What does it mean to be demisexual? Demisexuals don’t feel sexual attraction without an emotional bond, and their emotional bond must be at a certain level before the appeal kicks in. Does this mean demisexuals can never have sex? And what about non-demisexuals who have sex with demisexuals? How do you know if you’re demisexual or not? Let's learn more about what demisexuality means, and perhaps how to tell if you’re demisexual.
What does it mean to be Demisexual?
Demisexuality falls under a specific category of sexuality called gray-A (sometimes referred to as sexual omnivore). Demisexuals, gray-As, and sexual omnivores may be considered part of a more significant umbrella term called asexual. Under that umbrella are several other subcategories, including demiromantic, heteroromantic, biromantic, panromantic, homoromantic, etc. There are over 70 different terms people can use to describe their own identities (Hille et al., 2019).
Being demisexual means, you’re someone who only experiences sexual attraction after forming an emotional bond with someone else. It’s important to note that it doesn’t matter if your relationship with them is romantic; you could have been friends for years before you develop feelings for them and then feel sexually attracted. While many people believe they must have sex to form an emotional bond, some asexual individuals argue otherwise. They say that sex doesn’t create an emotional bond but rather strengthens one that already exists—much like how food isn’t necessary for survival but does provide nourishment for our bodies.
What is the Difference Between Sexual Orientation and Romantic Orientation?
Many people incorrectly believe that sexual orientation and romantic orientation are interchangeable terms or very similar. While they both refer to a person's preferences in a relationship, they don't mean precisely the same thing. Sexual orientation refers to whether you're sexually attracted to men, women, or neither. Romantic orientation describes what gender(s) (if any) you experience the romantic attraction with. People who identify as demisexual tend to fall under what many consider a romantic orientation rather than a sexual one.
So while they may not feel physical attraction without an emotional connection, it doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't capable of having sex with someone if there's an emotional bond present. On the other hand, they might not feel inclined to do so unless there's already been some connection between them and their partner. That said, demisexuality can still be considered part of what most people would call your sexual orientation. The difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation is subtle but essential nonetheless (Hille et al., 2019).
How Can I Tell if I am Demisexual or Asexual?
Just because you don't think of yourself as demisexual or asexual doesn't mean that it isn't true. Demisexuality and asexuality are sexual orientations that exist on what some call the ace spectrum. It can be hard to tell if you fit under either label. Ace spectrum identities have been around for decades, but there is still so much stigma surrounding them. That can make it hard to know where you fit on things or if they even apply to you at all. Don't let those stigmas stop you from exploring your identity! You might find out something new about yourself in the process.
The most important thing when figuring out what kind of sexuality you identify with is self-reflection. The only way to figure out what fits best for you is by taking time to get in touch with how you feel about sex and relationships. If you decide that one of these labels works better than the others, make sure not to feel wrong about who you are! There will always be people who don't understand these terms and won't want to accept them as real identities.
Are There Different Kinds of Demi Sexual People?
There are different types of demisexual people, but first, what does demi mean. Demi means half, so demisexual means half-sexual. There are different degrees to which someone can be demi. Some people have never been sexually attracted to anyone, and other people have only been attracted to one or two people in their lives. Most demisexuals find themselves somewhere in between these extremes.
The most common type of demisexual person is someone who has a hard time being sexual with just anyone they meet. They might feel sexual attraction towards friends, but that's about it. It's not until they've gotten to know someone for a while that they start feeling sexual attraction for them too.
This is why some demisexuals I've spoken with say that sex isn't all that important to them. If you're a new relationship with someone, sex doesn't matter because you don't have an emotional bond. For example, if you're dating someone and then break up with them after three months, then there wasn't much of an emotional bond there anyway, so you weren't going to get very attached anyways. Even if you did sleep together during those three months, there was still no emotional bond, so it wouldn't matter much anyway because your feelings wouldn't be hurt if things didn't work out between you two. But once again, how long it takes for a demisexual person to develop an emotional bond can vary from person to person.
Where do I go from here?
If you're not sure where to go from here, it might be a good idea to try dating people who aren't demisexual. However, if you're not interested in or ready for romance or sex, that's okay too! For example, you could spend time with demisexual friends or find activities (like art classes) that bring you closer to demisexual people and help foster relationships. There are many potential ways forward, so don't let yourself get bogged down by an identity label; instead, focus on connecting with people who accept and understand your needs.
That's what matters most when figuring out starting a new life.
As always, stay safe, my friends.
Borgogna, N. C., McDermott, R. C., Aita, S. L., & Kridel, M. M. (2018). Anxiety and depression across gender and sexual minorities: Implications for transgender, gender nonconforming, pansexual, demisexual, asexual, queer, and questioning individuals. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 6(1), 54–63. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000306
Hille, J. J., Simmons, M. K., & Sanders, S. A. (2019). “sex” and the ace spectrum: Definitions of sex, behavioral histories, and future interest for individuals who identify as asexual, graysexual, or demisexual. The Journal of Sex Research, 57(7), 813–823. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1689378
Research guides: Human sexuality: An undergraduate research guide: Asexuality/demisexuality. Asexuality/Demisexuality - Human Sexuality: An Undergraduate Research Guide - Research Guides at University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2022). Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://researchguides.library.wisc.edu/c.php?g=716757&p=5101681