Why Does Nobody Ever Talk About Demi-Sexuality?

When I was in high school we discussed heterosexuality and homosexuality. It seemed to be implied that you’re either one or the other. But sexuality, as I discovered in university, is much more complex than that. When I was growing up, I was quite confused. I would see a boy and think “he’s attractive,” but it never got any stronger than that. I had the same feeling towards the girls. I felt some attraction towards them, but I never felt any pull to do anything. How is someone who’s told that you’re either straight or gay/lesbian, and everybody has some level of sexual attraction, supposed to respond to those feelings? I didn’t know if I liked boys or girls and I didn’t know why I didn’t want to kiss and have sex like my classmates so obviously did. I used to wonder what was wrong with me.

In university I met people who were bisexual and asexual for the first time. That’s when I first began to learn about how complex sexuality really is. It made me happy because now I was able to say that my feelings were normal. But I still didn’t have a label for myself. When my partner and I began dating, I told him that I didn’t know what my sexuality was. I seemed to fit in a number of categories kind of, but not really. I had tried to do some research, but never found an answer. It was my partner who found out what demi-sexuality was and explained it to me. That was when I figured what what I was. After four years of high school, four years of university, and numerous classes and workshops on gender and sexuality, I finally had a name for myself. 

So why did it take so long? Why did nobody ever mention demi-sexuality? Why was I told about heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, and omnisexuality, but that’s it? 

I’ve been told that demi-sexuality isn’t a really sexuality. I’ve been told that, since it only discusses how I fall in love and not who I fall in love with, it can’t be a real sexuality. But that doesn’t seem to be the case to me. In fact, that’s kind of the point of it being it’s own sexuality: how I fall in love determines who I fall in love with. With demi-sexuals a relationship is required before sexual attraction takes place. I’m not going to see some hot guy, or beautiful woman, walking down the street and think “I’d like to have sex with them.” I will notice that they are attractive, but that’s it. I need to have formed a relationship with someone before I’ll find them sexually attractive. That can mean that I’ll find my close friends sexually attractive, but usually it means that I require a romantic attraction first. As such, the sex, or gender, of the person that I’m attracted to doesn’t matter. I can fall in love with anyone, I just need to form a bond with them first.

I’ve also been told that it’s merely a sub-set of asexuality. I don’t have any problem with that. So being demi-sexual means I’m asexual. Whatever. But why then is it not discussed when asexuality is discussed. And, if demi-sexuality is a subset of asexuality, why don’t we hear about the other subsets? If it’s the only subset, why call it a subset? Why not just let it be its own category?

I have a lot of issues with my sexuality, and my gender, when it comes to how they are discussed, or rather, because they aren’t discussed. I’m technically LGBTQ with both my sexuality and my gender, but I don’t feel included it the group on either fronts. I feel ignored. My straight cis partner feels more welcome as an ally than I do as someone who is LGBT. So why does nobody ever talk about demi-sexuality? Why does any sexuality get ignored? Wouldn’t it be better if we let people know everything that we know so that they know how complex sexuality is? Wouldn’t it be best if we discussed all the possibilities so that nobody feels left out?

9 responses to “Why Does Nobody Ever Talk About Demi-Sexuality?

  • Joanne Corey

    I clicked on this link today because it showed up below your post on A Conversation About Gender and Sexuality. I was not familiar with the term demisexuality, but, in reading what you say about it, it is very familiar. I can’t even really imagine being sexually attracted to someone unless I was in a close, loving relationship first.


  • malikrashid

    Interesting! Sexuality that is stimulated through deeper traits/character than appearance, smell etc. Is it acquired? Do you recommend practice, or people are born with it?


  • Rose F

    I identify as bisexual and gray romantic. The people I’m sexually attracted to tend not to be the ones I feel romantic attraction toward, and usually I prefer relationships that are somewher e”between” what would traditionally be considered platonic and romantic. Anyway, I feel the same way that you do about demi-sexuality, that it’s something hardly anyone discusses. I think the reason is that our culture is very oriented toward “black and white,” binary kinds of thinking and anyone who’s more comfortable in a “gray area” is just considered odd or told that they haven’t met the right person yet or something.


  • Aamil

    I feel that bisexuality is the most natural of the three forms that I’m aware of. I don’t know what pansexuality and omnisexuality are and how they’re different from bisexuality. Asexuality, I understand. And wouldn’t demisexuality be a sort of watered down bisexuality? From the way you write about it, it seems to be that you don’t get turned on easily. But your sexual preference is quite in line with bisexuality.


    • hessianwithteeth

      They are different in many ways. Bisexuality is being attracted to men and women. There is still the binary and they tend prefer one gender over the other. With pansexuality, the gender doesn’t matter, and omnisexuals, from what I’ve been told, can be attracted to anybody. If you think of sexuality in terms of binary gender, then it is easy to assume that they’re the same, but they aren’t. As far as demi-sexuality goes, it’s different because of how one falls in love. Most people feel sexual attraction first, and can feel sexual attraction without feeling romantic attraction. I don’t.


  • Andrew S

    I found this blog after (I think) you liked/followed my blog.

    A few years back, I lurked around some forums for asexuality (e.g.,: AVEN). I haven’t gone in several years, so it’s possible things could have changed, but in my time there, there were many discussions about demisexuality (that’s how I know about the term.)

    It does seem to me that the concept isn’t very well-known (even though it seems very straightforward to me), so it seems plausible that depending on where you hear discussions of asexuality, they might not talk about demisexuality, semisexuality, gray-A, aromanticism vs asexual, etc., Or, without getting into specific terms, most discussions of asexuality would probably not even talk about the larger/more generic discussion of lack of sex drive vs. lack of sexual attraction. (All of the specific terms and each of the generic concepts all are variously “part” of certain forums specific to asexuality) (And hopefully, just mentioning those varieties would also provide a breadcrumb for the other “subsets” of asexuality.)

    Responding to your last paragraph, my understanding is that the current general understanding of sexuality still requires a lot more development. Certainly, a viewpoint that is open to LGBT issues would probably be more nuanced than a completely heteronormative viewpoint, but even within the LGBT sphere, there are tensions. Like, among Gs, there may be tension with Ls. Between Gs and Ls, there might be tension with Bs or Ts.

    I can certainly understand how many might have a tension with asexuality based on their understanding of the theoretical framework for LGBT issues. I mean, there’s already a lot of confusion between, say, celibacy and asexuality. So, there are certain people who might say, “Hey, if this asexual person doesn’t feel a need to have sex, then why do you feel that your relationship must be accepted? Why not be chaste like them?” Of course, it’s not a fair analogy, but in trying to defend against the questions, some folks might exclude As.

    Or, as an alternative, in the some way some folks can’t understand how someone could be a sexuality they don’t understand, some folks may understand how people could have *some* strongly felt sexuality, but not understand how someone could have a weakly or variably felt sexuality.


    • hessianwithteeth

      Where I live, asexuality seems to be accepted within my local community. Since I have found out what demi-sexual is, I have met one other demi-sexual within the group. But it still never gets talked about. I haven’t tried any online groups or any asexual groups though. But I’m mostly disappointed that it’s not discussed in workshops about sexuality because such workshops tend to be about being okay with yourself. I’ve heard it mentioned in one workshop, but only because someone asked about it, and there were only two of us plus the workshop leader who knew the term.
      The LGBTQ community does seem to have a lot of problems when it comes to internal drama and exclusion of certain groups (trans* and asexual people being the biggest issue that I know of), which seems sad to me. I’m lucky enough to have found a group that is accepting of both, but I know a lot of groups aren’t so welcoming.


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