Demisexuality is Not…

Many people mistake demisexuality for other sexual behaviors, like abstaining from sex until marriage or simply being “sensible” about sex. However, demisexuality is not a choice: it is a sexual orientation. And like other sexual orientations, it is a distinct pattern of attraction, not a pattern of behavior. Here are some common misconceptions regarding demisexuality and what you can say to people who bring up these arguments.

…Only having sex with people you love.

Demisexuals can choose to have sex with whomever they please, whether they love them or not. That doesn’t make them any more or less demisexual. Many non-demisexuals only choose to have sex with people they love, and that doesn’t make them demisexual. Demisexuality is when sexual attraction—that is, sexual feelings directed at a person—only occurs after an emotional bond is formed with said person. Whether the demisexual chooses to have sex with them or not, and whatever reason they may have for making that choice, has absolutely nothing to do with the definition of demisexuality.

…Abstaining from sex until marriage.

Just like the above misconception, many people think demisexuals are waiting until marriage. However, sexual abstinence is usually a religiously motivated choice, and has nothing to do with whether the abstinent person feels sexual attraction or not. Many people feel sexual attraction, but choose to wait until marriage because of their values. This does not mean they are demisexual. On the other hand, there are many demisexuals who choose to engage in premarital sex.

…A moral, sensible, or noble decision.

Patterns of sexual attraction are not decisions, because you cannot choose who you are sexually attracted to. Demisexuals do not feel sexual attraction until they form a close emotional bond with someone. This has nothing to do with their morals; it’s just how they are wired to operate and there is nothing they can do about it. Sexual orientations are not sensible or noble; they just are. People who choose to abstain from sex due to their morals are actively making the decision to not act on their sexual feelings. Demisexuals can still choose to engage in premarital or casual sexual activity, and many do.

…How most people, or women, operate normally.

Most people feel sexual attraction far more often than demisexuals do and without the close emotional bond. They may be sexually attracted to strangers, celebrities, or people they don’t know well. However, they may choose not to act on that sexual attraction. Demisexuals, on the other hand, don’t have sexual feelings in the first place. They only have sexual feelings for people with whom they have formed a close emotional bond, which is usually not a lot of people. But anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can choose to have sex with someone regardless of whether or not they are attracted to them.

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