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Learning about demisexuality was an eye-opening revelation for me. It explained so many of my feelings and so much of my past.
In the abstract, being a demisexual means I don?t form an attraction to people unless I establish an emotional connection with them first.
In concrete terms, it?s the reason why I wasn?t attracted to most of the guys I dated, why I was only attracted to the ones I became friends with first, and why I?ve had so few crushes over the course of my life.
For most of my adult life, being a demisexual didn?t really make a big difference. I married young and I have a deep emotional connection with my husband. My attraction patterns didn?t matter anymore. All that mattered is that I was attracted to him.
Then we shook things up.
Last year, I came to a few major realizations about my relationship. One of them is that I?m polyamorous.
I think I?ve been polyamorous for as long as I?ve been interested in dating. I just never really understood it or did much to act on it. Being demisexual meant almost never being seriously attracted to anyone, let alone multiple people.
After a lot of long, deep, serious discussions, we decided to open up our marriage. And I got excited about finding another partner.
But dating has changed a lot since high school and it?s made things a little complicated for a demisexual like myself.
I tried putting myself out there. I posted on R4R subreddits first and I set up a profile on Fetlife in the hopes of finding people who were more open to dating a married polyamorous woman.
I was completely overwhelmed.
I got messages from guys who seemed like perfectly nice individuals.
I was introduced to the heyy guy phenomenon.
There were dudes who opened up with sexual innuendos.
There were a couple of women ready to uHaul based on my ad alone.
There were a handful of people asking if I?d want to go over to their place and fuck their wives (Fetlife is wild, y?all).
It?s not just that I had too many options to choose from. It was nowhere near the flood other women get, and I took down the post before it could get too bad. It?s more like I didn?t know how to choose at all.
I stayed up late reading messages, looking at profiles, and scrolling through pictures. Most of the time, nothing stood out to me. No matter how good looking they were or how good their opening line was, I kept thinking the same thing.
?I have no idea if I want to talk to this person. I don?t even know them.?
And I didn?t even know where to start with the Fetlife guys who didn?t introduce me to the wives I was meant to fuck.
Every attempt at putting myself out there basically ended the same way. With very few prospects and all of them fizzling out too quickly.
Over the course of that year, I discovered that dating as a demisexual is complicated. How are you supposed to date when you don?t even know who you?d like to date before you get to know them?
That makes dating a demisexual complicated, too.
Every demisexual is different. Some are really close to asexual. Others are horny hopeless romantics. And some seek out sex without attraction. All I can do is speak from my own experiences and attitudes. But if you?re trying to woo a demisexual, or if you want to be ready when you meet one, this is a good place to start.
Approach Is Everything
I don?t want to make it sound like demisexuals spook easily. But we kind of spook easily.
Because I don?t form attraction to someone unless I have a connection with them, it feels weird to me when someone approaches me in a way that comes on a little too strong.
I don?t mind someone being attracted to me ? it?s preferable, in fact ? but I feel like I?m put on the spot when someone starts hitting on me right away. It?s like I?m expected to make a decision about whether I?m attracted to them before I have enough information to make that call.
Jumping into dating mode right away isn?t super appealing. Starting off with thirsty messages just doesn?t work. And heyy guys can?t even get through the door.
Instead, the right way to approach a demisexual is basically as if you were trying to make friends.
All of my recent crushes were people I got to know as friends before I even considered them as possible partners. That gave me space to see their personality and create an emotional connection before I had to decide whether I liked them in that way.
If you want to approach someone you know is (or you suspect might be) a demisexual, start with a gentle introduction but don?t expect anything from them. Don?t go into it thinking you?ll ask for a formal date or get laid. Instead, put yourself on their radar and establish ongoing communication with them.
That will give them the opportunity to know you before they feel the need to decide whether they like you.
Don?t Try to Impress Them
When I put myself out there and made it clear I was available, I was surprised by how many of the people reaching out to me were trying to impress me.
I kind of understood what they were doing in theory, but it just didn?t resonate with me.
Guys implying they were very successful, guys with shirtless muscle shots, that guy who mentioned within a few messages that he once met George Clooney ? it?s just not what I was interested in at that point.
I didn?t want to be impressed by them. I wanted to get to know them.
If you?re courting a demisexual, let them know you. Don?t brag. Don?t flex (figuratively, or literally in the case of shirtless muscle dudes). Just give them plenty of material for them to learn about you.
That means going for long conversations, asking lots of questions and answering them in turn, and having the confidence to be vulnerable enough to let your personality show (we can tell when you?re playing your cards close to your chest, and it just feels like you?re hiding the one thing we really want to see).
If you?re interested in meeting a demisexual (props to you for actually being into our complicated nonsense), make sure your dating profiles have a lot of details about who you are. If your bio says ?Just ask me,? we probably won?t. And you have a better shot if you?re on an app that?s a little more about connection ? Tinder involves too many split-second decisions for most of us to bother.
When you send a message to someone you think might be a demisexual, make it on the longer side. Don?t write a personal essay or anything like that, but give them enough to showcase your personality and your sense of humor. And write it in your voice so it doesn?t sound generic.
And comment on the things they wrote in their posts or profiles. That will make it feel like you?re already getting to know each other.
Invest Your Time and Attention
There?s no such thing as casual dating for me. I can?t spread my attention the way I?d need to for it to work.
Because romantic and sexual attraction doesn?t come easily to me, when I meet someone I actually like, I?ll focus my time and energy on them.
Obviously, with a husband and some kids, it limits the amount of attention I can devote to someone new. But I still find that I invest more than most people do in a new prospect.
I want to really get to know someone, to start building a connection and see if we can sustain it. I can?t do that if I spread myself too thin.
That means I can?t date someone who spreads themselves too thin, either. Without enough time and attention on both ends, it?s hard to build the level of intimacy I need to develop attraction and connection.
So, if you want to date a demisexual, be ready to date them. Because it might not go anywhere if you?re sort of seeing them along with eight other people at the same time.
Let Things Take Their Time
Dating a demisexual doesn?t take forever, but it is a slower process than a lot of people are used to.
Before you even approach a demisexual, make sure you?re willing to be patient enough to let the process play itself out.
Don?t expect sex too early. Don?t expect declarations of undying love the day you meet (I mean, that?s kind of a red flag, so maybe don?t expect that in general). Don?t expect things to escalate rapidly.
Most demisexuals won?t want to have sex until they?ve connected with you emotionally. That might happen on the first date. You can create an emotional connection within a few hours if there?s incredible chemistry. But be prepared for something longer.
Being patient will also put you in the right mindset to win over a demisexual. It will give you plenty of time to get to know them, to show your personality and be vulnerable with them, and to build trust and connection. By the time you put the moves on them, they won?t have any doubt about whether they like you.
Once You?re In, You?re In
Dating a demisexual is a bit weird (even if they?re not polyamorous and married). It?s a little bit like you?re making a friend while being open to more.
It?s a lot of conversation. There?s conversation before you get to flirting. There?s more before you get to sex. If you met online, there might be a lot of conversation before you meet for an actual in-person date.
It?s a little weird, but I can assure you that once a demisexual develops feelings for you, we?re pretty normal after that. Once you?re in, you?re in. We just need an emotional connection before we know if we want to open the door.
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