Demisexual: It’s more than just a preference

Quick notes:

  • Demisexual means that someone has to be emotionally attracted to another person before they can be sexually attracted to them

  • Demisexuals can fall into other sexual orientation categories, too (homosexual, heterosexual, etc.)

  • If you know yourself and what you want/need from a romantic relationship, you’ll be happier and more satisfied

Today’s world is more open and accepting than ever, but it seems like every new day holds a new type of sexual orientation to be defined. Headlines scream about recently out celebrities with new and different orientations, but the rich and the famous aren’t the only ones to whom these designations might apply. You might be living with or loving a demisexual without even knowing it; you might even read through this explanation and discover a new way to describe yourself.

What does it mean to be demisexual?

Demisexuality is a little bit different than homosexuality or heterosexuality: people who identify as demisexuals aren’t just attracted to one other gender. However, it’s not quite pansexuality, either. A demisexual person requires an emotional connection with another individual in order to develop a sexual attraction.

Sounds simple enough, right? But there are still a series of problems and misunderstandings demisexual people might run into in their daily lives. A lot of people, demisexuals, and people of other orientations might agree that they prefer to wait to start a sexual relationship with someone until they feel an emotional connection.

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However, for demisexuals, the emotional connection before sex isn’t just a preference; it’s necessary. In order to feel sexually attracted to another person at all, there has to be a solid base of emotional connection.

And just to make it a little more complicated, demisexuality isn’t really a sexual orientation at all. Although it describes the types of people someone will be attracted to, it’s not exclusive and can overlap with other orientations. For example, you could be homosexual (attracted to members of the same gender) but also demisexual (unable to be attracted to someone unless there is an emotional connection). You can be all of the things!

How can you, a demisexual, find a romantic partner?

So say you are a demisexual (recently discovered or not): what does your dating life look like? How do you approach romantic relationships?

The short answer? Your romantic life can look however you want it to look. Some demisexuals might find it more difficult to use dating apps or other modern methods of meeting people, but that doesn’t mean that demisexuals won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t date.

A demisexual person requires an emotional connection with another individual in order to develop a sexual attraction

As a demisexual, your romantic relationships are probably more likely to start as friendships, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look within your group of already-made friends to find a partner. It just might take a little more time for you to develop a connection with and attraction to another partner, and that’s okay.

The most important thing (for demisexuals and people of all orientations and sexual preferences) is to know yourself and to do what makes you happy, healthy, and comfortable. It’s okay if you’re not attracted to people immediately, and it’s okay if you want or need to get to know someone before embarking on a sexual relationship. Know yourself, and good things will come, romantically and otherwise.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101

Demisexual or not, we all want to know how to make ourselves more appealing to the people we want to date. This article will help you learn how!

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