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      Avenues May/June   05/09/17

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jeve

Guess what. We're mentally ill!

52 posts in this topic

Two hours ago I was a happy young psych major well along in the third year. Oh, of course I was a trifle upset with the article on the PsychInfo Database that claim asexuality was a disorder, but they would only show the abstract, not the article, so it was just some hack psychologist. Then, my copy of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - the bible of the psych world) came in. I flipped through to see if asexual had made it in there, but I thought, "they took out homosexuals in the '80's, surely we wouldn't be in there now". Guess what folks? Asexuality is lableled the sexual aversion disorder, specifically Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Not sure it's you? "The essential feature of SAD is the aversion to and active avoidance of genital sexual contact...The individual reports anxiety, fear, or disgust when confronted by a sexual opportunity with a partner...Some individuals experience generalized revulsion to all sexual stimuli, including kissing, and touching. The intensity of the individual's reaction when exposed to the aversive stimulus may range from moderate anxiety and lack of pleasure to extreme psychological distress..." It goes on to talk about low sexual desire and little to no need for masturbation, depending on the individual. WHY ARE WE IN HERE, THEY TOOK OUT GAYS IN THE 80'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is nothing wrong with me and you guys seem pretty well adjusted on the whole. I love being asexual! Anyway, I just thought I'd tell you guys to stay away from psychologists and also to give you the opportunity to be completely outraged.

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thats pretty upsetting... i dont think i have a problem at all!!

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I don't think that sexual aversion (or hypoactive sexual desire disorder) necesarily refers to asexuality. There are people who actaully fear or are disgusted by the idea of sex, but that isn't the same as having no sexual desire. They may still have sexual desires or attraction, but when it comes down to it they actually have some sort of fear or aversion to sex.

Sort of how you may want it, but then when you actually think about it you become turned off to the whole idea.

And when you have written that the general feature of SAD, do you mean seasonal depressive disorder? Can't depression sometimes cause a person to lose sexual interest?

And i personally believe that there are cases in which a person is asexual because of some sort mental disorder, sometimes something else that for some reason caused that.

(no, i do not mean all, or even most).

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No, i don't mean the seasonal depressive disorder. If you will reread the characterisics of SAD and HSDD they tend to apply to a number of areas of asexuality. Im also sure that it's not seasonal depressive disorder because that would mean that the person would probaby have periods of sexual interest at various times because the disorder comes and goes, hence the name. Yes, depression often causes people to lose interest in sexual activity. However, I don't have any sort of depression. In an effort to "fix" me, I was on Prozac for awhile (not by my choice) and this did not affect my lack of sex drive at all. Hands up the rest of you who are depressed. And yes, there are many people who are disgusted or frightened by sex due to some trauma or abuse. I myself, however, have not suffered some trauma or abuse and still find sex repugnant (in regards to myself and actual others and hysterical then boring in regards to porns, etc.) and my greatest fear is being raped. Also, the idea that someone averts sex because of a trauma would indicate that he/she was not asexual to begin with, and the subtypes include Lifelong vs. Aquired [sAD]. Aquired encompasses people with traumas, lifelong refers to people who have never had sexual interest "since the onset of sexual functioning (puberty)." Hi, how are you? Your last point is exactly what I'm talking about. "(no, i do not mean all, or even most)" [that mental disorders or other imbalances cause asexuality in people]. Exactly. I fully agree. But, the American Psychological Association is saying that the people born asexual have a mental disorder. I do not agree with that. A mental disorder threatens the quality of life and (i love this) could be a threat to self or others. I love my life. I was messed up and hated life when I thought there was something wrong with me. Now there's not. And I love it. And exactly how am I a threat to self or others? I'm not spreading or getting any sort of disease, I'm not playing mind games with people to scar them psychologically, and I'm not bringing others into an overpopulated world. Please, lock me away, I'm such a danger. The thing is, most people don't know we asexuals exist. A lot of the ones that do think we are late bloomers and/or once we try sex we'll love it. They don't take us seriously, in other words. I am asexual. I don't know how I got here and I really don't care, I'm choosing to be now. I love being asexual. But I also know that there is nothing wrong me. Or any of us. Guys, be outraged! Think Im wrong and be outraged that I actually wrote this drivel and wasted your time. Tell me so and why. Or be outraged that a group of people who have probably never seen a true asexual could write drivel like this! Write them, email them, call them, blow up their houses, something! Even if you live in a country besides the US, this could easily spread to yours, I already said the APA works internationally. If a council of top psychologists that work more or less internationally with others decide we have mental disorders, especially if we can be cured or 'fixed' by pill-popping... Do you really want to be considered mentally disturbed? Look at what the homosexuals had to go through to be considered socially acceptable and normal and they still aren't, really. Their fight wouldn't have been as hard if it weren't for their time in the DSM. I'm sorry this was so long, but for once I guess I have a lot to say.

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I'm glad no one has tried to "fix" me. I wouldn't take pills, nor do I believe that I have a "problem" that pills would "fix". I do have my doubts about how many asexuals they've even talked to. Probabaly none from the many of us who aren't seeking help and only a few of the ones who are certain there must be something terribly wrong with themselves long before they see a doctor (which is understandable considering how alone many of us thought we were).

Lol, well, I don't think I have a mental illness, and if it actually were one (which I highly doubt) then so what? It's not a bad thing at all to be me :) It does make me vaugely curious about how a psycologist would handle my situation if I walked in their office one day, but not enough to part with my money just to find out.

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no,i didn'tmean you had seasonal depresive order, i mean i was unclear on what you meant when you used SAD.

but i see now when i re-read the original post.

also, when i said had an aversion to sex, i didn't mean just people who had suffered abuse. i mean that there are people who do not consider themselves to be asexual who also find themselves disgusted by the idea of sex.

I consider myself to be one of those people. i am sexually attracted to people, i have never been abused, and yet, when i actually thikn about sex in itself, something about it just bothers me.

and you know what? i agree that whether it is an actual treatable disorder, mental or physical, doesn't matter b/c i find that almost everyone who has posted here is quite happy as they are. there are some who are not, but for people who are, i agree, there is no reason to list it as a disorder.

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That disorder is completely seperate from asexuality, there's nothing in lack of sexual attraction to people that says you have to be repulsed by genitals. I'm asexual and I've tried plenty of things with other people's gentials, I wasn't disgusted, although I can't say I was arroused either. Sure you could be asexual and experience revulsion, but it's not like they're the same thing.

The DSM-IV has a whole bunch of disorders for things that might be considered normal in society but for the person experiencing them are a big problem. If someone is gay and completely hates themself and wants to die, I would consider their /feelings/ about being gay to be disorder and I'd hape therapists would treat them by helping them accept who/what they are. The same for asexuality. If you have no sex drive and it really upsets you so that you can't function and have huge issues with life, I could consider that disordered. I wouldn't say they should be fixed by being made sexual, but they can be helped to accept being asexual.

The DSM-IV is there to list things that people have problems with. It's not going to list things that just exist and don't upset anyone. Last I saw being homosexual AND unable to cope with it WAS in the DSM-IV, but the disorder is not being able to cope with it, not being gay.

If you were a sexual person, were motivated to have sex but felt completely repulsed by any thought of sexual intimacy, that could be a really huge problem in your life, so it seems appropriate that there's some guidance of how to help people in such situations. If you're asexual and repulsed by sexual activity, it probably doesn't manifest as much of a problem, but other people with the same issues might be deeply disturbed and frightened by the entire thing (ie being driven to sex and then repulsed when it happens).

So really, I don't see this as asexuality being classed as a disorder, but personally I wouldn't even have a problem if it WAS classed as a disorder, although I'd prefer it to be of the "Is asexual and has an extreme problem coping with it" variety rather than anything that implies the asexuality itself is the disorder.

Nat.

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Ahh, I see what you're saying. If it is with those disorders that are not considered disorders unless it causes distress to the person, that does make sense, since it's not like something where you might end up hurting someone, including yourself.

And if it is something that does cause problems to the person, then they could go see someone.

I don't know, I hope to understand all this psychology stuff someday, hopefully by the time I get my own psychiatry practice.

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This is my first posting outside of the welcome area. That disorder sounds a lot like me, so I find it easy to believe that some asexuals are a result of trauma or mental disorder (by no means all). I also believe that my life as an asexual is more fulfilling and happier in general than it was in the 20 years of growing up hetero. I have friends, and dogs and cats, and I'm a very active and intellectual person. I do not do drugs, drink or smoke, and I don't fixate on "what is he/she thinking about me now?" anymore. I think I'm a much more effective and less confused person than I was 4 years ago. So, even though Sexual Aversion Disorder describes me almost to a 'T' I really don't think of myself as having a mental disorder at all. ttfn.

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I do agree with you, on the point that the DSM-IV does at least claim that SAD must cause distress to the person. However, in most cases concerning situations like this (not really damaging in any way, but something that most people would find abnormal), this statement is there for litigation purposes and to take up space. My point is, homosexuality can cause distress if the homosexual believes it to be sinful or is perhaps in the closet. In the DSM-III it was listed as a disorder if it caused distressed. It was taken out. Heterosexuality can be distressful if one feels compelled by others to be hetero. This has never been listed. Bi can be the same way. It is not listed. So, here we have the fourth orientation (asexuality) and because it could cause distress because of possible abuse and/or violence, it is listed as a disorder. I simply feel that the disorder should be further clarified and refined, as in sex is avoided specifically due to trauma. Asexuality should not be listed in the DSM at all, not when the others are not, for the same reason the others are not.

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Hi, I'm not a member yet, but I hope to sign up soon.

Anyway, I was leafing through my high school psychology text, and "sexual problems category, I found this: "inhibited sexual desire: a sexual dysfunction in which the motivation for sexual activity is restrained or lacking entirely." This seems to fit asexuality pretty well, even better than SAD, so I was rather miffed, to say the least. :( Can anyone else confirm that this actually lists asexuality as a disorder?

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I am lacking in motivation for sexual activity. Do I care?!

As far as I'm concerned, being asexual isn't illegal, immoral, and doesn't harm anyone; and since I'm pretty happy being like this, I don't think there's anything wrong with me.

I can understand that a person who had little/no sex drive when they wanted to, or had lost their sex drive, would feel better on being told that this was a recognised condition with a name, a set of possible causes, and a variety of possible treatments. So from that point of view I have no problem with the concept of lack of sex drive being listed as a disorder. The problem comes when the label is also used (usually by other people) to describe an asexual as abnormal, when that person is happy with themself. I think you have to be unhappy about your lack of sex drive for it to be truly a disorder, and I do think they should include that in the definition

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I have no sexual desire, but I am also afraid of sex and disgusted by genitals, does this mean I am not asexual?

I think I comply to the DSM-IV definition almost completely, but as I have no problem with being asexual do not think of it as a disorder. I have always suspected that it might be a mental problem, in my case, because I've not suffered any rape, molestation or incest, and cannot for the life of me discern any possible reason for me fear and aversion to sex/lack of desire aside from some mental problem. I do suffer from depression, ocd, panic attacks and gen. anxiety disorder so why not add this to the collection? I guess I take this categorization of asexuality as a mental illness to mean that it can have a mental cause, which I have no problem with, but I can see how you would be offended by their labeling it as a disorder when clearly it is something you are comfortable with.

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I have no sexual desire, but I am also afraid of sex and disgusted by genitals, does this mean I am not asexual?

I think I comply to the DSM-IV definition almost completely, but as I have no problem with being asexual do not think of it as a disorder. I have always suspected that it might be a mental problem, in my case, because I've not suffered any rape, molestation or incest, and cannot for the life of me discern any possible reason for my fear and aversion to sex/lack of desire aside from some mental aberration. I do suffer from depression, ocd, panic attacks and gen. anxiety disorder so why not add this to the collection? I guess I take this categorization of asexuality as a mental illness to mean that it can have a mental cause, which I have no problem with, but I can see how you would be offended by their labeling it as a disorder when clearly it is something you are comfortable with.

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*This isn't really a direct reply to anyone, I'm just putting my own thoughts on the subject out there*

I was molested on one occaision when I was really young, and that, along with some other experiences, probably has affected me. The DSM-IV definition seems to define me pretty well, I guess. I may be that rather than truly asexual, I suppose. At the same time, I don't think my motivation for sex is nearly strong enough to make me want to overcome my hangups. If I met someone who I had a strong emotional and spiritual connection to and felt like I wanted a sexual relationship, that would give me an inducement to try, but for now, I'm happy living an asexual lifestyle. Even if I am not truly an asexual, I think I can identify with asexuals in a lot of ways.

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I have no faith in pshcology anymore. I volinteered for an evaluation in my psych class, and their findings labeled me a sociopath. I have never willing hurt another human being nor do i intend to. Theis finds about me there were wrong, and the ones on all of us are too.

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First things first: I read the first message in this thread, and half of the second one, and then I got lazy and decided to reply to the first one only hehe (I'll read the rest tomorrow though, promise!).

Asexuality isn't a mental disorder. Well okay, maybe it is, I am new here so I have no idea. But the thing is, it's all how you see it. Even if it IS classified as a mental illness, does that make it bad? Think about it, we don't have to deal with relationships (at least I don't), love problems, STDs, pills, contraceptive devices, and all that other garbage that is so common for the "normal" people.

Personally I think we are the gifted ones :) Sexual desire has no influence on our decisions. Imagine if James Bond would be asexual; he would never get seduced by the beautiful female agent sent to kill him! Then of course the movie would probably suck, but you get my point hehe.

As for the following:

"The essential feature of SAD is the aversion to and active avoidance of genital sexual contact...The individual reports anxiety, fear, or disgust when confronted by a sexual opportunity with a partner...Some individuals experience generalized revulsion to all sexual stimuli, including kissing, and touching. The intensity of the individual's reaction when exposed to the aversive stimulus may range from moderate anxiety and lack of pleasure to extreme psychological distress..."

Bull. Shit. I bet a straight person would have the same feeling if confronted with a sexual situation with someone of the same sex. Then it would be normal :P

I man really, I can compare sex-even though I've never had it-to, say, banging my head against a wall repeatedly. something else I'v never done, but assume that sucks. If you don't like it, or don't want to do it, then by all means don't.

I honestly have no idea why asexuality is classified as a mental illness, but at the same time I do wonder: by being asexual (therefore mentally ill by the book's standards) does it mean I can get one of those scholarships that handicapped people normally get? How about money from the government? :D Hehe might as well live the good life until they de-classify it as a mental disorder.

Should go to bed now. Past 3 AM x_X

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... that the "Holy Bible of the DSM-IV" essentially lists any form of behavior that can possibly be "pathologized" on account of falling outside some very narrowly defined parameters of what is considered "normal" (a word I am not fond of) by the mainstream.

Bottom line: Everybody's an individual. Trying to apply blanket generalities to individuals is a risky business. As others have pointed out, if you're happy and fulfilled with an asexual life, then it's hardly a "disorder." If you're deeply distressed and filled with suicidal ideation on account of your sexual status... well, then you probably merit a psych evaluation.

All that said, I don't think most DSM-IV descriptions "stand alone"-- they all have to be viewed in the context of the individual at hand.

Of course, that's just my OPINION.

--Den

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Part of the problem is the over medicalization, materialism and normalocracy of society

In society, people idolize the concept of 'normal', so much that 'not like other people' becomes 'not-normal' = 'abnormal' = 'wrong'

In addition we are very materialistic, in that we have come to see all of a person's personality and 'self' as a function of the body, and neurons, there is no room for 'soul'/spirit or just 'personality'

Therefore everything that is wrong can be cured by medication and therapy, and of course everything that is 'not normal' therefore needs to be cured by medical means

besides, how do you define 'normal'? Statisticslly? Thje average? the Mean? Morally? How?

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Also we must remember that while a term for a mental illness or disfunction may have very specific referrence to true psychological practitioners by the time it hits the popular usage it will have become much more inclusive of a wider range of experience. i.e. people in the general will apply the term to things it was never meant to cover. For instance, the term frigidity originally referred to a sexual woman who was unable to orgasm and for whom this caused sexual problems and distress, but in popular usage it was distorted to the point where it can be applied to describe someone as emotionally cold. That 'hypoactive desire disorder' referres specifically to people who are sexual, but have eperrienced loss of desire, which causes them distress and damages their relationship, which does have a sexual component, will not matter when the general public uses that 'diagnosis' to refer to anyone who doesn't want sex regardless of whether it is a dramatic change for them which causes them problems, or whether they are simply non-sexual and have never had any interest in sex due to their personality.

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"Denmark Guy" echoed quite well what I was going to post. I'll just add a couple of thoughts.

---------------------------------

He said this:

"Let's not forget....

... that the "Holy Bible of the DSM-IV" essentially lists any form of behavior that can possibly be "pathologized" on account of falling outside some very narrowly defined parameters of what is considered "normal" (a word I am not fond of) by the mainstream. "

--------------------------------------

I wanted to add that, to the best of my knowledge (and I studied this in college, so it could have been updated since,) the DSM-IV actually DOES contain a listing (number) for "normal."

If this is the book that I am recalling, it assigns a number for each "illness," and then a decimal point after the number, to show how severe it is.

So, for instance (and I'm making this up,) a VERY manic-depressive person could be labeled as #73.8, while a person who suffers from manic-depressive disorder, but only mildly, would be expressed as a #73.2.

Now, as I recall it, there IS actually a number for "normal," which is, of course, followed by the decimal point, indicating whether you are "slightly normal," or "VERY normal!"

Let's say that the number for "normal" is #82. I, personally, would feel very disappointed if I went through the hoops of taking the tests, and then turned out to be a #82.9. I would wonder where all of my individuality went! (How would YOU feel?)

---------------------------------------

The main thing to remember is, as Denmark Guy said, this book contains every possible thing under the stars. It would be very progressive and unusual, had they gotten around to "catching up" with where the real world is on asexuality.

So you can relax...it's all OK. This book is just a bunch of nonsense that has a label for you even if you're normal. It's easier to refer to people by numbers, and also reduces the feeling of "humanity" that comes with actually knowing about the quirkiness of an individual.

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Hmmm.....this reminds me of 50 years ago when people were told that being gay was a disease...

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Had this argument in class again. My teacher said she agreedede with me that it should be taken out, so I changed her mind I guess.

She said Al Bundy was the most famouse asexual. Not true, he didn't to have sex with his wife, but he wanted all the other women.

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I stopped listening to textbooks years ago. Not only are they full of crap, but they usually have missing information & a bunch of sh*t that's unrealted to what you're actually looking for.

As for that psych book, I would have thrown it at the professor's head a long ass time ago. Or, if the subject ever comes up during class, give em hell!!!!!!!!! Put their asses to shame.

Either that, or you can write to the company who put the book together.

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By the way, I may have my quirks, but that doesn't make me mentally ill. It just makes me eccentric.

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I already have raised Hell, and then some. I've done it so many times in that clase I owe the Devil, guess I'll be the next SPAWN.

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Watch out:

The next thing that's going to be printed in these books is that not only is Asexuality a mental illness, but that it's got violent symptoms. Obviously, the sexual tension builds up over time, and causes one to do things like, say, throw textbooks that aren't fit to start a fire at people.

No, it couldn't possibly be simple frustration with people who don't "get" the obvious. It's a mental illness.

Face it people. We are all sick, sick, sick, and need to get in to see some REALLY good shrinks, to cure ourselves! We HAVE to have sex, whether we like it or not...so we'd better learn to like it, so we can be sane!

---------------------------------------

Yes, I'm joking, but truly...something like this can really affect one's future.

If Asexuality is an "official mental disease," and you are applying for a job, and they ask a question about mental illness, you either can say that YES, you are mentally ill, or you can do what is, by all the textbooks etc., LYING. There's no ~real~ choice.

It may stand in the way of a career, or advancement in a career, or relationships, or all sorts of things.

It is very important that people become educated to the ~realities~ of being an asexual, and I am grateful to AVEN for devoting itself to this purpose.

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Hah, is it really lying if no one ever officially diagnosed you with this "problem"? NOoooo. I think not. If I don't go to a shrink, who's to say if there is a problem, besides myself that is, and I'm not saying I have a problem at all. Besides, how is your boss going to find out unless he starts harassing you at work?

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Nem:

Heh heh heh.

"It all depends upon what your definition of 'is' is, right?"

;)

You have the best idea...don't ask the stupid shrink. We all have several qualified opinions from folks around here who are actually informed, that state that we are, unfortunately, as sane as the next person. (How sane is the next person? And who are they?)

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I have it from the United States Government that I am perfectly sane. Some mental illness.

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