Demisexuality and You

According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, demisexuality is:

“a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.”

So, like most people, demisexuals need to get to know a person before feeling sexual attraction to them, rather than just dropping their pants the second they’ve been introduced.

“Emotional intimacy is a main component, usually, so some demisexuals find themselves attracted to close friends or romantic partners. Other components may include familiarity with the person and knowledge about them (ex: learning about aspects of their personality).”

How unusual! Feeling attracted to one’s romantic partner, and needing to know aspects of someone’s personality before feeling attracted!

“Most people on the non-asexual side of the spectrum feel sexual attraction regardless of whether or not they have a close emotional bond with someone. They may have sexual feelings for attractive people on the street, classmates or coworkers they’ve barely spoken to, or celebrities. However, they may choose to wait to have sex for a variety of reasons: it might not be feasible or appropriate, they want to make sure the person is respectful and kind, it’s against their religious beliefs, they only want to have sex in a romantic relationship, etc.”

Okay, this website is definitely describing everybody. Of course you don’t have sex with every single person you like the looks of! People only have sex when it’s “feasible and appropriate,” as noted above by the Demisexuals.

The reason why perfectly normal people are having to label their perfectly normal feelings as “demisexual” is because the way they are expected to behave otherwise is fucked up, and they need an excuse to opt out of it. The way they are expected to behave is like they are in a porn movie. Due to both porn itself and a porn-soaked culture that turns every last bit of popular culture into a promotional ad for porn, people are going around thinking that they need to dress like a porn star, take off their clothes at random, have sex as an ice-breaker activity, and say yes to any sexual act all the time no matter what. Take for example, this situation witnessed at the University of California-Berkeley campus:

“Groups of girls were clacking along the street in their party uniforms: short skirts, bare midriffs, five-inch heels. One of them stopped and lifted her skirt above her waist, revealing a tiny thong, a flat belly, and some righteously toned glutes. She looked happy and strong, laughing, surrounded by friends, having fun. Then she turned toward a building where two bros, appraising the relative “hotness” of those trying to gain entrée to their party, were posted by the door.”

As Gail Dines always says, you can either be fuckable or invisible. If you’re a woman who doesn’t want to lift up your mini-skirt and show off your thong in order for frat boys to rate your “hotness,” then you’re a boring, old-fashioned, anti-sex prude. Hence women having to label themselves “demisexual” in order to convey to people that they actually want to have a conversation with a guy and determine that he has at least two brain cells and isn’t an asshole before her skirt comes off.

The culture young people are growing up in is a porn culture. Not only are youth watching actual porn starting at age 11, they are also witnessing a consumerist, individualist pro-capitalist culture that sells women and girls as consumer products at every turn. Even before the Internet, young people tended to believe that everyone was having sex but them; now the problem is certainly worse. After spending hours online watching videos in which every woman says “yes” and sex occurs anytime, anywhere, between anybody, at the drop of a hat, anyone who attempts to assert boundaries and pursue a healthy and rewarding sexual and romantic life will feel like a deviant.

Let’s take at look at 17 Confessions From People Who Identify as Demisexual, posted on hellogiggles.com.

  1. It is so hard to explain to people that I don’t feel arousal unless there is a very close bond (I’m demisexual) but am still a very sexual person.
  2. I’m demisexual, but I’m scared people will judge me because I don’t want to have sex with them straight away or have a one night stand.
  3. I’m demisexual and it’s a little frustrating. When I’m with my friends they’ll say “omg he’s so hot” meanwhile I’m thinking “I wonder if he has a good personality.”
  4. I hate being demisexual. Crushes are either extremely rare or they last for way too long. I wish I was normal.
  5. I question every part of who I am. When men find out I’m demisexual, they usually stop talking to me.
  6. I am demisexual and I feel like no one understands that I can’t just give you a try and love you, I really can’t.
  7. As a demisexual, if you ask for sex on the first date, you have no chance with me.
  8. I’m demisexual and an introvert, so casual dating isn’t an option for me…I wish I could be like everyone else.
  9. Dating woes: Being demisexual. Maybe one day I’ll find a guy who understands and respects what I cannot change.
  10. I’m demisexual. All the people I’ve slept with I wasn’t attracted to, they just got me aroused and I’m too shy to say no so I went with it.
  11. Just because I’m demisexual doesn’t mean I don’t want a serious, loving relationship.
  12. I’m demisexual. When I admitted that to someone I thought was my friend, they laughed in my face. I just want to be accepted for being me.
  13. I’m demisexual. Always have been, but when I was younger I felt bad for the guys so I would pretend I wasn’t.
  14. Being a demisexual female in a world where all guys seem to want is sex is really discouraging.
  15. The problem with being demisexual is that I can’t relate when people talk about stuff like dates with random people. I feel like I’m the odd one out and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one.
  16. I’m Demisexual and I love sex with my boyfriend but I don’t NEED it. He just doesn’t seem to understand.
  17. I’m finally being honest about myself. I’m demisexual. I’m done pretending to have sexual desire before I’m ready. If guys can’t handle that, they don’t deserve me.

This article doesn’t name the sex of the writers, but judging by what they’re writing I’d say they’re all female. I say that because they’re writing about the standard experience of being female in a porn-soaked patriarchy. These women think that everyone around them finds fulfillment in jumping into bed with random people they don’t even know. Nope. Even the people doing that aren’t finding fulfillment from it, or at least, the women aren’t. I did the whole casual sex thing when I was younger, and at the time I would have told you that it was fun, but I’m older and more mature now. I know that good sex isn’t based on the “hotness” of the participants, or how “extreme” the performance is. (Speaking of “hotness,” I’m going to quote this article again where the author quotes Ariel Levy:

“As journalist Ariel Levy pointed out in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, “hot” is not the same as “beautiful” or “attractive”: It is a narrow, commercialized vision of sexiness that, when applied to women, can be reduced to two words: “fuckable” and “sellable.”

Like I was saying, good sex is not based on being “hot,” it’s based on connection and chemistry. It’s good when you really want each other, because you know each other and you have developed feelings for each other, and when you’re feeling sexual tension because of your mutual attraction, and when you are excited to know that your partner wants you as much as you want them. This sort of connection cannot happen instantly—that’s impossible. (It can’t be bought or sold, either.) Chemistry and attraction are things people develop gradually through interaction with each other.

What these “demisexual” women don’t realize is that, despite feeling like they’re abnormal, they have actually figured out the secret to good sex ahead of their peers. They are on the path to have satisfying sex, while their porn-addicted peers are going to have to unlearn a whole bunch of harmful beliefs and habits before they can actually enjoy themselves in bed. Getting validation that you are “fuckable” only feels good in a superficial, fleeting way. After putting up with a bunch of disrespectful and ineffective lovers, even the “fuckable” women will get tired of the whole charade and want to find the same sort of relationship the demisexuals are looking for.

Demisexuals aren’t missing out on anything if misogynist sleazebags stop talking to them upon finding out they are demisexual. They should actually breathe a sigh of relief because they have dodged a bullet.

It’s interesting to note that “demi” means half. Does demisexual mean half sexual? It’s like these people believe that they’re missing something or they aren’t sexual enough. This belief is not just limited to the Tumblr Speshul Snowflake community, it’s everywhere else too. There is a thing called “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder,” which is a medical euphemism for “bitches not putting out enough,” and apparently around one third of women have this “condition.” But if that many people have “low desire,” can that even be called “low”? Perhaps the bar is being set too high. Low desire in comparison to what, exactly?

What women need to learn is that whatever their sexual interest level is, that is the normal level. There is no such thing as being “half sexual” or “hyposexual” because there is no universal measuring stick that everyone has to meet. Women are not responsible for providing their bodies to men to use. Men have their hands and they have tube socks—they are going to be just fine. Women are allowed to decide when and how and with whom to have sex, and we’re also allowed to not want it at all, and this doesn’t require an excuse, a label, or an explanation.

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How women are brought into the porn industry

This is the second post that talks about the information presented in the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. This is not exactly a film review; I have added information from other sources as well. The first post was about how pornography largely presents pedophilia and this post is about how women are groomed and recruited into the porn industry. Information for this post is also taken from Female Sexual Slavery by Kathleen Barry, an excellent book that I recommend reading.

In her book Female Sexual Slavery, one of the things Kathleen Barry describes is the strategies of procuring and pimping, two distinct but closely related activities that bring women into the prostitution industry and keep them there.

“Together, pimping and procuring are perhaps the most ruthless displays of male power and sexual dominance. As practices they go far beyond the merchandising of women’s bodies for the market that demands them. Pimping and procuring are the crystallization of misogyny; they rank among the most complete expressions of male hatred for femaleness. Procuring is a strategy, a tactic for acquiring women and turning them into prostitution; pimping keeps them there.” Barry, p.73.

As she describes in her book, the methods of procuring are the following:

  1. Befriending or love: Procurers find teenage girls who are naïve and seeking love and attention from men and they act as a boyfriend toward these girls. They particularly use this method on girls who are runaways or who are bored and looking for excitement. They make the girl feel like she is in a romantic relationship even though it is really just a business strategy for him.
  2. Actions of gangs, syndicates, and organized crime: these organizations will often procure girls and women into prostitution as a part of their gang activities.
  3. Recruiting women under false pretenses by offering them a job such as dancing or modelling, or by offering them marriage, and turning them to prostitution when they arrive.
  4. Purchasing women and girls from other male “owners”
  5. Outright kidnapping

In the film Hot Girls Wanted, a procurer for the porn industry is interviewed. His name is given as “Riley” and at the time of the filming he is only 23 years old. He is living in a five bedroom house in Miami Beach. His job is to place ads on Craigslist enticing young women to join the porn industry and the women who answer his ads come to live in his house and pay him rent. In addition to providing living accommodations, he drives them to their shoots. He calls himself a “talent manager” and calls the women living in his house “my girls.” His method of procurement falls into the category of recruiting women by offering them modelling jobs, which is number three above. Unlike in the past, he is not pretending that the jobs he offers are straight up modelling. He is fairly honest that this is for pornography. He can be honest about this since all girls are groomed to accept porn and so there is less trickery to be done than there used to be. However there is still some trickery involved, because he presents these “modelling” jobs as if they are glamorous and lucrative and fails to mention that the work the young women will have to perform will involve physical abuse such as “forced blow jobs” and that they will not come out of this with much money.

Riley is shown creating an ad on Craigslist advertising for young, hot women and offering them free flights to Miami. He explains that it’s very easy to recruit girls because new girls are turning 18 all the time and lots of them want to do porn. He simply creates the ad and “Voilà,” he says, “that’s all you gotta do. I should have like 5 responses within 12 hours.”

Modern procurers for the porn industry don’t have much work to do. That is because girls are socialized to accept pornography as normal during their entire lives. Once they’ve turned 18 they have likely been watching porn for several years already. Porn star Belle Knox watched porn since age 12. That means during a large portion of her formative years she was taught to sexualize her own degradation and accept physical and sexual abuse as normal.

To review a bit about female socialization, which I have discussed in previous blog posts (check the “female socialization” tags and categories) girls are taught certain lessons right from early childhood as a part of their journey to become women. They are taught that their worth is based on being pretty and pleasing to men, that they can evaluate their self-worth based on how much boys and men like them, and that their ultimate failure as a woman is being unattractive or “unfuckable.” Entire industries–beauty, makeup, fashion and dieting—encourage girls to see themselves as ugly in an attempt to sell them products to “fix” their perceived ugliness. All this advertising reinforces the idea that women’s worth is based on their appearance. Toys for little girls teach them femininity. Dolls have makeup on their faces and sometimes appear downright pornified. Characters in movies for kids present feminine girls often wearing sexy outfits; magazine covers that they see at the supermarket present airbrushed, “perfect-looking” women who are often scantily-clad and being presented for the evaluation of their appearance. These magazines are becoming increasingly pornified. The social media sites that teens use contain soft-core pornography on a regular basis—Twitter and Tumblr are full of porn, and even Facebook allows images of “sexy” women as long as there is no explicit nudity. The films and sitcoms that preteens and teens watch often have characters in them that take a casual view of pornography, mentioning it as something people do, and sometimes characters actually make pornography of their own as a part of the storyline. Porn stars are starting to be featured in non-porn TV shows and are interviewed on the news. Unless a child is raised in a religious tradition that stays completely away from modern civilization, he or she is aware of pornography as a preteen or younger, and is groomed to accept it as normal for many years before the age of 18.

The procurer from Hot Girls Wanted, Riley, has lots of help in doing his job. All he has to do is post an ad on Craigslist because a lot of other work has been done for him by our culture in general. Our pornified culture serves as a large grooming session to prepare girls for sexual abuse so that actual abusers don’t have to work very hard to get a girl to comply.

When the girls living in Riley’s house get interviewed, it’s really obvious how they have been groomed. They talk about inadequate sex education in schools and the bizarre, nonsensical things teachers have said about sex. They view porn as better, more accurate sex education. One young woman, Karly, says “…there’s all these people in porn having sex and nothing’s going wrong and everybody’s happy.” She has watched porn before and believed that what is happening is consensual sex. She has believed the lie. She’s never heard of the pain and damage to women’s bodies, the STIs, the PTSD, the discomfort and the feeling of dehumanization. Those things are carefully concealed by the industry. She doesn’t have the media literacy skills or the knowledge of women’s oppression that would allow her to see what’s really going on. There should be comprehensive sex education and women’s studies courses taught in high schools for the sake of our safety.

After a photo shoot, a young woman named Michelle says “Today boosted my confidence more than anything. When he says you look hot I’m like damn!” Another young woman, Tressa, continues: “Some guy is going to see that picture, guys jack off to you!” Michelle again: “Even when I’m making my weird ugly faces and I just look weird guys are like ‘you’re so sexy I just wanna fuck you.’ And that’s, like, it’s a boost of confidence to know that you’re wanted, like, that much you know.” These young women have come to believe that their worth is based on whether men want to fuck them and they are feeling exhilarated because their sexiness has been validated.

The Latina woman, Jade, talks about doing the “Latina abuse” scenes, in which she is physically tortured and called racist and sexist names. She has found a way to believe this is acceptable even though it is painful and dehumanizing for her. She says, “I don’t look at this stuff like that really black and white, good and bad. Good and bad is what your opinion is at the moment. Because X amount of time ago, I thought certain things were bad that I don’t think are bad now.” She has learned to accept what is happening to her by modifying her own values and morality to fit what the sadistic men want to do to her.

When you hear all the things these women say, it becomes clear that they have believed for a long time that pornography is normal and that they have allowed it to affect what they think sex is and what they think is acceptable behavior.

The procurer, Riley, is aware that the average time a new girl will stay in the porn industry is only about three months. He knows that she will be discarded after that and that the only way to keep getting work will be to do more abusive acts. He does not warn girls of this even when they come to him excited and believing they will get rich and famous and be in porn for many years. He takes their money to use to pay his mortgage and when they quit porn he recruits new girls. If he cared even a little bit about these young women he would give them a realistic idea of what they are getting into before they start and correct their misconceptions. But he does not care about them as people, he cares about using them to fund his own lifestyle. Many years down the road he will pay off his mortgage and be a homeowner while hundreds of girls will be hurt, discarded, and trying to rebuild their lives after abuse, without any equity of their own. Porn star Tressa earned $25,000 in four months but after she got out of porn she had $2,000 left since there are so many expenses when you are a woman in porn (rent, makeup, travel, clothes, drugs). It is not a lucrative money-making strategy for women—the people who earn the real money are male profiteers such as procurers, pimps, and pornographers.

Riley can tell himself that his behavior is acceptable because the young women are choosing this out of their own free will. One of his privileges as a man is to be able to ignore the grooming system that is bringing girls to him and just sit back and benefit from it without analyzing it or challenging it. This brings us to the next topic, the idea of the women’s choice to enter the porn industry and the nature and context of that choice. Stay tuned!