Explainer

What does demisexual mean? When no strings attached is not an option

Claire Toureille September 25, 2018
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Marvel's Runaways characters Nico and Karolina kiss

Karolina and Nico kiss on Runaways (marvel)

Demisexual is the label for a person who only experiences sexual attraction if they form an emotional connection.

What does Demisexual mean?

Demisexuality is not well known. If you’re demisexual, chances are you won’t fall in love with chiselled abs and deep cleavage—at least not at first.

Put simply, it’s the word for people who can only develop sexual feelings for someone after they have formed an emotional connection.

Demisexuality falls between the spectrum of sexuality and asexuality. Straight, gay, lesbian and bi people can be demisexual.

Demisexuality also falls under the queer umbrella and has its own flag:

demisexual flag
Demisexual falls on the sexual-asexual spectrum (everyday feminism)

Being demisexual is all about that special connection we all wish to have with a partner.

Where some people can be attracted to someone’s looks and demeanour right upon meeting them, demisexuals will most likely not be impressed.

That’s because demisexuals experience a second wave of attraction that only occurs once they have achieved an emotional connection with someone. In other words, you could be the sexiest human being on Earth, but a demisexual won’t be into you until you’ve bonded.

It’s not that demisexuals are particularly picky or deeper than the average person—they don’t consciously abstain from attraction—they literally can’t help it.

You won’t rock their world until at least a few months have passed (or earlier, depending on how fast you develop a bond with them). In some cases, it takes years of getting to know someone before sexual feelings surface. Demisexuality is not an exact science.

It’s not that demisexuals will want to get sexy with anybody they have a bond with either. A bond is just a prerequisite to attraction, not its prime cause.

Am I demisexual?

If you feel you might be demisexual, you can take a test like this one to work it out.

However, there’s no exhaustive demisexual checklist. It’s a label people use to describe themselves, and it doesn’t affect people in the same way.

 

Hugh Grant stars as Clive Durham in "Maurice"
Demisexual need an emotional bond to be sexually attracted to someone (Photo by Merchant Ivory Productions / Film Four International)

Demis in action

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTlMTUOxWDA]

The dating life of a demisexual perform can be subject to a few complications because of their lack of sexual gusto.

For instance, it’s a sad possibility they’ll get friend-zoned or friend-zone potential connections because they won’t express their interest right off the bat and in more subdued ways than through public displays of affection.

Demisexuals don’t need to want to marry someone to have sex, but they need a form of mental intimacy in order to feel sexually attracted to their partner. This makes relationships and break-ups even more intense for them. Demis are unlikely to cheat of their partners, unless they form a bond that is as strong with another person.

Demisexuality doesn’t equate low sex drive (Pexels)

Being sexually attracted to someone (wanting to have sex specifically with them) and experiencing sexual desire (aka wanting to have sex in general) are not the same thing.

Yes, demisexuals experience lust. Their sex-drive usually stays the same, but hook-ups won’t quench their thirst and Tinder is of little help.

Related topics: attraction, demisexual, demisexuality, sexual attraction

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