Sometimes I think about how many little things we probably do every day that would totally mess up the reasoning of a Sherlock-Holmes-style detective.
Like the other day we went to the cinema and I was wearing a shirt with no pockets so I put the ticket in my trouser pocket. The next day I was wearing the same trousers and I put my hand in my pocket and found the ticket there.
Now, I have a certain selection of things I always have in my trouser pockets and I don’t really like having anything else in there because it confuses my hands when I want to get something, so I took the ticket out. And I wasn’t near a rubbish bin, but I was wearing a shirt with a breast pocket. So I put the ticket in the shirt pocket.
And I thought: if I get interestingly murdered, the Sherlock-Holmes-style detective is going to deduce that I’m wearing the same shirt that I wore yesterday. Because it’s got a cinema ticket in the pocket with yesterday’s date on, and why on earth would anyone put a cinema ticket in the pocket of a shirt unless they were wearing the shirt when they went to the cinema?
Which is a bit of reasoning we would all find totally convincing if it came from a Sherlock-Holmes-style detective. But it would be wrong. Because actually there are so many other explanations for things once you take account of the fact that people are often slightly eccentric in completely trivial and unguessable ways.
“Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues. He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!”
—Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay
Write a ZR drabble in six words.
It’s much better suited to LJ than tumblr, so I set up a post there — it’s not a place to request drabbles, just to write them. Anon posting is on, no need for an LJ account
can a ghost and a zombie come from the same person
Is this a comic? This should be a comic.
"no stupid, oh my god. no just… just turn… fuck. don’t wander over there, you’re gonna fall down the… aaand there he goes………….. moron.”
I’m doing a persuasive speech and this would really help me out.
If you think animals should be adopted from shelters, reblog.
If you think animals should be bought from pet stores, like.
Always adopt from shelters. Those adorable animals are looking for their forever homes.
I’ve been doing Zombies, Run missions while cycling to and from work (with tracking turned off, and using Runkeeper to track my cycling). It’s 9.3km each way, but part of that is up a very steep slope (the first 1.6km takes me about 15 minutes, and then the rest takes me 15-20 minutes). I did an actual RUN Zombies, Run last week for the first time in ages and my muscles just punished me for several days haha. Running is definitely different from cycling.
So I’m nearly caught up. I did the last available mission in Season 3 this evening, then I have 4 side-missions still from the end of Season 2 (which will get me through tomorrow and Thursday). At this rate I may even get the race missions done. I just wish the app would work with Spotify, but I get why it doesn’t. I really need to update the songs that are actually stored on my phone.
Demisexuality is an asexual-spectrum orientation that is often overlooked when people try to write asexual characters, which is a shame, because a lot of bad asexual stories could become good demisexual stories if the authors were better informed. So I’m here to inform you.
For the purposes of this essay, I will assume you’re writing a mixed demisexual+allosexual romantic relationship, because A) the vast majority of stories containing demisexuality or asexuality in romantic relationships have one of the partners as allosexual, and B) mixed relationship stories are prone to unfortunate implications about asexuality and demisexuality. I’ve never actually found a demisexual+demisexual, asexual+asexual or asexual+demisexual romantic pairing in fiction. I’d love to see it written, though.
Also: This essay focuses on romantic demisexual characters. However, aromantic demisexual people exist, too. They may engage in close platonic or queerplatonic relationships, or they may choose to be single or adopt some other lifestyle. Much of this essay can be applied to platonic and queerplatonic relationships as well as to romantic ones.
Asexuality and demisexuality are alike in that, the vast majority of the time, neither experiences sexual attraction to other people. The two orientations have a lot of experiences and issues in common, to the point that it’s not unusual for someone to initially identify as one and later realize they’re the other. When it comes to people that we don’t know well, demisexual and asexual people act and feel pretty much the same way - no sexual attraction is present at all.
But unlike asexuals, demisexual people have the potential to feel sexual attraction to someone if they have established an emotional connection to them. The strength of connection required varies depending on the demisexual person in question - anywhere from “I know you pretty well” to “We’ve been dating for years.” Even if the bond is established, it’s no guarantee that sexual attraction will happen, and sometimes demisexual people carry on happy relationships without ever becoming sexually attracted to the person they love.
Some demisexual people find it useful to explain their sexuality in terms of the primary/secondary model of attraction. Primary attraction is attraction that occurs upon first meeting someone, while secondary attraction only develops after getting to know someone better. In this model, most allosexual people feel both forms of attraction, demisexual people only feel secondary attraction, and asexual people feel neither.
In my posts on asexual stereotypes and asexual fetishization, I discussed how many stories with asexual characters involve changing the asexual character into someone who actively desires sex and feels sexually attracted to their lover. In the process of changing the asexual character’s emotions, they undermine asexuality as a sexual orientation and perpetuate harmful ideas about asexual people. But demisexual people’s feelings can and sometimes do change this way in real life. So by making your asexual-spectrum character demisexual instead of strictly asexual, you can represent a sexual minority (yay!), have all the slow-building sexual tension you want (yay!) and not shit on asexual people along the way (yaaaay!)
It’s still possible to be problematic when you do this, though. If you’re not careful, you might accidentally imply that…
All asexual people are actually demisexual.
- This invalidates asexual people and encourages allosexuals to try to change us.
- If your character changes from identifying as asexual to identifying as demisexual, point out that many asexual people do not change this way, and that the demisexual character’s experiences don’t represent everyone’s experiences.
- A character can also go from identifying as demisexual to asexual if they decide that “asexual” describes them better.
- There are also some people who identify as “asexual, but with one exception,” or as asexual and demisexual at the same time (because they find both of those terms useful for describing their sexuality). So you can also write a character who changes to identify in more complex ways.
- Don’t be afraid to write an asexual-spectrum character who’s mistaken about their sexuality, and who changes their mind about how they identify. That’s perfectly fine. The important thing is to do this without casting doubt on the validity of other asexual-spectrum people’s orientations.
Demisexuality is a change from being asexual to being allosexual.
- This suggests that demisexuality is not a real orientation in its own right. A character who identifies first as asexual, and then as demisexual after entering a sexual relationship, has not “lost” their asexuality, but rather discovered that it was not fully descriptive of them. They were probably demisexual all along and just didn’t know it.
- Note: Sexual orientation can be fluid, and some people actually do shift from asexual to demisexual, but that is a different phenomenon from the circumstances in which demisexual people sometimes develop sexual attraction.
- A demisexual character who used to identify as asexual will probably still feel like they have much in common with asexual people, and they are the same person as they were before. They will not begin acting like most allosexual people do. For example, if they were utterly repulsed by the thought of sex with most people, bored by pornography, and oblivious to flirting before, they will probably still be that way after they start calling themselves demisexual. (But if their sexual partner is involved in these activities, a demisexual character’s responses may change.)
- Demisexual people vary greatly in their general preferences regarding sex, porn, kinks, masturbation, and other sexual activities. There is no “typical demisexual” lifestyle or attitude that you should try to capture; instead, focus on writing your character as well-rounded and consistent.
The allosexual partner was responsible for the changes in the demisexual character’s feelings.
- Being able to “overcome” demisexuality is insulting to the demisexual character, because it makes the demisexual passive and uninvolved in their own sexuality. Furthermore, a lack of sexual attraction in demisexual people is not an obstacle to be defeated, or an achievement to be unlocked, any more than it is for asexuals or any other orientation.
- If the demisexual character develops feelings for their allosexual partner, then it should be presented as a nice surprise or something that just happens on its own, not as something that was earned. People are not vending machines who will put out love or desire if you just give them enough affection tokens.
The fact that the demisexual person now feels sexual attraction means that they love their partner more, or that the relationship is more real.
- Whether a demisexual person becomes sexually attracted to someone they love is not really controllable, and it’s often unpredictable. It is not a demisexual’s responsibility to become sexually attracted to their partner, and a lack of sexual attraction does not imply a lack of love. A close relationship is not deeper or superior simply because sexual attraction is present.
- Take care not to portray the relationship as less valid, less important, or worth less because one character feels more sexual attraction than the other. It is possible for tension or difficulties to arise from this disparity, and that can be a good challenge for the characters to work through. One or both of the characters might, consciously or unconsciously, think that “sexual attraction = love,” and feel hurt if sexual attraction is absent. There’s a big potential for drama here, if that’s what you want to write. But keep in mind that an attraction gap doesn’t have to lead to conflict, and sometimes a relationship with asymmetric attraction is perfectly happy just the way it is.
- The characters may have wrongheaded ideas about “sexual attraction = love,” but if so, then the narrative should make it clear that these assumptions are false.
Demisexuality is a choice, or a change in behavior.
- In case it wasn’t already clear…NO. A demisexual person is not someone who wants to wait a while before they decide to have sex with someone. A demisexual person is not simply “waiting until marriage.” A demisexual person is not necessarily a prude, or shy, or afraid of intimacy. And demisexual people are not necessarily slut-shamers who pride themselves on being better than people who have promiscuous or casual sex.
- In fact, demisexual people can have casual sex, too! And some of them do! Demisexuality is defined by only experiencing sexual attraction in a specific set of circumstances, not by sexual behavior. Demisexuality is not a lifestyle, and demisexual people do not choose to be demisexual. An asexual or allosexual person can’t choose to become demisexual, either.
- Demisexual people cannot choose when to become sexually attracted to someone, and sexual attraction should not be expected from them; nor should they be criticized for not feeling it toward a relationship partner.
Here are some more ways that you can write a demisexual character without invalidating asexual or demisexual people:
- Have the demisexual character identify as demisexual from the start of the story.
- Have the demisexual character originally identify as asexual, but later they decide to identify as demisexual instead.
- Have the demisexual character explain what demisexuality means to them.
- Have the demisexual character point out that just because they started feeling sexual attraction, doesn’t mean that all demisexual or asexual people can become sexually attracted to their partners.
- Use a non-asexual-spectrum character as a foil. Show how that character experiences sexual attraction more readily, frequently and to a wider variety of people than the demisexual character does. This will highlight that demisexuality is not the same thing as “asexual person becomes allosexual.”
There are also some potential plot ideas and sources of conflict unique to demisexual characters:
- Tension can develop between a demisexual character and their partner if the demisexual person has experienced sexual attraction in the past, but does not feel it toward their current partner. The allosexual partner might feel offended, hurt or insecure, and the characters may need to work through this together.
- A relationship could be challenged by the unexpected development of sexual attraction. A demisexual and asexual character may get together not expecting sexual attraction to ever happen, but surprise! It does! How do they handle it? Or for any relationship, how does the dynamic change when sexual attraction occurs?
- What if the sexual attraction challenges either of the partners’ sense of identity? A demisexual character might prefer NOT to feel sexually attracted to their partner. For instance, a homoromantic demisexual man might not think of himself as “gay,” and deny that his relationship is gay because there is no sex, but he could be forced to re-evaluate himself when he starts wanting his partner sexually. A married demisexual woman having an affair may believe she is doing nothing wrong because she is not sexually attracted to her lover - but whoops, there it goes, and now she has to rethink her life.
- An allosexual could also have to rethink their attitude toward the relationship after their demisexual partner develops sexual attraction to them: Do they think it’s more serious now, or that they should treat their demisexual partner differently? Does it force them to rethink their own feelings and choices?
- A demisexual person will have their own self-discovery journey that differs from an asexual person’s. They might have the self-realization moment twice, or have to “come out of the closet” twice, if they previously identified as asexual or another sexual minority. Demisexuality can make explaining one’s sexuality to other people more complicated. It can be fascinating to explore how a demisexual character deals with experiencing sexual attraction for the first time, how they discover demisexuality, and what experiences convince them to identify as demisexual.
And lastly, a disclaimer: I am not demisexual, but I am asexual. My knowledge of demisexual people’s experiences is thus rather limited. I asked demisexual people to review this piece before I published it, and I welcome any further corrections or additions from demisexual readers.