AnDieWelt

What is a spectrum, asexuality or sexuality?

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AnDieWelt

I've learned that asexuals are those who does not experience sexual attraction, and so far i keep reading this most of the time, so i'd like to assume that if someone introduces himself as an asexual, it's as simple as that. No means no, or is "no" a spectrum as well?  
I tought sexuality was a spectrum where asexuality was just the black vertex in the picture, everyone is welcome but since we already have words to define the gray area I ask: is an honest behavior to introduce ourselves to other people (perhaps other aces) as asexuals when we are something quite different and most important relationally incompatible?

As an asexual I don't think so, and I'm seeing this happening more and more often both in good and bad faith, 

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Guest Talgo

I introduce myself as asexual. I have had sex & it wasn't for me. I would likely have sex again if I was dating a demi or something, but it wouldn't ever be important to me to have sex. So I wouldn't change how I introduce myself. 

 

Lots of sexuals have worked with asexuals to make relationships work, so I don't know how asexuals can't do the same with other asexuals. 

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Laurann

Haha I don't know how much you've been reading on here, but that's a pretty hotly debated topic, sooo buckle up :) 

 

 

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Pramana

Asexuality was an umbrella term from the start, since AVEN founders David Jay and Nat Titman used asexuality to refer to all of the following: 1. Complete absence of sexual attraction, 2. Low degree of sexual attraction insufficient to motivate sexual interaction, 3. Phases of asexuality alternating with phases of sexuality, 4. Insufficient sex drive to act on sexual attractions that one does experience. In doing so, they were following established academic models (Kinsey's and Storms's) that diagram sexual orientations along spectrums. More recently, a 2018 Chinese study found that a percentage of self-identified asexuals who also qualified as asexual on the Asexuality Identification Scale (AIS) still reported a low degree of sexual attraction on a Likert scale. Research employing the AIS has also found that nonlibidoist asexuals score higher than those asexuals who mastrubate and fantasize, also lending empirical support to the notion of asexuality as a continual category.

Therefore, people who claim that asexuality is not are spectrum are either:
1. Ignorant both of community history and of academic developments (both theoretical and empirical).
Or,
2. Intentionally misrepresenting the facts for a political agenda.

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AnDieWelt
30 minutes ago, Laurann said:

Haha I don't know how much you've been reading on here, but that's a pretty hotly debated topic, sooo buckle up :) 

 

 

Thanks, i'm not a great reader of this particular forum for language reasons, but sometimes i just need a wider range of responses that comes from a large community.

 

9 minutes ago, Pramana said:

Asexuality was an umbrella term from the start, since AVEN founders David Jay and Nat Titman used asexuality to refer to all of the following: 1. Complete absence of sexual attraction, 2. Low degree of sexual attraction insufficient to motivate sexual interaction, 3. Phases of asexuality alternating with phases of sexuality, 4. Insufficient sex drive to act on sexual attractions that one does experience. In doing so, they were following established academic models (Kinsey's and Storms's) that diagram sexual orientations along spectrums. More recently, a 2018 Chinese study found that a percentage of self-identified asexuals who also qualified as asexual on the Asexuality Identification Scale (AIS) still reported a low degree of sexual attraction on a Likert scale. Research employing the AIS has also found that nonlibidoist asexuals score higher than those asexuals who mastrubate and fantasize, also lending empirical support to the notion of asexuality as a continual category.

Therefore, people who claim that asexuality is not are spectrum are either:
1. Ignorant both of community history and of academic developments (both theoretical and empirical).
Or,
2. Intentionally misrepresenting the facts for a political agenda.

Sure I may be ignorant of the community history and everything, but if that's the case isn't the widely spread definition inaccurate and misleading? I mean "an asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction". Should be changed then? Just like most of the information people have easy access to.

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Pramana
5 minutes ago, AnDieWelt said:

Sure I may be ignorant of the community history and everything, but if that's the case isn't the widely spread definition inaccurate and misleading? I mean "an asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction". Should be changed then? Just like most of the information people have easy access to.

Potentially, the authors of the 2018 Chinese study I mentioned do suggest that the definition should be changed to a lack or low degree of sexual attraction. AVEN has used a few similar but not quite equivalent definitions of asexuality throughout its history. Andrew Hinderliter (who was involved on AVEN's Project Team for a number of years circa 2010) also makes this suggestion in a 2009 article, and on his Asexual Explorations Blog. However, he also argues that the lack of sexual attraction definition makes a better soundbite for AVEN's main page. Which goes to show that these questions have much to do with identity politics.

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Telecaster68

 

Quote

 

he also argues that the lack of sexual attraction definition makes a better soundbite for AVEN's main page. Which goes to show that these questions have much to do with identity politics.

 


 

That doesn't sound political to me, more that he's aware that you have to start simply, when you're trying to educate people.

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Pramana
38 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

That doesn't sound political to me, more that he's aware that you have to start simply, when you're trying to educate people.

Here's the quote from Andrew Hinderliter that I was thinking of. Note the emphasis on identity politics.

"Even though I prefer the definition “a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction,” I thought about proposing this change on AVEN’s front page. But then I went to that page, imagined the change, and decided I did not like it. That page needs to have a very clear-cut feel to it—more like a soundbite than a vague, nuanced approach. I once heard someone say of US presidential politics, “Nuance loses elections.” The same is likely true for identity politics. Clear cut descriptions of asexuality in the media lack nuance for the same reason that candidates’ presentation of their policies in the media lack nuance: the general public does not like nuance. They like things to be clear cut, unambiguous, black and white. The official AVEN definition is intentionally narrowed to make things fit a neat asexual-sexual binary, purposefully ignoring the large gray area that exists between them even though within asexual discourse, people tend to be quite comfortable with fuzziness around the edges."

https://web.archive.org/web/20090210194937/http://www.asexualexplorations.net:80/home/reflections.html

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Telecaster68
2 minutes ago, Pramana said:

"That page needs to have a very clear-cut feel to it—more like a soundbite than a vague, nuanced approach. I once heard someone say of US presidential politics, “Nuance loses elections.” The same is likely true for identity politics. Clear cut descriptions of asexuality in the media lack nuance for the same reason that candidates’ presentation of their policies in the media lack nuance: the general public does not like nuance. They like things to be clear cut, unambiguous, black and white."

Yes. He's saying what I said. The only link to identity politics is that identity politics requires communication in order to persuade people.

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Pramana
14 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Yes. He's saying what I said. The only link to identity politics is that identity politics requires communication in order to persuade people.

Sure. Although I would also say there's another layer produced by people's insecurities about their asexuality not being taken seriously. I've witnessed plenty of discussions on AVEN break down to: 1. My romantic partner might expect me to have sex, 2. Asexuals get made fun of on the Internet.

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AnDieWelt

Said that I'm not comfortable at all with fuzziness, even if that's the case I think it should be clarified at the very least as one clicks the "LEARN MORE" Button, where It's repeated the same concept instead. How deep do I have to dig to discover that I should expect some so-called Asexuals to possibly experience sexual attraction? 

 

The provided quote it's still quite contraddictory since i know there is a gray-area, but in my logic the gray is neither black nor white, it's a different color or the sum of the two; No pratical reason to confuse the things.  

We have an unambiguous definition for the gray and demis, but do we have one for "pure" asexuals?

 

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Telecaster68
3 minutes ago, AnDieWelt said:

We have an unambiguous definition for the gray and demis, but do we have one for "pure" asexuals?

In the words of the late great Douglas Adams... you're demanding rigidly defined areas of uncertainty and doubt? :)

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Sally
2 hours ago, Pramana said:

Therefore, people who claim that asexuality is not are spectrum are either:
1. Ignorant both of community history and of academic developments (both theoretical and empirical).
Or,
2. Intentionally misrepresenting the facts for a political agenda.

Or,

3.  Have thoughtfully considered the situation and are of the opinion that there is no spectrum, because anyone who in certain situations or at certain times wants or likes sex is a sexual.  

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Sweet Potato
49 minutes ago, AnDieWelt said:

We have an unambiguous definition for the gray and demis, but do we have one for "pure" asexuals?

when referring to asexuality as a spectrum, including gray ace and demisexual, and all the inbetweens, I say A-spec, when I mean asexual as in Does not experience sexual attraction ever. I simply say Asexual.

 

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Pramana
31 minutes ago, Sally said:

Or,

3.  Have thoughtfully considered the situation and are of the opinion that there is no spectrum, because anyone who in certain situations or at certain times wants or likes sex is a sexual.  

Yes, and likewise, I went outside last winter and it was cold. Having carefully considered the situation I've determined that climate change isn't real, because there can't be climate change if it's cold outside. I have no relevant education and have done no reading or research of my own, and in fact I don't even have an argument, because an argument requires evidence and inferences from premises to conclusion, whereas I all have is a slogan, but nevertheless my opinion matters and I feel the need to express it to the world.

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AnDieWelt

Oh come on.. We are talking about lexicon, no hard science.. Right now looks like that opinion would be technically compatible with the given definition of asexuality. Perhaps an "official stance" on one side would end that ambiguity, but you know people likes fuzziness..

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member1246

Asexuality as a spectrum is illogical. You either never ever desire partnered sex, or you do. I fully understand some people want it a lot less than others or maybe feel sexual feelings for a very small number of people over the course of their life, but that doesn't make them asexual. So asexuality is not a spectrum, but sure, sexuality in general can be. Asexuality is the extreme of one of the ends of the sexuality spectrum.

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Pramana
15 minutes ago, CBC said:

Asexuality as a spectrum is illogical. You either never ever desire partnered sex, or you do. I fully understand some people want it a lot less than others or maybe feel sexual feelings for a very small number of people over the course of their life, but that doesn't make them asexual. So asexuality is not a spectrum, but sure, sexuality in general can be. Asexuality is the extreme of one of the ends of the sexuality spectrum.

It seems odd to claim this is illogical, given that modelling sexuality orientations as spectrums has been established since Kinsey's work in the late 40s/early 50s. Also, asexuality isn't defined as not wanting partnered sex, it's defined as a lack of sexual attraction. However, if you really have made this groundbreaking discovery, then perhaps you should contact some academic journals to get your ideas published! That's what I'd be doing if I were in your situation. On the other hand, it could just be that you don't know what you're talking about.

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member1246

Ooh, snark. Or it could be that you're just a pompous windbag.

 

A lot of people don't define it as "a lack of sexual attraction". Have you not read the 8,392 threads debating the definition of asexuality?

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Ficto.
2 hours ago, Pramana said:

asexuality isn't defined as not wanting partnered sex, it's defined as a lack of sexual attraction.

Different sources define sexual attraction (and asexuality) differently though. There are published medical journals that explain a lack of sexual attraction as a lack of a desire to connect sexually with others, and even Anthony Bogaert makes a point of emphasizing the fact that it's a lack of desire to have sex with others that sets aces apart, despite the fact that they may masturbate. And hey, even AVEN defines sexual attraction in the General FAQ as 'the desire for sexual contact with someone else', so you really have to stop stating that asexuality is categorically defined only by lack of sexual attraction and never by a lack of desire to connect sexually with others. Because to many they are one and the same thing. To YOU (an asexual with very little to no sexual experience, I might add) partnered sex is irrelevant in a definition of sexual attraction, and you make a point of finding sources that only back up your own claims. But you need to remember there are other opinions out there than yours, and most people with a lot more sexual experience than you disagree strongly with you on almost every point you make regarding sexuality. End of.

 

56 minutes ago, CBC said:

Ooh, snark. Or it could be that you're just a pompous windbag.

 I think I might love you.

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gisiebob

there is no possibility of there being a spectrum of violet light because violet light already exists on the edge of the spectrum of visible light.

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Sleighcaptain

Partially incorrect. You can have variables within a spectrum. Just look at how many different shades of each colour there are, which blend imperceptibly into one another, yet are discrete quantifiable entities in their own right. 

 

 

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Pramana
7 hours ago, CBC said:

Ooh, snark. Or it could be that you're just a pompous windbag.

 

A lot of people don't define it as "a lack of sexual attraction". Have you not read the 8,392 threads debating the definition of asexuality?

The 'lack of sexual attraction' definition receives widespread support within the psychological community. It is a precise, technically accurate definition.

 

6 hours ago, FictoVore. said:

Different sources define sexual attraction (and asexuality) differently though. There are published medical journals that explain a lack of sexual attraction as a lack of a desire to connect sexually with others, and even Anthony Bogaert makes a point of emphasizing the fact that it's a lack of desire to have sex with others that sets aces apart, despite the fact that they may masturbate. And hey, even AVEN defines sexual attraction in the General FAQ as 'the desire for sexual contact with someone else', so you really have to stop stating that asexuality is categorically defined only by lack of sexual attraction and never by a lack of desire to connect sexually with others.

Like I've said elsewhere, I actually went to the effort of contacting Anthony Bogaert about this issue, and his thought was that potentially certain asexuals could actively desire partnered sex despite lacking a sexual connection to their partners. Therefore, I'm confident that you're failing to adequately understand core concepts.

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Sleighcaptain

One or two people's opinions aren't core concepts. This applies to all sides of the debate. 

 

Equally sexual function has nothing to do with asexulity. People can identify as asexual and still have sexual activity, it's not a line in the sand moment. 

 

Ultimately there are those who have never felt sexual attraction, desire etc, those who thought they did, or didn't know any different, and those that maybe didn't but now think they do. Sometimes people meet the near-mythical "right one" even if they'd previously identified as asexual. 

 

 

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Sally
5 hours ago, Pramana said:

The 'lack of sexual attraction' definition receives widespread support within the psychological community. It is a precise, technically accurate definition.

 

But not within the asexual community.   The psychological community (which is a decidedly moving target over time) has been disastrously wrong before.  I'd rather listen to the people who actually live the life.   However, Pramana, you are free to continue to cling to the Ionic-columnar security of "experts".  

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Ficto.
6 hours ago, Pramana said:

Like I've said elsewhere, I actually went to the effort of contacting Anthony Bogaert about this issue, and his thought was that potentially certain asexuals could actively desire partnered sex despite lacking a sexual connection to their partners. Therefore, I'm confident that you're failing to adequately understand core concepts.

So Bogaert will need to update and completely remove things he said in Understanding Asexuality then, because you yourself have even quoted portions of his book where he specifically states asexuals can have sexual desire (by which he means libido - he's slightly confused over terminology) they just lack that desire for other people. So they may masturbate, but don't desire to engage in sex with others. He states this in Understanding Asexuality.

 

Now Pramana, I'm not sure how well you understand how humans function emotionally, but I've watched a lot of interviews with Bogaert and he's most definitely the sort of person whose going to tell you exactly what you want to hear. If you went and told him you were specifically drawn to blonde women in a way that made your cock hard but told him that for you, that's definitely not sexual, then went on to say that this attraction caused you to want to have sex with these women, but asked if you could still ID as asexual, he would answer that yes, you could fall on the asexual spectrum. He's just that sort of person. He wants to please everyone and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. And you know what, a LOT of the people you speak to will react this way because they can tell you're desperate for a specific answer and they don't want to let you down. That's why you've had so many 'professionals' (who aren't even asexual and have had very little personal interaction with asexuals beyond interviews - so really, their opinions don't hold a lot of water) tell you that yes maybe under some circumstances an ace could desire sex: they don't want to hurt your feelings Pramana, they want to please everyone, and they want to seem as accepting and LGBT-friendly as possible. That's just how these people work. Okay? 

 

1 hour ago, Skycaptain said:

Equally sexual function has nothing to do with asexulity. People can identify as asexual and still have sexual activity, it's not a line in the sand moment

 Having sexual activity and desiring sexual activity with others are two different things. I think it's important to always clarify that asexuals can most certainly have sexual activity, the just don't desire sexual activity with other people for pleasure: because that's just a regular sexual person. :)

 

 

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Pramana
16 minutes ago, FictoVore. said:

So Bogaert will need to update and completely remove things he said in Understanding Asexuality then, because you yourself have even quoted portions of his book where he specifically states asexuals can have sexual desire (by which he means libido - he's slightly confused over terminology) they just lack that desire for other people. So they may masturbate, but don't desire to engage in sex with others. He states this in Understanding Asexuality.

Yeah, so it's pretty clear that you're lacking reading comprehension, since even in his book Bogaert clearly states that people can actively desire partnered sex outside of their sexual orientation.

 

16 minutes ago, FictoVore. said:

Having sexual activity and desiring sexual activity with others are two different things. I think it's important to always clarify that asexuals can most certainly have sexual activity, the just don't desire sexual activity with other people for pleasure: because that's just a regular sexual person.

On the other hand, perhaps the opinions of professionals are a little more likely to be accurate than say people with a high school level of education whose only "qualification" is that they post a lot on an online forum. Realistically, you're not in any way qualified to be making claims about who is or is not a regular (a)sexual person, and the fact that you presume to do so raises serious questions about the attitudes and motives that you bring to these discussions.

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Telecaster68
14 minutes ago, Pramana said:

raises serious questions about the attitudes and motives that you bring to these discussions.

.... so does resorting to snark, especially when you do it twice in quick succession. 

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Pramana
9 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

.... so does resorting to snark, especially when you do it twice in quick succession. 

It's like one step away from resorting to memes. But when you've done as much research as I have, you can back it up.

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Sally
20 minutes ago, Pramana said:

It's like one step away from resorting to memes. But when you've done as much research as I have, you can back it up.

Having done research doesn't "back up" insulting peoples' intelligence, reading comprehension, and presumed lack of education.  

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