What Is Fraysexuality?

the end of a green rope that is fraying
Image by Neal Fowler / CC BY

I previously posted an article that recounted a conversation I had with a friend about megasexuality (not feeling a romantic connection with someone unless there’s a strong sexual connection in place), which my friend referred to as the opposite of demisexuality (not experiencing sexual attraction until an emotional connection is formed).

Interestingly, there’s another concept that could be credibly considered the opposite of demisexual.

And that’s fraysexual.

What Does It Mean To Be Fraysexual?

So what does it mean to be fraysexual?

Let’s start with a definition.

Fraysexual (adjective): a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction to someone upon first meeting them but that sexual attraction fades over time, particularly as an emotional connection is formed

Because of this orientation, fraysexuals are primarily sexually interested only in people that they aren’t familiar with. As familiarity creeps in, they lose sexual interest.

As a definition, it’s fairly easy to understand.. But it can be quite a painful reality… particularly if a fraysexual person is dating people who aren’t fraysexual. Who find that an emotional bond and increased familiarity actually strengthens sexual attraction (this applies to many people and most prominently to demisexuals).

If your picture of Old Relationship Energy rarely contains sex, it can be quite difficult to maintain a happy healthy relationship with a partner who finds that Old Relationship Energy is where they sexually thrive.

Fraysexuality and Dead Bedrooms

I’m not fraysexual myself nor have I been romantically involved with a fraysexual person (at least not to my knowledge), but I’ve worked with couples who have been touched by fraysexuality. And particularly with couples who find that they’ve ended up in a dead bedroom situation, where they’re no longer having sex with one another, even if only one of them is necessarily unhappy about this reality.

Now, fraysexuality isn’t always the explanation for a dead bedroom. Sometimes a disappearing sexual connection can be related to other things:

  • hormonal changes that come from health conditions, new medications, or the aging process
  • stress
  • time management
  • broken trust/betrayal
  • depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems
  • getting into a relationship “funk” or stuck in a rut (a.k.a., “the thrill is gone”)

But there are situations where none of these factors apply. It’s basically one partner’s orientation, that they are solely sexually attracted to the new and shiny. And while familiarity doesn’t breed contempt per se, it can for a fraysexual breed a lack of sexual interest.

In these cases, there are several different possible approaches:

  • breaking up
  • trying talk therapy to problem-solve about compromises and make sure that there aren’t other factors in play beyond an innate orientation
  • staying together romantically but accepting the lack of sexual connection
  • agreeing to take on other partners to meet any needs that aren’t able to be met (via some kind of open relationship)
  • trying to reignite that old spark — although while this works beautifully with other causes of dead bedroom, this will be basically impossible in cases of pure fraysexuality

When Fraysexuals Date Other Fraysexuals

Being fraysexual is not necessarily all doom and gloom. While problems can often develop when fraysexuals end up in long-term relationships with folks who do not share their orientation, this isn’t the only path.

Fraysexuals often find it easier to date other fraysexuals.

One way that they might accomplish this by having what are known as comet relationships. A comet relationship is a romantic and/or sexual connection that passes through one’s life in an intermittent way. With comet relationships, fraysexuals are able to have intense connection but their lover never becomes quite familiar enough for them to lose sexual interest, since they spend time with one another infrequently and they may both change quite a bit in the interim.

While comet relationships aren’t for everyone, for some people they’re extremely gratifying and rewarding.

Another way that fraysexuals might find harmonious relationships is by settling down with another fraysexual with which they maintain an open relationship. While they’ll likely both lose sexual interest in one another as time goes on, they’ll still have their emotional bond and mutual support and have a partner for life entanglements such as home ownership, raising children, running joint business ventures, etc.

Interestingly, a lot of people who have an anti-polyamory bias tend to assume that when a couple opens up a previously closed relationship that it means that they have either fallen out of love and/or are fraysexual.

While most of the time this is a fallacious assumption and there are many, many couples that become polyamorous who love each other dearly and/or still have a fantastic sexual connection, it’s worth noting that being part of a polyamorous relationship system isn’t actually a terrible option for a fraysexual couple. Especially if both halves are dating separately (instead of as a unit) and being respectful to, considerate of, and honest with any new people they’re meeting and dating about the reality and how they tend to work (the informed part of informed consent).

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Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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