Demisexuality is when you’re only sexually attracted to people you have a strong emotional bond with. But TBH, this definition is a bit bare bones.

Here’s a deep dive into what it really means to be demisexual.

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Illustration by Brittany England

According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, the type or level of emotional bond demisexual folks need to be sexually attracted to someone varies.

An emotional bond doesn’t always mean you’re straight up *in love* with someone. Sometimes it can be a close friend or a person you know on a deep level.

Demisexuality is a valid sexual orientation. That means it def deserves a label 💯. Owning the label can make peeps feel more supported, understood, and accepted.

Also, you might be thinking, “Don’t lots of people wait to form a connection before they have sex?”

While this is true, it might have nothing to do with demisexuality or any other sexual orientation. Some peeps prefer to abstain for other reasons like marriage.

Demiromantic peeps only have romantic feelings for folks they share a strong connection with. Sexual attraction doesn’t have to be part of these feelings (but it might be).

Nope! You can share a strong bond with lots of different folks for lots of different reasons. But that doesn’t mean you want to sleep with everyone.

There’s also a chance you aren’t into sex at all. According to a 2014 AVEN Community Census of Demisexuals and Asexuals, two-thirds of demisexual peeps said they were uninterested or repulsed by sex.

Like any sexual orientation, demisexuality is unique to each person. But there are some common characteristics.

You might be demisexual if you:

  • are only sexually attracted to people you have strong feelings for
  • aren’t sexually attracted to strangers or new acquaintances (even if they’re super hot)
  • prefer to have a strong foundation with a partner before getting physically intimate

Most sexual orientation labels (like straight, bisexual, or gay) only refer to what gender(s) a person prefers romantically or sexually. Demisexuality is a bit different.

Demisexuality refers to the feels. It doesn’t relate to the gender of the people you’re attracted to.

That means you can be demisexual and another orientation. It’s all about what feels right to you.

Pansexuality is when you have romantic, sexual, or emotional feelings for others regardless of their gender identity or sex.

You can be both pansexual and demisexual. You still won’t be sexually attracted to someone until you form a strong bond, but their gender won’t matter.

Asexual folks tend to have little to no interest in sexual activity. Some use asexuality as a label — others prefer to say they don’t have a sexual orientation at all.

Here are some questions that can help you figure out if you’re asexual:

  • Are you uninterested in sex?
  • Is the thought of sex repelling?
  • Is sex important to a romantic relationship?
  • Have you ever been sexually attracted to someone?

Sexuality is fluid fam. You can be asexual but identify as demisexual (or any other orientation). In fact, according to the 2015 Asexual Census, over 80 percent of peeps identified as another orientation before identifying as asexual.

Feelings of sexual attraction can change over time. But there’s also a chance you’ll never be into sex. And that’s OK too!

Demisexual folks can feel sexual attraction on the reg. This is different from people who are graysexual, who don’t feel sexual attraction as often or at all.

Graysexuality is often defined as the spectrum between allosexuality (any type of sexual attraction) and asexuality (no sexual attraction).

Graysexual folks may have the following feelings about sex:

  • Sex-repulsed. Dislike the idea of sex.
  • Sex-neutral. Aren’t repulsed by sex, but don’t seek sex either.
  • Sex-positive. Identify as asexual but will have sex for pleasure.

Keep in mind, it’s possible to fluctuate between periods of demisexuality and asexual or demisexuality and graysexuality.

It’s totally possible for demisexual folks to experience all different types of attraction. This can include:

  • Platonic attraction. When you want to be friends with someone.
  • Emotional attraction. When you feel an emotional bond with someone.
  • Romantic attraction. When you desire a romantic connection with someone.
  • Physical attraction. When you’re attracted to someone based on their appearance or vibe.

It’s impossible to lump all demisexual peeps together. Everyone experiences attraction and romance on their own terms.

That said, demisexual people might:

  • not want to have sex with their partner
  • have little or no interest in romantic relationships
  • wait until they feel extremely close to their partner before having sex
  • have sex with their partner without being sexually attracted to them
  • be very sexually attracted to their partner and love having sex

Reminder: Having an emotional bond with someone doesn’t always lead to sexual attraction or romance. It’s also possible to feel sexually attracted to someone you care about and still not want to be in a relationship with them.

Deciding to couple up can be a big decision for everyone, including demisexual folks. So if a dating app isn’t your thing, that’s totally fine!

Demisexuality is about who you’re attracted to, not if you have the ability to enjoy sex.

You can have consensual sex with someone you’re not sexually attracted to. You can also be sexually attracted to someone without having sex. Do what feels right.

P.S. Sex isn’t just about pleasure. You can also have sex to:

  • get pregnant
  • explore your desires
  • deepen an emotional bond
  • share an experience with someone

Some demisexual peeps like to masturbate solo or with a partner. This can also include demisexual folks who identify as asexual or graysexual.

Again, everyone is different. You do you 😉.

There’s no online test that can 10/10 tell you that you’re demisexual. You know yourself best. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who have I been sexually attracted to in the past?
  • Is sexual attraction very important to me when I date someone?
  • Am I sexually attracted to people I don’t know on a deep emotional level?
  • When did I become sexually attracted to a current or former romantic partner?

There are lots of ways to connect to other demisexual folks, both in-person or online (psst Reddit even has a community).

You can also check out:

Demisexual folks are only sexually attracted to people they have a strong emotional bond with.

Just remember that sexuality isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s possible to be demisexual and identify as another sexual orientation as well.

It might take a while to fully understand your sexuality and that’s OK! If you ever feel confused or alone about your sexuality, you can reach out to a therapist. Or check out online demisexual resources for additional support.