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What Exactly Does It Mean If You're A 'Demisexual'?

If emotional intimacy means a lot but sex doesn't, this read might be for you.

Love & Relationships

Did you read the title of this and say to yourself, "What in the heck is a demisexual?" Believe you me, I totally get it. When I first happened upon the word, I felt the same way. What's really a trip is, once I discovered the definition (which we'll get into in just a moment), I said to my own self, "OK, but aren't most women demisexuals?". At least on some level? Hmph.

In a previous article, I already explained that it's common for all human beings to have "a type" (check out "According To Experts, We All Have A 'Type'"). Well, the interesting thing about demisexuals is, many classify them as being on the spectrum of being asexual (free from sexual desire or sexuality). Personally, at least on the surface, I find this to be pretty strange because, it's weird—or maybe the more appropriate word is "sad"—that culture has gotten to a point and place that if you aren't down for one-night stands, hook-ups or casual sex, you must be closer to being an asexual human being. To me, demisexual goes much deeper than that surface-layer resolve, though. In a minute, you'll see why I've personally come to that conclusion.

What Exactly Is a Demisexual?

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Alright. Enough alluding to what a demisexual is. It's time to put it right on out there. Believe it or not, there is an entire website that's devoted to what it means to be a demisexual. It says that 1) a demisexual is an actual sexual orientation and 2) a person who is someone who doesn't feel a sexual attraction for someone unless there is an emotional connection that has been established first. Again, doesn't that seem like a vast majority of us? Let's go deeper and see.

Personally, I'm someone who can find a man to be fine-and-then-some-mo'-fine, whether I know him or not or he ever says a word or not. And while I've certainly had my "he could get it" moments, I must admit that I wasn't really being serious or literal. I've never had a one-night stand. Plus, my claim to past-sexual-partner-fame (or infamy, depending on how you look at it, I guess) is I only slept with guys who I was friends with first; not shallow versions of friendship either. For the most part, I had known them and they knew me (and we spent significant amount of quality time together) for quite some time. And that bond is what made me wanna give it up.

Well, a demisexual is actually similar in this way. Oftentimes, they are not sexually drawn to someone unless they are a close friend or someone they've come to know a lot about. Yet here's where some of them differ from a lot of us who might immediately consider ourselves to be one—the reason why some demisexuals do fall onto the spectrum of asexuality is because, typically, sexual attraction isn't something that someone is able to control. Sure, they can control actually going through with the act, but when it comes to wanting/lusting after someone, either the feeling is there or—it isn't. When it comes to demisexuals, however, sometimes no sexual attraction occurs, even if there is an emotional bond that has transpired between them and someone who is attractive. This is why some demisexuals can go their entire life with only having a couple of sexual attractions, they can even go their entire life only being into one person. At the same time, what makes them different from all-out asexuals is, they are capable of sexual attraction; the desire just isn't as strong and the instance doesn't seem to occur, even a fraction as often as it does for demisexuals.

Bottom line, a demisexual tends to not have the highest sex drive on the planet, only desires sex when a profound emotional tie is in place and, tends to only merge the "drive" and "tie" rarely while others can be sexually attracted without the need for any time of emotional bond. Make sense?

What Are Some Demisexual Traits?

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I remember when I first discovered that I was an ambivert. I happened upon the term while doing some research because, I knew that I was definitely not an extrovert, but still, certain parts of my personality didn't match-up with being an introvert either. I'm willing to bet that's how some of you are feeling about the word "demisexual" being introduced into your psyche as we speak. While you definitely know you're not asexual, something about you does feel a little…different. But if you're still not sure if demisexual "scratches the itch", let's touch on some demisexual traits that are telling signs that you could very possibly be one.

Sex really just ain't that big of a deal. On the site that solely focuses on demisexuals, I read about a study that said that two-thirds of demisexuals are either uninterested or repulsed by sex. That said, do keep in mind that this fact leaves one-third of others who still "check the boxes" of being a demisexual who thoroughly enjoys copulation. Still, if you're someone who relishes in all of the intimacy that comes with being in a relationship sans the actual sexual act (for instance, you like the idea of actually sleeping in the same bed with someone, so long as oral sex or intercourse do not transpire) or, if sex is something that is "cool, I guess" but you honestly would be fine with or without it, for pretty much the rest of your life, that is one indication that you just might be a demisexual.

You are way more into someone's personality than their looks. Listen, live on this earth past your early 30s and you get to the point of understanding and accepting that good looks ain't always all that they're cracked up to be; not by a long country mile. It's kind of like how a box can be wrapped up beautifully, only for you to open it and find nothing but worms inside of it. So, being the kind of woman who wants more than merely someone who is nice to look at does not make you a demisexual. At the same time, those of us who are totally into sex do want to be with someone who we are physically attracted to, right? For a demisexual, that's not really a requirement. Since sexual attraction isn't much of a priority to them, being with someone who looks good isn't that big of a deal. They are far more interested in how someone makes them feel on the mental and emotional tip than what they can do for them on a physical level. In fact, it is quite common for demisexuals to be close to stunning while their partner is basically the complete opposite. They don't care. They like the companionship so, at the end of the day, that's all that really matters in their mind.

Even for demisexuals who are interested in sex, friendship has to be the foundation first. When you're a demisexual, it's pretty difficult to get to the point of having sex with someone (even if you've got some sort of a sex drive) if you're not totally comfortable with them and very emotionally connected to them. That's why, if a person is interested in a demisexual, they've got to have quite a bit of patience with the relationship because sex is not something that will happen any time soon. It's usually only after the demisexual believes there is a real friendship that anything physical can take place. Even then, there are no guarantees.

OK, with all of this said, I think it is really important to also drive home the point that being abstinent for religious, spiritual or even simply personal reasons is not the same thing as being a demisexual.

I've been abstinent for almost 14 years now (yeah, after 14…pray and we'll see, chile) and, now that I know so much more about how a demisexual thinks and moves, I am absolutely not one. While I'm also not interested in sex if there is no emotional connection in place, I am indeed interested in sex and, back when I was engaging, my drive was fairly high. I just thought it was important to bring this point up so that you don't click off of this and figure that just because you may not be gettin' any at the moment, it could be because you are a closet demisexual.

Again, demisexuals do require emotional attachments in their relationships but for the vast majority of them, if that never transitions into sex, they are fine, someone being physically/sexually attractive or appealing really isn't that big of a deal, and their drive is typically on the lower side.

You know how the saying goes—knowledge is power. I'm hoping that if you're someone who likes emotional intimacy but really is "good" on the sex tip and may have been wondering if something is wrong with you, that you now see the answer is "no" and you are not alone. You're a demisexual and that's OK—because that's simply who you are and that's all good.

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A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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