Now more than ever, people are identifying with a range of different sexual orientations. It’s not because there’s a sudden influx of people veering from the traditional heterosexual norm, but because society has grown a lot as a whole, and we are finally recognising and accepting our differences when it comes to sexual orientation.
While some people may reject labels, others find them to aid understanding as well as provide a sense of belonging through common experiences and emotions.
As well as heterosexual (when someone is sexually and romantically attracted to the opposite sex) and homosexual (when someone is sexually and romantically attracted to the same sex), there’s also bisexual (when someone is sexually and romantically attracted to males and females, or towards more than one gender); pansexual (when someone is sexually and romantically attracted towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity); and asexual (when someone doesn’t feel any sexual attraction towards anyone at all) among many other types of sexual orientation.
Another sexual orientation is demisexual, which is when someone only feels sexually attracted to another person when they have formed a deep emotional connection with them. It may sound straightforward enough, but there are important nuances to demisexuality that you should be aware of.
Here’s everything you need to know…
What is demisexuality?
Demisexuality is a sexual orientation used to describe someone who only feels sexual attraction to another person once they have formed an emotional bond with them. A demisexual person can have any gender identity and can be straight, gay or any other sexual orientation.
How do I know if I’m demisexual?
If you think you might be demisexual, start by asking yourself some questions to help understand your feelings. Ask yourself who have you been sexually attracted to in the past, and what was your relationship to them like? Does your idea of attractiveness seem to differ from what other people think? Do you feel sexually attracted to strangers or celebrities? Do you enjoy flirting and meeting new people? If you feel comfortable, discuss your answers with a friend to help explore your feelings a bit further.
Is demisexual the same as asexuality?
While there are definitely grey areas within the spectrum of sexual orientation, demisexuality is different from asexuality. Whereas an asexual person does not feel sexually attracted to anyone, a demisexual person can feel strongly sexually attracted to someone once they have formed an emotional connection.
Also, a demisexual person can have a high sex drive and like the idea of sex, but only want to experience it with those they are close with.
Want to understand more about sexual orientations? Here’s a handy glossary of LGBTIQA+ terms for allies to commit to memory.