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Demisexuality and the Truth About Gray-Asexuality

Demisexuality and its significance in the asexual spectrum.

Sexual preferences are part of human nature and identity. Besides, forming relations with people of the same or different genders helps us to know more about their likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, etc. However, if you are very close to them, you might understand their sexuality or sexual interests, which are a part of their neurological and behavioral identity.

Well, I had a great opportunity to interact with the transgender community, and I must say it’s a lot better when you get to know people who are different from the rest. Moreover, the insights you gain from them fuel your understanding of sexuality and the way you carry yourself in the modern dating society.

While interacting with them, I came across an unfamiliar term. Moreover, people might misunderstand this term and end up resonating with it. It is called ‘demisexuality’.

Demisexuality and the dawn of the asexual spectrum:

You must be thinking that this has to do something with being attracted to ‘Demi-kind-of-a-thing’, which may be attracted to Demi Lovato or Demi Moore or maybe it is something in which an individual is half-attracted to others.

The term may seem confusing initially; however, there is no better term to describe it.

So, ‘What is Demisexuality?’

It is a state of being sexually or romantically attracted only to people with whom one has a strong emotional bond.


“Where does this lie on the sexuality spectrum with most of us being unaware of it?”

Well, the executive director of Asexual Outreach, Brian Langevin, coined the term ‘demisexuality’, saying that “It is a sexual orientation similar to homosexuality or bisexuality but comes under the grey-asexuality spectrum.”

Understanding the ‘ace umbrella’ of gray-asexuality:

Before we go in-depth into gray-asexuality, it is better to understand the meaning of asexuality first. It is a state of not experiencing sexual attraction to anyone.

That doesn’t necessarily mean an individual will not be interested in establishing a relationship; just that it will be devoid of any kind of sexual attraction. For instance, emotional and intellectual stimulation facilitates attraction towards other people.

Asexuality is the complete opposite of sexuality. Therefore, it lies on the other end of the spectrum.

However, this is where the lesser-known types of sexual identities exist, known as the ‘ace-umbrella’ of gray-asexuality.

The relation between demisexuality and gray-asexuality:

First, let us discuss grey asexuality.

It is a spectrum between sexuality and asexuality with the preferences of an individual who is sexually attracted to someone under certain circumstances.

Image by showing ‘Gray-A’ in the sexual and asexual spectrum

But, “Why do we need certain circumstances to attract other people sexually?”

The reason is because everyone is not the same.

You may belong to any sexual preference. However, you still lie under the sexuality spectrum. Gray-asexuality doesn’t depend upon one’s sex or gender. It depends on the individual circumstances necessary for sexual attraction.

These circumstances are highly subjective, with little to no consideration of the traditional sexuality that most people experience.

A circumstance of bonding emotionally or intellectually is a prerequisite for any kind of sexual attraction between two individuals.

The sexual attraction is comparatively lower than the other sexual types.

Grey asexuality comprises demisexuality, sapiosexuality, and pansexuality. As a result, these also fall under the ‘ace-umbrella’ as discussed above.

Signs or traits of demisexuality:

You might be thinking that everyone experiences some kind of emotional attachment irrespective of the sexual orientation.

Then, “Why does demisexuality have to be a different term to denote a certain section of people?”

It is because emotional attachment is significant to their sexual attraction.

Most people are attracted to good personality or physical traits. However, demisexuals need to understand a person enough to experience sexual attraction.

The need for demisexuals to establish an emotional bond is paramount.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

However, most of us are unaware of demisexual traits. Maybe you are a demisexual, unsure of your sexuality, and want to know more about it.

So, “How do you identify yourself or others as demisexual?”

There are some traits of demisexuals that can help you identify yourself and others:

1. They are slow in the dating game

Don’t get me wrong.

This doesn’t mean that all demisexuals are slow in the dating game.

However, they are generally careful and may often seem ‘prude’ concerning the dating culture.

Unlike other people, they aren’t interested in random hookups dominated by people looking for short flings and one night stands. They are traditional and desire to form emotional bonds with the other person.

In addition, they follow the same ideologies advocated in various religions about falling in love and preserving the sanctity of the relationship.

2. They are easily sexually attracted to their friends or loved ones

Honestly, demisexuals have the hardest time dealing with friends and loved ones. They are easily sexually attracted to their family members. In most cases, this attraction is towards brothers or sisters.

It is the same with their friends or acquaintances. They do not indulge in large circles of friendships to interact with a group or community of people. Instead, they choose their friends very carefully and spend their valuable time with them.

However, this creates an emotional and sexual dilemma with unnecessary complications. For instance, their close and emotional bonds with people backfire when they fantasize about them sexually.

Morover, it causes daydreaming and growing intimacy with their friends.

3. Looks or external appearance do not matter to them

This one is evident, right.

Looks do not matter to them. Above all, they pay little to no attention to the external appearance of a person.

They may identify people as visually or aesthetically attractive, but unlike them, they do not feel the same sexual attraction.

Moreover, they seek authentic or genuine relationships to value an individual’s sense of humor and intelligence.

4. They like to have sexual experiences but it isn’t their number one priority.

Ok, I think demisexuals are humans and can have sexual experiences with whoever they desire.

However, unlike other people, they do not actively seek sexual experiences. They do so only after finding their perfect partner.

Moreover, they need to understand and empathize with their partners to know more about their lives. 

It is difficult for them to experience sexual urges. However, once they do, they are very caring and passionate about their partners.

Though, it isn’t their number one priority.

5. They are easily misunderstood in the dating society

One thing is for sure. Dating isn’t demisexuals forte.

It is difficult for them to find people with whom they can emotionally connect and establish relationships.

Most dating sites never considered other sexual preferences until recently, where apps like tinder and ok cupid have made it easy for LGBTQIA+ people to find their potential partners.

Even demisexuals can now find their dates via dating apps. However, the problem arises when people misunderstand demisexuals as they try to interact with people to know more about them on the first date.

It is very overwhelming for people to date a demisexual as no one wants to be an ‘open book’ on their first date. It leads to complications concerning their intentions in the dating society.

Types of Demisexuality:

As you know, demisexuality is a subcategory of gray-asexuality.

But, “Is it possible to have different types of demisexuality?”

Yes, it is.

Demisexuals can be classified based upon romantic and psychological variations.

It is dependent upon the circumstances of a person’s sexual or romantic orientation. Therefore, anyone can be demisexual regardless of his romantic orientation.

Photo by Jasmine Carter from Pexels

Classification based upon romantic variations:

1. Heteroromantic demisexual:

These are the individuals who romantically attract the opposite sex. However, they only experience sexual attraction when they form an emotional bond with them.

2. Homoromantic demisexual:

Some individuals can romantically attract the people of same-sex. Though, they do not experience a sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional bond with them. These individuals are called homoromantic demisexual.

3. Bi-romantic demisexual:

These are the individuals who romantically attract both the same and opposite sex. However, they do not experience sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional bond.

4. Transromantic demisexual:

They are the individuals who romantically attract the transpeople. Though, they do not experience a sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional bond with them.

5. Panromantic demisexual:

Some individuals romantically attract anyone of any sexual orientation. However, they do not experience a sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional bond with them. These are called panromantic demisexuals.

6. Aromantic demisexual:

Individuals who do not romantically attract anyone of any sexual orientation and do not experience a sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional bond with them are called aromantic demisexuals.

Classification based upon psychological variations:

Sexuality and psychology can bear a relation with each other. Every human is subject to his psychological variations, and no two humans are the same.

However, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that even under the same community, there are distinctions based upon sexual attraction concerning the individuals.

For some, this attraction is almost instant, while for others, it takes a considerable time to experience sexual attraction.

These variations also lie in the demisexual group where they are classified into two types based upon psychological distinctions:

1. Neurotypical Demisexuality

You must be thinking “What does neurotypical psychology has to do with demisexuality?”

Well, this is the stereotypical demisexuality which depends upon emotional interactions. As the name suggests, neurotypical people are the individuals we meet in our daily lives.

More than 70% of our population comprises of neurotypicals who like to interact with society, engage in practical discussions, and understand the typical forms of expression.

In short, these are the people who are demisexuals and easily mingle with others.

2. Autistic Demisexuality

Autistic demisexuality is different compared to the neurotypical demisexuality.

Before we discuss autistic demisexuality, I would like to clear some doubts regarding autism.

Neuroscience considers autism as a mental condition or disorder of individuals who possess high IQ or low sensory awareness.

I humbly disagree.

Autism is not a disorder. However, it is a different psychological preference of individuals that may or may not be related to intelligence. It has nothing to do with someone’s mental condition.

Autistic demisexuals aren’t like their neurotypical counterparts. They face many obstacles in coping with the conventions of society.

They do not resonate with the general way of experiencing emotions that are conveyed or followed by society.

Moreover, they do not like random people talking to them or touching them. Besides, they feel uncomfortable maintaining eye contact and do not understand the emotional expressions of people as such.

But that doesn’t make them an outcast.

They are attracted to people with whom they can form an emotional bond. However, it takes time to maintain emotional relations as they are not very interactive.

Autistic demisexuals are more misunderstood than neurotypical demisexuals due to the uncertainty of their thought process.

However, autistic demisexuals are very rare and remain a minority in the demisexual community. People often misjudge them as asexuals.

The ‘pride flag’ of demisexuality:

Yes, that’s right.

A flag that symbolizes demisexuality exists, and it is also called the ‘pride flag of demisexuality’ which is somewhat similar to the flag of asexuality.

The ‘pride flag’ of demisexuality

The flag has four colors namely white, black, purple, and gray.

White, as you can see, is the uppermost color that denotes sexuality.

Black is a triangle in the left corner of the flag, encompassing all three colours. It denotes asexuality.

Purple is the third colour, representing the community, while grey is the fourth colour, representing grey asexuality.

Together, they denote demisexuality that lies between the sexual and asexual spectrum and is a part of grey asexuality.

Final words:

Demisexuality is just like any other sexual preference or orientation, along with sexuality and asexuality. It comes under the ‘ace-umbrella’ of gray-asexuality, which gives importance to the emotional attraction.

Demisexuality is independent of someone’s sexual orientation and is a separate subset of gray-asexuality. Though demisexuals are rare, they still form an integral part of the sexuality spectrum, and ample awareness is necessary to understand demisexuality and the factors upon which it depends.

If someone you know is confused about his demisexual identity, then guide him with your insight and knowledge.

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