Pramana

Self-identification

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68

It has aesthetic properties? 

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Pramana   
Pramana
2 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

It has aesthetic properties? 

Sure does, with the writing functioning as performative act to fracture socially inherited presuppositions. At least, this is the common answer that postmodernists provide when people challenge them for being intentionally obscurantist.

Meanwhile, this scientific babble isn't any better:

"The fMRI data were acquired on a Siemens Allegra 3 T dedicated head scanner with 40 mT/m gradients and a standard quadrature head coil. Head motion was limited using padding and tape reminder across the participant's forehead. The functional scans were acquired using gradient-echo echo-planar-imaging with the following parameters: TR = 2 s, TE =27ms, FOV = 24 cm, 64 X 64, flip angle = 70°, voxel size = 3.75 X 3.75 X 4 mm, gap = 1mm, 29 slices, ascending acquisition. Before statistical analysis, the first seven volumes of each EPI run, which occurred during the initial baseline, were discarded to allow the MR signal to reach steady state. Functional images were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping software (SPM5). The remaining volumes were motion corrected using INRIalign, a motion correction algorithm unbiased by local signal changes in SPN, although this participant moved <2 mm. Images were spatially smoothed with a 12x12x12mm full-width half-maximum Gaussian kernel. Conditions were created for analysis by convolving the stimulus timing files with a double gamma hemodynamic response function. A corresponding t-statistic at alpa <.05 corrected for family-wise error whole-brain analysis was used to identify brain regions that differed significantly in their activation between conditions. All non-film conditions were treated as baseline for contrasts. Statistical maps are reported with respect to Talaraich space. Analyses were carried out using a mixed effects analysis with SPM."

Nicole Prause and Carla Harenski, Inhibition, Lack of Excitation, or Suppression: fMRI Pilot of Asexuality, pages 35-54 in Karli June Cerankowski and Megan Milks editors Asexualites: Feminist and Queer Perspectives, New York and London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2016.

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Snao Çoñé   
Snao Çoñé

Poetry these days. :rolleyes:

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68

Yes I know why they do it, and 'not being wilfully opaque' isn't a socially inherited presumption, it's part of allowing language to perform its function. That function, of being an instrument of communication rather than masturbation, has allowed society to evolve to a point where they can sit in universities and make a living from attempting to obscure their nonsense with bad syntax and pointless ambiguity. Hopeful one day they'll disappear so far up their own arses we can no longer hear them.

 

Actually the scientific stuff is better - significance calculations and Gaussian kernels do have an actual objective existence, and if you understand what the nouns are, the sentence structure is very simple amd clear. 

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Pramana   
Pramana

I must admit, although I am relatively cynical about postmodernism, I also find the practice rather fun.

In that regard, I would suggest that it's useful to theorize asexuality through a social constructivist perspective which focuses on communities and identities that people adopt to make intelligible experiences which would otherwise be pathologized and rendered unintelligible in a society built around certain sexual and romantic assumptions. Such a theory can explain both those identities that are based on a lack of sexual/romantic attraction/desire, but also gray-area identities that reflect experiences which are missing key elements of sexuality/romance that are commonly assumed to be present.

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FictoVore.   
FictoVore.
23 hours ago, float on said:

TLDR of every discussion about what asexuality or sexual attraction is comes to the following:

 

some people like one definition, some people like another, some people like neither, some people are fine with both, and yet most people seem quite adamant that all people universally must like one definition there's gotta be a way to convince the naysayers they're wrong!

Yeah I know, that's how it is with homosexuality too right? They have one definition that everone agrees on, but everyone ALSO happily agrees that the definition can mean anything you want it to mean depending on how you define sexual attraction. That's how you end up with 100% gay people who literally only ever desire sex with other genders and would never have sex with anyone of the same gender!! I wonder how they managed to convince the rest of the world that one gay man can literally only ever want to bang men, and another gay man can literally only ever want to bang women, yet they're both still 100% gay? Why can't we do the same thing and still be taken seriously?? 

 

Oh wait wait, no,the definition of gay only means one thing.. So it's frustrating for those who define asexuality using those exact same terms to even be in a situation where they have to try to convince others to see it from the same perspective. No one ever had to spend years of their life trying to convince people in a forum that homosexuality means you want sex with people of the same gender lol but on AVEN, it's the norm to have to do exactly that for asexuality :P

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float on   
float on

@FictoVore.  idk tho really, who you want is a very different question than what you want.

 

honestly it seems strange to be comparing homosexually to asexuality all the time. 

 

and your comparison is always the extreme, unrealistic cases.

 

I just really don't enjoy this strategy of yours. it feels like mocking combined with appropriation combined with prescribing the world to be black and white. 

 

 

 

 

we both agree that a person who really likes sex and wants it all the time isn't asexual.

 

 

but literally some aces don't understand the desire approach at all. and some literally don't understand attraction. and there does exist some aces who choose to initiate sexual activity.

 

just, none of them are as extreme as loving sex and wanting lots of it, and policing the language needed to talk about these things accomplishes nothing.

 

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FictoVore.   
FictoVore.
1 hour ago, float on said:

@FictoVore.  idk tho really, who you want is a very different question than what you want.

 

honestly it seems strange to be comparing homosexually to asexuality all the time. 

 

and your comparison is always the extreme, unrealistic cases.

 

That's exactly the point. The examples I give are things that are impossible because homosexuality doesn't work that way, yet certain people here think the exact equivalent can apply to an asexual. Ergo, they want asexuality to be some special snowflake thing as opposed to a legitimate sexual orientation. (Which is cool if they're into that, I'm just clearly not into it).

 

Regardless, I go to a shit-load of effort to make my posts clear, informative, and understandable yet you have always, always professed in your responses to me that you don't get it and can't wrap your head around it and 'oh there are reasons why people don't want that' (because by my definition, certain people would not technically be asexual) etc etc.

 

I'm talking about and overall, understandable, clear definition that can't be interpreted to mean 10 different things depending on how 10 different people define sexual attraction. I am NOT talking about individual case-by-case situations and any definition that tried to cater to literally every single individual experience would just be a jumbled mess. So you need to stop taking the stuff that I say personally, or like it personally applies to some random dude who said 'well I thought I wanted sex with a woman once, does that mean I'm not ace?' *sigh* I'm not talking about individuals but about an overall definition.

 

"who you want is a very different question than what you want."

 

When you say "I'm homosexual" you're not saying ''i want to have sex with all the males in the world who have blonde hair and tight abs".. A sexual orientation label is literally just defining the direction of which gender your innate preference to experience partnered sexual pleasure with lies with, it's not talking about the specific individual things that meet your specific requirements before you can actually want to partake in sex with any specific indivudual. It truly is more about the what in this case (because the 'what' is sexual relationships and sexual pleasure etc, with people of a certain gender). You don't get someone saying 'I a woman and I'm sexually attracted to other women but have no interest in having sex with a woman.. I literally only ever want sex with men because I love cock and enjoy sexual intimacy with men a great deal and never want to experience that with a woman, I'm a lesbian though". You say this is an 'extreme' example but it only seems extreme because sexual orientations just don't work like that.. that's the whole point in these examples that I give. I'm just trying to illustrate that it's about the 'what' and which gender it's directed at. For asexuals, they just don't have that 'what'. 

 

2 hours ago, float on said:

and there does exist some aces who choose to initiate sexual activity.

No one said an ace can't initiate sexual activity to try to make their partner happy, to try to force themselves to enjoy sex, whatever. I actually often initiated sex with my ex partner (when i was 'functionally' asexual) because that was one way to keep him happier than if he had to ask for it. Many aces find themselves in that situation. It's when someone is initiating sex with their partner because in that moment, they desire that partnered sexual connection for their own sexual and/or emotional pleasure that this person is suddenly no different than any other sexual who will initiate sex out of a personal desire to experience pleasure. It's often not about something as basic as 'my husband is really attractive I'm going to screw him now', but more about actually desiring that partnered sexual intimacy for the sexual and emotional pleasure you'll experience from that. Any self-identitifying asexuals who say they initiate partnered sexual contact for their own pleasure will still always admit to not wanting to have that sex with literally just any person under the sun: there are always preferences involved as to who that person is (partner, friend, whatever). So regardless of whether you're defining asexuality by lack of desire, or by sexual attraction (a preference as to WHO you screw, seems to be the most common way it's being defined currently) then that person is still technically sexual.

 

But, that's the beauty of self-idetifcation. I couldn't care less if that person identifies as an asexual unicorn or whatever, that's their business. I'm talking about the DEFINITION, not how an individual identifies.

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float on
7 hours ago, FictoVore. said:

For asexuals, they just don't have that 'what'. 

Yes. But not having that 'what', is not enough sometimes - to not have sex, or to not find it enjoyable. No not desirable, just not rejectable, getting sensitive organ that give good sensation stimulated gives good sensation. Not having sexuality isn't enough to talk about why they do certain things sometimes. And they're looking for a way to talk about it, not for an answer of what asexuality is and isn't.

 

The reason I say you're being extreme is not because what you're saying isn't clear, not that it has no purpose, because it does, on both accounts, I like the example. I agree with you. read that again please. I agree with you - there are strange minds out there that somehow convinced themselves that loving and wanting sex is asexuality. I don't get how they managed that, and for those cases, the ridiculous analogy clearly encapsulate how ridiculous their misinformed belief is.

 

But I'm not talking about those cases. so your continual referral to an example that does not apply to my discourse, is why I'm uncomfortable with it and find it extreme at all! you appear to be taking an innocent conversation like, "Hi guys I enjoy grinding and my friend said an asexual can't like grinding. What gives?" And then going and saying they clearly love sex and have it all the time. It just isn't a meaningful comparison to such cases. Maybe, sure, the person likes grinding because of how it feels, aka sexually, and grinds because of that feeling, in which case there's clearly potential for them to enjoy and want sex. But maybe instead, they just like dancing and when people grind it's just another form of dancing, and they're looking for language to help explain to their friends why asexuals can like dancing even if it's grinding.

 

This is what I'm talking about. Sometimes saying the default things (asexuals don't feel sexual attraction, or asexuals don't feel sexual desire) just aren't clear enough for the conversation, and while generally one of those two definitions is great, sometimes there needs to be discourse that ignores these terms, that are outside of that area of discourse. That, forcing those terms into the conversation alienates the person with the question, teaching them nothing, as they already know the definition, and in their concern case it isn't enough to explain why asexuals can enjoy dancing. why asexuals can be OK with sex and have it. why asexuals can masturbate to porn or smut, feeling what sure does sound like attraction and desire regarding the fantasy, but never feel that for actual sexual intimacy outside of fantasy. why asexuals can want a relationship. etc.

 

 

It's good to say, "yes that isn't the same thing as wanting a sexual relationship". but they know that already, the purpose of saying it is to establish baseline agreement, so that mentioning that if they do in fact want sexual activity because it's pleasurable, then they do feel desire for sex in some manner, something asexuals don't have - so it doesn't sound like you're not hearing them. But that is only to again establish a baseline. Not to answer the question. It is to say, if it's not this, and it's not that, then yes it's a weird case to discuss. There are two extremes to reveal - one, that indeed their experience is not wanting sexual relationship, and two, that wait, if they want the pleasure then that reveals they desire sexual activity on some level. But these two extremes won't cover all grounds of discourse regarding incentive, desires, attractiveness, activities, and choice.

 

We need to assume that the questioning person might be in need of something beyond either clear extreme. Sometimes yes, some people are idiot to think loving sex can be part of the asexual experience. But most people don't think that. and treating every person like they do, makes all the effort you go to to explain it, mean nothing - because halfway into your first paragraph they come to believe you don't respect them and aren't going to listen to them, and don't care to read the rest of your beautiful and detailed post. 

 

Especially when they've read the argument fifty times before, and agreed with it every time, and are trying to explain why that argument just doesn't apply to explain certain things.

 

 

Like, when some asexuals enjoy sex. not want it. no, they just accept it without complaint. It feels good and that's OK. They might even get into it. But when it's past again, they just forget about it until the next time the partner needs it. It's like watching a TV show with your partner to  share what they like. You'll see the comedy and laugh, feel the drama and worry for the characters, but at the end of the day, you've never in your life watched a TV show except when someone wants you to do it with them, and even then reluctantly, because you don't really find it to be an activity worth doing. You don't have interest in it. You don't find it an attractive or desirable activity. But, you're willing to experience your partner's interests with them, at least for this. and it doesn't suck.

 

Some people who "enjoy sex" haven't yet figured out yet that they aren't so asexual after all. But some people who enjoy it just happen to enjoy stimulation even if it's from another person, and generally would rather not think about or have sex because they want to have none of it in their life, but eh their romantic partner wants it very much and they aren't willing to deny that constantly. We need to address that without needing the extreme example that ridicules. We need to be willing to say, the normal accurate definition of asexuality isn't enough sometimes, so let's take the time to find discourse that does help.

 

I guess, it's like explaining what a horse is. 

  1. a solid-hoofed plant-eating domesticated mammal with a flowing mane and tail, used for riding, racing, and to carry and pull loads.
    synonyms: mount, charger, cob, nag; More
     
  2. 2.
    a frame or structure on which something is mounted or supported, especially a sawhorse.

but, why is a zebra not a horse? we need to step away from the normal definition to explain. why isn't a dinner table a horse? we need to step away from the definition to explain it. why is a child's drawing a horse? we need to step away from the normal definition to explain it.

 

the normal definition is not false just because sometimes it isn't enough to explain some case. but, sometimes, it won't be enough to explain some case.

 

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68
Quote

> Maybe, sure, the person likes grinding because of how it feels, aka sexually, and grinds because of that feeling, in which case there's clearly potential for them to enjoy and want sex. But maybe instead, they just like dancing and when people grind it's just another form of dancing, and they're looking for language to help explain to their friends why asexuals can like dancing even if it's grinding.

I know the thread you’re referring to and in the end it did look like that a particular poster was in that situation. But the initial post (that I and a few others reacted to) made it sound like she was actively into the grinding *with another person*, and it’s the sexual stuff *with another person* that makes a difference.

It is a huge grey area though and I agree labels really don’t help (which is another of my frustrations with AVEN’s collective obsession with them).

Sexuals enjoy sex because of varying combinations of:

  • a kind of internal horniness
  • emotional intimacy / trust
  • giving physical pleasure
  • receiving physical pleasure
  • giving emotional pleasure
  • receiving emotional pleasure
  • straight up compulsive physical desire
  • reassurance and bonding within a relationship
  • fun

... just as a start, but I think those are the more common ones. The only one that I’ve never seen an asexual person say they have no experience of is the straight up physical desire.

The other problem with the endless definition argument is that it necessarily focuses on difference, because that’s how definitions work. It’s exacerbated by the high proportion of AVEN posters (especially new ones) being teens or young adults, who are looking to asexuality as part of defining themselves as people.

But actually, the differences are way less than the similarities. Which is good news when it comes to sexuals and asexuals understanding each other in a way, but can also make it more baffling. As a sexual, it leaves me asking ‘but if you can get all that good stuff from it, why on *earth* don’t you want to do it?’.

Oh, and zebras are kind of horse.

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float on   
float on

oh, then pandas not being a bear is a better example :P

 

 

 

 

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Pramana   
Pramana

To reiterate a point I've made before, I don't think it matters whether asexuality is defined as a lack of sexual attraction, a lack of innate/inherent/intrinsic desire for partnered sex, or a combination of the two (all of which I believe are identical anyway) because you're still going to have people who say they don't experience those feelings but still enjoy partnered sex (surely you can enjoy something without having an innate desire for it – I doubt anyone has an innate desire to play golf).

So, if someone claims to be asexual but still enjoys partnered sex, then I can see three options:
1. They are asexual.
2. They were bisexual or pansexual all along, and were mistaken about not experiencing sexual attraction/innate desire for partnered sex.
3. They were asexual, but developed sexual attraction/innate desire for partnered sex, and thus becomes bisexual or pansexual.

On that account, I believe we may be at a discursive standstill due to the limited amount of research on sex-favourable asexuality. I think it would be beneficial to get some input from psychologists regarding how they would interpret this type of case (which raises the question of why – given that these discussions have gone on for several years – AVEN has not done so?) Somewhat on point, I've found that there is a fair amount of reporting on the phenomenon of men who have sex with men (MSM), but who don't identify as gay and perhaps don't experience sexual attractions/desires for other men. Here's a quote from a news story reflecting that distinction:

"I’d heard of the term “men who have sex with men” (msm), but was confused as to why these straight men/gay men hook-ups were occurring so commonly, and what it was all about.
Are these men secretly gay and in hiding?
As it turns out, not all of them are. After investigating the issue and speaking to some of the men involved, I was surprised to find out that as well as some of these men being in the closet, there is also a population of guys out there who are hooking up with other guys just for the pure ease at which a hook up can occur.
It is not necessarily about sexual attraction to a gender, but sexual pleasure."

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/sex/straight-men-who-have-sex-with-other-men/news-story/7c32167307be0ad47f3568c9e5e789ab

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float on   
float on
1 hour ago, Pramana said:

So, if someone claims to be asexual but still enjoys partnered sex, then I can see three options:
1. They are asexual.
2. They were bisexual or pansexual all along, and were mistaken about not experiencing sexual attraction/innate desire for partnered sex.
3. They were asexual, but developed sexual attraction/innate desire for partnered sex, and thus becomes bisexual or pansexual.

:huh:

  1. they are sexual and in denial (bi/pan/gay/straight nonconclusive)
  2. they were a late bloomer and they haven't yet updated their identity to reality
  3. they are demisexual
  4. they are greysexual
  5. they are romantic-ace (which IMO if it means they like sex, makes them not-ace but I won't hold anyone to that opinion.)
  6. they are ace comfortable with sex (that is, if they aren't actively looking to have it, only going along and saying "well it's not too bad, kinda nice")
  7. they purposefully identify as ace, as their enjoyment of sex is not enough for them to be happy having it, so they prefer not to have it. even tho technically they are greysexual, their lifestyle is an ace's lifestyle, and so their orientation is a "lifestyle declaration" rather than an "experience declaration"
  8. something too corner-case to imagine or assume, but possible. better to assume this isn't the case tho.

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float on
1 hour ago, Pramana said:

"I’d heard of the term “men who have sex with men” (msm), but was confused as to why these straight men/gay men hook-ups were occurring so commonly, and what it was all about.
Are these men secretly gay and in hiding?
As it turns out, not all of them are. After investigating the issue and speaking to some of the men involved, I was surprised to find out that as well as some of these men being in the closet, there is also a population of guys out there who are hooking up with other guys just for the pure ease at which a hook up can occur.
It is not necessarily about sexual attraction to a gender, but sexual pleasure."

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/sex/straight-men-who-have-sex-with-other-men/news-story/7c32167307be0ad47f3568c9e5e789ab

thank you for sharing this, I think this is an important thing to remember.

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Law of Circles   
Law of Circles

To be fair, there can be some debate when it comes to the difference between being just gay or straight and being bi. For instance, take a woman who's only ever wanted to be romantic/sexual with men her whole life except for one woman she had a crush on - a lot of people wouldn't have a problem if she still identified as straight, but some would say she's technically bi. How much other-gender and same-gender desire/attraction do you have to have before you call yourself bi? It's not always clear cut. So I do think there are some subjective grey areas when it comes to other sexual identities too, and I've definitely met women IRL who identified as lesbians but still sought out sex with men, so... I don't think asexuality is necessarily the only sexuality with fuzzy boundaries.

 

Still, that doesn't mean we should just shrug our shoulders and say "anyone can be asexual!" I think we should be able to gently point out when someone is making claims about (a)sexuality that don't make sense to us, not just to to make it easier for others to understand asexuality but also to help people to understand themselves. I also think it's a problem that people get so fixated on lack of sexual attraction as the defining quality of asexuality that they don't consider other reasons why someone could be considered asexual. Take this poll, for example. More people said that "cupiosexuals (those who desire a sexual relationship, but feel no attraction to anyone)" could be considered "part of the asexual spectrum" than "lithosexuals (those who experience sexual attraction, but do not want to have sex)." Even if I ignore all the problems I have with "cupiosexual" as an identity, that still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

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Pramana   
Pramana

This is going to depend on where your ideological commitments lie. According to what I've read, behavioural psychologists would be inclined to diagnose with HSDD someone who experiences sexual attraction but who lacks sexual desire. Favouring "not wanting sex" as a criterion of asexuality is more closely aligned with social constructivist/queer theory thought.

Beyond that, the definition of cupiosexuality doesn't specify why they still want a sexual relationship. It may be because they are experiencing something that behavioural psychologists would consider sexual attraction (quite possible given the amount of confusion about sexual attraction), or it could be that they simply enjoy the physical aspects of sex (which I think behavioural psychologists might consider to be compatible with an asexual orientation).

Regarding that last point, I really think there needs to be some consultation with psychologists on this topic.

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FictoVore.   
FictoVore.
On 9/17/2017 at 3:00 PM, Pramana said:

 or it could be that they simply enjoy the physical aspects of sex (which I think behavioural psychologists might consider to be compatible with an asexual orientation).

Ask them if they would have sex with literally anyone, no matter how ugly or smelly that person is, or how shitty their personality is. They will say ''no, I obviously have standards. I enjoy sex with someone I am close to emotionally/with my friends/with people I care about, I wouldn't screw just anyone but appearance doesn't matter to me and I don't get ''turned on'' when I look at my sexual partner. It's the sex that turns me on, not my partner's appearance.''...

 

That, right there (the bolded part) is sexual preference. That person has stated that they desire sexual relationships because they enjoy the physical aspects of sex (er, most people who desire sexual relationships enjoy the physical aspects of sex.. that's biology) AND they have admitted to having a specific criteria for who they have sex with. Ergo, normal.

 

I'm not saying cupiosexuality isn't a 'thing', there are lots of people who desire sexual intimacy without getting 'turned on' by characteristics of their partner or anyone else be they physical characteristics or otherwise.. But it's not A-sexual. It's just an aspect of regular, normal sexuality. And to say otherwise is pretty much saying that sexual people literally only desire sexual relationships because they get turned on by other people: which is factually incorrect. Yes it applies to SOME sexuals, but certainly not all. We aren't all wandering around getting turned on just from being near or seeing certain people and it's a fact that many of us desire sexual relationships because we enjoy sex, especially if it's with the person we are in love with. 

 

I don't even desire sexual relationships specifically, I desire a romantic relationship and enjoy sexual intimacy as a pleasurable activity I can share with the person I am in love with (though I don't care if I never have sex again). So how is someone who actually desires sexual relationships and actively seeks them out just for the pleasure of the sex (while at the same time professing they have preferences as to whom they have sex with), somehow more asexual than me? lol. ..Well, the answer is that they're not asexual. They're just a regular sexual person who has some strange ideas about what actually makes sexual people 'sexual'.

 

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68

On that article... I'm extremely skeptical of a man who says he's entirely straight, then goes out seeking sex with other men,for the same reason I'm extremely skeptical of someone claiming to be asexual then going out seeking sex. 

 

Those quotes were from a journalist, writing a news story (as opposed to the study itself), and having been a journalist I can tell you that a closeted gay is no more likely to tell the truth about their sexuality to a reporter than any one else they've just met. Chances are they're probably not admitting it to themselves either. 

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Snao Çoñé   
Snao Çoñé

People who identify as straight and have gay sex aren't doing a disservice to heterosexuality, because everyone knows what heterosexuality is on account of it applying to 90% of people and being the default way we've understood sexual relationships for all of human history. I'm not going to spend my time arguing with men who say they're straight despite being heavily into sex with other men about what heterosexuality means.

 

And, well, I probably shouldn't spend my time arguing with people who want sex what asexuality means, because I have enough problems as it is and should probably seek to reduce stress. However, it does much more damage to the minority orientation that is asexuality, that is my orientation, and my community, and something about myself I have to justify to people who think it's a defect that should be fixed instead of just what I am. If the general population starts to think of asexuality as strictly about not exhibiting "hubba hubba aWOOOOga" sexual attraction, how many dudes who want to have sex with me will refuse to take asexuality as a reason for not wanting sex back?

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Pramana   
Pramana
6 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

On that article... I'm extremely skeptical of a man who says he's entirely straight, then goes out seeking sex with other men,for the same reason I'm extremely skeptical of someone claiming to be asexual then going out seeking sex. 

 

Those quotes were from a journalist, writing a news story (as opposed to the study itself), and having been a journalist I can tell you that a closeted gay is no more likely to tell the truth about their sexuality to a reporter than any one else they've just met. Chances are they're probably not admitting it to themselves either. 

I think this expresses the central problem with the desire-based definition, or at least with respect to how that definition tends to be misconstrued in practice. In a case like this, you will always have to infer from behaviour that the person must be experiencing sexual attraction towards men/innate desire for sex with men. Now it may well be true that the person in the news story isn't being upfront about being gay, but on the other hand maybe that person really isn't attracted to men in any way and just happens to enjoy sex for other reasons. Likewise, maybe an asexual really could be lacking the internal state or mechanism of sexual attraction/innate partnered sexual desire, but still find they enjoy sex for other reasons. How would you know? What justifies the inference that there must be something about them that makes them sexual, when sexual refers to one's internal attractions and desires rather than one's behaviour? The arguments that I've heard so far have all relied on appeals to common sense or incredulity (no one will believe there're asexual!, etc.), and I don't find those forms of arguments to be convincing.

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68

Your can't dismiss a conclusion because it relies on dodgy logic though,any more than I can dismiss your continual appeals to authority purely because they're appeals to authority. Dodgy logic just makes it easier to dismantle, but in the case of commonsense, you haven't dismantled them. You've just said "authority comes at it differently" without explaining why queer theory is more valid than anecdotal experience. 

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Pramana   
Pramana
2 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Your can't dismiss a conclusion because it relies on dodgy logic though,any more than I can dismiss your continual appeals to authority purely because they're appeals to authority. Dodgy logic just makes it easier to dismantle, but in the case of commonsense, you haven't dismantled them. You've just said "authority comes at it differently" without explaining why queer theory is more valid than anecdotal experience. 

My impression is that anecdotal evidence generally isn't considered valid at all. 

But beyond that, the argument from evolutionary psychology is that for a sexual orientation to be an innate disposition, it must be an internal motivational state that is independent of social circumstances, and that is relatively stable and persistent. I think a criterion like "can enjoy the physical feelings of sex with a partner" wouldn't fit this criteria. For example, say someone never experienced any sexual attractions or sexual desires for other people, never missed not having sex, but then tried sex one day and found it physically enjoyable. I don't think that would meet the criterion for a sexual orientation, because it would be dependent on outside experience (their actually having tried sex) so it couldn't be innate, and it would be too inconsistent a preference to meet the stability criterion. Therefore, it seems to me that there is a strong theoretical rationale for saying that such a person would be asexual, even though they may have a desire to connect sexually with some people for pleasure in particular circumstances. That's why I think people have been misinterpreting the desire-based definition, by removing the "innate" component from it and thus disconnecting it from sexual attraction. I'm pretty sure no one has an innate desire to have sex uncoupled from sexual attraction, although they may have various non-innate desires to do so.

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FictoVore.   
FictoVore.
5 hours ago, Snao Çoñé said:

And, well, I probably shouldn't spend my time arguing with people who want sex what asexuality means, because I have enough problems as it is and should probably seek to reduce stress. However, it does much more damage to the minority orientation that is asexuality, that is my orientation, and my community, and something about myself I have to justify to people who think it's a defect that should be fixed instead of just what I am. If the general population starts to think of asexuality as strictly about not exhibiting "hubba hubba aWOOOOga" sexual attraction, how many dudes who want to have sex with me will refuse to take asexuality as a reason for not wanting sex back?

Exactly. If everyone thinks asexuals can actively enjoy sex to the extent of seeking it out for pleasure, they're more likely to think an asexual woman (or man) who doesn't want sex must be damaged or broken or even worse just 'playing hard to get', and therefore put more pressure on that person for sex. The asexuality itself may even seem like a challenge to such people, 'she's identifying as ace but we all know they can want sex like everyone else so this is just a challenge for me to try to get in her pants' ...Which is obviously damaging personally to many asexuals.

 

On top of that (this is at the thread in general, not at Snow ) of course a straight man might have a bit of gay sex or whatever, that's not damaging to heterosexuality as a whole or to straight people personally, BUT if that straight-identifying man literally only ever had sex with other men and never wanted sex with women, ever, he wouldn't technically be straight no matter how many times he announces that he is, in fact, straight. That's no different than someone who identifies as asexual saying 'I love and desire partnered sex for pleasure!'. If everyone can see that the 'straight' man is very clearly gay (or at LEAST bi) then why insist that the self-identifying ace can still be asexual despite being no different than any regular sexual person?. It's baffling to me. Why not just say 'well, that's no different than any regular sexual person but you're free to identify however you wish, what you describe just isn't really asexuality at all but meh, whatever'' instead of ''YES, you ARE asexual!! Asexuals can love and desire sex just as much as anyone else as long as they're not woowoolalahubbahubba attracted to the people they love to screw!!'' ..sigh.

 

2 hours ago, Pramana said:

For example, say someone never experienced any sexual attractions or sexual desires for other people, never missed not having sex, but then tried sex one day and found it physically enjoyable. I don't think that would meet the criterion for a sexual orientation, because it would be dependent on outside experience (their actually having tried sex) so it couldn't be innate, and it would be too inconsistent a preference to meet the stability criterion. Therefore, it seems to me that there is a strong theoretical rationale for saying that such a person would be asexual, even though they may have a desire to connect sexually with some people for pleasure in particular circumstances.

Er, well, that's me. And actually, there are quite a few people who came here believing they were ace for many years, only to find that actually they're sexual and just needed to be in the right sexual situation with the right person to realize that they can actually enjoy certain sexual activities enough to choose to have  those sexual activities for pleasure.

 

I'd even had sex for about 5 years previously and hated every second of it, would lie there gritting my teeth just waiting for it to be over and lay awake at night dreaming of sexless romance though I didn't think that existed. Then I made the conscious decision to never have sex again and shortly after discovered asexuality, but after around 5 years of celibacy I found myself in a situation where actually, I realise I can enjoy  sexual activity with someone I am in love with, under the right circumstances. Because of how pleasurable I can find sexual intimacy now, I would now actively choose to have sexual interaction with a lover for pleasure.. But previously, I had my heart set on an entirely sexless relationship and would sometimes cry at just how happy that idea made me. Discovering asexuality felt like I'd finally, truly discovered who I really am. But all it was, was me not having been in the right situation to be able to enjoy sexual interaction enough to actually want to have it. I now know I can actually desire sexual intimacy, I just hadn't been in a situation previously where I enjoyed sex enough for that desire to manifest.

 

Here's the difference between a sexual person and an asexual who can enjoy the feelings of sex

 

(I know most people are probably skimming my posts by now but this part is important, hence why I am bolding this little subtitle thingie) :P

 

The difference for an asexual who can enjoy the feelings of partnered sex is that they still won't desire it emotionally or actively choose to have it for their own pleasure. THAT'S asexuality. They may still give sex to a partner, but just because they can enjoy the sensations doesn't make them want sex (for their own pleasure) any more than any other asexual and in the perfect world, they would be happiest without sex. I, however, do enjoy sexual intimacy enough to actively choose to have it  for pleasure when in love.. even though I don't care if I never have it again (and haven't physically had it in 6 years now). Outside of that love, I certainly don't want sex. I don't miss it in any way, and would be perfectly happy to sit here celibate for the rest of my life if I never met someone again who I could love and who could love me back. That's okay, I'm all good with the idea of no sex. The idea of no love though, that sucks. I'm still sexual though. Because I would choose to have sexual intimacy for pleasure in the right circumstances, meaning on some level I am actively desiring that partnered sexual connection. An asexual would never get to the point of actively desiring that sexual activity enough that they would actively seek to have sex of their own volition so they can experience sexual pleasure. For the ace, it would more be 'when I give it to my partner I can enjoy the sensations of it physically, though I would of course be much happier if our relationship could be entirely sexless and I would definitely prefer no sex, as opposed to having sex sometimes. But obviously I want to make my partner happy and as they are sexual, that requires having sex sometimes. At least I can enjoy it physically when we do have it. Meh.' That's asexuality.

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Pramana   
Pramana
10 minutes ago, FictoVore. said:

The difference for an asexual who can enjoy the feelings of partnered sex is that they still won't desire it emotionally or actively choose to have it for their own pleasure. THAT'S asexuality. They may still give sex to a partner, but just because they can enjoy the sensations doesn't make them want sex (for their own pleasure) any more than any other asexual and in the perfect world, they would be happiest without sex.

I see the argument that an asexual probably won't find partnered sex to be any better than masturbation, and therefore wouldn't be motivated to seek it out. However, I can still see people adamantly claiming that they like sex enough to seek it out even though they don't have sexual desires for anyone, and I'm reluctant to commit to having to infer that they must be experiencing sexual attraction. Furthermore, even granting you that point, I would still have some issue with the formulation that asexuals and sexuals are distinguished on the basis of the latter's desire to have partnered sex for pleasure in some circumstances, because strictly speaking I think that could still be true of an asexual who can enjoy the feelings of partnered sex, even if they don't make it a priority.

In addition, when considering the desire for partnered sex as it applies to say a men in prison context, there are two interpretations:
1. Men who are heterosexual, but whose desire for partnered sex outweighs their gender preference. Thus, they are willing to have sex with people they aren't attracted to in order to satisfy a desire for partnered sex. By this interpretation, their behaviour doesn't accord with their orientation.
2. Men who are predominately heterosexual, but slightly bisexual, and who are willing to act on their minor preference for men when they can't act on their major preference for women. By this interpretation, their behaviour is still in accord with their orientation.

The second explanation seems to be the one favoured in psychology today, according to spectrum theories of sexual orientations, since it better explains why some men in prison desire homosexual relations while others do not. On that account, here's Michael Storms's model, whereby asexuals are those with low levels of both heteroeroticism and homoeroticism:

storms.png



 

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FictoVore.
3 hours ago, Pramana said:

However, I can still see people adamantly claiming that they like sex enough to seek it out even though they don't have sexual desires for anyone, and I'm reluctant to commit to having to infer that they must be experiencing sexual attraction.

And there are a lot of sexuals who have sex because they enjoy it for pleasure and fun but don't have 'lusty sexual desires' for the people they have sex with. Some sexuals, for example, just have sex for pleasure with friends they trust because they can feel safe with those people. That's just one example of many, but not all sexual people walk around having these lusty sexual desires for other people and basing their desire to connect sexually with others on that reaction they have. Some can desire and enjoy sex without looking at their partner and being like 'daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn you look so good I can't wait to fuck you' and that's not even that uncommon. These people adamantly claiming they desire sex enough to seek it out but don't 'desire other's sexually' are just under the mistaken assumption (as you seem to be) that all sexuals desire sex as a result of a sexual reaction they have to certain other people. It's just not that simple or that straight-forward I'm afraid. So unless a large portion of the population is suddenly asexual, these people who claim they desire sex enough to seek it out but don't 'desire others sexually' are technically just misinformed about regular sexuality and all the ways it can manifest. What they are experiencing is something that's not entirely unheard of among sexuals. And that's really all there is to it.

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Pramana   
Pramana
14 hours ago, FictoVore. said:

And there are a lot of sexuals who have sex because they enjoy it for pleasure and fun but don't have 'lusty sexual desires' for the people they have sex with. Some sexuals, for example, just have sex for pleasure with friends they trust because they can feel safe with those people. That's just one example of many, but not all sexual people walk around having these lusty sexual desires for other people and basing their desire to connect sexually with others on that reaction they have. 

Similar to what I've said elsewhere, I think that you're mistaking aspects of being sexual with aspects of having a sexual orientation. After all, many sexual people also have sex for instrumental reasons such as to please a partner, but that's not to say that asexuals can't have sex for those reasons, or that those reasons are indicative of their sexual orientation. In support of that conclusion, I did some research into new sexual orientation theory designed with specific reference to asexuality, and it seems to provide a clear statement that asexuals could desire partnered sex to satisfy sexual desire. Here are the relevant quotes, first from an older paper that provides some background and then sections from a recent paper by the same author discussing asexuality in the context of the new Sexual Configurations Theory of sexual orientations:

"The distinction among lust, desire, and erotization may help to explain other sexological observations. For example, masturbation when one wants partnered sex can be partially unfulfilling, despite repeated masturbatory orgasms. Meaning that the desire was satisfied, but not the lust. Note that not every partner would be acceptable, only those that meet at least some of the individual’s specific lust cues. Someone may engage in sex with a non-lust-provoking partner because of desire, but will pursue, fantasize, dream, about a partner after whom they lust. This is true whether or not there is any possibility of actually engaging in sex with a person who has the specific lust cues that are craved."
(Charles Moser, Lust, Lack of Desire, and Paraphilias: Some Thoughts and Possible Connections, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 1992, Volume 18, Issue 1, pages 65-69)

And then here's a recent paper by the same author which uses in the same concept in the context of Sexual Configurations Theory (a new model of sexual orientations, developed with specific reference to incorporating asexuality):

"Lust is a strong and persistent sexual attraction to an attribute (or a class) of potential partners of a specific act (see Moser, 1992). Its persistent intensity distinguishes lust from other sexually arousing stimuli. Lust is different from desire, which is an unfocused interest in pursuing sexual arousal and orgasm, dependent on hormones and other factors (both physical and psychological). Lust appears to continue even if hormones or one's physical state prevents sexual arousal or orgasm. Desire is not dependent on any person, imagery, or object."

And later on in the same paper:

"Whatever the process is that leads to the creation of one's sexual orientation, consider the possibility that nothing is created. These individuals might be described as asexual and could fit all the sexual orientation criteria, except possibly lust."
(Charles Moser, Defining Sexual Orientation, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, April 2016, Volume 45, Issue 3, at pages 505-508)

This seems to provide a pretty clear articulation of the concept that asexuals could lack lust (sexual attraction or sexual desires for other people) but still have sexual desire, and that sexual desire may motivate partnered sexual behaviour in a way that is unrelated to one's sexual orientation.

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68
Quote

This seems to provide a pretty clear articulation of the concept that asexuals could lack lust (sexual attraction or sexual desires for other people) but still have sexual desire, and that sexual desire may motivate partnered sexual behaviour in a way that is unrelated to one's sexual orientation.

This is what everybody's been telling you.

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Pramana   
Pramana
23 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

This is what everybody's been telling you.

I find with this debate, sometimes I can't tell whether we disagree or not. I agree with the theory articulated above, at least, which is presented in the context of new theoretical work on sexual orientations conducted with explicit reference to the impact of recent research on asexuality.

In that regard, I would emphasize these passages quoted previously:

"Someone may engage in sex with a non-lust-provoking partner because of desire, but will pursue, fantasize, dream, about a partner after whom they lust."

"These individuals might be described as asexual and could fit all the sexual orientation criteria, except possibly lust".

Whereby lust-provking partners and sexual behaviour motivated by lust is determinative of sexual orientation, and is distinguished from partnered sexual behaviour motivated by desire which is considered analogous to masturbation. This seems to lend strong theoretical support for the concept of sex-favourable asexuality and the "human sex toy" analogy. This also seems to directly contract the claim that a sexual person is a person who desires to connect sexually with others for pleasure in certain circumstances (as that could also be true of an asexual person, who experiences desire but who doesn't experience lust), which to the best of my understanding is how some desire-only supporters had been characterizing the difference between sexual (heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual) people and asexual people. Instead, this theory requires that sexual orientations are based on attraction and the ability of sexual targets to invoke lust or sexual interest.

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Telecaster68   
Telecaster68

It comes down to whether the reasons for wanting to do it are for their own benefit, and a criterion to apply would be 'if they never had the opportunity to have sex again, would it bother them?'. More or less all sexuals would, because they get individual personal benefits from it. No asexuals would be bothered. They can accept and even enjoy sex as part of a relationship, but if their partner didn't want it, they'd be fine with never having sex again.  Sexuals wouldn't. You can see posts from asexuals and sexuals reflecting these attitudes frequently on AVEN. 

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