5 Damaging Misconceptions About Demisexuality
We live in a society where casual sex is a normal part of dating culture. There is, of course, nothing wrong with a casual hookup between consenting adults, but for demisexual folks (people who only experience sexual attraction after forming an emotional connection), dating and intimate relationships can be a bit harder to navigate -- in no small part because there are still a lot of misconceptions about what demisexuality is and is not. These misconceptions not only put a strain on our relationships but on our mental health as well.
5 Common Misconceptions About Demisexuality (And How They Impact Mental Health)
- Demisexuals are prudish or sex-averse. This is not true. Demisexuals simply do not experience sexual attraction in the absence of an emotional bond. It is a part of the asexuality spectrum and is as real an orientation as any other and has nothing to do with disliking or being put off by sex.
- Demisexuality is the same as celibacy. Celibacy is when a person desires sex but chooses to abstain for moral, ethical, or health reasons. Unlike celibacy, demisexuality is not a choice that people make.
- Demisexuality is a response to sexual trauma. This might be one of the most harmful assumptions about demisexuality that I've come across, especially as a survivor of sexual trauma. My orientation is not something that is "broken" in me due to my trauma, and to suggest otherwise feels very patronizing. Being demisexual is simply part of who I am and would be even if I had not experienced trauma.
- Demisexuals are afraid of intimacy. There are many different types of intimacy beyond physical. People who fear intimacy often have issues being vulnerable with others and becoming close to people. This is not the same thing as requiring an emotional connection in order to develop a sexual attraction.
- Demisexuals never have sex. Yes, we do. We just require different circumstances than allosexual (those who feel sexual attraction with or without an emotional bond) people do.
The Effects of Misconceptions About Demisexuality on Mental Health
Before I learned what demisexuality was, I assumed that my lack of interest in sexual partners was due to sexual trauma -- both at the hands of an intimate partner when I was very young and as residual religious trauma surrounding "purity." It turns out it's not, and it's harmful to assume otherwise.
I often feel out of place as a demisexual person and find it hard to relate to allosexual people. I think that this largely stems from the fact that many allosexual people don't even know that demisexuality (or asexuality, in general) is a real orientation and have difficulty understanding why someone does not crave sexual interaction as many people do. It's a lonely and alienating feeling.
I also have a lot of internal conflict over being both demisexual and a woman. At times I feel like I'm "proving" the stereotype that "women don't like sex." I feel "frigid," though I know I'm not. But it still weighs on me from time to time. I've learned that it's okay to carry these feelings but that it's important to work through them and put them into perspective so that they do not damage my sense of self. The truth is that there is no "box" when it comes to the complexities of human sexuality, though heteronormative society would like to pretend that there is.
I'm demisexual. I'm different -- maybe even a little strange -- and that's perfectly okay with me. It has to be if I'm going to keep my mental health intact.
Rose, N. (2021, July 10). 5 Damaging Misconceptions About Demisexuality, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2021/7/5-damaging-misconceptions-about-demisexuality
Author: Nori Rose Hubert
When my husband and I were casually dating, I asked him NOT to kiss my neck because I found it repulsive, and it made me feel violated. But now that we are happily married, I ask him TO kiss my neck, and when he does, I say, "MMM!"
Hello, how do I stop being Demisexual? Why did I become this? Is there a cure? I know it started from when I was very young, but why me?
thank you very much. clarice harumi yamaguchi,
I don't think anybody should feel bad about being demisexual! Sex is sooo much better when emotional attachment goes along with it. Societal pressure to be a "player", or not to be "frigid", is the real problem. They are wrong, not us. Quality is better than quantity!