The only thing that makes you a demisexual is if you feel sexual attraction only to people with whom you have a close bond. Unfortunately, doubt is part of the demisexual experience, and many questioning people find themselves wondering if something about them means they can’t identify as demisexual. Here are some common behaviors and characteristics which do not invalidate demisexuality.
Some demisexuals enjoy masturbating for various reasons: because it feels good, because it’s relaxing or helps them sleep, or because for them, it’s a body maintenance thing. Masturbation doesn’t involve other people, so it definitely doesn’t invalidate demisexuality.
I enjoy having sex.
Sexual attraction is different from sexual behavior. You can have sex even if you’re not sexually attracted to the person, after all. Demisexuals who enjoy sex, who comprise about one third of demisexuals, enjoy it for a variety of reasons: it feels good, they like feeling intimacy with their partner, they have kinks they want to indulge, and many more. It is totally okay to identify as demisexual if you enjoy having sex.
I am repulsed by sex.
About one third of demisexuals find sex repulsive, in varying degrees. They are disgusted by it, want nothing to do with it, or don’t like to see depictions of it. Some even find nudity and genitalia repulsive. Even if they feel sexual attraction, some demisexuals never want to act on that attraction. This is a valid reaction, and you can definitely identify as demisexual if you are sex repulsed.
I watch porn.
Porn is often just fodder for the imagination. Some people are visual and require stimulation when they masturbate. It doesn’t mean they’re sexually attracted to the porn actors, it just means they’re aroused by depictions of sex. Many demisexuals who watch porn like to imagine themselves in the situations depicted. There are demisexuals who enjoy porn in the community.
I have sexual fantasies.
Fantasies are a way for our brains to try out scenarios we might never want to act on. Fantasizing about something doesn’t mean you’d want it in real life. Think of it this way: if a straight girl fantasized about having sex with a girl, would that make her bisexual? No! It would just mean she thought about having sex with a girl and maybe it seemed appealing in her head. Demisexuals, like other people, fantasize about all sorts of things, and none of these fantasies invalidates their identities.
I like reading erotic fiction.
Just like with porn, some people need stimulation when they masturbate, or just like reading steamy fanfiction. Again, it doesn’t mean they’re attracted to the people involved: it just means they are aroused by depictions of sex. Or maybe they just find the idea of their favorite characters having sex amusing.
I find celebrities or fictional characters attractive.
There are different types of attraction, and many demisexuals find celebrities aesthetically attractive. Maybe you see a beautiful painting and just want to keep looking at it—that doesn’t mean you want to have sex with it! It’s possible to feel the same way about people.
Alternately, if you’re a hardcore fan and have immersed yourself in the life of your particular celebrity or character, you might feel that you’ve developed a kind of emotional intimacy with them. Perhaps you’ve learned about the meaning behind their song lyrics from interviews, or learned about their innermost thoughts from one of their novels. That’s a kind of emotional connection which can lead to sexual attraction.
I have kinks or fetishes.
There are kinky demisexuals out there. It’s possible to enjoy tying someone up or wearing leather without a sexual component. Professional dominatrixes don’t have sex with their clients, after all—it’s all about the eroticism one can create without involving sexual attraction or sex. It’s also possible to enjoy BDSM as a way to become more emotionally intimate with someone. Of course, some demisexuals do enjoy the sexual aspect of kink, and participate in it for that reason, regardless of whether they’re sexually attracted to their partner or not.
I’m celibate due to my religious beliefs.
Your religion and your demisexuality are two different things. You are demisexual by nature and celibate by choice. It’s just that these two things coincide. It doesn’t mean you’re not actually demisexual. It just means that you don’t necessarily have to actively fight sexual urges like other, non-demisexual members of your religion.
I am disabled or chronically ill.
Maybe you’re worried that your disability or illness is what’s causing your demisexuality. Maybe you’re worried that if you weren’t disabled or ill, you wouldn’t actually be demisexual. It can be hard to untangle these things, but don’t worry—it’s not necessary. In the asexual community, disabled or chronically ill demisexuals are totally welcome and their identities accepted as valid. It is totally okay to identify as demisexual if this applies to you. It doesn’t make you less of a demisexual or a fake demisexual or anything like that. All demisexual identities are real.
I have experienced sexual assault or abuse.
Some demisexual victims of sexual assault or abuse find themselves struggling with trusting partners or feeling negatively about sex, even if they didn’t before. Or maybe they were demisexual before, and are now doubting whether they really were. Whatever the case, demisexual survivors are welcome in the community, regardless of their experiences. Being a demisexual survivor is a valid identity, and you will find support from all corners of the community.
I have depression, anxiety, or another mental illness, or am on the autism spectrum.
Same as above—regardless of why you identify as demisexual, your identity is valid. Neurodivergent demisexuals are fully welcome in the community, and may use the label as long as they find it useful for understanding themselves and feeling secure in their identities.