What is Demisexuality?
I created this page for my friends and those who want to understand me better as a demisexual, polyamorous person. I have noticed that there are a lot of misunderstandings about what is demisexuality and have created this page to bring some clarity.
Demisexuality simply means that you require a connection first, sex later. That’s all, and while this seems pretty much a ‘doesn’t everyone?’, the truth is that no, not everyone.
The difference for me is that I rarely if ever have that ‘oh, he/she’s hot, I want to fuck them!’ reaction to a pretty person. I’m much more of the ‘oh, they’re pretty, I wonder what books they read?’ or ‘oh, I love their smile! I bet we’d laugh a lot over dinner!’. It’s not that I’m not a sexual person, because I am with the right person, but I really want to be able to connect on a more layered level.
Just sex is easy. For some people, anyway. That’s fine, but it’s just not overly fulfilling for me.
A great, deep meaningful connection and then sex? Much better.
Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexually attracted to someone only after they’ve developed a close emotional bond with them. Forming a bond doesn’t guarantee a person will feel a sexual attraction, but the bond is needed before sexual activity is even possible.
What does demisexual mean?
Demisexuality is a sexual orientation. People who identify as demisexual only feel sexual attraction to someone after they’ve formed a strong emotional bond with them. Compared to the general population, most people who are demisexual rarely feel sexual attraction. Some have little to no interest in sexual activity.
NOTE: It’s important to distinguish between sexual attraction and sex drive. A demisexual could possibly have a strong sex drive, but have no desire to ACT IT OUT in sexual activity with a person. In other words, they would just masturbate or release sexual tension somehow but would not have a desire to engage in sexual activity with anyone in particular. Sexual attraction is a desire to have sex with a particular person or persons. So you could be a demisexual with a strong sex drive, but no particular desire to use that sex drive with any particular person.
When I was young, I had a strong sex drive sometimes, especially at the time of my menses. But, in all cases, I had no desire to have sex with anyone unless there was a deep emotional connection first. The deep emotional connection would just tap into that strong sex drive and funnel all that desire into the person I had developed an emotional connection with, either through fantasies or (later) brain to brain sex or real sex.
I would like to note that I am demisexual, not demiromantic. This means that I could develop a romantic attraction very quickly, even without emotional connection. But the romantic attraction usually centered around fantasies of conversations and dates and never fantasies about having sex. Without deep emotional connection or intimate friendship, I never have a desire for sex with a person (or a deity, since I’ve had sex with Jesus). So, when I noticed Matthew McConaughey’s thoughtful, deep face in 2005, who reminded me of the main character of my novel Silver Skies, I developed a quick romantic attraction, but had no desire to have sex with him. However, Vladimir Putin insisted that Matthew and I meet brain to brain, and I developed an emotional bond as a result of that, which gave me the desire to have sex with him. However, the bond I developed with Matthew was not nearly as deep as the one I had with Vladimir Putin and/or Brent Spiner, so my sexual interest diminished rather quickly after Vladimir returned after he recuperated from his heart attack.
Most people in the general population can feel sexual attraction regardless of whether they form an emotional bond with someone. They may feel sexually attracted to strangers or to new people they meet. But people who are demisexual don’t feel this initial sexual attraction.
Forming an emotional bond doesn’t guarantee sexual attraction will develop, but the bond is necessary for them to even consider sexual activity. If they do develop a sexual attraction, the desire for sexual activity is often less intense.
The length of time needed to create an emotional bond varies. Some people who are demisexual develop a close bond quickly, but others only develop a bond after several years of friendship with someone. The emotional bond doesn’t necessarily need to be a romantic feeling. The bond could just be a close friendship.
How do I know how I identify? Is there a demisexuality test?
No test can identify your sexuality. But it may help to ask some questions about yourself. These questions include:
- Who are you sexually attracted to? How do these people make you feel?
- Do you feel sexual attraction? How frequently? How strong is the feeling?
- How important is sexual attraction in determining who you want to date?
- Do you feel sexual attraction to people you don’t know?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers. But answering these questions may help you start to figure out your sexual identity.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does it mean to be asexual or on the asexual spectrum?
People who identify as asexual feel limited or no sexual attraction and/or have no interest in sex.
People who identify as demisexual are sometimes placed under the umbrella of asexuality because they don’t often feel sexual attraction. But they can feel sexual attraction and have an interest in sex after they’ve formed an emotional bond with someone.
The opposite of asexual is allosexual. People who identify as allosexual regularly experience sexual attraction, regardless of their sexual orientation.
What’s the difference between demisexual and graysexual?
Demisexuality and gray sexuality are similar but slightly different. People who identify as graysexual feel sexual attraction infrequently or have less of a desire to engage in sexual activity. The difference between demisexuality and gray sexuality is people who are graysexual don’t need an emotional bond to feel sexual attraction like demisexuals do.
What does it mean to be demiromantic?
Demiromanticism is like demisexuality but slightly different. People who are demiromantic need to feel an emotional connection with someone before they can feel romantic toward them. People of any sexual orientation can also be demiromantic.
What’s the difference between demisexual and pansexual?
People who identify as pansexual are sexually attracted to anyone, regardless of the person’s sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. People can be pansexual and demisexual.
Can you be a straight demisexual?
Sexual orientation labels usually refer to the gender or genders of people you’re attracted to. These labels include heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and pansexual. The demisexuality label is different. It references the degree of attraction experienced toward others. Many people identify in both ways. For instance, you can be heterosexual and demisexual or pansexual and demisexual.
Why does demisexuality need a label?
For many people who identify as demisexual, having a label gives them a sense of belonging. They may have grown up feeling different from their peers because they didn’t have similar feelings of sexual attraction or interest in sex as described by peers. Many felt confused and wondered if something was wrong with them.
Demisexuality has a label because it helps those who are demisexual find a community of people they can identify with. Finding an identity generally can help people who are demisexual feel more secure and help them realize they’re not alone. It also helps normalize individual experiences of sexual attraction and feelings on a spectrum and helps people realize these feelings are valid. The label gives those who are demisexual a word to use for something they haven’t been able to describe before.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
People who identify as demisexual only feel sexual attraction after they’ve developed a close emotional relationship with someone. Demisexuality is under the umbrella of asexuality because demisexuals have lower-than-average sexual desires. But people who identify as demisexual find themselves in their own group, because they may end up developing a sexual attraction or an urge to engage in sexual activity with someone after they’ve developed a bond with them. If you have feelings you want to discuss, contact your healthcare provider. They can provide resources for you to explore your feelings and find your identity.
Are Monogamy and Demisexuality the Same?
Demisexuality is very compatible with a monogamous way of life, but it doesn’t actually require it. A lot of demis think that demisexuality implies monogamy, and in a way that makes sense because if you are only attracted to people you have an emotional bond with, it makes sense that you’d want to spend most of your time with the person you’re sexually attracted to, so you probably aren’t going to spend enough time with other people to build an emotional bond with them.
But humans are messy and life doesn’t always go as we expect it to. It is very possible for a demi to have more than one partner. It is very possible for a demi to have sex outside of their marriage. I’m pretty sure we have polyamorous demis in this community (Yup, that’s me). And even though we don’t like to admit it of ourselves, demis are just as capable of cheating in a relationship as anyone else.
“ Since it means needing a deeper emotional connection in order to feel sexual attraction, i wonder if it could make the choosing of monogamy a more “natural” or “easier” choice, in comparison to those sexual people who are inclined to feel attracted to others in a more physical sense.”
You are assuming that it is easier to make an emotional connection in monogamous relationships than in non-monogamous relationships.
The number of relationships a person prefers has nothing to do with the form those relationships take. There are people who prefer to have only one relationship at a time, but to keep it light and focused on the physical. There are people, like myself, who prefer multiple relationships, all of which have a deep emotional connection.
There are some forms of non-monogamy, such as swinging, that wouldn’t suit most demisexuals. That doesn’t mean all monogamy is better suited to demisexuals than all non-monogamy.
A demisexual person may have a hard time being monogamous if they find that rare person they are physically attracted to – as it was very likely built-up over time. They would, in essence, be in love with two people.
Being polyamorous merely means you are interested in having relationships with more than one person at a time (with consent from all parties – different from cheating.)
A polyamorous person can be sexual, demisexual, asexual. They can be straight. They can be gay. They can be bi or pan. It all depends on the individual in question. Being poly doesn’t determine which one you’ll be.