[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.ย 

Because we’re here and we’re queer. Fellow demis, you’re not alone ๐Ÿ’•

Since it’s a relatively lesser-known term, I also wanted to include an explanation of demisexuality. This is based on my own understanding and experiences, so please forgive me (and correct me) if I get something wrong.

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: demisexual folx 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 folx are attracted to all their friends, just as other orientations don’t mean queer folx are 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. This book is so atmospheric and I adore its focus on close friendship rather than romance.
  • 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.
  • Do you know of any other books with demisexual rep, whether canon or word-of-author?
  • When it comes to books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, do you prefer to read about them figuring out their sexual/romantic orientation or do you prefer books where they’re already secure in their identity?

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

      Like

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