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Faelights

Unofficial Definitions

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Lately it feels like there's a lot of confusion about terminology when we start to talk about concept such as sexual drive, sexual interest, innate drive, innate interest, sexual desire... etc etc.

So, as suggested here, I thought it might be a good idea to just come up with an unofficial list of terminology to facilitate understanding between all parties in these discussions, so we don't keep devolving into semantic debates. >_>;;;;

Anyway, I ran this past Mic, and he thought we might want to start with looking at some of the terms on the lexicon on the AVENwiki, found here.

For now, I think people should throw in some terms that we should try to define, and then we can set up a Google document to figure this out or something. ^_^

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All right I guess I'll start here since I'm one of the ones that has been embroiled in those conversations. Its early so hopefully these make sense. I'll start with a couple terms that I think I've got a working definition for and maybe add some terms that we need definitions for. I may get around to them later if no one else gets around to them first.

Sexual Drive The innate innate urge to have sex with another person but not directed at a specific individual.

Sexual Desire The feeling of wanting sex with a specific individual.

Libido The bodily urge towards sexual activity though not necessarily with another person.

Arousal

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Arousal: Bodily response to sexual stimulation.

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Arousal: To stimulate to a point of readiness.

(as in waking from sleep...)

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sexual orientation: one's state of being referring to who a person finds attractive (relative to gender). can be sexual or asexual

romantic attraction: a desire to be with an individual in a non-sexual fashion.

feel free to make these definitions more... user friendly? I'm bad with making sentences easy for others to understand while getting my point across in short statements.

also I don't think either definition above is right for arousal.

it's more of a physical and mental desire for sexual stimuli.

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I personally like AceofClubs definition of arousal though perhaps it needs to be added to slightly to incorporate the mental aspect?

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Arousal: Bodily response to sexual stimulation.

I would say: body's response to physical or sensual stimulation of a sexual nature

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Ooo, I was doing this for trying to work out the branches of sexuality.

Libido: often used interchangeably with sex drive & sexual desire, though they can happen independently of each other. Result of sexual fantasies, strong sexual attraction, fetishes or spontaneous bodily functioning. Can be satisfied by self or a partner.

- Sexual desire (sexual interest): concious interest in engaging in sexual activity or stimulation

- Sex drive: physical craving for sexual stimulation

Sexual arousal: genital response to anticipated or current sexual activity/stimulation. Typically triggered by libido or stimulation of eroganous zones.

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romantic attraction: a desire to be with an individual in a non-sexual fashion.

By that definition that would also include a squish. That also isn't present in every case of romantic attraction.

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I don't think sexual desire and sexual interest is exactly the same thing. I see sexual interest more like sexual attraction.

Also I'm gonna throw in a few types of attraction just for the fun of it:

Emotional attraction: being attracted to somebody and wanting to be emotionally close with them.

Aesthetic attraction: being attracted to somebody because they look nice.

I'll save romantic and sexual attraction for later

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I don't think sexual desire and sexual interest is exactly the same thing. I see sexual interest more like sexual attraction.

So would you say that sexual desire is something that can be taken care of on your own & sexual interest is always directed toward a certain person?

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I'd say sexual desire is the want itself, and sexual interest is who you want to have sex with. I'd say libido is what could be taken care of on its own.

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Romantic Attraction: A neverending dream, a dream of you.

Arousal: Pretty much, if you're aroused, then you're capable of going through with a sexual act comfortably. Things that lead to this state: Desiring such activity (versus it simply being a compromise), being exposed to an arousing physical stimulus (which varies from person to person; for example, I am aroused by scents, voices, and warmth, but erogenous zones do nothing for me.)

Libido: More than sexual desire; more like a desire for physical, in some manner 'productive' activity; when your libido acts up, your thoughts have a much stronger emotional context than they usually; is relieved (lessened) by acting out your impulses, be it by creating something or through orgasm.

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Since the current definition of asexual, listed on multiple sites, is someone who does not experience sexual attraction, I think it should be kept at that to avoid confusion.

The current definition of an asexual doesn't specify if the person experiences a sex drive so that implies (and is written on the wiki page mentioned below) that

an asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction and may or may not experience a sex drive.

Obviously many of us want to get more specific so we need more terms:

You can have a sex drive but not feel sexual attraction (as evidenced by more than one person, including the first post, on the original thread) and there should be a term made for that.

I do not like gray-a because it means multiple things and if you tell someone you're gray-a, you are going to end up explaining what you mean which defeats the point of having a term.

I think we could use nonsexual for someone who does not experience a sex drive or sexual attraction.

I don't know if you can experience sexual attraction without a sex drive but if you can you wouldn't be an asexual.

There'd need to be a different word for that.

One of the problems with the confusion over the term asexual is that on dictionary.com and thefreedictionary.com asexual is defined as "Lacking interest in or desire for sex". You can see how this will cause confusion if someone is trying to figure out their own sexuality and use this definition which contradicts other sources like AVEN.

There are good definitions already on asexuality.org/wiki for sexual and romantic attraction, libido or sex drive, and others.

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I dunno I think we need to go back to the basics 'what is sexual attraction?' and 'what is the definition of an asexual?'

It's all very well to say an asexual is someone who doesn't feel sexual attraction or 'I am asexual because I don't feel sexual attraction', as it currently stands though it is meaningless, it doesn't appear to mean anything. The label is nondescriptive. It would be much simpler if it was clearer that it meant you were generally just not 'in' to sex. The lack of sex is the number one issue the sex starved partners of asexuals seem to struggle with, and as far as relationships go it doesn't seem to be the lack of sexual attraction that is the issue but rather the discrepancy between how much sex one wants to have or not want to have, versus how much sex they are not having, or are having.

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The lack of sex is the number one issue the sex starved partners of asexuals seem to struggle with, and as far as relationships go it doesn't seem to be the lack of sexual attraction that is the issue but rather the discrepancy between how much sex one wants to have or not want to have, versus how much sex they are not having, or are having.

Thing is, the same problem can and does occur in a relationship between two sexuals as well. Because even sexuals don't wan't sex all the time (well, at least, most don't). As such, one person may want sex when the other doesn't, one may have a higher libido than the other etc etc. So lack of sex isn't an exclusive Asexual/sexual relationship issue.

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Obviously many of us want to get more specific so we need more terms:

You can have a sex drive but not feel sexual attraction (as evidenced by more than one person, including the first post, on the original thread) and there should be a term made for that.

That sounds pretty nitpicky. There's already nonlibidoist to describe people who don't have a sex drive. If you really want a term you may as well go with libidoist, but I don't see how that's something worth sharing.

I do not like gray-a because it means multiple things and if you tell someone you're gray-a, you are going to end up explaining what you mean which defeats the point of having a term.

That's kind of the point. It's supposed to be a catch all term. If we had a term for every shade of gray...forget it, nobody would remember them all.

Besides, all terms needed to be explained at one point or another.

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The lack of sex is the number one issue the sex starved partners of asexuals seem to struggle with, and as far as relationships go it doesn't seem to be the lack of sexual attraction that is the issue but rather the discrepancy between how much sex one wants to have or not want to have, versus how much sex they are not having, or are having.

Thing is, the same problem can and does occur in a relationship between two sexuals as well. Because even sexuals don't wan't sex all the time (well, at least, most don't). As such, one person may want sex when the other doesn't, one may have a higher libido than the other etc etc. So lack of sex isn't an exclusive Asexual/sexual relationship issue.

I wasn't saying it's an exclusive asexual thing, not feeling sexual attraction is not an exclusive asexual thing either. But the not being 'in' to sex thing is by far the most frequent issue I see associated with asexuality, the lack of sexual attraction hardly seems to be an issue at all.

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I found the below in some other thread while post- searching. It's about term "heteroplatonic", which could be used for some aromantics, I guess. Let me quote:

I had a moment of inspirational genius, and no Monk, that wasn't a shock (:P)

This moment came in the form of a single word, heteroplatonic, i decided that this far better describes me than heteroromantic.

This is mostly due to the fact that while i do get infatuated now and then, contemplating the possibility of a relationship seems weird, and restrictive.

Instead, i have the urge to find someone whom to apotheosize within my own little world, and wrap my arms around them and protect them from the bad things of the world.

This may sound romantic, but the key difference here is that, to me it isn't.(...)

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Hey, sorry I haven't contributed to this thread yet, I've been really busy this week. I will try to set up a Google doc for this some time in the next week.

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I also think hyposexuality/sexual apathy (little to no desire for sexual activity) should be more recognized as well as how it doesn't equal asexuality. It can apply to any sexual orientation as well as hypersexuality (excessive desire sexual activity) & the direction (or lack thereof) of desire is irrelevant, it just addresses the intensity of it.

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I'll attempt the big one, sexual attraction. Partly taken from Charlie's Lexicon. There's a definition on the AVENwiki, but I don't think it is as good.

Sexual attraction: An internal feeling that gives you motivation to have coupled sexual activity (either with specific people or in general). The motivation cannot be reducible to some other motivation, such as the desire to have children or the desire to fit in. The motivation (or lack thereof) may be overridden by desires from other sources, so it does not necessarily translate to how one behaves or wants to behave.

I've seen sexual desire used in multiple, wildly different ways, so I'm not even sure where to begin with that one.

Other terms I think should be included:

Platonic: Describes relationships that are very close, but not romantic. The line between romantic and platonic is a disputed topic.

Squish: Something that resembles a crush, but is associated with platonic feelings rather than romantic ones.

Aesthetic attraction: Having the sense that someone looks nice, possibly having strong feelings about this. (I know this is different from RatherDrinkTea's definition)

Sensual attraction: Attraction to physical touch with other people, such as cuddling or hugging. (This term used to be more common before my time.)

WTFRomantic: Not fitting into romantic orientations. (This term is more common in non-AVEN asexual communities.)

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Hehe, squish is such a cute word :wub:

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I'll attempt the big one, sexual attraction. Partly taken from Charlie's Lexicon. There's a definition on the AVENwiki, but I don't think it is as good.

Sexual attraction: An internal feeling that gives you motivation to have coupled sexual activity (either with specific people or in general). The motivation cannot be reducible to some other motivation, such as the desire to have children or the desire to fit in. The motivation (or lack thereof) may be overridden by desires from other sources, so it does not necessarily translate to how one behaves or wants to behave.

I've seen sexual desire used in multiple, wildly different ways, so I'm not even sure where to begin with that one.

Other terms I think should be included:

Platonic: Describes relationships that are very close, but not romantic. The line between romantic and platonic is a disputed topic.

Squish: Something that resembles a crush, but is associated with platonic feelings rather than romantic ones.

Aesthetic attraction: Having the sense that someone looks nice, possibly having strong feelings about this. (I know this is different from RatherDrinkTea's definition)

Sensual attraction: Attraction to physical touch with other people, such as cuddling or hugging. (This term used to be more common before my time.)

WTFRomantic: Not fitting into romantic orientations. (This term is more common in non-AVEN asexual communities.)

Actually, I like that definition of sexual attraction - it's a bit wordy, but it explains it better than any other definition I've seen so far.

And as for aesthetic attraction, that's one that's always been a bit weird to me. It seems more often used to be sort of like tea's definition, wherein one find's someone aesthetically appealing, and for that reason is drawn to them (though not in a sexual way).

Although it can sometimes also be used for just liking the way something looks, I generally thing that "attraction" still has implications of a draw that I at least don't feel, so I tend to use "aesthetic apprectiation" or somesuch rather than "aesthetic attraction" in order to imply that I appreciate something's looks, but have no need to form any sort of relationship or anything. The two do seem to be somewhat different concepts.

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I found the below in some other thread while post- searching. It's about term "heteroplatonic", which could be used for some aromantics, I guess. Let me quote:

I had a moment of inspirational genius, and no Monk, that wasn't a shock (:P)

This moment came in the form of a single word, heteroplatonic, i decided that this far better describes me than heteroromantic.

This is mostly due to the fact that while i do get infatuated now and then, contemplating the possibility of a relationship seems weird, and restrictive.

Instead, i have the urge to find someone whom to apotheosize within my own little world, and wrap my arms around them and protect them from the bad things of the world.

This may sound romantic, but the key difference here is that, to me it isn't.(...)

Applause and :cake: for coming accross this term but I'm afraid I've beaten them to it. I put bi-platonic on my profile a long time ago. And sorry to burst someon's bubble but wanting to hug someone for hours and protect them from bad things IS romantic. :P

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And sorry to burst someon's bubble but wanting to hug someone for hours and protect them from bad things IS romantic. :P

No, not really. A mother can feel it toward a child, a carer can feel it toward a pet, a brother can feel it toward a sister, and it's not romantic at all (at least in most cases).

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Platonic: Describes relationships that are very close, but not romantic. The line between romantic and platonic is a disputed topic.

Platonic used to mean "nonsexual". That was it & it was beautifully broad. Why does it have to specifically describe a close relationship?

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The more definitions of the same word you have the less sense it makes.

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Platonic: Describes relationships that are very close, but not romantic. The line between romantic and platonic is a disputed topic.

Platonic used to mean "nonsexual". That was it & it was beautifully broad. Why does it have to specifically describe a close relationship?

Actually, platonic (in the sense of relationships) in it's original sense did have a connotation of closeness - platonic love was originally used to describe a stong but non-sexual form of love. Interestingly, that meaning has shifted over time, and the meaning has rather weakened.

Interesting, the asexual community (and perhaps other sources) seem to further be redifining platonic as also being non-romantic in addition to non-sexual.

It's quire a useful term, but it's really nothing like plato intended at this point.

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*Feels out-of-loop* Thanks, Fae! I'll have to check this out! :lol:

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