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Lady Girl

Short Sexual Attraction Essay

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Lady Girl

Sexual Attraction is many things to many people. By one definition it is simply an attraction that arouses sexual interest. In this sense most adult human beings experience it. However, when it comes to asexuality a large number of people do not experience it and I think that is when the desire for sexual activity with another person is added to the formula. I don't think this is all that unreasonable.

I will say right from the start that I believe an asexual person can experience sexual attraction and still be 100% asexual. How is this possible you ask? It is possible in that the asexual may define asexuality in terms of desire, that is, they do not desire sexual relations no matter how much sexual attraction they may experience. This in no way invalidates the asexual who says they lack sexual attraction. In fact, they are both legitimate and valid ways to define asexuality. The asexual view is best kept descriptive and not made prescriptive.

As for sexual attraction in and of itself, what exactly is it that arouses sexual interest? For every person this is obviously going to be different. There are a few general items that often factor into the sexual attraction equation. The attraction experienced may be to a person's looks or movements, to their voice, their smell, and oftentimes their general attitude towards the one feeling the attraction. Sometimes there are additional factors such as adornments, clothing, perfume, and hairstyle that may catch one's attention and add to the feeling of attraction to that person.

There is also the idea that sexual attraction is not simply limited to physical traits, although initially that is generally what it is considered to be, an attraction to those things immediately available to the senses. I would contend however, that perhaps not all sexual people experience strong sexual attraction from the very beginning of a relationship. The building of an emotional bond and intellectual repoire may even be necessary for some before they experience sexual attraction to someone. In other words, I believe that some sexual people have sex, become involved in the relationship, and then begin to experience sexual attraction for their partner.

Basically speaking, I think finding someone sexually attractive means you would have sex with that person if all the other circumstances you regard as necessary for sexual activity exist. For some people that involves a lot, for other people not much at all.

EDIT: Not sure if this is even in the right place for this! I thought it would be a good place to get a little feedback maybe though. I'm hoping Qute accepts it into the sexual attraction project pinned thread.

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TheKindredSoul

Sexual Attraction is many things to many people. By one definition it is simply an attraction that arouses sexual interest. In this sense most adult human beings experience it. However, when it comes to asexuality a large number of people do not experience it and I think that is when the desire for sexual activity with another person is added to the formula. I don't think this is all that unreasonable.

I will say right from the start that I believe an asexual person can experience sexual attraction and still be 100% asexual. How is this possible you ask? It is possible in that the asexual may define asexuality in terms of desire, that is, they do not desire sexual relations no matter how much sexual attraction they may experience. This in no way invalidates the asexual who says they lack sexual attraction. In fact, they are both legitimate and valid ways to define asexuality. The asexual view is best kept descriptive and not made prescriptive.

As for sexual attraction in and of itself, what exactly is it that arouses sexual interest? For every person this is obviously going to be different. There are a few general items that often factor into the sexual attraction equation. The attraction experienced may be to a person's looks or movements, to their voice, their smell, and oftentimes their general attitude towards the one feeling the attraction. Sometimes there are additional factors such as adornments, clothing, perfume, and hairstyle that may catch one's attention and add to the feeling of attraction to that person.

There is also the idea that sexual attraction is not simply limited to physical traits, although initially that is generally what it is considered to be, an attraction to those things immediatly available to the senses. I would contend however, that perhaps not all sexual people experience strong sexual attraction from the very beginning of a relationship. The building of an emotional bond and intellectual repoire may even be necessary for some before they experience sexual attraction to someone. In other words, I believe that some sexual people have sex, become involved in the relationship, and then begin to experience sexual attraction for their partner.

Basically speaking, I think finding someone sexually attractive means you would have sex with that person if all the other circumstances you regard as necessary for sexual activity exist. For some people that involves a lot, for other people not much at all.

EDIT: Not sure if this is even in the right place for this! I thought it would be a good place to get a little feedback maybe though. I'm hoping Qute accepts it into the sexual attraction project pinned thread.

I really like your point, but I have a question for you. If you say that someone who can experience sexual attraction and not want a sexual relationship, wouldn't that be kind of mistaken for being celibacy by many people? Many asexuals say, having sexual attraction but not wanting a sexual relationship = celibacy. I think a person who does experience sexual attraction but does not want a relationship is asexual in a different definition.

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Lady Girl

I really like your point, but I have a question for you. If you say that someone who can experience sexual attraction and not want a sexual relationship, wouldn't that be kind of mistaken for being celibacy by many people? Many asexuals say, having sexual attraction but not wanting a sexual relationship = celibacy. I think a person who does experience sexual attraction but does not want a relationship is asexual in a different definition.

No that is not the same thing at all. The clear lack of desire to engage in sexual relations is indeed the exact opposite of celibacy. A celibate person may have a strong desire for a sexual relationship, and that is indeed what makes them celibate...they are struggling against the urge to engage in sex. An asexual person has no such struggle. If anything, it is a struggle for an asexual to engage in sexual relations.

Not wanting sex is not going to be mistaken for celibacy. Not having sex when you want it is celibacy.

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TheKindredSoul

I really like your point, but I have a question for you. If you say that someone who can experience sexual attraction and not want a sexual relationship, wouldn't that be kind of mistaken for being celibacy by many people? Many asexuals say, having sexual attraction but not wanting a sexual relationship = celibacy. I think a person who does experience sexual attraction but does not want a relationship is asexual in a different definition.

No that is not the same thing at all. The clear lack of desire to engage in sexual relations is indeed the exact opposite of celibacy. A celibate person may have a strong desire for a sexual relationship, and that is indeed what makes them celibate...they are struggling against the urge to engage in sex. An asexual person has no such struggle. If anything, it is a struggle for an asexual to engage in sexual relations.

Not wanting sex is not going to be mistaken for celibacy. Not having sex when you want it is celibacy.

Oh sorry! :redface: I became a bit confused there by the way you said it.

All I know is that asexuals can become aroused when being touched by a person (not in a sexual way) and there were examples before on AVEN, but they do not want to engage in sex.

You know what? I'm confused! :wacko:

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The Great WTF

I've seen more and more from people who experience that mental disconnect with sex, so I really appreciate the fact that you've posted this. I'll be referencing back to it a lot.

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Howard

To me, the main difference between sexual and romantic attraction is that sexual attraction leads to desire for partnered sex. Someone who feel no attraction at all would be aromantic and asexual. Put it this way, an attraction is simply a pull, a force. If that pull makes the person want sex, it's sexual attraction. If the pull makes them want to simply be with the person, it's romantic attraction. As such, desire plays a big part to me in the definition of oneself and only that person is able to interpret despite society's definitions of term. Someone is attracted by broad shoulders, is that necessarly sexual because it is seen as virile?. If we are talking about Michealangelo's David, definitely not.

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Masumi5

I'm glad you posted this. I do experience some sexual attraction for some people, but in no way would I ever have, or want to have sex with them.

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Lady Girl

To me, the main difference between sexual and romantic attraction is that sexual attraction leads to desire for partnered sex. Someone who feel no attraction at all would be aromantic and asexual. Put it this way, an attraction is simply a pull, a force. If that pull makes the person want sex, it's sexual attraction. If the pull makes them want to simply be with the person, it's romantic attraction.

For most people if the attraction is combined with sexual arousal, it would be considered sexual attraction. Therefore as you said, that would then lead to the desire for partnered sex. But in the case of my husband, Mr. LG, and some other members of AVEN this is not the case. They seem to not want sex in spite of experiencing sexual attraction. As I mentioned in the original post, this in no way invalidates those asexuals who are asexual because they do not experience sexual attraction.

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Howard

If someone does not want partenered sex, I'd question if it's sexual attraction in the first place. I'd rather call it romantic attraction. Arousal is a bit different, because it does not necessarly due to an attraction to someone. It is really the attraction, if you go along with the textbook, that determines wether or not someone is asexual.

I still consider that desire speaks louder than attraction when I reflect on my own orientation. I do feel attractions toward people but those attractions do not lead to sexual desire. Therefore, those attractions are not sexual and I am asexual.

Another situation that make it so that I find that desires are more important than attraction when defining asexuality. I've heard of people that say they do not feel sexual attraction, but will readily have sex with many people, just about to say with anyone literaly. Because of their desires, I would rather consider them easily attracted to anyone than asexuals who like partnered sex. Personaly, I desire things that I'm attracted to and vice versa. There are things that I desire but not want because of the ticket price, like a day at the amusement park. That is a bit where celibacy comes in, that is if someone desires sex but doesn't want it because of the 'ticket price', like the commitment expected in a sexual relationship, then the person would be celibate and not asexual.

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ithaca

Why do you think all celibates struggle against something?

I see celibates as vegetarians: some vegetarians really love meat, but for ethical choices decide not to eat it anymore, and they will struggle every time they smell a barbeque. Some vegetarians like meat but not so much and they give up to it in an easier way. Some vegetarians don't even like meat, so for them it's the easiest way.

I think there are people who experience sexual attraction but don't like sex that much or don't give it that much of an importance. Still they are technically celibates if they decide not to have sex, not ace. If they prefer to call themselves asexual they are free to do so, obviously, but I wouldn't say that people who do not to desire sexual relations are asexual by default.

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Lady Girl

Celibates do not want to break their promise not to have sex. It has more to do with the promise made than what they desire sexually.

My husband is not celibate because he quite naturally does not desire sex. He does not decide not to have sex...he does have sex, but would prefer not to. He's asexual, not celibate. His experience of asexuality is not defined in terms of sexual attraction and does not have to be.

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ithaca

Obviously, LG. And I'm not talking about your husband.

I'm talking of celibate people, and in general. You said the difference between asexual who do not desire sexual relations and celibate people is that celibate struggle. Well, not everyone. So how do you "classify" someone who is sexual but celibate because not interested in sexual relations that much? Keep in mind that celibate means that they are not having sex by choice, not all celibates take a vow though.

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Beachwalker

Celibates desire sex but for whatever reason choose not to have sex.

Involuntary celibates want to have sex but for whatever reason are unable to have sex.

Asexuals can usually have sex but have no desire to do it for the sake of sex alone.

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ithaca

Exactly celibacy is a choice, not always a promise or a vow.

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Beachwalker

Exactly celibacy is a choice, not always a promise or a vow.

Which is why asexuals are not celibate they are not choosing to not have sex and they are not choosing to not have sexual desire.

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ithaca

Some asexuals are also celibate :blink: Some asexuals choose to not have sex, while some choose to have it. Asexuality and celibacy do not exclude each other :blink:

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Guest

The way I see it is that celibates don't desire sex for extrinsic reasons (religious, moral etc) whereas asexuals don't desire sex for intrinsic reasons (i.e. they just don't want it). The two can possibly coincide with each other, but they don't have to.

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Lady Girl

The way I see it is that celibates don't desire sex for extrinsic reasons (religious, moral etc) whereas asexuals don't desire sex for intrinsic reasons (i.e. they just don't want it). The two can possibly coincide with each other, but they don't have to.

Right. This is what I mean. I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply all celibates struggle against having sex.

It does seem as though both celibates and asexuals may say I don't want sex. It would be more accurate though for the celibate to say I choose not to have sex. Wereas the asexual should be able to just say I have no interest in having sex, I don't want it (if that is indeed how that asexual experiences it).

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ithaca

Here though we go again into semantics: desire vs want. Some celibate might desire sex and not want it.

I think the difference is just in the choice part. Asexuality is not a choice, celibacy is (unless medical reasons and stuff).

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Lady Girl

I was going to say that too...desire and want are about the same thing. It is the choice part. :)

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ithaca

No that is not the same thing at all. The clear lack of desire to engage in sexual relations is indeed the exact opposite of celibacy. A celibate person may have a strong desire for a sexual relationship, and that is indeed what makes them celibate...they are struggling against the urge to engage in sex. An asexual person has no such struggle. If anything, it is a struggle for an asexual to engage in sexual relations.

Not wanting sex is not going to be mistaken for celibacy. Not having sex when you want it is celibacy.

Sorry LG but I find lots of issues with this post. First you say it's the strong desire for sexual relations (or the struggle to resist to it) that makes someone celibate, then in the last post you say that it's the choice. It's confusing.

Also, "If anything, it is a struggle for an asexual to engage in sexual relations", it's a generalization, and I understand you're basing this essay mostly on your personal experience, probably (as you keep mentioning your husband) but there's lots of asexuals who don't mind at all compromising for sex. Some actually enjoy sex. So saying that asexuals struggle into sexual relationships only counts for part of the asexual population. Maybe a good part, but not all of it.

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Lady Girl

I can certainly amend that post for you Ithaca. I do think most people understand what I'm saying. But let's try this...

A lack of desire to engage in sexual relations is not necessarily celibacy, by any means. It might be, but certainly does not indicate that it is. A celibate person may actually have a strong desire for a sexual relationship, and if this is the case, celibacy is a struggle for them. This particular celibate is struggling against the urge to engage in sex. An asexual person, generally speaking, does not have this kind of struggle. Oftentimes, it is difficult for an asexual to engage in sexual relations, not in all cases, but in a great many.

Not wanting sex does not have to be mistaken for celibacy, as a celibate chooses this not wanting.

I think it's still correct to say not having sex when you want it is celibacy.

My understanding is that celibacy is the choice to abstain from sexual relations.

Some asexual people (and not just my husband) define asexuality in this way, "I do not want or desire sex regardless of any sexual attraction I may experience." Or, "Asexuality to me is in my lack of desire for partnered sex. It's not a choice I made, it just is."

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ithaca

Thanks, it is more clear now. I still think that celibacy is choosing not to have sex, and not choosing to not want sex, for the most part. But I won't insist on this detail, I just want to make a note of it.

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Sally

If someone does not want partenered sex, I'd question if it's sexual attraction in the first place.

Yes. I think they're two different ways of saying the same thing.

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Lady Girl

Thanks, it is more clear now. I still think that celibacy is choosing not to have sex, and not choosing to not want sex, for the most part. But I won't insist on this detail, I just want to make a note of it.

I agree with you 100%. The only reason I said it that way was to amend that other post. I would say it the same as you. In fact, that is exactly how I would say it, celibacy is choosing not to have sex. That way if an asexual says I don't want sex, it should be clear it has little to do with celibacy.

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Guest

If someone does not want partenered sex, I'd question if it's sexual attraction in the first place.

Yes. I think they're two different ways of saying the same thing.

I agree; actually that's how I found out that sexual attraction is something I've never felt... I can get aroused (much as I hate that feeling), including by an overdose of strong aesthetic attraction, but the thought of acting on that by seeking sex with another person is just weird and alien to me. Basically, it boils down to the itch-and-scratch metaphor I've read in an old post on AVEN:

Asexuality is defined as not experiencing sexual attraction to either (or any) gender. That's all. It has nothing at all to do with libido or with behavior.

Libido could be defined as a type of itch. Some people itch more than others, but the amount doesn't matter. What matters, when determining sexual orientation, is whether the person would prefer for somebody else to help them scratch it when/if it happens. If they would prefer help, and if they prefer it from someone of their own sex, we call them homosexual. If they get the itch, and prefer help from someone of the opposite sex to help them scratch it, we call them heterosexual. If they get the itch and would prefer no help from anybody in scratching it, we call them asexual. (To put it very bluntly, whether or not a person masturbates has no bearing on their sexual orientation.)

I get these annoying uncomfortable itches, but I'd can't relate to how anyone gets the idea to have anyone but themself scratch them. Scratching myself is undignified enough, IMO. :P

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Lady Girl

There's also this I like.

The lack of sexual attraction is a model of the asexual identity...not the model. Asexuality can actually be defined in three ways...in terms of preference, desire, or attraction. A descriptive view of asexuality seems preferable over a prescriptive view wouldn't you say?

The AVEN definition should be a guidepost, not something set in stone.

I agree very much that a descriptive view is better than a prescriptive view. Personally I also prefer the definition based on desire rather than attraction, because 1) it's hard to say what's "sexual attraction"; and 2) it's lack of sexual desire that makes asexuals relate to people in a different way from sexuals.

When I first came to AVEN, the "sexual attraction" thing confused me quite a bit. It's easily conflated with romantic or aesthetic attraction. Even today, I'm not 100% sure if I ever experienced sexual attraction or not (but I'm inclined to say no). But if we use the definition "does not experience an inherent desire for partnered sex", then I'm pretty sure I'm asexual, because I can live happily without sex for the rest of my life.

Different people have different experiences. Aven should be welcome to all the asexual experiences and supportive of the people who share them. There's room for everyone. I think.

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Vampyremage

Obviously, LG. And I'm not talking about your husband.

I'm talking of celibate people, and in general. You said the difference between asexual who do not desire sexual relations and celibate people is that celibate struggle. Well, not everyone. So how do you "classify" someone who is sexual but celibate because not interested in sexual relations that much? Keep in mind that celibate means that they are not having sex by choice, not all celibates take a vow though.

I think the difference here is not so much the struggle or lack there of, but in choice. We are speaking of desire in two different was here. Desire as lady girl speaks of is that innate internal drive, or lack there of, to have sex. It isn't about choosing or nor choosing, it's about something that's simply internally there or not there.

Desire as pertains to celibacy is about choice. The innate desire is (usually) there, to a greater or lesser degree, but a celibate actively chooses to remain belabor despite that innate desire.

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Empty Chairs & Tables

Basically speaking, I think finding someone sexually attractive means you would have sex with that person if all the other circumstances you regard as necessary for sexual activity exist. For some people that involves a lot, for other people not much at all.

Clarification question: is it that if you find someone sexually attractive you would have sex with that person if (etc), or that you would want to have sex with that person if (etc)? (Etc refers to the remainder of the original sentence.)

As an "I am a confused asexual" question - what exactly does it mean to "want" to have sex with someone, anyway? For some reason, "wanting" or "desiring" sex simply seems to be a foreign concept to me. What goes through one's mind when they "want"/"desire" sex?

I've seen more and more from people who experience that mental disconnect with sex, so I really appreciate the fact that you've posted this. I'll be referencing back to it a lot.

I am one of the "mental disconnects." I do not think I experience sexual attraction or desire, but I enjoy having sex with my SO and it is not a "chore" for me. There just seems to be something missing in connecting my brain to sexual activity. Even now that I am sexually active, I do not think it would be problematic for me to go the rest of my life without engaging in intercourse or masturbating (which I have never done). I become aroused, but have no "libido" to speak of. More and more, I have been feeling that my experiences are significantly different from most of the asexuals here on AVEN, but I still think I am asexual, just in a different way than most describe it. (I have been wondering if I fit more as gray-asexual, but for the most part I do not think the "flavor" of asexuality matters to me. Regardless of whether or not I am gray, I am still on the asexual end of the sexuality spectrum.)

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Lady Girl

I mean would.

Wanting or desiring sex would be like wanting or desiring a new computer, car, or anything else you want. You basically do what you need to do to acquire it.

What you describe sounds a lot like how I've heard quite a few other asexuals describe it. If they were around someone that caused them to be sexually aroused they call it sexual attraction to that person. I think that would be an accurate assessment of the situation, but because of a different feeling in the drive for sexual activity they would disconnect from any further effort to engage sexually with the person.

I do think desire or want for sexual activity has something to do with the libido or drive and I definitely think people can be asexual due to a low or non existent libido. Like you said they can and do have sex, there is nothing wrong with them. They are asexual.

I really like how you described your experience.

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