The Demisexual Disqualification.

When deep friendship is your only path to falling in love and falling in love is your only path to physical intimacy.

The prefix ‘A’ means ‘absence of’ not ‘averse to’

One of the earliest and most familiar versions of this inaccurate trope being applied to sexuality is the reductive assumption homosexuals hate members of the opposite sex or gender and are turning to relationships with members of their own gender simply to hide. Psychological damage or hatred are viewed as more logical than the absence of something assumed to be universal. The asexual spectrum is not about the varying degrees to which people are against sex, that would be an ‘antisexual spectrum’, it is about the partial to complete absence of feelings of sexual attraction.

Sexual Attraction vs. Romantic Attraction

This is the one area of common ground the current general culture has with the asexual spectrum, the separation of sexual and romantic interests. While the cultural push towards the casualizing of sexual interactions does divest sex from guaranteed necessities of romantic connection for those on the asexual spectrum this distinction is even more important. In fact many on the asexual spectrum speak just as dedicatedly about an aromantic spectrum as they do about the asexual one. Some people on the asexual spectrum are capable of both forms of attraction, some of neither, some of only one form, some when only both are present, some as long as only one is present, the kaleidoscope of conditional combinations can easily become a bit of a rabbit hole. The key thread is that for those on the asexual spectrum sexual attraction and romantic attraction are very distinct and different forces and can have very different levels of presence.

Attraction vs. Arousal

At first glance these may seem to be pretty much the same thing but for those on the asexual spectrum they represent very different impulses. In the context of asexuality attraction refers reactive feelings, either sexual or romantic, inspired by and targeted at a specific and actual physical person. Arousal refers to the experiencing of sexual or romantic feelings apart from any literal or particular target, the simple raw instinctive sensations. Where it can start to get really confusing is that some on the asexual spectrum have strong and fully functioning libidos it’s just that those feelings just never attach or target an actual physical person.

Primary Attraction vs. Secondary Attraction

This distinction refers to attraction, either sexual or romantic, which is felt pretty much immediately upon encountering someone, primary attraction, as opposed to the attraction which develops over time as the mental and emotional bond strengthens and deepens, secondary attraction. The idea of falling in love with a friend may seem like a storied and idealized notion but for some on the asexual spectrum they are not capable of and never experience primary attraction and are only capable of secondary attractions. This is the territory of demisexuals.

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

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