Demisexuality can refer to people of any sexual orientation: they can be gay, straight, bisexual, or pansexual, and may have any gender identity. The prefix “demi” means half — which can refer to being halfway between sexual and asexual. Demisexuality can be a type of graysexuality.

Demisexuality means that a person, for instance, may not feel sexually attracted to a person they randomly see at a coffee shop, but if they were to start talking to that person and form an emotional connection, they might then become sexually attracted over time. The earliest instance of the term demisexuality dates back to 2006, according to, when it was coined in the “Asexuality Visibility & Education Network” forums. By 2008, the word ‘demisexuality’ had become more mainstream in the modern lexicon, likely as a result of others closely identifying with the term.

If you feel like this might be the type of sexuality you are on, keep on reading to discover everything there is to know about demisexuality.

Everything you need to know about demisexuality


An important distinction

Demisexuality, which falls on the asexuality spectrum, differs from simply wanting to wait for a deep bond to form before having sex with someone; rather, it’s more akin to the experience of being asexual until that type of connection forms, at which point the sexual attraction extends only to that person.

While it’s true that many people do want to experience an emotional connection to another person before engaging in any sort of sexual intimacy, this isn’t considered the same thing as being demisexual. The difference is that those who identify as demisexual cannot feel attracted to people they don’t already have an emotional bond with or know on a deeper level.

Is it a sexual orientation?

According to resource website, the meaning of ‘demisexuality’ can be defined as: “A sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond”. But demisexuality describes the circumstances in which a person experiences attraction.

Who the person is attracted to can vary. Demisexuals may consider themselves heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, polyamorous, or pansexual. Regarding gender, a demisexual person might identify as male, female, agender, or otherwise nonbinary. With something as complex and multi-layered as human sexuality, it makes sense that one word doesn’t capture someone’s full experience as a sexual being.

How to understand if you are demisexual

Language helps us describe our experiences, so if folks find the definitions of demisexuality or read the stories of demisexual folks and feel like it resonates with them, they might decide to identify as demisexual themselves. You might be asking yourself these questions if you’re wondering whether you might be demisexual: is sexual attraction important to me in general?

Is sexual attraction important to me in the relationships I have or want to have? Who have I felt sexually attracted to in the past? Did I feel attracted to them in the beginning as I was getting to know them, or not until later? Do I ever feel attraction to strangers or people I don’t know well? How well do I have to know someone before I feel interested in them?

Many people do choose to only have sex with people they have a bond with — whether it’s marriage, a committed romantic relationship, or a happy and trusting friendship. The difference is that demisexuality isn’t about having sex. It’s about the ability to feel sexual attraction to specific people. You can be sexually attracted to someone without having sex with them, and you can have sex with someone without actually feeling attracted to them.

What it means to be demisexual in practice

Being demisexual looks different to different people, but generally speaking if you’re demisexual, you might relate to the following feelings or scenarios: you seldom feel sexually attracted to people you see on the street, strangers, or acquaintances. You have felt sexually attracted to someone you were close to (such as a friend or romantic partner). Your emotional connection with someone affects whether you feel sexually attracted to them.

You are not aroused or interested in the thought of having sex with someone you don’t know well, even if they’re aesthetically beautiful or have a pleasant personality. That said, all demisexuals are different, and you might be demisexual even if you don’t relate to the above. Someone can even be a ‘closeted’ demisexual. It means that they desperately want to fit in with the modern dating climate and be that person that can just be in the moment, go with the flow, and push themselves to have sex with someone they don’t know very well.

Maybe a friend casually mentioned that they identify as demisexual, or perhaps someone came to you in confidence to share this intimate detail about themselves. It could also be possible that someone you’re romantically interested in has told you that they’re demisexual. Whatever the case, it’s important to be sensitive, accepting, and patient.