Every once in a while, I get a question about a sex term and I realize it’s probably one lots of people would find interesting. Demisexuality was just that term.
What is Demisexuality? How do we define it?
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) named this around 2008. Demi is French for the word “half,” derived from the Latin dimidius.
Demisexuality is an add-on to a person’s identity where the person doesn’t feel sexual attraction to people they do not know. A Demisexual begins to feel sexual attraction when there is an emotional connection with another person. However, a person who is Demisexual can also be straight, gay, or bi and may not have a gender preference when it comes to whom they do feel sexual attraction.
Often, Demisexuality comes up in a discussion of Asexuality, but in actuality, it sits halfway between Asexuality and Sexuality.
Demisexuality.org says folks who identify as demisexual may feel any of these ways – to be indifferent towards sex, or maybe they don’t masturbate often. They may think about attractiveness differently – a crush might be someone they want to spend time with or want to get to know. Or they may see nudity as less appealing than seeing someone really well dressed. Or they might like the idea of sex, but can’t think of anyone they want to have it with.
Why do we have to consider this concept of sexuality?
It’s essential to consider Demisexuality and other identities because they are beautiful threads in the fabric of human sexuality. Most people have limited knowledge of human sexuality. For example, folks know of three sexual orientations; hetero-, homo-, and bisexuality (even if some of those folks deny orientations other than hetero). Discussion of Asexuality, Demisexuality, and other identities can potentially facilitate an “Ah-ha!” moment. It can also be validating and enable a person to find a community of folks just like them. Having a “Hey, that’s me!” moment can be powerful, especially in a culture that makes us think we have to be hot for sex 24/7.
What do people get wrong about being demisexual?
Just like other orientations, Demisexuality is not a choice, nor is it a moral high ground. There is a difference between
“I choose not to have sex with someone until I have an emotional connection.”
“I experience no sexual desire unless I have an emotional connection.”
Also, a demisexual could have an emotional bond with someone, BUT they still might not feel sexual desire towards them. Think of the emotional bond as a type of prerequisite to feeling any sexual attraction.
How do you create intimacy when you are demisexual?
Because the person who identifies as demisexual needs a strong emotional bond to feel sexual feelings for a person, connecting on levels deeper than just physical is important. So if we define intimacy as feelings of closeness and connectedness and enjoying another person’s company, then many of the strategies to create intimacy, in general, can work.
For example, doing things together, putting your phone down to focus on each other, show your appreciation for them, listen to each other, etc. If you can be vulnerable and your partner can sit with you in it and not judge, that’s wonderful.
If you are a Demisexual and you’re dating a person who doesn’t have the patience to build intimacy, they are not your people. Keep looking, because there are folks who desire intimacy as well.
I hope this helps you to understand more about the people living in our world who may identify as something other than what you do.
Here’s to more understanding and acceptance.