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[Infographic] What does Demisexuality Mean?

What is Demisexuality?

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity. Keep reading to understand more about this orientation.

The emotional bond for demisexuals varies based on the personal experiences and is slightly different for everyone. Emotional intimacy is a main component, usually, so some demisexuals find themselves attracted to close friends or romantic partners. Other components may include familiarity with the person and knowledge about them (ex: learning about aspects of their personality). However, forming an emotional bond doesn’t guarantee that sexual attraction will happen. It is just a prerequisite for it to occur at all. The length of time required to develop an emotional bond may vary. For some demisexuals, it’s after several years of being close friends with someone, and for others, it might be a short but intense experience, such as traveling abroad for a week with them.

There’s a difference between feeling sexually attracted to someone and wanting to have sex with them. Sexual attraction isn’t something you can control—either you have sexual feelings for someone or not. You can’t force it to happen and you can’t force it to go away, so you don’t have a choice in the matter. Sexual behavior, on the other hand, is something you can choose to participate in, or not.

Most people on the non-asexual side of the spectrum feel sexual attraction regardless of whether or not they have a close emotional bond with someone. They may have sexual feelings for attractive people on the street, classmates or coworkers they’ve barely spoken to, or celebrities. However, they may choose to wait to have sex for a variety of reasons: it might not be feasible or appropriate; they want to make sure the person is respectful and kind, it’s against their religious beliefs, they only want to have sex in a romantic relationship, etc. The difference is that demisexuals don’t start out with these sexual feelings at all.

How does demisexuality relate to asexuality?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation in which one feels little to no sexual attraction or interest in sex (the former definition is more widely used, but some asexuals use the latter definition. Both are valid and accepted.) Demisexuals are considered to be on the asexual spectrum, meaning they are closely aligned with asexuality, but not quite asexual. The asexual spectrum has asexuality on one end and non-asexuality on the other end.

Demisexuals are considered part of the asexual community because for the most part, they don’t feel sexual attraction. Many demisexuals are only attracted to a handful of people in their lifetimes, or even just one person. Many demisexuals are also uninterested in sex, so they have a lot in common with asexuals.The thing that makes them different from asexuals is that they are capable of feeling sexual attraction—it’s just that it only happens after they form a deep emotional bond with someone.

It’s really important to help people to find a community, to feel less alone and become more secure in their identities. People who say that labels hold us back are typically people who don’t need a label other than heterosexual. They don’t understand how critical a label can be so it is of big importance to support a person that comes out as demisexual and not judge under any circumstances.