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What does demisexual mean and how does the flag look?

Robyn Exton

Jan 16, 2023

What does demisexual mean and how does the flag look?

In our alphabet soup that we love to cook up so much, it seems there are always new things to discover. If you find yourself on this page, you’re probably asking what demisexuality means and how to add it to your recipe book. Demisexuality represents a growing community of people who may require strong emotional bonds before they can feel sexual attraction. Hey, might this apply to you or someone you know? 

Like asexuality, demisexuality is often met with many misconceptions from people who may be ignorant about the label. People may assume that demisexuality simply means that demisexuals don’t like to have sex, or that they should be avoided in dating pools. I’m here to say, it’s not like that at all!  

Demisexuality is a unique experience of that has been written about for years, one leading source is the Demisexuality Resource Center, for example. And most importantly, like other sexualities and gender identities, demisexuality has existed since the beginning of civilization – we just now have words to express the lived experience. Isn’t language just, like, amazing?

In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of demisexuality, how to welcome demisexual folks into your life as a potential partner or partners, and break down the demisexual flag itself.

Often, the question of demisexuality, the LGBT community, and representation go hand in hand. What place does demisexuality have within the LGBT community, and what kind of representation is there for demisexuality? We’ll talk about that, too.

And most heartwarming of all, if you come out of this article thinking, hey, I think I found the right term for my lived experience, we at HER will be over the moon to hear about it! 

Let’s dive into demisexuality together.

What is demisexuality?

Demisexual people, for the most part, don’t experience sexual attraction to someone until they have gotten to know them well – say after a few dates to the movies or to Netflix and (actually, no, seriously) chill. Once they get to know someone and form a deep emotional connection with them, they may (or may not) feel sexual attraction toward that other person.

In short, demisexual people don’t experience sexual attraction unless they have an emotional connection to someone. This connection could also be intellectual. 

I like to think about it like reading a book. It’s hard to find a page-turner unless the book does a good job of building a relationship between me and the characters. Once that connection is made, I often turn the pages without meaning to! Okay, that’s not exactly the same as demisexuality, but it paints somewhat of a picture.

Ultimately, demisexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction to others and their physical characteristics unless a strong emotional bond is formed first. Kapish? 

Overall, recognizing that everyone’s experiences with sexual attraction and relationships are unique and personal will help you empathize with their experiences (and perhaps your own?) It is okay to identify as demisexual or any other sexual orientation, as we’ll learn below.

Demisexuality in the LGBTQ Community

There’s a lot of – warning: incoming buzzwords! – online discourse between how you experience sexual or romantic attraction and to whom. You can be demisexual while being cis – a woman, for example – and exclusively attracted to men, ultimately considering yourself heterosexual. 

However, many people who are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, pansexual, and generally consider themselves non-cis and/or not straight can most definitely experience demisexuality.

As mentioned before, our community is an alphabet soup, and we love to cook, mix and match tastes and pairings. It’s a personal preference how you choose to identify, and you’re definitely allowed to change your mind if you feel like a label doesn’t work for you. In other words, you’re allowed to cook soup for yourself. It’s only for you, after all, so you can cook it to your liking! If you need a little more help making sense of what could potentially be a confusing journey, talking to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health provider can provide support and guidance. 

Dating (as) a demisexual?

So you’re a demisexual, and you want to date. Or, you’re not a demisexual and are dating one. What should you expect?

To be clear, dating anyone should come with some baseline expectations. We love honoring boundaries and asking questions about our partner’s likes and dislikes. There’s really no difference there for demisexuality. 

If you think you’re demisexual, you shouldn’t pressure yourself to disclose it unless you feel comfortable. Voicing your boundaries is another vital part of building healthy relationships and eventually developing a deeper connection with someone (if that’s what you’re looking for.) 

If you happen to be dating someone who is demisexual, it’s important to understand what demisexuality is. Understand that demisexual people may experience dating differently than non-demisexual people because demisexuals need emotional bonds before they feel sexual attraction to someone – and this attraction can vary from demisexual to demisexual. A good rule of thumb is to take time and emphasize emotional intimacy as you embark on your relationship. Since it’s such a hot topic, and anyone can benefit from it,  maybe it’s time to read up on emotional intelligence in general.

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Demisexual celebrities

Well, now we’re getting into controversial territory. And if you’ve checked out our work before, you know we at HER don’t really shy away from controversy. That’s why we need to emphasize the question you may be asking: are there any demisexuals out there that I don’t know of? Specifically, are there any celebrity demisexuals? 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: It’s not the best to go on assuming people’s identities, celebrity or not. It’s OK to feel strongly about it but to insist (especially online) on a real person’s sexuality can have negative consequences for some of these people. Kit Connor of Heartstopper notably came out at the end of 2022 last year as bisexual after feeling pressured by online communities to come out, accusing him of queerbaiting. Nobody should have to come out in those kinds of circumstances. 

Unless they’ve outright said it themselves, it’s hard to label the sexual orientations of public figures that part of their lives may not be publicly disclosed. Everyone has the right to privacy and self-determination regarding their sexual orientation, demisexual or not. 

That being said, here are some notable people who have most definitely come out, by their own will, that we should absolutely celebrate! 

Kelly Clarkson

She hasn’t come right out and said that she’s demisexual, but she’s mentioned in interviews and on her show that she dated a lot when she was younger but never really met anyone she was sexually attracted to before her husband. Her song ‘I Do Not Hookup’ is a demi anthem.

Source: Yahoo

Alex Kazemi

Author of Pop Magick: A Simple Guide to Bending Your Reality.

“Demisexuality is the orientation that best fits me. I don’t experience sexual attraction to someone unless I’m emotionally attracted to them. Some people take it a step further and identify as demisexual-hetero, demi-homo, demi-bi. I just identify as demi,” he told Out Magazine in March 2020.

Source: Wikipedia

Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo

On her sexuality in a July 2021 Instagram live: “I’ve recently learned more about demisexuality, and have believed that that identity resonates with me most.”

Source: Instagram

Breaking down the demisexual flag

Let’s bring some color into the equation! One of the most beautiful things about pride flags is their symbolism. The demisexual flag is no different. It’s made up of four colors and shapes: a white stripe, a purple stripe, a gray strip, and a black triangle on the left side of the flag. If you know anything about the asexual flag, you know it has the same colors, just stripes, and no triangles. The colors and the variety of shapes represent the different aspects of demisexuality. In other words, it’s like a rainbow of sexuality and asexuality! 

Just kidding, it’s a way for demisexual people to celebrate and affirm their identity and to create a sense of community and belonging. Can’t argue with that, right? 

The demisexual flag represents demisexuality, a lack of attraction unless a strong emotional bond has been formed. The flag is made of 4 components: a white stripe at the top, a purple stripe in the middle, a gray stripe at the bottom, and a black triangle on the left overlapping the three stripes

Source: Wikipedia

What does the gray in the demisexual flag mean? 

The gray stripe represents demisexuality and the gray area between sexual and asexual. In other words, it represents gray asexuality.

What does the white in the demisexual flag signify? 

The white stripe represents sexuality, the attraction demisexuals can potentially feel after an emotional bond is made.

What does the purple in the demisexual flag stand for?  

The purple stripe represents community and diversity within the demisexual community. Remember, you can identify as demisexual while also having a completely different relationship with your own gender and which genders you are attracted to.

What is the black triangle in the demisexual flag?

The black stripe that you see on the left side of the demisexual flag represents and honors the larger asexual community.

Demisexuality historically stems from the asexuality movement but is a self-standing identity that demisexuals feel pride in. Like any other community, demisexuals seek a sense of belonging in the world.

So if you’re demisexual and dating or want to date a demisexual, spend time discovering and honoring the boundaries of the people you start relationships with. 

Remember: as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, respect all sexual orientations and identities, folks!

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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