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santanico

Asexual and celibate at the same time?

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santanico

I understand that many asexuals have good reasons to dislike sex - but does that make them celibates? In this thread we are having a discussion wether someone can be asexual and celibate at the same time. I doubt that.

Consider this analogy: You know a person who doesn't take alcohol and therefore doesn't like it. If I'm not mistaken, many asian people don't take it indeed. If this person claims to abstain from alcohol because it is not healthy, you would'nt say this person is an abstainer, because he/she doesn't like alcohol in the first place.

My point is: You can not abstain from something, that you are not able to have in the first place. That's why an asexual cannot be also a celibate. However, this argument is based on the assumption that most asexuals are not able to have sex, or at least not able to enjoy sex (which is also still in discussion here).

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luigifred
I understand that many asexuals have good reasons to dislike sex - but does that make them celibates? In this thread we are having a discussion wether someone can be asexual and celibate at the same time. I doubt that.

Consider this analogy: You know a person who doesn't take alcohol and therefore doesn't like it. If I'm not mistaken, many asian people don't take it indeed. If this person claims to abstain from alcohol because it is not healthy, you would'nt say this person is an abstainer, because he/she doesn't like alcohol in the first place.

My point is: You can not abstain from something, that you are not able to have in the first place. That's why an asexual cannot be also a celibate. However, this argument is based on the assumption that most asexuals are not able to have sex, or at least not able to enjoy sex (which is also still in discussion here).

What do you mean? Asexuals often abstain from sex. It is not something they are physically unable to perform, like if your penis was chopped off, it is a lifestyle that is CHOSEN. Thus, abstaining.

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santanico
What do you mean? Asexuals often abstain from sex. It is not something they are physically unable to perform, like if your penis was chopped off, it is a lifestyle that is CHOSEN. Thus, abstaining.

So, are you able to have sex? Do you get an erection when trying it? Do you even get aroused? If so and you still abstain from having sex, you're a celibate aren't you?

If asexuality is chosen and it even is a lifestyle - maybe I'm completely wrong in this place :mellow:

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Shoes

I... this feels like semantic chopping, but I'll play along. Would you say that gay people are hetero-celibate? A much closer question in that the "enjoyment" of sex by asexuals is much more closely linked to the enjoyment of heterosexual relations by homosexuals than to other plausible comparisons.

But even that's a loaded question: present values say hetero/homo/a-sexuality are innate or unchangeable or whatever you choose to call it. Saying that, say, gay men are heterocelibate would be.. inaccurate or misleading, and yet not as inaccurate as giving them no label at all.

In the same way: Asexual and celibate are not mutually exclusive terms, but their strict meanings either imply or exclude the other quite clearly upon close inspection. An asexual person is not celibate in the same way a gay male who does not have sex with women is not 'heterocelibate'. A misleading term for him, and thus I would relegate such things to "word-chopping".

A celibate man could not possibly be assumed to be asexual. I am a firm believer in the idea that unless it is a two-way dichotomy it cannot be a firm truth, so I would argue this is plainly false.

EDIT: In response to your latest post, santanico, it's not [necessarily] a lack of arousal that defines asexuals. You should first understand that the term 'asexual' is a bit of an umbrella term which can represent anything from flat (no sexual drive and no sexual attraction) to (partially functioning [a or b] and fully functioning [a or b])

Thus, you'll have people who do experience erections during sex but are unconcerned with their "target"; people who get erections but have no urge for any kind of sex even given that arousal; people who don't get erections but feel the need for that kind of closeness; people who don't get erections and don't care for that closeness.

So.. if you have a question aimed at one of these groups, you might want to clarify that; you also might want to post a new topic, with a poll, with a title clearly inviting that group (possibly with a disclaimer about it being graphic, if appropriate.)

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luigifred
What do you mean? Asexuals often abstain from sex. It is not something they are physically unable to perform, like if your penis was chopped off, it is a lifestyle that is CHOSEN. Thus, abstaining.

So, are you able to have sex? Do you get an erection when trying it? Do you even get aroused? If so and you still abstain from having sex, you're a celibate aren't you?

If asexuality is chosen and it even is a lifestyle - maybe I'm completely wrong in this place :mellow:

Yes, i am able to have sex. I have had almost 200 sexual partners in my lifetime. Now, however, the urge is completely gone. Not just gone, it kind of repulses me. It is a lifestyle I am happy with. Perhaps it is a choice, because I guess I could choose to go bang someone! But I don't. Maybe it is not a choice--I don't know. Cancer is not a choice. Homosexuality is not a choice. I am not sure what MY version of this "delayed onset" asexuality is, but I know that I am feeling it and that is exists! Some other people who identify as asexual say they have been that way all along. That is not my case, however. I guess I am consciously abstaining from the physical act of sex. That's the best way I can describe it. Sorry I am not more schooled on the subject.

Luigifred

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Shoes
[...]

Luigifred

That's actually tremendously interesting - sorry for any derail of the thread, I just felt compelled to thank Luigifred for this post.

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luigifred
[...]

Luigifred

That's actually tremendously interesting - sorry for any derail of the thread, I just felt compelled to thank Luigifred for this post.

Thank YOU for thanking me!! :)

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santanico
Yes, i am able to have sex. I have had almost 200 sexual partners in my lifetime. Now, however, the urge is completely gone.

This would make you asexual, I guess.

I guess I am consciously abstaining from the physical act of sex.

This is celibate, though. But it's absolutely OK not to be sure if one's is asexual or not.

It is a lifestyle I am happy with.

I have a problem with the term 'lifestyle' :) Homosexuality has his own subculture, but it is not a lifestyle. Heterosexuality is not a lifestyle. And neither is asexuality a lifestyle.

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SlightlyMetaphysical

A lot of asexuals can and do have sex. If one of these asexuals were to decide not to have sex, they would be asexual and celibate.

Asexual=orientation

Celibate=behaviour

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santanico
A lot of asexuals can and do have sex.

A lot of asexuals do have sex? Do you mean this literally? :mellow:

In response to your latest post, santanico, it's not [necessarily] a lack of arousal that defines asexuals.

OK, I am aware that many asexuals are capable of having sex. For instance most asexual women should be capable of that. I am also aware that many asexuals do feel arousel. Maybe, I'm still not sure, they even feel arousal when having sexual intercourse. But if they do - this arousal is not pleasant then. I mean an asexual is not capable to have pleasant feelings while having intercourse (apart from the good feeling from satisfying his partner).

My understanding of asexuality is, that an asexual can not enjoy sexual intercourse with a man or a woman. Just as an heterosexual won't enjoy sex with a same-gender person. If a heterosexual is capable to enjoy sex with a same-gender-person but chooses not to do so, he is in fact bisexual not heterosexual. He is simply 'homo-celibate'.

So, if someone can enjoy sex, but chooses not to do so (maybe because it is disgusting to him) he ist not asexual but celibate. But if someone cannot enjoy intercourse (because it is disgusting to him for instance) he then is asexual.

I'm afraid we might need more terms than just 'asexuality'. Maybe we should go back and use type-A-asexuality, type-B-asexuality etc. :mellow:

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SlightlyMetaphysical
A lot of asexuals do have sex? Do you mean this literally? :mellow:

Yep. Can't be bothered to write the same essay twice in one day, so I'll quote myself from another thread:

You've never had sex, yet you like it? How do you define yourself as asexual? I'm curious, in what way do you think you are asexual? I don't mean to be antagonistic or rude I want to understand.

No, that's fine. I think the misunderstanding comes from me defining asexual as a lack of sexual attraction (towards people) and you seeming to define it as a lack of interest in sex. Adopting that definition, it would be a paradox for an asexual to like sex.

There are some threads here and over at apositive which talk about a study in which scientists list the top 3 hundred and something reasons people gave for having sex. It's not very accurate, but "Because I sexually desired that person", in whatever form, only came up four or five times. Therefore, by my definition, an asexual could have any of the other 3 hundred and something reasons to have sex. Thinking of the top reasons from my mind, to express love, to get to know that person, to have a baby, for fun. None of these have much to do with sexually desiring that person. You may not think me a 'proper' asexual for this, if so, please tell me, I'd love to debate this with someone, but the sign on the door said asexuals were people who aren't sexually attracted to people (or aught else), and I fit that bill.

On a side note, there are two reasons (apart from for my own inclusiveness) that I chose my definition. The first is that there is a lot of understanding at the moment for orientations, and asexuality has this place all ready to slot into besides hetero homo and bisexuality in people's minds. The second is that there are, and this site is proof of it, people like me who have no sexual attraction but like sex. Asexuality is an answer for us to the orientation question, which seems so important in modern society, and restricting the definition eliminates people who still fall under the banner of asexuality as an orientation, and will once again have no labels for themselves.

Oh, and I see that I haven't yet answered your first question. In essence, I can tell that I would probably like sex in the same way that straight (or any other orientation) people know they're straight without having to prove it. People can tell that they wouldn't like sex without trying it, it's also possible to tell that you would like it without trying it.

Asexuality is, first and foremost, an orientation, and orientations deal with sexual attraction, not libedo. Asexuality is basically there to fill the gap in the orientation question that essentially means "All of the above".

In that I disagree. If we were to say that then I am heterosexual. My, physical attraction orientation is toward females. But I have no wish to fornicate with them.

I don't asexuality is an orientation.... Not in that sense.

That's exactly what I mean. Asexuality, as defined by AVEN, and the vast majority of AVENites in a recent poll*, is "lack of sexual attraction". This puts it firmly within the orientations.

Asexuality, to my mind, is not not wanting sex. Though, for obvious reasons, the two things often go hand in hand.

*though it was set up by a troll, so it may have affected the results just a little

Not sure how much sense I've made here, feel free to ask for clarification.

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Shadow girl

My aunt is. Shes a nun and has been for over 50 years. I introduced her to the subject and she said it fit her.

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Adm_Twister_JCOM

I'm asexual and refrain from all forms of sexual activity. I find it simplifies my life.

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zoidberger

OK... let's see if I can explain this correctly for myself.

I am an heteromantic asexual (of sorts, I don't fully box myself in this ID). I am not physically attracted to anyone and sex is the last thing on my mind when thinking about relationships or significant others. I do still have emotional attraction and attraction to personalities though. I think if I ended up in a serious relationship that after awhile I would probably try sex but it certainly does not have the same connotations and draw as it does most other people in society.

I think the definition for celibacy involves the mindset and desire for sex, though these people sort of have the chastity belts. They can be completely attracted to people sexually, though make their own choice not to act on it.

In this way, I am not celibate. I do not have that desire, thus I am not actively avoiding it.

It sounds like your definition of celibacy could be easily manipulated into saying everyone who is not in a sexual relationship is celibate. If someone doesn't want or need something that does not mean they are actively making a choice to avoid it.

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ily
However, this argument is based on the assumption that most asexuals are not able to have sex, or at least not able to enjoy sex (which is also still in discussion here).

I don't understand where this assumption is coming from. I've been on AVEN a pretty long time, and it's been discussed a lot-- for most of us, the parts seem to work...we just don't have any desire to use them for sex.

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AVENCakes
I think the definition for celibacy involves the mindset and desire for sex, though these people sort of have the chastity belts. They can be completely attracted to people sexually, though make their own choice not to act on it

I went over this in that thread. Most definitions don't involve a desire. They seem to actually involve marriage and religion. Wikipedia specifically mentions that asexuality can be a motivation for celibacy, including "Celibacy refers to the lack of participation in sexual intercourse. A vow of celibacy is a promise not to have sex and not to enter into marriage. The term involuntary celibacy has recently appeared to describe a chronic, unwilling state of celibacy. Sometimes the word is also defined as the state of being unmarried."

Motivations, according to wiki:

Religious beliefs, e.g. Clerical celibacy, sannyasa.

To focus energies on other matters, like one's career or social issues, e.g. sublimation.

To cultivate a relationship according to an ideal of chastity.

A distaste or lack of appetite for sex, e.g. asexuality or antisexualism.

An inability to form a sexual relationship, e.g. involuntary celibacy.

Perceived benefit of alteration of physiological factors, e.g. hormonal changes.

As an attempt to regain a sense of self and independence from others.

Medical limitations, e.g. medical celibacy.

Avoiding risk of venereal disease.

Avoiding being emotionally hurt.

As a means of birth control.

Avoiding prosecution, e.g. for homosexual relations under sodomy laws.

Please, someone, SHOW ME A LINK where someone says that celibacy involves desiring to and still choosing not to: I have not found any.

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Snap-Dragon

"Celibacy" is merely a lack of (sexual) action. It doesn't matter why a person doesn't take this action, or even if it's a struggle. So yeah, asexuals can be celibate. They can also be virgins. :P

A lot of asexuals can and do have sex.

A lot of asexuals do have sex? Do you mean this literally? :mellow:

Yeah, literally. There are asexuals in relationships with sexuals who have sex on a fairly regular basis. And, actually, asexuals can get pleasure from sex; it doesn't necessarily hurt them or something. There have been asexuals like that around here. There's nothing that says arousal has to be unpleasant, or that an asexual can't experience pleasure from the actual act. 8)

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Sally
Please, someone, SHOW ME A LINK where someone says that celibacy involves desiring to and still choosing not to: I have not found any.

It has nothing to do with desire, or lack thereof. It has to do with NOT HAVING sex.

Merriam Webster definition:

Main Entry: cel·i·ba·cy

Pronunciation: \ˈse-lə-bə-sē\

Function: noun

Date: 1646

1: the state of not being married

2 a: abstention from sexual intercourse b: abstention by vow from marriage

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AVENCakes
It has nothing to do with desire, or lack thereof. It has to do with NOT HAVING sex.

Yes, but people keep saying it has to do with desiring and not acting on it or some such, I can't figure out where they're getting this.

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zoidberger

Interesting...

I think the term "celibacy" has had it's definition transformed more towards the idea of abstinence at least with the people I interact with.

Here's a quote from the Sexual Abstinence wiki page:

Abstinence is often viewed as an act of self-control over the natural desire to have sex. The display of the strength of character allows the abstainer to set an example for those not able to contain their "base urges." At other times, abstinence has been seen as a great social ill practiced by those who refuse to engage with the material and physical world. Some groups that propose sexual abstinence consider it an essential means to reach a particular intellectual or spiritual condition, or that chastity allows one to achieve a required self-control or a self-consciousness.

I feel like that definition of celibacy is just not a modern understanding of the word, but maybe I'm wrong.

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AVENCakes
Interesting...

I think the term "celibacy" has had it's definition transformed more towards the idea of abstinence at least with the people I interact with.

Here's a quote from the Sexual Abstinence wiki page:

Abstinence is often viewed as an act of self-control over the natural desire to have sex. The display of the strength of character allows the abstainer to set an example for those not able to contain their "base urges." At other times, abstinence has been seen as a great social ill practiced by those who refuse to engage with the material and physical world. Some groups that propose sexual abstinence consider it an essential means to reach a particular intellectual or spiritual condition, or that chastity allows one to achieve a required self-control or a self-consciousness.

I feel like that definition of celibacy is just not a modern understanding of the word, but maybe I'm wrong.

We're not talking about abstinence, we're talking about celibacy. Abstinence, yes, has that implication. Celibacy does not.

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zoidberger
Interesting...

I think the term "celibacy" has had it's definition transformed more towards the idea of abstinence at least with the people I interact with.

Here's a quote from the Sexual Abstinence wiki page:

Abstinence is often viewed as an act of self-control over the natural desire to have sex. The display of the strength of character allows the abstainer to set an example for those not able to contain their "base urges." At other times, abstinence has been seen as a great social ill practiced by those who refuse to engage with the material and physical world. Some groups that propose sexual abstinence consider it an essential means to reach a particular intellectual or spiritual condition, or that chastity allows one to achieve a required self-control or a self-consciousness.

I feel like that definition of celibacy is just not a modern understanding of the word, but maybe I'm wrong.

We're not talking about abstinence, we're talking about celibacy. Abstinence, yes, has that implication. Celibacy does not.

I hear you, but what I'm saying is that in my corner of the world, celibacy has the same implications... at least I think it does.

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Aimeendfire

^--- I agree.. celibacy and abstinence have been thrown together so much that it confuses me...and therefore my brain is still having trouble with the concept being a celibate asexual .

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AVENCakes
We're not talking about abstinence, we're talking about celibacy. Abstinence, yes, has that implication. Celibacy does not.

I hear you, but what I'm saying is that in my corner of the world, celibacy has the same implications... at least I think it does.

I'm not sure what it has in this corner of the world. Or any corner. There needs to be a list of implications, because those are really hard to tell.

I do know people who got abstinence and asexuality confused, though, which is a problem even if you don't say you're a celibate asexual. I once found out a friend who self-identified as asexual wasn't after spending half an hour explaining that Bruce Banner isn't asexual- he just couldn't have sex without risking going Hulk so he didn't. I then got to explain that asexuals can choose to have sex, so not having sex doesn't make someone ase and having sex doesn't make someone sexual. <_<

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ProdeFemme
In this way, I am not celibate. I do not have that desire, thus I am not actively avoiding it.

That's sorta how I feel too. But I wouldn't denounce any ace who wanted to specify that, I'm sure many feel it's worthy of distinction and that's fine. It's just that asexuality as it pertains to myself doesn't really involve having to make a conscious choice about not having sex. Much like shoving needles in my eyeball, I guess if you want to get technical I choose not to do that either but I've never really had to make a recognized effort about it so it doesn't cross my mind to point it out.

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waterbear

As I see it:

Celibate - Can mean either "does not have sex" or "intentionally does not have sex".

Abstinence - Usually means "willfully does not have sex".

Per the above definitions any asexual not partaking in sex can consider himself/herself celibate if he/she wants to be considered celibate. It's also possible for an asexual to consider himself/herself abstinent as an asexual may want to have sex for reasons other than sexual attraction, refusing sex in such circumstances qualifies as abstinence for an asexual.

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Sally

Then we can throw "chastity" in there if we really want to get confused definitions. That's probably used more in a religious context, though.

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santanico
Motivations, according to wiki:

...

A distaste or lack of appetite for sex, e.g. asexuality or antisexualism.

...

The reason why I started this thread is, that I just don't get how someone can be asexual and abstain from sex at the same time. So I'm fine with this definiton.

Yes, but people keep saying it has to do with desiring and not acting on it or some such, I can't figure out where they're getting this.

The huge majority of people is not even aware that there is something like asexuality or that someone might simply do not care about sex. People think 'Everybody has a desire to have sex, thus celibacy is abstinence'.

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PollyB
Motivations, according to wiki:

...

A distaste or lack of appetite for sex, e.g. asexuality or antisexualism.

...

The reason why I started this thread is, that I just don't get how someone can be asexual and abstain from sex at the same time. So I'm fine with this definition.

The more I read this thread, the more bewildered I get about how you two are both reading others' comments.

Even if you take Wikipedia as more reliable than Merriam Webster, which is an odd thing to do, part of the definition RDraconis quoted was: "Celibacy refers to the lack of participation in sexual intercourse. A vow of celibacy is a promise not to have sex and not to enter into marriage." followed by a list of twelve possible motivations of which you, Santanico, have taken one out of context, which won't help your argument.

Most people on the thread seem to be saying celibacy is a word which once referred to a vow to remain unmarried, but has come to mean the same thing as sexual abstention, whether or not desire is present - I thnk only Santanico is saying the presence of desire makes a difference. It has already been pointed out that not all asexuals (according to the Aven definition) abstain from sex, for all kinds of reasons. We are a hugely diverse community here, most of whom have at some point defined ourselves as not experiencing sexual attraction. Having reached that conclusion, we then make a lot of other choices about what to do about it.

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Parth

Ok, I just thought that celibacy was a lack of sex... having.

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