thjb

Defining asexuality - a better definition?

  

201 members have voted

  1. 1. Please select your orientation;

    • asexual
      959
    • grey-asexual
      150
    • demisexual
      53
    • heterosexual
      19
    • homosexual
      7
    • bisexual
      6
    • pansexual
      4
    • other
      19
    • rather not say
      13
  2. 2. Which of these would you prefer as a definition of asexuality/an asexual person?

    • a person who does not experience sexual attraction (current AVEN definition)
      586
    • a person who does not feel a desire for partnered sex (with emphasis on the "partnered")
      94
    • a person who does not feel a desire for partnered sex and/or little or no sexual attraction
      145
    • a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction and/or little or no desire for partnered sex (again an emphasis on the "partnered")
      290
    • another definition (please post below)
      23
    • a person who is not intrinsically attracted to any gender sexually
      92
  3. 3. do you think most non-asexuals understand you when you explain asexuality?

    • mostly
      138
    • to some extent
      435
    • not really
      358
    • not at all
      74
    • not sure
      225


Recommended Posts

Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with libido or sex drive, per say, but rather the direction that libido takes. If a libido manifests as an interest in going solo, so to speak, and no interest in ever involving another person then quite likely that individual is asexual. If there is some degree of desire to involve another person in the satisfaction of one's libido, then quite likely one is not asexual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran   
Serran

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with libido or sex drive, per say, but rather the direction that libido takes. If a libido manifests as an interest in going solo, so to speak, and no interest in ever involving another person then quite likely that individual is asexual. If there is some degree of desire to involve another person in the satisfaction of one's libido, then quite likely one is not asexual.

I like this definition better than just "sexual attraction" because I, and many others, have no idea what sexual attraction really means. It has no definite definition. If we use the often given on AVEN definition of "seeing a person and wanting to have sex with them" then many sexuals I know, with full and healthy sex lives, do not experience sexual attraction and would be in that definition asexual. And some people with absolutely no desire or urge to have partnered sex, think they may have experienced sexual attraction, but without any desire to act on it. So, they would be sexuals rather than asexual under the just attraction definition. Adding the and/or to it makes it a lot easier imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran   
Serran

That's interesting Serran. Sexual attraction is indeed very hard to comprehend for us on the ace spectrum. I understand that sexual attraction is very much like aesthetic, sensual and romantic attraction rolled into one and these three gongs together cause arousal that to the minds of sexuals means - I'm ready to have sex with you.

Sort of. But, there are people who will feel desire for sex with someone they do not find aesthetically attractive. There are those who will feel desire for sex with those they don't find romantically attractive. There are those who will feel desire for sex with just anyone who is willing cause they need sex. There are those who will feel desire for sex without any sensual activity involved (no kissing, etc). And there are those who don't feel desire for sex until they get to know someone, so are not ready to have sex, but still feel attracted to someone and if those three attractions eventually meet they want sex without fail. And there are those that don't really think about sex until their libido causes them to desire it and then they want it with the person they are with. And....

I make it a point to discuss this odd concept of "sexual attraction" with as many sexuals as I can. I still haven't found a good definition they can all agree on. :lol: They all do agree they have desire for SEX though, without question and that they would sorely miss it if it was gone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hayley_me   
Hayley_me

I chose 'other' because my sexuality is complicated, Basically I consider myself as aro ace but have a kind of desire and don't exclude having sex ( in Afterlife od course ;) ) Sex drive is not connected with orientation, you can be fallen in love in the person of opposite or same sex and don't having any sexual desires. I have a sex drive and it's just average. It's strange as you don't wanna have any sex actually. Asexuality is a sexual orientation and it's the best definition to explain. some people reject this but there are many smart ones and the awareness is fortunately increasing. I don't have any experience with coming out and not gonna do it . Calling asexuality as a disorder is annoying and it drives me so mad. If you call gay or trans people like this you are labeled as homo or tran s phobe but id you blame ace, nothing happens to you. It's so sad there are any laws on hate speech towards aces, because we are very sorry hearing all the time such things as' Have you been abused?' or 'Is everything OK with you?' Sexual act just involves two people , there are some exception of course but I chose just this because it was a first thought which came to my mind :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with libido or sex drive, per say, but rather the direction that libido takes. If a libido manifests as an interest in going solo, so to speak, and no interest in ever involving another person then quite likely that individual is asexual. If there is some degree of desire to involve another person in the satisfaction of one's libido, then quite likely one is not asexual.

I like this definition better than just "sexual attraction" because I, and many others, have no idea what sexual attraction really means. It has no definite definition. If we use the often given on AVEN definition of "seeing a person and wanting to have sex with them" then many sexuals I know, with full and healthy sex lives, do not experience sexual attraction and would be in that definition asexual. And some people with absolutely no desire or urge to have partnered sex, think they may have experienced sexual attraction, but without any desire to act on it. So, they would be sexuals rather than asexual under the just attraction definition. Adding the and/or to it makes it a lot easier imo.

Its also true that AVEN appears to be the only place that uses a purely attraction based definition. When you look up definitions of asexuality on google, most of them including something pertaining to desire. To me, is just doesn't make much sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

That's interesting Serran. Sexual attraction is indeed very hard to comprehend for us on the ace spectrum. I understand that sexual attraction is very much like aesthetic, sensual and romantic attraction rolled into one and these three going together cause arousal that to the minds of sexuals means - I'm ready to have sex with you.

It is also true that some of us on the more grey sides of the ace spectrum experience sexual desire but without sexual attraction. Or at least, without the ambiguous definition of sexual attraction that AVEN tries to use. I am one such. I still don't really have a clear idea what sexual attraction is and isn't, but I am certain that I've experienced some (low) degree of sexual desire directed towards my husband and I'm pretty sure I've never experienced sexual attraction directed towards my husband or otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flower Boy   
Flower Boy

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with libido or sex drive, per say, but rather the direction that libido takes. If a libido manifests as an interest in going solo, so to speak, and no interest in ever involving another person then quite likely that individual is asexual. If there is some degree of desire to involve another person in the satisfaction of one's libido, then quite likely one is not asexual.

^ This ^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally   
Sally
Vampyremage, on 26 Jun 2014 - 11:38 AM, said:

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex.

I like that definition also, with the emphasis on "partnered sex". That gets around the simple desire thing, which could be interpreted as libido, which some asexuals have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WhenSummersGone   
WhenSummersGone

I define Asexuality as someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction and/or a desire for partnered sex. I believe sexual attraction is that physical attraction sexuals feel, so I believe it exists. Sex drive or libido is physical, a need for sexual release feeling, so that shouldn't determine sexual orientation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

I wouldn't necessarily say that sexual activity can only happen with a partner. Masturbation can also be a sexual activity because it involves direct genital stimulation for purposes of sexual release. However, in defining orientation and asexuality in particular, the specification of sexual activity with a partner is an important one. That is to say, libido in and of itself with a preference of being defined through masturbation may very well be sexual activity, but because it is sexual activity done without a partner it has no bearing upon whether or not one might be asexual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5_♦♣   
5_♦♣

I define sex as any genital contact, so I checked off the first two options for that question. That said, I don't find having sex particularly relevant to being Asexual as it's one thing to have sex, it's another to actively seek out a sexual partner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus   
Mysticus Insanus

Its also true that AVEN appears to be the only place that uses a purely attraction based definition. When you look up definitions of asexuality on google, most of them including something pertaining to desire. To me, is just doesn't make much sense.

AVEN is more focussed (bordering on obsessed with, IYAM) on the term "attraction" than any other place, online or offline, I've been to before. I don't think I had ever given the idea "sexual attraction" much thought before coming here... in my experience, sexual attraction is neither overly relevant or talked about in the world at large.

Personally, I'll just stick to the "no desire for partnered sex" definition - it's clear and concise, and can easily be differentiated from libido. I'll often add "...which some people call 'no sexual attraction to anyone'", but that's more of an afterthought to include the official "AVEN party line" - I sure wouldn't mind the "attraction" bit completely dropped from the definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AliceAbernathy   
AliceAbernathy

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations.

I subscribe to your definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5_♦♣   
5_♦♣

As a former sexual myself, if someone came out to me as Asexual and described it as not feeling a desire for partnered sex, I likely would've thought they had absolutely no libido and thus would've thought of Asexuality as lacking libido. In fact, after my orientation shifted to Asexual, I thought I couldn't be Asexual because I masturbated at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lady Girl   
Lady Girl

I define asexuality has having little or no sexual attraction and/or innate desire for partnered sex. While it goes against the grain of the standard AVEN definition, it is more in line with some of the other definitions out there and also more encompassing as the experiences both sexuals and asexuals have and how they relate to their own orientations. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with libido or sex drive, per say, but rather the direction that libido takes. If a libido manifests as an interest in going solo, so to speak, and no interest in ever involving another person then quite likely that individual is asexual. If there is some degree of desire to involve another person in the satisfaction of one's libido, then quite likely one is not asexual.

I like this definition better than just "sexual attraction" because I, and many others, have no idea what sexual attraction really means. It has no definite definition. If we use the often given on AVEN definition of "seeing a person and wanting to have sex with them" then many sexuals I know, with full and healthy sex lives, do not experience sexual attraction and would be in that definition asexual. And some people with absolutely no desire or urge to have partnered sex, think they may have experienced sexual attraction, but without any desire to act on it. So, they would be sexuals rather than asexual under the just attraction definition. Adding the and/or to it makes it a lot easier imo.

These thoughts make a lot of sense to me. There is a lot of ambiguity about attraction in general and when you add the sexual part to it, it could mean thinking about sex with the person, desiring it, or being aroused by them. However I look at it, that doesn't happen to me, and it seems really strange for the definition of asexuality to describe some sexual people as well.

I also like what Mysticus said in another thread...most people know that sexual people desire/want sexual interaction and their orientation is based on who they want to have sex with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

Describing asexuality as feeling no desire for partnered sex is a great way of explaining it and an explanation I will appropriate if you don't mind! It's great as it allows for those asexuals with sex drives who masturbate to be included. Defining asexuality as no sexual attraction means (at least to many sexuals) I have no desire for sex or I have no sex drive, which is most definitely not always the case.

Maybe we should speak to the webmasters about a slight shift in definition? Perhaps we could say "An asexual person is a person who is not sexually attracted to other people and feels no desire for partnered sex". It might help non-aces understand what we mean and iterate that we aren't just sexuals with low libidos!

This is one of the main reasons I prefer a desire based definition. Because when one speaks to sexuals about sexual attraction, the direct implication is sexual desire (for partnered sex).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vampyremage   
Vampyremage

As a former sexual myself, if someone came out to me as Asexual and described it as not feeling a desire for partnered sex, I likely would've thought they had absolutely no libido and thus would've thought of Asexuality as lacking libido. In fact, after my orientation shifted to Asexual, I thought I couldn't be Asexual because I masturbated at the time.

Specifying that the desire (or lack there of) is for partnered sex is the clearest way of differentiating the difference between those with a libido who prefer to satisfy such solo and those with a libido who are actually sexual based upon the direction of their desire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus   
Mysticus Insanus

As a former sexual myself, if someone came out to me as Asexual and described it as not feeling a desire for partnered sex, I likely would've thought they had absolutely no libido and thus would've thought of Asexuality as lacking libido. In fact, after my orientation shifted to Asexual, I thought I couldn't be Asexual because I masturbated at the time.

Specifying that the desire (or lack there of) is for partnered sex is the clearest way of differentiating the difference between those with a libido who prefer to satisfy such solo and those with a libido who are actually sexual based upon the direction of their desire.

Agreed... and adding that, IMO, said "direction of their desire" is the key aspect to all orientations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the bumbling rotifer   
the bumbling rotifer

I agree with the need to include 'a desire for partnered sex' in the definition. When I came out to sexual people, and explained that asexuality was a lack of sexual attraction, they didn't really understand where I was coming from: with some I had to explain what sexual attraction was, and then they admitted that, 'when I put it like that', then they didn't experience it either.
This really undermined me: I started doubting that asexuality was really a thing, that I experienced sexuality any differently to sexual people.
It was only after discovering the alternative definition (in a thread in which Lady Girl and Skullery Maid were discussing sexual attraction and desire in sexual people) that I was able to fully identify with asexuality again. So, thank you to all of the people who continue to promote the 'desire for partnered sex' definition of asexuality.
Sign me up for the campaign!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PiF   
PiF

Thankfully this poll won't change anything because some of the options have not been thought through...let me give you and example

A person who does not feel a desire to have partnered sex (with the emphasis on partnered) ...to most people I would suggest.... this implies asexuals like sex and want sex as long as it is with themselves..aka wankers

I must admit I am tiring of people joining a club......then seeking to change the club just to fit themselves because they do not meet the clubs definition...also don't forget whilst aven is the largest online resource of asexuality....it does not represent all asexuals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eched   
eched

I of course feel an asexual can have a large sex drive and that being ace doesn't relate to sex drive. After all, I'm a ace with a large sex drive.

I don't like the idea of adding to the definition little to no sexual attraction as if the person experiences a little bit of sexual attraction we have another word for that, grey-asexual. By adding little of to the definition it makes it sound like not a proper sexual orientation. Like, someone who is heterosexual typically wont say I experience a little of sexual attraction to the same gender as myself.

I do understand the want though to include words like a little since there are grey areas that can cause some asexual people to not fit into grey or asexual. Like for example there was a person on here a while back who had a fetish for a girl's specific body part. So they weren't sexually attracted to them, thus ace, but were aroused by the person, which made them uncomfortable with the term ace. That's a really unclear area, and we of course should be accepting of people like that, but I don't think we should change the definition to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That asexual guy   
That asexual guy

I really just like to tell people asexual means "not-sexual" like atypical means "not-typical"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PiF   
PiF

I have a panic when things like this come up

it's like we are muddying the waters for no other reason than boosting membership numbers.....I also don't understand how adding more variations to an already clear definition.....will help avoid confusion or doubt over what an asexual is...could someone explain that bit too me?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the bumbling rotifer   
the bumbling rotifer

I have a panic when things like this come up

it's like we are muddying the waters for no other reason than boosting membership numbers.....I also don't understand how adding more variations to an already clear definition.....will help avoid confusion or doubt over what an asexual is...could someone explain that bit too me?

It's not about boosting numbers: it's about not excluding people who share the core experiences of asexuality, and about having a useful way in which to discuss asexuality with sexual people.

A person who does not feel a desire to have partnered sex (with the emphasis on partnered) ...to most people I would suggest.... this implies asexuals like sex and want sex as long as it is with themselves..aka wankers

Many asexual people do indeed have a libido, and masturbate in order to meet that need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now