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Demisexual is a sexual orientation most often defined as only experiencing sexual attraction when an emotional connection or bond has formed with someone.[1][2][3][4][5] The nature of that emotional bond varies by person, but possibilities include friendship or romance and may or not mean loving the other person.[6]

Another definition is a person who does not experience primary sexual attraction (defined as sexual attraction that is based on sight, smell, or other information instantly available upon meeting someone) but does experience secondary sexual attraction (attraction that develops over time based upon the relationship and connection with another person). How much demisexuals need to know about another person and for how long they need to know about them before they may develop secondary sexual attraction varies from person to person.[7]

Demisexual people can be gay, straight, bisexual, or any other orientation describing the gender(s) of people they are attracted to.[8] Some add demi- as a prefix to another sexual orientation label, such as "demi-bisexual".[3] Demisexuality is part of the asexual spectrum,[1] but individual demisexuals may or may not identify as asexual.[2]

Etymology[]

"Demisexual" is derived from the prefix demi-, meaning "half" or "partially", which is itself derived from the Old French word demi, which also meant "half," and was a descendent of the Latin word dimidius.[9] This meaning could represent demisexuals being halfway on the spectrum between allosexual and asexual.[3][8] However, it does not mean that demisexuals have a "half sexuality" or are incomplete.[3]

The term was coined in February 8, 2006 in the Members Questioning section of the AVEN Forums by @sonofzeal. Based on @Ragber's theory that "sexuals" experience both primary and secondary sexual attraction and asexuals experience neither, @sonofzeal suggested a term was needed to describe those who experienced secondary but not primary sexual attraction and proposed naming it "demisexuals".[10]

Community[]

Flag[]

The demisexual pride flag is an adaptation of the asexual flag, tailored specifically for demisexual people. The flag contains a black triangle on the left pointing inward toward the center with three horizontal stripes that are white, purple, and gray. The black triangle symbolizes the wider asexual community, as black represents a lack of sexual attraction; the white stripe symbolizes sexuality; the purple stripe represents community; and the gray stripe represents the wider gray-asexual community, which demisexuality falls under.[2]

Distinction[]

Asexual[]

Although demisexuality is on the asexual spectrum, it is different from asexuality itself. Asexual people do not experience sexual attraction, regardless of how close they are with someone, whereas demisexual people can and do experience sexual attraction, but only after a close bond is formed with another person.[11]

Demigender[]

Demigender and demisexual, although they share the same prefix,[4] are two completely different terms. Demigender is a gender identity, while demisexual is a sexual orientation. Demigender people feel partially, but not wholly, connected to a particular gender. For example, a demigirl is someone who partially identifies as female or with aspects of femininity. Even though these terms are not related, someone who is demisexual can also be demigender and vice versa.[12]

Controversy[]

The meaning of an "emotional bond" in defining demisexuality is not necessarily a romantic one, but the word is often mistaken as meaning romance is required. Demisexuals may or may not experience romantic feelings or desire romantic relationships.[6] If a demisexual person experiences romantic attraction, it does not involve sexual attraction unless they develop an emotional connection to that person.[2]

Perceptions and discrimination[]

Contrary to some disparaging remarks and dismissive comments,[7][13] demisexuality is not the same thing as making choices about having or not having sex based upon meeting certain criteria, including basing decisions about sex upon forming a deep emotional connection.[1][8][13] Someone who chooses to only have sex with people they have a close connection with is not necessarily demisexual;[8] that simply describes someone who has a preference.[13] It also is not the same thing as having little to no interest in sex[2] or a low sex drive/libido. Those factors vary between each person and are separate from demisexuality, not things that define it.[8][13]

One of the most common misconceptions that demisexual people face is the idea that they are prudes, afraid of sex, or willingly choose to abstain from having casual sex until they get to know the individual(s) better. Choices about sexual activity are not the same thing as attractions. Demisexual people can decide to have casual sex; they just do not experience sexual attraction to their sexual partner(s) unless they develop an emotional connection.[8]

Media[]

  • Aled Last – Radio Silence [14]

Resources[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "General FAQ" by The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network(Archived on 2024-05-03)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Demisexual" by The Trans Language Primer on The Trans Language Primer. "Someone who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with another person first. Some may experience romantic attraction, but until the emotional connection is formed, they do not experience sexual attraction. Some individuals experience sexual attraction rarely and/or may have little interest in sex in general. Demisexuality is included under the grey-asexual umbrella, though demisexual people may or may not identify specifically as asexual for a variety of reasons." (Archived on 2024-01-06)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Published 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781785923425 (paperback), ISBN 9781784506636 (eBook)
  4. 4.0 4.1 The ABC's of LGBT+ by Ash Hardell. Published 2016 by Mango Media. ISBN 9781633534087.
  5. The Queens' English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases by Chloe O. Davis. Published 2021 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. ISBN 9780593135006, ISBN 9780593135013 (Ebook)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Demisexuality: What Does It Mean?" by Sian Ferguson on Healthline. Published 2022-01-31. (Archived on 2022-10-04)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "No lust at first sight: why thousands are now identifying as 'demisexual'" by Nosheen Iqbal on The Guardian. Published 2019-09-07. (Archived on 2023-11-25)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "What Is Demisexuality?" by WebMD Editorial Contributor on WebMD. Medically reviewed 2023-08-17 by Zilpah Sheikh, MD (Archived on 2024-03-24)
  9. "Semi-, hemi-, and demi-" on Grammarist(Archived on 2024-03-24)
  10. "Asexual sex" on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN forum thread). Published 2006-02-08. @sonofzeal: "That actually sounds pretty accurate to me. So I'd have secondary sexual attraction, but hardly any primary. If 'sexual' is for both and 'asexual' is for neither, maybe we need a new term for people who only have one but not the other? I propose 'demisexuals'. ^^" (re: @Rabger: "Primary sexual attraction is sexual attraction mostly based on physical attributes. An on-sight type of thing. Secondary sexual attraction is sexual attraction that only develops after in contingent upon emotional attraction developing first.") (Archived on 2023-04-12)
  11. "The Only Facts You Need To Know About Asexuality Vs. Demisexuality" on Unwritten(Archived on 2023-10-04)
  12. "Demigirl" on Cosmopolitan(Archived on 2024-04-07)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "Why demisexuality is as real as any sexual orientation" by Jessica Klein on BBC. Published 2021-11-05. (Archived on 2024-02-05)
  14. Radio Silence (in English) by Oseman, Alice. Published 2016 by HarperCollins. ISBN 9780007559244.
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