For some people, it is impossible to feel a physical attraction to someone without first establishing an emotional connection with them. According to Healthline, these people may feel like something is wrong with them or even wonder if they’re capable of feeling sexual attraction at all, aka they are asexual. There is nothing wrong with them; they are just demisexual: They need to get to know a person on an emotional level before feeling any kind of physical attraction.
What Is A Demisexual?
For most of us, we can feel a physical attraction to a person that we do not know. We might look at someone and think, “Oh, they’ve got gorgeous eyes!” or “Wow – look at their arms!” and this is enough for us to feel a physical attraction. We also don’t need an emotional connection necessary to have a physical one. For a demisexual, however, this is impossible. They don’t feel any attraction to a person at all until they’ve gotten to know them. Then, once they have established an emotional connection, they start to view that person as physically attractive. Then, they will experience the desire to touch, kiss, and become physical with that person.
This is not the same as simply waiting to have sex with another person until you’ve gotten to know them. Demisexuals don’t even feel attracted to someone else until that has been established. So while for you, the cute stranger you locked eyes with across the bar may pique your interest, demisexuals don’t experience that. They just see another human being.
They Are Not Sexually Attracted To Every Person They Have An Emotional Bond With
Just because demisexual people need an emotional connection in order to feel sexually attracted to someone, doesn’t mean they feel that way with every person they have bonded with. Just as with anyone, they still have deep, completely platonic connections with friends and family members. Again, it is simply that they can’t feel sexual about someone until they’ve established that connection.
It Is Nuanced
As always with sexuality, it is nuanced, and the definition is not concrete. According to VeryWellMind, Demisexuality will look slightly different for every person who identifies this way. The basics are straightforward: For example, a demisexual will not feel physically attracted to a famous celebrity. They can’t because they don’t know that person.
Just like anyone else, demisexuals can be heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, polyamorous, or pansexual. In terms of gender, they can identify as male, female, agender, or otherwise non-binary. It has to do with what dictates their ability to feel sexual attraction, not their sexuality or gender.
“I don’t fancy people,” says Lidia Buonaiuto, who identifies as demisexual.“I don’t have a primary sexual attraction to anyone the way most people do, ever. I identify as straight and I’m not in any way a prude, but I need to have a deep emotional connection with someone before any sexual feelings appear. Demisexuality is not a preference or personality trait.”Lidia Buonaiuto – The Guardian
Why Does It Need A Label?
You may be wondering why this needs a name or a label. For those who are not demisexual, it may be hard to understand this from other’s perspectives. Those who do identify this way, however, have spent the majority of their lives feeling weird about why they didn’t develop crushes like their friends or they can’t relate to “Oh wow, he/she is SO hot!”– type conversations. Giving it a name validates them and who they are, rather than feeling like a freak.
“I understand the perspective of people who ask ‘why do you need to label everything?’,” says Buonaiuto, “but it’s been really helpful to identify with something that makes me feel comfortable about my sexuality. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself and have had a lot of pressure from friends and family to be a way I’m not.”Lidia Buonaiuto – The Guardian
Putting a name to it allows them to understand who they are and be more firm in situations with pressure. Rather than force themselves to do something that is supposed to be “normal,” they can be themselves and know that there is nothing wrong with them. In addition, they now have more power within themselves to say “no” when they want to and explain themselves to others, especially those romantically interested in them.
If you are demisexual, don’t put pressure on yourself. Allow things to grow organically and give yourself the time you need to develop the required connections. Those who have friends or family in their lives who identify this way don’t pressure them. Understand who they are and that they can’t just jump into bed with someone. Give them the time they need and allow them to explore physical connection on their own terms.