Demisexuality Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demisexuality

The demisexual flag, in which the black chevron represents asexuality, gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuality, white represents sexuality, and purple represents community.[1]

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which an individual does not experience primary sexual attraction[2] — the type of attraction that is based on immediately observable characteristics such as appearance or smell and is experienced immediately after a first encounter. They only experience secondary sexual attraction — the type of attraction that happens after knowing about someone for a while.[3][4] The amount of time that a demisexual individual needs to know about another person before developing sexual attraction towards them varies from person to person.[5] It is generally categorized on the asexuality spectrum.[6][7]


The term was coined on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network Forums in February 2006. Based on the theory that allosexuals experience both primary and secondary sexual attraction and asexuals do not experience either, the term demisexuals was proposed for people who experience one without the other.[4]


A common general definition of demisexuality states that "demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexually attracted to someone only after they've developed a close/strong emotional bond with them".[8] This definition of demisexuality has been criticized, as demisexuals are capable of developing sexual attraction towards people they do not have a close bond with and even towards people they do not personally know.[9]

This means sexual attraction for demisexuals can be one-sided and not necessarily forming from a bond they share with another person.

How much demisexuals need to know about a person before they feel sexually attracted to them varies from person to person. There is no specific timeline on how long it takes either. There is also no way to determine what qualifies as a close or strong bond, which causes confusion.[3]

Demisexuals can enjoy a person's presence or be attracted to some of their qualities without having an interest in dating them or building a romantic relationship with them.[10]

Primary vs. secondary sexual attraction model[edit]

  • Primary sexual attraction: a sexual attraction to people based on instantly available information (such as their appearance or smell). Primary sexual attraction is characterized by being experienced at first sight.
  • Secondary sexual attraction: a sexual attraction to people based on information that is not instantly available (such as personality, life experiences, talents, etc.); how much a person needs to know about the other and for how long they need to know about them before secondary sexual attraction develops, varies from person to person.[2][4]

After secondary sexual attraction is developed, demisexuals are not only aroused by personality traits. They also may or may not experience arousal or desire based on the physical traits of the persons they already experience secondary sexual attraction towards.[11][12]

Common misconceptions and sexual activities[edit]

A common misconception is that demisexual individuals cannot engage in casual sex.[citation needed] It is important to note that being demisexual refers to how an individual experiences sexual attraction, it is not stating a choice or an action, but is describing a feeling.[3][13] While it is common for demisexuals not to desire sex without feeling sexually attracted to the other person, it is not a rule individuals have to fall into to be considered demisexual. Demisexuals can choose if they want to engage in casual sex even without experiencing sexual attraction towards said person.[14]

Another common misconception is that demisexuals disregard people's physical appearance.[citation needed] This confusion stems from the fact that demisexuals do not experience primary sexual attraction based on instantly available information, such as appearance. However, demisexuals do experience aesthetic attraction and can have an aesthetic preference.[10] An aesthetic attraction is an attraction to another person's appearance that is not connected to any sexual or romantic desire;[15] it is so called because of similarity to other aesthetic desires.[16]

While it is common for demisexuals not to give much importance to appearances when choosing a partner, it is not a rule individuals have to fall into to be considered demisexual.

It is also a myth that demisexuality is a sign of low sex drive. Once demisexual people are in a sexual relationship, they have varying levels of sex drive. Demisexuality only refers to the type of attraction that person feels, not how often they have sex.[3]

Demisexuality also is not related to a moral or religious belief about sex. It is a sexual orientation, not a choice.[3]

Demisexuals can be attracted to fictional characters; it is common for demisexuals to be attracted to a character played by an actor but to experience no attraction to the actor themselves when out of character.[17]

Attitudes towards sex[edit]

Demisexuals, gray-asexual and asexual individuals (commonly referred to as aces) often use the terms favorable, neutral or indifferent, averse, or repulsed to describe how they feel about sex. Nonetheless, these terms can be used by anyone, regardless if they are asexual or not.[18]

  • Sex-repulsed: feeling repulsed, uninterested or uncomfortable by the thought of engaging in sex.[19]
  • Sex-indifferent: no particular feelings toward sex. Sex-indifferent individuals might partake in sex or avoid it. They may also have no positive or negative feelings toward it.
  • Sex-favorable: sex-favorable individuals enjoy sex and may seek it out.[20]
  • Sex-ambivalent: experiencing mixed or complicated feelings regarding the act or concept of sexual interaction, usually fluctuating between sex-neutral, sex-favorable or sex-positive and sex-repulsed, sex-negative or sex-averse.[21]

Generally, these terms are used to refer to someone's opinion about engaging in activities themselves. However, they might also be used to describe how they feel reading, watching, hearing about, or imagining these activities. The term -repulsed in particular is often used to refer to one's feelings about engaging in activities or being around those activities. One's feelings can vary depending on the situation or other factors such as identity, societal context, common social understanding or intent of actions, or comfort level with another individual. For example, someone who is aegosexual may enjoy thinking about sexual activities involving others, but if they imagined being personally involved in those activities, they may feel sex-repulsed.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ "Queer 101". Old Dominion University. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  2. ^ a b "Explore the spectrum: guide to finding your ace community". GLAAD. 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e "What Is Demisexuality?". WebMD. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  4. ^ a b c "No lust at first sight: why thousands are now identifying as 'demisexual'". The Guardian. 2019-09-07. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  5. ^ "What Is Demisexuality?". Feeld. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  6. ^ Decker, Julie Sondra (2015). "Grayromanticism". The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1510700642. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Kurowicka, Anna; Przybylo, Ela (2020). "Polish Asexualities: Catholic Religiosity and Asexual Online Activisms in Poland". In Buyantueva, Radzhana; Shevtsova, Maryna (eds.). LGBTQ+ Activism in Central and Eastern Europe: Resistance, Representation and Identity. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 297. ISBN 978-3030204013. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Demisexual: Understanding What It Means & FAQs". Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  9. ^ https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22678-demisexuality
  10. ^ a b "20 FAQs About Being Demisexual". Healthline. 2022-01-31. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  11. ^ "Demisexuality: The Gray Area of Asexuality". Blood & Milk. 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  12. ^ "What demisexual means and how to be an ally". Newsweek. 2021-06-24. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  13. ^ White, Ro (2021-04-13). "You Need Help: How Do I Explore Casual Sex If I'm Demisexual?". Autostraddle. Retrieved 2022-07-26.
  14. ^ "Can Demisexuals Have Casual Sex? | Her Campus". www.hercampus.com. 2019-09-13. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  15. ^ "37 Terms That Describe Different Types of Attraction". Healthline. 2021-12-23. Retrieved 2022-07-26.
  16. ^ Magazine, Archer (2017-04-19). "Aesthetic attraction and being on the asexual spectrum". Archer Magazine. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  17. ^ Karhulahti, Veli-Matti; Välisalo, Tanja (2021-01-12). "Fictosexuality, Fictoromance, and Fictophilia: A Qualitative Study of Love and Desire for Fictional Characters". Frontiers in Psychology. 11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.575427. ISSN 1664-1078.
  18. ^ "Attitudes Toward Romance or Sex – The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project". Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  19. ^ Wynne, Griffin (2021-08-02). "Sex-Repulsed". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  20. ^ Wareham, Jamie. "How To Be An Asexual Ally: Learn Why Some Asexual People Have Sex (And Accept That Most Don't)". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  21. ^ "About Asexuality and Aromanticism – Asexual & Aromantic Community and Education Club". Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  22. ^ "Attitudes Toward Romance or Sex – The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project". Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  23. ^ Winter-Gray, Thom; Hayfield, Nikki (2019-10-22). "'Can I be a kinky ace?': How asexual people negotiate their experiences of kinks and fetishes". Psychology & Sexuality. 12 (3): 163–179. doi:10.1080/19419899.2019.1679866. ISSN 1941-9899.
  24. ^ Bogaert, Anthony F. (2012). "Asexuality and Autochorissexualism (Identity-Less Sexuality)". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 41 (6): 1513–1514. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-9963-1. ISSN 1573-2800. PMID 22576251.