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The Struggle of the Demisexual in the Age of Tinder

‘Part of me doubted I’d ever settle down with someone’

First up, what does ‘demisexual’ mean? Simply put (and oversimplified), a demisexual is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction to someone until they have developed a strong emotional connection with them. And while this might sound no different to wanting to wait until you’ve had a handful of solid dates with someone new before getting physical, but for the demisexual it can take months, if not years, of developing an emotional relationship with someone until they feel any sexual attraction at all.

Considering that, for many of us, a hook-up is a swipe away and we’re comfortable trying on near-strangers for size, it can be incredibly daunting for a demisexual to navigate themselves through the age of Tinder. Here, four demisexuals share their experiences on Reddit and give some insight into what it’s like.

1  ‘For years I had no idea why I wasn’t “crushing on people” like others were. I wasn’t sure why I was uncomfortable trying to imagine being with anyone I found attractive, be it personality, appearance or even a lovely combination there of.

‘I never had a shortage of guys offering, and what’s worse, I am naturally horny/wet almost 24 seven. Unfortunately, despite my urges, the thought of sleeping with these cute guys somehow didn’t do it for me. I became something like the living breathing Ice Doll. I never dated, never kissed, never slept with anyone.

‘Then, one day (age 19) I accidentally met my SO on an art site. We got to know one another for some time, and FINALLY I knew what it was to feel this particularly close to someone, dated for a little over a year, finally came to terms with the alien sensation of wanting him sexually, been living together now for a few years. (Fucking like rabbits, wearing him out sadly.)

‘I had thought my wires were just crossed. Before my SO, I was happily plotting the life of a single crazy cat person, because part of me doubted I would ever settle down with someone. Lo and behold!’

2 ‘As a demisexual, I find that it’s very hard to be successful in the dating scene since the majority of people you get to know are heterosexual people who don’t necessarily need a connection to feel attracted – and in fact, for a normal heterosexual it seems that a friendly relationship wears them off their attraction instead of building up like it happens to me.

‘For me, I get interested in someone for romantic feelings, and with getting to know the person and with their proximity, eye contact, personality and intellect, my attraction builds up. But it seems that for the most hetero-normative people, this works exactly the opposite. It seems their attraction is mainly based by primary traits like looks, and then it might wear off with the more you get to know the person. So no wonder it’s extremely hard to find a partner. Unless you can get a demisexual to date, you’re going to be dating with people for which their attraction “pace” is reversed from yours.’

3 ‘In my experience, it’s both great and confusing. I don’t have to worry about random crushes or temptations to cheat on my SO because I’m completely incapable of seeing anyone else as more than just a person. However, it is frustrating to have to have people explain attraction to me, and I can’t really participate in casual conversations about sexuality or attraction. I only actually defined my sexuality a few months ago- for most of my life I just knew that i didn’t feel the same way towards the opposite (or same) sex as anyone else.’

4  ‘I find that I simply don’t have any kind of physical attraction for anyone unless I’ve formed a strong emotional bond first. I thought there was something wrong with me all through junior high because I never was all “OMG look at how HAWT soandso is!” like other girls my age. I can appreciate aesthetic attractiveness, but more like someone appreciates a painting or a sculpture than a potential mate.

‘The hardest part is that your only dating pool is friends, and you don’t choose friends based on mate preference. You also are not going to be attracted to every friend. I don’t ever have more than a few friends at a time, so I’d basically given up on ever being in a relationship early on. I didn’t have a serious relationship until I was in my late 20s. I’m married as of July 13th of this year. My husband and I were friends for three years before I had any kind of attraction to him. I’ve been attracted to two other friends previously, but never pursued anything. Gender doesn’t seem to matter.’

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