[Book Recs] Demisexual Protagonists

I vividly remember the feeling of discovering the term “demisexual” and figuring out that it applies to me. So even though I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to find enough books to fill this post, I wanted to write it anyway. (And maybe I’ll do a follow-up or an edit in the future, as I’m sure more demisexual protagonists are being and will be written!)

Because this one’s for my fellow demis: we’re here and we’re queer. Our stories matter. ๐Ÿ’•

Since it’s a relatively lesser-known term, I wanted to start with a brief explanation of demisexuality. This is based on my own identity and research; please remember that individual experiences will vary.

Demisexuality, often grouped withย graysexuality, is an orientation on the asexual spectrum where individuals need a strong emotional connection before sexual attraction is possible. Romantic orientation is a separate identity from sexual orientation: demisexual individuals may identify as heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, aromantic, or something else.ย 

(Demisexuality is not the same as not wanting to have sex with people you don’t have a strong emotional connection to, i.e., feeling sexual attraction but choosing not to act on it. Also, it does not mean that demisexual = attracted to all of one’s friends, just as other orientations don’t = ogling everyone in the locker room.)

  • All for the Game by Nora Sakavic gets pride of place here because the trilogy/its Tumblr fandom was my introduction to the concept of demisexuality. So although the rep is Word-of-Author rather than in-text โ€” and admittedly the narrative has its problematic elements โ€” this fictional-sport found family adventure will forever have a special place in my heart.
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman features an explicitly demisexual main character/best friend who, in any other novel, would be the (biracial & bisexual) POV protagonist’s love interest. (But he isn’t, nor is his friendship a consolation prize, and I love that!) This book is so atmospheric and I adore its focus on non-romantic relationships.
  • Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim is a gender-swapped Count of Monte Cristo retelling loaded with QPoC rep, including a[n author-confirmed] demisexual main character. Unfortunately the writing style didn’t work for me so I ended up DNF-ing, but the lush worldbuilding and exciting plot have found many fans.

[Disclaimer: I have not read the following three books, but it didn’t feel right to publish a recs post with just the above three; these are drawn from @asexual-representation’s list of ace and demi books/characters.]

  • The Iamos Trilogy by Lyssa Chiavari is a science fiction novel featuring space travel and aliens, with a canon demisexual lead and major Q/PoC rep. It has less than 50 reviews, but the vast majority of them are 4- and 5-stars.
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld follows the publication journey of a Word-of-Author) demisexual protagonist, interwoven with the chapters of the paranormal novel she’s working on. (Maybe this is the year this book moves from my TBR to my Read shelf.)
  • Mangoverse by Shira Glassman looks like it might appeal to fans ofย The Priory of the Orange Tree: New Adult fantasy with sapphic queens and dragons. Also, Q/PoC rep including Word-of-Author/strongly implied in-text demi rep.

Updated January 2022

  • Do you know of any other books with demisexual rep, whether canon or word-of-author? Let me know; I’d love to add them to my TBR and this post!

12 thoughts on “[Book Recs] Demisexual Protagonists

  1. That’s such a great post! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for giving demisexual/grayace reps a shout-out! I recently discovered that I might be demisexual because every person I ever was with was a close friend first and I knew them for years before anything happened. I really wish all those terms would have already existed when I was a teen. It would have made it so much easier to undestand myself. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t seen many people talking about demisexuality/grayasexuality (esp compared to other LGBTQ+ identities) so I definitely wanted to put it out there! and I totally feel you, labels can be so helpful in figuring out yourself and your orientation ๐Ÿ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe Julian Blackthorn from The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare has been confirmed by the author to be demisexual. I could be misremembering though, since it’s long been a popular headcanon among fans but I think she did.

    My sister recently came out to me as being on the ace spectrum, so I appreciate you recommending these books. I think I’ll share this post with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t really being keeping up with the Shadowhunters books (because there’s just so many of them ๐Ÿ˜…) but that’s awesome to hear!

      all the love to your sister, and to you for being supportive! ๐Ÿณโ€๐ŸŒˆ


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