You know the scene: You’re walking down the street and a sexy stranger passes by – it’s lust at first sight. Oh, you don’t know that scene? Then you may be demisexual. Or you need to check your glasses prescription.
What is demisexuality, exactly? No, it’s not being sexually attracted to Demi Lovato exclusively. It’s more like being attracted to someone only after spending many nights staying up late watching Disney+ together. (Call us for a marathon night anytime, Demi).
Let us elaborate.
What Is Demisexuality?
“Demisexuality is a sexual identity where one feels sexual attraction to another person only when they form an emotional bond or connection with them,” says Sasha Diamond-Lenow, a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy NYC.
This may seem like a no-brainer since many people prefer to only have sex only with people they’re close to.
The difference is that allosexual people (those who regularly experience sexual attraction) usually have a spark of attraction when meeting a new person. A demisexual person is only sexually attracted to someone with whom they’ve formed an emotional connection.
“Demisexuality is not about how people think about sex or what factors into their decision to have sex with someone,” says Angélique Gravely, LGBTQ+ educator and advocate. “It describes the experience of not being able to just look at a stranger and think of them as hot or be turned on by them.”
Is Demisexuality Another Form of Asexuality?
Demisexuality can be considered part of the asexual spectrum, says Gravely. This term encapsulates all the identities of people who experience little to no sexual attraction.
“While not all demisexual people identify as part of the asexual community, many have found belonging and support by simultaneously identifying as demisexual and asexual, and seeking out ace-specific spaces,” she says.
And some demisexuals prefer to identify as part of the graysexual umbrella. Graysexuality – or gray asexuality – describes identities that are in the “gray area” of between asexuality and allosexuality. They are capable of feeling sexual attraction under specific circumstances.
Are All Demisexuals Heterosexual?
“You can be a demi and be gay, straight, or bi,” says Dr. Drai, an OBGYN and founder of Momentum Intimacy.
Demisexuality describes how you experience sexual attraction, not who you experience it with. Demisexuality falls under the “A” for asexuality in LGBTQIA, but they have their own flag.
The demisexual flag is black, white, purple, and grey. Black represents lack of sexual attraction, white represents sexual attraction, purple represents the asexual community, and grey represents the “grey area.”
Do Demisexuals Not Like Having Sex?
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before…it depends on the person!
Demisexuality describes when a person feels physical attraction, not who they decide to have sex with or their overall sex drive. Gravely explains that there can be many different types of people who are demisexual:
- Those who enjoy the physical pleasure of sex regardless of whether they are sexually attracted to a person.
- Those who only enjoy having sex with a partner they’re sexually attracted to.
- Those who don’t care about or enjoy sex.
How Can I Know If I’m Demisexual?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you fall onto the demisexual spectrum:
1. Who have I felt sexual attraction to in the past, and when during the relationship did I start feeling attracted to them?
“Be honest with yourself! When do you feel most connected with people?” says Diamond-Lenow. “If you find yourself not having attraction to folks until you form a deep emotional connection, you may be demisexual.” If you find you don’t feel attraction until midnight on a full moon, you may be a werewolf.
Another sign is when most of your relationships start slow and then get passionate later. Some demisexuals are told they’re “too intense” on a first date because they’re trying to establish that emotional connection quickly with deeper questions.
But, let’s be real, who wants to hear “So, how many siblings do you have?” again.
2. Do I ever feel attracted to people I don’t know well, like a celebrity crush?
“Many demisexual people have reported feeling the need to pretend to be sexually attracted to people they weren’t attracted to (e.g., celebrities, the “hot person” in class) in order to fit in,” says Gravely.
If you reluctantly hung up a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster you ripped out of Tiger Beat just so you could fit in, you could be demisexual. You can take it down now; you’re not fooling anyone and he looks way different now.
3. Do most of my romantic relationships start out as friendships?
“You might be a demi if all of your sexual encounters first started as friendships,” says Dr. Drai. If most of your relationships took the When Harry Met Sally route rather than dating around, it may be because you’re not feeling attraction before friendship.
4. Are looks and sexual attraction important to me when starting a relationship?
Tinder is basically designed for you to feel a sexual spark first and ask questions later. That may not compute with a demisexual person who needs to feel a connection before feeling the spark.
It’s hard enough for allosexuals to look at yet another photo of a person holding a fish and feel a sexual attraction. It’s even harder if you don’t feel attraction from looks alone.
5. Am I reading this article and thinking, “I thought everybody feels like that?”
No, boo, they don’t. So wave your black, purple, white, and grey flag with pride! It does wonders for building arm muscles.
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