dre.rolling

Sex?

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dre.rolling

Okay, there is a lot of talk about what constitutes asexuality (disinterest in sex), which makes sense because that's what the page is about.  I have a way more basic question:  what constitutes sex?  By which I mean, if one is interested in some acts which are considered sexual but not in others, is one asexual?

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MichaelTannock

Welcome to AVEN!

 

More specifically, we define Asexuality as a lack of Sexual Attraction and Sexual Attraction as the desire to have sex with another person.

Under those definitions, someone can be Asexual even if they watch porn and masturbate, or have sex with someone for that person rather than for their own pleasure.

That's my understanding at least.

 

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dre.rolling

Makes sense, but what about things like kissing, or what is unappealingly called "petting"?

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Snao Cone

Does it involve genitals? Does it require another person to have meaning?

 

Kissing/making out...if that's all you want, it falls short of being really sexual. Sexual people may think of kissing and making out as foreplay, which is part of sex, but that's because sex is ultimately involved.

 

If you like being manually stimulated but require another person doing it to reach a level of fulfillment, that is sex with another person. It might not be thought of as sex sex, but it's still a type of sexual activity. If all you need is to manually please yourself to get some release, that's masturbation and a lot of asexual people take part in that for various reasons.

 

Oral sex is, well, definitely a form of sex, whether you feel enjoyment and fulfillment in giving it or receiving it.

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dre.rolling

No, and yes, in that order.  I could be a little less vague.  The issue is that I have a disability which leaves me unable to feel penetrative sex.  It is possible, although ridiculously difficult, for me to get similar sensations when touched on other areas of my body, but like I said it's really difficult and I never enjoy the trying.

 

I hate all oral sex; can't deal with the smells or the tastes.  Anal sex is literally traumatic for reasons that I won't go into here.

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MichaelTannock

Intimate physical contact that falls short of a sexual act is considered sensual rather than sexual. This includes kissing, hugging and stroking anything outside of genitals.
An Asexual may or may not be comfortable with even sensual acts, depending on whether they feel those acts border too close to being sexual.

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dre.rolling

Thank you!  Matters of identity are confusing to me and I need to get the details right.

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MichaelTannock

You're welcome. I hope that helped.

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Snao Cone
1 minute ago, dre.rolling said:

No, and yes, in that order.  I could be a little less vague.  The issue is that I have a disability which leaves me unable to feel penetrative sex.  It is possible, although ridiculously difficult, for me to get similar sensations when touched on other areas of my body, but like I said it's really difficult and I never enjoy the trying.

 

I hate all oral sex; can't deal with the smells or the tastes.  Anal sex is literally traumatic for reasons that I won't go into here.

Well, it's possible to have a disability that inhibits sexual pleasure and still be sexual. It's really up to you to interpret how you best identify. Some people who can't have "normal" sex due to disability might still want their sexuality to be acknowledged, because people with disabilities will often be assumed to not be capable of it, which they may feel infantalizes them and reduces their humanity. But if you genuinely feel like your lack of ability to enjoy sex makes you asexual, and that you relate more to asexual people because your enjoyment of human contact ends at a similar point to many asexual people (at least those who have sensual desires/attractions) then there's not much argument against that.

 

I think it's important to remember that meeting specific definitions isn't as important as finding community and support and validity in being who you actually are. So if you relate to asexual people and feel more acceptance in the asexual community because you only want to be kissed/hugged/massaged/some other sensual activity, then you can identify however you feel you're best represented and whatever helps you establish a sense of validity and community.

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uhtred

People use the language differently, and like different things.  My wife, for example is happy with all sorts of frequent close physical contact that doesn't involve genitals.  That is her dividing line for "sex" where she rarely has interest. 

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TheAP

I think of sexual acts as those involving the genitals. Being interested in some sexual acts but not in others doesn't necessarily make one asexual. (For example, a lesbian might not be interested in PiV sex.) But asexuals can masturbate and be aroused by things.

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dre.rolling

Definitely going to need to talk about this in counseling on Monday...

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Serran

One thing I would edit on what others have said.. doesnt have to just be genitals. For example some people orgasm from nipple stimulation and yeah that is sexual. 

 

Personally, I do not ID as ace. I also do not like "sex" - oral, anal or PiV. However, I sexually desire my partner. And I enjoy sexual activities. Just limited ones. So im not traditionally sexual but also not ace. 

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dre.rolling

I found a paragraph that I identify with in the FAQ:  

Quote

I really want to have sex with people I love but when I do I feel nothing and it's horrible. What's wrong with me?
If you don't enjoy sex or find it deeply disappointing this might be because you don't actually want sex, you want your idea of what sex is. If you've come to this site, you probably suspect or know that you're asexual, so it's unlikely that a sex drive is motivating you.

Think carefully. What does sex mean to you? What do you expect to get from sex? Do you think you're looking for extreme pleasure? Perhaps you want some amazing shared expression of your love. Maybe you want to make your partner happy and think that you should be satisfied with their pleasure. Could it be that you want to be as intimate and close as is possible to them?

 

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CBC
7 hours ago, dre.rolling said:

By which I mean, if one is interested in some acts which are considered sexual but not in others, is one asexual?

No. If one innately desires to engage in sexual acts with other people, for the purposes of their own pleasure (physical and/or emotional), they're not asexual. You don't have to desire and enjoy the most common sexual acts (PIV intercourse, for example) in order to be sexual.

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Serran
9 hours ago, dre.rolling said:

I found a paragraph that I identify with in the FAQ:  

 

So if you have sexual activities of any type you feel nothing and its horrible for you?

 

It is possible to want thw idea of something. Like, someone who really hates relationships may like the hollywood perfection illusion because it looks like it would be nice, since the character is happy, but will never enjoy it themselves. Think that is sort of what you are feeling? You want what others describe feeling from it, because it sounds nice, but you cant feel it ?

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dre.rolling

Serran, it's more complicated than that; my erogenous zones are different from other people's.  I don't have feeling in my genitals.  There are places other than that where I can sometimes get a feeling that I think is close to what ablebodied people feel with genital sex, but I have no control over when someone touching me will give me that sensation and when it won't.  That makes it very frustrating to try, but the reason I think I might be asexual is that I'm just as happy not to try.  I can go years (if not longer) without attempting sex.  When I'm not in a relationship I don't miss sex or cuddling, but when I am, I need physical contact of some sort, though not necessarily anything sexual.  The main reason I get upset when I'm in a relationship and not having any type of physical contact is that I feel rejected, not that I need or want the sex.  I've never been in a relationship with an asexual person so I don't know how I'd feel in that situation, but I imagine that as long as there's some cuddling I'd be ok.  

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whitetulips
On 9/15/2018 at 3:23 AM, dre.rolling said:

but what about things like kissing,

In my understanding, kissing is asexual if you consider it as affection rather than a potential initiative of sex.

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Serran
16 hours ago, dre.rolling said:

Serran, it's more complicated than that; my erogenous zones are different from other people's.  I don't have feeling in my genitals.  There are places other than that where I can sometimes get a feeling that I think is close to what ablebodied people feel with genital sex, but I have no control over when someone touching me will give me that sensation and when it won't.  That makes it very frustrating to try, but the reason I think I might be asexual is that I'm just as happy not to try.  I can go years (if not longer) without attempting sex.  When I'm not in a relationship I don't miss sex or cuddling, but when I am, I need physical contact of some sort, though not necessarily anything sexual.  The main reason I get upset when I'm in a relationship and not having any type of physical contact is that I feel rejected, not that I need or want the sex.  I've never been in a relationship with an asexual person so I don't know how I'd feel in that situation, but I imagine that as long as there's some cuddling I'd be ok.  

It doesn't have to be your genitals to be sexual. For some people, feet are sexual. In the show The Practice, they had a character that got turned on by having her elbows sucked. :lol:  There are a lot of places people find "sexy", which is why I said in my first post, doesn't have to just be genitals to be sexual. If my partner wants to get me going, she can just go for my neck... and the teasing of kisses/ gentle caresses is honestly as sexually satisfying for me as anything else, most the time. 

 

Wanting physical contact isn't sexual - cuddling, kissing, etc can be very not sexual. So you can still be quite asexual and still want to do that stuff. That's just a romantic / sensual / whatever you wanna call it desire. 

 

And one doesn't have to find sexual stuff a need where they'll be upset without it. I would be happy with or without sexual contact with my spouse. If we broke up, I would be happy without sexual contact at all. I spent about two years with nothing sexual, not even masturbation and I was totally OK. In fact, I was quite happy, compared to having to have sex I didn't like a lot in my last relationship. However, I do enjoy and desire sexual activities with my spouse, for me, not just for them. It gives me emotional and physical pleasure to do that. I could still be happy without, but it is nice and I do desire it for my own enjoyment. It's just not a need for me. However, since I do want it and desire it and enjoy it all for my own pleasure - I don't ID as ace anymore. I initiate it because I want my partner to give me that pleasure. If they say no, I'm OK with just cuddling too. But, I do find it a nice addition. And I'm not talking about sex as in genitals rubbing together - often I don't even involve my genitals, cause that's only fun occasionally for me. 

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