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. 💕
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 with 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.
(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 — and admittedly the narrative has its problematic elements — 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 of 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!