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Sex + Relationships

Can Demisexuals Have Casual Sex?

Now that the school year is starting up again, this time of year is traditionally when students tend to get the most ~freaky~. There are celebrations all around to welcome everyone back and have a heck of a good time before we hit the books again. Maybe you’ll have a game night or slam some drinks down. Maybe you’ll even take someone home from the bar. I never understood that, even though I’d engaged in it myself, but I desperately wanted to.

If you’re anything like me, the first couple of energy-filled weeks cause some anxiety. I do like to go out and get hella silly, but I’m also not someone that has a fully charged battery of hype to spread 24/7. But my focus here is on casual sex and one-night stands—a topic that took me a long time to figure out. My first week back at school this year, I actually didn’t engage in any such activities for two reasons. First, I’m not having casual sex because I’ve been in a committed relationship for nearly a year. Second, I had to pledge full sobriety as an orientation leader (or “soph”) this week, so I only heard the stories from my roommates in the mornings. 

However, last year during the first week back, neither of those reasons to back out of the excitement applied. I was excited to reunite with my roommates, dress up and embarrass myself with my lack of skill playing various drinking games. I wanted to let loose, I wanted to lose my voice incorrectly belting the lyrics of songs playing at the club. I had fun, I felt comfortable, but boy did my bones shake when my roommates brought someone home at the end of the night and I hadn’t even kissed anyone. 

For some, being the type to engage in casual sex isn’t a simple box to check off or not. It can be much more confusing. Did I feel pressure to have my own wild story to tell the next morning? Maybe. Did I get frustrated with myself, blame myself for being too picky? Yes. Because why else wouldn’t I just have a good time with someone I found attractive? I wondered why I was holding back, reminding myself that I had done it before. It took me a long time to realize that every instance of casual sex I’d experienced, I didn’t really have a good time, the guy wasn’t the reason I was turned on, and I was actually quite sad afterwards. I knew I couldn’t be the only one, so I did some searching. 

The more I read about demisexuals, the more I found myself identifying with the term. According to the Demisexual Resource Centre on hellogiggles.com, demisexuality is defined as “a sexual orientation in which one feels sexual attraction only after forming an emotional connection.” However, something about this definition still personally didn’t add up. What did check out was that I don’t feel any sexual attraction to anyone unless some sort of emotional connection is established first. But what about all of the impersonal, casual sex I’d had up until I got into a relationship? Some people I’d slept with were boyfriends or friends with benefits, but most were just people I’d happened to get in bed with. I initially thought that maybe I just became demisexual over the years. But the more I reflected on it, the more I realize that it’s something that’s been a part of me for years, but that I only internally labeled recently. I’ve also since realized that there’s actually no reason for demisexuals not to have casual sex.

I found that most of the casual sex I had wasn’t spontaneous. I’ve only had sex with a complete stranger one time, but those that weren’t boyfriends or friends with benefits were still people I knew previously. If I already knew who was going to a party beforehand, sometimes I would just decide that I would let a guy I thought was objectively good looking hit on me. I even had Tinder for a while, but would go on a date or two before I had sex with any of them. I never had sex with a guy I met on Tinder the first time meeting them, but when I finally did sleep with them, I can guarantee you that I didn’t feel any real sexual attraction because there wasn’t a strong enough emotional bond established. 

It took me a long time to understand why I couldn’t relate to my friends in high school swooning over the new hottie in class, so imagine my silent confusion as I tried to understand having sex with someone I barely knew. But after intense research on demisexuality, I finally cracked the code. Sleeping with someone I didn’t have a connection with didn’t matter because it wasn’t actually about the emotional connection—it was about fulfilling a physical need. Sometimes, it was just the physical craving, a mere mimicry of the touch of someone special to me. I wanted the kind of physical closeness you only get from having sex. Like I said before, my casual sexual encounters would often be followed by the blues. I was happy that I fulfilled a craving, but it felt empty to me without the connection. I was also incredibly naive, hoping that the casual sex I had would help me find a guy to form a real romantic relationship with. Of course, my teenage self ended up very disappointed. The only thing that didn’t motivate any of the encounters was sexual attraction.

It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t attracted to the people I was casually sleeping with. Attraction often gets mixed up with thinking someone is good looking. I can look at someone and admit that they have really nice hair and incredible eyes but not be sexually attracted to them. We don’t often differentiate sexual attraction from romantic attraction, so we often assume that, to have sex with someone, sexual attraction has to be in play. 

I think most people can agree that sex is best when it’s with someone you have a connection with. I also assume that some would argue that because I prefer sex with someone special doesn’t mean I have to label it with a specific sexuality. But the first time I felt sexual attraction was when I first started bonding with my first boyfriend, also the first person I ever slept with. I didn’t feel sexual attraction to anyone again until I started sleeping with my second boyfriend. I actually kept going back to my first boyfriend while I was single, just to feel that very rare sexual attraction and passion. The important distinguisher here is the people I had an emotional connection with were able to turn me on themselves rather than just the act of having sex. Having sex with people I found special was an eye-opener. I finally realized that I was missing something in my casual encounters, even if I didn’t know what it was for a long time. After that, casual sex stopped feeling worth it. 

So if anyone is confused about how to feel about casual sex, especially while it’s happening all around you during the first week back at school, I get you. There is no reason for demisexuals to be abstinent. They have casual sex for plenty of other reasons that I haven’t touched on, but it definitely isn’t motivated by sexual attraction unless there is an emotional connection established first. If my experience and the definition of demisexuality resonates with you, hopefully I’ve put your confusion at ease for when you decide to get freaky next.

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Naomi is a fourth-year student at Western University, pursuing an Honours Specialization degree in Media Information and Technoculture and a minor in Creative Writing. She is also a Senior Editor for Her Campus Western. Naomi enjoys writing short scrips, blogging about nonsense, and binge reading psycho-thrillers. Her most acknowledged skills are funding the entire dairy farm with her love of cheese and speaking Romanian at inappropriate times.
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