(This is a follow-up to my last writing. It’s linked here if you haven’t read it.)
One of the first articles I came across in my research about demisexuality was this one, 15 Signs You Should Identify As Demisexual.
Now this isn’t the most scientific-sounding article in the world, so take it for what you will. I do think it raises some interesting talking points, so I thought it would be fun to share my responses to each of the items on the list.
Demisexual people usually aren’t big fans of physical touch.
Making out, grinding on the dance floor, even extended hugs are a turnoff to you. Physical intimacy, even with someone you’ve gotten to know, can be uncomfortable and make you feel a bit anxious. You’d rather have a conversation or get to know someone personally rather than feel them up. Sometimes you find these feelings overwhelming and unbearable. “If someone tried to initiate something [sexually], I’d throw my hands in the air and run out of the room screaming,” one demisexual person explained to Wired.
I like physical touch, so long as it’s appropriate. I think they quoted a crazy person here, not a demisexual person, but I guess they aren’t mutually exclusive. Anyway, to me it all depends on context and the relationship. I’ll only get uncomfortable with physical touch if it goes beyond a consent boundary.
You grew up feeling like you were different.
You’ve probably felt weird about the way you think about sex for a long time. Since your teen years or even earlier, you’ve been aware that you didn’t quite fit in with what everyone else seemed to be interested in, felt alienated when your friends talked about how sexy someone was or described their dating lives and sexual exploits. You felt like you might be missing something or that there was something deeply wrong with you.
Doesn’t everyone? I feel like this is similar to reading horoscopes, you know? Everyone probably relates to this in one way or another. But yes, at least in the last few years, I have absolutely felt different. I have felt like there was something wrong with me because I don’t have an urge to go out and find sex. I have sexual desires but they are only towards people I have already gotten to know.
You do enjoy sex, but only under specific circumstances.
Unlike asexuals, who are repulsed by sex, full stop, demisexuals actually enjoy it—when very specific conditions are met. Specifically, you need to feel a strong emotional bond with someone before you could imagine enjoying getting naked with them. You would feel exposed and uncomfortable, rather than aroused, if thrown together with another person you didn’t feel a strong emotional connection with.
Yep. Definitely. I love sex. I just need to actually like the person for me to enjoy it. I have hooked up with plenty of people–people who were great people–but the sex ended up being purely mechanical. And that’s not satisfying to me. It might feel good, but it never felt satisfying.
You don’t rate strangers’ hotness.
When your friends talk about how hot some stranger is or rate a person at the bar on a scale of 1–10, you just don’t get what they’re talking about. It’s as if the concept is entirely alien to you.
Judging a person solely by their physical attractiveness without having even spoken to them doesn’t come naturally to you, and isn’t fun for you to do.
Nah, I judge people all the time. Physical attraction is incredibly important to me. I need that AND an emotional connection to really get along with someone.
You are often dubbed a “prude.”
Friends who don’t really understand demisexual people will give you a bad time about your tendency to show little interest in getting laid and your inability to flirt will end up labeling you a “prude” or something similar. You’ve tried to explain that you just aren’t interested in sex with randos, but it’s a foreign concept to them and they assume you’re just nervous about sex.
I don’t think anyone has called me that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I’m just picky. I know what I want when I see it. I also know right away when I see something I don’t want. I have yet to be surprised by a sexual encounter. During my slutty stage I had hoped to find someone who would exceed my expectations when I got them in bed, but it never happened. If I felt ‘meh’ about them on the date, that’s how the sex was too. Since then I have learned to trust my intuition and just not go through with sex if I’m not feeling their personality.
You long for a relationship—but not physical touch.
Demisexual is distinct from asexual. It’s not that you aren’t attracted to others or interested in romantic relationships, but you aren’t aroused by physical touch.
One helpful Redditor broke it down this way: “I always recoiled and quickly withdrew from socializing altogether out of fear of being pressured into anything romantic or sexual with others, but as soon as I got home and in my own bedroom, I found myself longing for a relationship with someone… but the severe anxiety I felt whenever someone expressed any romantic interest in me kept me from dating anyone or even flirting back when it did happen.”
Again with this abhorrence toward physical touch. I am absolutely aroused by physical touch, when it is appropriate. But to think of it another way, I guess I am never aroused purely by physical touch. If someone were to touch me sensually, I would experience a weird sort of feedback loop: Wait, is he trying to turn me on by doing that? Am I supposed to like this? I mean I suppose it feels good, he’s hitting certain nerve endings and all that, I’m just not feeling anything. Should I be feeling something? Maybe I’ll fake it. “Yeah yeah that feels really good, don’t stop.”
You aren’t alone.
The term is relatively new—it was first coined in 2008, on the Asexual Visibility & Education Network website—but it’s been growing fast as more and more people come out as demisexual, refusing to be shamed about their unconventional attractions. So while you might feel like you don’t fit in with the hypersexual times, take heart: there are many other demisexuals out there and even if they aren’t noisy about it, they are numerous. According to a survey in the UK, roughly 0.6 to 5.5 of the population is asexual. There are many more demisexual people than asexuals.
You know, this isn’t really a “sign.” But thanks for pointing it out. I’m glad I’m not the only one out there like this.
You don’t get the “hook-up culture.”
You feel out of step with the modern hook-up culture. While your friends feel a night out is not complete without a make-out session at the bar or at least getting a phone number with the potential for future fun, you’d be perfectly happy just chilling in a quiet corner and chatting with friends or getting to know a quirky stranger, with no interest in having anything progressing beyond a handshake.
I don’t have friends who do that anyway… It’s not just “hook-up culture” that I don’t get, I don’t get “going-out culture” at all. Because I’m a hermit. I only go to bars with people I already know, to hang out with them. And I have never gone dancing because, ew, sweaty strangers.
You’re not as horny as the rest of the world seems to be.
Someone who is demisexual often feels baffled by how horny the rest of the world seems to be. It can seem nuts the way people will blow up their relationships or spend huge sums of money and vast amounts of time to try and get laid. You just don’t feel that sort of drive for sex.
“Overall, I feel like I’m not as sexually charged as the rest the world and rarely feel any sexual attraction towards anyone,” wrote a 23-year-old woman on a Reddit forum dedicated to topics about demisexuality. “When I do feel attraction, it’s after I get to know them or discover that they value me for my intelligence or another personal attribute.”
I get plenty horny, I just don’t feel the need to act on it. If there isn’t someone around who I am sexually attracted to, then my drive for sex gets almost completely suppressed. It’s like a different order of operations. I meet people who I’m attracted to, and they draw out my sexual desires. For other people, I think, they experience sexual desire and then they search for people to gratify it.
Emotional bonds are extremely important to you.
Trust, openness, and emotional connection are what really gets you going. You feel a high when you experience emotional intimacy with another person and sharing personal stories. Where other people might feel a thrill after sleeping with someone else, you feel a jolt of satisfaction after a night of great, personal conversation.
Yes yes yes. I have most definitely felt high after a good talk. I will replay conversations in my mind all the time, and they will often give me more energy than thinking about sexual encounters.
You’re sexually self-sufficient.
Most of your moments of sexual gratification come from masturbation and when it comes to physical pleasure, you don’t see the necessity of another person.
OMG yes. I’d phrase it that way too. If I’m horny, I’ll masturbate. Why do I have to complicate things by bringing in another person?
For you, sex is about connecting.
When you do have sex with someone else, it’s in pursuit of a deeper emotional bond. Physical touch serves as a method for connecting and getting to better understand and appreciate your partner, bringing them satisfaction and pleasure.
Absolutely. Sex for me is about intimacy. It’s about connecting with my partner in a deeply primal, animalistic way. It’s about forgetting the rest of the world for a few minutes (or a few hours, hopefully).
You don’t get flirting.
Your friends love having meaningless conversations with strangers at the bar or through Tinder, cracking jokes or going off on elaborate, goofy tangents about nothing (even as the subtext is very clearly about something very specific). You’d rather talk about something and lose your patience with the flirty chats that pass as communication between people who are moving toward getting into each others’ pants. Friends will often have to point out to you after the fact that someone was flirting with you when you had no idea in the moment—it’s a language you just don’t speak.
Exactly. I do not know how to flirt. First dates with me must be awful. I just talk, and honestly I’m pretty bad at that most of the time. (Also, I must have boring friends because I don’t think any of them do the things mentioned in this article….)
You tend to date friends.
You’ve heard so many dating gurus warn against “falling into the friend zone,” but that’s your favorite place! The only serious relationships you’ve had begun as platonic friendships, where you’d gotten to know another person deeply before it unexpectedly progressed to something romantic. If the same friend had hit on you at a bar, there’s no way it would have gone anywhere. But a few months of hanging out as friends and learning what really makes them tick? Game on.
When this was more applicable, yes, for sure. My friend circle has changed rather drastically in the last few years, so this doesn’t really happen much anymore. But yes, I have definitely fallen for friends. I had one friend in particular…at first I wasn’t attracted to him at all, but once we got to know each other I did develop a sexual attraction towards him. And I was like, “where did THAT come from?”
You have sexual fantasies or enjoy erotic fiction.
Demisexuals may have very active sexual fantasy lives—whether enjoying erotic stories, watching porn, or creating their own mental fantasies. The difference is that it’s not just the physical act of sex that turns them on, but the whole context of the person they imagine having sex with—there’s a major emotional component to these fantasies that give them an extra charge for the demisexual person.
I have incredibly hot fantasies, if I do say so myself. One thing I’ve never understood is when people say, “my biggest fantasy is to have a threesome” or “I’ve always wanted to get tied up.” Those are just acts. I never fantasize about acts. I fantasize about people and environments and feelings and conversations and glances and moans and thrusts and gasps and intimacy and…yeah.
I don’t agree with every point on this list, but I agree with the perspective in general. I think I’m heading in the right direction.
I had quite an amusing time writing this. Hope you enjoyed reading 🙂