Review: Kindred Spirits by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

This is what the cover of my copy of Kindred Rites looks like.

This is yet another review for my Mystery Grab Bag Ace Fiction Month.

What is this novel about?

Alfreda Sorensson, who lives in the Michigan Territory in the early 19th century, has begun learning how to her her Gift (i.e. magic) from her cousin, Marta Helgisdottir Donaltsson. They come from a long line of ‘practitioners’ i.e. magic users – from Sweden. The descendants of European immigrants living on the frontier rely on magic to defend themselves from the hostile Indians, specifically the Miami and the Shawnee. Since Alfreda is entering puberty, she has attracted a poltergeist, which constantly annoys her.

However, there are worse things out there than an annoying poltergeist. In the Indiana territory, there are the Hudsons, a family of British sorcerers – that is, practitioners of evil magic – led by an immortal patriarch. They kidnap girls around the age of thirteen who possess the Gift to take as wives to steal their power and ensure that their children will also have strong Gifts. And Alfreda is exactly the type of girl they want to take.

What sexual and/or violent content is there in this novel?

There is no sex. The protagonist is going through puberty (she is thirteen), there are threats of sexual violence, there are vague allusions to sexual violence off-page, and there is an instance of non-consensual kissing. There is a graphic childbirth scene (which is not sexual or violent per se, but has a lot of pain, danger, and bodily fluids). There are also instances of on-page violence in the story (drugging, strangling, etc.), but nothing more gory than the childbirth scene.

Tell me more about this novel.

It’s the second book in the Night Calls series.

Have you read the first book?


Why didn’t you start with the first book?

Because I don’t have a copy of the first book.

Why do you have a copy of the second book in the series but not the first book?

Because someone gave me a copy of the second book in the series, not the first book. And I recalled that it worked pretty well as a standalone, since I did not feel I missed much by starting with the second book.

‘Recalled’? Is this the book that you first read back in the 1990s?

Bingo! At the time I first read this, I was younger than the 13-year-old protagonist. In fact, I distinctly remember the protagonist being older than me, so this time around it was weird to read about this 13-year-old who I am used to thinking of as being ‘older’ than me.

Anyway, I decided to re-read this one not just because I conveniently still have a copy of it, but because I have a nostalgia for this one which I won’t have for the other books in the series.

So spill it! What is the novel like?

The novel can be split into two parts – the first part is mainly about Alfreda learning about the Wise Arts (i.e. magic) as well teaching her younger brothers about mundane survival skills. The second part is about Alfreda and the Hudsons. However, the two parts are connected – in the first part, we learn about Alfreda’s skills, and in the second part, we watch Alfreda put those skills to use.

I remember, when I read this as kid, I thought it was pretty cool that there was a fantasy story set on the American frontier. Now, as a more educated adult, I think I better appreciate some of the historical subtleties – for example, instead of following the current convention of white people be a monolithic group, it clearly presents different groups of European immigrants as being different (which is consistent with how people in the 19th century United States viewed race and ethnicity). Also, having read about MammothFail, I appreciate that not all white authors who choose to write fantasy on the American frontier include Indians in their worldbuilding. I am not giving Katharine Eliska Kimbriel a cookie for this, simply noting that others have done much worse than her in this regard.

I also found the dynamics of the Hudson family very interesting. Of course, they are creepy as heck – they kidnap, marry, and rape 13-year-old girls to sustain their power – but that leads to a complex set of relationships. Some of the Hudson women have attained a degree of power within the family, some of the kidnapped brides have found ways to resist their captivity, some of the young men are afraid that they will be preyed upon by their elders and respond by trying to dominate the young women OR forming alliances with the young women, and so forth. I like Felicity, a captured bride who seems mentally ill and is secretly using wild magic to protect herself, and it’s not clear whether she is able to use wild magic because she is really is mentally ill, or that she feigns mental illness to prevent the Hudsons from figuring out that she can use magic beyond their control.

And overall, I enjoyed re-reading it, just as I had enjoyed reading it the first time.


This is a bit tricky … on the asexuality content rating scale (1 = least asexual content, 10 = most asexual content), I am rating this as a 1 * – yes, that is an asterisk.

The asterisk means that, in the absence of Word of Ace, I would think ‘hmmmm, I suppose it’s possible that Alfreda is on the ace-spectrum, she does seem more ace than most 13-year-old girls, but it’s not conclusive’. As it so happens, Word of Ace states that Alfreda is demisexual. This novel, in isolation, suggests asexuality more than demisexuality to me, but it’s the nature of demisexuality that it can look an awful lot like asexuality, especially at younger ages.

So, what are the things in the novel which makes me think “hmmm, maybe ace?” Mostly, it’s Alfreda’s relationship with her friend Idelia. Idelia is just a year older, yet she is already engaged, and is very enthusiastic about marrying this boy. Alfreda does not relate to the enthusiasm.

That was hard for me to understand, her longing for marriage. Yes, I could see wanting your own home, but I had so much still to learn, I couldn’t imagine getting married yet. Marriage was followed by babies, unless you used a decoction of Queen Anne’s lace to keep from getting pregnant. And a baby would slow my lessons.

A mistake about a man could be a nightmare for a practitioner. I was in no hurry – I didn’t want to make any mistake.

Of course, the reasoning in the above passage could also be used by a non-ace 13-year-old, but the subtlety I noticed is that Alfreda does not list having a mate in the ‘pro’ part of her thoughts on ‘pros and cons of marriage’.

There is a later scene, when two handsome young men are visiting. Alfreda’s reaction, after having her friend Idelia walk her through how to receive them, is:

I had no chance of learning this game. Could it ever matter to me more than my lessons?

Only a little while longer. I might have been the only girl in a week’s riding who was trying to get rid of two good-looking young men, but there you have it. The struggle not to say anything odd always tired me, and they’d stayed almost an hour.

In the scenes with the young men, Idelia and Marta seem to assume that Alfreda will enjoy the attention of the young men, whereas Alfreda mainly finds it really awkward. Furthermore, she finds the situation confusing, and needs Idelia to explain it. This to me is a sign of possible aceness.

In short, the most ace thing about this novel is that Alfreda and Idelia seem like a mild version of the Ace Foil trope.

Was this written by an asexual?

I don’t know.

Hey Sara, do you like this novel?

Yes! It’s not one of my favorites, but it was a pleasure to re-visit this tiny little corner of my childhood.

Review: Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

The cover of Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

This is the penultimate review for my Asexual Fiction from Riptide Publishing Month.

What is this story about?

Rachel is recovering from anorexia and also has a pile of student loans burdening her finances. Pari is a lesbian from Tamil Nadu who wants a green card (she would rather have U.S. citizenship, but she will settle for a green card). In order to get a green card, Pari needs to be married to a U.S. citizen for at least two years, and it has to look like it is a marriage based on feelings rather than, say, trying to get a green card. So many people know that Pari is a lesbian that the INS will be suspicious if she marries a man, but since her romantic/sexual relationships have generally been unstable, she does not trust a marriage to another lesbian to last two years. Thus, the solution for her is to marry a straight woman who has an entirely nonromantic reason to stick with her for years. And as it so happens, Pari can help Rachel with her ongoing student loan debt.

Of course, this is all based on the assumption that Rachel is straight. Which she is, of course, because she has only had sexual relations with men, even though she was never very into sex with men, and she hasn’t had any sexual relationship for years. Yeah, Rachel is even more heterosexual than Heterosexual Jill.

What sexual and/or violent content is there in this story?

There are long very detailed sex scenes in this story. IIRC, there is no violence.

Tell me more about this novel.

Yeah, it’s one of those stories where a marriage of convenience conveniently turns into a marriage based on romance. As such, I did not feel it was particularly skillful. Okay, yes, demisexuality is a plausible mechanism for how someone who is not sexually attracted to someone else at first becomes very sexually attracted to them later. It was Pari’s side of the equation which I had trouble buying – though we are told that Pari does not want to marry a lesbian because she wants to avoid romantic/sexual drama in her marriage, I don’t know … it felt like the writer was forcing the character’s behavior. I think that it would have been more convincing if we had actually met one of Pari’s ex-girlfriends, and if the story had shown why the relationship was so dysfunctional that Pari would want to avoid sex/romance in a marriage.

Generally, I thought there were many parts of the story, not just the motivation for Pari pursuing marriage the way she does, which were not sufficiently developed. And generally, things work out too conveniently for the characters – rather than overcoming obstacles, the obstacles generally just disappear for a while.

My favorite part of the story was Pari’s mother, Niharika. I don’t know enough about Tamil culture to know how plausible Niharika’s behavior is, but this is one of my favorite bits of the story:

“When will the wedding be?” Niharika crosses her arms over her chest and asks with an extra handful of displeasure sprinkled over the top.

Pari squeezes my hand, and I can feel my hope as if it were a radio wave between them. “We aren’t going to make a big deal of it. We’re meeting at the courthouse on Wednesday.”

“No! Absolutely not.” Niharika slashes a hand through the air so decisively that the camera wavers. “Already this will be . . .” She lets the sentence fade, and I breathe a sigh of relief for Pari’s heart. There are only so many words that a daughter’s feelings can ignore. “You will have a real marriage.”

“A traditional wedding?” Pari seems doubtful. “I don’t think that’s wise.”

“You would ignore even more of our traditions?”

Yes, Niharika thinks that her daughter getting married in a courthouse instead of having a traditional Tamil wedding is even more scandalous than her daughter marrying a woman. From her perspective, it’s bad enough that ‘America’ made her daughter want to marry a woman, but foregoing the traditional wedding would be taking things too far. Therefore, Pari is going to have a traditional Tamil same-sex wedding.

Niharika’s wedding preparations are generally entertaining. There is also this bit:

“And red,” Niharika adds. “We must have red. It’s for fertility.”

Pari rolls her eyes, but only facing me, where her mother can’t see it. “We’re two women. Fertility is going to be difficult.”

“You have double the fertility.” She nods decisively, as if this is how she’s come to grips with the concept of her daughter, the lesbian. “It’s good luck.”

I also could not help but notice that Pari’s aunt is called Aishwarya. The only Tamil movie I have ever seen (yep, I’ve only seen one Tamil movie, which gives you an idea of just how shallow my knowledge of Tamil culture is) is Kandukondain Kandukondain, which stars Aishwayra Rai. I wonder whether the writer named the aunt specifically after Aishwarya Rai, or whether Aishwarya is simply a common Tamil name.


On the asexuality content scale (1 = least asexual content, 10 = most asexual content), I rate this story as a 2.

This is the key passage:

“Damn right.” Nikki spins again. “Do you ever see anyone, boy or girl, walking down the street and think, ‘Gee, I’d like to bone them’?”

“Thanks for that descriptive phrase, but no. I don’t.” I bounce my knees. “I think my sex drive is defective.”

“It’s not defective to be demisexual,” Skylar offers.

“What?” I sit up. “What is that?”

She stops what she’s doing with the autoclave and looks at Nikki. “I thought you were going to talk to her?”

“What?” Nikki’s eyes are big, and she throws her hands up. “It’s not my job to be her sexual counselor.”

“Um, yes, it is.” I wish I had something to throw at her. Just like pillow level or something though. I’m annoyed, but not murderous. “It’s in the ‘best friend’ description.”

“I missed the description. Was that in a memo?”

“It was carved on the back of the locket I gave you. You know, the one that was half a heart?”
“Didn’t happen. You’re making things up again.”

“Maybe.” I look at Skylar instead. “What is a demisexual?”

“It’s a descriptor. Like queer or bi, except this one means on the sexual to asexual spectrum. You’re somewhere closer to asexual, but not all the way there. Demisexuals usually only want a sexual relationship with someone they already have an emotional connection with.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.”

“Totally isn’t,” Nikki says. “And I didn’t tell you because it’s just a word. You do you, ya know? But it seems like maybe that’s you. I mean, I can’t remember you ever just locking eyes with anyone and thinking they’re droolworthy.”

“No, that doesn’t sound like me.” Part of that’s because I start worrying that sex would mean them seeing me at my ickiest, though.

So here is the Allo Savior Complex again, though at least in this example Nikki is pushing back against Skylar taking it upon herself to label someone else.

Rachel’s discomfort with sex is tied with her experiences with anorexia. I’m no expert on anorexia, but it makes sense to me that it would be difficult to sort out whether her lack of inclination can be attributed to anorexia, and what can be attributed to possibly being under the ace umbrella.

However, like other parts of the story, I felt the demisexual storyline was underdeveloped.

Was this written by an asexual?

I don’t know.

Hey Sara, do you like this novel?

I like the scenes with Niharika, but other than that, this novel is a solid ‘meh’ for me.

Review: Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

Book Cover of Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

This is part of my series of reviews of asexually-themed fiction from Dreamspinner Press.

What is this story about?

The protagonist, Ollie, is a successful model who has just bought a house in Pacific Heights where he can live with his brother, who is a private investigator. The very day that he buys the house, his brother dies. Therefore, Ollie gives up modeling so he can keep his brother’s PI business going. A year later, he meets again his brother’s buddy, Kade, and together they end up investigating a bizarre pornographic reality TV show where the contestants keep on having mysterious ‘accidents’.

What kind of sexual and/or violent content is there, if any?

There is so much that am probably going to miss something, but what does come to mind is: quite a few detailed sex scenes, a pornographic reality TV show, mention of suicide, multiple murders and attempted murders, and … yeah, I think that paints a picture. IIRC, all of the sex is consensual, but sometimes happens under shitty circumstances.

Tell me more about this novel.

It is a male/male romance mixed with a detective story. It’s the exact kind of M/M which I do not like – detailed sex scenes, and I really did not give a damn if Ollie and Kade got together, so the romance was pretty boring. It seems the only ‘obstacle’ to their romance is that Ollie does not believe that Kade will commit to him, just as his ex-boyfriend Jacob broke his commitment to Ollie. And it did not feel like much of an obstacle. It did not help that Kade is an idealized ‘lover’ character – I prefer my romances to involve clearly flawed characters.

I admit that I actually found the porn reality TV show Sex House interesting. For a while, I was interested in whodunit. During the course of the story, I lost interest, and I found the ultimate reveal unsatisfying because it was too predictable (and because the perpetrator was such a two-dimensional villain).

It was interesting to read a story set in San Francisco/Oakland when I am thousands of miles away. Alas, not much of the setting was used. And between the time I started this novel and finished this novel, the warehouse fire in Oakland happened.


On the asexuality content scale (1 = least asexual content, 10 = most asexual content) I would rate this story as a 2.

Ollie is demisexual. The word ‘demisexual’ is never used in the story, but Ollie’s descriptions of his experiences fit with demisexuality. I think the first hint we get of this is in Chapter 4:

Jacob had viewed sex as something that felt good and should be had as often as possible, apparently with whoever offered. I needed a deeper connection to let anyone that close. Trust of some kind had to be established before I got into bed with anyone.

It is stated that, in spite of being a model, Ollie has only had sex with a few people in his life because he does not become sexually interested in people before he’s established an emotional bond with them.

The reason I rate this as a 2 rather than a 1 is that demisexuality seems to contribute to Ollie’s insecurity in his relationship with Kade. However, it seems that demisexuality is only deepening a trust issue which would have existed even if Ollie were not demisexual, rather than being the actual cause of the trust issue.

Was this written by an asexual?

Yes, Lissa Kasey is asexual.

Hey Sara, do you like this story?

No, I don’t. Then again I generally do not care for the M/M genre (and as I read more M/M, I am coming to the conclusion that it is not so much because it is M/M, as that many readers who read M/M are seeking something which does not interest me), nor do I care for detective stories, so this story was fighting an uphill battle to appeal to me. People who love M/M and detective stories will almost certainly enjoy it more than I did.

Review: The Painted Crown by Megan Derr

The cover of The Painted Crown by Megan Derr whichshows a waterfall under a full moon.

Last month, when I ordered a bunch of asexual fiction from Less Than Three Press for my series of reviews for Asexual Awareness Week, I also pre-ordered The Painted Crown by Megan Derr. Since it was not available for download then, I could not review it in October, but I can review it now.

What Is This Story About?

Prince Ishtari is a “guest” (re: hostage) in the kingdom of Tallideth in order to maintain a fragile peace. His is a master marksman and a trained assassin. His feels like his life sucks. It does not help that his beloved fiancée, Flora, decided to break off the engagement.

Then he meets Lord Teverem and his nieces and nephew. Ishtari learns that Teverem’s nephew, Ceverth, is in great danger, and in order to protect Teverem’s family, he might have to marry Teverem (this is a universe where nobody bats an eye if two men marry each other).

What Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Contain?

There is kissing, and a sex scene written in multiple paragraphs of detail. As far as violence, there is kidnapping, murder, and a suicide attempt

Tell Me More about This Novel.

This is the second book in the Unbreakable Soldiers series. I did not read the first book. I think some parts of the plot (particularly the details of the political machinations) would have made more sense if I had read the first book, but I was able to follow the story well enough anyway.

I liked Ishtari well enough as a character. Yes, he’s killed lots of people, but that’s understandable given his circumstances.

Unfortunately, I found Teverem boring. And by extension, that meant I found Ishtari and Teverem’s relationship boring too. And given that this is a romance in which that is *the* pairing, that pretty much spoiled the story for me. I kept on wishing that the Ishtari/Teverem story would become a minor subplot so that Ishtari would be free to do something awesome, or at least entertaining, while knowing that was not going to happen. Actually, Ishtari did get a subplot which was not particularly Teverem-related, and yes it was more interesting, but I still felt unsatisfied because I felt like Ishtari got over the obstacles too easily.

I am not going to spoil the ending, but suffice to say, the fact that I totally did not feel the romance between Ishtari and Teverem made the ending seem particularly ridiculous.

You know what would have made the story much more interesting to me? If Flora had not broken off the engagement. Then Ishtari would have had to choose between marrying the one he believed was his One True Love and marrying Teverem in order to protect innocent children. That would have been an interesting choice, especially given that Istari is grey-asexual and believes that he may never meet anyone besides Flora who he will feel sexual attraction towards. As it was, it seemed like Ishtari resolved all problems either through his awesome assassin skills (way too easy) or problems went away on their own without Ishtari having to struggle or learn anything.

So, Asexuality?

Ishtari is grey-asexual, and Teverem is demisexual. The word ‘demisexual’ is never used, but it’s clear that that is what the characters are describing. Oh, and on the asexuality content scale I would rate this as a 2.

This is where we first learn of Ishtari’s grey-asexuality:

Rarely was Istari interested in anyone, sexually or romantically. Most of the time, he simply didn’t care. But Moons, he had cared that day.

Here is the scene in which we learn that Teverem is demisexual:

“It’s not that I’m opposed to getting married,” Teverem said, then hesitated, facing twisting unhappily. After a moment though, still speaking haltingly, he said, “I have never been as inclined toward certain… amorous elements as most people, and that tends to put people off marrying me. I’m not entirely disinterested, just… there must be something built before I feel amorously inclined.”

“Ah,” Istari said. From all the hesitation, he had been braced to hear something horrible or heartbreaking. “That’s a stupid reason not to marry someone. I mean, for other people not to marry you.”

Teverem’s spoon jerked where he’d just dipped it into his bowl, and he looked up in surprise. “That’s not the usual response I receive.”

“I’m not so different, though it’s more I simply rarely feel sexual interest at all.” He stared to say ‘Flora,’ then almost ‘my former fiancée’, but finally managed, “I had a lover some time ago, but she was the first to stir such an interest in many years. I also have a friend, someone I used to work with in the military, part of team, who detests sex. Cannot stand the idea of someone touching her.” Istari smiled. “It was one of the things that first made us friends. They are supposed to be joining us at Andamar, so you will probably meet her.”

Smiling, looking happy in a way Istari had never seen, Teverem replied, “No one has ever understood me so easily, Highness. Thank you.”

Here is the scene where we meet Ishtari’s sex-repulsed friend:

He pointed a thumb at Ashton. “She’s the one I mentioned to you at the tavern last night.” At Ashton’s confused look, Istari said, “He’s like us regarding sex. More like me than you.”

“Oh,” Ashton replied and smiled brightly at Teverem. “No wonder Istari was so quick to steal you from your cradle.”

Teverem’s demisexuality is mentioned again:

But leaving aside all the complicated issues between them, Teverem had stated quite plainly that he was not sexually inclined unless there was already an established connection. That connection most certainly did not exist. How could it, given the circumstances?

And Teverem’s demisexuality is mentioned yet again:

Istari swallowed, fingers twitching with an urge to touch, but disbelief and anxiety held him back. “You also said you were not inclined—”

“I do not feel desire for people to whom I am not first emotionally attached,” Teverem said. “You must be the only person who has not noticed I am quite attached to you.” He didn’t give Istari a chance to reply, just leaned up and kissed him again, and if Istari had thought he was being forthright in the shop…

I may have missed one or two passages, but I think I have excerpted 90% of the sections which are relevant to asexuality.

It seems to me that the grey-asexuality and demisexuality has hardly any impact on the development on Ishtari and Teverem’s relationship in the sense that I think things would have played out basically the same way if Ishtari had been bisexual and Teverem has been bisexual/homosexual. What to make of that? Well, on the one hand it does not explore the grey-asexual or demisexual experience in great depth. On the other hand, if a romance works just as well whether the couple is bi / bi or whether the couple is grey-ace / demi, then why the heck not go with the grey-ace / demi combo? Much as I like fiction which explores asexuality (including grey-asexuality) in depth, there is also a place for fiction with ace characters which doesn’t take a deep dive in that direction.

Was This Written by an Asexual?

I don’t know.

Hey Sara, Do You Like This Novel?

No, I don’t.

One may buy the eBook edition here and at various eBook retailers, and one may buy the print edition … err, the print edition does not seem to be available yet, but I am sure it will be available soon.

Guo Jing as Demisexual

Huang Rong (left) and Guo Jing (right), as depicted in the 1994 television adaptation of The Eagle-Shooting Heroes

Huang Rong (left) and Guo Jing (right), as depicted in the 1994 television adaptation of The Eagle-Shooting Heroes

For those of you who are unaware of Chinese popular literature / culture, Guo Jing is the protagonist of The Eagle-Shooting Heroes (Shè​ Diāo​ Yīng​xióng​ Zhuàn​), which is one of the most popular Chinese novels ever, and thus one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century. It is more popular in the Chinese-speaking world than Harry Potter is in the English-speaking world, and it has been that way since it was first published in the 1950s.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Guo Jing may be demisexual. Now, I headcanon him as being demisexual.

And … it’s pretty darn close to being canon that he is demisexual. The novel is very specific about him not being sexually attracted to Huang Rong until they’ve become emotionally close to each other, and it is heavily implied that he is never sexually attracted to anybody else for his entire life. After thinking it through, it’s hard for me to think of him as ~not~ being demisexual.

In the Asexual Agenda’s interview with Robin from Taiwan, Robin says “Also, the Chinese culture considers everyone to be demisexual, so it is supposed to be normal not to have sexual desires outside of marriage.” On the one hand, I disagree with his assessment of ‘Chinese’ culture – I have encountered many examples in Chinese-language media of people expressing sexual interest in strangers. On the other hand, I see his point. I have noticed way more characters who could be interpreted as demisexual in Chinese popular literature than in English popular literature. Furthermore, being plausibly-demisexual is idealized, and showing too much sexual interest in strangers is considered a character flaw.

I do not want this to be construed as meaning that being allosexual (as opposed to demisexual) is stigmatized in Chinese culture. I am really not a good person to judge this for quite a few reasons, but my (possibly incorrect) understanding is that, in real life as opposed to fictional dramas, Chinese cultures regard being sexually attracted to strangers as annoying/unfortunate, but it can’t be helped and doesn’t reflect badly on one’s character.

As that post in the Asexual Agenda brought up, “Chinese culture doesn’t like to talk about sex”, which is my experience is very true. It took me years to even learn what the Mandarin word for ‘sex’ is since it’s hardly ever used, and even now I have difficulty using the word correctly because I almost never encounter native speakers using it, and thus can’t get an intuitive sense of it. English speakers have a tendency to use the word ‘sexy’ to mean ‘good’ or ‘appealing’ even in non-sexual contexts … suffice to say, Chinese speakers do NOT have that tendency.

This is no doubt a relief for people who prefer not to have sex constantly brought up in conversation. The flipside is that it is harder to know how other Chinese speakers experience their sexuality. Even in the English speaking world, plenty of asexuals assume everyone is asexual until they one day realize that other people really do experience sexual attraction/feelings. I imagine this is even more intense in the Chinese-speaking world, possibly to the point that even allosexuals may think that many people are really like demisexual Guo Jing.

Yes, lets get back to fictional wuxia characters.

Even though there are plenty of wuxia characters who might be demisexual, I think Guo Jing is the only one I can think of (I might think of others if I really prodded my memory) who fits ‘demisexual’ much better than ‘allosexual’. Characters who have as much evidence of being demisexual as Guo Jing are actually not that common at all, if only because the kind of details which would really shift the odds from ‘allosexual’ to ‘demisexual’ are often not included because of a generally tendency not to talk so much about sex.

Just to do a quick comparison with other Jin Yong protagonists (because they are easy for me to review in my mind quickly)…

Chen Jialuo – probably heterosexual
Yuan Chengzhi – probably heterosexual
Yang Guo – I’ve discussed this plenty already
Zhang Wuji – almost certainly heterosexual
Hu Fei – almost certainly heterosexual
Di Yun – possibly heterosexual, possibly demisexual
Duan Yu – almost certainly heterosexual
Qiao Feng – not much evidence in any direction
Xu Zhu – probably heterosexual
Shi Potian – I don’t remember
Linghu Chong – definitely heterosexual
Wei Xiaobao – definitely heterosexual

Not many characters who I can headcanon as demisexual. Jin Yong characters tend to notice pretty quickly when a certain person is really pretty and special, and it’s plausible (and in some cases, confirmed) that this interest has a sexual component from the start. It’s only in Guo Jing’s case that it’s spelled out that the sexual component to his feelings for Huang Rong doesn’t come until he’s been close to her for months. Of course, it’s obvious that Yang Guo was close to Xiaolongnü for years without any sexual feelings for her, but since it’s never demonstrated ever that he has sexual (as opposed to romantic) feelings for her, I interpret it as those sexual feelings never existing.

Finally, I personally like to headcanon Guo Jing as demisexual, Yang Guo as monoamorous asexual, and Zhang Wuji as polyamorous heterosexual because they are each protagonists of a single part of the Shooting Eagles trilogy. I like how they complement each other in quite a few ways – for example, their approaches to vengeance – and show different faces of the human experience. Think of them as demisexual – asexual – heterosexual adds yet another layer of contrast.


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