ASEXUALITY, DEMISEXUALITY, and GRAYSEXUALITY - Exploring the difference
Let’s Talk About Sex- Or the Lack of It?
Attraction. Love. Lust. Feeling horny. Sex! Many a times, we see these intertwined phenomena as a progression of our natural biological needs. Well, if you’ve studied psychology, you will be greatly acquainted with the Freudian School of thought, according to which our physical needs and sex drives play a major role in shaping our lives. But hey, we know that this is not always true (Freud was controversy’s favourite child, you guys!).
Apart from physical needs- individual goals, love, belongingness and security needs are important too- something that psychologist Abraham Maslow propounded. Coming back, heterosexual relationships are no longer the only accepted norm. As our society is evolving, and we are becoming relatively more inclusive (well, there are many naysayers, and we have a long road ahead), we have incandescently imbibed the norm of the LGBTIQA+ community.
Glee star, Chris Colfer opined an interview, “There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s a lot wrong with the world you live in.” We as humans, have this incessant tendency to sometimes label those who do not fit in, but who are born to stand out. Do we give these ‘out of the box’ individuals a fair chance to live freely? Ironically, they tend to be the closeted ones, hiding their true identity from the world.
Asexuality, Demisexuality, Graysexuality, Bisexuality - THE VARIED SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS
A trend which is quite novel today is one that is based on one’s sexual orientation, which basically is a term used to explain your pattern of emotional, romantic or sexual attraction. This can be attributed towards the same (homosexuality) or opposite (heterosexual) genders; both, men and women (bisexual), and all genders (pansexual). But did you know that there are people who do not have the urge or feel sexually attracted towards any genders? Yes, there are known as asexual or ‘aces’. Contrary to stereotypes, these individuals derive pleasure from other things in life, and are not ‘abnormal’. One’s orientation is natural, and cannot be changed.
Also, referred to an umbrella term, it is relatable to the concepts of Demisexuality and Graysexuality. Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person is adept at feeling a strong sexual desire, but only towards individuals with whom they share a strong emotional bond. Gray-A or Graysexuality is connoted to a people who feel they lie halfway- the ‘grey area’ between asexuality and sexuality.
ASEXUALITY, DEMISEXUALITY, GRAYSEXUALITY - Understanding the Differences
With the advent of several social media platforms and communities, people who feel queer, finally are getting to voice their opinions, and feel that they belong (All hail, Maslow!). The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) have been working tirelessly to shatter the stigma associated with these terms. In fact, they are credited for coining the terms- DemiSexuality and GraySexuality, which lie on the spectrum of asexuality. Read on to know more.
1. Asexuality: For starters, asexuality and celibacy are two different things. While the former is inherent, the latter is a choice. Don’t you think that Sheldon Cooper from the ‘Big Bang Theory’ is a classic case? He candidly admitted that he was drawn by intellectual pursuits, and would only cave in to fulfil his partner’s desires, that too on special occasions. Even though they may have a low or a non-existent sex drive, they wish for a purely romantic relationship; some may feel little attraction but no inclination, while some are completely averse to sex.
They may indulge in masturbation- for them; it may just be another bodily function. Aces may doubly identify themselves with another tag from the LGBTIQA+ spectrum. While fluctuating between aromantics to panromantics, let’s not forget ‘Queerplatonics’. Drawing parallels from demisexuality, these individuals opt for a close emotional, aromantic bond. Lastly, it is important to remember that asexual persons have diverse experiences with regards to falling in love, experiencing arousal or orgasms, getting married, and having children. This is a classic case of ‘love does not have to lead to sex’.
Dishing her views on the same, G.G. (name changed) strongly identifies with being asexual. Accepting her reality, she finally found like-minded individuals who supported and empowered her. Debunking myths, she cringes when others mistake her for being innocent or broken. She is proud to admit that she is queer, and not changing her views anytime soon! She in fact, is in a meaningful relationship with an allosexual, whilst not feel obligated for whatever reason. You go, girl! Own your quirks and individuality!
2. Demisexuality: Irrespective of their sexual orientation, demisexuals differ from asexuals- in fact; we believe they are on the far end of the spectrum. Sledging more towards graysexuals, these individuals feel sexually attracted only when they have forged a deep sentimental bond, thereby supporting secondary attraction. Coming to think of it, don’t our Indian traditions root for consummating after marriage? Back then, spouses did not even know each other until they were unified in matrimony. Do not get us wrong- we are not giving in to the myth that is tied to morality or religiosity, but we cannot help but wonder if it unconsciously contributed to the same?
Shattering misconceptions, all we’d like to say is that we need to respect other people and accept them wholeheartedly, and:
- They are not afraid of sex. They just don’t fancy new people instantly.
- Demisexuals are not always hypersexual. Once the essential requisite is met, their sex lives may be varied, and better than a lot of folks, so we shouldn’t judge hastily.
- Demisexuality is not a casual preference- it is an inherent mechanism that controls sensual attraction before any physical liaison.
In an interview, Linda (25, PR executive), unapologetically claimed, “We do not feel lust at first sight. I’ve been in two long-term relationships, which have been super meaningful and sexually satisfying. It took time to develop that bond, but that’s just how I’m wired. Actually, it took a while before I liaised with my current partner since I also took time to get over my ex”. Her story makes these myths look ridiculous!
3. Graysexuality: Lying in between, graysexuals are individuals, who feel sexual passion infrequently and in lower intensity. They are quite the minimalists in this aspect. Their identity can be quite fluid, ranging from sex-repulsed, sex-neutral, or sex-positive. It’s quite obvious then that they don’t need a deep emotional connection before having sex, and are more prone to ‘hooking up’ casually. Their barometer of sexual attraction falls from “not normally, sometimes” to “enjoys sex under specific circumstances”. Some of their distinguishing characteristics may include:
- Low priority for the sexual attraction when choosing a romantic partner.
- Sex is not everything, and they may prefer platonic friendships.
- They show love and affection in non-sexual ways such as cuddling, making out, or talking.
Okay, so, now that y’all are well informed, you know that graysexuals and asexuals are not ‘just waiting for the right person. That is complete bullshit! And porn may work wonders for other orientations, but maybe not for them. To make their better halves feel satiated, they may indulge them in an encounter. And, doesn’t that just count for some commitment and putting other first?
A proud graysexual, Kiki, 20 is a special and outspoken supporter of her tribe. She is proud to be herself and believes that it’s okay to not fit into any connotations. For her, love is of deeper value and is separate from sex. She is not ashamed of being different, being unique and sassy!
To conclude, we hope this article has made you more mindful of things that may be beyond your understanding. As fellow global citizens with a cosmopolitan outlook, we need to stand up for our peers, friends, and families. If you know of someone who is struggling with their identity or to come out, be empathic and compassionate towards them. We need to embrace everyone’s individuality, and recognize them for the beautiful souls that they are! We’d like to leave you with this quote, which is the need of the hour:
“Let’s make this place so happy and secure,
Wherein, everyone in peace and prosperity may lure”. – Bhakti/ Anonymous
All images source – @pinterest*