What is fraysexuality and could this describe you?

Misunderstood and difficult to communicate, fraysexuality is a preference for sex with people they don’t know or know very well. It’s the opposite of demisexuality, which means sexual attraction is achieved only through emotional connection. We asked relationship expert Dr. Lurve to explain further. 

You know the rush of meeting someone new you’re instantly attracted to? Mystery is sexy, many will agree, and indeed sex with a stranger is among the most common kinks out there. But there is still a deeply ingrained stigma associated with casual, even anonymous sex; many meet it unfairly with slut-shaming rhetoric especially if you’re a woman.

For some, the preference for having emotional-free encounters isn’t just a celebration of their sexual independence, it’s considered a sexual orientation. Enter: fraysexuality.

“Someone who is fraysexual typically feels sexual attraction for a person after initially meeting them but this fades as the emotional bond strengthens,” explains sex and relationships expert, Dr. Lurve.

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It’s misunderstood, says Dr. Lurve, because while it generally falls under the umbrella of asexuality–that is, very little or no sexual attraction to others– it means “someone does feel sexual attraction upon meeting someone but the attraction fades as that relationship becomes more emotionally connected.”

It’s also common for someone in a relationship who is fraysexual to think they are asexual, because they’re no longer attracted to their partner. This generally won’t be a once-off or specific to one partner, either, but rather a pattern in all sexual relationships.

First of all, it’s important to understand there is a difference between romantic and sexual orientation.

“Romantic orientation refers to when a person is likely to have an intimate/emotional relationship with or fall in love with, a specific gender (this doesn’t necessarily always involve sex),” says Dr. Lurve.

“Sexual orientation on the other hand is a person’s identity in relation to their sexual desire toward a specific gender or genders, for example, being heterosexual or homosexual.”

She adds: “The differences between the two comes down to the sexual attraction part, meaning that some people can have different sexual and romantic orientations with the belief that sexual attraction is just a single part of a larger picture.”

For someone who is fraysexual, their lack of sexual attraction towards who they’re in a relationship with doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve fallen out of love with that person.

Fraysexuality can present challenges in a healthy relationship, says Dr. Lurve, because “if you’re no longer having sex with one another, this can cause an unhappy relationship (even if it’s only from one person’s perspective).”

It’s also important to note that it doesn’t automatically give license to cheat unless an open relationship has been agreed upon by both parties. Here’s how to navigate it.

Talk it out

Being open and honest to your partner about your sexual orientation is the best place to start. Fraysexuality is unfortunately fairly misunderstood, so it’s important to educate your partner if they’re not aware of it. Talking about it can mean that you can come to an arrangement that suits both parties or have a better understanding of what each other needs.

Stay together

Making the decision to stay together even if it means there is little to no sexual activity in the relationship can be a compromise some people are happy to make. If your emotional bond is strong and you can’t imagine living without the other person, this can be a choice that many happy couples can live with.

Have an open relationship

Some couples can come to an agreement of staying together but opening up the relationship to ensure that sexual desires can be met. This would mean coming to an arrangement where one (or both) parties seek sex outside of the relationship. In these instances, clear boundaries need to be set to ensure each party isn’t hurting one another emotionally (and that the relationship is still fulfilling on an emotional level).

Reignite the spark

There are ways that couples can reignite that sexual desire without having to go to drastic measures. Consider introducing some new things in the bedroom such as sex toys or role-playing (nothing like pretending to be a naughty nurse or hot stranger to spice things up)!

Break up

For some people, sex is a priority and they’re not willing to forgo it in their relationship. While breaking up seems like a strong move, for some couples, it’s the only option if they’re unable to come to terms with the lack of sexual activity. In these cases, it’s important to respect someone else’s stance and understand that their needs should be met as well.

Dr Lurve is one of Australia’s leading love and relationship experts, who specialises in helping people navigate the ups and downs of relationships, both romantic and platonic. Follow her on Instagram @dr.lurve.