How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
LostInside
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How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby LostInside » Sat May 10, 2008 12:28 am

How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Well, I have been researching this for hours and hours now, I sat at the park today and said, who am I, what makes me, why am I different and what makes me different.

Hours of thinking, going through it, and trying to figure it all out, I just wasnt sure.

I mean, I don't want sex, think about sex, or dream of it, find girls nor boys sexually attractive, but I know I can get myself sexually stimulated, if I wanted... but does that mean I am asexual, or just really messed up, or what. Its all confusing really isn't it?

Is there any real definition of asexual, I mean... I find so many different variations of the word online, I am just confused.

~~Lost~~

Karl
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Karl » Sat May 10, 2008 6:33 am

The most accepted definition is the one created by David Jay of AVEN, i.e. "A person who doesn't experience sexual attraction".

However, that really isn't a helpful definition unless you can clearly define what, exactly, sexual attraction is without using the words sex or attraction.

"The desire to engage in activities involving the genitals of another person"? Or is that sexual desire?

I don't know that anyone's ever come up with satisfactory definitions to differentiate sexual attraction, sexual desire and libido.

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Emmarainbow
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Emmarainbow » Sat May 10, 2008 1:04 pm

I identify as asexual, even though I have a sex drive, masturbate, form close attatchments to people and even perform sexual acts.

This is because I don't find myself attracted to either men or women - my understanding of myself on that basis helped me to be who I am today, and feel at home in this funny world. It's freed me to approach relationships on my own terms, and be empowered by that, rather than approach them from a sexual's point of view (the only other term of reference available to me) and be upset about how it *doesn't* fit me.

Only you can say if you're asexual... and you don't have to be tied down by that label forever, if you feel it doesn't fit you.

Discovering you are asexual is a more complicated process than working out you're gay/whatever, as it's a *lack* of evidence you need to work on. As such, occasionally I still find stuff that I think contradicts my lack of evidence, and I wonder if I am a bit gay, or a bit straight, or whatever, but then I get near a sexual situation and I find that my own, comfortable, asexual term of reference is the only one that works, time and again. I can enjoy it, but in my own little way, not in a sexual one.

So yeah, noone can ever be really really really sure they're asexual. Just like a straight person *could* only be straight because they have a terrible fear of the same sex due to some traumatic childhood event. But if it fits you, and feels right, then what's the point in second-guessing yourself for the rest of your life? Keep an open mind, certainly, consider that you could be something else, but just step back and see what evidence you have to work on over the next three months without worrying about it. Just record. See where it takes you.

And, of course, learn about sexuality; it's a very interesting subject. Read about asexuality on wikipedia (as well as the gay/bi/straight ones), go on AVEN as well and see what people bring up. Soon you'll understand yourself a lot better, even if you aren't sure exactly what you are. There;s no shame in being undefined, that's just society being unable to put you in a box. It's your own peace of mind that matters. :D

*hugs*

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spin
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby spin » Sun May 11, 2008 3:07 pm

As with most identities, you just have to sit back, think about it, and decide if you think it describes you well enough to be useful to you. Like Emma, I find "asexuality" fits me very well, because though I find sex and sexuality fascinating and am in a sexual relationship, I don't naturally relate to people in sexual ways.

I'll second the Admin, Jay's definiton from AVEN is the most common, and its vagueness makes it both a bit problematic, but open-ended enough to let people decide for themselves.

This is a good thread, and I'm just going to pick it up and move it over to the "Asexuality" forum.

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ghosts
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby ghosts » Mon May 12, 2008 11:17 am

I think what it comes down to is, you are what you are. It's important that you're aware of what you like and dislike, what you're comfortable with & what you're uncomfortable with, who you want to be close to & what kinds of relationships you have, and so on & so forth. There is no one definition of asexuality - it really is just a term that people use to help describe themselves, like other labels. I know that might sound kind of confusing, though!

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ily
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby ily » Mon May 12, 2008 5:55 pm

At a certain point, all sexual orientations become arbitrary. Labels are all broad and very general. Most straight people have some gay feelings at times, a lot of A people will have sex at some point, etc. I wish I could say that there's an orientation out there that will fit you 100% perfectly, but there isn't one. I've been sexually attracted to one person in my life. So I guess I'm not 100% asexual, but I'm also very far from sexual. So I consider myself to be A, and I'm very sure that this is the orientation that comes closest to describing me. From what you're saying, you sound pretty asexual-- its common for As to be able to be sexually stimulated. But, that's something only you can decide.

70thousandfathoms
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby 70thousandfathoms » Sun May 18, 2008 7:36 am

How can you really, really be sure if you're anything? You can't. It's the same boat we're all in. We can make an educated guess, but it's always possible that we're dead wrong about everything. It's just the risk we take by living.

If identifying yourself as asexual works for the time being, go for it. If at some point down the road it doesn't, relax. The sexual orientation police are not going to hunt you down and arrest you for fraud.

Speaking from personal experience here, the absolute worst thing you can do in this situation is to go on second guessing and turning yourself inside out to find the label where the word "asexual" is printed. I went through about four months of that a few years back and it didn't do me a lick of good. You'll probably find that it will sort itself out if you just let it slide and go on about your bidness - do a jigsaw puzzle, go for a bike ride, whatever. Getting on with your life, thuswise, is just about the asexiest thing you can do anyway.

orangee zest
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby orangee zest » Sat May 31, 2008 1:59 pm

I agree with 70thousandfathoms; dont pick yourself apart too much or think about it too much--it will drive you mad. Im still trying to fgure this out for myself. 'What am I?' But asexual seems to work, and for me personally, obsessing doesnt help. I know how you feel!!!

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Carsonspire
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Carsonspire » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:57 am

*nodding in agreement with 70thousandfathoms and orangee zest*
You can never *really* be sure about anything, but if the label fits right for the moment, feel free to use it. If it doesn't fit, feel free to toss it aside and find another one or none at all. There are no rules but the ones you write yourself.

~Carsonspire

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positivegirl
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby positivegirl » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:33 pm

Can we start somtheing new like "I'm just not sure what I am"? That way all the confused ppl, especially me don't have to worry about whether we are or whter we aren't. O=
Bre

Karl
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Karl » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:39 am

Anyone can start a new thread here, positivegirl. Go for it.

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Heligan
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Heligan » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:00 am

70thousandfathoms wrote:How can you really, really be sure if you're anything? You can't. It's the same boat we're all in. We can make an educated guess, but it's always possible that we're dead wrong about everything. It's just the risk we take by living.

If identifying yourself as asexual works for the time being, go for it. If at some point down the road it doesn't, relax. The sexual orientation police are not going to hunt you down and arrest you for fraud.

Speaking from personal experience here, the absolute worst thing you can do in this situation is to go on second guessing and turning yourself inside out to find the label where the word "asexual" is printed. I went through about four months of that a few years back and it didn't do me a lick of good. You'll probably find that it will sort itself out if you just let it slide and go on about your bidness - do a jigsaw puzzle, go for a bike ride, whatever. Getting on with your life, thuswise, is just about the asexiest thing you can do anyway.


I very much agree with that statement.
In fact its one of the reasons I have stopped hanging out on formus are much... there are so many of these threads about what is legitimate asexality or not, whether we are broken etc. You just cant keep going over this stuff, but everytime there is a thread you wonder if anything worth reading is being said - mostly its not, it just someone trying to define asexuality to fit themselves. I guess we are all insecure about it on some level, because as you say its impossible to ever really know...so there of those of us who ask questions and those of us who make statements, give criteria.. but we are all picking over the same issue- we want certainty and its not available.
"We only half live when we only half think." Voltaire (1694-1778)
‘Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.’ Jean-Paul Sartre

SillyBunny
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby SillyBunny » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:21 pm

I define sexual attraction as the desire to express oneself sexually with another person. I am an asexual with a sex drive, but I feel no need to express it with another person.

In asexuals, the sex drive and the desire to express it are uncoupled to a very high degree. It is quite possible, especially for men, to become sexually aroused without any prior sexual stimulus. This happens for anatomical and physiological reasons.

The key, IMO, is not to look at sex drive, but what you do in response to it. If you don't feel compelled to act, you are likely asexual. The marker for asexuallity, IMO, is the lack of correlation between sexual desire and sexual expression.

Karl
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Karl » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:15 am

I like that explanation, but how would you differentiate sexual attraction and sexual desire? Or are they the same thing?

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Dargon
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Dargon » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:08 pm

"Desire" is an interesting term, and really, at least in my opinion, may be better left undefined.

It seems pretty clear that attraction involves other people. Drive/libido does not necessarily involve others. Desire, however, simply implies want. Is this want for just gratification, or is it want for gratification with another? In my opinion, desire is best used to expand other definitions, but really is too broad to be used as a definition itself.

psycho-kaz
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby psycho-kaz » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:25 am

hi i am new here, i generally feel little sexual attraction towards anyone, but i do tend to fancy people unobtainable, teachers for one, i do think about sex, think about what it would be like having sex with my teacher crush, but i have no desire to do anything sexual in reality, i mean i am barely comfortable with kissing someone, never mind sexual behaviour, but at the moment i am not going to label myself as anything, but i feel i fit more closely with the asexual label

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Emmarainbow
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Re: How can you really, really be sure if you are asexual?

Postby Emmarainbow » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:32 pm

Isn't that what we do all of our lives? Just take what comes, it's what I do. :)

(and welcome! :D)