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Demisexuality was coined in 2008 by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network to describe a orientation in which the person does not experience sexual attraction unless an emotional connection is formed. This episode answers the questions -- “How is this different than just having standards?” “Am I demisexual?” and “Where can I learn more?” while sharing the first-hand experiences of people who identify as demisexual. A very special thanks to Blake Bonkowski for his part in writing, editing, and filming this episode and to the students who shared their demisexual experiences.

For more information on demisexuality:
http://wiki.asexuality.org/Demisexual

Demisexual playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_zdi3TflN9L0d47ydfMIQqcAn29gvixy


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Do you know what sexual orientation isn’t talked about much but describes a valid and prominent subgroup of our community?

Demisexuality. [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH]. Demisexuality is a newer label to help describe people’s experience of being somewhere between asexual (not experiencing sexual attraction) and zed- or allosexual (experiencing it).

The prefix demi, meaning divided in half, is a little of both. In this book, The ABC’s of LGBT+, Ash Hardell explains, “the most common definition of demisexuality or demiromanticism is an orientation in which a person only experiences attraction to people with whom they have formed a strong emotional bond.” In other words, attraction to strangers typically doesn’t happen. It is possible to be a combination of identities also known as compound sexual orientations.

Humans are diverse. Maybe this helps:. Demisexuality forums have a model that distinguishes between primary and secondary sexual attraction.

Primary sexual attraction is being drawn to someone from the first impression (their appearance, their smell). You meet them and you think, “Yep, I wanna have sex with this person.” It’s lust at first site. Secondary sexual attraction happens after getting to know the person well and being comfortable with them.

A non-sexual relationship develops and then maybe there’s interest in becoming sexual. This could take hours, weeks, months, or years -- really whatever time is needed to form a deep emotional connection that sparks desire (and sometimes that’s never). Sound like you?

You can identify as demi. Demisexuality (like demiromanticism) encompasses a spectrum of experiences within it, and one of them can be yours. There’s a strong but not exclusive need for emotional intimacy at one end of the spectrum.

And a sort of asexuality-in-behavior-tinted-demisexual-from-the-belief-or-experience-that-sexual-attraction-is-possible-under-certain-conditions at the other. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network actually coined the term demisexual in 2008 to express this subtle difference. Demisexuality is often considered part of an asexual spectrum, a type of gray-asexuality where people might identify as gray ace, gray a, or grace.

Gray for in between - not experiencing sexual attraction to the degree expected by one’s society, but experiencing some sexual attraction sometimes or under specific circumstances. To show the similarity and overlap, these are the asexual and demisexual flags. Black in both of them represents lack of sexual attraction, gray is for the gray-asexual identities, and purple symbolizes community.

Aside from the white in the demisexuality flag for the existence of sexual attraction in some situations, they’re like fraternal twins. Now you might ask, “But isn’t that just having standards? Doesn’t this apply to everyone who cares about knowing the person they’re hooking up with first?” No.

Having criteria for who you do or don’t wanna have sex with is a choice. For example, you might choose to trust a person before having sex. For demisexuals -- it’s not a choice. (It’s a sexual orientation and sexual orientation isn’t. a. choice.) When demisexuals recount their experiences with sexual attraction, they sound like asexuals who can’t relate to the social norms of wanting to get into someone’s pants, having crushes, striving to get laid, making-out at parties, hooking-up with friends, gossiping about hot celebrities, the stirring in the loins... except under rare circumstances.

Demisexuality is more like asexuality with flexibility, than allo or zedsexuality with preferences. Here are some sentiments from that people who identify as demisexual or demiromantic. “I’m not better or more 'pure' because my relationships are based on romantic attraction.” “Demisexuality is real, and not a phase.” “I’ve had a lot of people dismiss my demisexuality as a sign of prudeness or abuse.” “Not all demisexual people are repulsed by sex.” “A lack of sexual intimacy in a relationship does not indicate a lack of emotional bonds.” “People assume I’m not sexually active because I’m trans. They assume that my dysphoria would get in the way.

I’m a virgin because I’m demisexual and haven’t found someone I want to have sex with.” “My sexuality is validated. It reminds me that I’m not alone, that I am seen, and that it’s okay to be me.” “There are communities of demi and ace people who are ready to welcome you with open arms.” There’s a link to a demisexual playlist that I’ve curated and links to other resources to learn more in the description. Stay curious.

A special thanks to everyone who helped put this video together and the Sexplanauts at patreon.com/sexplanations who made it possible. If you’d like to strengthen our community you can join us on Patreon, Tumblr, Twitter,. Facebook, Instagram, and our website sexplanations.com.