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Dankeshun123

Theory about "Asexuality"

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Dankeshun123

Hello AVEN community.

Before I begin, I'd just like to explain me putting the word "Asexuality" in quotation marks.

I'm not a fan of labels, simply. For one, they have proven to be quite sticky; take people who are admitted to psychiatric wards for example. Second, the definition of a label is almost like a model - this is what this is, to be it, you have to be like this, if you're not then you're not etc. Finally, terms like Heterosexual and Homosexual are broad, sweeping terms for collections of very complicated things. So, when we look at a topic as mysterious as sexuality, it's better to avoid labels wherever possible, wouldn't you agree?

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about, was my theory of sexuality. I'm an admirer of the famous Sex Psychologist, Alfred Kinsey. He was probably the first person to really question people assumptions about sexuality and discover huge differences in what people said to their friends/colleagues/family to how they actually have acted or thought sexually.

If you are interested in looking at his research, I thoroughly recommend you take a look, it was groundbreaking stuff for his time.

Kinsey conducted a massive experiment, traveling with a team he specially trained himself, to interview people all over the U.S.A. What made his interviews different from most normal conversations people have about sex, these experiments were tailored to get the truth from people and make them feel comfortable about exposing their true sides in every way possible. What he found was (this is the interesting part) is that by the descriptions and retelling of sexual fantasies and experiences the interviewees spoke about, there were actually more Bisexual people than any other orientation.

Now this makes a hell of a lot of sense when you mull this over like I have. Look back at history. Ancient Greeks were predominantly bisexual, and it was accepted. Ancient Rome: Bisexuality existed but was discouraged because of religion (mostly). These are just a few examples of Bisexuality that dates back.

What does this have to do with Asexuality you ask? Well, its all in the cognition. As Kinsey highlighted in his research, what people say, and what people actually think are different most of the time. Lets just say that we are cave men. So here we are in our animal skin loincloths, sitting around in our cave. We've evolved to the point of primal organisation, so we live in a cave of lets say 5 cave men and 5 cave women. Ug the caveman is aroused, and attempts to get jiggy with Bog, another caveman. Is anyone going to care? No. Because bigotry has not been thought of yet and neither has labels. Pof sees the two cavemen, and she decides to get jiggy with Yok, a caveman. Pof becomes pregnant, resulting in a baby. While some people would claim "Ug and Bog had unnatural intercourse, while Yok and Pof had natural sex, producing a child." Wrong. Ug was satisfied from his spur of the moment encounter with Bog, as was Pof with Yok. As unselfish as we think we are, we still are in the market to (mostly) satisfy our own wants before thinking of others.

My idea is, is that we all started with a very broad sexuality that could be satisfied by just about anything (people, objects even different species of animal). It was only when society began to decide to make rules about what is normal and what is not did categories begin to emerge. People are mostly conditioned to be Heterosexual. To condition someones most primal, most private desires is a very hard thing to do, as we learn through thoughts or actions being reinforced or punished (even when we or others don't realise it!). This is where I go back to the point about Kinsey finding people were mostly lying in everyday life about their desires. A man may lust after sex with a woman, but he also lusts after certain things surrounding the sex (certain types of kissing, use of material or objects during sex). Also, this man is finding he sometimes aroused by young men with good looks or a certain type of hair for example. He may have Heterosexual sex, possibly with the added "fetishes" too, but he chooses to not fufil his desires towards young men, as he feels embarrassed or feels he would not be accepted. This man, in our society, would be classed as Heterosexual purely because of his actions. This is where you might ask yourself, what makes someone who they are: they way they think or what they do? The answer should be both, yet people find it easier to supress the unusual or unaccepted just to have an easier life, which is understandable.

Asexuality to me should work no different. While Asexuals have a sex drive, it isn't attatched to people. Arousal appears to be from only biological causes or from the individuals other desires that don't include people. While some peoples sexuality has been narrowed down and split and chiseled by accidental or purposeful conditioning, Asexual's sexuality seems to have been either suppressed, attached to something they may not even realise it's attatched to, or sexual behaviour for some reason has been learned as a negative thing and has really ingrained itself in their heads whether they realise or not.

Apologies for the long post, but there was a lot to say.

A little about me, my real name is James. I live in New Zealand and I'm 17 years old. Last year I completed both Cambridge Psychology courses in the same year (AS & A2) and am now moving on to University to do a Double Major in Psychology and Criminology. Since puberty I haven't experienced sexual desire towards people, and like so many others I thought I was the only one till I found this website last year. I have always had a huge interest in Psychology and I'm constantly looking at theories, research and experiments to help further my knowledge of the subject.

Thank you so much for reading, I would love to know what you think.

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live wire

Quick notes:

when we look at a topic as mysterious as sexuality, it's better to avoid labels wherever possible, wouldn't you agree?

Yes.

these experiments were tailored to get the truth from people and make them feel comfortable about exposing their true sides in every way possible.

I'd like to know more about this. How exactly were the interviews different from everyday conversation? If it's possible to talk publicly on AVEN using the same method(s) and could that help people better understand a/sexuality?

there were actually more Bisexual people than any other orientation.

Indeed, sexuality has been seen as a bell curve for quite some time. Asexuality can be viewed on the scale by making it a 3D graph:

X axis = Orientation scale (hetero at one extreme, homo at the other)

Y axis = Number of people

Z axis = Level of sexuality - how sexual people are, going into infinity with asexual being 0, again most people will fit in the middle somewhere.

Look back at history.

*snip*

I like your cave people names. :D

While Asexuals have a sex drive,

Some. Some asexual people have sex drives, not all.

Thoughts After Reading

Overall I agree with the main point that a lot of people will fall fowl of social norms and suppress their most faint desires rather than risk the assuming masses to label them immoral/weird/etc. but I think this might be crossing over into "no sex please, we're British" territory. I'm willing to accept that the "sex drive" as an entity can be linked to non-sexual things but I think it can also not be linked to anything at all.

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Cazz333
My idea is, is that we all started with a very broad sexuality that could be satisfied by just about anything (people, objects even different species of animal). It was only when society began to decide to make rules about what is normal and what is not did categories begin to emerge. People are mostly conditioned to be Heterosexual. To condition someones most primal, most private desires is a very hard thing to do, as we learn through thoughts or actions being reinforced or punished (even when we or others don't realise it!). This is where I go back to the point about Kinsey finding people were mostly lying in everyday life about their desires. A man may lust after sex with a woman, but he also lusts after certain things surrounding the sex (certain types of kissing, use of material or objects during sex). Also, this man is finding he sometimes aroused by young men with good looks or a certain type of hair for example. He may have Heterosexual sex, possibly with the added "fetishes" too, but he chooses to not fufil his desires towards young men, as he feels embarrassed or feels he would not be accepted. This man, in our society, would be classed as Heterosexual purely because of his actions. This is where you might ask yourself, what makes someone who they are: they way they think or what they do? The answer should be both, yet people find it easier to supress the unusual or unaccepted just to have an easier life, which is understandable.

Asexuality to me should work no different. While Asexuals have a sex drive, it isn't attatched to people. Arousal appears to be from only biological causes or from the individuals other desires that don't include people. While some peoples sexuality has been narrowed down and split and chiseled by accidental or purposeful conditioning, Asexual's sexuality seems to have been either suppressed, attached to something they may not even realise it's attatched to, or sexual behaviour for some reason has been learned as a negative thing and has really ingrained itself in their heads whether they realise or not.

True. Probably how demisexuals exist, they need a very specific set of nedds that need to be fulfilled. Like a person with a certain smell, a certain environment which the above person has.

Indeed, sexuality has been seen as a bell curve for quite some time. Asexuality can be viewed on the scale by making it a 3D graph:

X axis = Orientation scale (hetero at one extreme, homo at the other)

Y axis = Number of people

Z axis = Level of sexuality - how sexual people are, going into infinity with asexual being 0, again most people will fit in the middle somewhere.

Overall I agree with the main point that a lot of people will fall fowl of social norms and suppress their most faint desires rather than risk the assuming masses to label them immoral/weird/etc. but I think this might be crossing over into "no sex please, we're British" territory. I'm willing to accept that the "sex drive" as an entity can be linked to non-sexual things but I think it can also not be linked to anything at all.

I'd probably be a 1 or a 0.5 on the Z axis and a 4 towards heterosexual on the X axis. It makes sense that sexx drives can be just a biological function with no non-sexual attractions, that is if you're asexual.

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Sally

Interesting post. Some comments:

Before I begin, I'd just like to explain me putting the word "Asexuality" in quotation marks.

The trouble with putting it in quotes is that it looks like you're somewhat making fun of the term, as though you're saying, "This is what THEY call it, but I don't agree." Many of us take the term "asexual" seriously and apply it to ourselves.

As Kinsey highlighted in his research, what people say, and what people actually think are different most of the time. Lets just say that we are cave men. So here we are in our animal skin loincloths, sitting around in our cave. We've evolved to the point of primal organisation, so we live in a cave of lets say 5 cave men and 5 cave women. Ug the caveman is aroused, and attempts to get jiggy with Bog, another caveman. Is anyone going to care? No. Because bigotry has not been thought of yet and neither has labels.

There's really no way to prove that -- either the no-bigotry or one caveman coming on to another caveman.

It was only when society began to decide to make rules about what is normal and what is not did categories begin to emerge.

And again, we don't know when that happened, but it likely happened during cave times, because people who are forced to live together in a small space make rules. Thus, it's always been the case.

While Asexuals have a sex drive, it isn't attatched to people. Arousal appears to be from only biological causes or from the individuals other desires that don't include people. While some peoples sexuality has been narrowed down and split and chiseled by accidental or purposeful conditioning, Asexual's sexuality seems to have been either suppressed, attached to something they may not even realise it's attatched to, or sexual behaviour for some reason has been learned as a negative thing and has really ingrained itself in their heads whether they realise or not.

None of that is true of ALL asexuals.

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L. Macey

There are two seperate ideas in your theory that I would like to address.

People are mostly conditioned to be Heterosexual.

I wonder what the results would be to an experiment where a group of people are isolated in regards to

information of or exposure to sex outside of their own small group. How would the group interact sexually

if left to their own devices and with no example of mainstream societal norms?

(However, I realize this would probably be both unethical and hard to pull off.)

What makes someone who they are: they way they think or what they do?

Suppose you are looking at two cases. First, you are given this information:

A man pulls a child from a burning car and saves the child's life.

A woman shoots a man running away from her in the back, killing him.

And now ask yourself, based on these actions, who in these situations are more deplorable?

Next, you are given further information:

The man saved the child because he is a pedophile fixated on her specifically, and did not want the child to die before he could have sexual intercourse (rape) her.

The woman shot the man because he is running to detonate a bomb that will kill ten thousand innocent people, and the only way to stop him in time is murder.

Now ask yourself this: In the two cases, the actions stay the same. However, now you know the intent behind the actions. The man wishes to harm a child, the woman wishes to save lives.

Who is more deplorable?

What matters more, intent or action?

You brought up interesting points. Thank you for making me think.

(But please do not put the word asexual in quotes. It is slightly offensive.)

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Jkaufman
What makes someone who they are: they way they think or what they do?

Suppose you are looking at two cases. First, you are given this information:

A man pulls a child from a burning car and saves the child's life.

A woman shoots a man running away from her in the back, killing him.

And now ask yourself, based on these actions, who in these situations are more deplorable?

Next, you are given further information:

The man saved the child because he is a pedophile fixated on her specifically, and did not want the child to die before he could have sexual intercourse (rape) her.

The woman shot the man because he is running to detonate a bomb that will kill ten thousand innocent people, and the only way to stop him in time is murder.

Now ask yourself this: In the two cases, the actions stay the same. However, now you know the intent behind the actions. The man wishes to harm a child, the woman wishes to save lives.

Who is more deplorable?

What matters more, intent or action?

^This^

I was taking a philosophy of punishment class until a few weeks ago (schedule conflict AKA me not wanting to get up @ 7). Read this and thought of it because we had conversations like this all the time in class.

@ OP. Some Asexuals may possibly have been conditioned to think that sex is a bad thing but there are plenty others who simply just don't like/want it! Living in the United States, I'm surrounded by sex quite often and it's portrayed as something that I should be doing at this very moment or finding a way to make it better instead of posting here, stating how some of us believe otherwise!

Sex drives vary as stated. Taking the fair assumption that there are people who are sex addicts (Nearly endless sex drive), you could assume that the other extreme is possible too! (Not having a drive at all). Just saying that if one extreme exists, it only seems right for the other to too.

As far as myself...I have a sex drive. It's...very weird in my opinion. It's sensitive to detailed stimulation but nonresponsive to most other things. Basically, I can get an erection from pornography or a very graphic story but anything that I didn't necessarily consent to exposing myself to does very little to me. The point I'm trying to make is that I have a drive but do I really have a desire to act on it past an erection? Not really. I may get a desire to masturbate at times because my body physically won't let me go more than a month without release or else itt'l find a way when I least expect it. (Believe me, I did a self-guided test and found the evidence on my bedsheets early in the morning on day 31 and I didn't know what happened......)

So it varies in all honesty. I gave my example and others can give theirs (dunno if they want to but yea....). Some people are horny as balls and some couldn't/don't care even if they wanted to.

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silentdreamer

Well... that's a very interesting post. But as broad as your thinking is, it's still very confining at the same time and makes a lot of assumptions. Labels may not be your thing, but your whole post sounds like a label without a name. The thing I love about asexuality is that, while it is a label, it's the most open label that I've ever encountered. There's no one set standard around here. There's so many different types of asexuals that it's really one size fits all.

I don't really have a sex drive, I don't think sex is bad or negative (just bad for me, personally), and I'd say I was suppressing "the unusual or unaccepted just to have an easier life" before I discovered asexuality. Now I'm perfectly happy being a social un-norm because it brings me tons less stress than trying to force myself into a lifestyle I didn't fit in.

I really don't have anything against labels unless they are unwanted and negative. But if you stick a label on yourself that you feel comfortable with, there's nothing to hate about it.

Anyways, I understand your PoV and it's a really interesting read.

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ProdeFemme

Very interesting theory. Though you are far from the first to propose a trauma/disassociation theory.

But I must ask, if sexuality is based primarily on social conditioning, how would you explain asexual behavior in other species?

Also to reiterate, some asexuals have undirected sex drives, in fact, there's a specific term for undirected sex drive, but the word escapes me at the moment. So it can exist in conjunction with asexuality but is not a specific aspect of it. I myself, have no libido whatsoever.

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SecretSaucer

The nice thing about labels is that they allow you to have a discussion about something where everyone involved knows what's being discussed. Like, when you ask someone if they want a cookie, obviously you're not fully describing the infinite variety of cookies in the universe, but at least they know you're not offering a ham. And in the case of asexuality, when we describe ourselves as asexual, it lets us find each other so that we can discuss it further and figure out that we're not alone. The other nice thing is that, because society is becoming more accepting of different sexual orientations (and the fact that you can't help which one you are), if you figure out that asexuality is a sexual orientation you can stop thinking about possible causes and whether it's a problem and be more comfortable with it. Although, I completely agree that labels can cause a lot of problems. That's the problem with everything: it's not perfect.

You've brought up some interesting things and I've always kind of thought bisexuality makes the most sense, if you're going to be sexual. But the fact that I'm not attracted to anyone also makes it easier to understand only being attracted to one gender (because I understand not being attracted to the other one). But I also don't understand why one gender would seem more appealing than the other. Haha and that line of reasoning could go on for hours so I'm going to get my laundry out of the dryer. :)

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Data
My idea is, is that we all started with a very broad sexuality that could be satisfied by just about anything (people, objects even different species of animal). It was only when society began to decide to make rules about what is normal and what is not did categories begin to emerge.

The problem is that sex exist becouse it is good for genes. Sex with other animals/objects would be just a waste of energy. Sex with same sex member of your group could make the bonding stronger. I am doubtful if your explanations works with evolution.

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Atolm_Dragon
While Asexuals have a sex drive,

Some. Some asexual people have sex drives, not all.

^ Agreed.

The social conditioning aspect certainly contributes to how defensive we feel about being asexual, and the pressure to have sex, since wanting asexuals to have sex validates other people's sexual behaviour too. Likewise, they get defensive if you say you don't like sex (that's where the 'you're a freak!' comes in). But I think it's just how we're evolving. Sex isn't just for reproduction any more; it's done for pleasure, and we had to use our brains in order to create contraception. Likewise, some people would rather spend their time reading a book or doing something they believe is more productive. I think we're all just learning to think for ourselves more, if that makes any sense. :)

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thecynicalromantic

Woo, the real ev psych versus pop ev psych debate!

The evolution of human sexuality is a lot more complicated than 99% of people trying to explain sexuality in terms of evolution want to deal with.

Mainly because 99% of the people who turn to evolution to explain sexuality are transparent misogynists trying to ignore the effects of several thousand years of culture 'n' stuff in order to justify acting like a pig. But that's neither here nor there, considering the OP doesn't seem to be one of those people.

Goofer, you bring up the main fallacy of pop ev psych: the automatic sex-->gene passing on-->Darwinin success yey! train of thought as making "evolutionary sense". Humans are a high parental-involvement species, our infants are completely dependent and we take many years to grow up. Human sexuality seems to have deliberately evolved to provide a lot of checks to the number of infants in relation to the number of adults: homosexuals and asexuals, menopause, relatively low rates of pregnancy per mating session (compared to other species), nearly equal numbers of male and female children, etc. The animals we are most closely related to also seem to have mating patterns that consist of "ehh, whatever". If everybody had like twenty babies we'd die out, because the people who *do* have twenty babies all go batshit insane (trust me, I'm related to a bunch) and without old maid aunties 'n' stuff to help take care of them they'd never, ever make it.

The OP seems to be going a little bit too far in the direction of giving *all* the credit for different sexualities to social conditioning. This is certainly a step in the right direction compared to the usual pop ev psych heteronormative crap-on-a-stick, but if the human libido didn't have *some* stamina to keep its own preferences to some degree regardless of what society tells it, women's sexuality would have actually stopped existing several hundred years ago.

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metalgirl2045

What's wrong with evolution being responsible for sexuality? Why the phobia of the idea that a living organism might be governed by science? What a crazy idea!

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Data
Goofer, you bring up the main fallacy of pop ev psych: the automatic sex-->gene passing on-->Darwinin success yey! train of thought as making "evolutionary sense". Humans are a high parental-involvement species, our infants are completely dependent and we take many years to grow up. Human sexuality seems to have deliberately evolved to provide a lot of checks to the number of infants in relation to the number of adults: homosexuals and asexuals, menopause, relatively low rates of pregnancy per mating session (compared to other species), nearly equal numbers of male and female children, etc. The animals we are most closely related to also seem to have mating patterns that consist of "ehh, whatever". If everybody had like twenty babies we'd die out, because the people who *do* have twenty babies all go batshit insane (trust me, I'm related to a bunch) and without old maid aunties 'n' stuff to help take care of them they'd never, ever make it.

Maybe you should reread my post:

"Sex with same sex member of your group could make the bonding stronger."

I did not say that sex make evolutionary sense only for reproduction. My point is that it must be mathematically correct, nature have some way to channel sexual behaviour at least it has big statistical influence on it. Nearly equal number of male/female children makes perfect sense, genes that were better are copying themselves in short term worked better, if there were many women then male would have better chances of impregnating more/or getting "better" female as he would have less competition. Genes of that particular man would do better then genes of average women in that scenario. It can wary between species as some have bigger differences between male and women and so on.

When I say evolutionary sense I mean it makes sense that it could develop that way, becouse there is no goal to evolution.

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ProdeFemme
The nice thing about labels is that they allow you to have a discussion about something where everyone involved knows what's being discussed. Like, when you ask someone if they want a cookie, obviously you're not fully describing the infinite variety of cookies in the universe, but at least they know you're not offering a ham.

This is by far THE most awesome pro-label argument I have ever heard! :lol:

I actually really did LOL :cake:

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SlightlyMetaphysical
This is where you might ask yourself, what makes someone who they are: they way they think or what they do?

If this is the crux of your argument, I think you should be aware that asexuality is defined by one's feelings, which is why we make such an effort to seperate it from celibacy, defined by one's actions.

Asexuality to me should work no different. While Asexuals have a sex drive, it isn't attatched to people. Arousal appears to be from only biological causes or from the individuals other desires that don't include people. While some peoples sexuality has been narrowed down and split and chiseled by accidental or purposeful conditioning, Asexual's sexuality seems to have been either suppressed, attached to something they may not even realise it's attatched to, or sexual behaviour for some reason has been learned as a negative thing and has really ingrained itself in their heads whether they realise or not.

Ohh, I have an analogy. It's probably going to turn out rubbish, but here we go:

Say there are four types of people in the world. Some like chocolate cake, some like carrot cake, some like both and some like neither. People are quite flexible, but most people have particular preferences. Indeed, most people like both chocolate and carrot cake, but they still have a preference.

Now imagine that the people who like chocolate cake say carrot cake is a sin. The overwhelming majority of people suppress their urge for carrot cake, and have only chocolate cake. Only those who really love carrot cake, and especially those who don't much want chocolate cake, dare to express their views.

Now have some :cake:

Or not, whatever.

Ok, that was full of fail. But my point is that human beings have innate preferences that vary with the individual, best demonstrated by food. There's no reason to think that someone's sexual preference isn't the same sort of preference- that it could have as little social motivation as what tastes naturally appeal to people. So, however much society warps and twists our perceptions of our tastes, and puts us in little boxes and makes stereotypes about them, its impossible to prove that people don't really have an underlying preference.

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live wire
The nice thing about labels is that they allow you to have a discussion about something where everyone involved knows what's being discussed. Like, when you ask someone if they want a cookie, obviously you're not fully describing the infinite variety of cookies in the universe, but at least they know you're not offering a ham.

This is by far THE most awesome pro-label argument I have ever heard! :lol:

I actually really did LOL :cake:

I agree so much that it is now my signature ;)

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