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Pramana

Asexual Spectrum/Umbrella References

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Pramana

In light of a number of discussions on this topic, I thought it would be interesting to make a compilation of references that I’ve been able to find concerning asexuality as spectrum, as an umbrella term, and as a heterogeneous group. My findings suggest that disagreements on this topic often have more to do with semantics. Basically, there seems to be a move in psychology towards modelling sexuality along spectrums, and then using a term like “asexual spectrum” or “asexual umbrella” to refer to both a total lack of sexual attraction, and to other phenomena which are relatively close to that point on the scale. There are also researchers who define asexuality as a meta-construct comparable to sexuality, and then use the term “asexuality” to refer to everything within that meta-construct, and some who favour this type of approach prefer to speak of “asexualities” in the plural.

 

For what it’s worth, I’m of the view that it’s more important to accurately describe the substance of a phenomenon like autochorissexuality than it is to determine whether it is asexual or gray-asexual or gray-sexual. In terms of choices between gray-asexual and gray-sexual, I find that gray-asexual is more useful to indicate that one is uninterested in real life sexual activities (despite experiencing some degree of sexual attraction/desire) whereas gray-sexual is more likely to suggest some small degree of real life sexual interest.

Here are some representative quotes that I’ve been able to find to date. The most significant disagreement between researchers surrounds the push by feminist social constructivist scholars to have a lack of sexual desire model included as another type of asexuality, alongside the lack of attraction model that is favoured in mainstream psychology.

“In terms of sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior, there is a range of experiences that might transpire within individuals on the asexual spectrum. Among the asexual community, there is recognition that some asexual individuals do experience sexual attraction in some circumstances, or with particular individuals, and these individuals might identify as “gray asexual” (or “gray-A”: a person who may only rarely experience sexual attraction) or demi-sexual (a person who experiences sexual attraction only when they form a strong emotional connection with someone) [12].”

(Ellen Van Houdenhove, Paul Enzlin, Luk Gijs, A Positive Approach Toward Asexuality: Some First Steps, But Still a Long Way to Go, Archives of Sexual Behavior, April 2017, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 647–651)

 

“In line with this idea, it would be interesting to focus on different pathways that lead to asexuality. Indeed, the fact that there seem to be several subgroups of asexual people suggests that there is not one developmental path to asexuality. For some, their lack of sexual attraction may be something that has always been present, while others may have experienced sexual attraction at some point in their life, but no longer do. Thus, future asexuality research should focus on understanding different developmental pathways that lead to a lack of sexual attraction toward others, as we hope this could help us unravel the core characteristics of asexuality.”

 

(Morag A. Yule, Lori A. Brotto, Boris B. Gorzalka, Human Asexuality: What Do We Know About a Lack of Sexual Attraction?, Current Sexual Health Reports, March 2017, Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 50–56)

“Other articles in this special issue consider some of the dimensions of sexual orientation such as sex/gender of the preferred target, as well as age of the preferred target. Might asexuality represent another dimension on which orientation is based, such that subjective falls at one end (e.g., the individual with a sense of identity as a sexual agent) and non-subjective falls at the other end (e.g., the autochorissexual who experiences a complete identity-less sexuality). Within such a spectrum, this would account for the experiences of Gray As, who experience sexual attraction some of the time, and for demisexuals, who experience sexual attraction only after developing a strong romantic attraction towards a particular individual. Studying asexuality as a subjective/non-subjective dimension or orientation might guide future research questions that will ultimately lead to greater understanding of asexual subtypes.”

 

(Morag A. Yule, Lori A. Brotto,  Asexuality: Sexual Orientation, Paraphilia, Sexual Dysfunction, or None of the Above?, Archives of Sexual Behavior, April 2017, Volume 46, Issue 3, pages 619-627)

 

“Demisexual is often proposed within the community as an orientation halfway between asexual and sexual. Even though the validity of this term has not been studied, its existence and use in the community clearly supports a dimensional view on asexuality, allowing individuals to vary in the degree to which they are asexual.”

(Ellen Van Houdenhove, Luk Gijs, Guy T’Sjoen, Paul Enzlin, Asexuality: A Multidimensional Approach, Journal of Sex Research, 52(6), 2015, pages 669–678)

“Finally, congruent with Chasin (2011), and as discussed earlier, we argue for a dimensional approach to asexuality in which ‘‘asexual’’ is an alternative to ‘‘sexual,’’ rather than an alternative to heterosexual, homosexual/lesbian, or bisexual. According to Poston and Baumle (2010), this means taking a social-constructionist perspective on asexuality, in that it argues against binary categories (‘‘all or nothing’’) and instead recommends a continuum with varying degrees of asexuality. An alternative view could be, however, a conceptualization of asexuality as a psychological trait (e.g., McCrae & Costa, 2008). While lack or absence of sexual attraction is crucial for asexuality, it could be argued that the asexual population shows as much variation as the sexual population does and that asexual individuals can thus vary in the extent to which they do (not) experience sexual attraction, the extent to which they do (not) experience romantic attraction, the way they self-identify, and the extent to which they engage in sexual behaviors.”

 

(Ellen Van Houdenhove, Luk Gijs, Guy T’Sjoen, Paul Enzlin, Asexuality: A Multidimensional Approach, Journal of Sex Research, 52(6), 2015, pages 669–678)

“Additionally, while the relevant sub-samples of a “representative sample” of asexual people would share a common thread (i.e., they are all sub-samples of asexual people), it is plausible that different common threads could tie together different groups of asexual sub-samples. Namely, it is possible that one set of asexual sub-samples would share one asexual commonality, which would, in turn, be different from the asexual commonality shared by a different set of sub-samples. For example, it could be the case that one sexual/asexual comparison would require a sample of asexual people tied together with a desire-related thread of asexuality, while another sexual/asexual comparison would demand a sample of people linked by an attraction-related thread of asexuality. This would certainly be so if asexuality proves to be a multifaceted phenomenon described by several relating constructs, for example, pertaining to the presence, degree, and quality of attractions and desires, instead of described by a monolithic essence. After all, sexuality is often defined as a meta-construct encompassing constructs of attractions, desires, fantasies, behaviors, and self-identity even though these may not be related in the same ways for all people (Chivers & Bailey, 2007).”

 

(CJ DeLuzio Chasin, Theoretical Issues in the Study of Asexuality, Archives of Sexual Behavior, August 2011, Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 713-723)

“Using a definition that centers on a lack of sexual attraction would not necessarily mean asexual people lack sexual desire. Sexual desire refers to an urge for sexual stimulation (including potentially an orgasm) and may include both partnered and nonpartnered stimulation (e.g., masturbation). It is notable, however, that one alternative but related definition of asexuality is in fact a lack of sexual desire. For example, Prause and Graham (2007) found evidence that many self-identified asexual people report very low (or absence of) sexual desire.”

(Anthony F. Bogaert, Asexuality: What It Is and Why It Matters, Journal of Sex Research,  May 2015, Volume 52, Issue 4, pages 362-379)

“The front page of the AVEN website (2009) defines an asexual as ‘someone who does not experience sexual attraction’ and due to the popularity of the AVEN website this definition has been highly influential. While many identify under this definition, it is also widely seen as an umbrella term and, as such, is not taken to be an exhaustive description of the attitudes and orientations prevalent amongst asexuals. The umbrella term acts as a common point of identification rather than constituting a shared identity per se. While it undoubtedly represents a commonality in the self-understanding of many asexuals, it also conceals a significant degree of heterogeneity as to the personal reasons that individuals have for defining as asexual.”

 

(Mark Carrigan, There’s More to Life than Sex? Difference and Commonality within the Asexual Community, Sexualities, August 2011, Volume 14, Issue 4, pages 462-478)

 

“Asexuality has thus far been studied as a binary category attached to a spectrum of sexual orientation: those who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex, same-sex, both, or neither – representing asexuality. This study, in contrast, separates the spectrum of gendered sexual orientation from a spectrum of the amount of sexual attraction people have, where asexuality is at one end of the spectrum and hyper-sexuality is at the other, see Figure 1.  An intermediate category of people, deemed gray-sexual, is compared to the asexual and sexual populations as another portion of this study’s spectrum. This population of gray-sexual people was larger than the asexual population and exhibited many demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral similarities to asexual people or had intermediary results between asexual and sexual people.”

(Caroline McClave, Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK, Columbia University, May 1, 2013)

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FaerieFate

I'm linking this in this thread somewhere because it's an interesting commentary piece.

 

Edit: I added it to this post. I thought it paired nice to have a thread with scholarly sources as well as a thread with community input when discussing this issue.

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Topi

@Pramana can you explain better what is the subjective and objective dimension of asexuality? 

 

Also, I've come to question what people mean by sexual desire is it just sex and genital stimulation? Or is it any activity that gets a person aroused with the target of attraction and desires to do that activity for sexual release, even if said activity isn't usually associated with sexual activities? 

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N13
5 hours ago, Pramana said:

“Asexuality has thus far been studied as a binary category attached to a spectrum of sexual orientation: those who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex, same-sex, both, or neither – representing asexuality. This study, in contrast, separates the spectrum of gendered sexual orientation from a spectrum of the amount of sexual attraction people have, where asexuality is at one end of the spectrum and hyper-sexuality is at the other, see Figure 1.  An intermediate category of people, deemed gray-sexual, is compared to the asexual and sexual populations as another portion of this study’s spectrum. This population of gray-sexual people was larger than the asexual population and exhibited many demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral similarities to asexual people or had intermediary results between asexual and sexual people.”

I post this to illustrate what is it talking about:

 

440px-Ace-logo4.svg.png

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Una Salus Victus

One annoying thing that I've found is that, as being a grey, that a handful of people here are more than happy to say that I'm sexual. The ironic thing is, that would make me the most unsexual sexual to the point where some asexuals would be more sexual than myself.

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N13
42 minutes ago, Una Salus Victus said:

One annoying thing that I've found is that, as being a grey, that a handful of people here are more than happy to say that I'm sexual. The ironic thing is, that would make me the most unsexual sexual to the point where some asexuals would be more sexual than myself.

Yeah I feel you. Go here and read the discussion i've been into, you'll see how people think they know better than you how you feel and which label you should have. They defend asexuality is a yes/no thing rather than an spectrum, no in-between: http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/158615-questions-about-autochrissexuality/

 

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swirl_of_blue

I think AVEN should have a definite stance on whether the spectrum of people who are asexual, grey ace, demi et cetera is called "asexual spectrum", "grey(a)sexual spectrum" or something else. The community is so divided on this that many threads simply devolve from the original topic into arguing this, which has made me (and probably also many others) avoid certain topics simply for the sake of my mental health. And if there already is an official stance on the spectrum it should be brought forward more, as honestly I find the current situation confusing.

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Laurann

On the topic of asexuality as a spectrum, I think people use the word asexual in two different ways. One is as a spectrum (the grey area + the black point in the triangle) and the other as a singular identity (the black point at the bottom of the triangle)

Spoiler
2 hours ago, N13 said:

 

 

440px-Ace-logo4.svg.png

 

I think this is similar to how people use the word gay. A bisexual person can say things like 'I'm soooo gay' even though they're technically bisexual, because they kind of are gay, but if someone specifically asks them what their sexual orientation is, I would expect them to say "I am bisexual" and not "I am gay." It would only be partially correct for a bisexual to say "I'm gay". That's not the whole story.

Similarly, a grey-sexual is sort of asexual, but if someone asks them what their orientation is "I am asexual" would not be an entirely accurate response. Of course you can still say you're asexual for simplicity's sake, but you are omitting some information (and of course it's your right to do so).

So it's complicated, and it depends on context. 'S all I'm saying.

 

7 hours ago, Pramana said:

“Other articles in this special issue consider some of the dimensions of sexual orientation such as sex/gender of the preferred target, as well as age of the preferred target. Might asexuality represent another dimension on which orientation is based, such that subjective falls at one end (e.g., the individual with a sense of identity as a sexual agent) and non-subjective falls at the other end (e.g., the autochorissexual who experiences a complete identity-less sexuality). Within such a spectrum, this would account for the experiences of Gray As, who experience sexual attraction some of the time, and for demisexuals, who experience sexual attraction only after developing a strong romantic attraction towards a particular individual.

I don't understand this bit. How is demi-sexual or grey-sexual in between autochorissexual and just plain ol' sexual? Demisexuality doesn't have anything to do with that scale, does it?

 

Also, isn't autochorissexuality a paraphilia, meaning that sexuals can also experience it (though they probably wouldn't experience it exclusively)? Why would autochorissexuality be a separate orientation/sexuality at all?

 

8 hours ago, Pramana said:

Sexual desire refers to an urge for sexual stimulation (including potentially an orgasm) and may include both partnered and nonpartnered stimulation (e.g., masturbation).

Well, on AVEN people tend to separate the urges for partnered stimulation and for non-partnered stimulation in two different words: libido and sex drive. That distinction is important when talking about asexuality, so I personally just think that sentence is sloppy.

 

Sexual desire refers to something else than both sex drive and libido on AVEN. AVENites tend to salami slice concepts apart like that, so I don't think it's fair for the authors of that article to just throw all of them onto a heap of 'same difference' concepts.

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Pramana
8 hours ago, JusTopi said:

@Pramana can you explain better what is the subjective and objective dimension of asexuality? 

 

4 hours ago, Laurann said:

I don't understand this bit. How is demi-sexual or grey-sexual in between autochorissexual and just plain ol' sexual? Demisexuality doesn't have anything to do with that scale, does it?

 

Also, isn't autochorissexuality a paraphilia, meaning that sexuals can also experience it (though they probably wouldn't experience it exclusively)? Why would autochorissexuality be a separate orientation/sexuality at all?

 

I gather that Bogaert originally identified autochorissexuality as people who only fantasize in the third person, so instead of having fantasies about themselves participating in sexual activities, they would only fantasize about other humans having sex. Hence, the fantasies are objective, as they lack the subjective component that would be provided by imagining oneself in the scenarios. And since this subjective component is missing, the fantasies don't serve as scripts for potential real life sexual encounters, so they don't produce desires to be sexually active in real life. In later papers, both Bogaert and Brotto have suggested that there may be a range from people who only have objective fantasies (autochorissexuals) to those who only have subjective fantasies. This produces another spectrum along which sexuality can be modelled, alongside the spectrum reflecting low to high degrees of attraction. And the zero points on each scale would each be a type of asexual, although I'm not sure how much they would actually have in common with each other.

I'm not entirely sure about Brotto and Yule's speculations that the autochorissexuality scale would explain gray-asexuality and demisexuality. I guess the idea is that they each have sexual desire/libido, but they only acquire subjective sexual attraction in certain instances. But I don't think we've heard enough about this idea to evaluate it.

 

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Laurann

@Pramana So their theory is that demi and grey aces fantasize in third person part of the time and in first person the rest of the time, while aces exclusively fantasize in third person and (allo)sexuals exclusively fantasize in first person? 

 

If so, that's an interesting theory. No idea if it's true. My guess is probably not.

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BionicPi
6 minutes ago, Pramana said:

I'm not entirely sure about Brotto and Yule's speculations that the autochorissexuality scale would explain gray-asexuality and demisexuality. I guess the idea is that they each have sexual desire/libido, but they only acquire subjective sexual attraction in certain instances. But I don't think we've heard enough about this idea to evaluate it.

So, theoretically, we could define sexuality along several vectors right? This is how I'm reading this and other discussions.

- Attraction (strength, conditionality, direction)

- Desire (partnered?)

- Fantasy (direction, subjective)

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Pramana
On 7/21/2017 at 4:20 AM, JusTopi said:

Also, I've come to question what people mean by sexual desire is it just sex and genital stimulation? Or is it any activity that gets a person aroused with the target of attraction and desires to do that activity for sexual release, even if said activity isn't usually associated with sexual activities? 

 

On 7/21/2017 at 7:50 AM, Laurann said:

Well, on AVEN people tend to separate the urges for partnered stimulation and for non-partnered stimulation in two different words: libido and sex drive. That distinction is important when talking about asexuality, so I personally just think that sentence is sloppy.

 

Sexual desire refers to something else than both sex drive and libido on AVEN. AVENites tend to salami slice concepts apart like that, so I don't think it's fair for the authors of that article to just throw all of them onto a heap of 'same difference' concepts.

So far, AVEN is the only place where I've encountered people who delineate between sexual desire and desire for partnered sex. Perhaps there is a tendency to make too many distinctions. Provided we accept that asexuals can have a libido, it will be hard to say that asexuals can't derive intrinsic goods from partnered sexual contact. I mean, if you're capable of becoming physically aroused by the touch of another person and receiving pleasurable sensations from that, then you can derive intrinsic goods from partnered sex. And sexual desire is a desire to affect states of physical sexual arousal, in a way that produces intrinsic goods.

Therefore, I think that once it became established that asexuals could have a libido, it became pretty hard to say logically that some of those libidoist asexuals couldn't desire partnered sex. It's not uncommon for sexual people to desire sex with those they're not attracted to. Therefore, there's no particular reason why some libidoist asexuals might not do the same.

For that definition of sexual desire: T. Bradley Richards, Sexual Desire and the Phenomenology of Attraction, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review/Revue Canadienne de Philosophie, 2015, Volume 54, Issue 2, pages 263–283.

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Laurann
3 minutes ago, Pramana said:

So far, AVEN is the only place where I've encountered people who delineate between sexual desire and desire for partnered sex. Perhaps there is a tendency to make too many distinctions. 

Well of course AVEN would be the first place you'd find that haha, duh!  I don't think there is such a thing as too many distinctions as long as they accurately describe different things people experience, and as long as they can be effectively communicated to others. I think the distinction between the urge to have solo-sex and the urge to have partnered sex meets those two criteria. I don't really care if academics haven't picked up these distinctions or if they ever will. They're useful so I'll use them.

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Pramana
14 minutes ago, Laurann said:

@Pramana So their theory is that demi and grey aces fantasize in third person part of the time and in first person the rest of the time, while aces exclusively fantasize in third person and (allo)sexuals exclusively fantasize in first person? 

 

If so, that's an interesting theory. No idea if it's true. My guess is probably not.

I'm not clear on that. I've been used to thinking that gray-asexuals would probably fantasize less on average, and that demisexuals wouldn't have fantasies unless and until they're in a suitable relationship, but I can see how autochorissexualtiy could be a factor for some gray-asexuals and demisexuals. I'm not sure how it would explain the whole spectrum, through. I hope that Brotto and Yule will elaborate on these speculations.
 

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Pramana
4 minutes ago, Laurann said:

Well of course AVEN would be the first place you'd find that haha, duh!  I don't think there is such a thing as too many distinctions as long as they accurately describe different things people experience, and as long as they can be effectively communicated to others. I think the distinction between the urge to have solo-sex and the urge to have partnered sex meets those two criteria. I don't really care if academics haven't picked up these distinctions or if they ever will. They're useful so I'll use them.

You're right; that isn't really surprising! I'm still sceptical about whether there's a distinct urge for partnered sex which is more directed than a sexual urge but less directed than an urge to be sexual with attractive people. There're the logical issues I discussed earlier, and then for what it's worth, my anecdotal experience has been that people typically talk about feeling horny, and they talk about finding people attractive, but not really anything in the middle.

It's also relevant to consider the literature on HSDD. Lori Brotto, whose other main specialty is female sexual disorders, places a great deal of emphasis on sexual attraction as the distinguishing element between asexuality and HSDD. In her view, a lack of desire for partnered sex wouldn't be sufficient to distinguish between an asexual person and a person with HSDD. While lack of distress has been put forward as a distinguisher, the problem there is that often the difference between whether or not someone is distressed by their lack of sexual desire hinges on whether or not they are in a sexual relationship.

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N13
On 7/21/2017 at 1:50 PM, Laurann said:

On the topic of asexuality as a spectrum, I think people use the word asexual in two different ways. One is as a spectrum (the grey area + the black point in the triangle) and the other as a singular identity (the black point at the bottom of the triangle)

Agreed

 

On 7/21/2017 at 1:50 PM, Laurann said:

Similarly, a grey-sexual is sort of asexual, but if someone asks them what their orientation is "I am asexual" would not be an entirely accurate response. Of course you can still say you're asexual for simplicity's sake, but you are omitting some information (and of course it's your right to do so).

Perfect

 

Well, what you said it's what i tried to explain.

You might be idk sapiosexual, which is in the asexual spectrum, but identify and define yourself as asexual in front of other people bc there's no need for them to know all your private life, too much info to explain them all your sexuality. Chose the label you feel more comfortable with.

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Puck
On 7/21/2017 at 3:32 AM, swirl_of_blue said:

I think AVEN should have a definite stance on whether the spectrum of people who are asexual, grey ace, demi et cetera is called "asexual spectrum", "grey(a)sexual spectrum" or something else. The community is so divided on this that many threads simply devolve from the original topic into arguing this, which has made me (and probably also many others) avoid certain topics simply for the sake of my mental health. And if there already is an official stance on the spectrum it should be brought forward more, as honestly I find the current situation confusing.

AVEN the site does, but the site doesn't step in to police these conversations is all.

 

If you look at the front page of the site, there are a lot of resources that make AVEN's stance clear. A good example is in the general FAQ where it defines the sexualities:

 

Quote

Asexual: Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

 

Demisexual: Someone who can only experience sexual attraction after an emotional bond has been formed. This bond does not have to be romantic in nature.

 

Gray-asexual (gray-a) or gray-sexual: Someone who identifies with the area between asexuality and sexuality, for example because they experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an intensity so low that it's ignorable. 

 

Attraction: In this context, it refers to a mental or emotional force that draws people together. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but some feel other types of attraction.

 

Aesthetic attraction: Attraction to someones appearance, without it being romantic or sexual.

 

Romantic attraction: Desire of being romantically involved with another person.

 

Sensual attraction: Desire to have physical non-sexual contact with someone else, like affectionate touching.

 

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

 

As you can see, it says an aseuxal person does not experience sexual attraction. Period.

 

Someone who considers them selfs gray-(a)sexual is someone who feels they experience it rarely. The term was made to cover what people have come to refer to as the "asexual spectrum." But asexual is one end of the spectrum, as AVEN says here (also in the general FAQ):

 

Quote

Asexuality and sexuality are not necessarily black and white. There is a spectrum of sexuality, with sexual and asexual as the endpoints and a gray area in-between. Many people identify in this gray area under the identity of "gray-asexual," or "gray-a." Examples of gray-asexuality include an individual who does not normally experience sexual attraction but does experience it sometimes; experiences sexual attraction but has a low sex drive; experiences sexual attraction and drive but not strongly enough to want to act on them; and/or can enjoy and desire sex but only under very limited and specific circumstances.

I highlighted the part where a spectrum is mentioned. Note that sexuality and asexuality are considered endpoints according to AVEN. Gray-(a)sexuals are in-between those endpoints.

 

Now, if a gray-(a)sexual wanted to say they are asexuals for simplicities sake, of course they can. Everyone gets to use the label they want to use. It would totally make sense, like someone who is from just outside of New York City saying they are from NYC because it's easier than saying their smaller suburb. But if pressed, they would probably need to say they aren't actually from NYC they are from [insert name of suburb]. With that same logic, someone who says they are ace but is actually gray would probably, at the end of the day, know they aren't ace but gray which is a totally wonderful, excellent thing to be that they should take pride and comfort in.

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Guest Deus Ex Infinity
On 21.7.2017 at 10:55 AM, Una Salus Victus said:

One annoying thing that I've found is that, as being a grey, that a handful of people here are more than happy to say that I'm sexual. The ironic thing is, that would make me the most unsexual sexual to the point where some asexuals would be more sexual than myself.

So true.

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Tofer
On 7/20/2017 at 8:24 PM, Pramana said:

...asexuality as spectrum, as an umbrella term, and as a heterogeneous group. My findings suggest that disagreements on this topic often have more to do with semantics.

 

On 7/20/2017 at 8:24 PM, Pramana said:

There are also researchers who define asexuality as a meta-construct comparable to sexuality, and then use the term “asexuality” to refer to everything within that meta-construct, and some who favour this type of approach prefer to speak of “asexualities” in the plural.

 

On 7/20/2017 at 8:24 PM, Pramana said:

An alternative view could be, however, a conceptualization of asexuality as a psychological trait (e.g., McCrae & Costa, 2008). While lack or absence of sexual attraction is crucial for asexuality, it could be argued that the asexual population shows as much variation as the sexual population does and that asexual individuals can thus vary in the extent to which they do (not) experience sexual attraction, the extent to which they do (not) experience romantic attraction, the way they self-identify, and the extent to which they engage in sexual behaviors.”

 

(Ellen Van Houdenhove, Luk Gijs, Guy T’Sjoen, Paul Enzlin, Asexuality: A Multidimensional Approach, Journal of Sex Research, 52(6), 2015, pages 669–678)

Thank you for the brief analysis and the compliation of quotes. I don't have a lot to add, but I wanted to do more than just click "like."

 

I agree with you that disagreements over such terms as "spectrum" and "umbrella" often have more to do with semantics than with substantive differences.

 

What seems to have a different status however (entailing a disagreement not mostly semantic) is the definition of "asexuality as a meta-construct comparable to sexuality." Let me know if you disagree ... your stance isn't clear from your post.

 

Also, do you equate the "meta-construct" view to the "psychological trait" view in one of your quotes? I'm not sure they're the same thing; I don't remember seeing a mention of "asexuality as a psychological trait" anywhere else. I'm intrigued by the idea. "Meta-construct" and "psychological trait" seem like two different ways to conceptualize asexuality as a social construct; perhaps not contradictory but complementary: the first as a sociological category, the second as a psychological category; or you could say, asexuality looked at from the "outside" and from the "inside."

 

Your thoughts?

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Pramana

@Tofer I think there is a real difference and disagreement between characterizing asexuality as a sexual orientation defined by a lack of sexual attraction and characterizing asexuality as a metaconstruct analogous to sexuality. There are people who would be diagnosed as having HSDD (experiencing sexual attraction but lacking sexual desire) by the former who would be considered asexual by the latter. The psychological trait view posits that asexuality may be the outcome of various combinations of personality factors, and there is research which suggests that for some people asexuality may be related to factors such as introversion and to conservative religious beliefs about sexuality. The psychological trait view is based on behaviourist psychology and still seems to equate asexuality with a lack of sexual attraction. However, you can see how it might be broader than a model that would prefer to equate asexuality with an intrinsic, biologically-fixed inability to experience sexual attraction, and how it could potentially place more emphasis on lack of sexual desire.

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JDP

I can't see what good accrues from knowing why someone doesn't want to f#ck.

 

That s/he doesn't is enough for me.

 

I also don't want some busybody, politically-motivated "scientist" trying to determine what "causes" my asexuality, either.

 

The sexuals like being studied. Go study THEM.

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Pramana
On 7/21/2017 at 0:50 PM, BionicPi said:

So, theoretically, we could define sexuality along several vectors right? This is how I'm reading this and other discussions.

- Attraction (strength, conditionality, direction)

- Desire (partnered?)

- Fantasy (direction, subjective)

That is my understanding of the directions of the current research. It's an interesting question to consider what, if any, extent the different spectrums are related to each other.

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Pramana
On 8/4/2017 at 7:03 PM, asexjoe said:

I can't see what good accrues from knowing why someone doesn't want to f#ck.

 

That s/he doesn't is enough for me.

 

I also don't want some busybody, politically-motivated "scientist" trying to determine what "causes" my asexuality, either.

 

The sexuals like being studied. Go study THEM.

Are you sure that you understand the situation? I'm asexual and I appreciate research on asexuality.

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JDP

I understand your motives, Pramana. I just don't share them.

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Pramana
3 minutes ago, asexjoe said:

I understand your motives, Pramana. I just don't share them.

I've been thinking that in my experience your views regarding asexuality and sexual orientations are unique in the proper sense of the term, as I've yet to encounter anyone else, either in the community or in the academic literature, who shares them.

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JDP

Yes, well, I've backed off from that. This is your tree-house, not mine.

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