In recent years, a whole range of terms have arisen to describe the many aspects of sexuality. For some people, finally putting a name to long-felt realities about sex is a great comfort. That said, the terms can be confusing to understand at first. What is demisexual, for instance, and how do persons of this orientation experience attraction?
First, time for some definitions. According to Merriam-Webster, the prefix demi- refers to something that is half or partially related to something. For example, a demitasse cup is about half the size of a regular cup. With this in mind, a demisexual exists somewhere around the midpoint between fully sexual and asexual. In other words, they are a little bit sexual.
Additionally, this form of sexual attraction tends to occur under a certain set of circumstances. Demisexuals experience sexual attraction only after forming an emotional bond with the object of affection, as explained by the Demisexuality Research Center (DRC). Although many people like to form a bond before jumping in bed with someone, demisexuals are unique because this bond is a prerequisite for sexual attraction. As further explained by the DRC, this means many demisexuals do not experience attraction for strangers or even celebrity crushes. The strong emotional connection is necessary for any sexual feelings to occur.
It might not come as a great surprise that the demisexual orientation also has ties to the asexual community. According to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), persons who are asexual do not experience any type of sexual attraction. In fact, demisexuals fall under the umbrella of a grey-asexual, or someone who only experiences sexual attraction under specific circumstances, as explained by AVEN. This nuanced, careful examination of attraction speaks to the many ways sexuality can vary from person to person.
With this in mind, how does someone choose to identify as demisexual? It is a personal call. According to Bustle, you may be a demisexual if relationships tend to start off as friendships, and having a crush is still a monumental deal into your adult years. But, as with any other aspect of sexuality, you alone can make that decision.