Do you find that you’re sexually attracted to people when you first meet them, but once the initial excitement wears off, you find yourself craving more novel sexual experiences? Do you lose sexual interest once you get to know your partner more intimately? If so, you might find the label “fraysexual” helpful. Here’s what fraysexuality is and some indicators to determine if the label might fit your experience.
What fraysexuality is
Fraysexual folks mostly experience sexual attraction to strangers or new acquaintances. And, once they’ve developed a strong emotional bond with a partner, they often find themselves losing sexual, though not necessarily romantic, interest.
It can be helpful to define “fraysexual” as the opposite of “demisexual.” Demisexual folks only find themselves sexually attracted to partners who they have an emotional connection with. For fraysexual folks, it’s the exact opposite. The primary characteristic most fraysexual folks share is a preference for having sex with partners who they don’t have strong emotional or romantic relationships with. That said, it is possible for a fraysexual person to lose sexual interest in a partner, but not romantic feelings.
As queer- and polyamory-inclusive sex educator Lateef Taylor tells Well+Good, “Fraysexuality falls under the asexuality umbrella, because it names an experience of sexual attraction that falls outside of ‘the standard way.” Fraysexuality can span across genders, sexual orientations, romantic orientations, and preferred relationship structures. For that reason, a person who identifies as fraysexual may use multiple labels, such a heterosexual-fraysexual, gay-fraysexual, non-binary, queer fraysexual, etc.
The difference between fraysexuality and having a fear of commitment
It’s important to distinguish fraysexuality from a more general emotional aversion to forming long-term relationships. As love and relationship coach Dr. Lurve tells O.school, “The difference between fraysexuality and fear of commitment is mainly choice. Being fraysexual is not a choice because no matter how much they want to be sexually attracted to someone, they know they cannot overcome it.”
Dr Lurve adds that, “A fear of commitment, on the other hand, means this person can be sexually attracted to someone they know or are getting to know, but are afraid of being hurt/rejected as they have pre-existing issues with trust, commitment and abandonment.”
Three indicators you may be fraysexual
There are a few indicators that might help you determine if you are fraysexual. Note that even if these indicators resonate with you, it doesn’t mean you must use the label “fraysexual” to describe yourself. For some, labels can feel restrictive and unhelpful. Others, however, might find that having a word to match their experience helps them better understand their sexual preferences. For some, a label like “fraysexual” can also help them explain to potential partners what to expect from their sexual partnership.
1. You lose sexual interest in partners after a period of time.
If you find yourself losing interest in your partners as your emotional and romantic bond intensifies, you might be fraysexual. Some folks who experience loss of sexual interest in relationships may wonder if they’re simply asexual — that is, they’re not interested in sex at all. But for folks who still feel sexual attraction towards new people in their lives, fraysexuality might be a better fit.
2. You find long-term relationships to be fulfilling emotionally and romantically, but not sexually.
You might enjoy forming long-term relationships that provide emotional and romantic support, but consistently find sex with long-term partners to be unsatisfying. Despite the loss of sexual attraction, you may still find aspects of long-term relationships appealing, such as continued mutual emotional support, joint home ownership, having kids, or sharing finances.
3. You feel a strong attraction to people you’ve just met or don’t know very well.
For fraysexual folks, sexual attraction tends to be strongest for strangers or recent acquaintances. If the excitement of hooking up with someone you just met at a party or a bar is the primary scenario that piques your sexual desire, fraysexuality might appeal to you.
It is possible to be in a long-term relationship if you’re fraysexual
Being fraysexual can present potential difficulties for long-term relationships. As Dr. Lurve tells Body and Soul, “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).” But that doesn’t mean fraysexual folks can’t form healthy long-term relationships. Far from it.
Some fraysexual people find it easiest to date other fraysexual people, under the mutual understanding that simply because sexual attraction fades, romantic attraction doesn’t necessarily fade with it. For some partners of fraysexual people, the emotional and romantic bond they share can be enough to sustain a relationship, even as the sexual connection fades. For these folks, making some compromises on their sex life is worth it because they value their fraysexual partner immensely in other aspects of their relationship.
Often, fraysexual folks find the most fulfillment in some form of consensual non-monogamy with a long-term partner. These relationships structures allow fraysexual people to explore their sexual attraction to strangers and new acquaintances, while maintaining the stability and emotional connection afforded by longer-term partnerships.
Regardless of how you choose to navigate your fraysexuality in the context of long-term relationships, it’s important to keep communication channels open. Be honest about your needs, wants and desires and to listen and respect those of your partners’.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, fraysexual can be a helpful term to articulate a particular kind of sexual preference. While there’s (unfortunately) still a lot of stigma in our society about having sex with strangers, or even outside of relationships, fraysexuality is a completely valid way to relate to others sexually. Having sex with people you don’t know very well can be exciting, mysterious, and thrilling–and as long as you’re open about what you are (and aren’t) looking for, can make for a lifetime of fulfilling sexual experiences.