in a fair way (“no I’m still right because [completely different argument]” instead of actually responding to objections makes me think either they’re doing a very poor job at studying philosophy, or their philosophy program is not the proper kind where you’re encouraged to critically analyze your assumptions and opinions about the world.

    • Spade

      Yeah, for the sake of their university’s credibility, I’m hoping they’re a first-year. That, or what they deem “philosophy” looks very different from how it does at my school.

      • sablin27

        As someone who has studied philosophy, I have to point out that critically analysing your assumptions and opinions about the world is always pretty difficult, let alone whilst having a conversation. Also, philosophy courses are normally better at telling you what other (often long-dead) people thought than how to handle active discussion.

  • Cath

    The only point I think they were trying to get across that I agree with is that demisexuality, like most labels, is of course a spectrum. People vary in where along the emotional bond level they experience sexual attraction — from frequently to never. It’s just — demisexual is a useful and valid label for those whose experiences different from allos! Why is that so hard to understand?

    Glad you kept your cool :)

  • madcap86

    I will admit–I have had difficultly with demisexuality as its own orientation, probably because I was raised to believe that one should only have sex with their marriage partner. Therefore, the idea of being sexually attracted to someone you have a close emotional bond with seems like common sense. I guess with casual sex being a thing, and knowing that there are people who have sex with anyone, I can sort of see where it comes in…but I still don’t know that I’m completely sold on it being it’s own orientation.

    I say this as someone who is still trying to get a handle on all of the different terminologies and has only had the knowledge to identify as ace for about six months. But the thing is…I feel like if I ever /were/ to experience sexual attraction, and have sex with someone…it would have to be someone I had a close emotional bond to. But I don’t think that would make me any less ace, if there are aces who experience sexual attraction.

    I feel like a lot of the problem has to do with how close some of these sensations are–attraction, desire, aesthetically attractive, those sorts of things. There’s a fine line, and it’s not always clear which we are experiencing. And people are bound to define these feelings a little bit differently.

    I will say though–having read through the original comment thread in its entirety…I feel like you probably should have let things drop. The commenter repeatedly tried to end the conversation. Yes, they kept coming back to respond to you, but I think that was just them trying to feel like they had the last word. To keep pushing the conversation was a bit immature, and if it had been me, at some point I would have had to say ‘we’ll agree to disagree’ and be done with it. Dragging it out and pushing them to the point to where they stopped responding was not the high road. Not saying that they shouldn’t have just stopped responding sooner…but still.

    • Spade

      Aha, another one.

      “I will admit–I have had difficultly with demisexuality as its own orientation”

      It helps to recognize that what makes anything “its own” orientation is more a matter of social collaboration than absolute fact.

      “Therefore, the idea of being sexually attracted to someone you have a close emotional bond with seems like common sense. I guess with casual sex being a thing, and knowing that there are people who have sex with anyone, I can sort of see where it comes in…”

      It comes in where there are so many people who experience sexual attraction to strangers, regardless of how they choose to act.

      “And people are bound to define these feelings a little bit differently. ”


      “Yes, they kept coming back to respond to you, but I think that was just them trying to feel like they had the last word.”

      That about summarizes it.

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