Figuring out your sexuality can be difficult. With so much information and misinformation out in the world today, especially for those with internet access, it is understandable if it takes some research and sifting through page after page to get a grasp on what definition seems to fit you the best. A majority of modern society - especially those in the “Millenial” category, have come to accept that there are many more sexualities than just “straight”, “gay”, “lesbian”, or “bi” (even though bi-erasure is still a very real problem within the lgbtq+ community). Now within modern culture, it seems that more and more of this generation is putting pressure on finding a label to describe themselves. But what if a person is not sexually attracted to anyone else?
Photo: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
One of the more unheard of sexualities is “demisexual” - which the Demisexuality Resource Center (DRC) defines as “...a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond”. People who identify with the term “demisexual” probably do not feel sexual attraction to someone that they meet on the street, but potentially could develop them for a close friend. It is not uncommon for demisexuals to experience less sexual attraction than other people, but in no way are these people “less than” or “broken”.
Demisexuality falls somewhere on the “asexual” to “non-asexual” spectrum - between experiencing no sexual attraction or desire and experiencing sexual attraction or desire. That’s one of the reasons why the flags for Demisexuals share the same colors as the Asexual flag - white, purple, grey, and black. The asexual flag has horizontal stripes across the length of it, with the order of colors being: black, grey, white, and purple.
Asexual flag. Source: google images. Author: vimopu
While the demisexual flag is also made up of those colors, the composition is different. Instead of all horizontal stripes, there is now a black triangle facing towards the right side of the flag. The rest of the colors are still stripes, although the white and the grey stripes are now thicker than than the purple and surround it.
According to the DRC, “Many demisexuals are only attracted to a handful of people in their lifetimes, or even just one person. Many demisexuals are also uninterested in sex…” but that’s not to say that demisexuals don’t have sex. There are people who identify as demisexual, and are involved in healthy sexual relationships; it may have just taken them a longer time to feel comfortable and connected to that person than someone else. Every relationship should be taken at its own pace with tons of communication from both parties involved. No one should be uncomfortable, and clear boundaries should be set and agreed upon. There are all different levels of sexual intimacy in these relationships; no two are the same.
Although there are more and more queer characters, actors, and show hosts coming to the forefront, it can still be hard for those who identify as a- or demisexual. But there was one character who came out canonically (and casually) which made a lot of people very happy: Jughead Jones from the Archie comics. Writer for the current comics, Chip Zdarsky, sat down with ComicBook.com to discuss the series which was launching that year, 2015, and talked about the character’s newly developed trait. The interviewer asks if Zdarsky’s characterization of Jones will be “...somewhat asexual,” mentioning that Jones has always been adverse to dating in the past. Zdarsky replied that each writer is able to do something different with the character, but “I’m [Zdarsky’s] writing him as asexual,...”, which confirms what the comic preview hosted by CBR (formerly Comic Book Resources). The strip follows Jones and another character discussing how dismaying it is that people are getting suspended at a faster rate than average. The other character complains that a boy named Tyler has been kicked out, which is upsetting because “...there are only, like, five gay guys at Riverdale High! ...You just don’t get it cause you’re asexual…”. Jones replies to him with “yeah, well, it’s why I can think clearly…”, confirming the statement made by his friend.
Sex does not have to be the goal of a relationship, or even getting to know someone. Not feeling sexual attraction to people is a normal feeling to have. Developing those attractions still make a person valid, and their experiences do not make them any less demisexual than another person. More and more people have been able to redefine themselves or find a word that describes their experiences and feelings. Although there are few characters, actors, musicians or other celebrities who identify as demisexual or asexual, the number is growing, and with more representation, more people will be able to recognize themselves in others.
Sarina Alley is a Salem State University graduate, living off the coast of Maine; she currently watches the effects of global warming very personally.