Okeke-Diagne and Ms. Cohen come off as proud to be “sapiosexual,” while Williams merely expresses relief for her “demisexuality;” but as with practically every other term with a -sexual or -gender suffix, these are technical terms that, while they may or may not have scientific merit, give one’s feelings or preferences validity. Neither Aboubacar Okeke-Diagne or Williams need their labels as sick people do, as a brief way to explain a set of symptoms to others (i.e. “I have cancer” or “I’m clinically depressed”), or as an English teacher needs the term “dangling participle” to quickly point out a grammatical error.
After all, Williams and Okeke-Diagne must explain what “demisexual” and “sapiosexual” mean anyway (unless they’re conversing in a closed Facebook group or with the 0.5 percent of OKCupid users who share the identity), so it’s not as if they are communicating their “orientation” more effectively by using the word. Rather, “demisexuals” and “sapiosexuals” latch onto this term because it bestows legitimacy, even a sense of specialness, on an aspect of his or her personality. I do not believe they are seeking to be better understood so much as craving an identity, and perhaps camaraderie with others sharing in the shelter of the term’s umbrella.
It is no wonder, that Daren Stalder, who coined the term “sapiosexual” was not an academic seeking an appropriate term to describe a phenomenon he was studying, but simply an engineer from Seattle who conjured up a sciency latin-based word to denote his own romantic preference.