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  • Nicole Morrissey

What the Fuck is Demisexuality?

1: The state of not experiencing primary sexual attraction. 2: Attraction to someone (any gender) after experiencing being around them for a certain period of time.

Ok, end of article.

Just kidding.

Now, we are all mature semi-functional adults living in the year of our lord (insert year here), and so I’m sure we all know that human sexuality is a forever shifting tapestry of art and experiences, and that trying to quantify or define our love and lust is akin to trying to tame the White Sea with a carrot and stick.

But I can give it my best shot.

The first thing you really need to know in order to understand demisexuality is that there is primary attraction and secondary attraction.

Primary attraction is something you can get from a first impression, as soon as someone walks into a room. It’s how they look, how they smell, if their smile gives you the downstairs tingle. Secondary attraction is what you learn about someone after getting to know them: their personality, their sense of humor, their political beliefs, their Hogwarts house. Sometimes a person’s secondary attraction will enhance their primary attraction; once you’ve become attracted to their personhood, you begin to appreciate their physical form.

Demisexuality, strictly speaking, is the logical extreme of the above principle. Demisexuals are not sexually attracted to someone based on primary attraction, only secondary attraction. This is distinguishable from asexuals, who typically experience neither primary nor secondary attraction, and allosexuals, who experience both.

Another thing to keep in mind is the differences between lust and love. It is possible to be sexually attracted to someone without loving them romantically, and it is possible to be in love with someone without being sexually attracted to them.

Additionally, keep in mind that demisexuality, asexuality, and allosexuality have no bearing on the gender of whom one is attracted to. For instance, someone can be gay and asexual. This means that they are only romantically attracted to the same sex, while they feel no sexual attraction at all.

I’m sure now you, the quick-minded reader, have fully grasped the distinctions between different sexualities and romantics. Now, everything I just told you, throw it away. It's all garbage.

When it comes to sex and romance, there is an exception for every rule and a rule for every exception. Every demisexual is different, as is the same for asexuals and allosexuals.

And this very simple fact, one which we learn very early on–that everyone is different–is what causes a lot of confusion for people, myself included.

For instance, there are asexuals who have sex for their partner’s enjoyment, or even for their simple physical pleasure. It doesn’t make them any less asexual. Sometimes sex isn’t sexual.

As for demisexuals, sometimes they can become aroused by primary attraction, but only because they imagine a secondary attraction present.

Example: an allosexual person could see someone and become aroused by their appearance. They could imagine any number of lewd actions and performances with this person. A demisexual person could do the very same, however, in their fantasies, this person is their long time lover or perhaps instead of sex they imagine something more romantic. This arouses them. It’s all in the brain; love doesn’t necessarily have to be real, but arousal does.

For this reason, demisexual people may tend to move very quickly in relationships because, while it is natural for one to fantasize sexually about their partners, demisexuals can only do so while also fantasizing romantically. Sometimes a relationship deepens much faster in a demisexuals mind than in their partner’s.

I hope I have made myself clear on the topic, but perhaps a more personal example will really bring the point home.

I’ve had a lot of sex. I’ve always had a pretty healthy sexual appetite, and I’ve never been the type to repress that; instead, I embrace it. Which has led to a lot of sex. However, I’m not very good at relationships, usually because I’m too concerned with the sex part. 

I’ve never had a truly fulfilling sexual experience. My partners are attractive and oftentimes talented, but I always find myself getting bored during the act. Against all reason, I lose interest in them once we get down to business but I’ve never understood why. I’ve always assumed they were just bad at sex, but after the three-hundred-and-thirtieth casual lay, I started to consider the impossible: that perhaps I was the common denominator in my sexual dissatisfaction. I asked myself, what was it that was missing? What did I truly want in a sexual partner? What was my greatest fantasy? What aroused me the most? The answer: I wanted to cuddle. I wanted to be held gently and be told how beautiful I was and how happy I made someone. That single thought turned me on like nothing else.

So you see, although my sex drive is high, it is distinct and detached from my sexuality. I confused the two. I placed my wants before my needs. I wanted to have sex, but I needed the romance. 

So, what the fuck is demisexuality? There are a couple ways to answer that, and they’re all correct. As I said before, lust and love are complicated and ever-shifting from person to person and moment to moment. Everyone’s sexual and romantic experiences are different. Even though we can find common ground with each other, I don’t think it’s possible for two people to have the same experience, even within the same relationship.

I find demisexuality to be a beautiful thing, like an extra incentive to love (not that anyone needs extra incentive). I am proud to be demisexual. I hope that my ramblings elucidated someone and, if they didn’t, just know that everyone is different, you should respect everyone’s pronouns, and Katya was robbed on All-Stars Season 2.


Photo Source: Grand Rapids Pride Center


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