‘I Prefer Having Sex With People I Don’t Know Well—Here’s How My Partner and I Are Making It Work’

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Those who prefer casual or anonymous sex to repeated-partner play have likely, at some point in their sexual journey, contended with the wrath of slut-shaming culture. But for some, the preference for emotion-free sex is more than a celebration of sexuality and bodily autonomy; it’s a sexual orientation. Behold: fraysexuality.

“’Fraysexual’ is a term that describes someone who experiences sexual attraction towards people they don’t know or don’t know very well,” says queer- and polyamory-inclusive sex educator Lateef Taylor. And that sexual attraction they feel towards strangers or new acquaintances can wane as time goes on and they get to know the person better.

According to Western Aces, an asexuality resource guide originally created for Western Washington University students, fraysexuality can be considered the opposite of demisexuality, or the sexual orientation in which someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction until an emotional bond is formed. What demisexuality and fraysexuality have in common, however, is that both fall along the asexuality spectrum . “Fraysexuality falls under the asexuality umbrella, because it names an experience of sexual attraction that falls outside of ‘the standard way,’” Taylor says.

What fraysexuality is not

Having a fraysexual sexual orientation has no bearing on the gender to which a person is attracted nor the experience of attraction (or lack thereof). It also has no implication on a person’s romantic orientation or preferred relationship style or structure.

“Someone can be gay and fraysexual or straight and fraysexual,” says sex and relationship coach Caitlin V., MPH, who identifies as fraysexual. Likewise, someone can be fraysexual and also experience romantic attraction to people of any gender or genders—or not. (This is known as one’s romantic orientation.)