Friday 3 September 2021

Demisexuality: what is a Demisexual?

The following article discusses sex and sexuality in a frank manner. If the topic might offend, please do NOT read any further!


In the late 1970’s, when I was in my early- to mid-teens, one afternoon I was walking from school with my best chum H, when out of nowhere he suddenly enquired whether I was homosexual. I went to an all-boys school and, because I did not conform to the dominant, and chauvinistic, game-playing, violent masculinity of the era, it was assumed by most that I was gay. I answered (at the time) quite honestly that I was not. What I did not add was that at that time I was basically asexual. Avid readers of my blog will know that I was late to masturbation. For me it was a personal, sensual exploration of my body and what made it feel energised, vibrant and vivid. At no point did I consider fantasising about sex or interacting with others, male or female.


Over the years I have been asexual, bisexual (girlf & boyf at same time), heterosexual and homosexual. To be honest, the vast majority of my life, including currently, I have been asexual. In the 1970s asexuality was not taught under the sex education curriculum; mind you, nothing other than heterosexuality was. Queer Theory was a revelation back in my university days in the 1990s. Thereafter I used the term queer. I still do so. A few years back I discovered the terms ‘demisexual’ and ‘demisexuality’. They were a g_dsend: this was and is the label under which I feel most at home.

Where did the term originate?

According to an item in The Guardian newspaper in 2019:

Demisexuality was first coined in an online forum in 2006 by a member of Asexual Visibility and Education Network (Aven), a website designed in 2001 to provide a resource on all things asexual – asexuality being the description for a person who does not experience sexual attraction at all.

…It is defined as an attraction model: “primary sexual attraction is an instant attraction to people based on instantly available information such as their appearance or smell, which may or may not lead to arousal or sexual desire. Secondary sexual attraction is considered to be an attraction that develops over time based on a person’s relationship, an emotional connection with another person… Most sexuals in romantic relationships feel both primary and secondary sexual desire. The term demisexual, under this model, tends to refer to people who experience secondary sexual attraction but not primary sexual attraction.”

This article also includes another account of demisexuality, different to my own, this time a ‘heterosexual demisexual’.


So what is demisexuality? Here’s what Wikipedia says - under an article on asexuality or Grey/Gray Sexuality:

[Image description: The demisexual flag, in which the black chevron represents asexuality, gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuality, white represents sexuality, and purple represents community]

A demisexual person does not experience sexual attraction until they have formed a strong emotional connection with a prospective partner. The definition of "emotional bond" varies from person to person. Demisexuals can have any romantic orientation. People in the asexual spectrum communities often switch labels throughout their lives, and fluidity in orientation and identity is a common attitude.

Demisexuality, as a component of the asexuality spectrum, is included in queer activist communities such as GLAAD and The Trevor Project, and itself has finer divisions.

Demisexuality is a common theme (or trope) in romantic novels which has been termed 'compulsory demisexuality'. Within fictitious prose, the paradigm of sex being only truly pleasurable when the partners are in love is a trait stereotypically more commonly associated with female characters. The intimacy of the connection also allows for an exclusivity to take place.


It’s not very much is it. Indeed, demisexuals are very often missed out of LGBTIQA+ groupings, because we end up subsumed, as on Wikipedia, into the asexual category. I have attempted to purchase the demisexual-flag at a number of venues and events over the past few years, but thus far to no avail. 

Instagram & Facebook, whilst turning many queer terminologies into mini-rainbows during the month of June, so-called Pride Month, never gives demisexual nor demisexuality the multi-coloured treatment; they remain black/grey/white and blending into the background.

I am open about my label and use the term on my dating/friendship apps, but I rarely come across others so bold. Indeed, more often than not, I receive comments along the lines, “Oh, what’s one of those?” and similar. I keep the Wikipedia item favourited for ease of quick reference and I pass it on, educating the queer communities person by person!

My demisexuality

For me, I do not have to have a “strong emotional connection”, but I do have to like the person. Indeed, I have to fully relate to the person I am with. There has to be a rapport. It is their personhood that attracts me, not their genitalia. I do like what is in folk’s pants at the point where I am comfortable in engaging in sexual activity. I have had sex with folk with whom I have felt romantic yearnings, but similarly I have had sex with folk for whom I felt no romantic attachment, just a simple but more often than not intense if ephemeral like. I am as happy looking for a partner as I am a friend-with-benefits (FWB).

To be brutally honest, I have rarely experienced sex with any partner where I have felt that the Earth moved in respect to how my body reäcts sexually. Nevertheless, I love to ensure that my partner is enjoying the sex. I love the touching and the close physical contact. I end up sated emotionally, spiritually and physically.

It is highly possible that sexual assaults and rapes in my formative years, at school and into adult life have scarred me in some way. I do not know. These kinds of traumatic experiences are often cited as the reason behind asexuality. However, as I understand it (correct me if I have it wrong) only about 1% of Brits are considered asexual per the little research that has been done. This one-percent figure is way below the number of folk who have been sexually abused or raped as children or teenagers. So I might shrug off the alleged correlation.

Demisexual taxonomy

It should be noted that from my personal preferences one cannot extract any kind of universal demisexuality. There are variations as there are within most sexual concepts.

A bisexual can be someone who alternates male then female monogamous affinities. Or a bisexual can have separate male and female partners during the same time-frame. Or a bisexual can have a relationship with a man and a woman at the same time, all three in a triad. And so on.

Similarly, there are bisexual demisexuals, heterosexual demisexuals, homosexual demisexuals; there are romantic demisexuals, aromantic demisexuals. And so on. I am not interested in sex at all at the moment with anyone, so that would make me currently asexual demisexual. However, for myself I use the term ‘queer demisexual’ as that about covers it all.

It is not really confusing. If education systems, media, etc. had not boorishly adhered to the heterosexual binary and other dichotomies for that matter, folk would be better prepared for the real world, rather than an idealised one. Sexuality is not black or white, right or wrong (as long as there is consent).

My future demisexuality

Demisexuality is also not immutable. As stated earlier in this blog-post, I have been all sorts of sexualities during my adult life. For all I know, affairs may alter again in the future. I am a naturally curious person and I also welcome change. I have reached a point in my life that I feel comfortable in saying yes or no to something, depending whether it is something I genuinely wish to pursue.

Further reading?

Whilst checking facts and sources for this blog-post, I came across a very clear and concise article on (part of the DotDash group) entitled “What is a demisexual?”. It is worth a read.


I am not medically qualified, so if one has concerns about sex/sexuality do consult with a professional, appropriately-qualified medic.


Once again many apologies for the appearance of this blog-post. I have made several attempts at deleting and reposting with various tweaks. This is the best I could manage. TY Blogger!

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