The term demisexual comes from the orientation being at the halfway point on the asexuality spectrum – a continuum of sexualities ranging from completely asexual to non-asexual. This doesn’t mean to say that demisexuals have a half-sexuality but that they fall under the asexual umbrella because they do not experience sexual attraction to another person unless they have formed a strong emotional connection.
Demisexuality is most commonly seen in, but not confined to, romantic relationships. There is a misconception that demisexuality is a moral or admirable choice rather than an innate orientation. Demisexuals do not choose to abstain; they simply lack sexual attraction until they have formed a close, emotional relationship with a person.
In other words, they do not experience primary sexual attraction based on a person’s outward qualities but a secondary sexual attraction which stems from connection. Demis may also add a gender orientation to the label, as in ‘demi-heterosexual‘ or ‘demi-bisexual‘.
Origin & History
The term ‘demisexual‘ was first coined in 2006 by a user of an internet forum belonging to The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN). In the thread, sonofzeal describes his experience of not being sexually attracted to people without first forming an emotional connection. Sonofzeal felt neither asexual nor non-asexual and created the term to more accurately describe needing an emotional bond as a prerequisite to sexual attraction. By 2008, the term had entered common vernacular and started to have widespread use.
In Pop Culture
There is not much demisexual representation in the media but there have been many personal essays and articles published on the topic in recent years. Some Reddit users have suggested that the character Sheldon Cooper from the hit TV show Big Bang Theory might be demisexual because he has no sexual interest in women until he meets and becomes very close to his girlfriend.