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Lady Girl

Short Sexual Attraction Essay

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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 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.

Hmm, I personally would not call being willing to have sex with someone sexual attraction. I guess I think of sexual attraction as being the opposite of sexual repulsion on a continuum of some sort, and I view willingness to engage in sexual activity to be somewhere of a middle territory; it is the absence of both attraction and repulsion, more of a neutral than anything. At least that is how I see it for myself. Because of that, I still view my asexuality as not experiencing either sexual attraction or sexual desire, though I do engage in and enjoy sex with my SO. Honestly, that seems somehow contradictory, but.... Perhaps it is similar to my experience with certain flavors of ice cream; I enjoy eating ice cream, but there are some flavors I would not choose to buy for myself, as I do not "crave" those flavors, but if I was at someone else's house and they had one of those flavors, I would enjoy eating it. I do not know that that is a great example, either, but for now it is the best I can do.

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Lady Girl

Well, just for the sake of this discussion, generally speaking I would say if you are in the presence of another person, notice them, and then become sexually aroused this would most of the time be called sexual attraction. And I think for arousal, even slight tingling sensation in the genital area counts. At any rate, I think when this happens to people they would easily say they have experienced sexual attraction, which generally indicates to their brain that they would have sex with that person. Based on this, even if a person would have sex with someone, that doesn't mean they will or for that matter, it doesn't even mean they want to. It simply means that this other person they've been in the presence of seemingly and quite obviously qualifies as a potential sexual partner.

I wouldn't call being willing to have sex with someone sexual attraction either. I do think I would call being sexually aroused while in their presence sexual attraction.

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Beachwalker

Well, just for the sake of this discussion, generally speaking I would say if you are in the presence of another person, notice them, and then become sexually aroused this would most of the time be called sexual attraction. And I think for arousal, even slight tingling sensation in the genital area counts. At any rate, I think when this happens to people they would easily say they have experienced sexual attraction, which generally indicates to their brain that they would have sex with that person. Based on this, even if a person would have sex with someone, that doesn't mean they will or for that matter, it doesn't even mean they want to. It simply means that this other person they've been in the presence of seemingly and quite obviously qualifies as a potential sexual partner.

I wouldn't call being willing to have sex with someone sexual attraction either. I do think I would call being sexually aroused while in their presence sexual attraction.

And this is the problem with the sexual attraction definition. Everyone has their own opinion on what sexual attraction is or isn't. What someone says is, someone else says isn't. That's why I prefer the lack of desire for sex definition, it has meaning.

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Frigid Pink

I've always identified with the "lack of desire" or "lack of interest" sentiment, because it's easier to explain that way, and makes more sense to me, than "lack of attraction," which has always been a source of confusion for me, what it is and whether or not I experience it. Based on the definitions here, I haven't experienced sexual attraction in the sense that I haven't become aroused simply by the presence of another person.

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ithaca

All the people I know IRL, all of them, consider they experienced sexual attraction when they see someone they would call sexually attractive, which means that that person is someone they'd consider having sex with. Being sexually attracted to someone is the opposite of being sexually repulsed by someone, if we imagine a scale.

We can all imagine and understand being sexually repulsed by someone, right? The opposite of repulsion, attraction. Why is it so hard? How physically is experienced can be different by different people (people with sexual arousal dysfunction can still be sexually attracted by someone and yet never get aroused, for example), but the concept seems clear to me.

I'm asexual = there's simply nobody I consider sexually attractive.

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Frigid Pink

By "consider," do you mean someone they're willing to have sex with, or someone they want to have sex with? Because, for me, I want a romantic partner and, since most people are "sexual" vs "asexual," I'm "willing to consider" having sex with a romantic partner.

I looked up the definition of "willing," which is, apparently, "ready, eager, or prepared to do something," ... so, that's why I said I'm "willing to consider" and not "willing." Maybe that distinction makes a difference.

Wow, I just re-read this and the post before mine, which resulted in more confusion. I don't think I know how to communicate well about this topic. :blink:

Basically, I would consider having sex with a romantic partner if they have a desire for partnered sex.

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Lucinda

If there's nobody you consider sexually attractive, then you consider everyone sexually repulsive?? But can those people actually be sexually repulsive if there are other people who consider them sexually attractive? Is the sex appeal of other people really the only determining factor in deciding whether or not an individual would consider having sex with them? Do all of your friends in RL pursue all those people they deem to be sexually attractive? Why or why not?

Lucinda

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Beachwalker

All the people I know IRL, all of them, consider they experienced sexual attraction when they see someone they would call sexually attractive, which means that that person is someone they'd consider having sex with. Being sexually attracted to someone is the opposite of being sexually repulsed by someone, if we imagine a scale.

We can all imagine and understand being sexually repulsed by someone, right? The opposite of repulsion, attraction. Why is it so hard? How physically is experienced can be different by different people (people with sexual arousal dysfunction can still be sexually attracted by someone and yet never get aroused, for example), but the concept seems clear to me.

I'm asexual = there's simply nobody I consider sexually attractive.

Ith you keep insisting sexual atttraction is not confusing, which is somewhat patronizing to those members including myself who are openly confused by it.

So are you saying if you are not sexually repulsed by something, you are sexually attracted to it?

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Frigid Pink

I'm still openly confused by it. :blink:

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ithaca

I didn't mean to sound patronizing, I just meant that sometimes it seems we overthink this sexual attraction thing.

I suggested to imagine a scale, which opposites are repulsion and attraction. Not being on one end of the scale doesn't mean being on the other end. I can be repulsed, attracted, indifferent, mildly attracted, mildly repulsed, etc.... It changes, and one person can be attractive for someone and not attractive for someone else.

And my friends don't try to have sex with all the people they find sexually attractive, just take for example celebrities. They can say who is "sexually attractive" and who is not to them personally, but they won't fly to Hollywood to try to have sex with them :lol: Same with real life people. Even married/coupled friends can be in a pub and say that they think a girl is sexy and alike; it doesn't mean they will pursue an affair with her, just that they would consider her a potential sexual partner.

Sex appeal is obviously something personal, which can include aesthetic attraction (as most people seem to experience it) and also other kinds of specific attractions (as for example also but not only fetishes).

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Lady Girl

I've always identified with the "lack of desire" or "lack of interest" sentiment, because it's easier to explain that way, and makes more sense to me, than "lack of attraction," which has always been a source of confusion for me, what it is and whether or not I experience it.

I don't think you're alone in that. In fact, I think it's pretty much this exact point that several people have attempted to express repeatedly. It seems a valid and legitimate way to express asexuality...and an excellent way to explain it to someone who hasn't heard of it.

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BaronTheCat

Just have to say, this is an interesting discussion and I'm reading it though I don't have much to contribute, or any strong opinions...

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Guest

If the main quantifier for experiencing sexual attraction is just a willingness to have sex with them someone isn't it easier just to cut out the middle man and just say that asexuality is a lack of desire to have sex?

I agree with that the "lack of desire" definition is a lot less confusing and more comprehensive than the sexual attraction definition.

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Cakey

If the main quantifier for experiencing sexual attraction is just a willingness to have sex with them someone isn't it easier just to cut out the middle man and just say that asexuality is a lack of desire to have sex?

I agree with that the "lack of desire" definition is a lot less confusing and more comprehensive than the sexual attraction definition.

It doesn't define me all, or other aces that I have met in person, same story I hear from them, we are just not seeing what others are seeing. I have never heard anyone in personal discussions, ever mention, 'I don't desire it' I have only ever seen it mentioned on the net. If the only description of asexuality was 'lack of desire' I would never have joined, because it isn't how I feel.

For people like myself and those I have met, we are just not seeing sexually-attractive bodily shapes, the body-language, or being driven by attraction to say the right words, it just passes us straight by. You have got to see something, to know whether you desire it or not.

I can also tell in the personal interactions between us aces at meets, I have never been in a mixed group of people, where it has ever been like that before. You get to talk earnestly to one another, without any of the other stuff stressing on you.

Interestingly, I have noticed that aces can get their body-language mixed up!

I remember when I was younger, all this innuendo, the sexual intimations, signs and gestures, used to go straight over my head, it was like they had this foreign language going on.

Being like this, also caused me to look rather silly sometimes, because I just wasn't getting what everyone else was. Manys the time, I was left feeling self-conscious and embarrassed, by just not getting it!

Eventually I learnt, that when it was on the agenda, during discussions with friends, the best way around it, was to be quiet and just give a knowing smile, then you weren't caught out. :)

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Notte stellata

By "consider," do you mean someone they're willing to have sex with, or someone they want to have sex with? Because, for me, I want a romantic partner and, since most people are "sexual" vs "asexual," I'm "willing to consider" having sex with a romantic partner.

I looked up the definition of "willing," which is, apparently, "ready, eager, or prepared to do something," ... so, that's why I said I'm "willing to consider" and not "willing." Maybe that distinction makes a difference.

Wow, I just re-read this and the post before mine, which resulted in more confusion. I don't think I know how to communicate well about this topic. :blink:

Basically, I would consider having sex with a romantic partner if they have a desire for partnered sex.

I used to be confused by the "willing to have sex" part too, but after reading so many discussions on AVEN, I have a clearer idea now. I think your last sentence (which totally applies to me too) shows a lack of sexual attraction or innate desire. If someone is sexually attracted to their partner, they'll want to have sex with them, no matter the partner wants it or not. But for asexuals like us, it would be totally okay (even preferable) if our romantic partner didn't want sex. I think this can be a litmus test for asexuality.

When I think about it, sexual attraction is similar to romantic attraction: When you're romantically attracted to someone, you want to have your feeling reciprocated (except for lithromantics), and you feel sad if it's not. Similarly, sexuals want to feel "wanted" by their partner, while asexuals don't care (i.e., they don't feel sexual attraction). I'm not sure if this makes it easier to understand, or even more confusing. :P

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Guest

I used to be confused by the "willing to have sex" part too, but after reading so many discussions on AVEN, I have a clearer idea now. I think your last sentence (which totally applies to me too) shows a lack of sexual attraction or innate desire. If someone is sexually attracted to their partner, they'll want to have sex with them, no matter the partner wants it or not. But for asexuals like us, it would be totally okay (even preferable) if our romantic partner didn't want sex. I think this can be a litmus test for asexuality.

When I think about it, sexual attraction is similar to romantic attraction: When you're romantically attracted to someone, you want to have your feeling reciprocated (except for lithromantics), and you feel sad if it's not. Similarly, sexuals want to feel "wanted" by their partner, while asexuals don't care (i.e., they don't feel sexual attraction). I'm not sure if this makes it easier to understand, or even more confusing. :P

Ooh, I like this one... even though I wouldn't want to decide if and how well it works as a general description of being ace, it certainly feels very fitting to me personally. While I feel strong aesthetic attraction, and don't mind giving one-sided sex if it pleases the partner, I'd feel massive discomfort, possibly even freak out and run off if anyone gave me the feeling that they sexually "want" me... *shudders* :ph34r:

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Froggles

Thanks so much for this, LG! I hope this idea of "lack of sexual desire" at least becomes a part of the overall idea of asexuality, though I certainly realize it doesn't fit everyone that considers themselves asexual.

I used to be confused by the "willing to have sex" part too, but after reading so many discussions on AVEN, I have a clearer idea now. I think your last sentence (which totally applies to me too) shows a lack of sexual attraction or innate desire. If someone is sexually attracted to their partner, they'll want to have sex with them, no matter the partner wants it or not. But for asexuals like us, it would be totally okay (even preferable) if our romantic partner didn't want sex. I think this can be a litmus test for asexuality.

When I think about it, sexual attraction is similar to romantic attraction: When you're romantically attracted to someone, you want to have your feeling reciprocated (except for lithromantics), and you feel sad if it's not. Similarly, sexuals want to feel "wanted" by their partner, while asexuals don't care (i.e., they don't feel sexual attraction). I'm not sure if this makes it easier to understand, or even more confusing. :P

Ooh, I like this one... even though I wouldn't want to decide if and how well it works as a general description of being ace, it certainly feels very fitting to me personally. While I feel strong aesthetic attraction, and don't mind giving one-sided sex if it pleases the partner, I'd feel massive discomfort, possibly even freak out and run off if anyone gave me the feeling that they sexually "want" me... *shudders* :ph34r:

I'm not sure if the desire to be found sexually attractive or not can really be used as a means of defining asexuality. I'd imagine there's not necessarily a correlation. I think it's very possible for someone with absolutely no desire for sex or sexual attraction to others to desire to be found sexually attractive by others. Have you ever been friends with a homosexual that enjoyed being found sexually attractive by someone of the opposite gender? I think it's a similar situation, right?

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Notte stellata

I'm not sure if the desire to be found sexually attractive or not can really be used as a means of defining asexuality. I'd imagine there's not necessarily a correlation. I think it's very possible for someone with absolutely no desire for sex or sexual attraction to others to desire to be found sexually attractive by others. Have you ever been friends with a homosexual that enjoyed being found sexually attractive by someone of the opposite gender? I think it's a similar situation, right?

Yeah, being found sexually attractive can be an ego boost and enjoyable in itself. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the last post. I didn't mean the desire to be found sexually attractive or not can be used to define asexuality; I just think it's another perspective that can help some confused aces figure it out. And it's mainly in the context of romantic relationships, where sexual attraction is expected to lead to actual sex. In other words, I think sexuals and aces, at least in general, would have different reactions to the question "what if your romantic partner doesn't want to have sex with you?" or "what if your romantic partner is a repulsed ace?" (I guess the second one is better) Hope this makes sense. :)

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Lady Girl

If the main quantifier for experiencing sexual attraction is just a willingness to have sex with them someone isn't it easier just to cut out the middle man and just say that asexuality is a lack of desire to have sex?

I agree with that the "lack of desire" definition is a lot less confusing and more comprehensive than the sexual attraction definition.

It doesn't define me all, or other aces that I have met in person, same story I hear from them, we are just not seeing what others are seeing. I have never heard anyone in personal discussions, ever mention, 'I don't desire it' I have only ever seen it mentioned on the net. If the only description of asexuality was 'lack of desire' I would never have joined, because it isn't how I feel.

My husband did mention it to me in person, and it is how he feels.

As for on the net...I think that's how people figured out there were other asexuals in the first place. I've been greeting every new person in the Welcome Lounge now for maybe four weeks. I would say that probably 95% of them mention not being interested in or desiring sex. It appears to be a very legitimate way to describe asexuality. (It doesn't have to be the only way to define it, I have said this plenty of times...even though I tend to agree with Arche. At the very least, include the lack of desire for partnered sex definition.)

I can also tell in the personal interactions between us aces at meets, I have never been in a mixed group of people, where it has ever been like that before. You get to talk earnestly to one another, without any of the other stuff stressing on you.

A club of rocket scientists probably think the same thing.

Interestingly, I have noticed that aces can get their body-language mixed up!

I remember when I was younger, all this innuendo, the sexual intimations, signs and gestures, used to go straight over my head, it was like they had this foreign language going on.

This might be true for some, but it seems like in other cases they very much get what's being implied and want nothing to do with it, and in still other cases they like participating to a certain extent (I've heard of several asexual flirts) but really want nothing to do with the final destination.

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Eci

This is a very interesting discussion...

I've always identified with the "lack of desire" or "lack of interest" sentiment, because it's easier to explain that way, and makes more sense to me, than "lack of attraction," which has always been a source of confusion for me, what it is and whether or not I experience it. Based on the definitions here, I haven't experienced sexual attraction in the sense that I haven't become aroused simply by the presence of another person.

When it comes to explaining to others that I'm asexual I tend to use the "lack of interset or desire" term, simply because it's easier for someone who has never heard of asexuality to understand than "lack of attraction", (because then you might start discussing what sexual attraction is and that is not easy.... :mellow: )

I remember when I was younger, all this innuendo, the sexual intimations, signs and gestures, used to go straight over my head, it was like they had this foreign language going on.

Oh, yes, I remember that! I totally didn't get it either! :lol:

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Cakey

My husband did mention it to me in person, and it is how he feels.

I would say that probably 95% of them mention not being interested in or desiring sex. It appears to be a very legitimate way to describe asexuality.

For me, It is not a legitimate way to describe my asexuality, though desire may be a by-product of not picking up on the signals.

From my point of view of Aceness, you certainly would not describe people with aspergers as not having a desire to communicate!

Asexuality for me, is similar, you never picked up on the signals, but like my Aspergers friends, you can move on by learning 'to understand', by rote.

A club of rocket scientists probably think the same thing.

I would not know that, I have never met a club of rocket scientists, but I've met varying groups of people over the years, my observations are based on those experiences. (Though I do obviously acknowledge, that I am counselling myself with my own prejudices, based on personal experience)

This might be true for some, but it seems like in other cases they very much get what's being implied and want nothing to do with it, and in still other cases they like participating to a certain extent (I've heard of several asexual flirts) but really want nothing to do with the final destination.

There is a rather big mix of people who come under the asexual umbrella, it is like a religion, we all divide off into our respective cults, I guess. So obviously, my definition of Aceness will never change, but my recognition of the differences in asexuality has changed, certainly.

I would be extraordinarily disingenuous if I ever did ascribe those 'non-desirous' asexual attributes to myself. But you do learn to play a role, to fit in.

Equally,I would be be neglectively omniscient, if I did not acknowledge there were different types of aces, beside myself. But that is the art of learning to look through other people's eyee, rather than just my own. I guess I should have gone to specsavers. :)

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Empty Chairs & Tables

My husband did mention it to me in person, and it is how he feels.

I would say that probably 95% of them mention not being interested in or desiring sex. It appears to be a very legitimate way to describe asexuality.

For me, It is not a legitimate way to describe my asexuality, though desire may be a by-product of not picking up on the signals.

From my point of view of Aceness, you certainly would not describe people with aspergers as not having a desire to communicate!

Asexuality for me, is similar, you never picked up on the signals, but like my Aspergers friends, you can move on by learning 'to understand', by rote.

I totally do not understand the relevance of the Aspergers reference. Nor do I understand how learning to pick up on sexual cues necessarily changes one's desire for sexual activity (or lack thereof). From the above, it sounds as if asexuals can "learn" themselves out of their asexuality. I am very confused by the above.

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Lady Girl

I wouldn't say that asexuals can "learn" themselves out of it. What I gather from Gypsies post is that some asexuals can learn to figure out the cues...if they missed them initially (which I have heard many say they do). This does not mean that they will then pursue sexual relations, but that they can at least know when there is an innuendo.

I don't think that we should compare asexuality to Aspergers though, regardless of them not being defined by a lack of desire to communicate, they probably are diagnosed this way because it would indeed be a symptom they exhibit. It is still a different thing.

I would probably rather compare asexuals to brilliant mathematicians with a natural talent. Some of these mathematicians might say they are attracted to numbers and others desire to solve problems and still others both. Who needs to tell any of them they are wrong? I definitely think many asexuals identify with the lack of sexual attraction definition. I also think a great number find it more accurate to say they do not desire partnered sex and that is what makes them asexual. Still others may claim both ideas describe them.

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ithaca

Question: If you feel sexual attraction but you do not want sex, why not call yourself celibate? I'm honestly confused by this.

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Lady Girl

Question: If you feel sexual attraction but you do not want sex, why not call yourself celibate? I'm honestly confused by this.

Because a celibate person chooses not to have sex and does not have sex.

An asexual person does not choose to abstain from sex (they just naturally do not want it), but certainly might have sex.

It's not that hard for most people to understand the difference between a choice made and something that is just already there.

My husband doesn't desire sex, he's naturally this way. He is not celibate and it would be silly to call him that. If he said he was not going to have sex anymore, then I could say my husband is asexual and celibate.

Celibacy has to do with what you choose to do. Asexuality has to do with how you are.

It's actually very much like your vegetarian comparison. We can use it if you like...someone who doesn't like meat could easily be a vegetarian, but maybe for someone they love they eat it...lol.

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ithaca

Right, sorry, I got confused for a sec XD

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Beachwalker

Question: If you feel sexual attraction but you do not want sex, why not call yourself celibate? I'm honestly confused by this.

Because some asexuals have sex. I remember Pif saying he was a celibate asexual. But I think this is an unnecesary extra label because I think most people would consider this the usual default of asexuals anyway unless there were other reasons present.

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ithaca

No no no no sorry it's my bad, I was distracted. I think PiF had a point specifying. There's no default option imo.

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Howard

I like to talk about desire rather than attraction because if there is arousal, people equate it with sexual attraction. For example, I could be sharing fantasies fwith someone and it would have me arouse even if it is a platonic attraction (no hug, kissing or aesthetics involved). It is not a sexual attraction because I do not want to have sex with the person, I simply want to carry on discussing to keep on being aroused. Arousal is not desire, it's not attraction, it's just a state of being.

An asexual can have sex, I think many people know that. Since they can be aroused, if they can maintain their arousal, they can have normal sexual relations. Much easier said than done, put possible. I think that is what was referred to as 'learning out' of asexuality.It's not really learning out asexuality, it's learning how to have full sexual relations, which once learnt can possibly be desired by the asexual. I think that's why lots of people refer to asexuality in terms of lack of sexual attraction instead of desire.

Personaly, sorry to be contradictory, I still see attraction and desire as very closely related even if some people see them as quite different because I find it so much more easy to keep an arousal up for much time while alone than with a partner because of my lack of sexual attraction.

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Lady Girl

I like to talk about desire rather than attraction because if there is arousal, people equate it with sexual attraction. For example, I could be sharing fantasies fwith someone and it would have me arouse even if it is a platonic attraction (no hug, kissing or aesthetics involved). It is not a sexual attraction because I do not want to have sex with the person, I simply want to carry on discussing to keep on being aroused. Arousal is not desire, it's not attraction, it's just a state of being.

This is another reason it seems like it would be helpful to everyone to say asexuals lack sexual attraction and/or do not desire partnered sex.

Arousal is a state of being...usually in response to something. Some people think that if there is no manual stimulation this means it is a response to experiencing sexual attraction. Which is why it seems confusing at best.

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