Kumoku

On gatekeeping and LGBTQIA

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Kumoku

Found this on Tumblr, one of my favorite write-ups about gatekeeping and LGBTQIA in general:



Cupioromanticism and Gatekeeping

 

I was really excited when I found the term cupioromantic. It was in a graphic of terminology regarding being aro/ace, with a brief description, and immediately I went, I like this word. It made me feel safe with the idea of possibly being on the aro spectrum but still having been in and enjoyed romantic relationships. So I don’t know if I am cupioromantic, but even if I’m not, it’s a term I found helpful.

 

And then the cupioromantic debate started, and an aro/ace blogger who I read a lot (The Thinking Asexual) began arguing that cupioromanticism wasn’t and shouldn’t be a thing. And I no longer felt safe. I was angry, but I was also hurt. Someone who I respected—someone who I trusted—was suddenly telling me that an identity that I might be was bullshit, was not only self-destructive but also harmful to the aro community, was wrong.

 

And they are wrong. I knew that even before reading Nina’s super awesome reply. But it felt like a betrayal. It felt like finding out that a blogger who I frequently read was sexist or anti-atheist. Suddenly every other post by them was tainted by this idea.

 

So here’s the thing—we don’t have a right to gatekeep. We are not keepers of the keys to the magical aro/ace kingdom, or queer kingdom. We don’t get to decide how other people see themselves, how other people talk about themselves. If you don’t define yourself in a certain way, don’t think you have the right to decide how people who do feel that way define themselves. It isn’t your right. It isn’t your place.

 

Because it’s harmful, and it’s dangerous. I read the post knowing that it was wrong. I have spent enough time in my own head and in the community to be able to reason through and go—this is incorrect. But other people may not be so lucky. Imagine someone new to the community, who has just found the term cupioromantic on the same graphic I found it on, who searched it and found this post. Imagine their first experience with not only the community but with their identity being one of absolute rejection. Will they trust the community after that? Will they trust what is in their own head? And that is not a road we want to go down.

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CBC
1 hour ago, Kumoku said:

Found this on Tumblr

That is one of my least favourite ways to start a sentence, and generally a good indicator that the following information may be complete nonsense. Not saying it always is, Tumblr is used by many people for many things... hell, I've used it for a photographic project... but still. Not a shining beacon of accuracy and logic.

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FictoCannibal.

If someone is so tied up with their obscure romantic identiy that they feel like their life is over when people mock or dismiss said identity, then said person needs to spend less time on Tumblr. Maybe they should go for a walk in nature or something?

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Telecaster68

Anyone calling their blog The Thinking .... anything is far too full of themselves to be taken seriously. It's implying all the others aren't thinking.

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CBC
2 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Anyone calling their blog The Thinking .... anything is far too full of themselves to be taken seriously. It's implying all the others aren't thinking.

True, although the self-labelled "thinking" person in the instance described here certainly seems to have done more reasonable thinking than the Tumblr respondent.

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Telecaster68

The Reasonably Sensitive To Other People's Anxieties Asexual would be even better.

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Star Lion

I’m gonna be honest, I think cupioromantic/sexual is a useless term. You’re aro/ace, be done with it. Wanting to be in a relationship or have sex doesn’t take away from your identity so people should stop acting like another label is needed. It’s okay to be in a relationship and have sex with someone you’re not attracted to. I’m also tired of people with this spectrum myth

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Telecaster68

From what I've seen, many people jump on a reassuring label when they're in the fairly early stages of figuring themselves out and accepting themselves. It helps them feel valid and less alone.. The problem comes when almost inevitably they discover it doesn't quite fit, because everyone's slightly different, and either try to cling on to its rigid definition by not being true to themselves, and insist everyone else is wrong, or they twist the definition into nonsense or blandness.

 

The only humane response is to accept the label only guess so far and focus on humans as individuals, not as valid or invalid examples of the label.

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FictoCannibal.
54 minutes ago, Star Lion said:

I’m gonna be honest, I think cupioromantic/sexual is a useless term. You’re aro/ace, be done with it. Wanting to be in a relationship or have sex doesn’t take away from your identity so people should stop acting like another label is needed. It’s okay to be in a relationship and have sex with someone you’re not attracted to. I’m also tired of people with this spectrum myth

The whole cupio thing comes more from misunderstanding of how regular sexual and romantic feelings work anyway. If you want to bang someone and/or be in a romantic relationship with them (for your own pleasure and satisfaction) then you are most definitely attracted to them in a sexual and/or romantic way. No you may not be gagging for it just from seeing them naked but a LOT of sexual people (especially many women) don't experience that. Obviously some aces do still give their partners sex sometimes for the sake of their partner's happiness (and may even enjoy the feelings of the stimulation), but the ace themselves would be perfectly happy to go without that sex (or romance if they're aro) if their partner didn't want/need it. Once you're actively desiring sex and/or romance with a specific person for your own pleasure and satisfaction though (as cupios claim they do) then you're not ace or aro and insisting on a special label in those circumstances seems kind of 'look at me!' if you ask me. It's attention grabbing.

 

You're right though, you're either ace or you're not (or romantic or you're not) and that's all that really need be said on the matter. No need for a special label. And if you're going to choose something utterly obscure and obviously controversial, be prepared to get shit from some people when you try to discuss your label in online forums. (General you here of course, not you Lion lol).

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Star Lion

@FictoCannibal.

You’re definitely right about most of that. Only thing I gotta say is that the people that are true to this label just want sex/romance in general. The feeling isn’t directed at any person and that’s what makes them ace/aro. Also with the ace/aro or not thing, I’ve actually found the grayromantic umbrella useful for me. I’m not aro, but I’ve only felt romantic attraction once and feel it counterproductive to call myself a regular heteromantic

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FictoCannibal.
14 minutes ago, Star Lion said:

Only thing I gotta say is that the people that are true to this label just want sex/romance in general. The feeling isn’t directed at any person and that’s what makes them ace/aro. 

I would definitely concede to that if they desired these things but never enough to actually act on them with another person. The fact is though, these cupioromantics/cupiosexuals will ofen (always, in my experience actually) actively seek a sexual and/or romantic partner to experience these feelings that they desire with. Once they have that partner, their desires are directed at a specific person ..otherwise they'd have no interest in being sexual and/or romantic with them. But instead they actively desire these things and seek someone specific to share these things with. Which is literally no different than what any other sexual and/or romantic person does who desires sex and/or romance for their own pleasure and personal satisfaction 😛

 

if they truly just wanted it 'in general' but were *never* drawn to anyone in a way that could make them want to actually act on those desires, I could concede they're ace or gray. But the fact that they choose specific people to experience these things with shows they are drawn to said people in a sexual and/or romantic way (depending on what kind of cupio the person is IDing as). It's the fact that they desire these things and actively seek partners to experience them with for their own pleasure and personal satisfaction that takes this to the level of a very sexual experience, not an asexual one.

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Lucinda

I think it is interesting that the The Thinking blogger is saying that cupio shouldn't be a thing.  I would have to read why she believes this (if I was so motivated).  I believe she is the one who spoke about "romantic friendship" on this site.  This set-up, as she described it, involved emotions on steroids, permission to engage in conventional romantic gestures, alot of alone one-on-one time, etc.  She knew herself well enough to know she doesn't experience romantic attraction ... full stop.  Isn't this close to what cupios want?  Where does she see the difference?  (I personally thought the more she posted, the more sexual the behaviors she envisioned).

 

1 hour ago, FictoCannibal. said:

The fact is though, these cupioromantics/cupiosexuals will ofen (always, in my experience actually) actively seek a sexual and/or romantic partner to experience these feelings that they desire with.

Perhaps it is not about feelings, but about behaviors and actions and gestures directed at them.

 

1 hour ago, FictoCannibal. said:

But the fact that they choose specific people to experience these things with shows they are drawn to said people in a sexual and/or romantic way

 

1 hour ago, FictoCannibal. said:

It's the fact that they desire these things and actively seek partners to experience them with f

Perhaps they take a more passive role and are up for certain physical interactions if the other person makes a move?  Perhaps if the other person moves on, for whatever the reason, the cupio won't miss them but instead miss the actions?  

 

I don't know.  I would have to question the individual cupio to see where their head is at.  (Not a bad idea in general, methinks).  I wouldn't automatically assume that the person would be automatically romantically or sexually compatible with another said aro and/or ace.  

 

Just my thoughts.

 

Lucinda

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Bejawa

I imagine that it can be hard to relate to a feeling you do not have.

Its like allos who haven't heard of asexuality before who get super confused and dont quite understand how it is possible. (Or like how many of us here just thought people interest in others was exaggerated)

 

Basically cupios (from what I gather) want sexual/romantic encounters.

However when they see people they dont feel the want for the encounter with that person specifically.

"I like the idea of romance/sex and want it in my life, but when it comes to actually doing it with a person the interest isn't there." Kind of idea.

Because they want/need these interactions they will find a partner but it isn't the partner that actually inspires the attraction in them.

 

 Now of course I'm not a fan of the overuse of labels in general because when they get to plentiful and obscure they lose some meaning, and confuse/annoy other people.

Also eventually individuals can have so many labels to use that it is just kind of overwhelming I think.

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Bejawa

You could be cupio and grey for instance because maybe you do sometimes feel these emotions directed at a person so

Cupio-grey-bisexual could be a label and that's just a lot.

That's excluding any romantic  and gender labels one might use.

Quite quickly I think it becomes excessive.

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TheAP
6 hours ago, FictoCannibal. said:

If someone is so tied up with their obscure romantic identiy that they feel like their life is over when people mock or dismiss said identity, then said person needs to spend less time on Tumblr. Maybe they should go for a walk in nature or something?

Why don't you have to go for a walk in nature instead of caring about how other people identify?

 

3 hours ago, FictoCannibal. said:

insisting on a special label in those circumstances seems kind of 'look at me!' if you ask me. It's attention grabbing.

You can't know what other people's motivation is unless you can read their mind.

 

The person in the post said that the label was helpful to them. They brought up how judging people for their identities can making people questioning their identity feel unwelcome in the community. Why do people not listen and instead cling to their idea of unusual=wrong? There are all sorts of obscure words out there--why is it only the orientation/gender labels that people say shouldn't exist?

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Telecaster68
56 minutes ago, TheAP said:

You can't know what other people's motivation is unless you can read their mind.

Not for certain, but all social interaction is based on theory of mind, which means being able to assess broadly what someone else is thinking and respond to it. Almost all humans do this instinctively, and while it's not always totally correct, it's pretty good most of the time, certainly enough that it makes society possible. If we insisted nobody ever make any inferences about other people's thoughts, there would be no social interaction and no communication beyond the bald and factual.

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FictoCannibal.
4 hours ago, Lucinda said:

I would have to question the individual cupio to see where their head is at.  (Not a bad idea in general, methinks). 

 I don't form my ideas based on making up assumptions about how they think and feel. I have personally engaged in in-depth discussions with around 18-20 self-identified cupiosexuals about their sexuality and their reasons for identifying the way they do. These were all public discussions and can be found here on AVEN. On top of that, there are also hundreds of discussions I wasn't involved in about cupiosexuality (from the perspective of those who identify as such) to be found on AVEN, many of which I have read. This is how I know that, when you get down to it with them, they express feelings/desires/and intimate preferences no different than what many other sexual people experience. They will also almost always have aesthetic preferences as to which sexual partners they choose (same for the romantic ones) and need to have all the same emotions and desires etc that anyone else who forms a sexual/romantic relationship with another person has.

 

They then go on to describe normal sexuality/normal romantic interaction wildly inaccurately based on descriptions written by teens on Tumblr. Their beliefs surrounding what makes someone sexual or romantic are so bizarre and extreme that they're sure they couldn't possibly be one of those things (ie they believe sexual people in a relationship gag for sex 24/7 because they're lusting after the appearance of their partner, just one example). 

 

So yeah, I have talked with them hence where I got my conclusions. They innately desire and need all the same things that anyone else does in a relationship.

 

I'm not even denying the existence of these labels if someone feels the need to ID as such though, the labels just aren't asexual/aromamtic is all. They're only labelled as such by those identifying with said labels based on a misunderstanding of what drives the average sexual/romantic person in pursuing relationships.

 

3 hours ago, TheAP said:

You can't know what other people's motivation is unless you can read their mind.

Or I could talk to them.

 

3 hours ago, TheAP said:

--why is it only the orientation labels that people say shouldn't exist?

If they paint normal sexuality in a really bad light (ie a sexual person gags for sex every time they see their partner and bases their relationship around attraction to their partners appearance) then I'm going to take issue and I'm going to speak out about it. We have to stop painting these negative views of normal sexuality and normal romance in the ace community because in the long run they only reflect badly on the community as a whole when outsiders look in.

 

3 hours ago, TheAP said:

Why don't you have to go for a walk in nature instead of caring about how other people identify?

I care about how the labels themselves are defined and classified. I obviously wouldn't say that about a walk in nature if the user themselves had commented but this was just a copy/paste from some random on Tumblr. But it's true that if the way you identify is causing you deep upset and personal stress when people suggest your label is made up by teenagers or whatever (the term cupiosexual was actually coined by a 15 year old girl on Tumblr) then it probably is best for the individual that they take a step back from online forums to get some perspective and find a better head space. It will probably be very beneficial to the individual to not be so attached to how they're labelling themselves and will help them feel less alienated etc if they can lose some of that dependence on the validity of a mere word.

 

I wouldn't say any of this if it was posted in T&S by the person themselves, but as it's in musings and rantings and someone just copy/pasted it from Tumblr then I feel there shouldn't be an issue with me speaking my mind as long as I'm not invalidating the identity of anyone specifically in this thread? People can identify however they want, it's the labels themselves I disapprove of when they reflect badly on average people.

 

And yeah, someone really should take a step back for their own health if people disagreeing with their label is causing them this much upset. I say that for the benefit of the person themselves and that has nothing to do with my opinion of the label itself.

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TheAP
2 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Not for certain, but all social interaction is based on theory of mind, which means being able to assess broadly what someone else is thinking and respond to it. Almost all humans do this instinctively, and while it's not always totally correct, it's pretty good most of the time, certainly enough that it makes society possible. If we insisted nobody ever make any inferences about other people's thoughts, there would be no social interaction and no communication beyond the bald and factual.

Well, it is natural to make inferences, but it shouldn't be used to attack others.

 

3 minutes ago, FictoCannibal. said:

If they paint normal sexuality in a really bad light (ie a sexual person gags for sex every time they see their partner and bases their relationship around attraction to their partners appearance) then I'm going to take issue and I'm going to speak out about it. We have to stop painting these negative views of normal sexuality and normal romance in the ace community because in the long run they only reflect badly on the community as a whole when outsiders look in.

Someone's personal identity doesn't say anything about normal sexuality or sexual people, though.

 

6 minutes ago, FictoCannibal. said:

And yeah, someone really should take a step back for their own health if people disagreeing with their label is causing them this much upset. I say that for the benefit of the person themselves and that has nothing to do with my opinion of the label itself.

Agreed, but I still think it would be better and lead to a more peaceful/welcoming community if there wasn't all this infighting over labels.

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FictoCannibal.
21 minutes ago, TheAP said:

Someone's personal identity doesn't say anything about normal sexuality or sexual people, though.

 

Their reasons for identifying with said label says a lot about their views of normal sexuality/sexual people.

 

If you talk to any self-identifying cupiosexual/cupioromantic you'll find that they are doing so based on wildly inaccurate ideas of normal sexuality/sexual people. They'll tell others "I'm cupiosexual because I desire and enjoy sex for my own personal satisfaction but I'm not attracted to my partners. That means I don't get horny when I look at them. I have sex because I just love sex and it's nothing to do with being turned on by my partner". They've just described an example of a type of 100% normal sexual person but at the same time have implied that every sexual person alive is like that and that we all base our relationships and our desire for sexual intimacy around the appearance of our partners. Like appearance is the sole reason for a sexual to seek and desire sex. And anyone who isn't that shallow is so vastly removed from regular sexual people that they must be some kind of asexual. Y_Y 

 

21 minutes ago, TheAP said:

Agreed, but I still think it would be better and lead to a more peaceful/welcoming community if there wasn't all this infighting over labels.

It's more how the labels themselves perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding within this community as to how normal sexual people feel and function. That's the issue. It's not the label itself myself and others take issue with, but the fact that those labels spread misconceptions and only serve to further alienate the ace community as a whole from the rest of the world.

 

And considering all of that, we still do have a very peaceful and welcoming community here. However it's worth noting that the term 'education' is in the title of the forums and if we threw all accurate education of normal sexuality aside in favour of celebrating all the most bizarre and out-there labels then we may as well just change the name of the website to AVLN - The Asexual Visibility and Label Network.

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Telecaster68

Politely explaining to someone that they're wrong, based on having better information than them, isn't attacking them. 

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TheAP
14 minutes ago, FictoCannibal. said:

If you talk to any self-identifying cupiosexual/cupioromantic you'll find that they are doing so based on wildly inaccurate ideas of normal sexuality/sexual people. They'll tell others "I'm cupiosexual because I desire and enjoy sex for my own personal satisfaction but I'm not attracted to my partners. That means I don't get horny when I look at them. I have sex because I just love sex and it's nothing to do with being turned on by my partner". They've just described an example of a type of 100% normal sexual person but at the same time have implied that every sexual person alive is like that and that we all base our relationships and our desire for sexual intimacy around the appearance of our partners. Like appearance is the sole reason for a sexual to seek and desire sex. And anyone who isn't that shallow is so vastly removed from regular sexual people that they must be some kind of asexual. Y_Y 

Sexual attraction doesn't have to be based on looks, so people aren't necessarily saying all sexual people only feel attraction based on appearance. Someone identifying as cupiosexual doesn't mean they think sexual people are shallow.

 

19 minutes ago, FictoCannibal. said:

However it's worth noting that the term 'education' is in the title of the forums and if we threw all accurate education of normal sexuality aside in favour of celebrating all the most bizarre and out-there labels then we may as well just change the name of the website to AVLC - The Asexual Visibility and Label Community.

We can provide accurate education without judging others and accusing them of insulting sexuals.

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CBC

If someone wanted to get really into arguing about the concept of shallowness (which is silly, not saying I think it carries any weight; if you wanna have sex for literally any reason and it's between consenting adults, go for it), couldn't one argue that someone who's attracted their partner in any sense is less "shallow" than someone who's cupio and just wants sex 'cause they like sex?

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anisotropic
48 minutes ago, FictoCannibal. said:

we may as well just change the name of the website to AVLN - The Asexual Visibility and Label Network

ahahah! you got me lol'ing with this!


Seriously though. It was hard to sort through this stuff. My partner said "I'm ace, I'm just ace." I do think it's worth being concerned that the profusion of labels serves to obscure the primary goal of helping people understand asexuality.

This label feels like a case in point. One could call my partner "cupiosexual"? Because he "wants" to have sex with me – because he recognizes how much it matters to me? Or we could instead say my partner is a compromising, sex-indifferent ace. He "wants" to have sex with his sexual partner, to make them happy.

And yet, other cupiosexuals might be described as "ace that is still really curious about sex". Or "ace that is fascinated with the idea of sex and wishes they could understand it by experiencing it". Or "sexual that can't think about strangers that way but thinks about sex a lot". So many "identities" feels like it may be affirming in a way that can also muddy understanding of human experiences.

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TheAP
3 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

This label feels like a case in point. One could call my partner "cupiosexual"? Because he "wants" to have sex with me – because he recognizes how much it matters to me? Or we could instead say my partner is a compromising, sex-indifferent ace. He "wants" to have sex with his sexual partner, to make them happy.

When people talk about sexual desire when it comes to determining orientation, it usually means not wanting sex for curiosity or to make a partner happy, but having an inherent desire to have sex for pleasure.

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Anthracite_Impreza

I'm not against cupio as an identity, it just isn't part of the aro or ace "family".

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Tothedreamers
1 hour ago, FictoCannibal. said:

  It will probably be very beneficial to the individual to not be so attached to how they're labelling themselves and will help them feel less alienated etc if they can lose some of that dependence on the validity of a mere word.

I agree. Although I do think people need to respect labels as valid, even if they don’t understand or don’t agree, I also believe that just because the label exists, doesn’t change who you are or how you feel. I’m not just talking about cupiosexuals.  Whether you are ace or demi or gray or whatever, it’s just a word. Asexuals existed before there was a term for it. The lack of title didn’t change theiridentity.  

I didn’t even hear of the word asexual in any context besides biology (i.e. prokaryotes and such), until about a year ago.  Yet I still knew I didn’t have the same feelings and needs that the rest of the world had.  Finding that label only told me I wasn’t alone. But that’s all it did. 

I am thankful for that label because it led me to this awesome community, but I don’t let others opinions of my validity affect me. Because I was asexual before a year ago and I still am now. The only thing that changed was the label that described me. 

The label is an adjective - it describes you more accurately, without changing your story. 

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Philip027
Quote

Politely explaining to someone that they're wrong, based on having better information than them, isn't attacking them.

Not by the rules of this site, let me tell you.

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anisotropic
3 hours ago, TheAP said:

When people talk about sexual desire when it comes to determining orientation, it usually means not wanting sex for curiosity or to make a partner happy, but having an inherent desire to have sex for pleasure.

If "cupio" being used to mean "sex for pleasure" then I would tend to agree with @Anthracite_Impreza – it doesn't sound like it's in the "aro" or "ace" family.

One reason these conversations about identities and spectrums might matter is this: If there are orientations that are more accurately described as being in the sexual spectrum ­– and not asexual spectrum – as the clarification here seems to imply to me – then describing them as "ace spectrum" is potentially a disservice to asexual education.

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TheAP
4 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

If "cupio" being used to mean "sex for pleasure" then I would tend to agree with @Anthracite_Impreza – it doesn't sound like it's in the "aro" or "ace" family.

One reason these conversations about identities and spectrums might matter is this: If there are orientations that are more accurately described as being in the sexual spectrum ­– and not asexual spectrum – as the clarification here seems to imply to me – then describing them as "ace spectrum" is potentially a disservice to asexual education.

The answer to that depends on whether one defines asexuality of "lack of sexual attraction" or "lack of desire for sex". Which is a debate that has been going on for a long time on here, with no clear resolution.

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FictoCannibal.
16 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

If "cupio" being used to mean "sex for pleasure" then I would tend to agree with @Anthracite_Impreza – it doesn't sound like it's in the "aro" or "ace" family.

Yes cupiosexual means 'desiring a sexual relationship for your own pleasure and satisfaction' and  cupioromantic means 'desiring a romantic relationship for your own pleasure and satisfaction'. They say they don't experience sexual and/or romantic attraction and that's what makes them ace/aro despite their desires. However if you then ask them to explain how they think regular sexual/romantic people feel they give all sorts of inaccurate (and often quite offensive) examples of why 'regular' people desire such relationships. They say that because they don't experience these things that regular people do then they must be some kind of ace...but what they're imagining as 'regular' people is vastly inaccurate.

 

9 minutes ago, TheAP said:

The answer to that depends on whether one defines asexuality of "lack of sexual attraction" or "lack of desire for sex". Which is a debate that has been going on for a long time on here, with no clear resolution.

AVEN itself (in the General FAQ) defines sexual attraction as the desire to connect sexually with other people. They're the same thing. Sexual Attraction (when it's a defining factor for an entire sexual orientation) is about being drawn to certain other people in a way that makes you desire sex with them as opposed to being totally satisfied with masturbation alone. It's a draw that makes you want sex with someone else (even just a general someone who you haven't met yet) instead of just masturbating to get rid of libido and being totally satisfied with that perpetually. That's the difference between a sexual and an ace: that innate draw to seek sex with other people for your own pleasure and satisfaction.

 

4 hours ago, TheAP said:

We can provide accurate education without judging others and accusing them of insulting sexuals.

Oh definitely. I'm talking about the labels themselves (and the way they are defined and classified as asexual) that's inaccurate and offensive to sexuals. Not necessarily the individuals themselves (because they can't help it if they've been given utterly inaccurate info from other young people online).

 

It's the labels themselves and the way they're defined that I take issue with, not the individuals using them. I think I could probably speak for everyone here when I say that?

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