7/2/2012 3:47 PM
Do you find that you take longer than most people to discover a sexual attraction to someone? You may be demisexual. Frequently considered a branch of asexuality, demisexuality is an attraction that exists only in the presence of an emotional connection. As with people who are asexual, demisexuals can be homo, hetero or bisexual. However, while asexuals may be either romantic, meaning that they crave romantic relationships, or aromantic, which means they don’t, demisexuals specifically require that a relationship exist in order to feel any sexual heat. Demisexuals typically will not, for instance, form celebrity crushes, or fantasize about people who they do not know well. I spoke with two people, Lily and Jade, who identify as demisexual to learn more about this misunderstood orientation.
Lily says, “I think of it in these terms: trees are lovely, and people can be lovely, but I am not interested in sleeping with trees, nor people. It isn't until I've spent a great deal of time around a person, gotten to know the ins and outs of their personality, developed mutual trust in them, and essentially fallen in love with their mind that they stop being a 'beautiful tree' to me, and they become a candidate for sexual attraction.”
People who are demisexual have a few unique dating challenges. First, there are a number of people who do not consider demisexuality a distinct sexual orientation, which can be frustrating for demisexuals. Second, some sexual people feel that demisexual identity is inherently “slut shaming” to sexuals. However, Jade says that that could not be farther from the truth. “It isn't about being some kind of prudish female service to patriarchy and gender norms for sexuality. I couldn't care less about if I'm seen as a slut, and slut-shaming… it just doesn't factor into it for me.”
If you meet someone who is demisexual and you hit it off, you can wind up having a pretty conventional romantic and sexual relationship. Both Jade and Lily say that, once they are emotionally involved with someone, their sex drives are easily as high as anyone else’s.
However, when dating a demi, don’t expect a relationship to turn sexual too soon. Jade says, “there's a line in the sand, drawn in someplace deep in the mind, and it won't be crossed unless that big requirement is filled- that the other person and I have a strong emotional bond involving trust and romance. Without that requirement, just like Lily said, they might as well have the personal sexual appeal of a tree.”