Here's The Difference Between Identifying As Demisexual Vs. Asexual

Sexuality is a whole spectrum of colors, feelings, genders, identities, and orientations, each differing from the other in ways both minor and major. Even sexual orientations that fall under the same broad umbrella can have differentiations, and demisexuality is one of them. Although it falls on the asexuality spectrum, demisexuality differs from identifying as asexual or an ace. In fact, the asexuality spectrum is much bigger than you might think. The umbrella of asexuality alone is home to almost 150 unique types of asexuality, per

With all these labels, it can seem almost impossible to find the one that suits you perfectly. But you should know that these terms are ever-evolving, so even if you can't find one right now, don't panic. Labels can be confusing, to say the least. Speaking to Very Well Mind, Dr. Margaret Seide, a board-certified psychiatrist, aptly explained why it can be so hard to put yourself in a box: "With something as complex and multi-layered as human sexuality, it makes sense that one word doesn't capture someone's full experience as a sexual being."

Broader terms aren't always able to accurately capture the nuances of the ever-changing, complex, and varied human emotions and feelings either. This could be why we've seen several highly-specific terms such as novosexual, abrosexual, neptunic, and numerous others gaining traction in recent years. Even popular beliefs are constantly being challenged and changed. Thus, what was once considered a disorder by the DSM is now correctly labeled as asexuality. 

What it means to identify as an asexual or a demisexual

At its core, asexuality is generally defined as an absence or lack of sexual attraction. When they spoke to Seventeen, the public training manager at The Trevor Project, Keygan Miller, clarified: "While most asexual people desire emotionally intimate relationships, they are not drawn to sex as a way to express that intimacy." Although this is the basic meaning of asexuality, there are several hues to it.

An asexual person, or ace, can be many things. Despite having a lack of sexual desires, they may still choose to engage in sexual activities to satiate their libido or make their partners feel good. They can also be aromantic, meaning they don't feel romantic attraction for anybody or they can experience romantic attraction without sexual feelings. On the other hand, demisexuals do experience sexual desires, but only for the people with whom they're emotionally bonded. 

Ted Lewis, the youth and families director at the Human Rights Campaign, acknowledged to Seventeen that asexuality and demisexuality may appear the same on the surface. Further, "It's not uncommon for demisexual people to identify as asexual, and then once they get into those closer, emotional relationships, realize that demisexual is a better understanding of who they are." Lewis added that a demisexual is far more likely to find a partner by joining communities that are centered around common interests like fan clubs or music classes. 

What's the difference between an asexual and a demisexual?

Many seem to have a hard time differentiating between asexuality and demisexuality because they're centered around similar beliefs that go against the long-established norms of sexual attraction. Even the demisexual flag features the color grey to mark a difference — or the grey area — between sexual attraction and asexuality. However, there are two key differences between these identities. The major distinction between the two is the feeling of sexual desire, which asexuals don't experience while demisexuals do. This doesn't make asexuals celibate, though. 

An asexual naturally doesn't feel any sexual attraction, which makes the act of identification involuntary, while a celibate feels sexual attraction but chooses not to act on the impulse. Another difference lies in the reason for attraction. An asexual person can feel attracted to strangers for several non-sexual reasons, like intellectual or romantic purposes, but a demisexual typically cannot. Lidia Buonaiuto, a woman who identifies as demisexual, discussed her experience with The Guardian, sharing: "My sexual fantasies are never physical, it will be about a guy coming over to me in a library, having the same favorite author, talking, bonding."

Buonaiuto continued, "I can't feel an urge for anyone without that, and it's so rare for me to find it at all." Even the demisexual experience differs from person to person because everybody experiences sexual attraction at varying levels of emotional connection. Suffice it to say, as with any sexual orientation, nobody fits into just one box.