A Demisexual’s Guide to Sex

Some demisexuals may find themselves in a situation in which they want to try having sex or some other kind of sexual activity. This might happen regardless of their level of experience, as the experience can be different from partner to partner. Here are some thoughts you might want to consider before embarking on the experience, as well as preparations to make and things to expect.

Am I ready to have sex?

The first thing you want to do is examine your motivations for wanting to have sex. Is it something you genuinely want to try? Are you curious to see what it’s like? Or do you feel the slightest bit of pressure from your friends or partner? Are you only doing it to please them? Do want to do it because many of your peers have done it? Do you feel like you have to get it over with? Does it fit in with your values and goals for your life? Understanding these motivations may help you get a sense of how your experience will go, as well as your feelings towards it afterwards.

The next thing to consider is the person you are planning to have sex with. Does this person make you feel comfortable and at ease? Do you have a solid relationship, whether it is romantic or platonic? Do you trust this person? If something happens, like pregnancy or an STI, would you feel comfortable discussing it with this person? Are you prepared for the emotional risks of having sex, such as your feelings towards this person changing?

How do I prepare for having sex?

You’ll definitely want to have a conversation with your chosen partner about a number of things. For example, you might consider coming out to this person and explaining demisexuality before having sex with them. It’s not necessary, and if you don’t want to or feel like it’s not a big deal, then you don’t have to. Some people just feel better if the person knows.

If you do explain about demisexuality, they might express concern that you aren’t super enthusiastic about a certain activity, or you aren’t sexually attracted to them. You can explain that if you don’t want to do a particular activity, it’s not their fault. It’s simply how you feel about the activity, not them, so they don’t have to take it personally. If I hated rollercoasters, then it wouldn’t matter who offered to take me. There is no one I would be happy riding a rollercoaster with simply because I hate rollercoasters.

Boundaries are very important to discuss. You might want to say yes to one activity but no to another, and maybe to yet another. It’s totally okay to be very clear about it. For example: “I’m okay with making out, but I know I don’t want to have sex. I don’t know how I feel about oral sex, so let’s try it and see how it goes. If I feel uncomfortable, then I’ll let you know and we can stop.” You can use a yes/no/maybe list to give a quick overview of how you feel about different activities.

It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations, hopes, and fears with your partner. If you hope that oral sex will feel good and are particularly excited about it, tell them. Maybe they can look up techniques for how to make it a good experience. If you are unsure whether or not you will be good at giving oral sex, tell them that too. If you want to be penetrated by a penis but are nervous about it, let them know, so they can be particularly slow and gentle. It’s okay to be very specific about your feelings. Partners can’t read minds, so you have to tell them things. This information could even help ease apprehensions your partner may have, making it a better experience for both of you.

Make sure you have your safe sex supplies ready: condoms, birth control pills, whatever you need. There are websites like Scarleteen that elaborate on this better than I could, so check there if you are unsure. Even if pregnancy is not a risk, STIs might be, so be sure to discuss this issue with your partner. If they brush off your concerns, then you might want to reconsider having sex with them. Having safe sex is your right, so do not let yourself feel pressured or be convinced otherwise.

Finally, if it’s a first of anything, like your first time having sex ever, first time with this particular person, etc. don’t expect it to be amazing. Even for non-asexual spectrum people, the first time can be awkward and sometimes not really fun at all. Good sex comes from practice and experience and being comfortable with your partner. It’ll only become better when you start to learn more about each other. The first time is for learning, not for having a perfectly smooth experience. Also remember that pornographic depictions of sex are rarely accurate, so don’t base your expectations off of what you see in porn or other media, like movies and books.

What do I do during the sexual experience?

As I said previously, the first time is for learning. It can be romantic and sweet, if you want it to be, but don’t feel too much pressure to make it a perfect experience. You’ll want to communicate a lot while stuff is happening. It might not seem sexy to interrupt and say “hey, this doesn’t feel good,” but it’s also not sexy to put up with it either. Your partner should be one who makes you feel comfortable speaking up.

If you are doing something to your partner, ask them questions: “does it feel good when I do this? what about this? do you prefer to be touched here or here? is it okay if I touch you here?” To maximize enjoyment, you need to know what causes pleasure for both you and your partner, and since neither of you are mind readers, you have to use your words and explain your feelings. Don’t completely trust the reactions of your body. Sometimes shivers, arousal, and other signs are misleading or can be misinterpreted.

It’s okay to laugh, if things get silly. You don’t need to be serious about it. Part of the fun of sex is experimentation, and if you’re trying new things, there are bound to be humorous mishaps. Laughing can also break the tension and make you feel more comfortable with each other, so don’t be afraid to do it.

You might feel resistance during a particular activity. Trust your instincts here. Let your partner know that it was making you feel weird, and that you want to take a break, pick it up another day, or never do it again. You might also consider using a safe word, which in the BDSM community is a ridiculous word like “zebra” or “pineapple” that both of you can say and know to totally stop what you’re doing. You can then take a break to calm down and assess why you felt like you needed to use the safe word. Another kind of safe word is the stoplight system: “red” means to completely halt everything, “yellow” means to slow down and/or proceed with caution, and “green” means everything is going just fine.

It’s okay to want to try some activities but not others. It’s also okay to change your mind at any point. Even if you have done something with this person 100 times before, but don’t feel like doing it now (or ever), it’s okay to stop. Even if your partner is very close to orgasm, but you feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to stop (they can take care of themselves; you’re not depriving them). Your comfort is of utmost importance at all times, so make sure your partner is someone who will respect that.

How do I reflect on my sexual experience?

Some questions you might want to ask yourself (and discuss with your partner) include what you liked and didn’t like. How did you feel about the different activities? Is there something that you could change about an activity to make it more comfortable (ex: a different position)? Do you want to do the activities again? If so, what would you change about them? Is there a technique you want to try next time, or a different way of doing it?

Do you feel differently about your partner? How have your feelings towards them changed? They might even change later on, after you’ve had time to process the experience. Any feeling you have is okay. Don’t feel obligated to feel anything in particular. Do you feel differently about yourself? Do you still feel like your label is accurate (most of the time, the answer will be yes, as sexual behavior does not determine orientation)?

You might be disappointed if you found that you didn’t like something. You might have been hoping that you would like it so you could please your partner. But the first person you need to please is yourself. If you didn’t like something, that’s okay. If you didn’t like the whole experience at all, that’s okay too. You tried it, and you didn’t like it. You don’t owe anything to your partner, and you especially don’t need to feel obligated to like something for their sake. It’s okay to not like sex.

What do I do now?

Do you want to have another sexual experience with this person? Or would you prefer not to repeat it? Are you in a romantic relationship that you want to continue? Or are you just casually dating? Are you friends, and do you now want to keep it that way? Or do you want to change it from a platonic to a romantic relationship? You can talk to your partner about these things, or maybe consider your own answers first and then discuss it with them.

Your partner might want to try something new next time (if there is a next time). If they bring up kinks or desires that seem strange to you, try not to be judgmental. You certainly don’t have to participate if you don’t want to, but many people have difficulty discussing what they want sexually, so listening calmly and nonjudgmentally will help your partner feel more comfortable opening up to you. They should treat you with the same respect.

If you do want to establish or continue a relationship, remember that there are many kinds of relationships. Romantic relationships can be serious or casual or in between. Sexual relationships can be between friends, romantic partners, or just people who like to have sex with each other. Platonic relationships can be as low key as a casual friendship, or as intense as a queerplatonic partnernship. Think about the kind of relationship you want to have with this person.

If you want to have another sexual experience, consider revisiting and revising the yes/no/maybe list to see if your feelings about anything changed. Discuss this with your partner, if you want your next experience to be with them. If you have differing feelings about something, discuss how you can compromise, or mention that it’s off-limits if you don’t want to do it ever again. You set your boundaries about how you feel about all the activities, and all your feelings are valid. The ideal partner will respect that.