What is demisexuality?
Not everyone is into casual sex: some people prefer to have an emotional connection with someone before a physical one. Those who identify as demisexual, however, explain that they need to feel a strong emotional connection with someone in order to feel sexual attraction to them at all. It's part of their sexual orientations.
A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality.
In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.
Of course, being demisexual means different things to different people, depending on their experiences. But here's where the struggle comes in. The way most relationships start out these days, there is no way to set up an arrangement whereby people meet each other with the intention of being friends and then waiting for however long to see if romantic feelings crop up. If you're dating in a big city, for instance, the primary way to meet people is online or through apps. And while you can generally tell on a first date whether or not you'd want to be friends with someone, it's nearly impossiblefor a demisexual person to decide whether or not you'd be sexually attracted to them without the element of friendship and trust already in place — despite the fact that this seems to be the expectation of modern dating.
The current climate demands that at the end of a date, you know right then whether you're in or out. And you can't exactly explain your feelings to someone you just met, particularly in an age when not engaging in romantic or affectionate activity on dates is considered a rejection.
What is it like to be demisexual?
"Demisexuality is about desire and arousal, not just sex and who you do it with," writer Olivia Davis put it in an article for The Good Men Project. "It’s not merely that I’m only interested in having sex with people that I love, it’s also that I feel a complete absence of desire or sexual feelings toward everyone else ... What makes me demisexual is that absence."
According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, while most people begin to feel sexual attraction to others at around puberty, demisexuals don't — and they can feel left out as their friends start having crushes and fantasizing about celebrities: "They wonder if they will eventually feel [these things] too, and some even end up feeling 'broken,'" the website states. It doesn't help that asexuality and demisexuality are all but invisible in entertainment and pop culture.