Sometimes people define “sexual attraction” as “wanting to have sex with someone.” This can be really confusing when we talk about the asexuality spectrum. If we define “demisexual” as “only wants to have sex in a committed and emotionally intimate relationship,” it’s extraordinarily common, perhaps normal. A huge number of people– perhaps most women– are demisexual.

But I think it’s important to distinguish two kinds of wanting.

Think about tide pods. (Or fake fruit, or dice, or those really fancy cakes that are actually made out of cardboard.) Every time I do laundry, some part of my brain insists that the tide pod is CANDY and would make a DELICIOUS SNACK and I have the impulse to eat one.

I don’t actually want to eat a tide pod. If you put some tide pods in front of me for dinner, I would not experience the slightest internal conflict. I am perfectly aware that tide pods are gross and would make me feel disgusting if I chewed one.

But there’s still that part of me that says “tide pods are a snack.”

Sexual attraction is similar. I don’t want to have sex with that hot person I see in the coffeeshop. I would have to talk to them first. We might not be sexually compatible. I am somewhat frightened of strangers. If you presented Hot Coffeeshop Person to me naked and were like “okay, have sex now” I would not experience the slightest temptation to have sex with them.

But some part of my brain is like “probably appropriate to have sex with?” the same way some part of my brain is like “probably a snack?”

It is normal for allosexual people to have very few people– often, less than a dozen or only one person– in their I Would Experience Any Temptation At All To Have Sex With This Person If They Tried To Have Sex With Me category. It is not normal for allosexual people to have that few people in their Part Of My Brain Thinks Sex With This Person Is Appetizing The Same Way Tide Pods Would Make A Good Snack category. People who have very few people in their Want To Have Sex With The Same Way I Want To Eat A Tide Pod category may be graysexual or demisexual.