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Demisexual: A subset of human sexuality you may not know about

Written By | May 4, 2021

Thanks to Milan Popovic @itsmiki5 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

SAN DIEGO – You may not have heard of the term demisexual, but that term is more wholesome than you think. Demisexual is a relatively new term used to describe a subset of human sexuality.

“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” a song popularized by the iconic Tina Turner, is a haunting tune. It depicts the pain that love can cause. Therefore, if it breaks a heart, then what is the point?

What is the meaning of “demisexual”?

That song came to mind  the term demisexual popped up in a recent news story. Unfamiliar with that term, this writer became curious, wondering exactly what it meant.

The story appeared to indicate that “demisexual” describes a human being who does not have sexual feelings for another. Nor does such an individual have the desire for intimacy unless borne from friendship, common interests and similar values. In short, someone who is well-known.

Curiously, the implied description of the term seemed to resemble the basis of old-fashioned courtship. It could indicate the custom of taking the time to get to know another individual, and share a variety of experiences before investing more of oneself in a potential relationship. Moreover, it could indicate the persistence of traditional religious viewpoints and more conservative values and upbringing. This would contrast sharply from the essential hedonism ignited by the mid-to-late 20th century sexual revolution. This was a time, persisting to this day, where one-night stands, late night bar hook-ups and the like gradually became the norm.

It proved perplexing to connect the proverbial dots between one extreme attitude and the other. According to BestLife , the term demisexual was coined in 2008 on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Since that time, more and more people have come out to admit that they are demisexual. And, that they may or may not possess gender preferences.


Thanks to Jane Duursma @madebyjane for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

The essence of a demisexual person.

The essence of a demisexual person appears to be the need to develop a close emotional bond before feelings of attraction and a desire for intimacy can exist.

In other words, in addition to not wanting or desiring a lot of physical touch, demisexuals may prefer instead to develop a deep emotional connection, deep friendship, meaningful discourse and a feeling of being valued for who and what they are as an individual.

Frivolous chats, superficial flirtation and the like which could occur with others in a variety of settings, are meaningless to such a person. It can also spell oblivion to many early-on overtones from others that express romantic interest.

However, according to many experts, demisexuals enjoy intimacy under conditions which seem and feel right for them. This also means intimacy requires the demisexual to be in a well-developed friendship or relationship first.

That’s likely why the term demisexual was coined. It describes a sexual orientation that exists halfway between asexual and sexual. “Demisexual” thus serves as both a term and a flag for those who fall in the middle of this spectrum.

It is interesting to also note that many individuals still long for a relationship in which trust, openness and emotional relatedness exist in an era when such relationships have allegedly ceased to exist. For some individuals, the depth and connection of a meaningful conversation can still prove more meaningful than a romantic evening filled with intimacy.

Money can’t buy you love

As we all know. there are many elements our society perpetuates today that have sexual overtones. These include advertising, clothing, jewelry, automobiles, hotels and more.

The media and entertainment worlds seduce us daily by constantly updating current concepts of what is “in” and what is “fashion.” Reducing this constant PR to its essence, if one has the desire to be sexy, sought after or perhaps loved, all one must do is buy the right items and/or do the right things.

The downside? Pursuing the “right things” constantly may eventually create high levels of stress and anxiety for many. It may also encourage perplexity for both sexes relative to how they would look and act in the presence of one or the other.

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

Real life has its ups and downs, and real people have good times and not so good times. Thus, as a real life becomes a shared life, the the other could view it as shocking or disappointing.

The push of consumerism with emphasis for perhaps manipulating intrinsic human desire to be loved and accepted to make a profit, could in fact become highly detrimental and confusing.
Especially with coming generations which depend more and more upon electronic devices and computers for relationship building and dating, it could be that the new computer age could be altering human behavior itself to a point of diminishing the relevance of human relational interactions in all their dimension and complexity.

It is far easier to send a text, message or email than it is to venture into the emotional realm of being fully human. Such a venture requires empathy, emotion, complexity and the development of new interpersonal skills needed to successfully cope with such a crucial personal step.

Janet Brito, Ph.D. LCSW, CST, published a story in MedicalNewsToday that offered additional new terms describing nuances inherent in human sexuality. These terms include:

  • Asexuality: Feels no connection with others nor desires to.
  • Gray-asexuality: Infrequent romantic attraction.
  • Sapiosexuality: Attracted to intelligence or the mind which is valued above emotion.
  • Pansexuality: Attracted to anyone of any gender or persuasion.

Demisexuals can only feel attraction to another person if they can first develop a strong bond or connection.

Thanks to Jairo Gonzalez @jair0g0nza for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

As opposed to the prevailing custom of being highly attracted to another as the primary basis for a relationship, demisexuals pursue something that for them goes much deeper. So much so, in fact, that that it becomes the sole barometer of what leads to a true relationship: Trust, compatibility, values and genuine love.

There is something very sweet about romance, falling in love, getting to know one another.  It is a decision to embark on a journey of mutual discovery shared exclusively by two.

It would be unfortunate if the practice of being particular about our choice of partners, wanting to give relationships time to develop, ensuring common interests and values and establishing quality communication and basic compatibility would ever be considered out of step.

Or, worse, that such a practice deserves yet another psychosocial term to describe wanting our significant other to value and appreciate us for who and what we are.

What does love have to do with it? Absolutely everything.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Also Read: Go green with this healthy avocado grapefruit salad

(Main image: Thanks to Milan Popovic @itsmiki5 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash. 🎁


Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.