How I Realized I'm Demisexual
It's uncomfortable to realize you don't relate to other people, especially when it comes to intimate situations such as relationships and sex. After one too many times hanging out with my friends, hearing them recount details about partners and encounters, my inability to contribute to the conversation started to weigh on me. Was there something wrong with me? Just like that, I began questioning my sexuality.
What started as a bad night out with friends led to research into determining my sexuality. We all know that heterosexual and homosexual relationships exist, but a lot of lesser-known sexualities get lost in the fray. Nothing felt right until I discovered the identities comprising the asexual spectrum, especially one in particular: demisexuality.
What is demisexuality?
Demisexual people typically only feel sexual attraction to another person once a deep emotional bond has been formed. Demisexuality falls between allosexuality and asexuality: While a demisexual person may start off not feeling any sexual attraction toward someone, after certain conditions are met, that attraction may develop. Demisexual people can be gay, straight, bisexual or pansexual.
When I explain demisexuality, I'm often told it's normal—after all, isn't everyone like this? Well, no. I think the majority of people would agree that having sex with a person with whom we share an emotional connection is better than sex with someone in whom we aren't emotionally invested. But for demisexual people, an emotional connection is not just a nice bonus, it's a prerequisite. No connection, no attraction.
Characteristics of demisexual people
You may be demisexual if the following characteristics apply to you:
You rarely date. Demisexual people's standards are no higher than anyone else's. We just really have to know a person before deciding to go on a real date with them. Entering into a relationship is serious business and being friends first is an easy way for us to learn about someone before deciding we're into them romantically.
You don't care for physical touch. Many demisexual people are turned off by the thought of being touched by someone if they're not romantically interested in them. Making out with strangers and one-night stands are considerably less appealing than being with someone we've gotten to know over a period of time. Hookup culture is foreign to us.
You rarely feel sexual attraction. Demisexual people can be aesthetically, socially or emotionally attracted to people, but rarely feel sexual attraction. Other forms of attraction can draw you to another person and may lead to sexual attraction, but you probably can't look at a person you just met and know you want to have sex with them.
You don't have much of a drive for sex. While you may have a high libido, meaning you want to feel sexual satisfaction frequently, you may not feel inclined to have that urge satisfied by sex with other people. You may feel the impulse to masturbate, enjoy sexual media and have sexual daydreams, but when it comes to other people, you just don't feel inclined to couple up.
You have a hard time gauging attractiveness. Demisexual people tend to judge others based on personality, so you might not understand your friends when they talk about the hot guy at the bar. You don't know him, so how can you tell if he's attractive? This is also part of what makes dating apps so difficult. It can be impossible to tell if you're interested in someone based on a few photos and a bio that may not even be filled out.
If you said yes to one, some or even all of these traits, that doesn't mean you're for sure, without a doubt, demisexual. However, thinking about these tendencies and how they impact your life could give you some insight into your identity, whether or not you identify with the demisexual label.
Coming to terms with your sexuality
I was more relieved than anything to discover my dating habits were normal and they had a name. Now whenever people ask me why I rarely date, I don't have to panic as I think of an excuse.
Your own journey into discovering your sexuality may take some time, and the way you define your sexuality may change throughout the course of your life. That's OK. What feels right today may not feel right in a few months. You don't even have to label yourself if you don't want to. However, if you do want a label, now you're one step closer to deciding whether "demisexual" should be yours.