If you have been reading my blog long enough, you will know that I identify as demisexual. When I try to explain what it is I usually get “well that’s how it should be” or “Oh, it’s so good of you to be doing that”. but what people don’t seem to understand is what demisexuality actually is, which is why I didn’t really tell people when I realized what I am, including my family.
So, what is demisexuality?
First of all, demisexuality is not a choice. Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which one doesn’t feel sexual attraction unless a strong emotional bond is formed. It is very rare for demisexual people to feel sexual attraction and they don’t usually have an interest in sexual activity.
Here’s the thing that confuses people: the difference between sexual attraction and just plain attraction. Sexual attraction is attraction based on one’s sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest [x]. you can find someone, as I like to say, “conventionally attractive” in that they are generally what is seen as attractive by a majority of society (but that is also where self-image issues come but that is not what we are talking about right now). The best way I like to put it is in a more scientific way because it helps people better understand. Our most primal instinct is to find a mate so that our genes can be passed on, which is essentially the goal for all life on Earth. That is how our evolutionary ancestors found mates and in a way how we usually find mates today: which partner(s) will make the prettiest and best baby. Pretty blunt but it’s the basis of sexual attraction.
As a demisexual, I don’t really feel that way. I mean, I would love kids and I am so excited to be a mom one day, but I don’t see other people as sexually attractive and basically, I don’t really see any “potential mates” walking down the street. Let’s step away from the science side now because it’s starting to sound weird.
Demisexuals can still feel sexually attracted to people – sometimes.
As I stated, it is usually only when a strong emotional bond is formed. That being said, the amount of time that an emotional bond is formed varies between demi individuals. For example, I can count the number of real crushes I have had in my twenty-two years of living on one hand. And one of them was more of a crush on the idea of the person, not so much the person. The other people, I had become close friends with over at least a few months, and in one case, over a couple of years. But that is also me. I am a very quiet person, I keep to myself, and I am still a bit shy and don’t put myself out there. For some people it does take a few years, for others it may be after a week of hanging out a lot together. It really does differ from person to person.
But isn’t it normal to only want sex after getting to know someone?
Well, yes. But that is also the difference between being sexually attracted and wanting to have sex. Sexual attraction happens whether you want it to happen or not. It is an involuntary feeling. Sexual behavior is something that you do have control over. Most people feel sexual attraction no matter how well they know the person they are attracted to. It can be a coworker, someone on the street, or even a celebrity. What stops them from acting on that? Feasibility, religious beliefs, personal morals, etc.
Demisexuals only feel sexual attraction after an emotional bond has been formed. Their sexual behavior, just like everyone else, is determined by their own standards (i.e. the feasibility, beliefs, appropriateness, morals just like everyone else has).
Where does this all fit on the asexual spectrum?
Asexuality is an orientation in which one feels little to no sexual attraction or interest in sex. Demis are considered on the ace spectrum because it is closely aligned to aces but it still not exactly the same. A lot of demisexuals only have one person or a few people that they feel sexually attracted to in their life. Most are uninterested in sex in general. The only difference is feeling sexual attraction.
Why the label?
For me, it was a sense of belonging and reassurance. I have always wondered what was wrong with me. I almost never had crushes growing up. In grade school, I’d get bugged by my friends when I said I didn’t have a crush because they thought I was lying. I get asked by family members if there is anyone special I have my eye on, to which it is always a no, and then I’m told: “you’ll find them one day” or “there’s no rush” which always makes me feel even worse because I haven’t found love yet. My friends and brothers had almost no issue finding boyfriends and girlfriends and I was always by myself and felt like I was intruding when I wanted to hang out them. I felt so alone for so long and I could not figure out what was “wrong” with me and why I couldn’t find someone.
I had been subscribed to a YouTuber named Evan Edinger and was an avid watcher of his punny videos. In 2015, he put up a video called “My Sexuality“. It was the first time I had ever heard of the term demisexual and as he described what it was, it sounded like he was describing me. When I was done, I became obsessed and did all of the research I could to see what else there was or if there was something else that described me better. I dove headfirst into the different sexualities and was very intrigued. I had no idea there were so many different sexual orientations. I had no idea that I wasn’t so alone in the world. There was a whole population of people who are like me. I suddenly didn’t feel alone.
How did I come out?
I told Facebook before I told my friends and family in person. Anyone willing to read my post, now knew I was demisexual. Most of them didn’t understand, which was expected, but they all still supported a “new” part of me. Then I would drop my sexuality surprisingly casually in conversations so I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it and not bring attention to it. Now I bring it up a lot less casually because I had a realization about the importance of representation.
As I said, growing up I thought I was a freak for not liking anyone and basically feeling like I was incapable of feeling love. Obviously, that is not true and most certainly not the case, but growing up, I never heard about sexualities other than straight, gay/lesbian, bi, and trans. I never knew about the “+” side (pun intended). I felt like an outcast because there was no one I knew like me. And then one day… there with millions. You almost never hear about demisexual people in the news, in movies, on shows, in sports, etc. but they’re there. That is why I speak up. So that if there is a person somewhere wondering why they feel so alone and without someone, that they just may not have found their community yet and that there is a whole group of people out there just like them.
A lot of this information, to make sure I’m not sharing misinformation, is from demisexality.org and if you want to learn more you can click the link. I hope that this post finds someone who is looking for answers and a community to be a part of because no one should feel lost and alone.
Also, this month’s Charity of the Month is the Pride Foundation. They work to advocate for a better world for the LGBTQ+ community to live in. Anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated and help them to do their thing.