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Demisexual is a term used to describe those who do not experience sexual attraction to others unless they form a strong emotional bond with someone first. Demisexual people may still experience romantic attraction, but until a deep connection is formed, there is no sexual attraction involved. They may have little to no interest in sex and may only experience sexual attraction rarely, but that is not the case with all demisexuals.[1]

Another definition is a person who does not experience primary sexual attraction, defined as sexual attraction that is based on sight, smell, or other instantly available information. In this definition, demisexuals experience secondary sexual attraction after knowing more about the person than just their looks; how much demisexuals need to know about said person and for how long they need to know about them for secondary sexual attraction to develop varies from person to person.[2] After secondary sexual attraction is developed, demisexuals may or may not experience arousal or desire based on the physical traits of the persons they already experience secondary sexual attraction towards; usually they are not only aroused by personality traits.[3][4]

Demisexuality is included on the asexual spectrum, but demisexual people can be gay, straight, bisexual, or any other orientation in addition to being demisexual.[5]

Etymology

"Demisexual" is derived from the prefix demi-, meaning "half" or "partially", which is derived from the Old French word demi meaning half, derived from the Latin word dimidius.[6] This meaning could represent demisexuals being halfway on the spectrum between allosexual and asexual.[5]

The term was coined in February 8, 2006 at the AVEN Forums by a member named Sonofzeal. Based on the theory that allosexuals experience both primary and secondary sexual attraction and asexuals experience neither, and on the need for a term to describe those who experienced one but not the other, they proposed the term demisexuals.[2]

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.[1]

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.[7]

Demigender

Demigender and demisexual, although they share the same prefix, 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.[8][9]

Controversy

A commonly found definition of demisexuality as "a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexually attracted to someone only after they've developed a close/strong emotional bond with them" has been called confusing and outdated.[10] This definition of demisexuality is considered confusing since the definition of the word bond, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is "a close connection joining two or more people"[11] which is contrary to the fact that demisexuals are capable of developing sexual attraction towards people they do not have a close bond with and even towards people they do not personally know. This means sexual attraction for demisexuals can be one-sided and not necessarily forming from a bond they share with another person.[source?]

How much demisexuals need to know about a person before they feel sexually attracted to them varies from person to person. There is no specific timeline on how long it takes.[12] There is also no way to determine what qualifies as a close or strong bond, which causes confusion.[source?]

The term "bond" can also be found to be confusing since it implies there needs to be romantic feelings involved for demisexuals to experience sexual attraction, which is not the case. Demisexuals don't need to have romantic feelings for a person to be sexually attracted to them.[source?]

It is common for secondary sexual attraction and romantic attraction to be developed in the same time frame, so it can be confused as both needing to be present for secondary sexual attraction to develop but it's not necessary.[source?]

Demisexuals can enjoy a person's presence or be attracted to some of their qualities without having an interest in dating them or building a romantic relationship with them.[13]

Perceptions and discrimination

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. That is simply not the case. Demisexual people can have plenty of casual sex; they just do not experience sexual attraction to their sexual partner(s) until secondary sexual attraction is developed, but they may still engage in sexual activity with the assumption that attraction will develop at some point.[5]

Another common misconception is that demisexuals need to have romantic feelings for a person to be sexually attracted to them. While it is common for secondary sexual attraction and romantic attraction to be develop in the same time frame, so it can be confused as both needing to be present for secondary sexual attraction to develop but it's not necessary. Demisexuals can enjoy a person’s presence or be attracted to some of their qualities without having an interest in dating them or building a romantic relationship with them.[14]

Someone who does choose to only have sex with people they have a close connection with is not necessarily demisexual. Demisexuality is not a choice, it is a sexual orientation, and unlike allosexual people who are capable of feeling sexually attracted to others they do not know very well, even if they choose not to act on it, demisexual people are actually incapable of feeling primary sexual attraction.[5]

Another common myth, similar to all orientations on the asexual spectrum, is that demisexuality is correlated to having a low sex drive, or libido, which is not true. Demisexuals have varying levels of sex drives and may have sex at varying amounts; some may have sex a lot, while some may not have it at all, and the frequency of which one has sex has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. Demisexuality only refers to the deep connection necessary to feel sexually attracted to another person, not how often one has sex.[5]

It is also a misunderstanding that demisexual people need to be completely in love with someone in order to feel sexually attracted to them. Demisexual people do require a close connection to experience sexual attraction, but that connection can have varying degrees, depending entirely on the feelings of the demisexual person. For many people, it can simply be a close friendship or platonic relationship, while for others, romance and love may be necessary before sexual attraction arises.[5]

There is also a misconception that demisexual people are just "normal."[15] This discourse stems from the belief that demisexuality is simply wanting to get close to someone before having sex with them. This is untrue because demisexual people aren't just holding out from having sex with people, they just feel no desire to until they are close to that person. An allosexual person wanting to build a relationship with someone before having sex with them would be more of a preference, rather than a sexuality. For instance, an allosexual person may see a man that they've never met before and find him sexually attractive, whereas a demisexual person wouldn't until they've built a platonic or romantic relationship with him.

Media

Aled Last – Radio Silence [16]

References

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