snapesonalane

At what point is it okay to stop trying to define your sexuality?

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snapesonalane

I feel like I'm just nitpicking now. I was comfortable with the asexual label but I feel like I'm not 100% asexual according to the AVEN definition (experience no sexual attraction). At least, I think? Since I don't know what sexual attraction is supposed to feel like I sometimes think I may have felt it very mildly and just not recognized it as so. I tend to like the "no innate desire for partnered sex" definition of asexuality more because 1) no other sexuality is defined by the kind of sexual attraction you experience but by who you want to have sex with and 2) because under this definition I could comfortably say I am without a doubt asexual.

I've been considering the grey-ace label but it doesn't seem to fit, because of the aforementioned I-don't-know-what-sexual-attraction-should-feel-like deal. Is there a certain point where you kind of just have to accept that you're not going to find the perfect word for you and kind of have to settle for what fits best, like trying on off the rack clothes? Right now I'm thinking ace fits the best but I don't.know... am I? And of course I've looked at what sexual attraction feels like and by those comments I've probably never felt it. I only say probably because what if there was an instant where I did and I just don't remember? 

I will say I've never felt a desire for partnered sex. I've had fantasies of course but I've never felt a desire to actually act on those fantasies. 

Ugh, I wish I could just be at peace with not needing an exact label. 

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Homer

I think it's okay right away. "Labels" don't change a thing about who you are and what you feel, so I never understood their appeal to begin with.

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Claire1983

I'm in kind of the same place right now.  i'm like 99% I'm asexual and I'm comfortable enough to start telling people but I'm still unsure if I'm asexual or if I'm on the gray side. For now I just decided to go with the label ace while I sort out the details.  I feel like that gets the point across while giving me some wiggle room to keep exploring..

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Nowhere Girl

@snapesonalane and @Claire1983 - me too. I'm certainly no Unassailable Asexual - I'm libidoist, autochorissexual, physically unattractive; basically, I'm the kind of person which likely could be allosexual if not for my sex-aversion/nudity-aversion bundle. But I can say for sure that I don't want to have sex with anyone. I can even say more: I don't want to want to have sex with anyone. In a way, I need to track back my asexuality from this feeling - something like "...= I don't feel sexual desire, = I'm not sexually attracted to anyone". But I'm certainly sex-averse to the point that I'm simply not able to desire sex. I choose to label myself as just asexual. I believe it's correct because it's not like "I only feel sexual attraction? desire under very specific circumstances", I simply don't feel it at all. It also feels like a way of highlighting my sexual inavailability.

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member1246

Whenever you get fucking sick of doing so.

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fiѕh

1. I think the true "off the rack clothes" situation here is AVEN and that definition. No one ever agrees on a definition, but you gotta settle for something or everyone will just be confused. Many people on here go with the no innate desire etc thing. 2. It's called "spectrum" for a reason. If you're not 100% on the "absolutely asexual" end of it, but close enough to be alright with calling yourself asexual, just do it. 3. Wholeheartedly agree with CBC. 

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Nibiru

I personally try not to care too much about labels. On the one hand, they can help you a lot to understand yourself better. But on the other hand, they can also confuse you even more. So the spectrum idea, like @fiѕh points it out, appeals more to me.

39 minutes ago, fiѕh said:

 It's called "spectrum" for a reason. If you're not 100% on the "absolutely asexual" end of it, but close enough to be alright with calling yourself asexual, just do it.

 

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Tindriel

I have to agree with @CBC, @fish (sorry, can't tag you properly) and @Nibiru. I use the labels just to try to get a forst grasp to anyone about who am I, and then I continue to explain if they don't run away in fear. And not only about my (a)sexuality, but with everything else. I find them useful to have a starting point on any conversation, but they can't encompass truly what I am. How can they, if they are made to fit a lot of people inside and we're all different?

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Grimalkin

I think... you've got to figure out what you hope to get from constantly re-defining yourself.

 

Putting a name to my lack of attraction was a relief. I understand myself better now. Sometimes I call myself autochorissexual to define myself even further, but it's all words. Now that I have this knowledge, I get to apply it to my future. It will help me understand what I'm looking for in a relationship, if I look for a relationship at all, and how to explain to people what my deal is. That's all I need.

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snapesonalane
55 minutes ago, Grimalkin said:

I think... you've got to figure out what you hope to get from constantly re-defining yourself.

 

Putting a name to my lack of attraction was a relief. I understand myself better now. Sometimes I call myself autochorissexual to define myself even further, but it's all words. Now that I have this knowledge, I get to apply it to my future. It will help me understand what I'm looking for in a relationship, if I look for a relationship at all, and how to explain to people what my deal is. That's all I need.

I think I like your answer the best. It makes the most sense because while I sometimes think I might be gray-ace, at the end of the day I will probably never be "sexual" enough to want to have actual sex so asexual fits just fine. And at this point I don't even want to get anything out of it, it's just intrusive thoughts riddled with anxiety that I'm not asexual enough, something that I consider one of the defining ways in which I work out what I want in my relationships (platonic or queerplatonic). 

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E

Heyo, you're not even required to define anything to begin with. You can stop whenever you like. It's always been my opinion that if we look too deeply into some things, we create prisons for ourselves constantly trying to conform to the standards of a label. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and you realize something about yourself that classifies you as something else. Trapped in a self made prison trying to conform to your previous identity when one of those curve balls arrives will cause anguish to such an extent, well, the shorthand is you don't want that. Ballpark it doc. Land a pitch as close as you can to home base, but don't beat yourself up over it.

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Sally

You don't ever have to try to define yourself.  However you do it, you'll still be just you.  

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Sleighcaptain

Labelling yourself is like clothes shopping. Some buy the first top in the first shop they see, others try every top in every shop in town, before going back to the one they thought suited them the best 

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Alejandrogynous

Sexual attraction is a pitfall of a concept, since everyone defines it differently, how is anyone supposed to use that as a metric? I think we'd be a lot better off if we left the phrase 'sexual attraction' behind us.

 

On 6/7/2018 at 6:36 AM, snapesonalane said:

no other sexuality is defined by the kind of sexual attraction you experience but by who you want to have sex with

I think this is 100‰ correct, and is why I also use the "no innate desire for partnered sex" definition. And truthfully (not to derail this into a definitions debate), your uncertainty highlights exactly why the sexual attraction definition is such a problem. 

 

But to the heart of your question, when is it okay to stop searching for that perfect label... personally I say there's no such thing. Labels are tools to help you communicate, they're not meant to encompass your every nuance. If they did, it would mean every single person on the planet would have a different label and nobody would understand anyone, lol. I say you should use the label that feels the closest to how you feel, and if you need/want to expound on it, that's what the rest of language is for. :)

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Madao

Labels are meant to make us feel comfortable with what we are. I personally don't care about labels either. I know how you feel, because I am experiencing the same thing. Don't fret over it, there's lot more to life besides labels. 

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snapesonalane
7 hours ago, Madao said:

Labels are meant to make us feel comfortable with what we are. I personally don't care about labels either. I know how you feel, because I am experiencing the same thing. Don't fret over it, there's lot more to life besides labels. 

You're right. Labels should make us feel comfortable and for now I'm comfortable with aro/ace. And yeah, there is more us as people than the labels we give ourselves. 

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Azraelf

I'm pretty much in the same boat. When I first found the asexual label I clung to it like a lifeboat, but recently I'm looking back on past experiences and realizing I might have experienced sexual attraction? So, it feels hard to just drop the label that I've been championing and sort of wrapped into myself. But I think for both of us, labels are nice but they shouldn't be what define us. 

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snapesonalane
3 hours ago, Azraelf said:

When I first found the asexual label I clung to it like a lifeboat, but recently I'm looking back on past experiences and realizing I might have experienced sexual attraction? 

I know what you mean. I doubt myself mostly because I don't know what sexual attraction is supposed to feel like. So in my mind I'll think, "how can I know I haven't felt that if I don't even know what it's supposed to feel like?" But I've never wanted to have partnered sex so I'm just in a cycle of doubting myself even though there's "evidence" I'm ace. 

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Azraelf
On 6/14/2018 at 1:04 PM, snapesonalane said:

I know what you mean. I doubt myself mostly because I don't know what sexual attraction is supposed to feel like. So in my mind I'll think, "how can I know I haven't felt that if I don't even know what it's supposed to feel like?" But I've never wanted to have partnered sex so I'm just in a cycle of doubting myself even though there's "evidence" I'm ace. 

1

Yeah, exactly. It's so much harder to identify whether or not you've felt something than to whom that attraction is felt. I agree a thousand percent. I mean at the end of the day it's just a label. And if you're wrong, you're wrong. I think I am ace 100% under the doesn't want partnered sex label, but only like 95% under the no sexual attraction label. And it's frustrating because there's this sense of everyone knowing who they are and exactly what that means, while I feel like I know basically nothing about my identity. 

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snapesonalane
23 minutes ago, Azraelf said:

Yeah, exactly. It's so much harder to identify whether or not you've felt something than to whom that attraction is felt. I agree a thousand percent. I mean at the end of the day it's just a label. And if you're wrong, you're wrong. I think I am ace 100% under the doesn't want partnered sex label, but only like 95% under the no sexual attraction label. And it's frustrating because there's this sense of everyone knowing who they are and exactly what that means, while I feel like I know basically nothing about my identity. 

That underlined part oh how much I relate. I've also been looking into autochorisexual (even though it sounds like such a "snowflake" term, I'd rather have something to describe myself than worry about seeming like I want to be interesting) because it validates the moments when I experience arousal or attraction without invalidating my asexuality under the "no innate desire for partnered sex" label. I'm a little bitter by how narrow the "experiences no sexual attraction" label is because what even is sexual attraction? How can I distinguish it from arousal? Most people say you would know if you've felt it, but if you don't know how it should feel or fall into a subset of asexuality such as autochorisexual where you do experience arousal when thinking of other people then it becomes confusing and muddled. 

 

I actually think knowing more about all the subsets of asexuality has been a detriment to how I identify. Before I  Because, as you said, so many aces feel so sure about their identities but if you aren't sure and since AVEN is such a relatively new community we just don't have a lot of terms that validate those different experiences, even if they do fall under the ace spectrum. For example, I have sex fantasies, both first and third person. I get aroused by thinking of sex acts. Then I'll (sorry if it's TMI) masturbate to my fantasies and end up thinking, "what the fuck was that?" So then I'll ask here on AVEN if anyone has felt that and I'll get such an array of answers, a lot of them wanting to help but beginning with the dreaded words "I personally have never felt that but..." that it leaves me with feeling invalidated in my identity as ace because clearly I'm not ace the way other aces are ace, even though I've never wanted to have actual sex and could live the rest of my life without complaint if you told me I couldn't have partnered sex. 

 

So yeah, I guess when I made this thread I was trying to figure out how these seemingly contradicting sides of me fit together with my identity of ace in a community that seems to be so sure of what they are. 

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