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What Is Demisexuality?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Demisexual people only feel sexually attracted to someone when they have an emotional bond with the person. They can be gay, straight, bisexual, or pansexual, and may have any gender identity. 

The prefix “demi” means half — which can refer to being halfway between sexual and asexual. Demisexuality can be a type of graysexuality. A graysexual person may experience sexual attraction only rarely, or they may feel sexual attraction but aren’t that interested in sex.

Demisexual people do not feel primary attraction — the attraction you feel to someone when you first meet them. They only feel secondary attraction — the type of attraction that happens after knowing someone for a while.

Other Names for Demisexuality

Demisexuality is the only name for the need to have a connection with someone before feeling attraction. However, some people might use terms for other modes of graysexuality to refer to demisexuality. These include:

  • Gray-A
  • Hyposexual
  • Semisexual
  • Low sexual intensity
  • Asexual-ish
  • Sexual-ish

Demiromanticism is related to but different from demisexuality. Demiromantic people need to have an emotional connection with someone before they feel romantic towards them.

Myths and Misconceptions About Demisexuality

Demisexuality does not mean someone is prudish or afraid of sex. Demisexual people simply do not feel sexual attraction to new people.

Demisexuality also is not related to a moral or religious belief about sex. It is a sexual orientation, not a choice. 

It is also a myth that demisexuality is a sign of low sex drive. Once demisexual people are in a sexual relationship, they have varying levels of sex drive. Some may have sex often, while others may not. Demisexuality only refers to the type of attraction that person feels, not how often they have sex.

A common misconception is that demisexual people need to be in love with someone to feel sexual attraction. Demisexuality requires a connection, but for many people, that can be a close friendship or another type of non-romantic relationship.

If you choose to have sex only with people you’ve known for a long time or have a close connection with, you’re not necessarily demisexual. Demisexuality is not a casual preference — it drives the attraction that comes before sexual encounters.

Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Demisexuality

Coming out as a demisexual person is a personal decision. You don’t have to come out if you don’t want to. Your sexual orientation is your business. If you decide to tell others, your friends and family members may have a lot of questions after you come out to them. It may help to put together a few online resources about demisexuality that you can share. This will help answer their questions and will take some of the burden of explanation off of you.

Even with a prepared list of resources, you may still need to explain some things about demisexuality to your friends and family. It may help to compare it to other sexual orientations. For example, homosexual people are attracted only to people of the same gender. Demisexual people are attracted only to people with whom they have an emotional connection. This comparison may help them to better understand demisexuality. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

AVENwiki: “Demisexual.”

AVENwiki: “Gray-A/Grey-A."

AVENwiki: “Demiromantic."

Asexuality New Zealand Trust: “Demisexuality and Demiromanticism."

Dictionary.com: “Allosexual."

Demisexuality Resource Center: “Coming Out As Demisexual."

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