asexual spectrum

Clarification of Demisexuality and Gray-Asexuality

I’m suddenly in the mood to write a brief post offering clarity on those other sections of the asexual spectrum that I usually don’t write about because I’m totally ace. I hope this is helpful.


People who are demisexual do not experience sexual attraction, unless it comes as a result of an emotional and/or romantic attachment. As always, the rate of their sexual attraction experience has nothing to do with their sex drive (which is the body’s craving for sexual stimulation or release) or the pattern of their romantic attractions or their sexual activity.

Some demisexuals can experience sexual attraction to people they’re emotional about but not romantically attracted to. As in: “I really care about my friend and all of a sudden, I’m feeling sexually attracted to them. But I don’t necessarily want to date them.”

Some demisexuals are capable of being sexually attracted to more than one person at a time: more than one friend, more than one romantic partner if they’re poly, a friend they really like and the person they’re dating, etc.

The actual frequency of sexual attraction for any given demisexual varies. The fact that their sexual attractions depend on a pre-existing emotional/romantic attachment doesn’t mean that every single emotional/romantic attachment they have results in sexual attraction. Please go back and read that again so you get it. There are probably demisexuals who DO experience sexual attraction to every person they’re romantically attached to, but there are also other demi’s who sometimes get the sexy component in romance and sometimes don’t.

What NEVER happens to a demisexual is sexual attraction/desire for someone they don’t know or aren’t close to. They are, effectively, asexual when interacting with strangers, acquaintances, even someone they’re casually dating but not close to yet, etc. They don’t sit there and sexually fantasize, get turned on by, or simply WANT sex with good-looking celebrities or the hot person at the store or their friend’s hot friend they’re meeting for the first time. They’re not going to feel sexual desire for someone they meet on a blind date, even if they do think that person is good-looking. They may even feel uncomfortable if strangers or people they don’t know well express sexual interest in them.

And the other thing is, the amount of time it takes a demisexual to develop sexual attraction to someone they are romantically attracted to also varies by person and by relationship. It’s not like a sexual attraction switch goes on the second a demi- becomes officially coupled to someone. It may take them weeks, months, a year or more. Even if the romantic feelings are in full swing.

Which also means that if a demi- is in a romantic relationship but hasn’t yet experienced sexual attraction to their partner, whether or not sex happens is quite possibly irrelevant to them. In the same way that it’s irrelevant to an asexual. A demisexual may agree to have sex with whoever they’re dating, sans sexual attraction, just because the other person wants it and the demi- is romantically attached to them…. But if it was totally up to the demi-, sex could be nonexistent in that relationship at that point (before their own sexual attraction/desire surfaces) and they would be 100% happy anyway.


There are a lot of possible expressions of this type of asexuality. Gray-A’s determine their identity by sexual attraction, sex drive, and attitudes toward having sex. A gray-a can be someone who:

  • does experience sexual attraction but has a very low sex drive or no sex drive at all
  • never or almost never experiences sexual attraction but does have a moderate to high sex drive (some of these individuals ID as gray and others just as ace)
  • rarely experiences sexual attraction and has a low or nonexistent sex drive
  • experiences sexual attraction rarely or sometimes but usually doesn’t care to pursue actual sex
  • experiences sexual attraction but is sex-repulsed
  • experiences sexual attraction only within a specific context and/or based on required elements

The point being, a gray-a is someone who’s more asexual than not, in comparison to the average allosexual person, even though the gray-a might experience sexual attraction.

Frequency of sexual attraction for gray-a’s can vary. Some might turn 30 and be able to count the number of times they’ve been sexually attracted to somebody on one hand. Some may experience sexual attraction more often than that but, as indicated above, rarely care enough to do something about it. A gray-a may be sexually attracted to a partner but not care if sex happens ever or feel satisfied by sex a few times a year.

A gray-a could be someone who never remotely bothers trying to access sex unless they’re already in a romantic relationship (because they don’t care), and if they’re single, sex has no influence over their interest or lack thereof in finding a romantic companion. A gray-a may be someone whose sexual attraction/desire exists only for a certain period of time of a romantic relationship’s duration and it has nothing to do with their romantic feelings. A gray-a might be someone who only experiences sexual attraction in connection to a kink they have (as in, when they’re in the middle of acting out a kink, they’re attracted to their partner, but the rest of time? Nope.) A gray-a might experience sexual attraction to specific person once or twice or for a certain period of time, but otherwise not feel it (even though it’s the same person and even if nothing about the connection changes).

A gray-a probably isn’t going to see sex as necessary to their happiness, to their romantic relationships, etc. Some of them could go years without sex and not care. Some of them could never have sex again and be cool with that. Some of them may really want sex on the rare (i.e. handful of times a year, few times in five-ten years, etc) occasions they feel attraction/desire but the rest of the time, the interest is totally absent.

A gray-a can strongly prefer celibacy, even if they’re the kind who occasionally experiences sexual attraction or even if they’re the kind with an active sex drive. There are a thousand reasons why they might have this preference. They may well be the type who’s uncomfortable, bored, or otherwise averse to sex whenever they’re not experiencing sexual attraction, which is most of the time. Or they could prefer to deal with their sex drive and/or sexual attraction to someone by masturbating instead of having sex with someone else.