It can be tricky to date as a demisexual, because you have to have a strong emotional bond with someone before finding them sexually attractive. Developing that bond usually takes time, but casual dating may be too fast-paced to allow that. However, there are several strategies demisexuals can use to find a partner if they want a relationship.
Methods for Finding Partners
Online dating works for many asexual spectrum people because of the low investment. You can message multiple people and see if you click online, without making the trek to meet them in person. In addition, you can go through the questions they answered (on OKCupid) to screen them and get a sense of how compatible you would be. OKCupid now even lets you list your orientation as demisexual.
It’s okay to tell someone that you want to develop a friendship first. Many people I spoke with were actually amenable to this. You can even go into it telling people you just want to make friends and aren’t actively looking for a relationship. Some people are looking for a relationship immediately, so you can tell them that you aren’t, and both of you can waste less time.
Another method is to simply make more friends, meet their friends, and really expand your social circle. By hanging out with lots of different people, you can see who you click with and get to know them in a low pressure, non-romantic setting. You might eventually find romantic or sexual feelings brewing for one of the people you’ve met.
Coming Out to a Partner
You might end up at a point where you are considering whether or not to come out to your partner. First, remember that you are not obligated to come out to them. Some people just don’t feel it is necessary to come out to anyone, and that’s okay. If your demisexuality involves being sex-repulsed, or wanting to wait a long time until you feel ready to have sex, then it’s okay to explain those things to your partner without mentioning demisexuality.
There are generally two major periods in a relationship when you might want to come out. The first is when your relationship is less established: perhaps you are dating, and unsure of whether or not you want to be committed. Or maybe you’re just talking and aren’t even sure whether or not you want to date. In this case, it can be worrisome to come out because you have less of a sense of how receptive the person might be.
In such a situation, you will want to discuss what demisexuality means for the future of your relationship. It might mean that you won’t feel sexual attraction for a while, or it might not ever show up. It might mean that you don’t want to have sex ever, or you might want to eventually, but you aren’t sure when. There are a lot of uncertainties at this stage of the relationship. If your partner is impatient and doesn’t make an effort to understand you when you discuss these issues, they might not be the right person for you.
The second type of situation is a more well-established, committed relationship. It can be scary to come out in this setting as well, because you might not be sure of how your partner will take it. Worse, you might be afraid that they won’t want to be with you anymore. However, the key to remember is that you being demisexual doesn’t change anything about your relationship, because you just found a word to describe how you always have been.
If anything, discovering demisexuality can improve a relationship. You can find strategies for figuring out the sexual aspect of the relationship, connect with other demisexuals to discuss their relationship experiences, and feel more confident in yourself. All of these will translate into a healthier relationship and are things you can explain to your partner.
Regardless of who you come out to, be sure to share your resources so they can learn about demisexuality too. You can take advantage of my For Partners page as well as my Coming Out As Demisexual article. A good partner will be interested in educating themselves so they can learn more about this aspect of you and better understand you.
It’s okay to go at your own pace in a relationship, and your partner should be willing to respect it. Be clear about your boundaries—it’s okay to be specific. If you’re okay with kissing now but not oral sex, say so. If you want to experiment with sex but aren’t sure whether you’ll ever want to have it again, so that. Your partner should be willing to respect these boundaries as well.
Make sure you make your wants and needs known, and encourage your partner to do so as well. If your partner wants to try a certain activity, they should tell you so you can figure out how you feel about it. It is always okay to be clear about your feelings, even if they’re unclear. If you’re not sure about something, say so. I have more information about navigating sex as a demisexual in A Demisexual’s Guide to Sex.