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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of identity: it’s what defines how we perceive, feel, and behave around other genders. In the past few decades, humanity has made immense progress in acknowledging the diversity of the sexuality spectrum, but there is still much work to be done. Demisexuality has struggled to be recognized as its own distinct label, and the root cause is a lack of adequate education. In the spirit of Pride Month, let this guide be a tool to help you understand the ins and outs of being demisexual, and hopefully, bust any predisposed myths.

What is Demisexuality?

There are various sexual orientations, but even within the larger labels, there can be some diversity. Demisexuality is within the asexual spectrum, and is defined as only being able to experience sexual attraction once a strong emotional connection has been formed. This does not define WHO you are attracted to, but rather WHEN you experience attraction. A demisexual can still be straight, gay, bi, or pansexual; the only condition is they need a deep emotional connection to be sexually attracted to particular people.

Isn’t Demisexuality Just Being “Normal”?

It can be easy to mistake demisexuality for just prioritizing personality over physicality, but the crucial issue is for demis, there are no preferences. We cannot choose to restrain our sexual feelings for someone if none exists. Allosexuals (those who experience standard sexual attraction), utilize sex as a way to become intimate, but for demis, sex only becomes of interest after intimacy has been reached. In a way, demisexuals are “asexual until they’re not.” 

Aesthetic vs Romantic vs Sexual Attraction

What if I told you that a demisexual can find someone “sexy” but not want to have sex with them? Or that a demi could develop a crush but not have sexual fantasies of them? It sounds unreasonable, but it’s all based on the differences in attraction types. An asexual can find someone beautiful (aesthetic attraction), or want to date/cuddle/kiss someone (romantic attraction), but have no desire to have sex (sexual attraction). With demis, the same constraints can be applied, except with an emotional connection triggering sexual attraction. It is important to recognize that each of these attraction types is independent of the other. Just because you find a painting beautiful doesn’t mean you want to have sex with it, right? Or just because you have sex with someone doesn’t mean you love them? So with demisexuals, they can easily find Timothee Chalamet just as charming as the next person, but they cannot fathom being sexually intimate with him instantly.

Attraction vs Libido

Is someone still considered demisexual if they watch porn? Or if they enjoy having lots of sex? YES!!! The amount of sex you have, or how much sexual energy you possess comes down to libido. A demisexual can have as much libido as an allosexual, it just depends on the circumstances when it gets triggered. Who or when you become attracted to someone has nothing to do with how much you masturbate or watch porn. Sexual energy is something very personal and unique to each individual, and quite frankly, is present within us well before we become sexually active. This is why a person can already have a good idea of how much sex they enjoy even if they’re a virgin, because exploring your sexual libido is only something you can figure out for yourself.

Demisexuality is as real as any other sexual orientation: we too handle the struggles of the modern dating world, the confusion of sifting through our sexuality, the love and support for each other on our sexual journeys. Demisexuality is also a label that one can choose to use for themself or not. In the end, sexuality will always have variation and modulation for each individual, and not every word stated in this article has to relate to every demi. If you are still not convinced that demisexuality is real, that is ok. It is just a label after all. The only purpose here is to understand, sympathize, and accept those for their differences. 

Gayathri is a third-year Biotechnology major and director of the UCD Her Campus Digital Media team. She loves to write, work out, sing, and sleep (college students need more of that nowadays). When not indulging in her boba addiction, she likes to wind down by watching hilarious Youtube vids with a hot cup of tea.