Am I Demisexual?

Updated August 15, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Demisexuality is defined as "only experiencing sexual attraction once you have a strong emotional connection with a person." It is considered to be on the asexual spectrum. While it looks a little different for everyone, demisexuals generally become attracted to their friends. They go into relationships without attraction being there first and find that it develops later when they get to know that person more.

Demisexuality isn't limited to any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, you can be both gay and demisexual or straight and demisexual, or any other combination of sexual and romantic preference. Because it's a relatively new word, people who identify as demisexual may not know the name for how they feel before they begin to search for it. But when they start looking for signs, having a name to use helps them explain to partners how they feel.

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Unlike many other sexualities, demisexuals don't usually experience the "love at first sight" feeling. There's not often an instant attraction to a stranger or celebrity crush that they can point to like others can. Because society emphasizes sexuality and physical attraction, this can lead to feelings of otherness and ostracism among the demisexual population. But in truth, demisexuals are just as capable of owning their sexuality and enjoying sex as anybody. Needing an emotional connection doesn't make them weird at all. Because demisexuality is on the asexual scale, openness to sex will look different for each person. Sexual identity is more about what you feel comfortable using as a name for yourself—if you want one at all. Take a look at these signs that you're demisexual and see if they feel right to you.

You Like Being Friends Before Partnering Up

You might be a demisexual if you aren't sexually attracted to a random stranger you pass by, but on a random day, you look at a friend you've known for a while, and you are suddenly really into them. Your attraction levels are based on how well you know a person and how close you feel to them. Without that emotional intimacy, it's hard for you to imagine being sexually attracted to them. Maybe sexual attraction isn't what you typically look for in a partner. You're more focused on whether the person is nice or if they can make you laugh. Most of your relationships have started as friendships. You like to date the people you hang out with and fall in love over time. It feels natural and effortless to like the person you spend a lot of time with.

But Friendships Sometimes Confuse You

On the other hand, some of your friendships may start to confuse you. You start as platonic friends, and that's what you really want out of the relationship. Until you develop this huge crush on them because you're around them so much. You know, though, that they view you as a friend; you don't want to ruin your friendship by trying to date them. Or, you start getting to know this person, and your intentions are for pure friendship until they lean in to try to kiss you out of nowhere. Suddenly you realize that they like you as more than a friend, but you aren't there emotionally at all. You don't want to hurt their feelings, but you also don't feel like kissing them.

Communication With Friends

Friendships may be hard for demisexuals. When your feelings can flip after getting to know someone, you might find you aren't as comfortable around them, or it leads to pining and secretly wishing they liked you back. Communication is super important, whether you have feelings of friendship or more. Having a name for this identity will hopefully help demisexuals tell future partners how they respond to relationships. The fact that they're now attracted to that person but were originally in the friend zone will take some explaining, but the right people will do their best to listen and learn. Just because it might take more work does not mean it isn't worthwhile.

Your Sexual Attraction To A Person Is Subjective

Demisexuals are capable of being sexually attracted to people they don't know or people they barely know. There's a spectrum of reactions to sexuality within the identity, and it's not as black and white as society tends to make things. While emotional intimacy is typically how you become physically attracted, there may be times when physical attraction blossoms sooner, or maybe not at all. Ultimately, it's all about connection, and the amount of connection you feel will determine what else you feel for that person. You may notice that there isn't some pattern to the people you like or how quickly you come to like them. It's subjective to that particular person and what you feel for them. You might be a demisexual if you don't have as many sexual partners as your friends, but you're okay with that because sexual intimacy should be with someone you trust and know. You don't have any interest in that kind of intimacy with a stranger.

You've Been Called A Prude

There may have been times when you wondered if you ever wanted sex at all. Without having someone in your life that you want to get to know, you may have no interest in sex or being in a relationship. When you look at your friends and how much they date, you think that maybe sex isn't for you—that you don't want it. But that's not necessarily the case. Though you may be called a prude by people who don't understand, needing emotional intimacy before you engage in sexual intimacy makes for a much more solid connection with a future partner. And, indeed, you may not be as into sex as others, but there isn't anything wrong with that. How you choose to be in a relationship is really and truly up to you. And if you like being single, that's also okay.

Check-In With Yourself

Relationships themselves are very subjective. Friends, families, partners, even co-workers have to find their way to communicate and coexist. You don't feel the same about one person as you feel with another. Why should romantic relationships be any different? If the signs above that you might be demisexual sound like you, explore more about what demisexuality means. Try the name on for size. You are allowed to choose a name now and decide later that it doesn't quite fit right. You don't have to be ashamed of being different from others. Your uniqueness will bring value to your relationships. Your partner will value you no matter what, even if it doesn't feel that way right now.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
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Takeaway

Sexuality, gender identity, and relationships take a lot of self-reflection and willingness to communicate. There's no one point in time where everyone figures out exactly who they are and what they want. It's an ever-evolving process as we live and grow. Learning how to be okay with that will help you as you move forward in your relationships. If that sounds too overwhelming for you, know that it's okay to ask for help.

Online therapy is a great way to talk with someone who won't judge you or make you feel less. Many people struggling with issues around gender and sexuality have turned to online therapy for help working through confusing feelings. Online therapy is discreet and can be accessed no matter where you live.

Consider signing up with Regain. When you use Regain, you are connected with a licensed therapist or mental health counselor who is picked just for you based on a quick survey you will fill out. Because you can choose to connect with a therapist via text, you can send messages at any time of day or night, whenever you need to get something off your chest. You'll set up a pre-approved time for your therapist to check their messages and respond to you. Gone are the nerves from having to sit in front of a stranger and spill your guts. Gone is searching for hidden meanings behind a stoic face. And your therapist will give you thoughtful and helpful feedback for you to process in your own time.

Regain is available for you whether you are single or in a relationship. If you are in a relationship, the chat room can be given to both you and your partner to communicate with your therapist. That way, you can both use the service and learn how to communicate better as a couple. But if you are unsure of bringing your partner in, you can use the service on your own. For those curious about phone sessions or video sessions in real-time, you can ask your therapist to set up a time for those as well. Regain was designed with you in mind—we're here to help you through your journey of self-discovery. 

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