As online dating made hookups accessible, there’s a misconception that all young adults seek casual partners; people they don’t have feelings about but enjoy having sex with. There’s nothing wrong with people wanting to go into hookup-only relationships, as long as it’s consensual for both parties and they’re single.
However, not everyone is interested in this kind of setup. Some people seek deep, emotional connections before they get intimate with someone. They identify themselves as demisexual.
If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, don’t worry, as we will tackle everything you need to know about demisexuality.
What Does Demisexuality Mean?
Demisexuality is a sexual orientation wherein the person (also called a demisexual) can feel sexual attraction with someone once they’ve formed an emotional bond with their partner.
The connection that a demisexual must feel to get sexual with someone isn’t as simple as liking the same interests or liking each other’s physical attributes. Some demisexuals may need intense emotional connection, wherein shared values, beliefs, and experiences are involved.
Due to the lack of awareness of this orientation, a demisexual person may mistake their orientation for something else, such as wanting to get married before sex or being just “choosy” when it comes to intimacy. However, demisexuality isn’t simply a choice or preference; it’s an orientation and distinct pattern of attraction.
There are also other misconceptions surrounding demisexuality, which we will discuss in the later sections.
Difference Between Demisexuality And Gray Asexuality
If you’ve been researching demisexuality, you’ve probably come across “gray asexuality.” This term has been used interchangeably with demisexuality. However, being under gray asexuality isn’t the same as being a demisexual. According to demigray.org, gray sexuality is an all-encompassing term for people who are not fully asexual.
There are different reasons why someone would identify themselves as a “gray asexual.” Some may be experiencing sexual attraction infrequently; others may have experienced a specific occurrence in the past that has made them gray asexual. In contrast, others have the same reason as the demisexuals, in which they don’t experience sensual attraction unless they’ve formed a deep bond with the other person. This means that people who identify themselves as demisexual can be under the umbrella of gray asexuality, but not every gray asexual is a demisexual.
10 Things To Know About Demisexuality
You’ve learned the definitions and misconceptions about demisexuality, but there is more history to this relatively new term of sexuality. Learn more about it by looking at our list below.
1It’s a relatively new definition of sexuality.
The “demisexuality” term originated from an online forum in 2006, from a member of Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). The site is designed to be a resource center for everything related to asexuality but has also become the site where demisexuality was introduced.
2There is a demisexual pride flag.
Same with other sexual orientations, demisexuality also has a flag. As you can see in the illustration above, it has a black triangle on the left side, a thick white horizontal bar on the upper part, the thick gray bar at the bottom, then a thin purple line in the middle.
3It falls on the asexual spectrum.
According to the Demisexual Resource Center, demisexuality is between asexuality and nonasexuality. It falls somewhere in the middle of the asexuality spectrum.
4You can be demisexual and have another sexual orientation.
Most people believe that demisexuals can’t identify themselves as bisexual, gay, lesbian, pansexual, and other orientations. That’s not the case, though, as a demisexual person can also identify with other orientations.
Demisexuality only refers to the person’s way of getting sexually attracted; it doesn’t explain the gender identity that they’re attracted to. Some demisexuals can only be attracted to the opposite sex, while others can be pansexual, where they get attracted to any gender as long as they form a deep emotional connection with that person.
5Being demisexual may look and feel different for everyone.
People who identify themselves as demisexual don’t have specific characteristics. So you can’t just assume someone is demisexual due to their looks or personality.
This orientation is also on a spectrum, so each individual defines it differently. For instance, some demisexuals may think that getting in a committed relationship or marriage is the “deep emotional bond” they want before having sex. In contrast, others may be okay with having a no-label sexual relationship as long as they connect well with their partners.
6There is also a difference between demisexual and sapiosexual.
Sapiosexual and demisexual are interchanged in some forums too. However, these two terms have entirely different meanings. Demisexuals can only be sexually attracted to someone they’ve formed a deep connection with, while a sapiosexual derives sexual attraction to someone who gets sexually attracted to someone they consider intelligent.
7You can be supportive of demisexuals in your life by respecting their boundaries.
If a friend, relative, or partner told you that they’ve identified themselves as a demisexual, show support by not invalidating their feelings. Don’t tell them that their orientation is “just a phase” or that they’re a prude.
Don’t also assume that they’re sexually repressed because of their orientation. In fact, most demisexuals are sex-positive as they research topics such as this one. Overall, you should simply respect their boundaries regarding their sexplorations.
8Demisexuality has nothing to do with morality.
Some people believe that demisexual people simply have a higher moral code than others or that this is just an ethical choice. Remember that sexual orientations aren’t a definitive sign of how sensible or noble you are. If a person abstains from sex due to their demisexuality, it doesn’t mean they’re “better” or “more virtuous” than anyone else.
9Demisexuality is not traditional or abnormal.
Even though demisexuality isn’t a traditional model of sexuality, it shouldn’t also be considered something “abnormal” by society. Respect people’s orientations.
10Demisexual people don’t have a physical “type”.
While other sexual orientations have specific characteristics that would fit as an ideal partner (for ex., gay people may be interested in cis-gender men who are gay), this isn’t the case for someone under the demisexuality spectrum. As we mentioned, a demisexual can only feel sexually attracted to someone they deeply bonded with, but that person doesn’t necessarily have the specific characteristics. It’s still up to the demisexual on what person they’ll have a deep connection with.
How To Know You Are Demisexual
As you’ve read the prior definitions, you may now be thinking if you actually are demisexual too. Here are some of the signs and traits that a demisexual person can have, and see if these traits are actually in line with your own.
1You have mixed feelings about sex.
Studies show that two-thirds of demisexuals feel indifferent about sex. While others crave sensual intimacy, a demisexual may be okay with not having sex; there are some cases wherein the person is even grossed out with the thought of sex.
This doesn’t mean that a demisexual person may not enjoy masturbation; most demisexuals prefer self-pleasure to relieve their sexual urges.
2Looks are mostly irrelevant for you.
Demisexuals would most likely get attracted based on personality and not physical attributes. Even if they find someone physically attractive, looks aren’t enough to evoke sensual desires; they need to connect with this person and see if they’ll have that emotional bond.
3Flirting doesn’t make sense.
Some demisexuals may still enjoy flirting at social events, but most see it as a waste of time. They may prefer to have a deep conversation with that person. If you get repulsed when someone tries to flirt with you or that you can’t feel any sexual attraction even if you’re having fun flirting with someone, then there’s a possibility that you’re a demisexual.
4Most of your relationships start as friendships.
As demisexuality prioritizes emotional bonds, people under this orientation tend to date their friends. If you had experience wherein you ended up getting attracted to a close friend or prefer being friends first with anyone that you’ll be dating, then you may be a demisexual.
5The way you think about attractiveness seems to be different from how other people think about it.
Sexual attractiveness has a different meaning to a demisexual. A regular person defines a sexually attractive person as someone with a great body, stunning face, sensual voice, etc. On the other hand, a demisexual sees a person that fits their “vibe” and has an emotional connection with them as attractive. Whatever the person’s appearance or talent, it doesn’t matter as long as they connect with that person deeply.
6You like the idea of sex or want to have it but can’t think of anyone you’d do it with.
This experience is common for demisexuals. You may be fine with discussing sex with people and even crave for it. However, there is just one problem: Your mind is blank when you think about who you’d have sex with.
7You’ve probably been called a “prude.”
One of the signs that you’re a demisexual is that you’ve been called “too uptight” or “prude.” As you’re not open to casual hookups, some peers may see you in that light. Remember that no opinion matters except your own regarding your sexual orientation and preferences. Let them babble about it, but don’t let it sway you from doing something you don’t want.
8First dates are a huge deal for you.
Most people see first dates as a significant step in getting into a relationship, but it’s more of a big deal from someone who identifies themselves as a demisexual. If you’re a demisexual, you may prefer to have thorough discussions about each other’s background, values, beliefs, etc. Casual flirting may be involved, but you’re more focused on knowing the person’s personality.
9You’re nervous about dating and would prefer to date your friends.
You like the idea of casual dating, as you’ve probably seen it in the media or even in your friends. But when it comes to trying it, it just doesn’t excite you. There’s no appeal. You only prefer being in long-term relationships, as there’s great emotional intimacy before getting sensual. This is why you prefer dating your friends because you’ve got the chance to get to know them.
10When you do feel sexual attraction, it’s confusing.
Yes, some demisexuals may feel confusion once they feel sexual attraction. They may try to pursue the person they’re sexually attracted to, but they may also suppress their feelings if the other person is a very close friend or in a relationship.
Myths & Misconceptions About Demisexuality
To further explain demisexuality, we tackle the common myths and misconceptions about it in this portion. Scroll down below to learn more.
1“It only means having sex with people you love.”
Contrary to popular belief, people under the demisexuality orientation can still have sex with someone they’re not in love with but feel an emotional bond with. They may have a one-night stand with a very close friend, but that doesn’t mean they want to be in a relationship with that person.
2“Demisexuality means abstaining from sex until marriage.”
Most demisexuals still engage in premarital sex. Some people don’t see marriage as a primary indicator of an emotional connection. They could’ve been friends with someone and got sexually attracted to them due to the immense connection from the start. Besides, “saving yourself before marriage” is a religiously-motivated choice and has nothing to do with demisexuality.
3“It’s a moral or noble decision.”
Sexual orientation isn’t based on one’s ethics or high moral ground. Demisexual people simply can’t feel any sensual feelings to someone unless they feel emotionally connected to that person. It’s that simple. No, they’re not “protecting their purity” or that they’re “better” than someone who engages in casual hookups.
4“Demisexuals are afraid of intimacy.”
Intimacy comes in different forms. Sex isn’t the only form of intimacy out there. Demisexuals may also express their affection differently, such as hugs, heart-to-heart talks, etc. They also don’t have intimacy issues or have problems with being vulnerable.
5“It’s how most people, or women, operate normally.”
The most common misconception about demisexuality is that everyone has this trait. However, what people don’t realize is that demisexuals don’t feel any sexual excitement the way regular folks do when they see someone sexually attractive. The may find a celebrity sexy, but that doesn’t mean they would want to have sex with that celeb. They only have sexual feelings for people with whom they have formed a close emotional bond.
Demisexuality: Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve learned the definitions and misconceptions about demisexuality, but you may still have further questions on the topic. So, we’ve collated an FAQ just for you down below.
1Should I come out as demisexual?
This decision fully depends on you. If you’re ready to come out and it’ll make you feel freer, go for it. If you think your demisexuality isn’t something you’re comfortable talking about, it’s okay to wait for a few months or years before discussing it with your loved ones.
2Are demisexuals LGBT?
There’s an ongoing debate on whether or not orientations under the asexual spectrum, including demisexuality, should belong in the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Some say that most demisexuals are straight, so they shouldn’t be part of it, while others counter that there are demisexuals that are gender diverse when it comes to their preferences. Quite frankly, there’s still no concrete answer for this one.
3Does an emotional bond guarantee that sexual attraction will develop?
Nope! Demisexuals don’t necessarily get sexually attracted to someone they have an emotional bond with. For example, a demisexual person has a brother-like attachment to their best friend. Even if they have a deep emotional connection to this person, they may not want to have sex with them as they see them as siblings.
4Do demisexuals enjoy sex?
Demisexuals may not think of sex as often as the regular folk, but they still enjoy doing the deed with someone they’re emotionally connected with.
5How can I explain demisexuality to others?
If the person you’re planning to talk with isn’t familiar with the concept of sexual orientation, you might want to discuss that first. After that, mention the general definition of demisexuality, wherein a person only feel sexual attraction to a person they have a strong bond with. You can also explain what asexuality is and other terms related to this orientation.
You can also refer that person to numerous sources (such as this blog) and encourage them to research more about this concept.
6What are the risks of being open as demisexual?
Demisexuals isn’t as risky, but if you’ve opened up as a demisexual to someone who isn’t knowledgeable, you might hear tons of misconceptions about your sexual orientation. Fortunately, there are numerous resources now available about demisexuality. You can enlighten them about this orientation, and hopefully, this would lessen the offensive or invalidating comments.
7Is it possible to be both demisexual and gray asexual at the same time or fluctuate between the two?
You may want to identify yourself as demisexual and graysexual or demisexual and asexual. Remember that sexual orientation is fluid; it may change eventually. Time and maturity can also help you perceive things in a different light.
8I’m celibate due to my religious beliefs. Can I be demisexual?
Celibacy due to religion and demisexuality are entirely different things. Demisexuality happens by nature, while celibacy is more by choice. There’s also a tendency wherein some celibate people suppress their sexual feelings. On the other hand, demisexuals still feel and express their sensual selves, but only to those they emotionally connect with.
9Am I demisexual if I don’t like sex?
Quite frankly, asexuality fits more as asexual people are fully repulsed on the deed. But if you still feel sexual feelings towards someone you’re close with, you’re most likely a demisexual.
10Can demisexuality affect my chances of getting in a relationship?
You may find it difficult to establish a connection with most people, as most people in the dating scene prefer sexual intimacy as one of the significant factors for compatibility. Fortunately, there are tons of fish on the sea. If you’re patient enough to find the right one that you’ll be able to emotionally connect with, then you’ll get into a relationship in no time.
We hope this article on demisexuality has helped you figure out yourself and how you relate to others. Remember that the key is to have an open mind and continue learning. So next time you doubt your lack of attraction with people you just met, perhaps you need an emotional connection first.