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SkyWorld

Demisexuality is an orientation—not a condition of ‘being picky’

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SkyWorld

http://www.dailydot.com/irl/demisexual-definition/

 

Author: Nico Lang

Date: January 5th, 2017

Quote

You know that feeling. You’re at a friend’s party and you see a cute guy or girl. You begin to sweat just a little and smile, the kind that makes you bite your lip. The other person approaches, and you make small talk. As you discuss shared interests, the stranger casually looks you up and down, assessing. He doesn’t think you notice, but you notice. You’re thinking the same thing. After some time passes, he asks if you want to get out of here, and you do. You go back to his place. He doesn’t call the next day. You don’t text.

 

This scenario is familiar to many of us, a rite of passage on most college campuses. For Dill Werner, though, the concept of having a one-night stand is both alien and terrifying, like slipping through a wormhole into an alternate universe.

 

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WhenSummersGone

Thanks for sharing! Yes it's definitely not a choice.

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Autumn McJavabean

IDK. I wouldn't say they're picky, but I'm extraordinarily skeptical about the notion of "demisexual". Guess that would be a good Hot Box topic.

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CBC

It's not a choice (although there are certainly people who do make the choice to engage in sexual activity only after forming a strong bond with someone), but it's also not an orientation. It's an innate behavioural pattern based on how one experiences sexual desire. An orientation is who you're attracted to based on gender and/or biological sex.

 

It's too bad this article gets it wrong.

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FictoVore.
7 minutes ago, CBC said:

It's not a choice (although there are certainly people who do make the choice to engage in sexual activity only after forming a strong bond with someone), but it's also not an orientation. It's an innate behavioural pattern based on how one experiences sexual desire. An orientation is who you're attracted to based on gender and/or biological sex.

Yes that ^^

 

Quote

(from the article) Because demisexuality is along the asexual spectrum,

And the articIe is incorrect that demisexuaIity is on the asexaI spectrum. It's a sexuaI behaviouraI pattern wherein sexuaI desire onIy forms under certain conditions. AsexuaIs never experience a desire to connect sexuaIIy with others for sexuaI and/or emotionaI pIeasure (and no, I don't adhere to the idea of it being 'grey' either. It's a cIearIy defined sexuaI behaviour pattern that some sexuaI peopIe experience.)

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Member44496

I don't identify as demisexual but I agree that demisexuality is an orientation,

I just wanted to post this because most of the comments here are against it >_<

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Delete account please

awww@Mystic Maya!!!💜🙋

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CBC
2 hours ago, Mystic Maya said:

I don't identify as demisexual but I agree that demisexuality is an orientation,

I just wanted to post this because most of the comments here are against it >_<

Can you explain logically how you arrive at that conclusion? How do you define an orientation?

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SunlightOnTheGarden

The world is not divided into the black and white of "sexual" and "asexual", and it's not helpful to say it is. Demisexuality doesn't fit neatly into either (it isn't a behaviour pattern of sexual people) because it's somewhere inbetween the two. That doesn't necessarily make it 'grey' (and I think the article conflating the two concepts is not useful, because grey-ace people are not necessarily demisexual), but it does put them on the grey section of the spectrum.

'Orientation' is, of course, a hard word. The British Government does not consider 'asexual' an orientation because it isn't directed at anyone, and I think CBC is in danger of using the same thought pattern; orientation is about romantic and/or sexual attraction to certain people or none. Demisexuality is about not experiencing sexual attraction except in certain specific circumstances (which sometimes arise in so few circumstances to essentially make somebody seem totally asexual). In that instance, it is as much an orientation as asexuality, because it is about who and how you are attracted to people.

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CBC
2 hours ago, SunlightOnTheGarden said:

it isn't a behaviour pattern of sexual people

Isn't it? Why?

 

 

2 hours ago, SunlightOnTheGarden said:

I think CBC is in danger of using the same thought pattern; orientation is about romantic and/or sexual attraction to certain people or none.

Correct. "None" technically falls under the category of who you're interested in; the answer just so happens to be no one. Asexuality is not about how you experience sexual desire, it's about who you feel it for (nobody). Demisexuality is the opposite; it's the how, not the who. If you tell me you're demisexual, I understand that to mean that you're entirely incapable of experiencing any sexual desire/interest/attraction/whatever unless you have a strong emotional bond with someone already. That's the how. But who are you capable of being into? Girls, guys, both, non-binary folks...? 'Demisexual' tells me nothing about that.

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SunlightOnTheGarden

Because it's as much asexual as it is sexual. I've dated demisexual people who experienced no sexual attraction toward me after long relationships; to all intents and purposes, their attraction to me was the same as my attraction to them. They don't fit easily into either black or white category. Just because they're not always "one of us" doesn't mean they're always "one of them".

But demisexual does tell you that. It tells me that someone is not sexually attracted to people except under certain qualifiers. Which is why most demisexual people will talk about being demi and bi, or demi and gay. Both of those categories are orientations, because without both descriptors the person is not telling me who they are attracted to. A demisexual / bisexual person does not feel sexual attraction toward two genders. They feel sexual attraction toward people of both genders under certain circumstances; and without understanding the latter, we don't truly understand who that person is 'into'.

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CBC

A person who's bisexual and demisexual is a bisexual person who potentially experiences sexual interest in people when certain criteria are met. Doesn't make them only sort of sexual. If I like iced coffee but not hot coffee, I'm still a coffee drinker. In situations where I may be offered coffee, it's perhaps a good idea to tell people that I don't like it hot, only iced, but that doesn't mean I'm not a coffee drinker or kind of not a coffee drinker.

 

I totally agree that being demi is relevant information and is part of your sexuality; it's just not your sexual orientation.

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SunlightOnTheGarden

Or are they an asexual person who occasionally experiences sexual attraction (say to one or two people in their lives)? It really isn't that simple. Asexuality isn't a lack or absence of attraction; it's being attracted to people in certain ways. More like saying that if someone drinks tea all their life and also happens to occasionally like iced coffee it'd kind of be ludicrous to call them just a coffee drinker. They're a tea drinker who drinks iced coffee. That's a distinct identity to both tea and coffee drinking, but includes both.

 

As somebody wise once said "People don't have sex in boxes". People also don't get romantically attracted in boxes. Your orientation is an extremely blurry and complicated thing and it's never as simple as just your romantic and sexual orientations.

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FictoVore.

I'm not sure why this is so confusing for people. CBC is accurate. Demisexuality is a type of innate sexual behavior.

 

You can be a bisexual/homosexual/heterosexual/pansexual demisexual. The bi/homo/etc part at the start is the sexual orientation. Notice how you can say "I'm a homosexual demisexual" but "I'm an asexual demisexual" doesn't actually work. Demisexuality implies attraction to/desire to have sex with (depending on your defintion) people of a certain gender/s at some point, under some circumstances. So while yes a lot of a demisexuals behaviour and experiences are similar to what asexuals go through, they still desire partnered sexual intimacy sometimes once a deep enough bond has formed.

 

While studies are generally quite flawed, a couple of big ones they did re. sexual partner history showed that women especially had an average of 4-6 sexual partners in their lifetimes. Many of the demisexuals I've met here have had at least 2 sexual partners already but they took much longer than an average sexual person to be able to desire sexual activity with those partners. Again, just a type of sexual behavior, not an orientation on its own.

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CBC
4 minutes ago, SunlightOnTheGarden said:

Or are they an asexual person who occasionally experiences sexual attraction

This is not a thing. "Occasionally experiences sexual attraction" = not asexual. There is the label 'grey-a' (which is something that technically fits me, but outside of AVEN I mostly just say I'm not a highly sexual person because people generally understand that), but honestly I just see it as another way of being sexual as well. Demi and grey are not orientations. They're ways of experiencing your sexuality that are probably important to share with partners/potential partners, in the name of being honest about yourself and what you need and desire and feel and can give to a relationship, but they're not orientations. I'm not saying I don't totally understand why someone who's demi or grey may find things to relate to on AVEN (or other communities). Nothing wrong with that at all. It's just they're not orientations like asexuality (or hetero/homo/bi/pansexuality).

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FictoVore.
16 hours ago, SunlightOnTheGarden said:

Or are they an asexual person who occasionally experiences sexual attraction (say to one or two people in their lives)? It really isn't that simple. Asexuality isn't a lack or absence of attraction; it's being attracted to people in certain ways. More like saying that if someone drinks tea all their life and also happens to occasionally like iced coffee it'd kind of be ludicrous to call them just a coffee drinker. They're a tea drinker who drinks iced coffee. That's a distinct identity to both tea and coffee drinking, but includes both.

 

As somebody wise once said "People don't have sex in boxes". People also don't get romantically attracted in boxes. Your orientation is an extremely blurry and complicated thing and it's never as simple as just your romantic and sexual orientations.

You're pretty much saying then that to be sexual, you can only experience "attraction" in a very specific set of ways, all the time. (Which is of course not at all true and would be utterly exhausting) 

 

Sexual people desire partnered sexual intimacy under all sorts of circumstances, to many varying degrees. It's not all "one box fits all" for sexual people. "Sexual attraction" (as it's most commonly defined) isn't even something all sexual people experience. Many women, for example, can't actively want to have sexual intimacy with someone just from looking at them and finding them physically attractive to look at, they actually need to know the person and feel safe with them etc before they could even consider having sex with them (some men experience that too). Some sexual people don't care at all about appearance and desire partnered sex because they love having sex (which some here have mistakenly identified as asexual) and some sexual people can only desire partnered sex as an expression of love for their romantic partners. It's a minority of sexual people who enjoy casual sex based on "attraction to appearance". Some sexual people enjoy other things more than sex, like food or travel. It goes on and on. Sexuality is extremely varied and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The only real difference between sexuality and asexuality is that sexual people desire partnered sex for sexual and/or emotional pleasure under certain circumstances, at some times. Asexual people never desire partnered sex for pleasure. If asexuals could "desire partnered sex for pleasure sometimes under some circumstances" then there is literally no point in having a separate label for hetero/homo/bisexuality and asexuality because asexuality and sexuality would be the same. They all involve desiring partnered sex for pleasure sometimes, or experiencing sexual attraction sometimes if you prefer that flawed definition. If you go by the indefinable "sexual attraction" definition and say "asexuals can experience that sometimes" then there is still literally no point in having a label like asexuality. Do you think sexuals walk around in an endless state of "experiencing sexual attraction"? ..No, of course they don't. So a sexual who experiences "sexual attraction" sometimes or hardly ever is suddenly no different than an asexual who experiences it sometimes of hardly ever, and the definitions have lost all meaning.

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SunlightOnTheGarden

I find this really frustrating - the asexual flag, the triangle at the top of this page that denotes it's AVEN, and so much of our culture is about how the world isn't divided into sexual and asexual people. Those words are points on a graph. Not everyone fits neatly into one or another. A demisexual person goes through life not being sexually attracted to anyone. Until certain circumstances arise. In effect, most probably grew up the same as me, an asexual person. The second we start to pretend we can throw up walls around the point on the graph where the word 'asexual' sits and that becomes some solid definition, we lose nuance. What about masturbation? What level of cuddling is acceptable? Is certain types of kissing more sexualised? Kissing on the body? Legs?

 

The world is murky, and it's one of the great things about the triangle above, in my mind, that it recognises that. Demisexual is another point on the graph that that triangle (imperfectly) represents. Grey is also a point on that graph. And all points on that graph are orientations, because the graph is fluid and enormous, and has to reflect the fact that people aren't just gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, pansexual. People are in the blurry space between gay and bisexual. People are in the blurry space between straight and pansexual. And all of those spaces inbetween orientations are also orientations.

 

As for the suggestion that saying that things are fluid and not easily boxed off makes being gay, straight, bi and ace the same... You're missing the point of the graph. Asexual is obviously not the same point on the graph as sexual. But that doesn't mean we can't have no easy definition between the two. Black fading through grey to white doesn't mean white is black. But it does mean there are points where we can't really say whether it's white or black. And to say grey is white really because it has some pale in it is... nonsensical. It's grey.

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Sally

The world may be murky but this isn't.  An asexual would not have gone home with the guy because an asexual doesn't want sex.  With anyone.  At any time.   In this particular case, there are some things that indeed are black and white.  One  of those has a wide spectrum of behavior (sexual).  Asexual doesn't.  

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funfetti

For the last...15 years? I was only really sexually attracted to one person. It was a friend.  I never had sex with them, though. The times I did have sex with other people I was intoxicated, and it was mostly when I was in college. I felt terrible about it. Since then, I have lost count with how many times I've run away from sex. I have never been sexually attracted to anyone since.  I really still have no effing clue what I am, but it is what it is and it's pretty good. I'm glad I found this community.

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FictoVore.
15 hours ago, SunlightOnTheGarden said:

I find this really frustrating - the asexual flag, the triangle at the top of this page that denotes it's AVEN, and so much of our culture is about how the world isn't divided into sexual and asexual people. Those words are points on a graph. Not everyone fits neatly into one or another. A demisexual person goes through life not being sexually attracted to anyone. Until certain circumstances arise. In effect, most probably grew up the same as me, an asexual person. The second we start to pretend we can throw up walls around the point on the graph where the word 'asexual' sits and that becomes some solid definition, we lose nuance. What about masturbation? What level of cuddling is acceptable? Is certain types of kissing more sexualised? Kissing on the body? Legs?

 

The world is murky, and it's one of the great things about the triangle above, in my mind, that it recognises that. Demisexual is another point on the graph that that triangle (imperfectly) represents. Grey is also a point on that graph. And all points on that graph are orientations, because the graph is fluid and enormous, and has to reflect the fact that people aren't just gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, pansexual. People are in the blurry space between gay and bisexual. People are in the blurry space between straight and pansexual. And all of those spaces inbetween orientations are also orientations.

 

As for the suggestion that saying that things are fluid and not easily boxed off makes being gay, straight, bi and ace the same... You're missing the point of the graph. Asexual is obviously not the same point on the graph as sexual. But that doesn't mean we can't have no easy definition between the two. Black fading through grey to white doesn't mean white is black. But it does mean there are points where we can't really say whether it's white or black. And to say grey is white really because it has some pale in it is... nonsensical. It's grey.

I desire clarity and understanding for asexuality, not more judgement, condemnation, and mockery from the rest of the world which is what this "asexual is anyone who wants to be" type attitude is creating. There are so many YouTube videos now where sexual people are mocking concepts directly pushed by both AVEN and Tumblr (ie demisexuality, cupiosexuality, freysexuality being asexual). They don't mock because they don't "believe" in these things, or even because they don't believe in asexuality (most admit asexuality is most definitely a thing where you don't want sex with anyone), what they take issue with is the asexual community taking very normal sexual experiences and saying they are somehow so different and "weird" and "unique" that they are now part of the' asexual spectrum'. Grey-A is another one they take massive issue with. They are legitimately offended (and I totally understand why) that some in this community are labeling very normal sexual experiences "asexual". Asexuality, as we should know by now is extremely rare: what are we saying about our perception of sexuality if all these normal sexual experiences are suddenly so unique as to be asexual? "Sexuals are just drooling emotionless beasts who look at strangers and want to have sex with them if said strangers look attractive enough, and if you don't experience that, you're on the asexual spectrum".. So pretty much asexuality is this pure, special state that puts one above those drooling sexuals as long as you don't look at strangers or other attractive people and want to bang them. I totally understand why sexuals are offended enough to Make 'ace mockery' videos on YouTube, and I also become extremely frustrated at how this reflects on that strange, bizare minority of asexuals who *gasp* have no desire to connect sexually with others for pleasure, ever. These people have it hard enough in society as it is without others turning asexuality into an antisexual circus to be mocked by the rest of the world T_T.

 

The definition of Gay was never "a man who is sexually attracted to men but only desires sex with women for pleasure and has no interest in having sex with men" ..Imagine how hard it would have been for homosexuality ever to be taken seriously if people were going around toting that sort of nonsense when homosexuals initially started trying to gain understanding and acceptance of their sexual orientation. Yet people in this community are very happy and indeed eager to throw asexuality under the bus in that same way: It's more important that asexuality is defined in a way that can suit literally anyone who wants to be asexual regardless of their sexual preferences etc than having a clear defintion of what is and is not asexual. Having an all-inclusive defintion is far more vital than actually having asexuality taken seriously by the rest of the world, even if that means two "asexuals" could never be sexually compatible because one loves having sex or at least will desire it with their partner at some point and the other has literally no interest in having sex, ever, and is much happier without it.

 

Now, neither myself, nor CBC, nor anyone else on this side of the argument is saying that just because demisexual isn't an orientation and isn't, in fact, asexual, demisexuals are not welcome in this community. Of course they are! Demisexuals share a lot of experiences in common with asexuals so if they find it helpful to be here and enjoy being able to relate to those here and share experiences etc, then of course they're welcome. I myself over the years that I've been here have realised that I'm probably not asexual, nor am I demisexual (I'm just a normal person who has very little interest in having sex and has been very happily celibate for 6 years now, but under some circumstances may desire and enjoy some forms of sexual activity with a partner, maybe) but I still have more in common with asexuals (not the "I love having sex" kind) here than I do with most of the rest of the population. No one is saying demisexuals should be excluded from the community or anything like that, just that demisexuality isn't an orientation (and that's regardless of whether you think demi is sexual or ace, it's still not an orientation).

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Guest And Peggy
5 hours ago, CBC said:

Can you explain logically how you arrive at that conclusion? How do you define an orientation?

I define it as who you're attracted to, how much you're attracted to them, and when you develop that attraction.

 

And because demisexuality is "when  you develop that attraction," it's an orientation 

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Thea2

What confused me is that the Aven flag combines 2 ideas and calls it all asexuality:

 

1 Asexuality as an orientation - the Who you feel sexual attraction for - i.e. none. The flag shows how extremely rare this is, it's only a tiny black bit at the bottom.

 

2 Asexuality as a range in frequency for sexuals - the How frequently you feel sexual attraction. From bottom, almost black, it goes up through demi and gray, to the majority of white sexuals on the wider top.

 

Everyone that falls under either 1 or 2 is welcome at Aven.

 

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Sally
24 minutes ago, CakeSpadeAce said:

 

 

And because demisexuality is "when  you develop that attraction," it's an orientation 

So when a sexual woman says (as have sexual women said to me a number of times) that she's extremely attracted to men around the time of her period, that's an orientation?   So she has TWO orientations?  

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CBC
28 minutes ago, CakeSpadeAce said:

I define it as who you're attracted to, how much you're attracted to them, and when you develop that attraction.

 

And because demisexuality is "when  you develop that attraction," it's an orientation 

I define it the same as Wikipedia does:

 

"Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender."

 

I'm fairly certain that's how the majority of society defines it.

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Member44496
44 minutes ago, CBC said:

I define it the same as Wikipedia does:

 

"Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender."

 

I'm fairly certain that's how the majority of society defines it.

That's not so well written since it says that sexual orientation is romantic or sexual attraction, by that definition romantic attraction without sexual attraction would make someone sexual

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Homer

I really don't like it when "being picky" is portrayed as something bad. Frikken dumploads of people should be waaaay more picky about their SOs.

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Sally
1 hour ago, Homer S. said:

I really don't like it when "being picky" is portrayed as something bad. Frikken dumploads of people should be waaaay more picky about their SOs.

True, but that's outside the scope of this discussion.  Probably.  Maybe.  But not on AVEN.  

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CBC
1 hour ago, Mystic Maya said:

That's not so well written since it says that sexual orientation is romantic or sexual attraction, by that definition romantic attraction without sexual attraction would make someone sexual

But you surely understand what they're getting at.

 

A synonym for the word 'orientation' is 'direction'. Sexual orientation describes the direction (gender) towards whom a person's sexual interest is felt. Who. Not how, when or why. Who. Think of the word 'orienteering', like the thing you do with a compass. A compass points at directions... that's the reason behind the use of the word 'orientation' in this way. Sexual orientation is like a compass that indicates attraction/desire. That's the whole point of the phrase. 

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FictoVore.
12 hours ago, Mystic Maya said:

That's not so well written since it says that sexual orientation is romantic or sexual attraction, by that definition romantic attraction without sexual attraction would make someone sexual

There are definitely sexual people who feel that way, especially women (not all women, but some, and some men too). They don't "look at people and get horny" or "want to have sex with people based on appearance" or anything like that. But have romantic attraction to a certain gender/s and once in love desire partnered sexual contact as an intimate and pleasurable expression of love with their partner (ie lovemaking). This is actually pretty common. I've known people in this situation and seen lots discussing it online who identify as heterosexual for example, but only because they're romantically attracted to men and desire sex as an intimate and pleasurable expression of love. They don't mean "I look at men and get horny and want sex with them", they mean "I fall in love exclusively with men and when I'm in love I desire sexual intimacy with my partner as a deeply pleasurable bonding experience". The difference with a romantic asexual is that they don't desire partnered sexual intimacy no matter how in love they are and would be much happier without sex. It's about the desire for partnered sex, not the quality of "attraction".

 

This is one example of many where a sexual person is still sexual despite not experiencing "sexual attraction" the way it's most commonly defined (as some kind of sexual reaction to appearance)

 

It's also worth noting that in German, sexual orientation is defined by which gender/s you desire sex with. Heterosexual desires sex with members of a different gender, homosexual with members of the same gender, asexual desires sex with no one regardless of gender ie they just don't desire partnered sex, which is far less confusing than trying to define "sexual attraction".

 

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Sally

That's why "sexual attraction" shouldn't be part of a definition.  It opens up the discussion to all this  niggling about who/when/where.  If we stick to "asexuality means not wanting partnered sex", it would be plain to everyone, except those who simply want to argue.

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