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What is Demisexuality?


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#1 coloratura

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:06 AM

I've noticed that whenever I tell someone i'm demisexual they just say that everyone is like that. This makes me think that the definition should be changed to make it a little clearer, and so that people realize that not everyone is demisexual.

Would defining demisexuality as not experiencing sexual attraction outside of a romantic relationship or strong friendship be more accurate? What does demisexuality mean to YOU?

#2 Heart

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:59 AM

So someone at one point mentionned demisexuality and when I looked it up on the wikki I got something like this:

Asexuality and sexuality are not black and white; some people identify in the gray (spelled "grey" in some countries) area between them. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who:

do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes
experience sexual attraction, but a low sex drive
experience sexual attraction and drive, but not strongly enough to want to act on them
people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances


So what are some examples of some "very limited and specific circumstances"? Specific examples from individual's experience are welcomed if you're willing to share them to a confused individual trying to sort through this new world I have stumbled upon to figure out where I fit in (yay! I fit in somewhere!). Generic examples are awesome too though, so don't hold back on the comments!

If you want to know, I feel that I am either completely asexual or demisexual (to be honest, I'm pretty sure I'm asexual, but I want to explroe these definitions before discounting anything).

An asexual is someone who experiences no sexual attraction and/or no intrinsic desire for partnered sex.

 

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#3 Jillianimal

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:38 AM

It looks like you were on the general gray A page, not he demisexual one. Demisexuals only experience sexual attraction towards someone when they are romantically attracted or involved with them as well.
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#4 Member33070

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:52 AM

Yep, indeed, there is also a page on the wiki describing demisexuality specifically.

http://www.asexualit...itle=Demisexual


We tried to, uh, narrow down the gray definitions to something that isn't quite so vague this summer and that didn't work out very well. :blink: So, um, yeah. That's what we've got for gray. One of the concepts is "limited or specific circumstances". It's kind of up to the individual to figure out what that means.

Well. A limited circumstance for enjoying sex might mean someone who only enjoys or desires a specific kind of sex (although if the person is otherwise asexual or otherwise sexual...I wouldn't use this to define a person as gray necessarily? eh?).

Limited circumstance for desiring sex is starting to get closer to the "experiencing sexual attraction less often than sexuals but more than asexuals" idea that is much easier to associate with gray...just because it easily slips in between the other definitions (asexual: no sexual attraction, sexual: typical sexual levels of sexual attraction).

Since sexual attraction is a desire for sex with a specific person, desiring sex in limited circumstances starts to narrow down the numbers of specific people, in some cases. For example, if someone only desires sex with rock singers...that might mean that they're only attracted to rock singers.

That might sound a lot like a sexual's "type" thing, but the difference is (I think) that grays that are like that only experience it honestly for that specific group. A sexual might say that they have a type, and are only attracted to people in that type, but that's not always the case...there might be a few people (or a lot) outside of that type that they are also attracted to. So a sexual who says that their "type" is "rock singers" might randomly find themselves attracted to some random bus driver who can't sing to save his life...whereas that would never happen to the gray with the "specific type" thing going on.

This is mostly speculation and ideas I pulled out of nowhere. But it's a thought of a possible example. Possibly?

There is so much variation in gray that it's really hard to narrow it down. It is honestly everything that isn't "fully asexual" or "fully sexual".

#5 Wineblood

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 05:56 AM

As far as I recall, that is the definition of demisexuality. The way I've experienced it was outside a romantic relationship, but there were romantic feelings involved (I fell in love, but it wasn't mutual).

The problem is that most people don't really understand what we mean when we explain demisexuality. They seem to think it's the same as "frigid" people meeting the right person. When demisexuals don't have that bond with someone, they are pretty much asexual. I've only been sexually attracted to one person and that kind of feeling hasn't happened since then.

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#6 Wineblood

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 06:04 AM

Demisexuality, technically, falls under the grey-A definition but it's more specific. The problem is that until you get a bond with someone, you can't really tell if you're asexual or demisexual. I spent a few years after discovering AVEN pretty sure I was asexual until I met someone special and felt something new.

To quote the demi article from the wiki : "In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender". That's how I feel. Right now there's no one I'm attracted to in that way, I'm fairly certain this is how asexuals feel all the time, so I haven't been magically turned sexual by meeting the right person.

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#7 coloratura

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 06:08 PM

So a better way of explaining it might be that demisexuals do not feel sexual attraction towards anyone they are not romantically attracted to at least slightly?

#8 Alter-Echo

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 06:10 PM

While I can find a woman sexually attractive and may even fantisize about her, I have no actual desire to have sex with her unless I get to know her very well and really like her. For example. if a woman I found physically attractive suddenly asked me to have sex with her out of the blue, I probably wouldn't be able to perform, and if I did, I don't think I'd enjoy it as much as most sexual men normally would. The only time I have a real "need" for sex is with those I care about deeply or love.
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#9 Heart

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 06:15 PM

My question for coloratura would be what those people who say that everyone's a demisexual believe the definition to be? It doesn't seem to me that everyone fails to experience sexual attraction without knowing someone well... Perhaps I am just behind in the news, so please forgive me and bring me back up to speed, just a little more explanation should do :)

An asexual is someone who experiences no sexual attraction and/or no intrinsic desire for partnered sex.

 

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#10 Member33070

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:19 PM

So a better way of explaining it might be that demisexuals do not feel sexual attraction towards anyone they are not romantically attracted to at least slightly?


It doesn't have to be romantic attraction (ie, I'm sure there is a such thing as an aromantic demisexual). Just some sort of deep connection, friendship, bond, something like that.

A "sexual" or "non-demisexual gray" can experience sexual attraction to random people they've never talked to (ie, they can see a stranger walking by and be sexually attracted to them). Demisexuals don't experience that.


My question for coloratura would be what those people who say that everyone's a demisexual believe the definition to be? It doesn't seem to me that everyone fails to experience sexual attraction without knowing someone well... Perhaps I am just behind in the news, so please forgive me and bring me back up to speed, just a little more explanation should do :)


I think a lot of people want to believe that everyone is demisexual, because it sounds sort of vulgar to think that all the "sexuals" and "non-demisexual grays" are running around experiencing sexual attraction to strangers. It sounds kind of perverted, right? So I think there are people out there who want to believe this is the case when it isn't. It's even been mentioned that it might be a gender expectation in some cases - for example, to many it seems totally fine for a guy to be sexually attracted to a girl he's never met ("he's a guy, after all"), but a girl attracted to a guy she's never met...that's sort of frowned upon in our society. But, fact is, it happens. I can attest to the fact, as a gray/sexual, that I've been sexually attracted to strangers...actually a lot more often than people I know.

But it's not something that any of us (speaking as a gray/sexual) can control. We don't choose who we're attracted to...not even demisexuals choose who they're attracted to. For demisexuals, it's just narrowed down because they have to have that deep connection of some sort first.

#11 YetzerHara

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:19 AM

I think the general argument is along the lines of "But most sexuals won't have sex outside a relationship either, so they're all demisexual too!" But from my understanding of the term, a demisexual person doesn't have the capacity for sexual attraction without the prior strong emotional/romantic connection, while sexuals do. As a maybe helpful example, I identify as demisexual, and while I definitely find people attractive I don't find people "hot", or even really get the concept, while I imagine sexuals do. There is of course the complication of whether sexual attraction to someone actually equals wanting to have sex with that person - if you do believe they are equivalent, I suppose that could potentially lend more weight to the everyone is demisexual argument.

As for the initial definition proposed, that's basically the definition I'd been using (with "strong emotional or romantic connection" substituted for "romantic relationship or strong friendship", but that's just personal preference in word choice).

#12 Wineblood

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:59 PM

I think the general argument is along the lines of "But most sexuals won't have sex outside a relationship either, so they're all demisexual too!"


Except that statement is wrong, it's a shame so many people say it. What it describes there is behaviour, not desire. Us demis don't feel sexual attraction at all in that case whereas sexuals do, they just don't act on it.

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#13 Jaycatt

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 06:12 PM

Yep, indeed, there is also a page on the wiki describing demisexuality specifically.

http://www.asexualit...itle=Demisexual


I created an account to say that your description from the wiki is what convinced me I was demisexual. I've been sharing it with friends so that they understand what it all means. It's a very good definition!

I personally didn't have any sexual attraction to any person until I was 36, when I finally met a person who had a crush on me. They loved me, and I loved them as well (once I knew it was reciprocated). All of a sudden, I discovered I had a libido and almost couldn't control it. For me, it has to be "love", and not sisterly or brotherly love either. I have extremely close emotional relationships with my friends and family, but romantic love was never part of it.

In the past, my sexual drive would only activate when a mud fetish I have would be triggered (by images, etc), but people other than myself were never in these fantasies. For 36 years, I felt I must be asexual, but after developing a romantic connection to someone and having something awaken in me, I now know demisexuality describes me perfectly.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for better defining "demisexuality" in such a way that I can finally explain it to friends.

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#14 Member33070

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 06:27 PM

I created an account to say that your description from the wiki is what convinced me I was demisexual. I've been sharing it with friends so that they understand what it all means. It's a very good definition!

I personally didn't have any sexual attraction to any person until I was 36, when I finally met a person who had a crush on me. They loved me, and I loved them as well (once I knew it was reciprocated). All of a sudden, I discovered I had a libido and almost couldn't control it. For me, it has to be "love", and not sisterly or brotherly love either. I have extremely close emotional relationships with my friends and family, but romantic love was never part of it.

In the past, my sexual drive would only activate when a mud fetish I have would be triggered (by images, etc), but people other than myself were never in these fantasies. For 36 years, I felt I must be asexual, but after developing a romantic connection to someone and having something awaken in me, I now know demisexuality describes me perfectly.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for better defining "demisexuality" in such a way that I can finally explain it to friends.


Woo! I'm glad the wiki is helping people out. Makes me feel all the more excited about taking over the wikimaster spot soon. :wub:

(Though I feel the need to point out - as of this post, I haven't had anything to do with the content of the wiki. It's an awesome community effort that I love to refer to and link at every opportunity)

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#15 Siggy

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:12 AM

My personal experience talking about asexuality (mostly to college-age audiences) is that demisexuality gives people more trouble than any other concept.

It just sounds like normal-range sexuality. Oh, sure, lots of people like hookups and get attracted to strangers, but lots of people don't. Lots of people don't see the point of seeking sex outside a conventional, monogamous relationship. So what's the difference?

And what a lot of people will immediately suspect, is that demisexuals are people with a very poor sense of normal-range sexuality. And there's probably a grain of truth to this. We all have a poor sense of normal-range sexuality. If you have lots of sex and make friends like yourself, you'll probably overestimate the typical person's sexual activity. If you don't have much sex, and make friends like yourself, you'll underestimate it. If you pay too much attention to certain kinds of media, you may overestimate or underestimate it.

But I'm pretty sure this doesn't explain demisexuality. While some demisexuals may overestimate the typical amount of sexual activity, I bet there are lots who underestimate it too. In my own experience, I've compared my expectations with real statistics and found that I was greatly underestimating the amount of sexual activity.

Going back to our question: What's the difference? There are two possible answers:
1. A difference of degree
2. A difference of kind


A difference of degree would simply be a much lower frequency of attraction, or much weaker attraction. A difference of kind would be something like a different experience of attraction, or attraction to different sorts of things. Of course, it could be both answers together, or different answers for different people. What do you think?

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#16 Heart

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:46 PM

Going back to our question: What's the difference? There are two possible answers:
1. A difference of degree
2. A difference of kind


A difference of degree would simply be a much lower frequency of attraction, or much weaker attraction. A difference of kind would be something like a different experience of attraction, or attraction to different sorts of things. Of course, it could be both answers together, or different answers for different people. What do you think?



I would tend to lean away from the difference of degree personally. I feel that the definition of demisexuality is different from simply not feeling attraction often. From my understanding of demisexuality, it differs from "normal" sexuality in that the pool of potential attractive people is limited to people the subject knows well, as in, for a demisexual, the attraction necessitates a previously formed bond (eg friendship). The difference between that and simply a lower "attraction libido" if you will, is that someone who feels the same sort of attraction as sexuals but just less often still has the whole human population (of their prefered gender(s) of course) to take as a pool of candidates, even if they feel that attraction less often. So a demisexual can still feel attraction as often as a sexual, it's just within a smaller subset of people.
(sorry if this started sounding a bit jargon-y, I've been studying too much lately, ask if you want clarification on what something means...)
In short, demisexuality to me has less to do with the frequency of attraction and more to do with the subset of people that one could potentially be attracted to. (So the second option would fit my understanding better.) Does that make sense?

An asexual is someone who experiences no sexual attraction and/or no intrinsic desire for partnered sex.

 

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#17 Cazz333

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:37 PM

yes. Pretty much how I define demisexuality.
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