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Ender

Sensual Attraction

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Ender

In responding to a new poster's thread, I posited a new term: sensual attraction. It seems to describe something I've been reaching for to explain why romantic asexuals aren't just friends with their partners. That there is something else going on. The romantic scale would go something like this:

sexual attraction - having a desire to engage in sexual acts with a certain individual (intercourse, orgasmic interludes).

sensual attraction - having a desire to engage in sensual acts with a certain individual (kissing, cuddling, hugging, hand holding, etc).

romantic attraction - having a desire to engage in a romantic relationship with a certain individual (dating, marriage, etc).

So for instance, if I have a crush on someone, I would never have sexual attraction. But I do experience sensual attraction. I want to engage in sensual acts with that person. I also need certain sensual acts in a relationship or I wouldn't feel satisfied.

It's obvious that not all asexuals would experience sensual attraction. Aromantics would not experience any of these. Some romantics may not feel sensual attraction, yet they might engage in sensual acts to please their partner just as they might with sexual acts. Some romantics (me for instance), would have romantic and sensual attraction. Sexuals would most likely have all three (and some gray-As in certain contexts I guess).

Does this make sense? And more to the point, is this useful?

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the_unstable

It make sense and I think it's quite useful. I've never heard it put this way. It's very clear and to-the-point. I now know I pretty much lack sensual attraction (and sexual attraction, of course).

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Harpsy

I have a romantic and sensual attraction but sexual only comes into play after the romantic part has developed a bit (or when I let it develop too quick, this has been a problem for me as I soon realize that it was just some form of romantic lust and lose all sexual interest in that person quickly after the romance fades).

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prettyeyes

I think it makes sense. When I am really in love with someone and bordering on the demi side I want to be physically close to them, hug them, et cetera. It's hard for people who are trying to be in a relationship with me because I'm really not a big fan of physical touch with people I'm not really close to.

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< retired >
...is this useful?

Yes, although clever terminology I prefer even more is the distinction between 'intercourse' and 'outercourse'. However, telling your new SO that you'd like to engage in outercourse with them is likely to result in a perplexed stare.

The 'romantic' vs. 'aromantic' distinction is problematic, because 'romantic' already has a well-established definition outside of AVEN that has nothing to do with dating / marriage. According to the conventional definition, it's possible to have a 'romantic' dinner that results in a one-night stand. :rolleyes:

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CrazyCatLover

I think sensual attraction is a very useful term. I do experience it. Related to another recent thread, this may be a requirement for romantic attraction in my case (does that make sense?).

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Ender

Yes, CCL, it does.

To clarify for Nyxity:

My conception of sensual attraction is similar to sexual attraction. A sexual might look at another individual in a crowded room and have sexual and sensual attraction for someone and feel a spark. An asexual will have the same sort of spark, just without the sexual attraction. Alternatively, some sexuals will just know someone for awhile, then suddenly look at their friend in a whole new way and experience sexual and sensual attraction and feel that spark. Alternatively, an asexual can have that same delayed spark that comes with time, but they just have it without the sexual attraction.

And furthermore, sensual attraction involves a different subset of 'outercourse' behaviors that each individual is comfortable with and needs in a relationship, just as the subset of 'intercourse' behaviors for sexuals involve different comfort levels and needs. So while I may see someone across the room and experience sensual attraction, perhaps I want to kiss that person and perhaps I need that in a relationship or I would not be satisfied. Another asexual might only want to hold hands with the object of their sensual attraction and that is as much as they desire from the person and it's all they need to feel satisfied.

This is to help distinguish those of us who do experience sparks and crushes, and those asexuals that do not. Some asexuals develop deep friendships with others that progress into romantic relationships that are based on intimacy, but they feel no 'spark' for that individual. These are no less valid, but different. They do not have outcourse or intercourse physical needs. Their needs are intellectual. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I'm hoping that these distinctions will help sexuals realize that not all of their 'sparks' and feelings for their partner are sexual. Asexuals with sensual attraction have the same sort of 'sparks' and feelings and needs, thus their partner does physically want them and physically need them in a very real way. Conversely, it might help asexuals realize how sexuals feel when they need sex. We have certain needs to, just like they do. I've always imagined that a sexual that has not had sex in awhile, probably feels about the same as I do if I had not been allowed to cuddle with my partner. It's some physical contact that I need, and it would hurt not to have it. It would probably drive me nuts even if I could cuddle with a good friend instead (though for me, that would be insanely weird). It's not the same. I need it from my partner.

In any case, perhaps this terminology will make it clearer to both parties. Or perhpas, I'm trying to reinvent the wheel. I don't know. :ph34r:

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Nyxity

Ah... *Nods* Somewhat how I thought, but never saw it quite to the extent. Interesting! I've had that spark... actually wished to kiss a person... I kissed a cheek because the urge wouldn't go away - lips were a no-no. ^__^0

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godzi
I'm hoping that these distinctions will help sexuals realize that not all of their 'sparks' and feelings for their partner are sexual. Asexuals with sensual attraction have the same sort of 'sparks' and feelings and needs, thus their partner does physically want them and physically need them in a very real way. Conversely, it might help asexuals realize how sexuals feel when they need sex. We have certain needs to, just like they do. I've always imagined that a sexual that has not had sex in awhile, probably feels about the same as I do if I had not been allowed to cuddle with my partner. It's some physical contact that I need, and it would hurt not to have it. It would probably drive me nuts even if I could cuddle with a good friend instead (though for me, that would be insanely weird). It's not the same. I need it from my partner.

I can absolutely get behind this, and I think the association that we often seem to make between sensuality and sexuality is something that, as a culture, we need to get over.

I also really like the way that the concept of sensual desire accounts for the possibility of asexual people feeling neglected by their sexual partners when their need for cuddles isn't met. It's always good to understand what your partner needs.

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Ender

Shameless bump. :P

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Princely One

Huh, I really like that way of describing it. I must be asexual, aromantic (because I can't say what I am in relation to my gender and sex)... but I can be sensual.. quite sensual... Hmmm.

:cake: <-- for being the only person to be capable of stimulating my brain in a few years.

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MissyCrissy
I can absolutely get behind this, and I think the association that we often seem to make between sensuality and sexuality is something that, as a culture, we need to get over.

I also really like the way that the concept of sensual desire accounts for the possibility of asexual people feeling neglected by their sexual partners when their need for cuddles isn't met. It's always good to understand what your partner needs.

i am SO glad to finally see this!! i understand what it feels like to need her to cuddle with me...

or need her to kiss me a certain way, or i honestly feel neglected by her!

so maybe now i understand her desire for sex a little more. than youuu Godzi! =)

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alienentity

I very much like the idea of identifying 'sensual attraction'.

I would say that I've experienced something that might come under that category. There was one person I was 'seeing' who I really wanted to hug me / hold hands with me as I liked that kind of closeness - and it was quite unusual for me as in general I don't like being touched.

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aquarian

sensual attraction - having a desire to engage in sensual acts with a certain individual (kissing, cuddling, hugging, hand holding, etc).

Can we add smelling to this etc.? Because some people like smell to person who they love or someone may feel some desire due to the smell to a person. I'm talking about the person's own smell. Maybe a perfume. Avenwiki says: especially relating to tactile sensuality. So not only tactile. I belive sensual attraction is related to complexion. Touching to the skin, smell of skin so nearness of the skins. Even if you don't touch you can feel some desire to the person in front of you due to the smell. What are you thinking of adding smelling to the list ?

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C.F.L.

sensual attraction - having a desire to engage in sensual acts with a certain individual (kissing, cuddling, hugging, hand holding, etc).

Can we add smelling to this etc.? Because some people like smell to person who they love or someone may feel some desire due to the smell to a person. I'm talking about the person's own smell. Maybe a perfume. Avenwiki says: especially relating to tactile sensuality. So not only tactile. I belive sensual attraction is related to complexion. Touching to the skin, smell of skin so nearness of the skins. Even if you don't touch you can feel some desire to the person in front of you due to the smell. What are you thinking of adding smelling to the list ?

Wow; a thread from the undead ;-)

Anyways, I think there could be a good case made for sensations other than tactile; since they should work more or less in the same way. Smelling someone is probably not as widely accepted as part of romantic interaction as kissing and cuddling, but I'm sure it works for some ppl.

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aquarian

I forgot write a point. In a feminism class there was an education and an expert nurse had said that plesure changes depends on person. Someone likes touching others smelling or just kissing it doesn't has to be intercourse. So as scientific, smelling is one of the way of feeling desire. And it's also sensual i belive, because smell comes from the skin. Touching, kissing are related with skin too. It's all about the body basically. Everyone is different from each other so it's possible.

This all preoccupy me about sensual attraction so i still couldn't understand sen.att. perfectly.

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seekingfurtherillumination

I found this post while googling stuff related to sensual attraction because I think it is something I feel. Like I have a desire to be physically intimate, but not sexually intimate. Usually when I have a crush, I feel the desire for physical closeness such as hand holding, kissing, cuddling, etc., but I've never really felt the desire to have sex. It has all been very confusing because our society as a whole doesn't seem to have a distinction between romantic, physical, and sexual attraction. They are all assumed to go hand in hand, and while I feel the first two, I don't feel the last one, so maybe that makes me a heteroromantic heterosensual asexual.

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Elegant Elephant

I found this post while googling stuff related to sensual attraction because I think it is something I feel. Like I have a desire to be physically intimate, but not sexually intimate. Usually when I have a crush, I feel the desire for physical closeness such as hand holding, kissing, cuddling, etc., but I've never really felt the desire to have sex. It has all been very confusing because our society as a whole doesn't seem to have a distinction between romantic, physical, and sexual attraction. They are all assumed to go hand in hand, and while I feel the first two, I don't feel the last one, so maybe that makes me a heteroromantic heterosensual asexual.

I am glad you found this post because it makes so much sense to me about myself that I want to cry. I think this makes me a heteroromantic demisensual asexual.

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seekingfurtherillumination

I found this post while googling stuff related to sensual attraction because I think it is something I feel. Like I have a desire to be physically intimate, but not sexually intimate. Usually when I have a crush, I feel the desire for physical closeness such as hand holding, kissing, cuddling, etc., but I've never really felt the desire to have sex. It has all been very confusing because our society as a whole doesn't seem to have a distinction between romantic, physical, and sexual attraction. They are all assumed to go hand in hand, and while I feel the first two, I don't feel the last one, so maybe that makes me a heteroromantic heterosensual asexual.

I am glad you found this post because it makes so much sense to me about myself that I want to cry. I think this makes me a heteroromantic demisensual asexual.

Yay for 5 year old posts helping us make sense of things!

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The Wreyck

It's obvious that not all asexuals would experience sensual attraction. Aromantics would not experience any of these. Some romantics may not feel sensual attraction, yet they might engage in sensual acts to please their partner just as they might with sexual acts. Some romantics (me for instance), would have romantic and sensual attraction. Sexuals would most likely have all three (and some gray-As in certain contexts I guess).

I am an aromantic who experiences sensual attraction, and I've talked to other aromantics who I'm pretty sure would consider themselves to experience sensual attraction as well. Sensual attraction is basically what goes along with cuddle buddies, and I know a number of aromantics who do enjoy cuddling and physical contact and such.

Otherwise, though, all good things said.

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supersymmetry

I don't think that sensual attraction necessarily exists 'after' romance and 'before' sex. You can have a sensual relationship and just be very close friends, or a sexual one and be only acquaintances.

So imho it shouldn't be classified in an ordered scale or spectrum, but rather separate but linked ideas.

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Guest

I don't think that sensual attraction necessarily exists 'after' romance and 'before' sex. You can have a sensual relationship and just be very close friends, or a sexual one and be only acquaintances.

So imho it shouldn't be classified in an ordered scale or spectrum, but rather separate but linked ideas.

Personally, I do see sensuality connected to sex, in the sense that sex/sexual desire is one specific subset of sensuality/sensual desire (i.e., all sex is sensual, not all sensual stuff is sexual).

However, for me it is completely disconnected from romance. Whether I have romantic feelings for someone or not isn't connected to whether or not I want to touch/hug/caress etc. them. Now, I am aware that these two things seem much more connected to a lot of other peeps on here... but seeing as most folks outside of AVEN strongly connect romance and sex, too, it shouldn't surprise anyone here that disconnections can be found in places you'd never have suspected them. ;)

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kelico

I've been thinking about this, and I really noticed it today when at my friend's party. I am almost certain that I'm asensual...maaaaybe demisensual as I don't mind hugging close friends and family (and pets and stuffed animals...I will cuddle them forever), but I can't make myself comfortable with anything "sensual" outside of that. .__. As caring as I am, I can't do touchy-feely. The only person I will hug to bits is my mom, but that's it!

Does gray-asensual exist?

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Hwaet

I think sensuality, like sexuality, has its own confounding spectrum. I am completely at a loss to understand either one. I like hugs. Warm, shoulder-y hugs.

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Little Owl

I definitely experience sensual attraction to some people, though quite rarely. I think my earliest attractions, or rather most of them ever, have been sensual in nature. I know I wanted to hug or caress their hair, I assumed that I might want more but thinking the attractive person in connection with sexual activities usually killed the attraction.

I'd find it much easier to point out a huggable person than sexy, or an attractive looking person or even a pretty person. And I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with all the huggable looking persons but if I have a relationship that is more than friendship the person should preferably be huggable, and there is potential for me to engage in sexual activities with a person I really like sensually and I suppose there needs to be attraction to their thinking and personality as well, but this is so rare that I'm not sure if all these are necessary, they just have been present in the one case I have actually found sexual relationship pleasurable.

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Gingerbear

I think all three of these things can be separate as well. For example, I feel sensual attraction towards some of my friends (I want to cuddle, hold hands, and possibly kiss), but I feel no romantic attraction to them, and definitely no sexual attraction. Also, I've known people who have dated, but have no desire to have any sort of intimate contact with their partners.

This was really enlightening for me, I've never thought of romantic and sensual attraction as separate things before, but now that I have, it makes a ton of sense.

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FaerieFate

I find this... interesting. You're not wrong. It should be a thing. Because what I've experienced is people describing how "sexual" they are with their partners. So far, people were just lumping sexual and sexual attraction together as "what they define as sexual". However, this seems to fit more. Just because kissing isn't inherently sexual, but people are romantically attraction without being sexually attracted.

But, now this brings up a whole new mess of self identity for me. Like, I AM sensually attracted to those I'm romantically attracted to. However, I have trust issues that makes being sensual hard for me because when it comes to the action, I'm too uncomfortable and can't relax.

I want to say that it's because of my past, because I think it is. However, I feel like saying that would affect asexual people because it would give a reason to shrug it off as "there's something wrong with them".

I don't know. I'm just putting my thoughts out there on this.

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sdh3

omg this thread is like the most helpful thing i have read. i was so confused bc i would like to touch my partner and kiss them and that could be passionate, but i absolutely have no attraction to having sex ! does this fit with the sensual attraction, but not sexual?

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idkwhatami

omg this thread is like the most helpful thing i have read. i was so confused bc i would like to touch my partner and kiss them and that could be passionate, but i absolutely have no attraction to having sex ! does this fit with the sensual attraction, but not sexual?

It sounds like it could be. Of course it's always ultimately what you think you are but it seems to fit the description above and if you think it fits you then go for it. Some people may also lump it in with romantic attraction (probably similar to the way many allos lump sexual and romantic attraction--the line isn't very clear/they don't even realize there's a distinction) if you want to take a look at that.

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