Which should come first, emotional connection or sexual attraction?

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Is emotional connection a prerequisite for you to be sexually attracted to a person? Is the concept of the so-called “love at first sight” unfathomable to you? Are you the odd one out among your peers because of your inability to love a complete stranger?

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which you are only sexually attracted to a person when you share an emotional connection. (Hille, Simmons, & Sanders, 2020) The prefix “demi” is derived from Latin, meaning “half”, indicating that demisexuality is halfway on the asexual spectrum. A person can identify as demisexual regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Demisexuality is not a conscious choice or to be picky in romantic relationships; it’s a fundamental orientation that requires you to have an emotional connection before you feel sexually attracted to a person. An emotional bond does not guarantee sexual attraction, but for demisexuals it is a prerequisite.

The amount of time a demisexual person takes to emotionally bond varies. For some, it can take a few years to develop a deep emotional connection, and for others, a few deep emotional experiences or good conversations can spark a passionate affection for another person. As a demisexual, you don’t have sex in mind when you go on a first date; you just want to get to know the person. In fact, nearly 67% of demisexuals are disinterested and/or repulsed by sex.

Signs you might be demisexual

You don’t have to put a label on everything, but knowing where you are on the sexuality spectrum will help you feel comfortable with who you are.

Here are some signs you might be interested in if you are demisexual.

Physical appearances do not deceive you.

It’s only when you start to find someone emotionally attractive that you feel physical attraction. Your idea of ​​beauty may not support typical ideas about beauty and beauty that most people have. That doesn’t mean you’re not looking for an aesthetically appealing partner. It’s just that physical desire is a secondary step in your attraction to your partner. The problem is that internet dating sites only offer pictures and a short personal biography of the other person for a first connection. As a demisexual, you have to feel a lot more than that to go on a date.

Your approach to dating is misunderstood and dismissed.

When you love someone, you take them seriously because you rarely feel that way about anyone. As you develop deep feelings for the person, you want to do your best to make things work. You are emotionally honest and vulnerable and would express your affection with tenderness. It’s completely normal and healthy, but in today’s fast-paced dating world, your authenticity may not be appreciated. Your expressiveness may even be unfairly considered “too much” for those not ready for emotional intimacy.

Intimacy for you doesn’t revolve around sex.

In pop culture, the start of a relationship is often depicted as sexual chemistry between two people. As a demisexual, such an unbalanced view of romantic attachments places your preferences outside the dating norm. You like sex, but it’s not what turns you on the most in a relationship. Being in a committed relationship with someone you have an emotional attachment to is what makes you happy. Your lack of interest in casual sex is widely misunderstood. As a demisexual, you enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with a stable partner. But you don’t project a “desire for sexual intimacy” typical of most people who actively date. For you, there are many ways to share an intimate moment, from listening to music to running errands. Because you don’t subscribe to the norm, your peers may blame you for being prudish, having impossible relationship standards, or being ignorant when someone shows interest in dating you. You might feel out of place when your friends talk about celebrity crushes and sexual desires.

What demisexuality is not

There are many misconceptions about demisexuality. The fact that you want to get to know the person first and then be sexually intimate is not a new idea. But what people don’t realize is that, just like other sexual orientations, demisexuality is not a choice. Most demisexual people are truly incapable of being attracted to another person unless there is an emotional connection.

A demisexual is not a prude; they are not afraid of sex or have a low libido. They do not abstain from sexual intimacy due to religious or moral beliefs.

Some gender identities on the asexual spectrum may look similar to demisexuality but are actually different. Asexuality is a polar sexual orientation in which there is no desire for physical intimacy, which is different from demisexuality. Sapiosexuals are like demisexuals in that both are attracted to people with specific qualities, but the basis of attraction is different.

to be demi-sexual

It’s not easy to find a partner who resonates with you and understands your desire for emotional connection before sexual intimacy. It can be tedious explaining yourself to others, who may quickly jump to conclusions and label you as indecisive or difficult.

Connecting on a deeper level is a process that takes time, courage and authenticity from both sides. As you take the time to get to know someone, the other person may lose interest in the relationship. Your natural responses can be misinterpreted as rejection or lack of interest.

However, while it’s tempting, try not to get sexually involved in a relationship until you’re ready in an effort to conform or please your partner. And when you’re in a relationship, you have no reason to feel guilty when you say “no” to what makes you uncomfortable.

Essential readings of attachments

Start by creating a safe space for yourself to clarify who you are and your values, possibly with a therapist or trusted friend. From there, you have a base to work from. When you enter the world of relationships, try to be as honest and clear as possible, knowing that there is absolutely no shame in having particular sexual preferences.

Trust each other

Over the past decade, a new discourse on sexuality and gender identity has emerged in society. It is a discourse that stands out and challenges this old binary male/female, straight/gay and LGBT/straight framework. (Cover 2018) This new taxonomy has provided a whole new way of thinking about sexuality and gender identifications, and it can be totally liberating.

You have the right to live your life your way. Just because your preferences are outside the norm doesn’t mean you’re less entitled to joy and fulfillment. As much as anyone else, you can and deserve to have comfort, ease, and happiness in sex and romance. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but you do owe yourself a chance to live your truth.

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Keith P. Plain