Demisexual Dating: Unique Challenges Of Modern Dating

“Demisexual” might seem like just another catchphrase that allows people to define and label themselves as part of the sexuality spectrum. In fact, demisexuality is one of the most often dismissed sexual identifications because it applies to people who identify as straight as well as people who identify as being part of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

Bustle quoted the definition of a demisexual person from asexuality.org but also noted that the experience of being demisexual will inevitably present differently to different people.

“A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.”

In general, though, it is safe to say that it is only after a demisexual person has formed a deep emotional connection, whether based on friendship or romantic love, that the person can begin to experience sexual attraction and desire for that person.

When it comes to misunderstanding demisexuality, some people accuse people who identify as being demisexual of simply trying to fit in and create a label for themselves, despite the fact that they are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. For other people, demisexuality seems a little too close to a “normal” level of sexuality to deserve its own definition.

As Cara Liebowitz, writing for The Body Is Not an Apology, noted, when a person comes out as demisexual, the inevitable response of others, no matter how well-meaning, is that demisexuality is normal.

“The inevitable response is generally, ‘But I don’t think that anyone has sex unless they’re emotionally connected to the other person!'”

And as Leibowitz noted, this simply can’t be true. One-night stands are a well-known and well-recognized part of society and certainly feature to a huge extent in modern pop culture.

And in any event, being demisexual is all about sexual attraction, not simply the ability to sexually perform.

Apart from the problem of being misunderstood and having their sexuality recognized as a legitimate area of the asexuality spectrum, another problem that demisexual people face is one that has only cropped up in recent times.

As Bustle notes, one of the biggest indicators of a demisexual person is that many of their previous relationships have started out as friendships and have evolved over time. While this kind of “friends first” arrangement might have been relatively simple to orchestrate in years gone by, modern dating is not conducive to the idea of getting to know somebody before beginning a relationship with them.

“The way most relationships start out these days, there is no way to set up an arrangement whereby people meet each other with the intention of being friends and then waiting for however long to see if romantic feelings crop up.”

With so many people meeting online or through dating apps, dating, like many other aspects of modern life, is fast and to the point. Two people meet for coffee or a drink, and both are expected to form some kind of opinion about the other within the first 30 minutes to an hour. And while this arrangement may work well for some people, for demisexual people, it is all but impossible to work out in such a short period of time whether they will be able to form the kind of deep connection, incorporating trust, friendship, and the ability to relate on a soul level, that is required for feelings of sexual attraction to perhaps develop sometime in the future.

And with demisexuality being so misunderstood (or, at best, unheard of) even in this somewhat enlightened age, it is very difficult for a demisexual person to explain the subtleties of their sexual orientation to a person they have met online or through a dating app during the first 30 minutes of their conversation, especially in a crowded bar or noisy cafe.

laurel castillo | bi demisexual pic.twitter.com/lQ9hwjnrqT

— cat (@bluerosecrown) August 3, 2016

Even if they did attempt to explain the nuances of being demisexual, for most people who are not familiar with the term, the explanation would come across as a veiled rejection. Many people who have been on a terrible first date with someone they met online or through a dating app would know how awkward it can be to let the other person down gently, in this strangely artificial face-to-face dating scenario that has been created by modern technology, without creating a scene or hurting their feelings. So it stands to reason that if you were on a date with somebody and they started telling you that they don’t feel sexual attraction for people until they have established a deep connection with that person, you may feel that this is just their nice way of saying that they don’t find you sexually attractive.

Hopefully, it will just be a matter of time before demisexuality is a culturally-accepted and well-understood area on the sexuality spectrum. And who knows: perhaps one day there will be a dating app just for demisexual people.

[Photo by Fotolia/AP Images]