Most people feel physically attracted to complete strangers easily. But not everybody. For someone who is a demisexual, it is almost impossible to feel sexual attraction to someone, if they’re not friends first.
A demisexual person is someone who generally does not experience sexual attraction unless there is a strong emotional connection. Demisexuality is often related to asexuality, which is a sexual orientation, just as being hetero, bi or gay. In general a demisexual person is not attracted to anyone, until there is a person (irrespective of their gender) whith whom the demisexual feels a strong emotional connection. A demisexual does feel sexual attraction, but only to specific partners.
Demisexual persons don’t generally feel primary sexual attraction with regards to appearance, but mostly a secondary, with a more important role for the inner person.
The international network for asexuals, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), say the term demisexual is often used as a synonym for people who call themselves ‘Gray-A’ or ‘Grey asexuals’. This group of people place themselves somewhere between sexual and asexual.
The demisexual struggle
Of course, demisexuality is different for everybody. But nowadays relationships hardly ever start with building a friendship first. When you start dating through an app for example, it is virtually impossible to find someone if you say you want to be friends first. For a demisexual there must be a deep friendship and full trust before a romantic connection can start. After just one single date, a demisexual can not say if there is a chance to something more. The other will often see this as a rejection, though.
It can be hard for a demisexual to explain how it works for them. Often, the demisexual doesn’t even know why it is so hard for them to start a relationship. Demisexuality is not a trend and also not the result of the hasty culture. It is a sexual orientation, somewhere between asexual and sexual, so to speak.
How to recognize demisexuality?
- Most relationships you’ve had were based on friendship. Only when you fully trust each other and you feel completely safe with that other person, you can feel attracted to that person. That attraction goes really deep. You see that other person completely different than when you first met. Your relationship doesn’t start with a crush, but with a phase of uncertainty. Only when you know the other person though and through, you will be able to start a romantic relationship.
- You put a lot of pressure on that first date; more than your friends. The general expectation is that you must know if you want to continue with someone in a relationship after the first date. That’s why you focus on everything during that first date. You are looking for signals that this could be the one. You feel utterly lost. You don’t want the other to waste their time, so you will only go on a second date if you are completely sure that this is the right person, but you’ll only know if you have multiple dates. An impossible dilemma.
- You do feel physical attraction, but only fleeting. A demisexual can only have a relationship when there is a strong secondary attraction. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot feel physical attraction at all. A demisexual can see if someone is hot or not. But in a fleeting way.
- A crush means so much more to you. You don’t fel attracted to someone that easily. So if you do it is a ‘big deal’. Everyone around you believes only teenagers can behave that way, but for you it only gets worse when you get older.
- Friendships can be confusing. Being friends with someone of the gender you feel attracted to, can be very confusing. Every time you felt in love, it was with someone with whom you have been friends for a long time. That crush came as a complete surprise to you. And it was irreversible. That’s why some of your friendships ended in awkward situations, because the feelings stayed unreciprocated.
- People think you are prudish. The people around you put the weirdest labels on you, like frigid or ice queen, to indicate that you never have sex. They forget, that having sex is not a goal on its own.