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Una Salus Victus

Definition discussion.

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Una Salus Victus

After having a discussion with one of the members of the BoD, it has come to my attention that there are several members who have concerns about definitions about asexuality. There is an old thread, but it's about 2 years old, so having a new discussion might be better suited (see old thread here.)

 

While it's perfectly fine having an opinion and concerns, please keep in mind to be respectful of people.

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Mysticus Insanus

Fist things first...

 

Is there any chance at all that any hypothetical result of this thread could ever result in a change of boardwide policy regarding AVEN's current definition?

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Skycaptain

Never say never, but don't expect instant changes 

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Pramana

I propose the following definition of asexuality: “People who do not experience sexual attraction to anyone else and/or people who do not desire partnered sex.”

One advantage of this definition is that it includes both people who experience asexuality through a lack of sexual attraction and people who experience asexuality through a lack of sexual desire. Another is that it preserves the ability to discuss asexuality in terms of sexual orientation, and thus as analogous to heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. This isn’t the only valid way of looking at asexuality, but it is invaluable for ongoing awareness efforts to establish asexuality as a legitimate form of human experience (rather than an over-medicalized “desire disorder”).

For those reasons, the attraction-based definition should be retained (supplemented by a desire-based definition). I am troubled by arguments that advocate a desire-based definition alone. Often, these arguments are motivated by the opinion that an attraction-based definition includes people who aren’t actually asexual, or who aren’t asexual in the right way. For example, in an AVEN forum post made on November 20, 2015, Skullery Maid writes:

"So much of what goes around on AVEN as evidence of asexuality is nothing but evidence of... take your pick... being different, asperger's, OCD, introversion, aversion to touch, inability to emotionally connect with people... tons of stuff that has nothing to do with whether you're sexual or not."

I respect the contributions that Skullery Maid has made to AVEN. But I reject this ideology. I have OCD. I have personality traits associated with the autism spectrum. I love science fiction. I think that Pokemon is a great game.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be on the asexual and aromantic spectrums. But in following my personality and my interests, I’ve made a series of decisions over the course of my life which have contributed to the fact that I now experience life this way. I can’t tell whether I’m asexual/aromantic spectrum because of these personality traits, or if I have these personality traits because I’m asexual/aromantic spectrum.

But the question is irrelevant. I agree that it may be more common for gray-asexuals and gray-aromantics such as myself to experience their orientation as more fluid, more tied in with other aspects of their personality, than as something they’re hardwired towards in isolation. I disagree that this in any way invalidates their asexual and aromantic spectrum identities.

 

I embrace a pragmatic theory of language, whereby terms have meaning based on their utility for communicating with other people. As the pragmatist philosopher and psychologist William James writes:

 

“The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to any one if this notion rather than that notion were true? If no practical difference whatever can be traced, then the alternatives mean practically the same thing, and all dispute is idle. Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other’s being right." (What Pragmatism Means, William James, 1904).

 

If an asexual spectrum identity is what you decide best identifies you, best enables you to describe yourself to other people – in terms of what you want and what they can expect from a relationship with you – then by the pragmatist conception it’s a valid use of language. It doesn’t matter how you got to be that way. There’s no point in trying to find a “pure” asexual/asexual spectrum identity, untainted by the contingencies and the vagaries of how one interacts with the world through the course of one’s life.

 

My central argument for retaining the attraction model as part of the definition of asexuality is an ethical one. It preserves human agency. You don’t have to have tried having sex to know you’re asexual (in contrast to what some misapplications of the responsive desire concept seem to suggest). You don’t have to worry that you’re not really asexual because you’re nerdy/geeky or socially awkward or have mental health conditions. But you do have the freedom to define yourself based on how you actually want to interact with people.

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Blondbear

 

I think the problem with AVEN definition is that takes first representation and inclusiveness than accuracy, having said that I think the biggest question is that the whole understandment of sexuality is based on false assumptions.

In Aven everything implies that sexuality is an spectrum from 0 to 10 where let's say asexuals are on the 0, demisexuals in 1-2 hypersexuals in 9-10 and average alosexuals in 5. 

I don't think that's true at all, spectrums rarely are like than and neither the median is in the middle, sometimes the median is in the 2 or in the 8.

I also think that AVEN asumes that females sexuality is similar to male sexuality which in my opinion is not.

Then there is the problem of demisexuality which is considered in the asexuality spectrum and a minority sexuality, in my opinion demi sexuality is the average sexuality of women (I think it's not in men).

Then there is the problem of using attraction in the definition of asexuality, I think all definitions are difficult and no-one is 100% accurate, having said that using attraction is wrong. That takes asexuality to the point of people claiming in tumbler to be "selective asexuals", nimphoman asexuals or this incredible thread in AVEN where a sexual woman complained that her husband don't want to have sex with her but have porn and naked pictures in his phone and people claims here that he is asexual because he can "enjoy" watching aesthetically women while masturbating but that doesn't mean he is attracted to them, which in my opinion is a totally ridiculous explanation (it looks like the guy is addicted to porn and probably cheating, but that goes beyond the point).

 

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Blondbear
1 hour ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

Fist things first...

 

Is there any chance at all that any hypothetical result of this thread could ever result in a change of boardwide policy regarding AVEN's current definition?


What's that policy regarding the definition?

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Mysticus Insanus
12 minutes ago, Blondbear said:


What's that policy regarding the definition?

Basically, that inclusivity will always overrule it, if push comes to shove. That whatever the definition may or may not be, and whether or not someone fulfills it, we may not "invalidate" that person's asexual identity if they say they are asexual.

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chair jockey

There is very little hard science on human asexuality. I don't mean surveys based on self-reporting but medical and biological research. That's why the working definition of asexuality has to be based on personal experience. Yet people are confused about this and are asserting some kind of objectivity to the definition of asexuality that simply cannot exist in the absence of scientific evidence.

 

I propose a new AVEN statement that, while asexuality remains not understood scientifically, AVEN is using a working definition based on personal experience. This permits sharing and discussion of personal experience while forbidding everyone to pretend that their personal experience and opinions are some kind of scientific understanding. That should stop all the shitstorms.

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Guest And Peggy

AVEN states in its FAQ that:

Quote

Sexual attraction: Desire to have sexual contact with someone else, to share our sexuality with them.

So if you replace "sexual attraction" in the AVEN definition, it's basically "An asexual is a person that does not desire sex". 

 

AVEN says they are the same thing, but a lot of the staff members and apparently even the people who created this site say they are very different. Could someone explain this to me please?

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a minor triad
4 hours ago, Pramana said:

I propose the following definition of asexuality: “People who do not experience sexual attraction to anyone else and/or people who do not desire partnered sex.”

One advantage of this definition is that it includes both people who experience asexuality through a lack of sexual attraction and people who experience asexuality through a lack of sexual desire. Another is that it preserves the ability to discuss asexuality in terms of sexual orientation, and thus as analogous to heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. This isn’t the only valid way of looking at asexuality, but it is invaluable for ongoing awareness efforts to establish asexuality as a legitimate form of human experience (rather than an over-medicalized “desire disorder”).

For those reasons, the attraction-based definition should be retained (supplemented by a desire-based definition).

I'm going to be upfront and admit that I haven't come to a conclusion on how I think we should look at defining asexuality, but I find your proposed definition to be redundant. Simply because I have always read that sexual attraction and sexual desire go hand-in-hand with each other. Take AVEN's definition:

 

"Asexual: Someone who does not experience sexual attraction"

"Sexual Attraction: desire to have sexual content with someone else, to share our sexuality with them"

 

Sexual attraction, as they are defining it is sexual desire or "desire in partnered sex" as you phrased it.

 

Then of course, there is good ol' Wikipedia that defines sexual attraction as "attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest." And when reading the sexual desire page, it explains it as "a motivational state and an interest in “sexual objects or activities, or as a wish, need, or drive to seek out sexual objects or to engage in sexual activities." It also states that "synonyms for sexual desire are libido, sexual attraction, and lust."

 

It just seems that sexual attraction and sexual desire are in one of those feedback loops, and they are so interconnected that it doesn't make sense to consider them separately. I would also argue that the attraction-based definition is not very helpful since no one really understands what it is, given that Wikipedia simultaneously uses it as something that emerges from sexual desire and as a synonym for sexual desire.

 

From my understanding of it, if a person lacks sexual attraction, then they lack sexual desire. Depending on what sexual attraction is (i.e. sexual attraction is emergent from sexual desire), that statement cannot be reversed, so I think a desire-based definition is better.

 

Following this line of thinking, I don't think a desire-based definition would destroy the ability to "discuss asexuality in terms of sexual orientation" because sexual attraction comes from sexual desires, so if someone doesn't experience sexual desire, how can they experience sexual attraction?

 

4 hours ago, Pramana said:

I am troubled by arguments that advocate a desire-based definition alone. Often, these arguments are motivated by the opinion that an attraction-based definition includes people who aren’t actually asexual, or who aren’t asexual in the right way. For example, in an AVEN forum post made on November 20, 2015, Skullery Maid writes:

"So much of what goes around on AVEN as evidence of asexuality is nothing but evidence of... take your pick... being different, asperger's, OCD, introversion, aversion to touch, inability to emotionally connect with people... tons of stuff that has nothing to do with whether you're sexual or not."

I respect the contributions that Skullery Maid has made to AVEN. But I reject this ideology. I have OCD. I have personality traits associated with the autism spectrum. I love science fiction. I think that Pokemon is a great game.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be on the asexual and aromantic spectrums. But in following my personality and my interests, I’ve made a series of decisions over the course of my life which have contributed to the fact that I now experience life this way. I can’t tell whether I’m asexual/aromantic spectrum because of these personality traits, or if I have these personality traits because I’m asexual/aromantic spectrum.

But the question is irrelevant. I agree that it may be more common for gray-asexuals and gray-aromantics such as myself to experience their orientation as more fluid, more tied in with other aspects of their personality, than as something they’re hardwired towards in isolation. I disagree that this in any way invalidates their asexual and aromantic spectrum identities.

I'll be real honest here, I read through the comment by Skullery Maid that you quoted, but its tricky to understand what exactly she means without the context, and frankly, I don't want to read through the past comments to figure out that context. I have never interacted with Skullery Maid personally, but I have read what she has said in the past, and I found myself begrudgingly agreeing with her quite often. I think she was trying to explain that a lot of people have an enormous misunderstanding of what "normal" sexuality is like. Something I find myself agreeing with more and more as I read people's opinions on this lovely site.

 

And if her comments make you question your sexuality, then good. I think that might be her aim. Introspection and self-exploration isn't easy, and I think questioning your identity, to an extent, is a very helpful way to learn about yourself. And obviously she is not saying asexuality and aromanticism is a choice. I really don't know how you got that from her comment. From what I can tell, she is just pointing out that asexuality is not the only answer, which is a completely valid point.

 

Also, I agree that it is completely irrelevant to discuss whether asexuality brings about personality traits or vice versa because they are so interconnected, it is probably impossible to parse them apart. Also, epigenetics probably play a huge role in all of this.

 

5 hours ago, Pramana said:

I embrace a pragmatic theory of language, whereby terms have meaning based on their utility for communicating with other people. As the pragmatist philosopher and psychologist William James writes:

 

“The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to any one if this notion rather than that notion were true? If no practical difference whatever can be traced, then the alternatives mean practically the same thing, and all dispute is idle. Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other’s being right." (What Pragmatism Means, William James, 1904).

 

If an asexual spectrum identity is what you decide best identifies you, best enables you to describe yourself to other people – in terms of what you want and what they can expect from a relationship with you – then by the pragmatist conception it’s a valid use of language. It doesn’t matter how you got to be that way. There’s no point in trying to find a “pure” asexual/asexual spectrum identity, untainted by the contingencies and the vagaries of how one interacts with the world through the course of one’s life.

 

My central argument for retaining the attraction model as part of the definition of asexuality is an ethical one. It preserves human agency. You don’t have to have tried having sex to know you’re asexual (in contrast to what some misapplications of the responsive desire concept seem to suggest). You don’t have to worry that you’re not really asexual because you’re nerdy/geeky or socially awkward or have mental health conditions. But you do have the freedom to define yourself based on how you actually want to interact with people.

I won't pretend to have any experience on this subject and that's all fine and dandy, but with this reasoning, wouldn't it also be appropriate for a celibate person to identity as asexual and possibly vice versa? Because a celibate person behaves just as what a lot of people would expect an asexual to behave--not engaging in sexual activities. I agree that is doesn't matter how you became asexual, but as I understand it, this pragmatic method allows people to say they are asexual, when really they would better fit in the celibate or maybe even sex-averse definition. I don't know. It just seems like that opens the door for more misunderstanding of what asexuality is and isn't.

 

In regards to your ethical motivation for keeping the attraction-based definition...you've lost me a little. Why would the desire-based definition take away from human agency? I'm especially confused by your last statement. From my understanding, you are suggesting that people are asexual based on the choices they make how they interact with people, rather than the qualities they have. Feel free to elaborate on this, since I'm guessing I horribly misunderstood your meaning.

 

Also, I have noticed on other threads that you seem to have a different understanding of what desire is than from a lot of other people here. So when I use desire, I mean it to be an innate quality about a person. Desire doesn't mean choice.

 

I would like to conclude by saying that I don't think asexuality should be considered on a separate spectrum from sexuality. That doesn't makes sense to me. How can someone be somewhat asexual? Rather, I think asexuality is just an extreme point on the sexual spectrum, and everyone falls somewhere on it. I haven't fully developed this idea, but I think this is a more helpful direction to go in than considering asexuality to be separate from sexuality.

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FictoVore.
5 hours ago, chair jockey said:

There is very little hard science on human asexuality. I don't mean surveys based on self-reporting but medical and biological research. That's why the working definition of asexuality has to be based on personal experience. Yet people are confused about this and are asserting some kind of objectivity to the definition of asexuality that simply cannot exist in the absence of scientific evidence.

 

I propose a new AVEN statement that, while asexuality remains not understood scientifically, AVEN is using a working definition based on personal experience. This permits sharing and discussion of personal experience while forbidding everyone to pretend that their personal experience and opinions are some kind of scientific understanding. That should stop all the shitstorms.

The issues surrounding this are that there are people here who have no desire to have partnered sex with anyone else, ever. They identify as asexual. In animal studies, that's what scientists identified as asexual - non-human animals that showed no interest in sex with any other animals.

 

In the gay community, there are people who only want to have sex with people of the same gender. In animals studies, that's what scientists also identified as homosexual - animals who only chose to have sex with animals of the same gender.

 

Hetero people only want to have sex with people of the other gender. In non-human animal studies, hetero animals only wanted sex with animals of the other gender, that's how they were identified as hetero.

 

Then yes, there are bi people, who can choose to have sex with people of both genders. In non-human animal studies, some animals were found to choose to have sex with any gender without a preference either way.

 

That's it. That's science. Why does asexuality become this magical orientation that's different from the rest? You're saying we need to base our understanding of asexuality around personal experience, when the majority of people in this community clearly have very little understanding of what it means to be a normal sexual in the first place. Until AVEN can actually make an attempt to educate on what normal sexuality IS (as Skullery was trying to illustrate in the quote Pramana used - it's massively varied) all these people who misunderstand it are going to continue identifying as asexual based on a misunderstanding of normal sexuals that is perpetuated by AVEN. So all this personal experience goes out the door.  Most people here also REFUSE to listen to the experience of sexuals trying to explain what normal sexuality looks like. An utter downright refusal to listen to anything sexuals say because so much of it seems to contradict what many here mistakenly believe is sexual.

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Xenobot
7 minutes ago, a minor triad said:

I'm going to be upfront and admit that I haven't come to a conclusion on how I think we should look at defining asexuality, but I find your proposed definition to be redundant. Simply because I have always read that sexual attraction and sexual desire go hand-in-hand with each other. Take AVEN's definition:

 

"Asexual: Someone who does not experience sexual attraction"

"Sexual Attraction: desire to have sexual content with someone else, to share our sexuality with them"

 

Sexual attraction, as they are defining it is sexual desire or "desire in partnered sex" as you phrased it.

 

Then of course, there is good ol' Wikipedia that defines sexual attraction as "attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest." And when reading the sexual desire page, it explains it as "a motivational state and an interest in “sexual objects or activities, or as a wish, need, or drive to seek out sexual objects or to engage in sexual activities." It also states that "synonyms for sexual desire are libido, sexual attraction, and lust."

 

It just seems that sexual attraction and sexual desire are in one of those feedback loops, and they are so interconnected that it doesn't make sense to consider them separately. I would also argue that the attraction-based definition is not very helpful since no one really understands what it is, given that Wikipedia simultaneously uses it as something that emerges from sexual desire and as a synonym for sexual desire.

 

From my understanding of it, if a person lacks sexual attraction, then they lack sexual desire. Depending on what sexual attraction is (i.e. sexual attraction is emergent from sexual desire), that statement cannot be reversed, so I think a desire-based definition is better.

 

Following this line of thinking, I don't think a desire-based definition would destroy the ability to "discuss asexuality in terms of sexual orientation" because sexual attraction comes from sexual desires, so if someone doesn't experience sexual desire, how can they experience sexual attraction?

 

 

Sexual attraction is seen as the mechanism by which sexual desire often occurs, but you can feel sexual attraction without sexual desire, and you can feel sexual desire without sexual attraction. Sexual attraction, and sexual desire are closely related and generally go hand in hand, and may be used as synonyms by laymen, but the community and researchers do frequently distinguish one from the other as different aspects or stages of sexual functioning.

 

I agree that it sounds redundant, but... well, you should take a look at how many people around here argue against the concept of sexual attraction altogether, or have wildly different opinions of what it is... Which I don't entirely understand, but nonetheless, I would agree to a two part definition in recognition of the fact that one part or the other resonates more with people, and would probably clear up confusion. Basically, it would make AVEN's interpretation of sexual attraction (and it is indeed interpretation given it's an attempt at defining a highly subjective experience) just as visible as the use of sexual attraction itself.

 

Psychologists commonly define a sexual orientation as an enduring pattern of sexual, romantic, and emotional attraction. To them, a romantic asexual would be a person who lacks sexual attraction but maintains romantic and emotional attraction, and an aromantic asexual person experiences only the platonic emotional attraction. AVENs sexual attraction-based definition is congruent with research on human sexuality. Where as an utter lack of sexual desire unexplained by one's sexual orientation is generally considered to be the result of things like hormones, or sexual dysfunction depending on one's circumstances. As in, a post-menopausal woman who largely or completely loses her sexual desire has not become asexual. She is still heterosexual/homosexual/what-have-you, but the hormonal changes in her body have reduced or removed sexual desire.

 

That's why it's important to maintain the sexual attraction based definition. We may want to supplement to make it easier for people to understand and correctly identify themselves as asexual, but we must not get rid of it in favor of a purely desire-based definition.

 

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FictoVore.

The issues we were having in the other thread weren't the definition itself, but the values on AVEN that cause this massive rift not only in the community, but with the majority of the rest of the population. Which does nothing but harm asexuality in the long run. The definition is only part of that overall issue but it's an integral part of it, which is why the definition kept getting mentioned. That didn't mean people like myself or Mysticus actually wanted another definitions thread opened. And this has kind of closed off any options at opening a thread about "issues with the values on AVEN" which I wanted to do if we weren't allowed to continue discussing our issues with the values over in the initial values thread.

 

So now we have another definitions debate thread that won't go anywhere, which was not in any way what we were aiming for with our comments in the other

thread. Mysticus and I, more than I think anyone else active on AVEN right now, have been been trying to bring to clarity to this issue for years. Between us, we have quite literally written a libraries worth of info on why the current definition (as it's most commonly interpreted) is incorrect and does nothing but harm Asexuality Visibility and Education.. To no avail. It's a never ending battle between political correctness and accuracy and it's been made very clear that on AVEN anyway, the most politically correct answer will always be the most accepted one no matter how incorrect it might be.

 

Regarding the and/or definition, it's pointless. Because that's officially stating that anyone who isn't an appearance-based hypsersexual is asexual. I used to be a proponent of the and/or definition until Mytsicus convinced me otherwise. An and/or definition is still saying that an asexual can love and desire sex as long as they don't look at people and get horny. And as blondbear pointed out already, most women already aren't like that. So by any attraction definition, at least 40% of the population and most of that being women, are asexual. Unless you define attraction the way that AVEN does, which is by saying attraction is the desire for partnered sex.. lol. (So AVEN's definition of asexuality is actually the most correct one based on how AVEN defines sexual attraction, even though most people on AVEN and the admin team disagree with that definition while standing by AVEN's definition and saying it's the only official definition etc etc....*mind implodes*)

 

Anyway, I've decided this definitions debate is pointless on AVEN. I already stated this previously just before Skullery left but it's even more clear now. There is literally no point to discussing the definition of asexuality on AVEN unless you're on the politically correct side of the fence. I'm taking this off AVEN, and am going to do an asexuality playlist for YouTube, describing the issues with the definition, the flaws in understanding of normal sexuality on AVEN, etc etc. Just to get the arguments out there in a way that won't get instantly lost in hundreds of posts in a thread that turns into a never-ending argument, and that people outside of the politically correct AVEN circle will actually be exposed to.

 

I won't take much part in this thread as another pointless definitions debate is not what I was after when trying to discuss my issues with AVEN's values in the other thread.

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Pramana
1 hour ago, a minor triad said:

I would like to conclude by saying that I don't think asexuality should be considered on a separate spectrum from sexuality. That doesn't makes sense to me. How can someone be somewhat asexual? Rather, I think asexuality is just an extreme point on the sexual spectrum, and everyone falls somewhere on it. I haven't fully developed this idea, but I think this is a more helpful direction to go in than considering asexuality to be separate from sexuality.

I agree on this one point, that sexuality may be represented on a scale, with asexuality being a 0, and so forth.

To respond to your other contentions:

Ambiguous definitions of sexual attraction may confuse it with sexual desire. This is a situation where dictionaries and Wikipedia are insufficient. One has to look at how the terminology is used in the literature. For example (I may have quoted this somewhere before):

"States of sexual attraction are not desires, nor are they states of sexual arousal (though they are similar in some respects to appetites in general). Consequently, as one can form desires to undertake activities that affect states of sexual arousal, one may also form desires to affect states of sexual attraction. I will call desires formed to affect the aroused sexual appetites ‘sexual arousal desires,’ the phenomenology associated with sexual attraction ‘phenomenal attraction,’ and the desires formed to affect those states ‘phenomenal attraction desires’. Sexual attraction is not the exclusive cause of sexual desire or sexual arousal. Sexual desires may be formed independently of the immediate sensory experience of sexual attraction, for example, by description or by rekindling a desire for an erstwhile lover. Further, one might desire to engage in intercourse for purely prudential reasons." (Sexual Desire and the Phenomenology of Attraction, Bradley Richards, Dialogue, Vol 54, Issue 2, 2015)

Previously, people have pointed out to me that sexual people sometimes desire sex with those to whom they are not attracted. And people sometimes desire to have sex with those outside their orientation. That in itself is proof that sexual desire and sexual attraction are two different things, and that attraction rather than desire is what defines orientation. Furthermore, I can't accept the argument that no one knows what sexual attraction is when thousands of psychologists/behavioural scientists use the concept, it's referenced all the time in popular culture, and a number of asexual/demisexual bloggers express their experiences in terms of lack of sexual attraction. In reality, the only people I've encountered who seem not to understand what sexual attraction is are a segment of AVEN users, and I don't see why such importance should be given to their lack of understanding. With respect, arguments from ignorance are incredibly weak arguments.

Regarding my critique of Skullery Maid's views, here's a place where essentially the same idea is stated on its own as point #1 in an extended diatribe:


"1.  I think asexuality is incredibly uncommon, to a degree that most of you do not. I think that most people are asexual due to past trauma, mental illness (borderline and OCD come to mind in particular), being trans and not having transititioned yet, and most notably, autism."

This doesn't make me question my identity. It does make me question the ethics of invalidating people on the basis of negative stereotypes regarding those who fall outside the social "norm". I am proud to consider myself gray-asexual from within the framework described by this quote.

Regarding desire/attraction/orientation, I'm not arguing that these things are a choice in the same way that celibacy is a choice. Celibacy is an explicit decision to not have sex for (usually) religious reasons, despite having sexual desires. What I am arguing is that in addition to – and intermeshed with – biological factors, the cumulative affect of one's life choices over an extended period of time may influence whether or not one wants to have partnered sex.

Regarding freedom of choice, my argument is that people should have the ability to define themselves based on their experiences and their interests when communicating with other people. Sexual orientations are conceptual fictions which serve as tools that may assist people in doing so. They are not about some innate, fixed quality which others get to detect in you and stipulate for you.

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Snao Cone

We can't look at asexuality on the same line as the homosexual - heterosexual spectrum. It's a different question being asked. It's a different spectrum based on innate desire, on which asexuality is one point at the very end. The rest of it is varying degrees of sexual. That needs to be established first, and once it's determined that a person does not fall on that one asexual dot, they can move to the homosexual - heterosexual spectrum. Yes, people generally describe homo/bi/hetero orientations as "attracted to people of the same/both/other gender(s)" and that's why some have felt the need to use the word "attraction" in an asexuality definition. But that is not relevant. It's a different question than homo/bi/hetero that needs to be established first, and it's based on a different thing - not attraction, but desire.

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Snao Cone
6 minutes ago, ℃å℞t☉☧hℹĿẹ• said:

*mind implodes*

Same. You and Mysticus have stuck through this longer than I have cared to. Coming to an understanding with people here can seem fairly easy sometimes, and occasionally these conversations bring out good things, but all it takes is one person disagreeing and using a lazy interpretation of the banner definition to unravel that. <_<

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FictoVore.
40 minutes ago, Xenobot said:

AVENs sexual attraction-based definition is congruent with research on human sexuality. Where as an utter lack of sexual desire unexplained by one's sexual orientation is generally considered to be the result of things like hormones, or sexual dysfunction depending on one's circumstances. As in, a post-menopausal woman who largely or completely loses her sexual desire has not become asexual. She is still heterosexual/homosexual/what-have-you, but the hormonal changes in her body have reduced or removed sexual desire.

 

That's why it's important to maintain the sexual attraction based definition. We may want to supplement to make it easier for people to understand and correctly identify themselves as asexual, but we must not get rid of it in favor of a purely desire-based definition.

 

I made the mistake of reading up after posting and saw this new post.

 

1) sexual orientations are defined differently in other languages. For example in German, they are defined by which gender you desire sex with. It's the English language that is flawed here, which has led to these massive flaws in the AVEN definition.

 

2) many women do NOT experience sexual attraction the way it's most commonly defined in the first place. The woman in your example hasn't become asexual (by a desire based definition) just because she no longer desires sex, she's experienced a natural progression of the aging process that many, many sexual people go through at some point in their lives as they age (even many men eventually stop desiring sex).. The difference with asexuality is it was never there in the first place. That's the point. No desire for partnered sex ever. Not "desires partnered sex for 20 years then experiences menopause and becomes asexual". That's aging, not asexuality, regardless of what definition you use.

 

And again, the biggest issue with "attraction": NOT ALL SEXUAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IT. many sexual people here have stated repeatedly that they don't experience it yet they're still sexual, I'm sexual and I do not experience it. Many sexual people, especially many women, just dont experience this "sexual attraction" thing that so many here are convinced all sexuals experience indefinitely. That's the flaw in the thinking, that's the mistake.. Sexual attraction, however you define it, is not unanimous among sexual people. It just isn't. Unless you define it as the desire for partnered sex, the way AVEN does.. which yes. All sexual people experience a desire for partnered sex at some point or another in their lives. So AVEN is correct when it states that asexuality is a lack of desire for partnered sexual contact.. but everyone on AVEN wants to argue agianst that "desire-based definition" while using AVEN's definition as an example for why they're arguing against a desire based definition.. T_T

 

Okay, I'm off! *must not read any more comments or I'll never get away from this thread*

 

 

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Homer

I believe that the innate desire for labels (:D) is a BIG factor in this.

 

Let's assume for a second that asexuality has become a thoroughly researched part of human sexual behaviour. Scientists, experts and professionals have now agreed upon asexuality as pretty much what we know as a nonlibidoist ace.

 

Personally, I'd be totally cool with that. Yet I believe that A LOT of people on here wouldn't. They'd argue and fight and disagree and dissociate from their behaviour and motivation, just to hang on to their precious little label.

 

As it is, we don't only face the obstacle of defining asexuality properly in the first place (which is pretty much impossible as a part of the sample that is the very object of research), but there's also the mentality of desperately wanting to hang on to a label that we have to get rid of.

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Pramana
3 hours ago, ℃å℞t☉☧hℹĿẹ• said:

2) many women do NOT experience sexual attraction the way it's most commonly defined in the first place. She hasn't become asexual (by a desire based definition) just because she no longer desires sex, she's experienced a natural progression of the aging process that many, many sexual people go through at some point in their lives as they age (even many men eventually stop desiring sex).. The difference with asexuality is it was never there in the first place. That's the point. No desire for partnered sex ever. Not "desires partnered sex for 20 years then experiences menopause and becomes asexual". That's aging, not asexuality, regardless of what definition you use.

 

And again, the biggest issue with "attraction": NOT ALL SEXUAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IT. many sexual people here have stated repeatedly that they don't experience it yet they're still sexual, I'm sexual and I do not experience it. Many sexual people, especially many women, just dont experience this "sexual attraction" thing that so many here are convinced all sexuals experience indefinitely. That's the flaw in the thinking, that's the mistake.. Sexual attraction, however you define it, is not unanimous among sexual people. It just isn't.

Sexual attraction, at it's most general level, may simply be thought of as preferences regarding sexual partners. I agree this may not be one hundred percent universal among sexual people, but it seems to me that the vast majority of sexual people have at least some preferences, and therefore experience sexual attraction in some form.

I find the contention that many women do not experience sexual attraction to be more worrisome. I have not been able to locate a single psychologist who supports this claim. I have read Emily Nagoski's research, which suggests that a majority of women and some men experience responsive desire as their primary desire style (and note this recognizes that they may still experience spontaneous desire on occasion). But this has nothing to do with attraction, since attraction is a different concept. The only place where I've seen attraction defined in a way that may lead to its confusion with spontaneous desire is on AVEN. Nagoski never equates attraction with spontaneous desire. One would think that if she intended to do so, she would say so explicitly, given that it's pretty radical to say that many women don't experience sexual attraction or that many women are in fact demisexuals because they experience sexual arousal primarily through responsive desire.

Furthermore, reflect on the conceptual plausibility of this claim. It entails that many women either don't experience sexual attraction at all or don't experience it until a sexual situation with their partner has already started. But why then would they choose to enter into a sexual relationship in the first place? Surely women can tell whether or not they might like to have sex with someone in advance, regardless of whether they follow a spontaneous or responsive desire style. Desire for sex and sexual arousal is not the same thing as finding some people attractive and thinking that those people might be preferential sexual partners.

Besides that, if asexuality is defined as "lack of desire for partnered sex", then according to that definition someone who no longer experiences sexual desire as a result of aging would be asexual. I take it you're proposing a different definition, to the effect "does not, and never has had, desire for partnered sex". But where do you obtain the justification for saying that sexual orientation cannot change? I would also suggest that an attraction-based model might make better sense of this phenomenon; people may lose sexual desire but would still experience sexual attraction and thus would maintain their sexual orientation.

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Snao Cone
19 minutes ago, Homer said:

I believe that the innate desire for labels (:D) is a BIG factor in this.

 

Let's assume for a second that asexuality has become a thoroughly researched part of human sexual behaviour. Scientists, experts and professionals have now agreed upon asexuality as pretty much what we know as a nonlibidoist ace.

 

Personally, I'd be totally cool with that. Yet I believe that A LOT of people on here wouldn't. They'd argue and fight and disagree and dissociate from their behaviour and motivation, just to hang on to their precious little label.

 

As it is, we don't only face the obstacle of defining asexuality properly in the first place (which is pretty much impossible as a part of the sample that is the very object of research), but there's also the mentality of desperately wanting to hang on to a label that we have to get rid of.

I agree that desperately hanging onto a label is a problem. But I disagree on the nonlibidoist part so much that I would be one of those putting up a fight.

 

Because if people with libidos but not wanting sex can't be asexual, then the only label we can use will be "broken". Anyway, this is going off topic so I'm going to curb this rant.

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Homer

This was meant to be an illustration. I didn't intend to make a point regarding definitions. (Just to be clear, I don't support the ace nonlib definition either, but I wouldn't really care what I'd be called instead. Based on the assumption of asexuality being thoroughly researched, I'd also assume that there would be a valid expression for what libidoist aces experience.)

 

 

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chair jockey

People are still treating their personal opinions like facts. :P

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Xenobot
4 minutes ago, ℃å℞t☉☧hℹĿẹ• said:

I made the mistake of reading up after posting and saw this new post.

 

1) sexual orientations are defined differently in other languages. For example in German, they are defined by which gender you desire sex with. It's the English language that is flawed here, which has led to these massive flaws in the AVEN definition.

 

2) many women do NOT experience sexual attraction the way it's most commonly defined in the first place. She hasn't become asexual (by a desire based definition) just because she no longer desires sex, she's experienced a natural progression of the aging process that many, many sexual people go through at some point in their lives as they age (even many men eventually stop desiring sex).. The difference with asexuality is it was never there in the first place. That's the point. No desire for partnered sex ever. Not "desires partnered sex for 20 years then experiences menopause and becomes asexual". That's aging, not asexuality, regardless of what definition you use.

 

And again, the biggest issue with "attraction": NOT ALL SEXUAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IT. many sexual people here have stated repeatedly that they don't experience it yet they're still sexual, I'm sexual and I do not experience it. Many sexual people, especially many women, just dont experience this "sexual attraction" thing that so many here are convinced all sexuals experience indefinitely. That's the flaw in the thinking, that's the mistake.. Sexual attraction, however you define it, is not unanimous among sexual people. It just isn't. Unless you define it as the desire for partnered sex, the way AVEN does.. which yes. All sexual people experience a desire for partnered sex at some point or another in their lives. So AVEN is correct when it states that asexuality is a lack of desire for partnered sexual contact.. but everyone on AVEN wants to argue agianst that "desire-based definition" while using AVEN's definition as an example for why they're arguing against a desire based definition.. T_T

 

Okay, I'm off! *must not read any more comments or I'll never get away from this thread*

 

 

That would be a shame because I do find your input interesting and valuable even though I disagree with you on some things. You may have never seen it, but the last time you mentioned the German AVEN definition I posted a list on that thread of which terminology the various foreign versions of AVEN use, and a great number very obviously use sexual attraction (ex: seksuele aantrekking, d'attirance sexuelle, and atracción sexual). Do you know how hard it is to @ you or pare down your posts to the relevant parts on mobile? Attempts to copy your username result in copying links to your profile, and quoting on mobile is just stupid all around unless you want to quote everything in one big block like I have done here. (<- first world problems :P)

 

Anyway, the point about the German language is still a good one as it brings to mind (Noam Chomsky's?) ideas on how language influences our psychology. I do not know enough about German to know when and why they use verlangen over sexuelle anziehungskraft, but clearly the language does not lack the concept of sexual attraction altogether. If you start typing it into google it'll suggest sexuelle anziehungskraft psychologie to you. So, this seems to be a very well recognized thing in many, many languages.

 

I have yet to see anyone outside of the asexual community (which includes sexual people who hang around for one reason or another) say that sexual attraction doesn't exist for many nonasexual people. Even the oft referenced Dr. Nagoski mentions it in her talks about responsive desire a la "attraction alone is frequently not enough for women to feel desire".

 

If you could link me to personal accounts or researchers outside of this community who claim that sexual attraction does not exist for many non-asexual people, I would be incredibly interested in taking a look at that. Without that, I just don't see any compelling reason to move away from a sexual attraction-based definition that fits a very well established framework for understanding huuman sexuality around the world.

 

I do see value in the desire based definition, and I always have. I recognize that using menopausal women was not a very good analogy for my arguement for the reasons you stated. It might be more appropriate to say that without reference to sexual orientation via sexual attraction, the definition for asexuality would become extremely similar to that of HSDD: "Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) or inhibited sexual desire (ISD) is considered a sexual dysfunction and is characterized as a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity, as judged by a clinician." I know the difference between asexuality and HSDD, you know the difference between asexuality and HSDD, but a lot of people will see no significant difference between the two except for the fact the asexual person says they feel this way due to asexuality, and the HSDD person is distressed because they feel this way due to other or unknown reasons (I think research should be done to try to ascertain how many people diagnosed with HSDD go on to realize they are asexual, because I fear doctors are unintentionally, essentially performing conversion therapy without realizing it).

 

Now, preemptively I will say that I have serious concerns with HSDD as it stands right now, as you have likely gathered already, and I think society/psychology/medicine needs to cool it with the idea that lacking sexual desire is so problematic regardless of what may or may not be causing it. People who have the potential for sexual desire but need help dealing with the thoughts or feelings that inhibit sexual desire should have access to therapy if they want it, but I think professionals in the field need to be very, very careful about labeling someone's low or absent sexual desire as a disorder. For the time being though, I think the asexual visibility movement would be shooting itself in the foot if it adopted a definition that is functionally indiscernable from a "disorder" with the only practical differentiation being self-identification. The DSM-V has an asexuality exemption for HSDD when the patient's self-identification is known, but society at large does not recognize this exemption.

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Mysticus Insanus
2 minutes ago, Xenobot said:

sexuelle anziehungskraft

That's attractivity, not attraction. If aces were defined as lacking "sexuelle Anziehungskraft" it would mean they can't get laid because they're too ugly and/or shy.

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Homer
11 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

That's attractivity, not attraction. If aces were defined as lacking "sexuelle Anziehungskraft" it would mean they can't get laid because they're too ugly and/or shy.

Prime example for why I made that comment about not trusting Google all too much. There are too many pitfalls and nuances in a language that could be missed.

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Xenobot
37 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

That's attractivity, not attraction. If aces were defined as lacking "sexuelle Anziehungskraft" it would mean they can't get laid because they're too ugly and/or shy.

Thank you for that correction. I admitted my understanding of German is limited, but sexual attractivity still implies that they are causing or are not causing sexual attraction, and the root "sexuelle anziehung" still exists as a concept regardless of my grammatical mistake.

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a minor triad
2 hours ago, Snow Cone said:

We can't look at asexuality on the same line as the homosexual - heterosexual spectrum. It's a different question being asked. It's a different spectrum based on innate desire, on which asexuality is one point at the very end. The rest of it is varying degrees of sexual. That needs to be established first, and once it's determined that a person does not fall on that one asexual dot, they can move to the homosexual - heterosexual spectrum. Yes, people generally describe homo/bi/hetero orientations as "attracted to people of the same/both/other gender(s)" and that's why some have felt the need to use the word "attraction" in an asexuality definition. But that is not relevant. It's a different question than homo/bi/hetero that needs to be established first, and it's based on a different thing - not attraction, but desire.

I completely agree. I probably could have been clearer. I'm kind of thinking of something similar to the valence-arousal emotion model, but with one quadrant and the axes being sexual desire and sexual attraction, which would be the homosexual-heterosexual spectrum. I'm not sure how useful it is thinking about it in this way, but I think it makes sense.

behavsci-03-00501-g001-1024.png

This picture is way bigger than it needs to be, but oh well.

 

3 hours ago, Xenobot said:

Psychologists commonly define a sexual orientation as an enduring pattern of sexual, romantic, and emotional attraction. To them, a romantic asexual would be a person who lacks sexual attraction but maintains romantic and emotional attraction, and an aromantic asexual person experiences only the platonic emotional attraction. AVENs sexual attraction-based definition is congruent with research on human sexuality. Where as an utter lack of sexual desire unexplained by one's sexual orientation is generally considered to be the result of things like hormones, or sexual dysfunction depending on one's circumstances. As in, a post-menopausal woman who largely or completely loses her sexual desire has not become asexual. She is still heterosexual/homosexual/what-have-you, but the hormonal changes in her body have reduced or removed sexual desire.

A few others, myself included, have mentioned that AVEN is defining sexual attraction as sexual desire, which is why your citing of its definition seems a little counter-productive to me. I'll admit what you've written here is very interesting, and trust me when I say that I will be off to read some journals on sexuality in the very near future, but is it really so bad if the asexuality is caused by hormones? What is our experience of life besides hormones and neural signals?

 

2 hours ago, Pramana said:

Ambiguous definitions of sexual attraction may confuse it with sexual desire. This is a situation where dictionaries and Wikipedia are insufficient. One has to look at how the terminology is used in the literature. For example (I may have quoted this somewhere before):

"States of sexual attraction are not desires, nor are they states of sexual arousal (though they are similar in some respects to appetites in general). Consequently, as one can form desires to undertake activities that affect states of sexual arousal, one may also form desires to affect states of sexual attraction. I will call desires formed to affect the aroused sexual appetites ‘sexual arousal desires,’ the phenomenology associated with sexual attraction ‘phenomenal attraction,’ and the desires formed to affect those states ‘phenomenal attraction desires’. Sexual attraction is not the exclusive cause of sexual desire or sexual arousal. Sexual desires may be formed independently of the immediate sensory experience of sexual attraction, for example, by description or by rekindling a desire for an erstwhile lover. Further, one might desire to engage in intercourse for purely prudential reasons." (Sexual Desire and the Phenomenology of Attraction, Bradley Richards, Dialogue, Vol 54, Issue 2, 2015)

Previously, people have pointed out to me that sexual people sometimes desire sex with those to whom they are not attracted. And people sometimes desire to have sex with those outside their orientation. That in itself is proof that sexual desire and sexual attraction are two different things, and that attraction rather than desire is what defines orientation. Furthermore, I can't accept the argument that no one knows what sexual attraction is when thousands of psychologists/behavioural scientists use the concept, it's referenced all the time in popular culture, and a number of asexual/demisexual bloggers express their experiences in terms of lack of sexual attraction. In reality, the only people I've encountered who seem not to understand what sexual attraction is are a segment of AVEN users, and I don't see why such importance should be given to their lack of understanding. With respect, arguments from ignorance are incredibly weak arguments.

Regarding my critique of Skullery Maid's views, here's a place where essentially the same idea is stated on its own as point #1 in an extended diatribe:


"1.  I think asexuality is incredibly uncommon, to a degree that most of you do not. I think that most people are asexual due to past trauma, mental illness (borderline and OCD come to mind in particular), being trans and not having transititioned yet, and most notably, autism."

 

This doesn't make me question my identity. It does make me question the ethics of invalidating people on the basis of negative stereotypes regarding those who fall outside the social "norm". I am proud to consider myself gray-asexual from within the framework described by this quote.

Regarding desire/attraction/orientation, I'm not arguing that these things are a choice in the same way that celibacy is a choice. Celibacy is an explicit decision to not have sex for (usually) religious reasons, despite having sexual desires. What I am arguing is that in addition to – and intermeshed with – biological factors, the cumulative affect of one's life choices over an extended period of time may influence whether or not one wants to have partnered sex.

Regarding freedom of choice, my argument is that people should have the ability to define themselves based on their experiences and their interests when communicating with other people. Sexual orientations are conceptual fictions which serve as tools that may assist people in doing so. They are not about some innate, fixed quality which others get to detect in you and stipulate for you.

As stated above, I will be looking into the literature so I can better understand where you are coming from. Regarding the rest of your reply, I think I understand what you are getting at with the attraction-based definition. You're saying that with this definition it is harder to invalidate people's identities, right? Ok. Probably because of its ambiguity because as you have pointed out, people are 'ignorant' to what sexual attraction is according to those who study it. That's fine. But there are still a lot more laymen here (and everywhere) than there are scholars. And that's really besides the point. I guess I'll get back to this point later once I have done some proper research.

 

I would argue that no one can really make someone drop a label they want to keep, as Homer has mentioned, and I still think you have misunderstood Skullery. I might regret writing this, but I actually agree with her on most, if not all, points. This is not what the discussion is about, however, so I won't continue that line of thought. Going back to your whole invalidating people's identities...well if people aren't really asexual, then they are not asexual. Sure they can identify as asexual or whatever they want, but that doesn't change the fact that that label may be an inaccurate label for them.

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FictoVore.
1 hour ago, chair jockey said:

People are still treating their personal opinions like facts. :P

See, that's one of the major issues here. People assuming that what we say about sexuals are personal opinions, making the rest of our argument one of opinion other than fact.

 

But that's just not the case.

 

It's a FACT that no matter how you define sexual attraction, not all sexuals experience that.. yet they still have an underlying innate desire to connect sexually with others to some extent or another. We have had sexuals time and time again here over the years trying to explain this, and still this community refuses to listen because.. then either a whole lot of people wouldn't actually be asexual.. or at least 40% of the population is asexual. That IS a fact that can't be denied. It's not personal opinion, it's been stated repeatedly by many, many sexuals here and elsewhere online in discussions like these.

 

It's not an opinion that not all sexuals "look at people and get horny" or "have a sexual reaction to aspects of other people" or "find people sexy to look at" or however you want to define sexual attraction, it's a FACT that they don't all experience that. They just don't.

 

AVEN's "values" are directly invalidating the experience of many, many sexual people (especially the average sexual woman) for the sake of validating people who wish to be asexual based on however they want to define it. This is why this isn't so much an issue about the definition itself, but how the values surrounding the definition are massively harming the asexual communities relationship with the general sexual population, and harming massively any efforts at asexuality ever being taken seriously as a legitimate sexual orientation. This is what myself and certain others were trying to explain in the "values" thread.. but apparently what we had to say wasn't gelling enough with the tone they wanted in that thread so they shut that line of convo down. 

 

If we keep going like this, asexuality will be viewed as something to be mocked and ridiculed (as it already is in many places online).. AVEN is contributing to that - well, directly creating that issue - with its values surrounding the definition of asexuality: Values which directly invalidate many aspects of normal, everyday sexuality.

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Pramana
2 hours ago, a minor triad said:

As stated above, I will be looking into the literature so I can better understand where you are coming from. Regarding the rest of your reply, I think I understand what you are getting at with the attraction-based definition. You're saying that with this definition it is harder to invalidate people's identities, right? Ok. Probably because of its ambiguity because as you have pointed out, people are 'ignorant' to what sexual attraction is according to those who study it. That's fine. But there are still a lot more laymen here (and everywhere) than there are scholars. And that's really besides the point. I guess I'll get back to this point later once I have done some proper research.

 

I would argue that no one can really make someone drop a label they want to keep, as Homer has mentioned, and I still think you have misunderstood Skullery. I might regret writing this, but I actually agree with her on most, if not all, points. This is not what the discussion is about, however, so I won't continue that line of thought. Going back to your whole invalidating people's identities...well if people aren't really asexual, then they are not asexual. Sure they can identify as asexual or whatever they want, but that doesn't change the fact that that label may be an inaccurate label for them.

It's a tautology to say that if they aren't asexual then they aren't asexual. But it begs the question against my argument because it assumes an essentialist definition of asexuality, whereby asexuality has to to be some innate, independent characteristic in order to be real. Instead, I propose focusing on people's experiences, for it seems to me that shared experiences are the root of community. Thus, asexuality concerns those who fall outside the social norm of people forming paired relationships through romantic attraction and sexual attraction/sexual desire. Lacking one or more of these elements suggests an asexual spectrum and/or aromantic spectrum experience which is relevant for participating in asexual/aromantic communities. This is why I favour a non-essentialist, pragmatic conception, because it seems unethical to exclude people who have relevant experiences and who could both benefit from, and contribute to, the asexual community simply because they don't fit some pre-existing rule.

In this way, I would argue that there is a practical limit on how labels are used. It would be difficult for a "typical" sexual person, whose life experiences all fit within the sexual category, to participate in the asexual community as an "asexual" in a meaningful way. I also doubt that there are very many "typical" sexual people who would want to do so.

I have yet to hear any real reasons for excluding the (probably very small) numbers of sex-favourable asexuals who do not experience sexual attraction but who do desire partnered sex, or for excluding people whose asexual/gray-asexual identities are more intwined with other aspects of their personalities. Why does the definition of asexuality need to be more restrictive? Where is the benefit? There's been a suggestion that this might somehow erode the social standing of asexuality in the eyes of the general public, but I have yet to see any evidence. And even if there were, I doubt that would be sufficient ethical justification to exclude people who feel asexual/gray-asexual from the community.

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Xenobot
19 minutes ago, a minor triad said:

A few others, myself included, have mentioned that AVEN is defining sexual attraction as sexual desire, which is why your citing of its definition seems a little counter-productive to me. I'll admit what you've written here is very interesting, and trust me when I say that I will be off to read some journals on sexuality in the very near future, but is it really so bad if the asexuality is caused by hormones? What is our experience of life besides hormones and neural signals?

In the past there have been attempts to cure homosexuality with hormone therapy, and some asexuals have tried hormone therapy to no avail. I don't think most women who have lived average sexual lives would be too happy if you called them asexual for losing their sexual desire in the latter half of their lives. In other words, hormones are seperate from sexual orientation. One does not influence the other. However, if someone lost all sexual desire for whatever reason and they found the asexual community helped them deal with it better than therapy or medication, then they should be welcome in my opinion. That might be controversial to some, but I think that's far more ethical than turning them away. There are many resources within the community that would be just as helpful to them as someone who was "born that way", and people have the right not to pursue treatment for whatever reason provided they are competent enough to make those decisions (which in this case they always unquestionably have the right to refuse treatment, as it's not a life or death situation).

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