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Rewording the definition of Asexuality to Increase Clarity


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  1. 1. Do you feel the current definition of asexuality is adequate?

    • Yes. It is very clear and needs not be redefined
      18
    • Yes, but it could be improved upon
      16
    • Unsure, it seems to have some issues but it also seems to work fine
      13
    • No, it is problematic
      11
    • No. It does not work at all and must be changed.
      0
  2. 2. Would you prefer Asexuality were defined as "the lack of an inherrent inclination to engage in sexual relations "

    • Yes
      10
    • I prefer the current definition, but would not mind.
      9
    • I do not care.
      5
    • I prefer it, but the current definition is fine as well.
      5
    • No.
      29
  3. 3. If you believe the current definition needs revision, do you have any sugestions or edits you would like made to the proposed one?

    • Yes (please comment)
      9
    • no, the suggested is fine.
      13
    • no. the current is fine
      30
    • no, I do not care
      6


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This is by no means official. This comes as a result of a very good conversation here ( http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?/topic/75146-what-is-sexual-attraction-in-its-relation-to-defining-asexuality/)

Basicly, we want to edit the wording to make it more understandable and precise because there is so much discrepancy about what sexual attraction means.

Please give input, because this really is important to our ability to communicate who we are effectively.

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Jillianimal

I think "the lack of an inherrent inclination to engage in sexual relations" sounds accurate, but too wordy. It kind of sounds like something some people may need a dictionary on hand to know what you mean by that.

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I think "the lack of an inherrent inclination to engage in sexual relations" sounds accurate, but too wordy. It kind of sounds like something some people may need a dictionary on hand to know what you mean by that.

I agree it sounds more technical, but in theory it can coexist with the current one as a more precise clarification. If you can come up with one that has less wordiness, I'd be glad to gear it.

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sorry to nitpick, but there's only one r in "inherent".

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The Great WTF

I agree with Jillianimal. I much prefer the "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex" to the purposed definition, or possibly a simple "does not desire sex with other people". "Lacks an inherent inclination to engage in sexual relations" sounds too... jargony, I suppose, like it's trying to sound more complicated than it really is and I think it would be very off-putting for an outsider to read.

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Vampyremage

Add me to the list of people in support of "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex".

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ignoranceisn'tbliss

I like the current one. I just feel the "attraction" part really puts it quite the same if you think about it. Attraction being something that brings two or more things together, and sexual describing it as a specifically sexually related attraction, I think saying the lack of it really puts it both simply and shortly while still broad enough to be used properly.

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Haven't voted yet, but I don't see how this new definition would be any better. I think we'd just go from being asked to explain what sexual attraction is to being asked to explain what "inherent inclination" means. I also believe the original definition will continue to be the most wide-spread one at this point, and it might just cause confusion to add another one.

I think this definition works better as part of an explanation of what it means (or can mean) to not experience sexual attraction.

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I suppose the best definition would be: Asexual - someone who is not attracted to people in such a way that would compel them to interact sexually with another person.

But since that's wordy, I think breaking it into two parts is in order to settle what sexual attraction is without having such a wordy main definition.

Asexual - Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Sexual attraction - attraction toward another person that would compel an individual to interact sexually with that person.

A lot of nuance is lost is saying an asexual is someone who lacks an inherent desire for sexual relations. Nonetheless, that definition may be a bit more straightforward, practical, and understandable. I think it makes a good quick-and-dirty summary, but not a good definition.

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Add me to the list of people in support of "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex".

Me too. Since there's been such a brouhaha about the definition of attraction, the above is my second choice.

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Lady Heartilly

I think "the lack of an inherrent inclination to engage in sexual relations" sounds accurate, but too wordy. It kind of sounds like something some people may need a dictionary on hand to know what you mean by that.

This. I would say something more simply like maybe "a person with no interest in having sexual relations."

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Vampyremage

Add me to the list of people in support of "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex".

Me too. Since there's been such a brouhaha about the definition of attraction, the above is my second choice.

I would actually be more in favour if this being an addition or addendum to the current definition. For a number of reasons, I don't believe the current definition should be replaced entirely, just added upon and clarified.

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Add me to the list of people in support of "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex".

Me too. Since there's been such a brouhaha about the definition of attraction, the above is my second choice.

I would actually be more in favour if this being an addition or addendum to the current definition. For a number of reasons, I don't believe the current definition should be replaced entirely, just added upon and clarified.

Same here.

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I suppose the best definition would be: Asexual - someone who is not attracted to people in such a way that would compel them to interact sexually with another person.

But since that's wordy, I think breaking it into two parts is in order to settle what sexual attraction is without having such a wordy main definition.

Asexual - Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Sexual attraction - attraction toward another person that would compel an individual to interact sexually with that person.

A lot of nuance is lost is saying an asexual is someone who lacks an inherent desire for sexual relations. Nonetheless, that definition may be a bit more straightforward, practical, and understandable. I think it makes a good quick-and-dirty summary, but not a good definition.

Out of all the suggestions I like this the best. The "no desire for partnered sex" and "does not desire sex with others" implies that most asexuals are autosexual. :unsure:

However, no matter what the definition is changed to, it will take a lot of work to implement and cause a lot of confusion. Not necessarily something we want when one of our main goals is visibility, right?

I also feel changing the definition to anything without the term sexual attraction will make asexuality seem "unequal" to the other orientations. If heterosexual is sexual attraction towards the opposite sex, and homosexual towards same, and bi towards both, then asexuality not fitting into that pattern will just add to the confusion and misunderstanding we experience now.

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The "no desire for partnered sex" and "does not desire sex with others" implies that most asexuals are autosexual.

I don't think so. It simply doesn't mention masturbation at all, which lack of mention leaves it open for individual feeling.

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I also feel changing the definition to anything without the term sexual attraction will make asexuality seem "unequal" to the other orientations. If heterosexual is sexual attraction towards the opposite sex, and homosexual towards same, and bi towards both, then asexuality not fitting into that pattern will just add to the confusion and misunderstanding we experience now.

I respectfully disagree, especially with the bold parts.

Allow me to offer this food for thought: prior to asexuality, everyone thought that sexual attraction was when you want to "tap that". In fact, the entire concept of a "sexual orientation" relies on all these jargon words (sexual attractio, desire, libido/sex drive, arousal, etc) all happening like a chain reaction, or almost simultaneously and makes magical unicorns appear. No one bothered to question these because it was just assumed and taken for granted.

Asexuality breaks all of these rules and... doesn't make magical unicorns appear. Why define asexuality with words that don't really mean anything to the experiences of an asexual? Let me be clear: I'm not saying asexuality should not be considered an orientation... but I think "lack of sexual attraction" is, quite frankly, a little lacking. If something needs to be defined that breaks all of one's pre-conceived rules about sexual orientation... then maybe using other words, until professionals can figure out their jargon, can be used. Until then, though, I think attaching the "lacks an inherent desire for partnered sex" to the current definition should be sufficient.

However, no matter what the definition is changed to, it will take a lot of work to implement and cause a lot of confusion. Not necessarily something we want when one of our main goals is visibility, right?

Of course. It's no one's fault though; everyone assumed that sexual attraction is attraction+desire and David Jay was not an exception. Considering asexuality is very new, it's not surprising that new aspects of sexuality are being discovered and discussed. There will be conflicting messages during the transitional period... but the refined definition should, technically, be even clearer than "lack of sexual attraction" alone.

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Vampyremage

I also feel changing the definition to anything without the term sexual attraction will make asexuality seem "unequal" to the other orientations. If heterosexual is sexual attraction towards the opposite sex, and homosexual towards same, and bi towards both, then asexuality not fitting into that pattern will just add to the confusion and misunderstanding we experience now.

Again, I think many of us are trying to add to the existing definition in order to be more inclusive and increase clarity. We are not suggesting scrapping the whole lack of sexual attraction thing all together.

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I also prefer the current definition.

Mostly, I want to ask -- if someone has a preference for partnered sex, but it's because they enjoy it as a matter of social interaction (e.g. they're doing it for purely selfish reasons of enjoying sexual attention from another individual, though they don't experience any sexual attraction), where does that put them exactly?

I think, when defining sexual orientations, we shouldn't be using any language that would encourage any reliance on making assumptions about people based on their apparent behaviour.

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I also prefer the current definition.

Mostly, I want to ask -- if someone has a preference for partnered sex, but it's because they enjoy it as a matter of social interaction (e.g. they're doing it for purely selfish reasons of enjoying sexual attention from another individual, though they don't experience any sexual attraction), where does that put them exactly?

I think, when defining sexual orientations, we shouldn't be using any language that would encourage any reliance on making assumptions about people based on their apparent behaviour.

This. Really, this.

Plus, what I said in the other thread, let me reword it and pick some pieces from there:

- All the people I talked to IRL understood what I meant when I told them that I am not sexually attracted towards any gender.

- If "sexual attraction" is clear enough to define homosexuality or heterosexuality, it's clear enough for asexuality too.

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I also prefer the current definition.

Mostly, I want to ask -- if someone has a preference for partnered sex, but it's because they enjoy it as a matter of social interaction (e.g. they're doing it for purely selfish reasons of enjoying sexual attention from another individual, though they don't experience any sexual attraction), where does that put them exactly?

I think, when defining sexual orientations, we shouldn't be using any language that would encourage any reliance on making assumptions about people based on their apparent behaviour.

This. Really, this.

Plus, what I said in the other thread, let me reword it and pick some pieces from there:

- All the people I talked to IRL understood what I meant when I told them that I am not sexually attracted towards any gender.

- If "sexual attraction" is clear enough to define homosexuality or heterosexuality, it's clear enough for asexuality too.

That's great if you guys have this kind of good luck with visibility. But in real life, so much focus on and participation in fetishes, masturbation, watching porn, and being 'aesthetically attracted' to people...IS indicative of sexual attraction, and ultimately sexuality, not asexuality. I'm sorry to break this news to you, but it just is. Skulls gave the definition of a fetish yesterday and it actually has the words sexual attraction in it, so really what does that say? :wacko:

I'm just glad I have a sense of humor. :lol:

Oh Fae, since and/or would be used it should be no problem.

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Jillianimal

I suppose the best definition would be: Asexual - someone who is not attracted to people in such a way that would compel them to interact sexually with another person.

But since that's wordy, I think breaking it into two parts is in order to settle what sexual attraction is without having such a wordy main definition.

Asexual - Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Sexual attraction - attraction toward another person that would compel an individual to interact sexually with that person.

A lot of nuance is lost is saying an asexual is someone who lacks an inherent desire for sexual relations. Nonetheless, that definition may be a bit more straightforward, practical, and understandable. I think it makes a good quick-and-dirty summary, but not a good definition.

^^^I completely agree with this.

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Also...y'all know how simple it is in our heads about gay, straight, bi, well I hope someday asexual is that simple, and in that regard I owe Kelsea an apology for my response to the post she made yesterday on the other definition/'formerly frigid' thread.

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Vampyremage

I also prefer the current definition.

Mostly, I want to ask -- if someone has a preference for partnered sex, but it's because they enjoy it as a matter of social interaction (e.g. they're doing it for purely selfish reasons of enjoying sexual attention from another individual, though they don't experience any sexual attraction), where does that put them exactly?

I think, when defining sexual orientations, we shouldn't be using any language that would encourage any reliance on making assumptions about people based on their apparent behaviour.

This. Really, this.

Plus, what I said in the other thread, let me reword it and pick some pieces from there:

- All the people I talked to IRL understood what I meant when I told them that I am not sexually attracted towards any gender.

- If "sexual attraction" is clear enough to define homosexuality or heterosexuality, it's clear enough for asexuality too.

The thing about the other orientations is that there is a largely unstated understanding about what sexual attraction is and that understanding has to do with the fact that eventually, one wants to actually do something with the sexual attraction they experience. Thus, there is an innate desire to actually find a partner to engage in sexual acts with. Its not everyone they are sexually attracted to that they would act upon with and there are some that actively choose to be celebit, but there is that inherent drive towards partnered sex.

With asexuality, that assumption seems to have been completely forgotten about, gone in a puff of smoke. Thus, I feel that the current definition does need to be added upon to clarify what is meant by this mystical term that is sexual attraction. Of course, I've gone on about this repeatedly in the other thread, but my opinion hasn't changed on the matter. Not only because what some asexuals describe as their experiences would be considered sexual attraction by most people but still experience no inherent desire for partnered sex, but also because of the confusion regarding what sexual attraction is anyway, I think it is important to add to the current definition.

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but.... its not about sex. Its about sexual attraction. As in, arousal. It is sometimes possible to have sex with people you're not attracted to, but that doesn't make you sexual.

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