When I first read the definition of demisexuality - not experiencing sexual attraction until a close bond is formed - I thought, “isn’t everyone like that?”
It turns out I was demisexual - and you might be too.
Demisexuality defines how attraction forms instead of who a person is attracted to.
Demisexuals can be of any romantic orientation or gender and may or may not have sex. The act of sex in a relationship is not what makes someone demisexual - the way sexual attraction forms is.
It’s not about waiting for a relationship to become ‘serious’ to have sex - demisexual people simply don’t experience sexual attraction before that relationship bond is formed.
Even after that stage, the attraction they feel is only towards the person in question, meaning their day-to-day experience is similar to that of other identities in the asexual spectrum. Demisexuality defies many of the expectations about sexuality that most people hold.
I didn’t know I was demisexual until I was about twenty-three. I denied that it was a part of me.
I had seen rejection from the queer community when demisexuality came up. I didn’t understand that it described how sexual attraction could form, instead of who I was attracted to.
I didn’t understand why putting a label on that could be important. I didn’t understand why the differences between being ace and not could matter.
The more I learn about demisexuality, the more I learn that many demisexuals have spent years without words to describe themselves. This is one of many reasons people don’t explore their demisexuality.
But finding the right word, the right community can be life-changing. The resources, and acceptance, need to exist in queer spaces for this to happen.
Demisexuality sits under the asexual spectrum because it describes conditional, limited sexual attraction. It is important to recognise and validate this experience to underline that ace spectrum people don’t automatically become allosexual (not asexual) if sexual attraction forms.
In the ace community, we often say “action doesn’t equal attraction”. This is because there are aces who have and enjoy sex without sexual attraction and aces who experience separation from those who they are sexually attracted to.
Demisexuality is often misunderstood or attributed mistakenly to abstinence or celibacy.
But while abstinence and celibacy are choices that demisexuals may choose to make, these are not the same as being demisexual. Space to explore that, to have discussions about it, to have it accepted are vital for more demis to figure out who they are.
With more education and resources about demisexuality, I hope those questioning can get support from each other and allies.
Not everyone is demisexual - but it’s more common than you probably think. If you read the definition and thought, “isn’t everyone demisexual then?” you might be demisexual, too.
- Demisexuality Resource Centre
- Elle’s Medium, where she writes about demisexuality
The Queer Gaze is changing the media
The Queer Gaze is our landmark scheme commissioning, mentoring and running skill sessions with queer writers.
This article was just one part of our free weekly newsletter that helps you understand the queer headlines and stay on top of the latest LGBTQIA+ content - all while we support queer creatives.
It's written by Jamie Wareham and a different queer creative each week. Hundreds of people trust us to give them everything they need to navigate the ever-changing queer world every Saturday morning. 🏳️🌈
We are an independent platform launching the careers of emerging and LGBTQIA+ creatives driven by people, not advertisers.