Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Laurie Ivey, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph de Lappe, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer Tippett, Psy.D.


Asexuality, Demisexuality, FSIAD, MHSDD, Sexual orientation, Identity, Parametric

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This paper considers demisexuality as an identity and sexual orientation for use by psychologists using historical, sociological, and psychological perspectives. It discusses the clinical implications of demisexuality as an identity and orientation distinct from asexuality. The paper discusses applications and limitations of defining and identifying demisexuality in a clinical population and it's social, scientific, and contextual significance. The paper compares what can be observed with existing diagnostic guidelines present in the DSM-5 for the identification of Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (FSIAD) and Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (MHSDD). The paper proposes guidelines for the diagnosis and the ethical clinical treatment of demisexuals.

These goals were achieved by conducting a literature review of asexual studies, historical understandings of sexual expression, studies of psychological outcomes in under-represented identities, and accepted diagnostic approaches. The data collected was analyzed using a parametric analysis of human sexuality. The data and analysis can be used to aid psychological treatment and diagnostic assessment of demisexual and clinical populations. It is a novel approach for conceptualizing human sexuality that digresses from existing assessments.

The analysis found significant evidence that demisexuality is distinct from asexuality and warrants a sufficiently adapted approach to psychotherapeutic treatment. The current diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5 for FSIAD/MHSDD were found to be insufficient to treat demisexuals. It further suggested that demisexuality should be ruled out for FSIAD/MHSDD diagnosis, as is currently the case for asexuality. The findings identified demisexuality as an area of study which requires further psychological research.


70 pgs

Paper Method

Theoretical Analysis and Synthesis