The questions have been written and sent to the editors but if you’d like something answered on this blog feel free to ask us your anonymous questions!
Hello S. M. Carrière. Thank you for answering my questions today!
For those who don’t know, what is demi-sexual?
A demi-sexual is someone on the asexual spectrum who requires a strong emotional bond with a prospective partner before there is any chance of sexual attraction. Which is to say, they don’t experience sexual attraction except in certain, quite particular, circumstances. I should note here that a strong bond doesn’t necessarily equate sexual attraction, either.
How did finding out that there was a name for your sexuality affect how you saw yourself?
Honestly, the fact that there was a name for my identity gave me such a sense of relief. I suddenly felt like I wasn’t a freak, after all. Enough people are like me that they have a name for it, and it describes my identity almost perfectly. It certainly has helped in giving me the language necessary to describe myself to others, and it’s a language that helps normalise my experiences. That’s huge. It’s helped me so much, especially in raising my self-confidence.
Are there any fictional characters you believe represent demi-sexuals in a positive way?
No, actually. I’ve been racking my brain to find a character who is explicitly demi-sexual that I am aware of. I can’t think of any at all. Asexuals of any stripe are wildly under-represented in media, it seems.
What kind of reaction do you like the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
Not to have your identity put under an aggressive cross-examination is refreshing, and I always feel less judged, less freakish, and less alone when the people I confess to aren’t really bothered about my sexual identity.
What kind of reaction do you dislike the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
People can get ridiculously patronising when they find out, as if I couldn’t possibly understand my own identity as well as they understand me. There’s usually some variation of: “Oh sweetie, you just haven’t had good experiences.” It’s so frustrating and diminishing and, depending on who says it, quite upsetting.
I’ve also had the slimy: “Come home with me, I’ll change your mind.” My sexual identity is not a challenge to be overcome, and acting like a sleaze is generally not conducive to forming that bond I require before I even entertain the idea of sex with someone.
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which is worse.
Why do you think people have such strange reactions?
Not a flipping clue. I understand not comprehending something outside of one’s experience, but acting as if asexuality and the various identities along the asexual spectrum don’t exist is really confusing to me. Lack of comprehension should prompt questions, not outright denial. I remain confused and bewildered by some of the reactions I’ve received.
Are there any attitudes or societal norms that are frustrating for demi-sexuals?
I cannot pretend to speak for all asexuals, but asexual erasure really bugs me. In a culture obsessed with sex, being someone who isn’t can make things tough. It’s tough relating to people a lot of the times. It’s worse when people outright disbelieve you, and try to come up with all kinds of psychological reasons, or other possible explanations for your sexuality. It’s a slap in the face, because it’s tantamount to being called a liar, or broken/wrong/somehow deficient, or that an integral part of what makes you you simply doesn’t exist.
Do you know other people in the demi- or asexual spectrum?
No, actually. At least, none that have openly identified as demi- or asexual.
Are there any communities and support groups (either in person or online) for people discovering themselves?
I’m a huge fan of The Trevor Project, which gives information on pretty much all sexualities. It’s where I first discovered that asexuality was a thing, and that it didn’t mean I was broken/wrong/somehow deficient. There are a couple of great YouTube channels that cover all kinds of stuff about sex and sexuality: lacigreen (Sex+) and Sexplanations. Watching those in the early stages of self-discovery really helped open my eyes and got me asking the right questions. Sexplanations led me to asexuality.org.
What is one question that you wish you could be asked about being demi-sexual?
Where can I learn more?
That would be nice. No arguments about whether or not my identity is a real thing (it is), no sleazy propositions trying to get me to change my mind, just, “I don’t get it, where can I learn about it?”
Born in 1983 and raised in various countries around the globe, S.M. Carrière has always felt drawn to epic tales of heroes and villains. An avid reader herself and despite always writing, she did not think of becoming an author until her final year of university, when she found herself compelled to the craft (when she ought to have been studying). She self-published her first title, The Dying God and Other Stories, in 2011 at the urging of a friend, and has not stopped since, publishing one book each consecutive year.