What It Means To Be Demisexual

What happens when you don't feel sexually attracted to someone unless you form an emotional connection to them?

Me and You | ELLE UK

Last week, Tinder launched almost 40 new gender and sexual orientated definition options, welcoming users of all demographics – be it transgender, gender-nonconforming, bigender or pangender – into a social dating community that previously disregarded just how wide-ranging sexual identities can be.

The same week, Washington Post writer Meryl Williams wrote a piece about finding her own sexuality and what life was like being a 'demisexual'.


According to resource website, demisexuality.org, the term 'demisexuality' can be defined as:

'a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond.'


'Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity,' it added.

Explaining what this means for her, Williams wrote: 'In my dating life, I've often described my sexuality as 'taking a while to warm up.'

'Years ago, I would feel guilty for frustrating the people I was dating. I didn't want to feel as if I needed to explain to people why I wasn't ready to be intimate… I generally put intellect and sense of humour over how 'attractive' someone is.

'If a guy doesn't say anything offensive and makes me laugh on a first date, I'll probably go on a second. Still, I know that a person's positive attributes don't necessarily guarantee that a physical attraction will follow. I just have to be patient and see what happens.'

As the website points out, unlike sexual behaviour, sexual attraction can't be controlled or forced to happen.

Contrary to asexuality – where someone feels little to no sexual attraction or interest in sex – demisexuals are capable of feeling sexual attraction but only when they form a deep emotional bond with another person.


Struggling to identify with her sexuality for years, the writer details how she came across the term 'demisexuality' on Twitter and started an investigation into what it meant – a process which finally helped her come to terms with her own sexual orientation.

Despite dating in a society that is increasingly more open to the 'hook up culture' from online dating, Williams admits that:

Figuring out that I am demisexual has been a relief, and it hasn't changed much about how I date. I've never let physical attraction guide my dating decisions.

'I'm just glad that a term for my sexuality exists, even if it's one I'll probably have to explain to my future partners. As I continue to date, that conversation will probably serve as a decent screening process,' she concludes.

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