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What is sexual attraction in its relation to defining asexuality?


Beachwalker

  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Does the current definition of asexual convey a shared understanding of what asexuality is?

    • Yes
      37
    • No
      29
  2. 2. Should the current definition of asexual be added to something along the lines of 'does not experience sexual attraction and/or has no desire for partnered sex?

    • Yes
      35
    • No
      31
  3. 3. Does it matter that there is no shared understanding of what sexual attraction is?

    • Yes
      36
    • No
      30


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Beachwalker

Personally I think the definition of asexual as someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction is a farce. This is because what sexual attraction actually is is so ambiguous. At the end of the day it seems to boil down to whether or not you are interested in having sex with x. If the circumstance arose that this could actually eventuate what you would choose to do is irrelevant to my way of thinking, its more about whether or not the thought crossed your mind in the first place. Anyways the point of this is, in my day people not interested in having sex were referred to as being frigid. So I am wondering how and if this relates to being asexual, if at all. My grandad used to say my grandma was frigid (not something I really want to think about and both are deceased now) and it makes me curious about whether there is a genetic link. The sexual definition of frigid 'abnormally averse to sexual intercourse' applies to me but so does the definition of asexual as interpreted by me. Are they the same thing or am I a frigid asexual?

EDIT: Since the creation of this discussion, two other threads have been created, including relevant polls, which have been later closed and much of the content merged with this thread. The two polls can be found in What does asexuality mean? and Rewording the definition of Asexuality to Increase Clarity.

Qutenkuddly,

Asexual Musings and Rantings Moderator

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dooomninja

i think in some cases the terms could be synonyms, but not always. For example i don’t see people in a sexual way as most sexual describe sexual attraction to feel like, but i’m also not advised to sex and actually find the topic interesting on an academic level ^_^ . But i do understand some aces do feel that way but the term “frigid” has negative connotations but (as i understand it) repulsed has a similar meaning :cake:

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Wiki Says:

Frigid may refer to:

So, to me, no. I guess some people with HSSD might identify as asexual, but not all asexuals are the same, and I would definitely never use the term "frigid". It actually bothered me the one time my sister, joking, used that term to describe me (she doesn't know I'm ace).

Still haven't checked if I'm a polar region though :unsure:

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Beachwalker

i think in some cases the terms could be synonyms, but not always. For example i don’t see people in a sexual way as most sexual describe sexual attraction to feel like, but i’m also not advised to sex and actually find the topic interesting on an academic level ^_^ . But i do understand some aces do feel that way but the term “frigid” has negative connotations but (as i understand it) repulsed has a similar meaning :cake:

Certainly being repulsed could be one reason to be averse to sex but what if you were averse to sex more due to a lack of interest in having sex yourself?

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Nameless123

Personally I think the definition of asexual as someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction is a farce. This is because what sexual attraction actually is is so ambiguous. At the end of the day it seems to boil down to whether or not you are interested in having sex with x.

So you just defined not experiencing sexual attraction the way everyone understands it - not being interested in having sex with someone. What is ambiguous about that? We asexuals often have trouble defining sexual attraction because we don't feel it - sexual people usually have no such problems. They know if they want to sleep with someone or not.

Also frigid is a derogative term used by guys to describe women who don't put out for all kinds of reasons. It isn't scientifically meaningful in any way.

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"Sexual attraction" isn't super identifiable by more than a handful of sexuals either. We don't all easily know we want to jump in the sack with x...particularly on first sight. Just sayin'.

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Nameless123

I didn't say sexual people know immediately or want to sleep with someone on first sight; I said they can identify the feeling when they experience it.

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dooomninja

i think in some cases the terms could be synonyms, but not always. For example i don’t see people in a sexual way as most sexual describe sexual attraction to feel like, but i’m also not advised to sex and actually find the topic interesting on an academic level ^_^ . But i do understand some aces do feel that way but the term “frigid” has negative connotations but (as i understand it) repulsed has a similar meaning :cake:

Certainly being repulsed could be one reason to be averse to sex but what if you were averse to sex more due to a lack of interest in having sex yourself?

I don’t feel not being interested and being averse are that closely linked, for example im not interested i playing hockey but i’m also not averse to it my view of it is rather neutral tbh where as i am averse to sports like basketball because i’ve had some bad experiences in the past. What i’m trying to say is a lack of interest does not go hand in hand with aversion in fact i wouldn’t even say they are linked as i can think of people who are averse to the idea of religion but are still interested in it and conscientious objectors who are interested i the history of war, ok in both cases their reasoning is more to know more than those who disagree with them but the point still stands.

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Beachwalker

Wiki Says:

Frigid may refer to:

So, to me, no. I guess some people with HSSD might identify as asexual, but not all asexuals are the same, and I would definitely never use the term "frigid". It actually bothered me the one time my sister, joking, used that term to describe me (she doesn't know I'm ace).

Still haven't checked if I'm a polar region though :unsure:

Yes frigid has many definitions and the word has a lot of different connotations for people. I am not familiar with wiki and the definition of sexually frigid I am referring to is in the OP. If frigid is used derogatively which I have witnessed (my grandad didn't use it derogatively and my grandma laughed about it, I remember her saying the only times he got sex was when he brought the pay cheque home, his birthday and Christmas) whats stopping the word asexual being used derogatively?

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I didn't say sexual people know immediately or want to sleep with someone on first sight; I said they can identify the feeling when they experience it.

I don't think so, are you speaking of arousal, butterflies, what exactly? There are actually issues with the definition and this elusive "sexual attraction" for many sexuals and asexuals alike. It's not profoundly scientific either. It works for now though.

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I think "asexual" is made fun of enough in common life, for many people. Just think of the amoeba thing.

I think "frigid" is just a very ambiguous term and, personally, I'd never use it. Then, if anyone wants to use it and manages to make people around them share the same meaning they intend, they're obviously free to do so and be happy.

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Nameless123

I didn't say sexual people know immediately or want to sleep with someone on first sight; I said they can identify the feeling when they experience it.

I don't think so, are you speaking of arousal, butterflies, what exactly? There are actually issues with the definition and this elusive "sexual attraction" for many sexuals and asexuals alike. It's not profoundly scientific either. It works for now though.

I'm speaking of wanting to have sex with someone for your own sexual gratification and that of the other person. Not butterflies - I think of them more as a romantic thing, and not arousal, which sexuals and asexuals alike might experience while watching porn, for example.

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BookwormKaoru

Okay, time to put my two cents in.

I don't think asexual and sexually frigid are the same thing. Frigid sounds like someone who IS sexual but doesn't "put out". Not the lack of sexual attraction.

I have a boyfriend, I'm asexual, but we have sex all the time. I'm not frigid, I'm asexual. I put out but I don't feel the attraction that gets me there. I have sex with him because I like being able to make him happy.

Not all asexuals are alike and you just can't say "Asexual is the new term for sexually frigid."

Frigid is mostly used derogatively for someone who doesn't put out and I would be insulted if someone called me frigid because they found out I'm asexual. but like you said, there is nothing stopping asexual from being used as a derogative term EXCEPT from the asexuals themselves who correct the people and spread awareness. Just like there is nothing stopping from people using gay as a derogative term (even though it is clearly not). Homosexuals spread awareness just as we spread awareness. And the only way to stop such links from being made (such as frigid and asexual) is to spread the awareness.

So, in short, no, it's not the same and I wouldn't go around saying that it is, because all that will do will cause more ignorance of tw subject. (I'm not calling you ignorant and I'm sorry if you take it that way. I mean the OVERALL ignorance of the subject will be added to by calling it as such).

And please, if you hear anyone making that link, kindly correct them, because asexuals have a bad enough rep as it is.

Sorry for any typos. I'm typing this on my phone and it likes to change words on me.

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Sugarcakes

i think bookwork has nailed it really. totally understand the idea of having sex for the enjoyment of the other party entirely. the word frigid is derogatory slang in my opinion, you shouldn't be calling someone names just because they won't have sex with you, simple. :cake:

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dooomninja

Okay, time to put my two cents in.

I don't think asexual and sexually frigid are the same thing. Frigid sounds like someone who IS sexual but doesn't "put out". Not the lack of sexual attraction.

I have a boyfriend, I'm asexual, but we have sex all the time. I'm not frigid, I'm asexual. I put out but I don't feel the attraction that gets me there. I have sex with him because I like being able to make him happy.

Not all asexuals are alike and you just can't say "Asexual is the new term for sexually frigid."

Frigid is mostly used derogatively for someone who doesn't put out and I would be insulted if someone called me frigid because they found out I'm asexual. but like you said, there is nothing stopping asexual from being used as a derogative term EXCEPT from the asexuals themselves who correct the people and spread awareness. Just like there is nothing stopping from people using gay as a derogative term (even though it is clearly not). Homosexuals spread awareness just as we spread awareness. And the only way to stop such links from being made (such as frigid and asexual) is to spread the awareness.

So, in short, no, it's not the same and I wouldn't go around saying that it is, because all that will do will cause more ignorance of tw subject. (I'm not calling you ignorant and I'm sorry if you take it that way. I mean the OVERALL ignorance of the subject will be added to by calling it as such).

And please, if you hear anyone making that link, kindly correct them, because asexuals have a bad enough rep as it is.

Sorry for any typos. I'm typing this on my phone and it likes to change words on me.

very well said :)

Chiffon_cake_02.jpg

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:) Yes, thank you Book! :cake: :cake: :cake:

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test account

i think in some cases the terms could be synonyms, but not always. For example i don’t see people in a sexual way as most sexual describe sexual attraction to feel like, but i’m also not advised to sex and actually find the topic interesting on an academic level ^_^ . But i do understand some aces do feel that way but the term “frigid” has negative connotations but (as i understand it) repulsed has a similar meaning :cake:

Certainly being repulsed could be one reason to be averse to sex but what if you were averse to sex more due to a lack of interest in having sex yourself?

I don’t feel not being interested and being advised are that closely linked, for example im not interested i playing hockey but i’m also not advised to it my view of it is rather neutral tbh where as i am advised to sports like basketball because i’ve had some bad experiences in the past. What i’m trying to say is a lack of interest does not go hand in hand with aversion in fact i wouldn’t even say they are linked as i can think of people who are advised to the idea of religion but are still interested in it and conscientious objectors who are interested i the history of war, ok in both cases their reasoning is more to know more than those who disagree with them but the point still stands.

I'm not usually picky about language, because I don't think it matters when the meaning is clear. But as this one sounds quite strange, I just want to say I think you mean 'averse' when you say 'advised'. To be 'averse to' something means you actively dislike it, but to be 'advised to' something sounds like someone has recommended it to you. If you say then that you are 'advised to sex' that could give a really wrong impression :)

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I didn't say sexual people know immediately or want to sleep with someone on first sight; I said they can identify the feeling when they experience it.

I don't think so, are you speaking of arousal, butterflies, what exactly? There are actually issues with the definition and this elusive "sexual attraction" for many sexuals and asexuals alike. It's not profoundly scientific either. It works for now though.

I'm speaking of wanting to have sex with someone for your own sexual gratification and that of the other person. Not butterflies - I think of them more as a romantic thing, and not arousal, which sexuals and asexuals alike might experience while watching porn, for example.

I know this could go round and round, it would be better if an asexual was able to tell you that they experience sexual attraction yet are very much asexual. I know more than one asexual that thinks and feels this way.

It doesn't seem to work for me to tell you I really don't experience sexual attraction, yet I know I am sexual.

There is a basic problem...it's not huge, or insurmountable. It is somewhat of an issue nonetheless.

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Nameless123

You're right, it doesn't work, because I'm tired of people saying that asexuals don't experience sexual attraction... except when they do. It renders the term "asexual" meaningless. Apart from the fact that everyone is welcome to call themselves whatever they like it makes no sense to call yourself something when the main part of the definition of what you call yourself doesn't fit your own experience. It's like saying I'm black even though I have white skin.

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dooomninja

i think in some cases the terms could be synonyms, but not always. For example i don’t see people in a sexual way as most sexual describe sexual attraction to feel like, but i’m also not advised to sex and actually find the topic interesting on an academic level ^_^ . But i do understand some aces do feel that way but the term “frigid” has negative connotations but (as i understand it) repulsed has a similar meaning :cake:

Certainly being repulsed could be one reason to be averse to sex but what if you were averse to sex more due to a lack of interest in having sex yourself?

I don’t feel not being interested and being advised are that closely linked, for example im not interested i playing hockey but i’m also not advised to it my view of it is rather neutral tbh where as i am advised to sports like basketball because i’ve had some bad experiences in the past. What i’m trying to say is a lack of interest does not go hand in hand with aversion in fact i wouldn’t even say they are linked as i can think of people who are advised to the idea of religion but are still interested in it and conscientious objectors who are interested i the history of war, ok in both cases their reasoning is more to know more than those who disagree with them but the point still stands.

I'm not usually picky about language, because I don't think it matters when the meaning is clear. But as this one sounds quite strange, I just want to say I think you mean 'averse' when you say 'advised'. To be 'averse to' something means you actively dislike it, but to be 'advised to' something sounds like someone has recommended it to you. If you say then that you are 'advised to sex' that could give a really wrong impression :)

yes thanks SGE i blame spell check (though i did pick the word from it :ph34r: ) i should have checked thanks for pointing it out :cake:

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dooomninja

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You're right, it doesn't work, because I'm tired of people saying that asexuals don't experience sexual attraction... except when they do. It renders the term "asexual" meaningless. Apart from the fact that everyone is welcome to call themselves whatever they like it makes no sense to call yourself something when the main part of the definition of what you call yourself doesn't fit your own experience. It's like saying I'm black even though I have white skin.

I see what you're saying and one of the issues is that we can see black or white, and skin. We can't always see or describe sexual feelings or attraction as accurately as we would like to think. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm saying I don't experience sexual attraction like it is defined by most, this does not make me asexual. Maybe I am a green person and you wish I was white. I'm sorry if that bothers you.

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Sexual attraction is not as complex as people make it out to be. Attraction is merely attraction, whatever catches your attention, that part is not complicated. Sexual attraction is a directed sexual craving towards and/or caused by a particular subject/object, whether said craving is wanted or not.

Referring to asexuals as 'frigid' implies that there is something wrong with them, or that they may be cold or unloving. The term is offensive at best.

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Nameless123

Sexual attraction is not as complex as people make it out to be. Attraction is merely attraction, whatever catches your attention, that part is not complicated. Sexual attraction is a directed sexual craving towards and/or caused by a particular subject/object, whether said craving is wanted or not.

Thank you.

I see what you're saying and one of the issues is that we can see black or white, and skin. We can't always see or describe sexual feelings or attraction as accurately as we would like to think. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm saying I don't experience sexual attraction like it is defined by most, this does not make me asexual. Maybe I am a green person and you wish I was white. I'm sorry if that bothers you.

It does bother me when people dilute definitions so much that they become meaningless. That has nothing to do with what you personally think of yourself or call yourself. As I said, everyone is welcome to call themselves whatever they like, just don't expect me to necessarily agree with your definition of what you call yourself.

I didn't say there aren't more options than white/black or sexual/asexual. But these other options have definitions as well.

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I may not be able to define what's sexual attraction, but I can define frigidity. We have state already that some asexuals can have and also enjoy sex (for several reasons), so I don't think it's the same.

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I may not be able to define what's sexual attraction, but I can define frigidity. We have state already that some asexuals can have and also enjoy sex (for several reasons), so I don't think it's the same.

I like this. :)

Sorry InTheory, I didn't mean to be rude or dilute anything.

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Nameless123

Sorry InTheory, I didn't mean to be rude or dilute anything.

You weren't rude at all, and I'm sorry if *I* came across as rude. We're just disagreeing.

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Shortass Lady
the word frigid is derogatory slang in my opinion, you shouldn't be calling someone names just because they won't have sex with you, simple. :cake:

Referring to asexuals as 'frigid' implies that there is something wrong with them, or that they may be cold or unloving. The term is offensive at best.

I see the term 'frigid' in a similar way to 'gay': people sometimes do use it as an insult but it can also function as a neutral descriptor; the meaning depends on the intention of the speaker.

To reply to the original question: I always understand frigid to mean sexually unfeeling, ie a state of being incapable of physical sexual arousal. So IMO some asexuals are frigid, but asexuals with a sex drive are not frigid. Thus 'asexual' is not just a new word for frigid.

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Vampyremage

You're right, it doesn't work, because I'm tired of people saying that asexuals don't experience sexual attraction... except when they do. It renders the term "asexual" meaningless. Apart from the fact that everyone is welcome to call themselves whatever they like it makes no sense to call yourself something when the main part of the definition of what you call yourself doesn't fit your own experience. It's like saying I'm black even though I have white skin.

This. I have been a rather vocal advocate on these boards, for quite some time, on redefining what it means to be asexual. Sexual attraction is such an ambiguous term that its not very useful, on a practical level. Just look at all the myriad of posts asking what sexual attraction is and consider the myriad of other posts trying to describe what sexual attraction is in countless different ways. Consider as well, those who describe experiences seem to be clear indications of sexual attraction, but they claim are not for X, Y and Z reasons.

Instead of basing being asexual upon sexual attraction, I think it should be based around the idea of experiencing an internal motivation to have sex with others. Thus, the desire to have sex is not externally based, such as wanting to please a partner, wanting to start a family, ect. but rather comes primarily from within the self.

I think the main argument against changing such a definition would be that other orientations are described in terms of attraction which may be true on the surface, but is it true on a practical level? Is not the unstated understanding behind being heterosexual, for example, is that not only do individuals experience sexual attraction towards the opposite sex but the also have some desire to eventually act upon such attraction? It isn't stated officially in the definition because it was simply expected of all people. Perhaps even changing the definition of what it is to be asexual to include both the lack of sexual attraction and the lack of internal motivation to have sex with others because this is how other sexual orientations are perceived, even if such is rarely put into so many words.

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