This Is What It Means To Be Demisexual


“Demisexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by only experiencing sexual attraction after making a strong emotional connection with a specific person. A demisexual identity is a useful indicator for where a person might fall on the asexual spectrum.”

Think of it like the kind of love you’d see in an old-school romance novel, where the two characters involved have to first fall head over heels with one other before any potential sexual pleasure can be experienced. For years, this is the only love that ever made sense to me—that sex, whilst existing in isolation, could only be enjoyable when intertwined with a loving bond—and I was happy with that concept. However, I was soon going to discover that this fairy tale belief was something that would be a far cry from my future reality.

As a teenager, everyone else around me seemed to find expressing sexual desires so easy—kissing strangers, sharing meaningless one-night stands. It all seemed so standard to them, but I could never grasp it.

It’s not that I was playing the moral judge, waving my metaphorical gavel around claiming ethical supremacy. I just couldn’t imagine being involved in it myself. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I really couldn’t be arsed with any of it at all, especially if it was only going to be a simple case of “Hey, you’re fit. Let’s get it on.” However, the pressure of college would soon get to me, and I started to realize that maybe I needed to grow out of this romantic illusion and start trying things out the way society expected, even if every fiber in my body screamed against it.

I went against my gut because I believed that I was odd. In 17 years, I’d never been attracted to anybody enough to want to do anything about it. I’d never even been kissed because of this mindset, and I knew that this was something others found considerably weird. I didn’t have any social issues, so what was wrong with me? What was I hiding? The clock was ticking. I couldn’t wait for a modern day Mr. Darcy forever. I had to see if maybe I just needed to try it to like it. Maybe that’s all that I needed—a push in the right direction. That was the only truth I was surrounded by. Everything else I believed was simply fiction.

Or so I thought.

Throughout my sexual history, I have worked on this belief that the more I engaged with sex, the more I’d enjoy it and that my sexual ideas were based on a subconscious fear of which I needed to conquer. So I did what I had to do to destroy this innate emotion founded on fictional prose and aimed to make myself fall in love with sex for the activity it is. I tried to reshape my idea of it, tell myself that there was nothing wrong with it and that I simply needed to relax. But the more I engaged with sexual activities without the appropriate feeling, the more nothing changed.

In fact, it just got worse.

As a consequence, I have found myself single for most of my life and have remained abstinent willingly. That way I never feel that denting kick in the guts for being “weird” or experiencing anxiety about sex or relationships. Being single has been my sanctuary. It’s the only place I felt safe from myself.

Some people have commented that my “choice” to remain celibate is admirable and how it’s impressive that I’ve managed to “restrain” myself from any sexual activity for all of these years. People often wonder how I can be so self-controlled. But the God’s honest truth is that there is no discipline involved. It’s easy to hold back my hormones because, whilst I’m not in love with anybody, they’re as inactive as a stratovolcano. In simple terms, if I don’t have any strong emotional connection to another human being, I just don’t feel sexual.

That isn’t to say I don’t find people attractive—although admittedly, it is incredibly seldom. Deducing whether the initial thought of “He’s quite cute” can transpire into “Wow, this is the guy I’ve been searching for” takes me a very long time. Until that moment arises, though, I will feel no sexual urges. So, even if I do think someone is attractive, if I don’t know or trust them well enough, I won’t experience any physiological stirring. Nor will I be tempted to engage in anything if they come onto me. In fact, chat up lines and expectant innuendos are enough to turn me the complete opposite direction. Just like attraction can grow, it can also be quashed upon the release of one cheesy line. And once that happens, there’s no going back.

Nevertheless, I have missed the boat a couple of times and have humiliated myself and my chances due to this “Ice Queen” surface and slow-burning nature. By the time I ever figure out that I wanted to hop on board, HMS Love is already well en-route elsewhere.

The truth is, I’ve always wanted to be “friends first” for this very reason. There’s no pressure or expectation in a friendship, and you know that if a guy wants to be with you when there’s nothing else on the table other than you as an individual, they’ve already shown you something very important.

The “friend-zone” doesn’t exist. Trust me, it doesn’t. Love is not bound by labels. Like a flower, it will grow if the right conditions are met.

In short, maybe if I’d known there was a name for people like me, perhaps I wouldn’t have felt like such a freak growing up. Maybe I would have spent less of my youth and young adulthood hiding it and more time owning it instead. Because now, thanks to this newfound knowledge, I feel a degree of confidence—a sense of freedom. It’s like, finally, I know who I am.

And everyone deserves to know that.

So before anyone tells you that you’re too picky or pushes you to do something you’re uncomfortable with romantically, don’t be ashamed to admit that you’re just being true to yourself. Even if you’re not demisexual but can identify with this experience, it’s important to know that there’s nothing wrong with feeling this way or having these values.

You are completely normal.

In any case, you are not defined by your sexuality. You are so much more. But it is important to accept this side of yourself, whatever it may be, so that the rest of you is free to flourish.