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Dawning

Problem with the Primary vs. secondary sexual attraction model

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Dawning

I already posted this in a different thread, but I think it deserves a thread of its own. If you choose to comment, please be respectful, refrain from personal attacks, and try to be constructive rather than denying people the right to pick a reasonable sexual orientation.

 

Here's some more food for thought: Many of the people who say that an asexual can't have desire, or libido, or feel sexual enjoyment, are referring to the following:

 

http://wiki.asexuality.org/Primary_vs._secondary_sexual_attraction_model

 

Primary vs. secondary sexual attraction model

This hypothetical model of sexuality takes the position that sexual attraction and desire can each be subdivided into "primary" and "secondary" forms:

  • Primary Sexual Attraction: A sexual attraction to people based on instantly available information (such as their appearance or smell) which may or may not lead to arousal or sexual desire.
  • Secondary Sexual Attraction: A sexual attraction that develops over time based on a person's relationship and emotional connection with another person.
  • Primary Sexual Desire: The desire to engage in sexual activity for the purposes of personal pleasure whether physical, emotional, or both.
  • Secondary Sexual Desire: The desire to engage in sexual activity for the purposes other than personal pleasure, such as the happiness of the other person involved or the conception of children.

It's illogical to add having no libido as a requirement for being asexual, when people of other orientations can have no libido, some libido, or huge libido, and still be gay or straight or whatever, but let's dig deeper. Here is the table that this model uses: 

 

Sexual Orientation Primary Attraction? Secondary Attraction? Primary Desire? Secondary Desire?
Sexual Yes Yes Yes Yes
Demisexual No Yes Yes Yes
Asexual No No No Yes

 

This table is supposed to make clear how we should categorize ourselves… but do you notice something missing here? What if you have any interest whatsoever in having orgasms that you don't have to produce with your own efforts, whether or not you feel desire per se, in other words an emotion or a feeling, or just an intellectual interest in an orgasmic experience with assistance, in the same way that you might eat a piece of chocolate not because you're hungry, not because you're craving it, but because it's available and it will produce a pleasant sensation? That would give us this:

 

Sexual Orientation Primary Attraction? Secondary Attraction? Primary Desire? Secondary Desire?
Sexual Yes Yes Yes Yes
Demisexual No Yes Yes Yes

Asexual

???????

No

NO

No

NO

No

YES

Yes

whatever

 

So what do we do with THAT? This model doesn't have a category for sex-positive aces, or what might more accurately be called orgasm-positive aces, in other words for people who NEVER FEEL SEXUAL ATTRACTION but are interested in sexual pleasure of some sort. Whether our interest is masturbation, assisted masturbation, fetish, or standard sexual interaction, if WE NEVER FEEL SEXUAL ATTRACTION, we are not represented by the current model.

 

What do we call the people in red above? Is it reasonable to create yet another sexual orientation, and then try to explain to the 99% majority why we need TWO different sexual orientations for people who never feel attraction to anyone? I contend that it's not, and that it would be equally unreasonable to call such people allosexual, meaning that they have to choose their orientation from those that explicitly DO experience sexual attraction, which by definition can't be right.

 

In the same way that people in prison who would never touch someone of their same gender on the outside will have sex with same-sex partners while behind bars and are still straight, you can be asexual and have sexual activity because you want release or pleasure and still remain ace. Sexual orientation is about who you feel attraction to, not who you get your orgasms from.

 

I'm sure that plenty of people will disagree... but the problem still remains about what the orientation is for the people in red. There is no allosexual orientation for people who feel no attraction, so either a whole new orientation needs to be created, or asexual is the only available answer. Which should it be?

 

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A. Sterling

Well, I have no idea. I'd be 'no' for all four of the options and that's not on there either. 

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MiffKeks

Maybe the model will get some re-working when more studying is done? I get what you're saying. Then again it's a model and it's kinda in their nature that they cannot show us everything in great detail and include everything that's possible. Maybe the concept of primary and/or secondary desire but without attraction isn't covered because it's not seen much on AVEN? It potentially just slipped under our noses because we don't turn our attention to it?

I'm not sure how regulations are for the wikia and changes on the pages. But communicating with "Rabger" is necessary, right? Since it's their model.

 

However, the article states that: " The term demisexual, under this model, tends to refer to people who experience only secondary sexual attraction; this attraction can result in primary sexual desire. Since asexuals experience neither primary nor secondary sexual attraction, they cannot experience primary sexual desire. However, since they can experience secondary sexual desire, this model accounts for the sexual behavior of some asexuals." So, expanding the model is not necessarily necessary, I'd say. Maybe changing the last "yes" to "differs" with a little "*" and shortly explaining what it means?

 

Well, I'd stick with Asexuality as spectrum. It's a lot of work and sometimes a little complicated to explain. But maybe it becomes easier when we learn that all sexual spectrums need some kind of explaining, actually.

 

But great job in analysing the model! 👍👏

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SithGirl

I feel this is going to devolve into a definition debate...

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Mysticus Insanus
2 hours ago, Dawning said:

There is no allosexual orientation for people who feel no attraction

Yes, there is - bi/pansexual.

 

And possibly gay and straight, too, depending on how exactly you define "feeling attraction". 

 

 

So, yeah, thread is pointless because of false premise. But we already know you'll never admit that. *shrug*

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CBC
2 hours ago, Dawning said:

standard sexual interaction

If someone desires "standard sexual interaction", they're not asexual.

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Whatsis

Well, maybe the question is, where do you see a meaningful difference? I for one see a chasm in actual lived experiences between asexuality ("no" across the board) and the rest of the (sexual) spectrum. While the difference between sexual "attraction" and "desire" as described in the OP, to me, seems fairly academic, not hugely consequential.

 

 

 

Also, I think "standard sexual interaction" is fucking hilarious... :lol:

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theV0ID

Pansexual. Or grey-sexual. There's no need to "create yet another sexual orientation", the labels already exists.

4 hours ago, Dawning said:

This model doesn't have a category for sex-positive aces, or what might more accurately be called orgasm-positive aces

Since orgasm can very easily be experienced via masturbation you don't need to experience primary desire or secondary desire to be "orgasm-positive", thus the model does have a category for "orgasm-positive" aces. 

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CBC
33 minutes ago, Whatsis said:

Also, I think "standard sexual interaction" is fucking hilarious... :lol:

I do love me some "standard sexual interaction", yeah. But since I think my girlfriend is beautiful, since I love who she is as a person... aka, I'm attracted to her... I'm not asexual. Definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I want and enjoy the sexual component of our relationship. Y'know, the "standard sexual interaction" that many asexuals also want. :lol: 

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Nowhere Girl
2 hours ago, CBC said:

If someone desires "standard sexual interaction", they're not asexual.

Than we should create a name for such people! A non-derogatory name, of course. (However, such people should also consider whether a decent person should tell a potential partner that "they feel as attracted to them as they are attracted to a dildo" [not mentioned here, but I have seen such statements from some people trying to explain the "desire without attraction" phenomenon. And by the way - TW: I feel real esthetic attraction to some sex toys in non-realistic, fantasy colours] - it's just hurtful.)

I'm on the opposite side of the divide - I consider myself to experience some kind of sexual attraction, but never sexual desire. That is, I may find someone attractive to the point of being aroused, but I cannot desire sex, I desire to never have sex because the idea of personally doing it feels terrifying. But I cannot ignore tha fact that there are people who consider themselves to experience desire without attraction.

Perhaps it is also pointless in some way - after all, it's a lie that "we are all the same", everyone is unique and so nobody's sexuality is the same as anyone else's sexuality. Labels are only an approximation. So there's no wonder that some untypical, seemingly illogical combinations such as attraction without desire and desire without attraction exist too. But maybe they deserve a name of their own. I consider attraction without desire to fit very well under the "effectively asexual" umbrella, but desire without attraction is quite the opposite and should be given a name.

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CBC
5 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

Than we should create a name for such people!

How about... sexual?

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Moon6Shadow
26 minutes ago, CBC said:

How about... sexual?

Well.... maybe we should, something like '[ace]sexual'? Something that says '[no attraction]sexual' rather then 'sex favourable ace' since that way the name includes 'sexual' not 'ace'.

 

Note: I say 'we' I mean the ones who actually present as such or try and run ideas past them to see if they like it at the very least. Also taking 'ace' out and including 'sexual' might spark a debate from their side of things... but there could also be 'grey[no attraction]sexual' etc which might help....? (Also just to clarify I'm thinking of it as a word for 'partnered sex' favorable aces.)

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KrysLost

Then call them a grey-sexual and get on with life. People have difference definitions for it and whatever anyways. Too much emphasis is put on labels. I've noticed some people who follow the definition of "does not desires partnered activity" (while also experiencing sexual attraction) are like this because of some kind of condition. To name a few: hormonal condition, fear (not a bad thing), dysphoria, and another found sex completely boring without kinks. I personally side with the no sexual attraction side more as these all feel more like a grey-sexual as they have some kind of sexual component. However, the people above could be describes as either a non-functional whatever sexual or functionally asexual. It's all a mess.

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Philip027
Quote

It's illogical to add having no libido as a requirement for being asexual, when people of other orientations can have no libido, some libido, or huge libido, and still be gay or straight or whatever,

I actually don't think someone who has literally zero libido can be anything but asexual.  Low libido, sure, but it doesn't compute in my mind for someone to have *zero* libido but still be oriented toward someone sexually, and nobody else that I've brought up this point with has been able to explain it either in a way that I find sufficient.

 

Of course they can be hetero/homo/whatever romantic still.

 

Quote

What do we call the people in red above?

IMO, sexual.

 

Also, "demisexual" isn't actually a sexual orientation.  Sexual orientation must dictate which sexes/genders one is sexually attracted to or otherwise desires sexual activity with, which demisexuality does not.  This is why asexuality technically can qualify as a sexual orientation (even though I don't typically think of it as one), because it is specifying "none of them"

 

Quote

I'm sure that plenty of people will disagree... but the problem still remains about what the orientation is for the people in red. There is no allosexual orientation for people who feel no attraction, so either a whole new orientation needs to be created, or asexual is the only available answer. Which should it be?

I take a third option: not defining sexual orientation solely by "sexual attraction", a term that has already proven to be quite nebulous and prone to countless interpretations.

 

You wanna fuck other people, you're sexual.  Simple.  That is what defines pretty much every sexual person on the planet, and best of all, it makes sense.  What doesn't make sense: trying to exploit every possible loophole you can find to keep calling yourself "asexual" when, when it comes down to it, you still ultimately desire sex with other people, just like... pretty much every sexual person on the planet does.  Let go of the whole "attraction" thing; it's a guideline, not a hard rule.

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maybeimamazed
3 hours ago, CBC said:

How about... sexual?

LMAO you're the best

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Iridium

As I've said before, we should just accept that labels are rough approximations, and that most people don't fit them perfectly.

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Spookchi Boonut

I can’t answer this without debating definitions. 🤷‍♀️

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Lucinda
8 hours ago, Dawning said:

Here's some more food for thought: Many of the people who say that an asexual can't have desire, or libido, or feel sexual enjoyment, are referring to the following

 

8 hours ago, Dawning said:

It's illogical to add having no libido as a requirement for being asexual

I am not aware that "no libido" is a requirement.  

 

Additionally, there is a difference between sexual desire and a desire to have partnered sex.

 

I would imagine that someone who is horny and wants an "orgasmic experience with assistance", yet doesn't have the personal toolkit to help them determine who will provide that assistance, would be sexually frustrated and an involuntary celibate?

 

Lucinda

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KrysLost

what if people just said they were grey-spec or ace-spec (which i disagree is a thing but whatever) instead of worrying about all the other stupid shit.

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Janus DarkFox

I’d say anything in that model that’s a yes all fits the wider grey area to me.

 

Having 0 of 4 as well, I can’t see much else with my own Asexuality, any hint of sexuality is not Asexuality for me.  Interesting model to fit romance as well.

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HikaruBG

Hng... This will turn into another debate definition.

The model as a whole is stated to be hypothetical so at best, you should take it with a grain of salt.

I personally think that the model should clarified even futher but that's probably just me.

 

Also, OP, none has ever said that it's a requirement to have no libido for being asexual.

I mean, there are countless of posts here, where ace people have shared the fact that they do have libido (be it average or high) and that they may or may not take care of it on their own... so no, I don't think that that requirement is in present.

 

That aside, I think if you require assistance from someone for taking care of your libido because doing it on your own isn't enough for some reason, that would count as being sexual...

 

The only way for me to imagine for asexual to need that kind of assistance from someone is if they somehow injured, broke or lost both their arms and are unable to do it themselves (that's meant to be taken as a joke... a very crude joke at that). Otherwise, normally they wouldn't opt for that.

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Marlow1

I have just been commenting about this same model on another thread. I have said that not experiencing sexual attraction and not wanting partnered sex might sometimes be referred to as Aroace, but I am now thinking that I have gotten this wrong. Please can anybody clarify for me if this is correct and if not does anybody know what the correct term might be? 

 

 

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Galactic Turtle
13 minutes ago, Marlow1 said:

I have just been commenting about this same model on another thread. I have said that not experiencing sexual attraction and not wanting partnered sex might sometimes be referred to as Aroace, but I am now thinking that I have gotten this wrong. Please can anybody clarify for me if this is correct and if not does anybody know what the correct term might be? 

 

 

Being aro ace means you don't experience sexual or romantic attraction.

 

This basically means they would would not have an inherent desire for sex or a romantic relationship but of course with a million labels and opinions on what attraction is, this is as often the case as it is not. Some people who ID as aro aces are married with kids and have a perfectly normal sex life. *shrugs* 

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Charna
On 9/18/2019 at 8:41 AM, A. Sterling said:

Well, I have no idea. I'd be 'no' for all four of the options and that's not on there either. 

Second this.

Also, the desire to have children has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation, I just don't see the point of including it in this context.

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Marlow1
2 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

Being aro ace means you don't experience sexual or romantic attraction.

 

This basically means they would would not have an inherent desire for sex or a romantic relationship but of course with a million labels and opinions on what attraction is, this is as often the case as it is not. Some people who ID as aro aces are married with kids and have a perfectly normal sex life. *shrugs* 

Yes, my after thoughts were this what you are saying here. I don't think there is a term. Non-libidoist crossed my mind, but that is more than no attraction or desire, I think???

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Galactic Turtle
13 minutes ago, Marlow1 said:

Yes, my after thoughts were this what you are saying here. I don't think there is a term. Non-libidoist crossed my mind, but that is more than no attraction or desire, I think???

Non-libidoist means you don't have a libido. As in, your body doesn't get aroused (typically leading people to want to masturbate). I also happen to not have a libido. There are people in the world who do experience attraction and do desire sex but their libido is absent all of a sudden. That's when they take Viagra. :P

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Marlow1

Yes, I had no libido until I was 35 years old, and I lost it again when I had my brain hemorrhage. It is back now but I still have very limited attraction

 

I can make more sense of what I am saying when I speak about myself but when I am talking generally I get confused sometimes, and I get terms mixed up. I think that might well be what I am doing right now.

 

I did think there was a term for an Asexual that did not experience either attraction or desire but I might be mistaken. I guess it does not really matter, just feels frustrating that I can remember the term if there is one. 

 

Thanks for replying to my post, your share has helped me clarify a few things. I will explain on the other thread the struggle that I am having remembering the term for this

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Lucinda

QPR??

 

Lucinda

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Nowhere Girl
5 hours ago, Marlow1 said:

I have just been commenting about this same model on another thread. I have said that not experiencing sexual attraction and not wanting partnered sex might sometimes be referred to as Aroace, but I am now thinking that I have gotten this wrong. Please can anybody clarify for me if this is correct and if not does anybody know what the correct term might be?

Aroace (or, usually, aro ace) means someone who is both aromantic and asexual. Just that. But whether or not one experiences sexual attraction and/or desire has nothing to do with that. It's fully possible to be alloromantic, feel no sexual attraction and not desire sex.

3 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

There are people in the world who do experience attraction and do desire sex but their libido is absent all of a sudden. That's when they take Viagra. :P

Not really. Viagra doesn't increase libido, it only works on a very specific physical part of arousal. Men can, for several reasons (such as simply age), feel aroused, desire sex, but be unable to achieve/sustain an erection. This is the situation in which viagra can be helpful.

This is, also, exactly why drugs messing with women's desire, such as infamous filbanserin, cannot be compared to viagra. Viagra is not psychoactive, it only works on a particular physical, or even "mechanical" aspect of arousal. It's not a drug without its risks (it was particularly known for being risky for men with some cardiovascular problems - spoiler below for a little joke which may be annoying because it needs some explanation, it can't be translated 1:1)

Spoiler

The Polish verb "stanąć" can be translated as "stand up" or "come to a stand". So in one shade of meaning it can refer to an erection (if just the masculine past tense is used - "stanął" - it's usually clear that it refers to the penis), in another to something stopping, ceasing to work. This ambiguity was the source of a joke:

- What does a man with a heart disease think before taking viagra?

- Which one will stand first?

- compared to that, "female viagra" messes up much more in a woman's thoughtfeeling. A man taking viagra wants to have sex, but can't (at least can't have some forms of sex and it's anyway good to remember that sex doesn't have to be penetrative...). A woman typically doesn't want, she may want to want, but then again: is it her free wish, or rather sociocultural pressure about being expected to enjoy sex and about sexless relationships being pitiful and invalid... Sure, the same objections may be raised with regard to men: does a man truly want sex, or is he just afraid that by no longer having sex he would lose his "masculinity"? But anyway, the female non-equivalent of viagra is a much more serious drug, so pushing women to take it is also a more serious intrusion...

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Dawning
11 hours ago, Marlow1 said:

... I did think there was a term for an Asexual that did not experience either attraction or desire but I might be mistaken. I guess it does not really matter, just feels frustrating that I can remember the term if there is one...

I don't think there's a specific term for that… And that's part of the problem, because that exact category of people is trying to claim that they are the only ones who should be called asexuals, and everybody else should be called something else... Never mind that there it is no other term describing people who NEVER feel sexual attraction, nor should there need to be.

 

Here's an interesting article:

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201309/sex-the-no-libido-credo

 

Here's a quote from David Jay himself from that article: ""Most aces are sex-neutral," Jay says. "Given a good reason, it can be a thing that we can learn to enjoy, even if we're not enjoying it in the same way as our partner is.""

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