Gender & Sexuality dictionary


or demisexuality [dem-ee-sek-shoo-al]

What does demisexual mean?

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.

Related words

pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, holosexual, proxvir, genderflux

Where does demisexual come from?


The term demisexual was coined in 2006 on the forums of The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN) by user sonofzeal. In the thread, sonofzeal describes his experience of not experiencing sexual attraction without first forming an emotional connection.

Sonofzeal felt neither asexual nor completely nonasexual, so coining demisexual helped him more accurately describe needing an emotional bond as a prerequisite to sexual attraction. Demisexuality exists on the asexual spectrum—a continuum of sexualities ranging from completely asexual to non-asexual with lots of in-between.

By 2008, the term started seeing widespread use.

Examples of demisexual

I may work at a sex shop but don't get it twisted. This demisexual isn't down for random hookups and shit.. not how it works for me..
@yasriotgrrrl, April 2017
It's a unique perspective to be demisexual, and it's not something I'd ever really want to change. I'm happy that others can accept me for what I am.
_V_, [user comments], January 25, 2017
However, the key to remember is that you being demisexual doesn’t change anything about your relationship, because you just found a word to describe how you always have been.
“Dating as a Demisexual,” Demisexuality Resource Center, 2015

Who uses demisexual?

Demisexuality makes frequent appearances online. Most notably on AVEN, the Demisexuality Resource Center forums, Tumblr, /r/asexual, or other online asexual spaces. People use the term demisexual as a useful tool to describe their identity and how it might differ from other identities.

A demisexual person might also use additional labels in conjunction with demisexual to further describe their identity, since this one label might not tell the whole story. For example, some people might use a label like panromantic (romantically attracted to people regardless of their gender), and so the entire identity might be called something like panromantic demisexual. This naming scheme is incredibly common.

For other people, that might mean identifying as something like demisexual and heterosexual, since the label heterosexual describes romantic and sexual inclinations. It is up to the individual to describe which labeling scheme works for them. It may also depend on how much a demisexual person identifies with the wider asexual community.

Some people might wonder: don’t all people need an emotional connection to be sexually attracted to someone? This is a common misconception. People who aren’t demisexual or asexual in some way can be and are attracted to people they don’t know, like strangers or celebrities. They might just choose not to act on it. Demisexuals cannot feel attracted to people they don’t know well.

Demisexuality has been gaining more recognition as the years go on. There are sites, blogs, and articles dedicated to discussing this sexuality. And since, the dating site OkCupid has officially recognized demisexuality and has allowed its users to select it as a sexual orientation on their profile.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of demisexual like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of demisexual that will help our users expand their word mastery.