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Pan-GalacticGargleblaster

Sexual Advice from a pansexual Philiologist

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MosesWilhelm

All of psychology is unprovable, for there are exceptions around every corner to practically every theory. The human brain has not been mastered, and evolutionary psych is no different.

To me, psychology is like religion and psychology. You have to have faith to completely believe in either one.

No one's saying the human brain has been mastered. But then, we still don't know exactly why gravity works, either--does that entirely invalidate the field of physics? The point of psychology is to make assertions about the human brain, conduct experiments to see if evidence supports those assertions, and aggregate evidence in support of particular theories which may be later disproven by subsequent experiments. The very fact that you think science can prove anything indicates that you don't understand what it is. (I suppose your assertion that psychology is unprovable is correct in the sense that it's really hard to prove a method of trying to understand the world.)

Psychology is a science. Admittedly, it had roots in psychoanalysis, which is not a science (and which again, I'm not going to defend--if you're not familiar with anything in psychology past Freud or Jung, do not assume I am talking about them), but it has since moved past them.

Similarly, the field of chemistry has its roots in the pseudoscience of alchemy, but has since moved beyond those roots. The vast majority of psychology these days approaches problems from either a biological (neurology falls under this category; so does monitoring human physiology to see how emotions change bodily functions), cognitive (focuses on how people learn, think, and remember--memory research, for instance, tends to be here), or behavioral (Skinner--focuses entirely on observable data, say observing the way people behave in particular social situations) perspective.

I have yet to find a field in which so many outlying exceptions, almost to the point that it becomes improvable.

But excuse me, you are correct in your statement on Skinner, there are fields of psychology that are basis in fact, observation, and empirical data. To correct myself, I should have narrowed it down: Abnormal psych, cognitive, Freudian psych, and many other forms are a practiced guess as far as I am concerned. Not to mention sociology.

For instance, while the average person can be found finding arousal in the opposite sex, a person without any abnormal brain functions can sometimes be found finding revulsion, and lacking any arousal. Now, I may be confusing inconsistency with rapid new phenomena (much more found in psychology than in physics, persay) but my overall point stays the same.

Psychology is a pretty new form of science. I'm not denouncing it, but merely saying it should viewed that way.

I know philia is something to do with sex like with paedophilia. So yeah I believe its the study of sexuality.

I have a question for you regarding sex crime.

*Sex crime by psychopaths; how often or important is the sexual gratification in this?

*Psychopaths are normally somewhat emotionless so how does this affect their sex drive and romantic drive?

*Some asexuals identify as aromantic, having no romantic interest in others. Do some psychopaths show this trait? (admittedly with the limited research I doubt this can be answered).

*Is it possible that some asexuals are more prone to being psychopaths? (not the criminal ones the ones that function normally and are often more likely to be bosses).

*And is it possible that some sex offenders are asexual and did it for dominance rather than sexual gratification?

I know it seems like an obsession right now, but after realising most psychopaths are not criminal but more like bullies-terrorisers I started to wonder about the possibility of everyone being one. And the link between lacking emotion and lacking sexual interest and specifically romantic interest could correlate in some way.

NB: I'm not suggesting we asexuals are more likely to be psychopathic fellows, just trying to determine if there has been evidence of asexuals through such crimes. Also I find it disturbing that asexuals will almost automatically trust other asexuals. It's nice but naive to assume lack of interest in sex reduces the chance of sexual assault if, like its suggested, its not about sexual attraction or interest a lot of the time.

Well, if you look at the whole definition of arousal, the pretext 'philia' can get confusing. Arousal in psychopaths is sometimes different than simple arousal for the opposite sex. Not by much, but enough to spread the line between sexual philia and nonsexual philia.

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oneofthesun

What Moses said.

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sonofzeal

I guess I understand now. I made my comment after the pre-warning was made, so it was like I was ignoring the pre-warning. Which I didn't intend to do; was just joining the pack, so to speak. But now I know.

Indeed.

We've been somewhat lax on troll-calling in the past, but there's been a rash of it lately and it's getting out of hand. The Team voted on the other posts and decided on a "Nudge", since a lot of people seem to have the mistaken impression that it's okay to flame other users that way. But after a public notice has been posted, we tend to take offenses a lot more seriously. It's not that the later offenses were against the ToS and the earlier ones weren't, just that we try to show leniency at first. It would be the same if someone posted anti-sexual comments, was notified that it's not acceptable, and continued to post them. It's upsetting it had to be you to come along at the end there, since you're generally pretty reliable, but these things happen.

And just to clarify - until a user has been banned, they are not officially a troll and should not be treated as such. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that jazz. We are generally fully aware of the concerns around a particular member, but we are generally also aware of other factors as well. We've had trolls around who took a long time to really build a solid case against, and we very much appreciate it if our other users try to handle the situation maturely in the mean time. In PGG's case, a_bi_sexual's endorsement has carried a fair amount of weight with the team, and we have to take that into account. Rest assured that we do take the concerns of other users seriously though. But it does make our lives easier when people use the "report" button.

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Gho St Ory Qwan

Well, if you look at the whole definition of arousal, the pretext 'philia' can get confusing. Arousal in psychopaths is sometimes different than simple arousal for the opposite sex. Not by much, but enough to spread the line between sexual philia and nonsexual philia.

That's precisely what I'm interested in. I would like to research that as my dissertation also. But all my ideas are more on the level of masters than a degree. >.<

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Gho St Ory Qwan

"Unmistakable psychopaths who do not show evidence of strong or consistent deviated impulses but who nevertheless occasionally carry out abnormal sexual acts have been seen much more often than those in whom the two fundamental patterns seem to overlap. This is not surprising in view of the psychopath's notable tendencies to hit upon unsatisfactory conduct in all fields and his apparent inability to take seriously what would to others be repugnant and regrettable. " -

http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/cleckley-mos.htm

The term deviated would refer to social context in which case any kind of unwanted sex, in my opinion, is a deviation. So rape of any kind comes into this.

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Nameless123

There is a dead simple evolutionary explanation, but it's not something people like to hear. I'm sure you can think of it if you try.

I know this thread is dead and never made much sense in the first place, but do you mean to say that asexuals are asexual because they aren't fit to procreate, evolutionary speaking? That they have nothing to contribute to the gene pool or something and nature therefore made them asexual? Please explain...

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Gho St Ory Qwan

There is a dead simple evolutionary explanation, but it's not something people like to hear. I'm sure you can think of it if you try.

I know this thread is dead and never made much sense in the first place, but do you mean to say that asexuals are asexual because they aren't fit to procreate, evolutionary speaking? That they have nothing to contribute to the gene pool or something and nature therefore made them asexual? Please explain...

I always immediately think of over populations. Maybe the human race has become aware of it biologically (however that makes sense). THEN we could start really becoming asexual, maybe that's the next stage in evolution. Ever seen Dragon Ball Z? We'll procreate Namak style!

If it were about being unfit wouldn't there likely be a correlation between asexuals and severely disabled people? I mean like people who really can't procreate, it'd make sense evolutionarily for them to just not desire it. Where as plenty of us are physically able and uninterested and others physically unable but interested in that.

I mean it's about the survival of the fittest so having little to contribute should really refer primarily to strength and the likelihood of surviving...

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oneofthesun

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. It's a myth that all animals try to mate as often as possible - With some social animals, only the strongest normally reproduce. The others secure their position in the group by NOT challenging for mating rights. Being uninterested in sex is not abnormal behavior at all. People think it's odd for humans because we also have sex for social reasons, but that is easily explained by the fact that most asexuals are aslo introverts.

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Sciatrix

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. It's a myth that all animals try to mate as often as possible - With some social animals, only the strongest normally reproduce. The others secure their position in the group by NOT challenging for mating rights. Being uninterested in sex is not abnormal behavior at all. People think it's odd for humans because we also have sex for social reasons, but that is easily explained by the fact that most asexuals are aslo introverts.

Okay, within social animals, you do sometimes have a hierarchy in which only the top-ranking individuals (not necessarily the strongest physically) mate. Depending on species, males may form and guard harems of females, but I suspect that's not the social structure you had in mind. I can't remember the last time a guy herded me into a group with a bunch of other women and fucked us all in between beating up any guy who came near us; can you?

I'll assume you meant species like wolves in which the top-ranking pair in a small social group mate. Well, except that wolf packs don't exactly have situations in which only the top two animals have any interest in mating. Female wolves prevent their subordinates from going into heat by constantly tormenting them and making them too stressed to come into season; in the absence of such stressors, subordinate female wolves have every interest in mating that their dominant counterparts do. As for males, subordinate male wolves are interested in mating pretty much all the time; it's just that neither the dominant male or female will typically let them mate. And subordinate matings do happen on occasion, particularly in fat years. So no, subordinate members of such social groups absolutely have interest in sex; it's just that dominant members prevent them from having access to it.

And you know, the awesome thing is that in the case of humans' closest relatives, you don't even have anything like that! Do you know, one of the best examples of chimpanzees exhibiting theory of mind was a subordinate male waiting to copulate with a receptive female when a dominant male wasn't looking at the time? Subordinate males in primate social groups sneak sex all the time, even when they're not supposed to have it. We're not even going to go into bonobos, who use sex to cement social bonds. Challenging for social status and top mating rights isn't the only way to maximize your offspring levels. There's also the concept of "sneaky males," and some species (mostly harem breeders) even have entirely divergent male lines based around either the strategy of collecting and guarding a harem or sneaking in and mating with someone else's harem when the guard isn't looking.

Let's not even touch the fact that human reproductive strategies are generally monogamous, which reduces the hierarchical competition for mating rights because most of the time everyone can only have one. So hierarchy isn't (with occasional cultural exceptions) even tied into human reproductive strategy, making your entire comparison moot.

Also, introversion =/= loner or asocial. It simply means that a person is rejuvenated by time spent alone, while extroverts are rejuvenated by time spent with others. I absolutely enjoy social contact and get lonely when it doesn't happen, but I am also a strong introvert.

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Nameless123

Yes, that's exactly what I mean.

Would you say your theory applies to homosexuality as well? After all there's no procreation there...

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oneofthesun

Okay, within social animals, you do sometimes have a hierarchy in which only the top-ranking individuals (not necessarily the strongest physically) mate. Depending on species, males may form and guard harems of females, but I suspect that's not the social structure you had in mind.

I have seen it happen in a horse herd once. No, it's not very common, but you're also discounting the fact that humans are civilized - Social hierarchies are more subtle for us.

I'll assume you meant species like wolves in which the top-ranking pair in a small social group mate. Well, except that wolf packs don't exactly have situations in which only the top two animals have any interest in mating. Female wolves prevent their subordinates from going into heat by constantly tormenting them and making them too stressed to come into season;

Ask around and you'll find that most people here have been bullied. I believe this has the same kind of effect as what you're describing. Of course it's just a theory.

Do you know, one of the best examples of chimpanzees exhibiting theory of mind was a subordinate male waiting to copulate with a receptive female when a dominant male wasn't looking at the time?

But could they reason out the possible consequences if they were caught? Did they have any sense that sneaking behind another's back is wrong? Did they consider what would happen if they got the female pregnant? This is an area where you can't compare human behavior to animals'.

Let's not even touch the fact that human reproductive strategies are generally monogamous,

By culture. No one will ever convince me that we're not polygynous by nature.

Also, introversion =/= loner or asocial. It simply means that a person is rejuvenated by time spent alone, while extroverts are rejuvenated by time spent with others. I absolutely enjoy social contact and get lonely when it doesn't happen, but I am also a strong introvert.

Why do you consider yourself asexual? If it's not lack of physical drive then it must be the social/communicative aspects of it that don't work for you. Shyness is not the only kind of social difficulty.

Would you say your theory applies to homosexuality as well?

No, because homosexuals still seek out and enjoy sex.

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Nameless123
Would you say your theory applies to homosexuality as well?

No, because homosexuals still seek out and enjoy sex.

Sorry, I thought you were talking about reproductive sex as opposed to sex for any other reason than the biological and evolutionary one. In that light homosexuality and asexuality are alike, because they won't naturally lead to procreation.

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Gho St Ory Qwan

hmmm =/ what about the people who're not victims, shy or in anyway unsuitable for reproduction in most societal views. Is this just and individual difference rather than evolutionarily explainable? I always wonder. Even my body language is ideal for someone seeking sexual activity apparently,my not wanting is if anything because I find others not quite good enough (in appeal and the fact that they and the sexual acts seems dirty). Do animals ever have great opportunities for power and reject it like that? Is that generally explainable or an individual variance?

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Sciatrix
I have seen it happen in a horse herd once. No, it's not very common, but you're also discounting the fact that humans are civilized - Social hierarchies are more subtle for us.

It's actually a very common reproductive strategy. Off the top of my head, most ungulates employ it (including horses and other equines), as do most species of seals. It's just not a reproductive strategy common to humans or other primates.

Ask around and you'll find that most people here have been bullied. I believe this has the same kind of effect as what you're describing. Of course it's just a theory.

No, because that effect is only temporary and disappears once the social stress is removed. This would be analogous to someone losing their interest in sex while being bullied but regaining it when the bullying ceased, which is not the same as asexuality. Asexuality is typically lifelong and unconnected to whether or not someone is under a lot of stress at the moment.

But could they reason out the possible consequences if they were caught? Did they have any sense that sneaking behind another's back is wrong? Did they consider what would happen if they got the female pregnant? This is an area where you can't compare human behavior to animals'.

Well, the point of using that example as an indication that chimpanzees exhibit theory of mind is that the subordinate male was able to realize a) that bad consequences would happen if the dominant male caught him mating with the female, and b) that the dominant male could not see him. Wrongness or "what would happen if the female got pregnant" (the female getting pregnant is the goal here, you do realize) don't actually play into it.

If we can't compare the mating behaviors of animals to humans, what on earth is your larger point about comparing... animal reproductive strategies to human sexualities? Your earlier point was that for subordinate members of a social group, lack of interest in sex is evolutionarily adaptive. I am pointing out that "sneaky" sex for subordinate males is actually highly adaptive if the subordinate male is clever enough not to get caught before managing to impregnate as many females as possible; in this case, he manages to have offspring without putting in the effort to gain high social status.

By culture. No one will ever convince me that we're not polygynous by nature.

In general in hunter-gatherer tribes (which are the closest models we have for human "nature" unaffected by culture, considering that you can't really separate culture from humanity), it is fairly uncommon for any one man to be able to support multiple wives assuming that that tribe includes polygyny in its culture. (Some do not.) In fact, even in non-hunter-gatherer polygynous cultures, only a relative few men are able to achieve the economic surplus necessary to support multiple wives and children. Remember, supporting children is a very difficult task, especially for hunter-gatherer peoples without the food surplus that agricultural and to an extent pastoral cultures have. It is very expensive to raise children, and before you get stratified cultures with a lot of surplus there just isn't the spare food to go round for any one parent to be trying to support the children and spouses resulting from multiple wives.

So for the vast majority of hunter-gatherer people, polygyny doesn't come into play, which is my point in stating that human reproductive strategies are generally monogamous. This even where polygyny is an acceptable part of the culture. You can't separate humans from culture; being an inherently highly social and communicative species, we form culture wherever social groups establish themselves.

Why do you consider yourself asexual? If it's not lack of physical drive then it must be the social/communicative aspects of it that don't work for you. Shyness is not the only kind of social difficulty.

...because I'm not attracted to people of any gender? Remember, the definition of asexuality relates solely to sexual attraction. Not masturbatory drive. Not romantic attraction or ability to interact with others. Just sexual attraction to others. I think you may need to read AVEN's FAQ again.

Would you say your theory applies to homosexuality as well?

No, because homosexuals still seek out and enjoy sex.

But you just based your theory inherently on reproductive strategies. Gay people don't have reproductive sex and don't compete for reproductive partners, e.g. homosexuality would be an equally "adaptive" strategy for lower-ranking males. Except that evolutionary fitness is measured in terms of total number of surviving offspring, which makes your idea really really unadaptive.

Your theory also completely fails to encompass female sexuality, incidentally, based as it is in male hierarchies. Do you have any explanation for that?

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oneofthesun

No, because that effect is only temporary and disappears once the social stress is removed.

My theory is that it doesn't. It's well-known that what we experience as children effects our development for the rest of our lives - Why should this case be different? But I'm not going to argue the point further because as I said, it's a theory - There's no research on it.

If we can't compare the mating behaviors of animals to humans, what on earth is your larger point about comparing... animal reproductive strategies to human sexualities?

I was speaking about comparing the rationalization of the behavior, not the mating behavior itself. Simply put, a human will think twice where an animal will not.

In general in hunter-gatherer tribes (which are the closest models we have for human "nature" unaffected by culture, considering that you can't really separate culture from humanity), it is fairly uncommon for any one man to be able to support multiple wives

You're assuming (like many evolutionary psychologists do) that the females are dead weight - That they just sit around in the cave waiting to be impregnated. There isn't a single species on the planet in which only the male is responsible for getting food... As you yourself point out, that wouldn't be a very successful strategy. This theory was born out of the belief that women are inferior and incapable of looking after themselves. Remember that in African cultures, it's the women who get the water (and water is heavy!)

...because I'm not attracted to people of any gender?

Yes, but what is the reason for that? If it's not physical then it must be social... Unless you can come up with a third possibility?

But you just based your theory inherently on reproductive strategies. Gay people don't have reproductive sex and don't compete for reproductive partners, e.g. homosexuality would be an equally "adaptive" strategy for lower-ranking males.

Reproduction is second to survival - Another thing that evolutionary psychology often forgets. If homosexual sex helps an individual who can't get heterosexual sex by taking care of their mating instincts, then yes it's an adaptive strategy - For survival. Though I don't think that's usually the reason for it.

Your theory also completely fails to encompass female sexuality, incidentally, based as it is in male hierarchies. Do you have any explanation for that?

You don't believe there are hierarchies among females? What about the dominant female wolf intimidating the others?

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Sciatrix

I think I have identified a problem, here. I have this nasty habit of seeing an argument that I disagree with on many levels, critiquing a premise I think is faulty, and then going on to examine the argument within its framework as if the first premise was fine in order to find more problems with it. So I have been switching between frameworks quickly here and arguing from a few standpoints I do not actually hold (but perceived you to be arguing from), and that's my fault for not being clear. Let's have some clarity.

First point: My actual belief is that the human reproductive pattern is monogamous-with-cheating possible. It is not polygynous. This is largely due to the sheer amount of resources humans put into their offspring, which make it difficult for children in pre-agricultural societies to survive without a lot of parental resources, certainly more than any one parent can provide without help. This drain on resources makes it difficult for any one man to support multiple women and children unless he is extremely high status, which makes him an outlier for our purposes. Certainly women contribute to their own and their children's well-being, but children require so much teaching and are dependent on their parents for so long that it's not feasible for a woman to raise her children without an involved father, and a father with two wives finds it much more difficult to spread his parenting around so far.

However, because I have perceived you to be arguing from the standpoint of humans being polygynous in general, many of my arguments have been explaining why, in species which are truly polygynous (not exactly primates, I might add), lack of interest in procreative sex is not actually an advantage, nor is it evident in practice. That is in fact why males of species which hold harems have a vested interest in running off other males wherever they spot them--if subordinate males were truly totally uninterested in sex with available females, they wouldn't need to expend the energy to run them off.

You will note that nowhere here have I made any reference to culture. That is because humans, being inherently social and extraordinarily communicative creatures, invariably develop culture wherever a social group aggregates for a period of a few generations. Culture-less humans do not exist, so it is foolhardy to say that this or that reproductive pattern is solely culture while this one is innate. Polygynous cultures are just that: cultures.

As for why I think that arguing from a polygynous starting point erases female choice, in polygynous species female choice really isn't so much of an issue. (We're working with coercion-based polygynous models in particular here, I might add, since historically polygynous societies have given women very little if any choice in their husbands--not the model of an attraction-based polygynous model.) Since all females are desirable resources in such a system, no female is going to go unreproducing, while many males will. She doesn't particularly have any choice in the matter. So the entire model assumes the lack of female choice to begin with, which then fails to particularly discuss female sexuality. A strange lack, I might add, given that AVEN's gender ratios seem to skew female.

Female hierarchies with respect to reproduction only come into play when males are a scarce resource, just as male hierarchies don't particularly come into play with respect to getting to mate at all in species which are not polygynous in nature. (Polygamous species, where everyone mates indiscriminately, and monogamous species don't exhibit these kinds of "you don't get to mate at all" structures.) Female wolves are not actually a good example of this, since wolf packs actually operate more along the lines of a human nuclear family than a human tribe; most wolf packs are comprised of a mated pair, the current offspring, and whatever previous offspring have not yet dispersed to form their own packs, with perhaps an adult sibling or two. Hierarchy has somewhat less to do with it than not breaking up the monogamous (again, not polygynous) pair at the head of the pack.

Social hierarchies also do not only exist to delineate who gets to mate and who doesn't. For instance, horses (which are polygynous, unlike the wolf example you gave, and so more comparable to your vision of humanity) do have female hierarchies within the bands of mares taken over by transient stallions. These have nothing to do with which mare gets to mate first. They deal solely with decisions like where to graze and when to head for water.

Second point: Are we talking about human sexuality from a standpoint of evolutionary pressures or from a standpoint of how humans actually experience it? Your first post led me to believe you were talking in terms of evolutionary behavior. In the framework of evolutionary theory, any "advantage" a particular genotype or phenotype (and asexuality, I might remind you, is a phenotype) holds must be measured purely in terms of surviving adult offspring. That is, for asexuality to be an advantage in evolutionary terms here it must be correlated with more surviving offspring for the asexual than for nonasexuals. Your evolutionary explanation is nothing of the sort, since it does not address offspring.

If you want to introduce morality or "thinking about what you want" or divorce sex from reproduction in any way, you throw evolution out the window. Evolution is purely concerned with offspring and with reproducing genes. It does not give a wet damn about what is easier for low-status individuals and it is purely amoral in nature.

Third point: I don't particularly care about why I'm asexual. I have been for as long as I can remember, for as long as I have been alive, and am likely to be for the foreseeable future. I am not attracted to anyone, and have never been. That is what makes me asexual. It is not a socialized characteristic. It is as far as I can tell something I was born with. I do not know whether it is genetic or not, but I think there is probably some difference in neural structure between asexual and nonasexual people.

Moreover, if you think asexuality is a trait common to low-status individuals, it follows that level of asexuality should fluctuate depending on the current status of an individual within that individual's social group. This does not appear to be the case given the large number of asexuals who say that their orientation is largely stable, no matter what their current social situation is or has been.

You should probably also know that although I am not neurotypical, I am also not by any means an individual who typically resides at the bottom of a status hierarchy. I actually have a hard time reining myself back from running roughshod over people I perceive to be foolish, irritating, or in some way weak. This is a trait I share with my mother, who is heterosexual, and several of my friends, who are heterosexual or bisexual. By contrast, my sister is quite a lot less conflict-seeking and will cede status to others to avoid a fight; she is also heterosexual. Myself, I love conflict and arguments; as witness the fact that I have participated in several long arguments during my time at AVEN, since you don't get to observe me in my personal life. I am also sufficiently socially adept to identify people who are compatible personally with me and form extremely long-lasting associations, so that I seriously doubt my asexuality is the result of being a low-status, fearful individual.

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oneofthesun

I don't follow your reasoning regarding polygyny. There are more resources for raising offspring in a polygynous family, not less, because there are more adults per family. That doesn't matter however because primitive man lived in large, extended family groups that likely didn't put much importance on who a child's biological parents actually were. This is where the expression "it takes a village to raise a child" comes from. Another trait that all primitive societies have in common is that the women work. Therefore it would not be a strain on a man's resources to have multiple wives.

Second topic... Just because hierarchies don't have to do with access to sex for females doesn't mean they have no effect on the females' reproductive lives. Animals at the bottom of the social scale get less food and resources than others, therefore they might not have the spare resources required for reproduction.

Third, I am not arguing that asexuality is an evolutionary advantage - or a disadvantage. If evolution were perfect there would be no genetic diseases. It's a flawed theory in several ways, one of which is that it can't account for environmental factors that influence an individual's development. More simply, shit happens. No matter what evolution "tries" to do it won't always work. But you're the one who seems to be arguing that asexuality is not caused by environmental factors - if that's the case then don't you have to find a way to make it work in an evolutionary sense?

As for your comments about the source of asexuality, you're forgetting that this board doesn't represent all asexuals. And, we have had people leave here because they changed their minds about being asexual. Orientation is not set in stone. But I should clarify, it's not social status in general that I'm talking about. A child could have the lowest social status in their group and still not experience active bullying. I also don't think that social status as an adult is a factor.

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Sciatrix

No, there are not more resources for available children in a polygynous family. The reason for this is that instead of two parents for every set of offspring, you have one man who is split among several women and his offspring with them. In a monogamous household, you have a father for every set of children. In a polygynous one, that same father is split among several sets of children, thereby spreading his parental resources much thinner. Yes, women work; I have nowhere argued that they do not. However, children are sufficiently draining that you really more than 1.3 parents to do the job of raising them. There is a reason it doesn't work without a lot of surplus, and you don't really get that functioning until you start into agricultural societies.

Mathematically, let us compare a monogamous couple to a polygynous grouping of one man and three women. Say each woman has four children. In the monogamous pair, each child has access to 25% of each parents' parental resources, for a total of 0.5 parents apiece devoted to that child's sole care. In the polygynous group, each child has access to 25% of their mothers' resources, but only 8.33% of their fathers' resources; each child in this system has 0.333 parents devoted to that child's sole care. To look at it another way, for a total of twelve children in both systems, the monogamous system would have six adults to care for the children while the polygynous system has four. This is not an efficient division of resources.

Well, yes. I'm not arguing that they might have fewer resources for reproduction. What you're missing is that reproduction is the end game from an evolutionary standpoint--if you don't have very many resources for reproducing, you have fewer offspring, not none, unless you are on the brink of death yourself. If an animal can't reproduce, it is evolutionarily dead, even if its heart is still beating and its brain still functioning. To show that asexuality in subordinate members of a social group is evolutionarily adaptive, you have to show that they have more surviving offspring than nonasexual subordinate members of the same group. Asexuality is pervasive, it generally lasts over the span of an individual's life, and it is not the same thing as a temporary stress-caused lack of interest in sex.

If you're not arguing that asexuality is an evolutionary advantage or disadvantage, why on earth did you bring evolution into the discussion and claim that asexuality is easily explained by evolutionary pressures?

And no, I don't need to show that asexuality has an evolutionary origin if I am arguing that it does not stem from postnatal social factors (which are the specific factors you have discussed previously). My actual viewpoint is that asexuality is probably a result of one or several combinations of genetic and prenatal hormonal environmental factors, which is in line with what little we understand about the development of other queer sexualities. Even if I were to believe that asexuality was strictly genetic in origin, this does not mean that asexuality necessarily has had much if any evolutionary pressure over time, nor does it mean that there is an evolutionary "explanation." It is possible that asexuality persists in humans because there is no selection for or against, or that asexuality is simply the extreme tail end of a bell curve of levels of interest in sex, for one thing. Evolution does not always happen because of environmental stresses on populations; sometimes gene frequencies change over time by chance, as in genetic drift, or because of catastrophic population decreases, as in the bottleneck or founder effects. Remember, evolution is simply genetic change over time.

But all known examples of stress causing animals or humans to lose interest in sex show that the loss of interest in sex persists only as long as the stress does, and that when the stressor is removed the interest in sex starts again. It makes absolutely no sense that a temporary social stress during adolescence would lead to a lifelong orientation of asexuality. For one thing, bullying among adolescents is exceedingly common, while asexuality is not. If bullying during adolescence was enough to make a person asexual, I would expect to see a lot more asexuals than we do, or even temporarily asexual-identified people.

Where on earth did I define asexuals as only being on this board? I define "asexual" as "a person who does not experience sexual attraction." It's possible for people to think they've defined their sexuality and be wrong; that does not mean asexuality is a temporary condition. Moreover, I would like to know who self-defines as asexual and believes asexuality is temporary at all. Can you provide me with any group, either on the Internet or off it, who self-defines as temporarily asexual? I think I'm familiar with most of the English-language asexuality groups, and I have nowhere seen this definition of asexuality as a nonpermanent condition.

I'm doubtful that sexual orientation is all that mutable, also. Certainly you might have someone who thinks they're straight realizing they're attracted to people of their own sex also; however, they are unlikely to suddenly become a Kinsey 5 unless they've been actively trying to suppress their orientation. Similarly, if someone who had been quite comfortable identifying as asexual for a period of time later experiences sexual attraction, I think it's quite unlikely that they have shifted to "average" full-blown sexuality; it's more likely they have moved into a grey-A or demisexual category.

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oneofthesun
However, children are sufficiently draining that you really more than 1.3 parents to do the job of raising them.

Did it ever occur to you that the sister-wives would help raise each others' kids? That is certainly how modern-day polygynous households work. Considering that they would live together they would have a hard time not helping each other. It's simple division of labor.

If you're not arguing that asexuality is an evolutionary advantage or disadvantage, why on earth did you bring evolution into the discussion and claim that asexuality is easily explained by evolutionary pressures?

I didn't say that it was explained by evolutionary pressure, I said that it was explained by the social systems that have evolved due to survival pressures. I suppose that was confusing.

But all known examples of stress causing animals or humans to lose interest in sex show that the loss of interest in sex persists only as long as the stress does,

The stress caused by being the pack doormat is usually not temporary - The individual has to struggle to survive their entire lives. But even if it is temporary, I believe that this sort of experience, especially at a young age, can change an individual to the point where they will not challenge for higher status even when given the opportunity. It is a form of learned helplessness and I have seen it in both people and animals.

Then there's a simple influence of personality. Haven't you ever seen a small dog pushing a big one around? The larger one would win in a fight, but for some reason they don't instigate one. They just have a submissive personality.

Can you provide me with any group, either on the Internet or off it, who self-defines as temporarily asexual?

Obviously they do not know the situation is temporary when they self-identify. But as I said, a number of people here have identified as asexual and later changed their minds. Were they really asexual to begin with? Maybe not, but that's irrelevant because there is no test for sexual orientation. We have to take people at their word.

I'm doubtful that sexual orientation is all that mutable, also. Certainly you might have someone who thinks they're straight realizing they're attracted to people of their own sex also; however, they are unlikely to suddenly become a Kinsey 5 unless they've been actively trying to suppress their orientation.

If you don't believe that orientation is black-and-white, all your other arguments become more difficult to prove. If all is a grey area, how can you claim to know the causes of asexuality or anything else for certain? I can tell you that my orientation has changed a number of times... Between hetero vs. homo and asexual vs sexual (however I choose not to have sex regardless). And I know people who claim they go through similar "phases."

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Sciatrix

Did it ever occur to you that the sister-wives would help raise each others' kids? That is certainly how modern-day polygynous households work. Considering that they would live together they would have a hard time not helping each other. It's simple division of labor.

You just missed my point entirely about how polygynous systems remove adults from the pool of parents. Again, going back to my second framing of the point: assuming each woman has an average of four children, twelve children in a monogamous system have six parents to look after them, while twelve children in a polygynous system have four. Polygyny works by making sure that not all men can be parents, thereby removing men from the total number of parents in the group while keeping the number of children roughly the same.

Also, are you arguing that only women put work into raising children? Because it seems like you're arguing that. Even if wives of the same man help each other out, they still have a far greater pool of children to manage than a monogamous couple. The only way your strategy makes sense is if men are divorced from the work of parenting their own children, which would remove my point about fathers being much less effective parents under such a system.

In any case, if you think humans are polygynous you are arguing that only men compete for sexual access, since under a polygynous system females are in such high demand that they do not need to compete for reproductive ability. Please address this point, particularly given that most AVEN polls and known demographic studies have alleged that asexuality is more common among women. Your theory completely fails to account for female asexuality because it argues that a) the sexual strategy of humanity is a competition between males for available females, and b) that asexuality is a result of not being able to compete in the social hierarchy for mates.

The stress caused by being the pack doormat is usually not temporary - The individual has to struggle to survive their entire lives. But even if it is temporary, I believe that this sort of experience, especially at a young age, can change an individual to the point where they will not challenge for higher status even when given the opportunity. It is a form of learned helplessness and I have seen it in both people and animals.

Yes, this particular form of stress is temporary. This behavior is not at all the same as "omega" wolves which are bullied by all pack members, since it is a behavior which is extended to all non-dominant bitches in the pack, regardless of status otherwise, and is a strictly temporary behavior. I might also point out that the constant-bullying behavior you're describing is a condition only seen in captive packs, which are constantly stressed anyway and often involve individuals thrown together without much consideration for their personalities. In the wild, individuals who cannot for whatever reason associate with their pack members can leave. Wolves are also a poor analogy for people in this case because this particular type of harassment ceases as soon as the mating season is over, since wolves are only up for sex at certain times of the year, while nonasexual people are generally up for sex year round (and are up for sex for reasons not associated with reproduction).

Also, being sexually attracted to others =/= "challenging for status." For fuck's sake. I could buy this if you had to fight off whoever was rivalling you for someone's affections before courting them, but if you've observed human beings for five minutes you should be aware that this is not actually how courtship patterns between humans work. It's entirely possible for someone to decide to choose to date someone of a lower social status than someone of a higher status if they like the lower-status person for other reasons (higher-status person is an asshole, etc.). If you think that women are property to be fought over, well, I can see how you could come to that conclusion, but then we're back to the bit where your theory fails to address female asexuality. (Do you think women are property? It seems to be evident from some of your assumptions about how human sexuality and reproduction work. And certainly your claim that humans are inherently polygynous implies that you think women should be the property of men, because polygyny does not benefit women in any way--like I said, fewer adults per child, almost all childrearing in the hands of women--and is correlated strongly to decreased rights on the part of women.)

I might also add that it fails completely on the level of previously-bullied adolescents who are, as adults, fully capable of functioning in a social hierarchy and achieving high or mid-ranking status but remain asexual, or adults who are asexual and yet seek romantic ties. If sexuality is that closely tied into social status, and the thing causing asexuality is low social status and learned helplessness to ever challenge that fact, the fact that previously low-status people can then later show no difficulties achieving higher social status but somehow have internalized lack of interest in sex is confusing at best. By your theory, as I was bullied as an early adolescent, that experience caused my asexuality through learned helplessness--despite the fact that I am, as an adult, quite capable of publicly making an example out of anyone who attempts to challenge my authority. (For that matter, I was capable of making an example out of other people then, and later did so.) I am touchy about people respecting me precisely because I dealt with unpleasant social situations and people attempting to reduce my status when I was younger; you may say that instead of helplessness I learned defiance and aggression. So by your standards, I should be hypersexual. Well, if I was male and part of a competition for available females in short supply, at any rate.

Then there's a simple influence of personality. Haven't you ever seen a small dog pushing a big one around? The larger one would win in a fight, but for some reason they don't instigate one. They just have a submissive personality.

I have in fact observed this dynamic multiple times, since I grew up with terriers, and it is uniformly characterized by the small dog utilizing loudness and surprise to scare off the larger one. What you're describing isn't actually the large dog having a "submissive personality." Rather, in this situation the small dog makes it clear that not only does it want the valuable resource more than the large one, it is more willing to fight the other dog for it than the larger dog is. Even if the smaller dog is objectively weaker, it is louder and a ball of flashing teeth and generally scarier in the mind of the larger one, and so it will back off because the resource isn't worth having to fight this angry screaming thing. It's not about intrinsic submissiveness but about being willing to put up a fuss to get what you want--or not.

Obviously they do not know the situation is temporary when they self-identify. But as I said, a number of people here have identified as asexual and later changed their minds. Were they really asexual to begin with? Maybe not, but that's irrelevant because there is no test for sexual orientation. We have to take people at their word.

I have no idea what you're trying to argue here. We seem to be on the same page that people identify as asexual assuming that it is a permanent condition and that permanence in the vast majority of cases is implied in the definition of the term as people use it. "A number" of people who discover they were wrong for various reasons or whose orientation later changes so that they no longer quite fall under the definition of asexuality do not invalidate the definition of asexuality as being a largely permanent concept, not a temporary loss of interest in sex.

If you don't believe that orientation is black-and-white, all your other arguments become more difficult to prove. If all is a grey area, how can you claim to know the causes of asexuality or anything else for certain? I can tell you that my orientation has changed a number of times... Between hetero vs. homo and asexual vs sexual (however I choose not to have sex regardless). And I know people who claim they go through similar "phases."

Why does the possibility of restricted mutability of sexual orientation change anything I have said about the origin of sexual orientation? I remind you, I said that I thought orientation was only mutable to a very limited degree, and that only in some people. All my arguments are, to greater and lesser degrees, criticisms of your initial argument. I am not actually required to prove anything about what the cause of asexuality is when I am writing a criticism, only to show how your argument about asexuality being an evolutionarily adaptive response to bullying is full of holes. The actual cause of asexuality is beside the point, particularly as I have in no way claimed to understand how it works, only to have a general guess based on what we understand of other queer sexualities.

I have also pointed out that I do not give a damn about the actual cause of asexuality, except insofar as pointing out that it is an orientation, not a symptom of mental illness or a symptom of low status, and I have observed you in the past to argue both of these things. For reasons I have previously articulated, I believe these claims to be deeply harmful to asexual people, but I am quite willing to do articulate them again at length again if you want to rehash that particular argument. If you choose to do so, I will create a new thread which is positioned so that more AVENites can see it, and we can see whether AVEN as a whole has suddenly become receptive to your attempts to redefine asexuality as a non-orientation. My guess is no.

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oneofthesun

Also, are you arguing that only women put work into raising children?

Yes, actually. It wasn't until modern times that men started to work less than 12 hours a day... And up until the mid-seventies they didn't participate much in parenting except as disciplinarians. Just because a child needs a male role model doesn't mean they need a very involved father - Especially not in a village lifestyle scenario.

In any case, if you think humans are polygynous you are arguing that only men compete for sexual access

I believe there's another, much more important factor when it comes to asexuality in females. But I'm guessing you wouldn't like that idea either.

As for the rest of your post, I think you're getting defensive which means there isn't much point in continuing. I will close out by saying one more thing: Just because a person is a fully functioning, outwardly normal member of society doesn't mean that they are self-actualized. In fact, few people are. Most people have hangups. What asexuals have in common is that sex is our hangup. There's nothing wrong with not having sex, but not experiencing sexual attraction is a difference from the norm that has to be explained. If you really don't care about that explanation, you could have ended this conversation several posts ago.

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Sciatrix

Well, now that I understand that your view of humanity is intrinsically sexist, I can understand a lot more about your viewpoint. Thank you for clarifying your beliefs in this way. I emphatically disagree with you about the importance of the role of fathers in any society, but I am familiar enough with your discussion style to be disinterested in engaging with you further on this point.

I also disagree with you absolutely on the proposition that asexuality "has to be explained," but again, am familiar with your philosophy. It hasn't gotten any less antithetical to the entire point of AVEN. Out of curiosity, why do you still post here? You clearly don't agree with the mission of the community, which is to seek acceptance for asexuality as an orientation in its own right. In fact, you seem to be invested in finding ways to "explain" asexuality that explicitly reduce asexuality to a temporary facet of mental illness.

Finally, I also disagree strongly that asexuals necessarily have hangups about sex. Lack of attraction is not the same as a pathological fear of sex, in the same way that disinterest in eating cake does not translate to a phobia of the pastry shop.

I don't care about the explanation, it's true, only the results. Unfortunately, your "explanation" would necessarily relegate asexuality to a pathological mental condition, and that pisses me off, as well as being antithetical to my stated goal (and the AVEN community's stated goal) of seeking acceptance for asexuality as a sexual orientation.

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oneofthesun

You strongly disagree, yet you don't care. Got it!

Out of curiosity, why do you still post here? You clearly don't agree with the mission of the community, which is to seek acceptance for asexuality as an orientation in its own right.

There's no rule against dissenting opinions here. The day they institute that rule is the day that asexuality loses all of its credibility with the rest of the world.

And for the record, I don't believe for a fact that asexuality is caused by mental illness or some kind of evolutionary mistake. I propose these things as ideas - Ideas which I don't know why you take offense at because last I checked having a mental illness was not a personal failing. According to the DSM-IV I actually do have one, but I don't think of myself as any less of a person because of it - Wow, fancy that! In fact I find it helps me to understand myself and how others perceive me.

If I'm guilty of anything here, it's overestimating people - Most it seems are not able to look at themselves that critically. Or argue from a purely academic standpoint. You say that you don't have any kind of issues - All well and good, since I wasn't discussing you personally.

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Sally

There's no rule against dissenting opinions here. The day they institute that rule is the day that asexuality loses all of its credibility with the rest of the world.

I don't see any relationship to dissenting opinions on AVEN and asexuality's credibility in the world. Point out just what that relationship is.

If I'm guilty of anything here, it's overestimating people - Most it seems are not able to look at themselves that critically. Or argue from a purely academic standpoint.

"Most"? I think you're overestimating your experience of people. And there is no "pure" academic standpoint.

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