There’s no sugar coating this fact, dating is hard for demisexuals!
First dates, blind dates, online dating – it’s all difficult enough to make us cringe. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of feeling like there’s something wrong with you like you’re drastically different from everyone around.
We live in a hypersexualized culture, for those of us who don’t feel the same way about casual intimacy and sex in general entering the dating world can be daunting, frustrating and humiliating. This is especially true when it comes to demisexuals.
As a group we struggle with dating. It’s not always easy to explain that while the person we’re with may be visually pleasing and have a great personality, the sexual attraction just isn’t there.
Demisexuals aren’t being picky. They aren’t playing hard to get. They’re not celebate, and probably don’t hate sex. That is not easy to explain to someone.
The truth of the matter is, demisexuals need an emotional connection before they feel sexual attraction. It’s in direct opposition to this meet-up hook-up culture everyone else seems to enjoy so much.
Here are some reasons Demisexuals find dating hard:
Why Dating is Hard for Demisexuals because…
There is a lot of Pressure on the First Date
Look, first dates and new relationships are tough. There’s a lot of awkwardness and growing pains that come with getting close to someone.
There’s a lot of pressure! Hallmark movies have us convinced love at first sight is the standard. Were lead to believe that when we meet the one, we won’t be able to keep our hands off them.
That’s just not the case!
After months and months of awkward dates it’s normal to be frustrated and pessimistic. It’s even normal to want to throw in the towel and never go on another date again. Some people respond that way.
Others try to figure out what they can learn from the failed date with the goal being not to make the same mistake again.
We all have things that we look for in a potential partner. However, it’s important to be able to prioritize our wish list and determine what is absolutely non-negotible and what we may be able to live without.
Sometimes we get so caught up with finding the person who has green eyes and a six-figure salary that we forget about all the other things. Obviously there is no reason why those can’t be the most important things you look for in a relationship.
But, if our ultimate goal is to connect with someone on an emotional level, we may need to rethink these things.
Perhaps you would be better served seeking out a person with certain personality traits you’re drawn to.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and sabotage ourselves before we even get started. When we’re too focused on finding someone who checks all the boxes we risk missing out on someone who offers us things we didn’t even know we needed.
It’s entirely possible that what we focus on when we’re swiping left and right is very different than what we want in a long term relationship. Your significant others eye color won’t do much to make them a better listener when you’re upset or more agreeable when it comes to the division of household chores.
Instead of focusing on the superficial vanity stats featured on dating profiles, really get to know the person and pay attention to whether they have the traits and characteristics you need to connect with someone on an emotional level.
Some of these traits might include:
- Communication style and skills – Passive, aggressive or assertive?
- Their willingness and ability to compromise or negotiate.
- Their outlook and overall attitude toward life. Is the glass half empty of half full?
- Values and Goals: What do they want out of life? Where do they see themselves in 5 years.
Yes, dating is hard but it can be a lot of fun, but relationships and building a lasting emotional bond is all about the real stuff. It determines how you, as a couple, will respond to those real life situations. Things the loss of a job, ailing parents and expensive car repairs.
Yes, I know this is all terribly depressing, but the information we put on our dating profiles won’t help with any of that.
For demisexuals specifically, it’s necessary to find that emotional connection. It’s up to us to figure out when a potential connection is worth nurturing and to do so in a way that will best work for us.
They Avoid Sex
You know what, I completely understand. Whether you think about sex with repulsion, indifference or excitement, the I’m demisexual conversation is a difficult one to have.
With so much pressure to hook up and get to the “good stuff” as quickly as possible, the I’m-demisexual-and-this-is-what-it-means-for-me conversation never seems to happen.
How do you tell someone you might be interested in that you won’t be sexually attracted to them until you’ve established an emotional connection? How do admit that you would strongly prefer to get to know the person really well before taking things to the next level?
Where would you even start explaining that you don’t exactly know if or when you’ll want that to happen?
At times, it seems, there is a great deal of shame and embarrassment associated with being demisexual. Like it or not, as soon as we start talking about sexual attraction and emotional connections people start making assumptions.
We’re judged and labeled. People assume we’re prude, playing hard to get, too picky for our own good, celibate or even religious.
It’s a tough conversation to initiate. It’s quite a vulnerable position to be in when you’re telling someone they’re not going to get lucky that night. There are any number of responses ranging from appreciative and understanding to curious to downright hostile.
In some ways it’s easier to avoid and escape than it is to potentially face the figurative firing squad. There’s no set time or place for this conversation to be had.
If we think the person we’re with might be someone we can build an emotional connection, the sooner we have the conversation the better.
They will either respond poorly, in which case you can cut your losses and move on before you’ve gotten too attached. Or, it will go well, they’ll understand where you’re coming from a bit more and you’ll feel more emotionally connected with them for it.
This is also a point where you have to decide what your boundaries are. What are you comfortable with? Do you see those boundaries changing in the future?
It’s important to be as honest as possible early in a relationship. Likely this honesty will involve answering questions you may not be super comfortable with. Try to remember they’re coming from a place of wanting to get to know you better.
If the questions start to feel too invasive or out of line, be assertive and shut the conversation down. Being vulnerable in a safe and supportive environment is one thing. Being ashamed, embarrassed and feeling less than is quite another.
You deserve to be loved and respected. If someone can’t see that they don’t deserve you.
They don’t Forget Past Negative Experiences
There’s no two ways about it. Dating is hard! Those bad dates and negative experiences in a relationship lead to baggage. We all know this.
Overcoming this baggage when it relates to your sexuality isn’t always an easy thing to do. For a demisexual, the decision to trust someone, to be vulnerable and share the things that make them different isn’t something to be taken lightly.
It’s always a risk to share your truths. While a necessary part of a relationship, a person may not be all that happy to learn they’re not getting lucky.
To be honest, it completely reasonable and expected to be cautious after getting hurt. We start looking for security, certainty, some sort of confirmation that this time won’t be like the last.
Our instinct is to protect ourselves, and rightfully so. But relationships, especially new relationships, require a certain amount of risk.
Perhaps the best way to cope with this is by learning to love yourself first. It’s not always enough to simply accept a label and apply it to yourself. You have to embrace and separate it from what others think or how they react.
If we don’t feel shame, embarrassment or other internalized negative feelings of being broken or less than regarding our demisexuality, others are powerless to make us feel such things.
Get to know yourself, love yourself unconditionally. Learn your boundaries, limitations and what you expect to get out of a relationship.
Above all remember, you deserve to be in an amazingly healthy relationship that leaves you feeling secure, validated and cared for. Don’t settle for anything less.
They tend to Overthink Things
Yes, dating is hard. And yes, it is important to be logical and have realistic expectations at the beginning of a relationship.
Demisexuals are cautious when it comes to giving and receiving physical affection as well as with regards to sharing their needs and wants with others. It’s always a risk.
We know that for demisexuals the deciding factor in sexual attraction is an emotional connection. Intellectually people understand this. Perhaps the most challenging thing to understand about demisexuals is the simple lack of sexual attraction until and emotional connection is established.
It’s comparatively easy to explain abstinence or celibacy for moral or religious reasons. It’s equally easy to set arbitrary standards or rules with regards to physical intimacy. We’ve all heard about the three date rule or not thinking things to the next level unless you know their mother’s maiden name.
On the other hand, when it’s “I don’t feel that way about you right now. I don’t know if/ when I will. But, I would like to explore this thing between us a bit more and see if it comes,” people tend to be less patient and understanding.
It’s reasonable for a demisexual to want to put off having this conversation. It’s equally normal to look for every little sign or thing to suggest the person won’t be understanding and accepting of your needs.
Negative self talk and self depreciating attitudes are common for demisexuals early in a relationship. I’ve heard stories of demisexuals trying to endure as much sexual contact as they can tolerate just to avoid having the conversation.
The fact of the matter is you deserve to be with someone who respects you. It’s not necessary for them to empathize or even understand what it’s like to be demisexual, but they have to respect you enough not to push the matter.
We live in a world where not everybody will be understanding. It’s unfortunate and while it no doubt sucks, it’s important to cut your losses and run before investing too much in the relationship.
Remember, your time is valuable. Don’t waste it on people who will never understand you.
Focusing on the Details Instead of Feelings
Sexual attraction for demisexuals is all about emotions, feelings and finding that emotional connection.
Yet knowing that, we’ve been conditioned to focus on trivial details – appearance, net worth, etc. While those things may all be well and good, they’re not going to do much in the way of fostering an emotional connection.
Focus instead on how you feel when you’re talking to that person, when you’re with them face to face.
Focus on those positive feelings:
- Do they make you laugh?
- Do you feel valued and safe when you together?
- Can you see yourself opening up?
- Do you have fun?
- Can you be yourself?
Don’t ignore the negatives and red flags:
- Do you feel anxious, insecure, overwhelmed when you’re together?
- Do you act differently around them?
- Are you trying to keep parts of yourself hidden?
Paying attention to feelings are a big part of any relationship. This is exponentially more important for demisexuals as the other parts of a relationship hinge upon the emotional connection.
Treasure the positives when you find them, but if you find yourself in a position where there are negative feelings abound know they’re not the result of a problem with you.
Everyone deserves to be in a healthy and positive relationship. You’re no different.
They Expect the Worst
In a society that pushes ideals such as fairy tale romance, love at first sight and attraction so strong that can’t keep their hands off each other, demisexuals are at a clear disadvantage.
The expectations is that those things won’t happen for them. At a certain point a demisexual who craves the comfort and predictability of being in a relationship will let themselves settle for less than ideal behaviour.
Sometimes a person will settle for “good enough.” Other times, a person will give up before they’ve had a chance to succeed.
It’s a reasonable expectation. After several negative dating experiences, it’s easy to assume the next will be just as bad.
Trouble is, those expectations can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you go a date expecting it to be bad, chances are it will be. Consciously or not, we may be putting out subtle signs via our body language, our tone of voice or even the words we use to turn those expectations into reality.
Go into every date expecting to at least meet a friend out of it. Expect everything to go well, and see how things change.
Do you struggle with dating? Have you found yourself falling into these traps? Any other ideas why dating is so hard for demisexuals?
Tell me all about it in the comments.