If you feel sexually attracted to someone only after you’ve fallen in love with them, you might be demisexual. According to demisexuality.org, a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about this sexuality:
“Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond.”
Compared to the general population, demisexuals infrequently experience spontaneous sexual attraction or interest in sexual activity, unless it’s to someone they already have a bond with. To shed some light on this little-known and quite frankly, oft-misunderstood, sexual orientation, here’s everything you need to know about demisexuality.
First thing I imagine you’re thinking: So what? Isn’t it normal to be attracted to someone after you get to know them a little better? Well, no—not exactly. You see, people who fall on the sexual side of the spectrum can be, and often are sexually attracted to people they’ve never met before. Think of a celebrity crush or an attractive stranger you’ve exchanged furtive glances with on the streetcar.
In instances like these, sexual feelings exist inside you, so frequently—in fact—that you’ve probably begun to take them for granted. You might not act on these feelings, but they’re there, creating an ambient atmosphere of desire in your mind (and yes, even in your body). This doesn’t always happen for demisexuals, although some do get fleeting sexual feelings. In fact, these kinds of crushes can be downright mystifying to some of them.
The only way demisexuals get sexual attraction are when they’ve created an emotional attachment with someone.
Which leads me to an interesting point: what qualifies as an emotional attachment, exactly? There’s no hard rule for this, as everyone’s different, but emotional intimacy is key. While demisexuals need to be close with someone before getting sexually attracted to them, emotional intimacy does not necessarily mean that sexual attraction will follow. It’s only a prerequisite.
To make things even more complicated, while demisexuals do engage in sex, they do so far more infrequently than others. Because demisexuality falls on the asexual side of the spectrum (it’s often lumped in with asexuality), approximately two thirds are either apathetic about sex or outright repulsed by it, according to a 2014 AVEN Community Census (note: the methodology of the study included demisexuals, asexuals and gray-asexuals, so these numbers are likely skewed). That said, no two demisexuals are alike when it comes to their approaches to sexual activity.
Dating can be a difficult endeavor for some demisexuals since so much of dating is contingent upon that initial sexual spark. This is why it’s often easier for attraction to form toward those who they already have a relationship with, like friends, for example. Since sexuality exists on a kind of spectrum, it’s easy to see why there’s such a variety of orientations among different people, and why it’s so important for each distinct group to have its own identity, its own way of defining what it means to exist in that space. Also, it’s reassuring, since it means that certain experiences, no matter how different they might seem, are being shared by other people.