thjb

Defining asexuality - a better definition?

  

395 members have voted

  1. 1. Please select your orientation;

    • asexual
      1109
    • grey-asexual
      170
    • demisexual
      65
    • heterosexual
      20
    • homosexual
      8
    • bisexual
      7
    • pansexual
      6
    • other
      24
    • rather not say
      15
  2. 2. Which of these would you prefer as a definition of asexuality/an asexual person?

    • a person who does not experience sexual attraction (current AVEN definition)
      679
    • a person who does not feel a desire for partnered sex (with emphasis on the "partnered")
      102
    • a person who does not feel a desire for partnered sex and/or little or no sexual attraction
      163
    • a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction and/or little or no desire for partnered sex (again an emphasis on the "partnered")
      342
    • another definition (please post below)
      27
    • a person who is not intrinsically attracted to any gender sexually
      111
  3. 3. do you think most non-asexuals understand you when you explain asexuality?

    • mostly
      153
    • to some extent
      509
    • not really
      416
    • not at all
      80
    • not sure
      266


Recommended Posts

Philip027
If someone has a desire for sex how could they be ok with never having sex again? To use the previously mentioned alcohol analogy. It would be like an alcoholic not being bothered if they could never have another drink. If they wouldn't be bothered by not drinking; they wouldn't be an alcoholic.

How would you classify someone who ordinarily never feels the need to drink, but when presented with the opportunity to do so (such as, idk, a party or something) they will repeatedly and consistently drink themselves to the point of being wasted?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran
If someone has a desire for sex how could they be ok with never having sex again? To use the previously mentioned alcohol analogy. It would be like an alcoholic not being bothered if they could never have another drink. If they wouldn't be bothered by not drinking; they wouldn't be an alcoholic.

How would you classify someone who ordinarily never feels the need to drink, but when presented with the opportunity to do so (such as, idk, a party or something) they will repeatedly and consistently drink themselves to the point of being wasted?

A binge social drinker?

As for the question in the quote, I have a desire for cuddling. But, it's not an emotional need. Therefore, I can choose to not act on that desire. Even though I desire it rather strongly at times. It doesn't destroy my life to not get it. Doesn't mean I don't still desire it. Same with anything ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus
If someone has a desire for sex how could they be ok with never having sex again? To use the previously mentioned alcohol analogy. It would be like an alcoholic not being bothered if they could never have another drink. If they wouldn't be bothered by not drinking; they wouldn't be an alcoholic.

How would you classify someone who ordinarily never feels the need to drink, but when presented with the opportunity to do so (such as, idk, a party or something) they will repeatedly and consistently drink themselves to the point of being wasted?

Depending on what exactly that "opportunity" is (is it more of an "involuntary trigger" for the binge drinking, or does the person seek out the opportunity. at the very least with knowing acceptance that they'll use it as a chance to binge?)... and transferred to what we're talking about here... I can equally see how it might either be demisexual (in the broader sense Geo suggested above), or how it might be sexual (because all sexuals aren't the same).

So, yeah, a classic "Mystic needs more input to compute, please insert data into port A" situation. :lol:

I can't see how one could call it ace, though.

Basically, much as I'm close to purple's argumentation in general... I think desire is not that overwhelming. I have no doubt that people can abstain from fulfilling a desire (e.g., sexuals being celibate/anstinent for life). A good bunch, though surely not everyone. can even do that and still be reasonably happy with their life. What you can't, though, is leave a desire unfulfilled and not clearly notice that you are lacking something you don't want to be lacking.... i.e., the celibate-for-life sexual will definitely sharply notice the lack of their sex life, and probably, "more sex" would be high on their "how would you imagine a perfect world" list of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
humantoafault
Basically, much as I'm close to purple's argumentation in general... I think desire is not that overwhelming. I have no doubt that people can abstain from fulfilling a desire (e.g., sexuals being celibate/anstinent for life). A good bunch, though surely not everyone. can even do that and still be reasonably happy with their life. What you can't, though, is leave a desire unfulfilled and not clearly notice that you are lacking something you don't want to be lacking.... i.e., the celibate-for-life sexual will definitely sharply notice the lack of their sex life, and probably, "more sex" would be high on their "how would you imagine a perfect world" list of things.

Maybe.

I'm not entirely sure where I fall in that regard. On one hand, I've always been interested in sex...well, since puberty and getting past the initial "that's kinda gross" reaction when things first clicked. Never directed it at other people, but lots of factors there, as innate desire doesn't necessarily mean automatically view others in a sexual light--and that my personal views on sex have always been pretty conservative. (Even if my social views have changed somewhat.)

On the other hand, right now...IDK, it's like I could go either way, y'know? I wouldn't say I feel like I'm lacking anything, I just think a sex life with a dedicated romantic partner one day would be nice. I do want that, I just don't feel strongly about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
purplemutant
If someone has a desire for sex how could they be ok with never having sex again? To use the previously mentioned alcohol analogy. It would be like an alcoholic not being bothered if they could never have another drink. If they wouldn't be bothered by not drinking; they wouldn't be an alcoholic.

How would you classify someone who ordinarily never feels the need to drink, but when presented with the opportunity to do so (such as, idk, a party or something) they will repeatedly and consistently drink themselves to the point of being wasted?

Basically, much as I'm close to purple's argumentation in general... I think desire is not that overwhelming. I have no doubt that people can abstain from fulfilling a desire (e.g., sexuals being celibate/anstinent for life). A good bunch, though surely not everyone. can even do that and still be reasonably happy with their life. What you can't, though, is leave a desire unfulfilled and not clearly notice that you are lacking something you don't want to be lacking.... i.e., the celibate-for-life sexual will definitely sharply notice the lack of their sex life, and probably, "more sex" would be high on their "how would you imagine a perfect world" list of things.

I guess I overstated the strength of sexual desire. My point is that if someone can't be 100% fine without sex, then they aren't an ace. How fine a person is without sex would depend on the person. So yea sexual person can be celibate for life and be ok. However they wouldn't be 100% ok without sex. I was simply looking for a simple way to illustrate asexuality VS sexuality.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The_Verse

I think it's fine the way it is, personally.

I do not experience sexual attraction, I have never seen anyone as "hot", even my partners. But I do enjoy partnered sex because it feels good and is a great emotional connection for me.

Another way I experience asexuality, is that I do not understand societies sexual views, sex in TV shows, "sexy" billboards. I do not relate when my friends say "He is so hot! Mmmm!" or when people say "I would!! ;)".

I do not relate to or understand any of these concepts.

I think the current definition works because a gay man could have (and enjoy) sex with a woman, but it doesn't make him heterosexual, just because it feels good. And I feel the same thing applies here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus

The point is that if he desires sex with a woman, he's not gay by any reasonable definition.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
humantoafault

I think the current definition works because a gay man could have (and enjoy) sex with a woman, but it doesn't make him heterosexual, just because it feels good. And I feel the same thing applies here.

I tend to agree, though if a gay man did enjoy (but not innately desire) sex with a woman he would probably consider himself bisexual by the largest understanding. Even if he wasn't technically so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus

I think the current definition works because a gay man could have (and enjoy) sex with a woman, but it doesn't make him heterosexual, just because it feels good. And I feel the same thing applies here.

I tend to agree, though if a gay man did enjoy (but not innately desire) sex with a woman he would probably consider himself bisexual by the largest understanding. Even if he wasn't technically so.

Wait, what? :huh:

If he enjoys, but not innately desires. sex with a woman, that says nothing about his orientation. (I actually find this argument pretty dangerous grounds, because this is erasure of sex-favorable - and even a lot of sex-indifferent - aces, effectively stating one can only be asexual if one doesn't enjoy sex. Pretty clearly wrong, to the best of my knowledge.)

If he innately desires sex with a woman, but doesn't enjoy it, then he's definitely not gay. Probably some form of repulsed bisexual... or maybe a misogynist, or a gynophobe (in the two latter cases, his orientation could could even be 100% straight!). But gay? No way. It doesn't make any sense calling himself that.

Or are you saying that he would probably mistake himself for bisexual? That the largest understanding is misguided if it goes by this logic? In that case, I'd agree with you.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
humantoafault

Or are you saying that he would probably mistake himself for bisexual? That the largest understanding is misguided if it goes by this logic? In that case, I'd agree with you.

This is what I meant. Erasure was not my intention. I apologize.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus

This is what I meant. Erasure was not my intention. I apologize.

No need, thanks for the clarification. :) Sorry if I came across as confrontational. :cake:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
purplemutant

Wait, what? :huh:

If he enjoys, but not innately desires. sex with a woman, that says nothing about his orientation. (I actually find this argument pretty dangerous grounds, because this is erasure of sex-favorable - and even a lot of sex-indifferent - aces, effectively stating one can only be asexual if one doesn't enjoy sex. Pretty clearly wrong, to the best of my knowledge.)

As a sex favorable ace I would say it's wrong to the best of my knowledge too. :P :cake:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kelseygurl

I like the definition which covers both attraction and desire for partnered sex because that leaves more room for interpretation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

I like the definition which covers both attraction and desire for partnered sex because that leaves more room for interpretation.

More "room for interpretation" leaves more room for confusion.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
everbreath

I've read through this whole thread and I didn't find a consensus on what "partnered sex" actually is.

I have kinks. Hardcore ones that have been a part of my life since I was old enough to remember. None of them involve actual sex (genital related anything) but the end goal is sexual release. Would they count as sexual activity?

One of them is that I have a desire to be nonsexually dominated. This is not something I could do on my own - I saw someone earlier in the thread mention things like self-bondage or self-flagellation, but it's really not the same at all. I could never achieve anything close to partnered play by myself.

So, I want a partner. Who this partner is is utterly irrelevant, as long as they're capable of playing the part. I mean, I guess I have a slight preference towards men because they tend to be more physically imposing (power dynamics like that are important for my kink) and my fantasies involving women are slightly different to compensate, but fundamentally my partner's gender or physical characteristics are not important.

I wouldn't say I have an innate desire for this kind of partnered activity, rather know it is pleasurable. I could not honestly say whether I would choose to self-pleasure in this way if I could somehow dominate myself, because it's a bit too weird and hypothetical a concept for me to think about. Could I go the rest of my life without it? Sure. I might be slightly unhappy about it because I find it emotionally fulfilling as well and sexual pleasure is great, but I've never experienced the need to go seek it out.

So is this asexuality?

What if someone had the same situation but did have a need or innate desire towards it? What if someone functioned exactly the same as a sexual, except the actual act of sex was replaced with something unrelated to genitals? Is sexual activity defined as anything involving genital contact, or is it any activity with sexual arousal/release as the goal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus

None of them involve actual sex (genital related anything) but the end goal is sexual release. Would they count as sexual activity?

Nope. They're definitely not sex, IMO, for the reason of "there are no genitals involved".

What if someone functioned exactly the same as a sexual, except the actual act of sex was replaced with something unrelated to genitals?

If genitalia play no part in their desire whatsoever, they're an asexual fetishist, IMO.

If we were to use the strict (and, of course, outdated) Freudian/Krafft-Ebingian definition of fetishism (where playing with the fetishized object completely replaces partnered genital sex as a form of arousal and release), I'd even call fetishism a subset of asexuality ("all fetishists are asexual, not all asexuals are fetishists").

Is sexual activity defined as anything involving genital contact, or is it any activity with sexual arousal/release as the goal?

IMO, both criteria are equally neccessary, neither is sufficient by itself. (Note that it's enough if one person's genitals are involved. Fellatio/cunnilungus are still sex, even if its a strictly one-sided thing with one clear giver and one clear recipient.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shockkkk

I disagree with the above. I think any type of activity involving another person in which sexual release is a primary goal of said activity counts as sex.

I have a couple kinks, but I have no desire to engage in them with another person. If I did, I wouldn't call myself asexual. Obviously, others disagree.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
everbreath

I disagree with the above. I think any type of activity involving another person in which sexual release is a primary goal of said activity counts as sex.

I have a couple kinks, but I have no desire to engage in them with another person. If I did, I wouldn't call myself asexual. Obviously, others disagree.

By your definition, would it matter if the kinky person had an "innate desire" to engage in them with a second party, or rather just chose to do so because of an inability to play them out by themself? From what I've gathered from this thread, there's a difference between an innate desire to have partnered sex and wanting to do so for external reasons, so in your opinion would having kinks that by their nature could not be preformed independently qualify? Like someone who sought out partnered sex as a form of libido release because they were somehow unable to masturbate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

Is sexual activity defined as anything involving genital contact, or is it any activity with sexual arousal/release as the goal?

IMO, both criteria are equally neccessary, neither is sufficient by itself. (Note that it's enough if one person's genitals are involved. Fellatio/cunnilungus are still sex, even if its a strictly one-sided thing with one clear giver and one clear recipient.)

I agree with this because there can be non-sexual genital contact such as pelvic and rectal exams (and other medical procedures) performed by a healthcare provider.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

Laci Green:

"What is asexuality by definition?"

David Jay:
"An asexual person is someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction. I don't feel an intrinsic desire to make sex a part of my relationships with other people. It's different than celibacy. Celibacy is a choice, so, people choose not to have sex. Asexual people aren't intrinsically drawn towards sex, but may or may not choose to have it."
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysticus Insanus

David Jay:

"An asexual person is someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction. I don't feel an intrinsic desire to make sex a part of my relationships with other people. It's different than celibacy. Celibacy is a choice, so, people choose not to have sex. Asexual people aren't intrinsically drawn towards sex, but may or may not choose to have it."

David Jay is a desirist.

Mind = blown. In a good way.

(I bet that somewhere, a certain person is having a furious apoplexy right now. :lol: :twisted: )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
demiandproud

's good to keep thinking about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mundane Mesh

I thought "sexual attraction" already was defined as "desire for partnered sex".

I think they pretty much mean the same thing in the end and both words can be misinterprented. "Doesn't desire partnered sex" could for example be interprented as not including asexuals that want sex for any reason. Sure, many might not know exactly what sexual attraction is, but I think the "Doesn't desire partnered sex"-definition could be considdered ambiguous because it uses words with loose definitions such as "desire" and "partnered sex". If we should change wording of the definition (which I don't see a need for) it should list the alternative definition as well as the original to avoid as much confusion as possible. In other words:

"An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction and/or doesn't experience a desire for partnered sex."

Or even (since the two definitions basically are the same thing):

"An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction AKA doesn't have a desire for partnered sex."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

"Doesn't desire partnered sex" could for example be interprented as not including asexuals that want sex for any reason.

Yeah, that's why it's "no innate desire for partnered sex" vs "no desire for partnered sex."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
booksoversex

Keep in mind that having a desire for, and enjoying are two different things. I have no desire for partnered sex, in the sense that I don't seek it out and don't understand why everyone's so desperate to have it. I can go without sex, definitely, it's not at all a craving. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy partnered sex, if and when I am in a situation where that could happen. For instance, if I am in a relationship and my partner iniaties sex, I would be fine with having it, and for the most part enjoy the physical sensation of it. But if my partner never iniated sex, that wouldn't be a problem. I am not DESIRING partnered sex, but I can like it.

I think this is also a reason why quite a few asexuals engage in casual sex. They like the sensation of sex, but they don't feel any sexual attraction/desire to have sex with a specific person, so they might aswell sleep with a stranger. The physical sensations are the same. Again, they don't seek it out, but if someone initiates sex with them or makes a move they might just think "hell, why not" as long as they know that stimuli will get them aroused and they can have sex, it just doesn't play a big part in their lives and they don't need to have it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
purplemutant

Something to point out. A person can lack an inatte desire for sex and still go out of their way to get sex. I can go for the rest of my life without sex. But I like sex. So I could go out of my way to get some just because I enjoy it. Of couerse getting sex entails enough BS that I typically don't bother. That's why I have only had sex twice in my life. Both were situations that presented them selves. There is a sex club in San Francisco I have been tempted to visit. But a sex club would only eliminate some of the BS. I would still need to find someone to have sex with and I am not sure if I would want to have sex with a total stranger. Of course I could always go to the club just to check it out. Trans people get in for free. So the only cost would be the public transit to get there. Anyway; enough veering off topic.

The basic point is that a person can go out of their way for sex because they enjoy it; even though they don't have an inherent desire for it. Just like a non alcoholic can go out of their way to visit a brew pub they like. I wonder if ace sex migh end up being higher quality sex. Givent he lack of desire, if we are going to put forth the effort to find a sex partner; we might go out of our way to find a good one. Where as someone else might go for the less that optimal partner because they need to satisfy their sexual urges. It reminds me of the saying: "Sex is like pizza. Even when it's bad it's still pretty good". On the other hand I might go with the less than optimal partner because I get such few opportunities. So I take what I can get. "Here's a chance. I might not get another chance for another 10-20 years. So I better take it" Of course that has more to do with being autistic than asexual. If legal prostitution were available in my state; I might go that rout. It's too bad I don't live in the Netherlands where the government pays for people with disabilities to visit prostitutes.

Ok I am done rambling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
purplemutant

David Jay:

"An asexual person is someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction. I don't feel an intrinsic desire to make sex a part of my relationships with other people. It's different than celibacy. Celibacy is a choice, so, people choose not to have sex. Asexual people aren't intrinsically drawn towards sex, but may or may not choose to have it."

David Jay is a desirist.

Mind = blown. In a good way.

(I bet that somewhere, a certain person is having a furious apoplexy right now. :lol: :twisted: )

I think I have some idea who that might be. But it's good to know that David Jay acknowledges that some aces choose to have sex.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

The basic point is that a person can go out of their way for sex because they enjoy it; even though they don't have an inherent desire for it.

It doesn't make sense to me that someone would go out of their way for partnered sex if they don't innately desire it. I think that an "innate desire for partnered sex" means the drive to seek out partnered sex.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
purplemutant

The basic point is that a person can go out of their way for sex because they enjoy it; even though they don't have an inherent desire for it.

It doesn't make sense to me that someone would go out of their way for partnered sex if they don't innately desire it. I think that an "innate desire for partnered sex" means the drive to seek out partnered sex.

A person can go out of their way for sex because they enjoy it. But enjoying sex isn't the same as craving sex. I might decide to go get a beer because a beer sounds nice right about now. However I don't feel like I need to have a beer. If for whatever reason I don't get a beer that will be fine. Same for sex. I look at inate desire as a craving/urge so strong that some people mistake it for a need. "God I haven't had any in two weeks; I need to get laid before I explode" (or whatever it is non aces feel). That's not the same as "I like sex; I think I will go see if I can find someone to have sex with.". In my case it's usually "I like sex. It would be nice if I had someone to have sex with. Finding sex partners is a pain in the ass. So I wont bother. Oh well. I can just stick with masturbation." It occured to me that I do experiance some minor frustration over not having someone to have sex with. The frustration is very minor and short lived. In the grand scheme of things I am just fine not having sex. If we had a scale with 100% ace on one side and 100% sexual on the other. I might be a notch above ace. Say 95% (or more) ace. Close enough that I asexual is more applicable than grey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frigid Pink

A person can go out of their way for sex because they enjoy it. But enjoying sex isn't the same as craving sex. I might decide to go get a beer because a beer sounds nice right about now. However I don't feel like I need to have a beer. If for whatever reason I don't get a beer that will be fine. Same for sex. I look at inate desire as a craving/urge so strong that some people mistake it for a need. "God I haven't had any in two weeks; I need to get laid before I explode" (or whatever it is non aces feel). That's not the same as "I like sex; I think I will go see if I can find someone to have sex with.". In my case it's usually "I like sex. It would be nice if I had someone to have sex with. Finding sex partners is a pain in the ass. So I wont bother. Oh well. I can just stick with masturbation." It occured to me that I do experiance some minor frustration over not having someone to have sex with. The frustration is very minor and short lived. In the grand scheme of things I am just fine not having sex. If we had a scale with 100% ace on one side and 100% sexual on the other. I might be a notch above ace. Say 95% (or more) ace. Close enough that I asexual is more applicable than grey.

"Sexual" people aren't all "God I haven't had any in two weeks; I need to get laid before I explode" and can actually be "I like sex; I think I will go see if I can find someone to have sex with" or "I like sex and it would be nice to have someone to have sex with but I'll settle for masturbation since I don't." I see it as more of a difference in preference in that a "sexual" person prefers partnered sex to masturbation and will often seek it out due to this.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now