What is demisexuality?

It’s not about sex. It’s about being sexually attracted to someone.

Rachel Hosie
Monday 28 August 2017 10:07 BST

Have you ever looked at your friends snogging strangers on nights out and thought you just couldn’t do that?

If so, you may be demisexual.

Demisexuals only fancy someone once they’ve got to know them - they need to feel a strong emotional connection to feel sexual attraction.

It’s unclear what proportion of the population identifies as demisexual, but as demisexuality comes under asexuality, which makes up one per cent of people, we can assume the figure is small.

The term first came to light in 2008 on the website of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, but it’s been gaining traction since, as more and more people identify with demisexuality.

Many think they’re just really picky before they learn what demisexuality is, and that’s when the penny drops.

One demisexual explained on Reddit how she’d always thought she was a “freak” as a teenager until she found out about demisexuality: “I always recoiled and quickly withdrew from socialising altogether out of fear of being pressured into anything romantic or sexual with others, but as soon as I got home and in my own bedroom, I found myself longing for a relationship with someone, and indulging my sexual feelings with myself (which is pretty normal for a hormonal 13-14 year old), but the severe anxiety I felt whenever someone expressed any romantic interest in me kept me from dating anyone or even flirting back when it did happen.”

She said that before she learned about demisexuality, she felt “struggle, pain, isolation and confusion.”

For many demisexuals, it’s a case of only liking someone over time, once you've realised they truly value your opinion.

And it doesn’t mean you have a low libido - many masturbate regularly.

It’s not about sex. It’s about being sexually attracted to someone.

One 23-year-old woman revealed that she’s never kissed anyone and never experienced sexual attraction by looking at men: “When I was younger, my friends would talk about how hot celebrities were, and I just couldn’t understand how you could be attracted to someone you haven’t even met,” she wrote on Reddit.

She also explained that she has a “complete disdain for hook-up culture” and an “inability to understand how you could kiss someone you met five minutes ago” - a mindset that is unusual amongst millennials.

Many demisexuals struggle with physical contact and intimacy before getting to know someone.

The 23-year-old woman went on to say she hated being hugged, needs her personal space and never wishes there was someone in her bed with her at night.

“Overall, I feel like I’m not as sexually charged as the rest the world and rarely feel any sexual attraction towards anyone,” she wrote. “When I do feel attraction, it’s after I get to know them or discover that they value me for my intelligence or another personal attribute.”

And everyone in the forum agreed that what the woman had described was demisexuality.

Many people of all sexualities find their attraction to someone grows once they’ve got to know them (and discovered a sparkling personality), but for demisexuals it’s not about looks at all.

That’s not to say they can’t appreciate when someone is good looking - they can, it just doesn’t ignite any sexual fire within them.

Those feelings develop over time, but when you feel them, it’s so worth the wait.

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