Demisexuality in Fiction Update and some thoughts about representation

Posted June 4, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Demisexuality in Fiction

I’ve just had a pretty large big update to the Demisexuality in Fiction list, courtesy of Asexuality in Fiction. (That link goes straight to the dynamic page link.) If you’re looking for ace-spec representation in fiction and discussions thereof, I recommend following their Tumblr account! Thank you so, so, so much for collecting all of those books and the links to confirmation! Also courtesy of Asexuality in Fiction is this link to AgentAletha’s tagpacker list, which also lists some books with demisexual characters.

I also wanted to highlight another of their posts, Ace Character Patterns: Demisexuality, because, well, obviously the character patterns of how demisexuality is represented in fiction is kind of a big deal for it and the quotations and conclusions match with my own experiences of reading books with explicitly demisexual characters. (Also I don’t have a tumblr, so I can’t actually reblog and add comments there.)

It is entirely possible to form an emotional bond with someone you’ve just met and to have it be strong enough, at the end of the book, to have sexual feelings for someone. It is not necessarily common and, I admit, it is most assuredly not my own experience. So, for me, the problem isn’t that these narratives exist, but that they’re the dominant narrative and that they’re how demisexuality is framed when, in reality, this may well serve to shut out demisexual readers precisely and specifically because their experiences don’t match up with what we’ve read about in books.

If I recall, that was my main take-away from the first bout of “Read all the explicitly demisexual books I can get my hands on”: it got a lot closer to what my experiences are, but it fell just short of them at the same time and I generally spent most of the reviews grumpy about the way they lacked… something and I couldn’t put a good finger on what. This post? This post sounds like what I was missing in my experience of reading several of these books in a row: it happens too fast.

(I, uh, really should have realised that when my response was to go “Oh. Well. I shall write my own demisexual romance and it will be a book that covers years in which the protagonists get to know one another. Oh and one of them will be allosexual and the whole book will be from alternating perspectives just so I can really drive home the part where this insta-attraction this is not my experience“, I think.)

Another thing that is notable, especially given the list there, is how many of the romances are m/m. Which, I think, fits a broader pattern in that queer romance is predominantly m/m? I’m not too well-versed in romance, so I might be wrong. That was the impression I got from people discussing queer romance. I’m not sure whether that stands out to anyone else, but it… I admit it smarts a little because it makes me feel unwelcome in books about my own sexuality. You know, on account of being a woman and heteroromantic. So… I don’t know. There might be nothing there or there might be a whole post’s worth in it. I just wanted to note it.

Anyway! So those are some bonus thoughts on demisexuality in fiction. Yay for new books on the list! I aim to start reading the shinies I’ve acquired over the summer! The plan is also to start working on that essay I mentioned wanting to have written in January because this way I can tackle everything all at once. (So yes. Expect this to be The Summer of Demisexual Book Talks, with a few exceptions here and there where I’ve committed to other books.)

Many, many thanks once again to Asexuality in Fiction for collecting these titles and researching if and how the demisexuality is confirmed!