• Charna Cassell, MFT

What is Demisexual?

1. What does it mean to be graysexual?

Most images in dominant culture ‘romcoms’ consider romance and sex to be an essential factor in choosing a short or long-term mate. For someone who identifies as Graysexual, this is not the case.

The concept of graysexuality comes from the idea that sexuality is not black or white. Gray sexuality falls in the gray zone between asexual and sexual or allosexual.

The absence of language to describe your experience can feel alienating, or you may feel like there is something wrong with you. When labels or language evolve to accurately describe your experience, then it also helps others understand, normalize, include, and talk about those experiences too. People may be reluctant to take on a label that only captures part of their experience, such as asexual (no sexual attraction), if they sometimes do indeed feel sexual attraction, though infrequently. A more accurate descriptor for this is graysexual. Even within the identity of graysexual, there are complex and subtle differences and ways people sex-express.

2. What are the types of graysexuality?

Sex-repulsion is a term to describe a visceral lack of interest and desire around sex. Sex in this case may be defined as intercourse, PIV (penis in vagina) or PIA (penis in anus), as well as extend towards oral or manual sex and even kissing. Many people who identify as graysexual may be sex-repulsed or sex-indifferent, but not all.

Sex-neutral or sex-indifferent don't have strong feelings about sex. Partnerships are about much more than sex.

Sex-positive means embracing the range of sexual self-expression free of judgement and shame. It condones all forms of consensual sex as healthy.

3. How does graysexual relate to sexual orientation?

You can be graysexual and straight, or graysexual and queer, etc.—meaning it’s not exclusive to one orientation but can be a subset of your sexualorientation.

4. What’s the difference between graysexual and asexual?


According to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AEVN), an asexual person has little to no sexual interest. A graysexual person, on the other hand, tends to experience minimal sexual attraction, and at a lower intensity.

Graysexuality is not interchangeable with asexuality, though it is a close friend. The term graysexual is more nuanced and specific than asexual, which suggests never feeling sexual attraction. Gray implies being less sex-motivated and the ability to be in a partnership without sexualdesire being the driver—not that it is always absent.

5. What’s the difference between graysexual and demisexual?


Someone can identify as demisexual, only be attracted to people once you are emotionally bonded, as well as graysexual. Demisexual people may experience sexual attraction frequently but only once they are emotionally bonded, while a graysexual person may experience attraction but doesn't have to be emotionally connected to that person.

6. What are some common myths about graysexuality?


Graysexual people may rarely be attracted to others, but they do have sex and experience romantic attraction.There are myths that the asexual or graysexual community do not have sex and are not interested in romantic relationships. In fact, many do engage in dating, emotional and sexual intimacy in relationships, while others do not, just as there are some people who identify as Butch Lesbians but still enjoy penetrative sex with men. Heteronormative culture may want things to fit neatly into tidy boxes but sexuality is fluid and self-defined even when it is confusing for people outside of the community to comprehend (and sometimes inside, as we see with the rejection of bisexuals among some gay groups).

A graysexual person may fall in love like anyone else, but may or may not have a strong desire to connect sexually on a frequent basis. The primary way they may prefer to connect is through romantic gestures, emotional sharing, intellectual stimulation, or mutual physical activities and hobbies.

7. How does graysexuality work in relationships?


If you are partnered with someone who identifies as graysexual, trust them when they say they love you and that they are attracted to you. They just may or may not show that attraction in conventional ways that you are used to if you have only previously dated allosexual people.


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