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Is sexual attraction always about sex? Possibly TMI


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#1 Mordsith

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

I have read a bunch of the "What is sexual attraction" posts, but haven't gotten the full picture to my satisfaction. One answer is "you'll know it when you feel it", but no, no I won't because something I might call sexual attraction might not be what someone else calls sexual attraction, and so when we talk about it, we're both talking about different things. Me, being my logical and analytic self, would like a nice definition, if only in my own head.

Here is what I have so far:
Sexual attraction - a feeling associated with sex that may lead to sexual desire
Sexual Desire - wanting to actually have sex with someone, which may lead to sex or attempts to have sex.

Is sexual attraction mental or physical?
Mental - person A causes you to think about having sex with them, though may not lead to actual desire to do so.
Physical - person A causes sexual arousal/tinging in the lower abdomen, again, may not lead to desire.

So here's my main question - Is sexual attraction always about sex? Or a better question - can you have sexual arousal without sexual attraction? And I don't mean something like morning wood either, I mean arousal that's related to at least something romantic/aesthetic. Actually, that's pretty much the question - does such a thing exist?

See, here's my confusion: I can kiss my bf and I feel a tingling downstairs - not full arousal by any means, but I imagine it's approaching it. However, this does not make me think of sex. I have no desire, nor have I ever had a desire, to have sex with anyone. Would that tingling be categorized under sexual attraction even if the feeling had no link to sex for me? Or would it just be...what? Romantic orgasm? Like, the pinnacle of romantic involvement? Because I can't see anywhere else to go from there except sexy things, which would never enter my mind.

So yeah, is sexual attraction definitely about sex, or is it a feeling that can SOMETIMES be associated with sex?
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#2 GirlDreamer

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:39 AM

No that reaction you get when kissing your boyfriend would not be sexual attraction the way I see it. I don't know quite how to explain it, as I don't know which explanations you've read. This is the explanation I've posted before (if you haven't read it already):


Have you ever been walking by a place, and smelled something amazing, like baking bread or cooking apples, that makes you salivate from half a block away? It's a feeling that has little to do with being hungry (though that helps), so much as an immensely compelling aroma that hooks you and draws you in. That's probably the closest analogy I can think of to the sexual's reaction to a wet t-shirt contest. It's something they can ignore, with a bit of difficulty, and is different from actually "eating" (ie having sex), but is still a powerful lure.

Also sexual people have reported that sexual attraction is so powerful that you will definitely notice if it's there. It's something you can't ignore. It's describe as a nearly irresistible, magnetic pull towards another person which aims for physical intimacy that would ultimately lead to having sex.


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#3 Bellaitalia

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:23 PM

Yeah I am the same way as you. And I feel so uncomfortable knowing that people at interested in me that I push them away and avoid them. I swear I definitely have another problem--I can't just be asexual because I don't think that is normal. I do experience that tingling feeling and get this feeling of euphoria when I am around the guy I like. But I found that I just want to cuddle, hold hands..knowing that someone wants to do dirty things to me makes me feel sick. And yet, when I read/watch porn (which is rare but I do it bc im trying to see if that will spark my sexuality)-- the only porn that can get me aroused is the REALLY dirty talk. It's like the "more wrong" it is, the more I like it. But then in reality I am very repulsed by that. I am so confused.

#4 Ignatz

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:44 PM

yes, i just posted about this elsewhere, in fact; this is very much my situation too, and the reason i find the 'does not experience sexual attraction' definition of asexuality insufficient and problematic.

TMI:

Spoiler


so, yeah. co-signed, definitely.

#5 Skullery Maid

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:28 PM

Have you ever been walking by a place, and smelled something amazing, like baking bread or cooking apples, that makes you salivate from half a block away? It's a feeling that has little to do with being hungry (though that helps), so much as an immensely compelling aroma that hooks you and draws you in. That's probably the closest analogy I can think of to the sexual's reaction to a wet t-shirt contest. It's something they can ignore, with a bit of difficulty, and is different from actually "eating" (ie having sex), but is still a powerful lure.

Also sexual people have reported that sexual attraction is so powerful that you will definitely notice if it's there. It's something you can't ignore. It's describe as a nearly irresistible, magnetic pull towards another person which aims for physical intimacy that would ultimately lead to having sex.

With all due respect, I strongly disagree of your assessment of what it feels like to be sexual. If I wasn't feeling so lazy I'd link to the various posts of sexuals who have said that sexual attraction is sometimes barely noticeable, and that if you're not in the right mood or aren't paying attention you don't even notice it.

This idea that sexual attraction is a monumental, magical, powerful force is inaccurate and misleading.

I could be wrong, but I'd imagine most sexuals would consider getting aroused while kissing your bf to be sexual attraction. Personally, I don't think that necessarily gets at the heart of what asexuality is, but that's a conversation for another day and why I don't like the "sexual attraction" definition.


EDIT: Laziness cured, here's some quotes:

Just like seeing in color verses not seeing in color, what you are used to feels normal. as a homosexual, I feel sexual attraction on and off throughout the day. But it's not distracting, it's easy to put on the back burner so to speak. I really have to choose to want sex for it to effect me. It's very noticeable, but at the same time it's nothing out of control. if it is, the person is probably hypersexual.


I like to compare it to your sense of smell. Something that's always there, but usually unnoticed or backgrounded. But occasionally something that motivates you to action, or makes you frustrated if there's something delicious that you can't have. Like smell, though, even if you can't have the delectable thing, that's still a pleasant sensation, despite the frustration (up to a point, anyway ;))


A lot of the time, for me, the physical response is very mild or nonexistent. When it does happen, it's sort of a warm pleasant feeling downstairs, or a slight tingle. And I don't necessarily mean all the way downstairs, though that does happen


Attraction? For me, 100% mental. Often followed, sometimes in very short order, sometimes not at all, by a physiological response, ranging from mild butterflies to intense arousal.


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#6 GirlDreamer

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:31 PM

Well, I certainly don't know what sexual attraction is like, I'm just posting what others have told me. And I don't doubt that people experience sexual attraction in different ways ;)
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#7 SFX

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:34 PM

Is sexual attraction mental or physical?

I definitely don't think it's purely physical. Maybe a combination of the two.

Or a better question - can you have sexual arousal without sexual attraction? And I don't mean something like morning wood either, I mean arousal that's related to at least something romantic/aesthetic. Actually, that's pretty much the question - does such a thing exist?

There's no consensus regarding this on AVEN. I'm leaning towards 'yes', but can also accept 'no', if - as P is for... touched upon it - the whole definition of asexuality is reworked.

#8 Ignatz

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

I could be wrong, but I'd imagine most sexuals would consider getting aroused while kissing your bf to be sexual attraction. Personally, I don't think that necessarily gets at the heart of what asexuality is, but that's a conversation for another day and why I don't like the "sexual attraction" definition.


Skullery, that's why i have a problem with the 'does not experience sexual attraction' definition too (as i've said elsewhere). i do experience arousal when kissing-- but only as long as it remains only kissing. kissing, to me, is what i understand sex is like for many other people; for me, it is the be-all and end-all, an end in and of itself. any arousal i experience during it is as far as it goes. once it progresses beyond that, once it gets into the territory of partnered sexual activity, i lose all interest and want nothing whatsoever to do with it.

now, that raises a question: is that actually asexuality, or simply another kind of sexuality? i don't know. i'm either brave enough or indifferent enough to say that it might be. but if it is, it's one i have no word for, and i don't know if there's a word that exists for it. 'autoerotic asexuality' works as well as anything else for me, and i do feel i'm caught somewhere between being sexual and being asexual, in that i understand what both groups are talking about when they discuss these things.

but that's my whole point, really. all of this is so much more complicated, more nuanced, than i believe anyone has given it credit for, and it simply doesn't make a lot of sense to me to say, 'if you fall within this narrow definition, you're asexual; if you don't, you're not. because this may not be perfect, but it's the best we have.'

maybe it's because i'm coming from a transgender perspective, i don't know. it's absolutely impossible for anyone to tell another person whether they're trans*; all you can do is to give them all the information about all the different possible ways that one can be trans*, and let them make up their own minds after a lot of soul-searching. if it's a label that cries out to you, it's probably because there's something there that corresponds with your own experience, and who am i to say that's not OK, not appropriate, not acceptable?

it's the same thing with asexuality. AVEN has invested so much time and energy in saying, 'we can't tell you whether you're asexual. but this is what asexuality is; not this, or this, or this. we have one definition and one definition only. so while we can't tell you if you're asexual, if you don't fit this definition, you're probably not.' and i don't think that washes, to be frank. i think that a lot more people would be happier and more confident if they felt the label of asexual were open to them beyond the definition of 'does not experience sexual attraction'. in the two years i've been on AVEN, i've seen countless discussions where people have parsed the definition down to the nanoparticle. where people have put up signs and borders and fences keeping out people who might comfortably identify as asexual were it not for that pesky, limiting definition of 'does not experience sexual attraction'. and i've always felt disappointed by that, because my own experience, and the experience of other people i know and love, tells me it's so much more complicated than that reductionist definition. essentially, i would like to say, 'here are some common experiences of people who identify as asexual. it's not an exhaustive list; everybody is different. if you identify with these, or if they correspond in some way to your own personal experience, and if you find "asexual" to be a useful label to describe to your understanding of your orientation, you are welcome to it.'

seriously, i ask you. why is that so threatening? i've never understood.

(and can i just say? the fact that we're finally starting to have these conversations is beyond exciting to me. it really is.)
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#9 5_♦♣

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:15 PM

Or a better question - can you have sexual arousal without sexual attraction? And I don't mean something like morning wood either, I mean arousal that's related to at least something romantic/aesthetic. Actually, that's pretty much the question - does such a thing exist?



Yes. I get sexually aroused by watching sex scenes in movies. I'm not, however, sexually attracted to the characters. Also, what's morning wood?

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#10 Ignatz

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:19 PM

Also, what's morning wood?


the erections that people with penises get upon awakening. it's an autonomic physiological response, not connected to any particular stimulus.

#11 Nogitsune

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

I think the issue is that asexuality is supposed to be analogous to other orientations like heterosexuality or pansexuality, and those orientations tend to be defined in relation to sexual attraction, with the unspoken assumption that sexual attraction itself does not neat a clear definition since it's (supposedly) as simple as taking a good look at your sexual preferences and then going, "I see!"

Defining "sexual attraction" is definitely very hard for many people - maybe even impossible, and I like the idea of paying more attention to individual experiences than to the nebulous concept of "sexual attraction". On the other hand, I also think "sexual attraction" is not actually an obstacle here: exactly because it's such a vague term, the current definition of asexuality leaves room for all kinds of different experiences.

As far as I can tell, it's a lot like with romantic attraction: some aromantic people are loners, while other love to hang out with other people. Some aromantic people want to live their life together with one person they care about very much, while some wish to spend their life with several people they feel this way about, others with no one. Some aromantic people like hugging the people they love, and some get a warm fuzzy feeling when doing so. Some aromantic people think about a certain other person very often and want to always be there for them, other don't feel like this. So, in what way are they all different from romantic people? Well, they don't experience romantic attraction. What is romantic attraction? Well, something aromantic people don't experience while romantic people do.
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#12 Ignatz

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:43 PM

I think the issue is that asexuality is supposed to be analogous to other orientations like heterosexuality or pansexuality, and those orientations tend to be defined in relation to sexual attraction, with the unspoken assumption that sexual attraction itself does not neat a clear definition since it's (supposedly) as simple as taking a good look at your sexual preferences and then going, "I see!"

Defining "sexual attraction" is definitely very hard for many people - maybe even impossible, and I like the idea of paying more attention to individual experiences than to the nebulous concept of "sexual attraction". On the other hand, I also think "sexual attraction" is not actually an obstacle here: exactly because it's such a vague term, the current definition of asexuality leaves room for all kinds of different experiences.

As far as I can tell, it's a lot like with romantic attraction: some aromantic people are loners, while other love to hang out with other people. Some aromantic people want to live their life together with one person they care about very much, while some wish to spend their life with several people, others with no one. Some aromantic people like hugging, and some get a warm fuzzy feeling when doing so. Some aromantic people think about a certain other person very often and want to always be there for them, other don't feel like this. So, in what way are they all different from romantic people? Well, they don't experience romantic attraction. What is romantic attraction? Well, something aromantic people don't experience while romantic people do.


Nogitsune, having read your post a couple of times, i think we're on the same page; we're just articulating it differently, that's all.

the main point i want to make is that simply sticking to this arbitrary definition (and it is arbitrary; it's a definition that was agreed upon in the early days of AVEN, like many other things, and never changed because no one saw the need or came up with anything better) does a disservice to people who live in the margins, in the undefined and uncharted spaces in between. i'm not talking about Grey-As and demisexuals, mind you; they're their own thing, and have the right to their identities as well. i'm talking about all the people who come here talking about their highly individual experiences, who perhaps don't have the vocabulary to describe them adequately (mainly because there simply isn't one), and who get shot down because they thought they experienced what they define as sexual attraction at one point, or because their experience is a result of biological changes or side effects of long-term medication, or some other, unusual circumstance. (the question of whether asexuality as an orientation is innate and organic or brought on by artificial circumstances seems to me to be an entirely moot point, and yet i've seen people's identities challenged here on that count more times than i care to remember.) the whole thing is so much more complicated and difficult than simply saying 'does not experience sexual attraction'. as far as i can tell, your solution is to retain the current definition and add caveats; mine is to reimagine the definition completely. they're both worthy goals, in my opinion. but i don't think it's a tenable position to go forward without giving careful consideration to what the current definition actually means, and more importantly, what it implies.

#13 Lady Heartilly

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:39 PM

I also pretty much always get aroused when kissing boyfriends, but it never leads to wanting sex, and half the time, I don't even notice it. I think it's just a natural physiological response to intense skin-to-skin contact and has nothing to do with sexual attraction, personally.
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#14 Sally

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:51 PM

I haven't read anything that others have said (quite lazy today) but yes, to me, it does have a sexual component. Sexual attraction to others means that you feel -- physically and mentally -- that that particular person would be a good candidate to have sex with. You may not immediately carry that out, but it is a sort of physical magnetism to that person which brings up the possibility of sexual action. That's what my partner and others have told me. That's why it's called "sexual" attraction. -_-

I feel attraction to others but not sexual attraction -- I just think I'd like to know them/talk with them/look at them/be around them. Sex as an act is not even remotely a part of that attraction.

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#15 Skullery Maid

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:16 AM

the main point i want to make is that simply sticking to this arbitrary definition (and it is arbitrary; it's a definition that was agreed upon in the early days of AVEN, like many other things, and never changed because no one saw the need or came up with anything better) does a disservice to people who live in the margins, in the undefined and uncharted spaces in between. i'm not talking about Grey-As and demisexuals, mind you; they're their own thing, and have the right to their identities as well. i'm talking about all the people who come here talking about their highly individual experiences, who perhaps don't have the vocabulary to describe them adequately (mainly because there simply isn't one), and who get shot down because they thought they experienced what they define as sexual attraction at one point.


I feel like this sexual attraction thing goes round and round in circles. Most people on AVEN have experienced sexual attraction if we define sexual attraction the way the rest of the world does. I don't think that means most people on AVEN aren't asexual... rather, I think it means sexual attraction is a dumb litmus test for asexuality.

Have you looked at someone and felt tingly downstairs? Get aroused during kissing? Get aroused while watching porn? Get butterflies in your stomach when you're near someone? Think about someone day and night and want to be close to them? That's sexual attraction.

I would love to see an uprising on AVEN of all the asexuals who come together and say "hey, we all experience sexual attraction but we all still feel like we're asexual, let's get rid of that stupid definition".

The response I keep hearing, like what Nogitsune said, is "but we HAVE to define it as sexual attraction, or else it's not a legitimate sexual orientation!". SAYS WHO??

Says the teenagers who started AVEN, that's who. Anyone think that maybe, just maybe, they're, you know, wrong about that?

I, for one, see no evidence that asexuality can't be considered a sexual orientation unless they use the term "sexual attraction". And don't throw me the ol' "well all the other orientations are defined by attraction"... so the fuck what? What does that prove, exactly, except that until now there was no reason to consider different criteria?

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#16 Sally

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:23 AM

Have you looked at someone and felt tingly downstairs? Get aroused during kissing? Get aroused while watching porn? Get butterflies in your stomach when you're near someone? Think about someone day and night and want to be close to them? That's sexual attraction.

I would love to see an uprising on AVEN of all the asexuals who come together and say "hey, we all experience sexual attraction but we all still feel like we're asexual, let's get rid of that stupid definition".


I wouldn't be part of that uprising because I've never experienced those feelings. None of them, ever. That's why I call myself asexual. I don't see anything stupid about that definition for people like me.

And it kind of ticks me off that anyone would think that I--or anyone else like me--either don't exist or are somehow either lying to ourselves or someone else about our feelings.
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#17 Nogitsune

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:33 AM

The response I keep hearing, like what Nogitsune said, is "but we HAVE to define it as sexual attraction, or else it's not a legitimate sexual orientation!". SAYS WHO??


Uh, actually, that's not what I said, though I really don't know what to reply that would be new, except maybe that I'm not sure there's a way sexual attraction is defined by "the rest of the world" that would cause huge problems for the current definition of asexuality. If you can suggest an alternate definition that does not lead to people who currently identify as asexual ending up fitting the definition of no sexual orientation at all, I'm ears, but even then, most pieces/projects concerned with raising awareness I've seen use the definition based on sexual attraction, and I wouldn't be surprised if a whole lot of people decided to keep using it. That could get really confusing.

I don't think I have a problem with replacing the "sexual attraction" thing on AVEN with examples of personal experiences, but going for a completely new definition would probably end in a mess. Or maybe that's just me being pessimistic - but I've yet to see an alternative that doesn't stike me as extremely problematic.

Also, I don't know what "teenagers" have to do with anything.

Edit: In addition to that, what Sally said. I've never experienced sexual attraction, and at least one thing that was described there (thinking about someone and wanting to be close) also fits the definition of many other kinds of attraction. As for being sexually attracted to porn... I really don't think many people use the term like that.
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#18 Skullery Maid

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:38 AM

I don't think a lot of asexuals use the term like that. I think everyone else does.

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#19 Nogitsune

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:48 AM

I don't think a lot of asexuals use the term like that. I think everyone else does.


Really? I don't think I've ever heard anyone say, "I'm sexually attracted to porn" - or romance novels, or specific situations, or BDSM. I usually only see the term used in relation to (specific) people. There even seem to be quite a few people who get turned on by porn that only involves people they would not say they are sexually attracted to, like heterosexuals who enjoy Yaoi or m/m sex in general (edit: mostly talking about heterosexual men here, as it could be suggested that the women are attracted only by the people, not the idea of being a guy sleeping with a guy). If "sexual attraction" is a BS definition for asexuality, I'd say it's a BS definition for any sexual orientation at all.
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#20 Skullery Maid

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:55 AM


I don't think a lot of asexuals use the term like that. I think everyone else does.


Really? I don't think I've ever heard anyone say, "I'm sexually attracted to porn" - or romance novels, or specific situations, or BDSM. I usually only see the term used in relation to (specific) people. There even seem to be quite a few people who get turned on by porn that only involves people they would not say they are sexually attracted to, like heterosexuals who enjoy Yaoi or m/m sex in general. If "sexual attraction" is a BS definition for asexuality, I'd say it's also a BS definition for any sexual orientation at all.


There's that focus on sexual orientation again. I don't think they all have to match. I really don't care how "homosexuality" is defined and I don't see how that should have such a stranglehold over how asexuality is defined.

As for being a BS definition... not once when I was coming out did anyone say "do you feel sexual attraction toward women" and then start parsing down what sexual attraction is. It's a pretty simple "wanna get sexy with ladies" question. Asexuality, I would argue, is the only orientation who focuses on sexual attraction.

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#21 CBC.Radio.Girl

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:58 AM

Think about someone day and night and want to be close to them? That's sexual attraction.

I really don't want to get into this discussion... goodness knows, I don't... but I can't keep quiet about that one in particular. I've heard so many asexuals talk about having those sort of feelings for someone, people who are otherwise about as asexy as you could get (without also being aromantic), that I find it incredibly hard to believe that feeling such things would definitely be classed as sexual attraction. In some people it would undoubtedly go hand-in-hand with feeling sexually attracted to someone, but I'd say there's no way that it has to be a part of such a feeling.
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#22 Mordsith

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:00 AM

What if the definition was switched from sexual attraction to sexual desire? To me, sexual desire is easier to define and is still not a choice. If we're equating it with food/smell, then attraction = smelling fresh baked bread and desire = your mind saying yeah, go eat some. You can't control the desire to eat bread, but you do control whether or not you do.

For me, I can barely ever resist fresh bread. It smells so good all the time and I always want to eat it. It often takes a conscious effort to not go in and buy fresh bread. Unless I'm really full. So I don't always act on my desire, cause I have some form of self-control ;)

On the other hand, I think coffee smells great, but I never have the impulse to go drink some. I don't like drinking it - it's bitter and gross. But it does really smell good.

So we could say that someone who is asexual is someone who doesn't feel sexual desire. They may also not feel sexual attraction, but even if they do and don't ever feel like having sex, they still fall into the 'definition' of asexuality.

For me, that would work perfectly and so I shall use that definition if no one minds :P So do you see any inherent flaws in the 'desire' definition? Do you think desire IS a choice?
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#23 ApparentlyNotAsexual

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:02 AM

The problem I have with Skullery's definition of whether someone has felt sexual attraction is because most of those feelings might have other causes. I can get aroused by kissing my boyfriend, but it only happens if I know that kissing will progress to sex and so I start trying to prep my body for sex.

And with the whole 'think about them night and day, want to be close to them'... what? Since when is that sexual attraction? I'm sure people might be in a relationship with someone, want to be close and thinks about them all the time without being sexually attracted to them- even if they are sexual. I would consider it a form of attraction, but I can't say that it would have to be SEXUAL attraction.

I'd get butterflies in my stomach standing next to a serial killer or rapist, but it has nothing to do with being sexually attracted to them. I get butterflies standing next to someone I'm about to preform a scene in a play with (I don't want to mess up, or have them mess up and mess me up). I'm sure that it might feel like different sorts of butterflies if you are sexually attracted to them, but I don't know what those butterflies feel like... but it just goes to show that different feelings that might feel somewhat similar can be caused by several different situations and states of mind.

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#24 Nogitsune

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:06 AM

There's that focus on sexual orientation again. I don't think they all have to match. I really don't care how "homosexuality" is defined and I don't see how that should have such a stranglehold over how asexuality is defined.

As for being a BS definition... not once when I was coming out did anyone say "do you feel sexual attraction toward women" and then start parsing down what sexual attraction is. It's a pretty simple "wanna get sexy with ladies" question. Asexuality, I would argue, is the only orientation who focuses on sexual attraction.


I don't think all sexual orientations have to "match" just for the sake of looking pretty - I just can't think of an alternate definition that makes more sense than the one we have. As for the focus on sexual attraction, from what I can tell, it's really not just asexuality that does this, though most people seem to just take sexual attraction to mean wanting to be romantically involved and/or have sex with someone.
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#25 Mordsith

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:17 AM

And it kind of ticks me off that anyone would think that I--or anyone else like me--either don't exist or are somehow either lying to ourselves or someone else about our feelings.

I don't think anyone here has said anything of the sort. What I hear is a wish to expand the definition, not remove it entirely. Obviously people like yourself who don't experience sexual attraction fit the asexual banner perfectly. It's those like me who aren't quite sure if what they're experiencing would be considered sexual attraction, but are in every other way asexual, who don't quite fit the current definition :)

As for being a BS definition... not once when I was coming out did anyone say "do you feel sexual attraction toward women" and then start parsing down what sexual attraction is. It's a pretty simple "wanna get sexy with ladies" question. Asexuality, I would argue, is the only orientation who focuses on sexual attraction.


That's the thing. "I wanna get sexy with ____" Doesn't make sense to a lot of people. So should everyone who puts a NO ONE in that blank be considered asexual? Should that be the 'litmus test'? Not necessarily, because the forums here have established that people who identify as asexual might want to get sexy with a specific person to make that person happy, etc. There're numerous reasons for having sex. To me, when a sexual person says I want to have sex with A, they usually (note the usually) mean a different thing than when an asexual person says it. It's this that can cause misunderstandings etc and why asexuality harps on the whole "We don't experience sexual attraction" Cause it means something totally different than not wanting to.
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#26 CBC.Radio.Girl

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:20 AM

I'd get butterflies in my stomach standing next to a serial killer or rapist, but it has nothing to do with being sexually attracted to them. I get butterflies standing next to someone I'm about to preform a scene in a play with (I don't want to mess up, or have them mess up and mess me up). I'm sure that it might feel like different sorts of butterflies if you are sexually attracted to them, but I don't know what those butterflies feel like... but it just goes to show that different feelings that might feel somewhat similar can be caused by several different situations and states of mind.

I've even felt butterflies in situations that I know aren't sexual, but are an otherwise strong sort of pull to someone. I've felt them for someone I'm related to, I've felt them for someone I view as a role model... I could even actually give you a short list of people from AVEN who, were I to meet them in real life, would evoke similar feelings. None of whom I'm sexually attracted to, that's for sure. Being grey-a, even if I'm not really too sure I experience any strong sexual attraction to anyone at all as it is, I can tell you there's a huuuuuge difference between those "butterflies" mentioned above and the ones I've felt for romantic interests, and then again between the "romantic butterflies" and those I've felt in a sexual situation (which to me are more sort of part of the arousal process and not actually sexual attraction... but I'll refrain from getting into that discussion again right now).
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#27 Moggie

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:41 AM



I don't think a lot of asexuals use the term like that. I think everyone else does.


Really? I don't think I've ever heard anyone say, "I'm sexually attracted to porn" - or romance novels, or specific situations, or BDSM. I usually only see the term used in relation to (specific) people. There even seem to be quite a few people who get turned on by porn that only involves people they would not say they are sexually attracted to, like heterosexuals who enjoy Yaoi or m/m sex in general. If "sexual attraction" is a BS definition for asexuality, I'd say it's also a BS definition for any sexual orientation at all.


There's that focus on sexual orientation again. I don't think they all have to match. I really don't care how "homosexuality" is defined and I don't see how that should have such a stranglehold over how asexuality is defined.


As for being a BS definition... not once when I was coming out did anyone say "do you feel sexual attraction toward women" and then start parsing down what sexual attraction is. It's a pretty simple "wanna get sexy with ladies" question. Asexuality, I would argue, is the only orientation who focuses on sexual attraction.


This is what I thought asexuality meant when i first read the AVENwiki, but before I read the "doesn't experience sexual attraction" definition of asexuality: "wanna get sexy with no one" (couldn't put it into succinct words until i read SkulleryMaid's post above so thank you SkulleryMaid)...so my question is is this an acurate definition of asexuality?

If not, does anyone know what is "wanna get sexy with no one" ? Cause that is what I think I am (sexuality wise ;) )

Thanks!

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#28 Em_BR_Ace

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:44 AM

TMI! Lots of it!

For me, sexual attraction means a need to have sex, Sex is a very specific thing (sometimes). For me, arousal, kissing, holding hands, hugs, erections, masturbation, etc. aren't sex, therefore, I can have those and still be asexual.

Real life ex.: Today I spent the entire day thinking about someone - waking up together, holding hands, hugs and kisses, lunching, etc. Something down there sent some signs in between the toughts - it doesn't mean I would have sex with that special one if he was around. I fell the need of intimacy, but sex is unnecessary. Worst case scenario, I could handle 15 minutes of sex in exchange of a day of intimacy.

In other words: I could have sex with him if he really, really wanted, but it would take a lot of theatrical skills/acting/negotiating, since really it's not my thing. It would be a mechanical act, just to please him, like, I don't know, sanding his wooden deck to make him happy.

If someday we get along in a relationship, sex will be present only as a necessary evil, but only if really, really necessary.

Some people like the idea of sex, but not the sex act (saw that somewhere, maybe on a brazilian website). They're still asexuals.

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#29 CBC.Radio.Girl

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:45 AM

...so my question is is this an acurate definition of asexuality?

Apparently no one really knows what asexuality is anymore, Moggie. :mellow:
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#30 Sally

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:48 AM

What if the definition was switched from sexual attraction to sexual desire?


I don't think that would work. Then you get into the "I get turned on by pornography and that's sexual desire but I don't want to have sex with other people" thing.

I just don't see what's so difficult about knowing whether you want to--physically want to, as in physical feelings in your male/female bits--get sexually close with another person. Not hugging, not kissing, but sex. But maybe that's because I'm looking back on a whole life of not feeling that way, so I can be pretty damned sure that I didn't. Someone who's 15, or 20, or 25, or 30 might not be able to be that sure.

Added: just looked at this thread title again, and it just struck me funny. Of course "sexual attraction" is always about sex! What else would it be about? :rolleyes:

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