songchick

No sexual fantasies because of Aphantasia?

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songchick

On AVEN's "Gray Area" section, I've been asking questions about lack of sexual fantasies influencing asexuality.  Someone really helpfully mentioned "aphantasia," which is a condition that a person has no internal "mind's eye" that can visualize pictures.  I actually realize that I have none of the 5 senses within me.  My dreams are completely blank with no sounds, smells, tastes or physical sensations.  I mostly dream in words and feelings.  The only thing I dream of really is jumping down staircases and jumping and floating in general, but again it is all very vague.  I recently have asked people about sexual fantasies, and everyone talks about how vivid they are.  I can't even imagine an orange in my head unless I think of the word "orange."

 

This definitely influences my sexuality.  I wonder even, if I didn't have aphantasia, then would I be asexual at all?  Also, does aphantasia affect my level of arousal in waking life? Even in the moment, my mind can't visualize implications when I close my eyes.  Maybe I can have some "coping skills" like keeping my eyes open, focusing on senses like hearing and smell, etc.  

 

For me, I think I should rely on the inner words and feelings that I experience.  My thoughts and my heart are my compass.  Yay.

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Nowhere Girl

Still, fantasies can be formed in words as well. Basically, it's like writing a story in your head. I'm an extreme verbal thinker, by the way, though the visual aspect of my dreams (as opposed to daydreams and fantasies, which may include "imagining how something looks like", but never reach the level of "actually seeing something in my mind" because it's a state I'm incapable of achieving without certain psychoactive assistance) has never seemed odd to me. However, I don't have sex dreams, only erotic fantasies in third person.

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Grimalkin

What an interesting intersectionality! You ask a valid question, though I'm willing to bet you would still be asexual even without the aphantasia. People don't need to fantasize to be attracted to people that they see in real life. At least, I'm pretty sure.

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kiaroskuro
On 11/27/2018 at 2:57 AM, Grimalkin said:

What an interesting intersectionality! You ask a valid question, though I'm willing to bet you would still be asexual even without the aphantasia. People don't need to fantasize to be attracted to people that they see in real life. At least, I'm pretty sure.

I second that.

I might be super biased here, but many, if not most people around me seem pretty unimaginative. And allosexual.

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songchick
9 hours ago, kiaroskuro said:

I second that.

I might be super biased here, but many, if not most people around me seem pretty unimaginative. And allosexual.

I feel like allosexuals aren't too imaginative, or at least they're imaginative in the "wrong direction."  Like pushing boundaries, seeing how much they can take, eek, other gross stuff.  For me, it's about the connection, friendship, safety.  

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roland.o
On 11/28/2018 at 6:47 PM, songchick said:

I feel like allosexuals aren't too imaginative, or at least they're imaginative in the "wrong direction."  Like pushing boundaries, seeing how much they can take, eek, other gross stuff.  For me, it's about the connection, friendship, safety.  

There's the other kind of allosexuals as well. But they're less likely to make a move on you :D:cake:

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Small Horse

Asexuals can still fantasize and dream about sex, but it usually deals with fetishes, feelings, or situations, rather than thinking about sexy people. I had an odd dream where I humped a yoga ball, but there were no people involved at all.

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songchick

UPDATE:

I am writing an article for The Establishment (reputed online publication) about Asexuality and Aphantasia, investigating if there is a correlation.  If possible, I'd like to quote people who have posted above, etc.  Also, if anyone has ideas on it subsequently now, I'd love to quote you further.  

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Marlow1

HI @songchick

 

I dont know if you already know about this but a poll was done to see if any of the folk here do indeed have Aphantasia and fall somewhere on the Asexual Spectrum

 

 

To date, I have not met anybody that has Aphantasia that have said they easily become attracted. Everybody that I have spoken to has said they believe that they are Asexual, grey sexual or a sexual person that only becomes attracted occasionally. Quite a few have said they have very little interest in pornography too, and some have said that without visuals they feel their ability to fantasize is limited too

 

Not all Asexual folk have Aphantasia but quit a few people that have Aphantasia believe they fall on the Asexual Spectrum

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GenericName

Sorry to ruin your track record, but I have Aphantasia and I become attracted very easily. That's the main reason I get jealous of people without Aphantasia to be honest, vivid fantasies sound fun. I actually wonder if my drive would be lower if I could fantasize properly.

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songchick
10 hours ago, GenericName said:

Sorry to ruin your track record, but I have Aphantasia and I become attracted very easily. That's the main reason I get jealous of people without Aphantasia to be honest, vivid fantasies sound fun. I actually wonder if my drive would be lower if I could fantasize properly.

Ooh, good to hear your account.  Although, how do you get attracted?  Sexually and/or romantically?  I see you wrote "gray-aromantic" so maybe it's just sexual?  I am wondering how you feel connected to the ace community if you have a drive that causes you to get attracted easily on some level.  Also, the jealousy of people without aphantasia because of wanting their experience, I am not sure if that is an ace experience?  Not to bust your chops, but I would like to understand your perspective more.

 

 

On 12/10/2018 at 8:43 PM, Marlow1 said:

HI @songchick

 

To date, I have not met anybody that has Aphantasia that have said they easily become attracted. Everybody that I have spoken to has said they believe that they are Asexual, grey sexual or a sexual person that only becomes attracted occasionally. Quite a few have said they have very little interest in pornography too, and some have said that without visuals they feel their ability to fantasize is limited too

 

Ok awesome for the poll, I cited it.  The percentage was about 45%, which is much higher than the estimated 2% in general society.  Thanks so much for your help and the sharing of your knowledge.  I'll post the article once it's up.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

 

 

I have aphantasia and become attracted to people, I even have fantasies. It's just that they're ideas and not images. I can't see images at all, just total black nothingness. Not even the splodges some people mention sometimes. I can't see anything. But I can still become attracted to people, appreciate appearance of some people (ie Benedict Cumberbatch though it took me a LONG time to be able to appreciate his appearance the way I do now), and I still most definitely have fantasies (not ones involving Cumberbatch though). I don't know.. I just connect to an inward feeling or idea, and it plays out for me as though someone was telling me a story. There's no actual images, but I'm being told what's happening from a third observer who has no voice, it's like I can sense the words as opposed to hearing them.

 

It also depends on how one is defining attraction. I can become attracted to women in about 1 second, it's just nothing over-the-moon, not romantic or anything. Just an ability to recognise her as beautiful and knowing I'd like how she'd look naked. I don't get that for men.

 

Oh I don't identify as ace by the way though, I'm just not that fussed on sex.

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GenericName
9 hours ago, songchick said:

Ooh, good to hear your account.  Although, how do you get attracted?  Sexually and/or romantically?  I see you wrote "gray-aromantic" so maybe it's just sexual?  I am wondering how you feel connected to the ace community if you have a drive that causes you to get attracted easily on some level.  Also, the jealousy of people without aphantasia because of wanting their experience, I am not sure if that is an ace experience?  Not to bust your chops, but I would like to understand your perspective more.

I've only ever really experienced sexual attraction, except for once. I feel connected to the asexual community due to the aromantic thing since they're often discussed under the same banner, and there is an aromantic subsection to the AVEN forums so here I am. Also, my exception to the rule of not getting romantically attracted is likely gray-asexual so I'm wrapping my head around that currently. I would not say being jealous of certain non-Aphantasic experiences was an ace thing at all; to my knowledge, I am not on the asexual spectrum. I mostly chimed in because the poster above me said they hadn't encountered anyone with Aphantasia that becomes easily attracted, and I do. Feel free to ask more questions if you need to, it's certainly a very interesting topic!

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Marlow1
On 12/16/2018 at 1:23 PM, GenericName said:

Sorry to ruin your track record, but I have Aphantasia and I become attracted very easily. That's the main reason I get jealous of people without Aphantasia to be honest, vivid fantasies sound fun. I actually wonder if my drive would be lower if I could fantasize properly.

Thank you for sharing this. Can I ask you, is your Aphantasia total, ie lacking all senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch etc. Are you experiencing emotions as you recall things, I mean literally from the time??? As opposed to simply getting feelings about your thoughts as you have them. And do you have a narrator voice in your head, I mean what sounds like your voice, you would probably call this you speaking to you?

 

The reason that I asking these things is that in addition to the lack of pictures folk with Aphantasia can lack all the above, this is calle Total Aphantasia. Or can have these other features of the minds eye going on for them, from slight all the way to very very strong

 

For me, my Aphantasia is total, I really am not experiencing much of any of the things mentioned above, which is, I guess, why I need to know somebody really well to become attracted. It has only ever been with one person for me. But once attracted to this person, I have for the most part been attracted to them strongly, and definately not to anybody else

 

I wish more research had been conducted regarding all this ie to see if there is a correlation with the level of Aphantasia, the different attributes of the condition and the levels and types of attraction

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songchick

Ok, so I've joined a few aphantasia support groups on Facebook.  I wrote a post inquiring whether aphantasia is correlated with asexuality, and all these people are actively posting that there is no correlation, and everyone has a sexuality that is expressed through different means, etc.  It's really bad because I then mentioned AVEN and what we talk about here, there possibly being a correlation, and people are just saying "Well, you're wrong, that's not me."  It really reminds me that the ace population is misunderstood, and almost considered like an alien plague-type of existence.  As is aphantasia?   I also have schizophrenia, so whoopie.

 

-_- I wrote about this on a page and one person thumbs up my status as the laughing face.  wtf.

 

I'm still writing my article for The Establishment about aphantasia and asexuality.  Fuck these people?  At least it will prompt a discussion.  I just feel sad because I'm trying to get support for the condition, and people are not being compassionate and caring.  What gives?  I mean, if someone feels sad or broken, shouldn't empathy be offered?  I have too many nice people in my life to feel bad about it anyway.

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kiaroskuro

 

13 hours ago, songchick said:

Ok, so I've joined a few aphantasia support groups on Facebook.  I wrote a post inquiring whether aphantasia is correlated with asexuality, and all these people are actively posting that there is no correlation, and everyone has a sexuality that is expressed through different means, etc.  It's really bad because I then mentioned AVEN and what we talk about here, there possibly being a correlation, and people are just saying "Well, you're wrong, that's not me."  It really reminds me that the ace population is misunderstood, and almost considered like an alien plague-type of existence.  As is aphantasia?   I also have schizophrenia, so whoopie.

I'm sorry to hear that those people were rude to you, really. But their opinion is valid, as well, and to me it doesn't sound as if they were belittling the ace community as a whole. I haven't read their posts, so of course I don't really know a thing about their attitude towards asexuals.

It's just a thought I wanted to share, because I as an ace don't believe in this correlation, either, like I wrote in this other thread of yours, 'Are sexual fantasies actually visual, sensory experiences?' (Please don't quote what I wrote so far.)

 

Then again, this poll would suggest that there is a correlation:

Either way, I'm looking forward to reading your article - I hope that you'll to post a link when it's published.

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Marlow1
On 12/18/2018 at 5:42 PM, songchick said:

Ok, so I've joined a few aphantasia support groups on Facebook.  I wrote a post inquiring whether aphantasia is correlated with asexuality, and all these people are actively posting that there is no correlation, and everyone has a sexuality that is expressed through different means, etc.  It's really bad because I then mentioned AVEN and what we talk about here, there possibly being a correlation, and people are just saying "Well, you're wrong, that's not me."  It really reminds me that the ace population is misunderstood, and almost considered like an alien plague-type of existence.  As is aphantasia?   I also have schizophrenia, so whoopie.

 

-_- I wrote about this on a page and one person thumbs up my status as the laughing face.  wtf.

 

I'm still writing my article for The Establishment about aphantasia and asexuality.  Fuck these people?  At least it will prompt a discussion.  I just feel sad because I'm trying to get support for the condition, and people are not being compassionate and caring.  What gives?  I mean, if someone feels sad or broken, shouldn't empathy be offered?  I have too many nice people in my life to feel bad about it anyway.

HI @songchick

 

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. In the past I have found that a lot of people do not really know what the Asexual Spectum is. Some folk think it simply means celibate, others think it means inabilty to have sex, and others think all kinds of things. 

 

When chatting with folk that have Aphantasia I usually ask them at what level they experience this, ie Is it just the visual aspect or are other senses involved? Do they have the voice? Can they relive their past? What feelings do they think they experience at a lower level than the general public? For me this one would be jealousy. And after getting a broader picture I might then explain that I am Demisexual and why I think this is interlinked with my 'Total' Aphantasia

 

I then briefly explain the Asexual Spectrum and what terms like Grey Sexual mean. And then I ask them if they think they might fall somewhere on the Spectrum, even adding in that some folk that I have met that have Aphanasia genuinely do not feel they fall on the Spectrum, class themselves as Sexuals, which I totally respect and understand, but also feel they do need to get to know a person to become attracted. This is common amongst the general public, not everybody becomes instantly attracted, and assuming that sexuals always do become instantaniously attracted is misleading, only certain sexuals experience this. But so far I have not met anybody that has Total Aphantasia that quickly becomes attracted. Perhaps folk with less severe forms of Aphantasia can!!!

 

Also, I have spoken to folk that experience full blown pictures, sounds, feelings, touch sensations in their bodies and so on. These folk that tell me that they can experience all this stuff sometimes say that their minds eye is 'overreactive', and that this is even of concern for them. A few folk that I spoke to recently at a meeting told me they were porn addicts. I mentioned the minds eye thing to them and they all said that they very strongly experience all the senses in their minds eye, plus feelings and touch sensations in the body too. They said their fantasies sometime almost match real life. This of course is alien to me, but I think it does illustratehow the minds eye might sometimes play a role regarding fantasy and attraction

 

Do please keep up the good work and keep us all informed with how you get on. It hhelped me no end when I realised that other people can see pictures in their minds and what that means for them

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