Happy Pride Month, y'all! For everyone in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, this is a month full of festivities, history tidbits, coming out parties, parades, and activism. It's also a month of music...from Lady Gaga to Queen, many of us will spend this month blasting our favorite LGBTQ+ friendly songs and artists in the car and at parades and parties.
Personally, it took me many years and was not until I was well into adulthood to realize that I have a place beyond allyship and support in the alphabet gang. Well into college and while dating my husband, I came across the terms demisexual and demiromantic, and something in my brain just clicked.
Demi people are widely regarded as being on the spectrum of asexuality. Demisexual refers to people who experience sexual attraction only after establishing an emotional bond and connection to someone, and demiromantic refers to people who experience romantic attraction or romantic feelings towards someone only after first building that emotional trust, often a foundation of friendship. Some people are one, and some people are both. Demi people can be attracted to the same gender, the opposite gender, or any gender identity in between.
Some studies suggest that only a very small number of people across the world are demi. A 2004 UK study found that only 1 percent of the population fell somewhere under the umbrella of asexuality. So while Pride playlists will surely abound during the glorious, out-and-proud month of June, I want to approach Vocal's Pride Playlist Challenge from my own perspective as a demisexual demiromantic. This playlist of seven songs explore the demi experience; if you are demi or think you might be, I hope you can relate! With no further ado...
1. Cool Kids by Echosmith
I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.
I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
Like the cool kids.
This song captures the experience of hitting teenagerhood and realizing that you don't perceive attraction and dating the same way as all of your friends. When my gal pals would talk about the cute guys they were crushing on or gush over singers and celebrities, I would always nod and agree...even though I didn't share their feelings at all! I couldn't relate to seeing a boy at the mall and feeling attracted in any way, no matter what he looked like. I remember being just thirteen or fourteen and wondering if I was broken because I didn't seem to feel attracted, either romantically or otherwise, to anyone. I just wanted to fit in with everyone else in middle and high school who were experiencing crushes and pursuing dating relationships. For a long time it didn't seem like romance would be in the cards for me until...
2. I've Got This Friend by The Civil Wars
I've got this friend holding onto her heart
Like it's a little secret, like it's all she's got to give
Oh, if the right one came
If the right one came along
Oh, if the right one came along
One day, it hit me like a ton of bricks hanging out with one of my best guy friends. I liked him, I mean I REALLY liked him. I wasn't broken after all...I did want to date, it just took me literally a couple of years of getting to know someone and building that friendship before it happened for me. Sometimes people don't understand how demi's minds work. "You mean for years you just thought of him as a buddy, and then one day you looked at him and thought, WOW he's attractive, I want to date him?" The answer is yes. That's exactly how a demi person's mind works. We are attracted to the inner person, not the external...and for many of us, it can take a long time for any kind of feelings past friendship to form.
3. I Wanna Be Yours by Arctic Monkeys
Secrets I have held in my heart
Are harder to hide than I thought
Maybe I just wanna be yours
I wanna be yours
Of course, as I soon found out, the royal problem that demis run into very often is that by the time we feel like we want to date someone, any feelings of interest they may have had in us when we first met have probably been replaced with just being pals. Maybe they tried to ask us out in the beginning and we shut them down at the time and became friends instead. Or maybe they just never felt like we showed interest, so they didn't either. Or maybe they always just wanted to be our friend but now suddenly...we demis have fallen. Hard. The feelings of longing and wanting something more out of the friendship than perhaps the other person can give is common to a lot of demisexual/demiromantic people I talk with. And for people who don't know they're demi or aren't out about being demi, it can be especially tough because we can't even articulate why our feelings go so often unrequited.
4. Love Is a B*tch by Two Feet
I promised myself not to slip back into old habit
'Cause heartbreak is savvy and love is a bitch
Sometimes after those first feelings go unrequited, we demis can feel more and more morose. Maybe we don't feel broken anymore after we realize that we can feel attraction and/or romantic love for other humans, but we start to wonder if relationships are really for us. We see our friends dating, but we think maybe we can protect ourselves by not making the same "mistake" again by falling for a friend or a person we have already built that strong foundation again. After all, we don't want to ruin a friendship or make things weird, so might it not be better to just avoid the whole mess of heartbreak?
5. Longshot by Catfish and the Bottlemen
Listen, the distance between us, could've took a while
Once we closed that difference, you turned up like a friend of mine
Every once in a while, the little things make me smile
As if one of our longshots paid off
Inevitably though, when you choose to get back in the saddle and venture again towards dating as a demi-sexual, you will find someone that you hit it off with, establish a great base of friendship with, and they are interested in you back. Winner winner chicken dinner, amiright?! This happened for me a few times and I enjoyed several great (and some not-great) relationships with people I became interested in over a long period of time before eventually dating my now-husband after we were friends for over a year. It took me awhile to get there, but once I realized I had feelings for him and that he was still interested in dating me after an initial attraction before we became friends, it was smooth sailing. Dating and love as a demi may feel like a longshot, but eventually the right one tends to come along.
6. I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls
Cut teeth, bet a belief
I've got a feeling that I'm underneath
But I know what I am, they know what they are
So let me be
This song is such a fun coming out anthem for anyone, but I especially love it for people who are demi because so often I think this is something we don't even realize about ourselves, sometimes until we're much older. It was actually my husband who suggested in the first place that I might experience attraction and romance differently from most other people. When I looked back at the pattern of becoming romantically interested in my friends and realized that I have never in my life been interested in casually dating or hooking up, it was like a veil was lifted. Anyone who can relate to this feeling of clarity when it comes to something important about themselves can proudly shout "I know what I am, so let me be!"
7. Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
Lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Realizing that you are demi and being able to explain how you experience love and attraction to others is such a revelation. It means you can put anyone who is interested in dating you on notice that they will have to be willing to build a friendship first, and kind of helps sift through the people who are only interested in casual hook-ups. When you do finally find the right person, you feel very lucky indeed because for demis it's usually someone we know very well and have an established connection with. In my opinion, it makes dating a lot easier (once we finally do decide to date someone) because I mean...when it comes to friendship, you already hold love in your heart for that person, even when it started as purely platonic. Though being demi in an overtly sexual culture can be challenging at times, immediately having that bond already at the beginning of the relationship is something I really enjoy about it.
So there you have it - my short and sweet playlist of eclectic songs that speak to the experience of being demisexual or demiromantic. If you are demi or suspect that you could be, I hope my playlist speaks to you, too. And if you are new to the concept of demisexuals or demiromantics, I hope this article helped you step inside our minds briefly and understand how we experience attraction and romance. Though we usually are not at the forefront of Pride month festivities and celebrations, we are proud of how we identify and love, and proud to support all of our fellow members in the LGBTQ+ community. Happy Pride! 🌈
- Explore the Spectrum: Guide to Finding Your Ace Community
- Demisexuality Resource Center
- Demisexual and Demiromantic Acceptance
- Aces & Aros
- The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project
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About the Creator
I'm a wife and mom, and this is my creative outlet. I am experimenting with lots of different writing styles and topics, so some of it is garbage, and I'm totally fine with that - writing is cheaper than therapy. Thanks for stopping by!