What is demisexual and how do I know if I am?

What is demisexual and how do I know if I am?

While sex, the notion of sex,and "having sex on a first date" is gradually de-stigmatized (because girl, if it feels good: you do you. Just make sure before hopping into bed you both are clear on what you are looking for - Casual sex? A relationship?) there are plenty of girls and boys out there that identify as demisexual.

But what is demisexual?

What is the meaning of "Demisexual"?

The definition of demisexual is that you do not experience sexual attraction at all until an emotional bond has formed.

For many the meaning of demisexuality means you only feel aroused when you have a true, deeper and meaningful connection with the other person before you become physically intimate with each other. For demisexuals it is more about trust, emotions and the connection rather than physical attraction and physicality. 

Demisexuality falls under the A-sexual umbrella. The difference is that while A-sexual people never experience sexual desires, demisexual people will only feel sexually attracted until they have formed that emotional relationship and therefore do have the capacity for sexual desire. 

Demisexuality even has a flag:

Demisexual flag

Does the relationship in demisexuality have to be "love"?

No, it does not necessarily have to be love or romance. For some it might be friendship (including the platonic version). You might not necessarily need to be in love with the other person

Demisexual vs pansexual

First, what is pansexual? 

demisexual vs pansexual

Pansexuals are gender blind and do not make a difference in what gender they feel sexually attracted to.

Pansexuals can be demisexual: these are people who do not make a distinction in which gender they feel attracted to, but they only feel sexually attracted once a deep emotional connection has been established with that other person.

How does demisexual differ from graysexual?

This is where it becomes a bit complicated.

Where graysexual is somewhere between asexual and sexual. Graysexual people rarely experience sexual attraction, or they experience it with low intensity.

So, what's a situation where someone feels graysexual? Imagine being sexually attracted to one or two close friends or partners, but not often and not intensely. 

What would a demisexual person feel in this situation? Imagine only feeling sexual attraction toward your closest friends or partners, not towards acquaintances or strangers.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what others think about where you fall on the asexual-demisexual-graysexual spectrum, as long as you feel you know yourself well enough to choose your sexual and romantic orientation. 

If you feel comfortable and have had one or all of the above, you are not demisexual. Demisexuals feel the above are ok for others but unappealing for themselves. 

  • Do I feel sexually aroused or attracted only once I have deeply connected with another person?

Then you can identify as demisexual. If you feel you are not attracted to another person, even after you have connected on a deeper (emotional) level, you might identify as asexual.

  • What do I value most in a relationship? Friendship, play, communication, sex? 

Teasing out these questions can help you to identify what turns you on, whether you are demisexual or not. When becoming more aware of these values, and you realize you only feel sexual attraction when you have an emotional connection, it might explain you are demisexual

Still not sure yet whether you are demisexual or not? Try the following feelings and scenarios. If you can relate to them, you might be falling more on the demisexual side. 

  • I rarely feel sexual attraction to strangers or acquaintances.
  • My emotional connection with someone affects my sexual attraction to someone
  • The only times I have felt sexually attracted to someone was when I was close to them (e.g. a friend) 
  • Even if someone is beautiful and shows all characteristics of "my perfect person" I do not feel aroused or interested in having sex

Still not sure? Try this "Am I demisexual quiz" or another "Am I demisexual quiz here".

What about demisexuality and masturbation?

Someone who identifies as demisexual can have a low or high libido once their emotional connection turns sexual. Most importantly: demisexuals can absolutely still masturbate. After all, the person you have the deepest relationship with is yourself. 

Can demisexuals still have sex at first sight? 

Opposed to what you might first think, sex is sometimes practised not out of pure lust. The reasons for people to have sex could be to 

  • become pregnant
  • feel intimacy
  • emotional bond with someone else
  • experiment 

So yes, demisexuals can still have sex "at first sight" but perhaps for other reasons than "being sexually turned on". Being demisexual isn’t about your capacity for sexual enjoyment, but more about sexual attraction.

What to do if you are dating a demisexual? 

Many demisexuals have partners who started out as friends. Try to establish that emotional connection first - through conversations, partaking in events together, going out for walks, hanging out with friends or just going out together in a non-sexual way. It will take more patience.

I want to read more about demisexuality

Try this Elle Article on demisexuality, Q&A on demisexuality here, This Tinder video on demisexuality or This "Pillow talk" podcast on Demisexuality

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