Demisexual Demystified: What Exactly Is a Demisexual?

Published September 27th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera

Demisexual 101 | Differences with Demisexuality | Demisexual vs. graysexual | Other Names for Demisexual | Support Groups

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they form an emotional bond. You might also see demisexual or demiromantic used to describe this sexuality. It's important to note that demisexuals can still feel significant emotional connections and crushes for people, but it doesn't lead them to want to have sex with them right away as some other orientations do. 

What is a Demisexual? 

A demisexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction to another person unless they form an emotional connection first. Some people may refer to a demisexual as a gray asexual or graysexual and we will draw a distinction between the two later in the article. These are some terms associated with demisexuality and we will compare and contrast these and other terms to help in your understanding of demisexuality.

What's the difference between what a demisexual person feels and a normal relationship?

You may think upon hearing the definition of a demisexual that it is similar to other relationships as it can be normal to not get romantically involved with others until getting to know that person. This is not true, however, because demisexual people will have no feeling of attraction for any person until they get to know them personally. A model could be walking next to a demisexual and they would feel no attraction to the person until they got to know them. In other relationships, sexual attraction can spur people to physical attraction, but for a demisexual, the sexual attraction can only take place after getting to intimately know someone. 

What is the difference between a demisexual and a graysexual?

Demisexuality is often confused with being a graysexual person. A demisexual does not experience sexual attraction unless they form an emotional connection first, whereas someone who identifies as a graysexual, also called gray asexual, doesn't experience sexual attraction at all or at a very low point. The term derives from the gray area between asexuality, which is not feeling attracted to anyone regardless of gender, and sexuality, or allosexuality, which is having the capacity to be attracted to others. According to demisexuality.org, demisexuals are capable of feeling romantic feelings for people they have formed an emotional bond with but do not want to act upon them romantically or sexually until the bond is established first.

What are some other names for demisexuality?

There are a lot of different labels for demisexual people, and each label has a slightly unique definition that demisexual people have assigned to it. The key component is the connection between sex and emotions in order for sexual attraction or desire to occur. 

There are many names other names for demisexuals that are still debated within the community today. Some of the other names associated with demisexuality are as follows:

  • demiromantic, or someone who only experiences romantic attractions after developing an emotional connection 
  • heteroromantic bisexual, meaning someone who is attracted to the opposite gender and demisexual
  • sapiosexual, meaning someone who is only attracted to someone after getting to know them and realizing they are intelligent
  • hyposexual, meaning someone who is not attracted to anyone but only for certain periods of times
  • semisexual, or someone who feels attracted to others but is not compelled to act on it 
  • low sexual intensity, or someone who generally has low sexual desire for others
  • asexual-ish and sexual-ish, two terms used to describe positions on the gray area between sexual and asexual
  • graysexual/gray asexual/gray A/grace, are all terms used to describe gray sexuality which we described as being in the gray area of the asexual spectrum between sexuality and asexuality

Demiromanticism and demisexuality are sometimes two separate identities that some people choose to identify as but the two terms are also used interchangeably by some groups. Please note that a person's sexuality can be fluid and that some of these terms may apply to them at the same or different periods of their life.

As noted above, some of these terms are used interchangeably together by certain groups while others form a noted distinction between them. It can vary from person to person or group to group and terms are ever-evolving which makes it important to make the effort to understand the possible distinctions. 

What are some myths about demisexuality?

There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding demisexuality that contribute to the demisexual demystified phenomena. Some of the more common myths surrounding demisexuality are explained below. 

A common myth is that all demisexual people have to be in a committed relationship with someone before they can feel sexual attraction. This is simply not true as demisexuals can be attracted to others and not be in a relationship there just has to be a strong platonic connection beforehand. Several other myths include: 

  • demisexuals don't experience romantic feelings for anyone but only platonic ones
  • a demiromantic person cannot fall in love or find another person attractive 
  • demisexuals don't want to have sex or have a low sex drive

These are all false as demisexuals can feel sexual attraction, be in romantic relationships, fall in love, and have varying degrees of sex drive. Just because they may not be attracted to someone at first, it does not mean they do can't experience love or deep relationships.

How can you support someone who is demisexual?

The best way you can help someone who is a demisexual is to be understanding and supportive. Know that their want to be attracted to people will take time as they get to know people. Pressuring someone to conform to your standards or what someone may deem as "normal", for example, one-night stands, does not help someone who is demisexual and may already feel different from others. Be cognizant that the initial attraction that may take you or your friend group a much shorter time to experience in a relationship will take a demisexual much longer to experience, if at all. 

Summary

A demisexual is someone who is only attracted to another person after getting to know and bond with them over time. Demisexuals are different from other sexualities in that they need a bond to feel an attraction for anyone. Demisexuals and graysexuals are similar terms, where graysexuals place themselves on the gray area between asexual and sexual. It must be noted that gray sexuals experience sexual attraction at a much lower level than demisexuals after a demisexual has gotten to know someone and is attracted to them. There are a number of different names that can be synonyms or similar to demisexual, although terms are ever-evolving and the meanings can change. Even though it may seem that a demisexual has little or no attraction to others, this is not true and has lead to a number of false myths. To support someone in your life who is demisexual, be open and understanding to their lifestyle knowing that what is normal for you may not be normal for them. We hope we have cleared up any questions you may have regarding demisexuality and broadened your understanding of other people's sexualities. 

References and Sources: 

Gray Asexuality

Demisexuality

Guide to Finding Your Community

Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket!

We'll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app