A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.
When describing demisexuality as an orientation to sexuals, sexuals often mistake it as an admirable choice rather than an innate orientation. Demisexuals are not choosing to abstain; they simply lack sexual attraction until a close relationship is formed.
According to one hypothetical model, a person who identifies as a demisexual does not experience primary sexual attraction but does experience secondary sexual attraction. In this model, primary sexual attraction is based on outward qualities such as a person's looks, clothes, or personality while secondary sexual attraction is attraction stemming from a connection, usually romantic, or from status or how closely the person is in relationship to the other.
Though factors such as looks and personality do not affect primary sexual attraction for demisexuals (since demisexuals do not experience primary sexual attraction), such factors may affect romantic attraction, as with any other orientation.
"Demisexual" is also sometimes used as a synonym for some other kind of person falling under the gray-A umbrella. Demisexuality differs from gray-asexuality in that demisexuality is a specific sexual orientation in between "sexual" and "asexual", whereas "gray-A" is a highly unspecific catch-all used for anything between sexual and asexual that does not fit.
Demisexuality may make forming romantic or sexual relationships more difficult for some people. Demisexuals often make first impressions with sexuals of being "just friends", which may make the sexual value the relationship less. Demisexuals often have rocky relationships with asexuals because the demisexual's feelings may become more sexualized with time, which the asexual may find inappropriate or unexpected. In either case, having a better understanding of one's own orientation and how it differs from one's partner's orientation may help facilitate communication to clear up misunderstandings.
Demis may also append a gender orientation to the label, as in "Demi-heterosexual".
- AVEN's Gray Area
- Demi Grace - a forum for demisexuals, grey-asexuals and allies
- Demi Gray - a blog for demisexuals and gray-asexuals