I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

For discussion of issues pertaining to sexuality. Warning: Topics within this forum may contain frank discussion of a sexual nature.
pretzelboy
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I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:38 am

In thinking about some person, there are a number of possible physiological responses that seem to have something to do with attraction or arousal or something. There is, of course, physical sexual arousal, and then there is some kind of weird feeling in the lower abdomen slightly beneath the navel, and then there is the "butterflies in your stomach" feeling somewhere around the diaphragm, and then there is a feeling of a kind of warmness in the upper abdomen/chest region. I find that the mid-abdomen one feels centralized (around the same plane containing my sternum and spine), but the upper abdomen one tends to be more bilateral. (These can also be experienced without thinking of any particular person, or they may be felt by thinking about some particular kind of situation. I imagine that if these are felt, and in what contexts, varies considerably among individuals.) These are all distinct and any one of them may or may not accompany any other one. But if all are experienced in regard to thinking about some person or are felt while doing something with some person, they'll all be lumped together into "attraction" because that's how they're experienced: they're indicators of being "attracted" to that person. Furthermore, there is a distinction between physical (sexual) arousal and a subjective sense of arousal. For example, it can be difficult for a male to climax if he is experiencing physical arousal but not a subjective sense of arousal. (I wonder if it is possible for fantasies about some person to cause one but not the other? Or maybe different levels of each?)

In the book Sexual Fluidity, Lisa Diamond describes results of interviews done over a period of ten years with women who had experienced some amount of same-sex attraction. She writes, “The problem with trying to define sexual attraction is that researchers know very little about how individuals experience sexual feelings” (p. 126.) Because of this, she asked interviewees what they meant by attraction and found “a diverse range of responses that seemed utterly incomparable to one other. Women’s descriptions ranged from specifically genital sensations (tightness in my groin; wetness)to full-body physical sensations (warm feeling all over; high energy, fluttering feeling in my belly) to psychological states (liking to look at the person’s face or body; longing for nearness; not caring about the person’s personality; wanting to have sex)” (p. 127. Italics original)”

Now, the question was about attraction rather than sexual attraction, and it seems that many of the women she interviewed did, in fact, distinguish between different kinds of attraction. Still, the point is worth considering: what people call “sexual attraction” is probably a bunch of different things.

Let’s do a thought experiment: suppose some guy finds this one particular girl “really hot.” Sometimes has sexual feelings for her when she is around, including sometimes getting an erection; and he thinks about her while jerking off. He's probably going to lump off of these together—emotions and physiological reactions based on seeing her, feelings while being around her, and feelings while thinking about her--and call it "sexual attraction." If there tends to be a large amount of overlap among these different sorts of feelings, he’s probably not going to sharply differentiate. (He’s probably going to separate thinking she’s hot from the rest because the majority of people he thinks are hot, he doesn’t experience the other things towards.)

I can think of at least five different feelings/responses that people probably consider sexual attraction: 1) desiring to engage in some activity with a person felt to be sexual, 2) physical sexual arousal on account of immediate sensory stimuli (i.e. visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) involving the person, 3) sense of subjective sexual arousal on account of immediate sensory stimuli, 4) physical sexual arousal on account of fantasies involving the person, 5) subjective sexual arousal on account of fantasies involving the person.

Here’s another complication regarding the relationship between 1, on the one hand, and 4 and 5, on the other: With regards to sexual fantasy, for a lot of people fantasizing about a person will likely be considered equivalent to having sexual desires about them—if they feel that their fantasy (or something generally like it) is something that they would like to really get to do, then there probably isn’t any strong motivation to sharply distinguish between sexually fantasizing about someone and sexually desiring them. On the other hand, if the fantasy is something they would never want to act out, or if they find that those desires are entirely absent when actually around the person they fantasize about, the person will likely feel strong motivation to differentiate between sexual fantasy and sexual desire/attraction. (However, it’s also possible that someone would feel that they would never want to act on that particular fantasy with that person, but they would still definitely like to have sex with them.)

Here’s my main point: if two feelings typically go together in someone, they’re unlikely to make a strong distinction between them. If two feelings typically do not go together in someone (or they don’t in some contexts felt to be important), they are likely to make a distinction among them. I think this is especially going to be the case if they feel that for most people, they do go together and if, for themself, differentiating helps them to understand their own experience.

If this line of thought is generally on the right track, it has potentially profound consequences for our idea of “sexual attraction.” And that, in turn, would considerably complicate our ideas of asexuality given the tendency to define that in terms of not experiencing sexual attraction.

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ily
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby ily » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:43 pm

Interesting post! Makes me want to define exactly how I've been nonsexually attracted to people in the past. I think a "longing for nearness", as someone said in Diamond's study, comes closest to my own experience. Although, once I got near the person, I'd have no idea what to actually DO with them...

It seems obvious that attraction is different for everyone, and I guess this would make the definition of asexuality a lot more subjective. But wasn't it pretty subjective in the first place? We've talked about people who could ID as asexual that don't feel like it for whatever reason, so I actually don't foresee these different modes of attraction as influencing who IDs as asexual or not...although I think it would be great to have profound shifts in our thoughts of sexual attraction. As it is, way too much is assumed, and it's assumed we all have the same experience when we don't. Whenever someone says, "Tell me what sexual attraction is! I need to know!" I'm just like, "Oy vey...ask 10 people and get 10 (different) answers."

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Olivier » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:51 pm

As a sexual, I've got to say I believe in sexual attraction ;)

Of Andrew's list of "five different feelings/responses that people probably consider sexual attraction", I all personally have felt all five for every person I've been sexually attracted to (other than walk-by's, but given enough time I'm sure I'd hit all five fast enough).

Just because sexual attraction may have several causes and effects, that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in its own right, and it doesn't mean that just one of those causes or effects IS sexual attraction, to the exclusion of the others.

I'm sure that different sexuals experience sexual attraction in different ways - some are surely more susceptible to certain causes, and each will feel the different effects at different intensities. And I do think these differences are interesting, and the study of them probably enlightening.

But I think it's a very asexual perspective to overlook the vast similarities of how sexuals experience sexual attraction. It's easy to get hung up the fact that in a survey different people use different words to describe it. That's natural given that people have their own individual takes on why it's important to them, and also a product of the fact that this is not something people are used to describing candidly, or clinically. I think if you gave sexuals Andrew's list of five aspects of sexual attraction and said "How many of these do you feel towards people you are sexually attracted to?", then about 95% would say "all five" and most of the rest would say "these four but not that one".

I still think of sexual attraction as rather akin to a sixth sense. Ask people to describe how they experience taste, and some will go on about texture, others about intense flavours, or sweetness, or tanginess, others still will have a predilection for hot foods, or cold. Ten people will have ten answers. Most will likely find it difficult to put answer into words. And yet taste exists, and the best way to get a handle on what it is is to aggregate all ten people's answers into a larger picture, than to play them off against each other as somehow undermining each other's credibility.

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:56 pm

But I think it's a very asexual perspective to overlook the vast similarities of how sexuals experience sexual attraction.

I admit it. I confess to having a very asexual perspective :)

As for asking ten people what sexual attraction is and getting ten different responses, I'm not really convinced that this says much about how differently they do or do not experience sexual attraction. There are some things language is particularly good at, but there are other things it is particularly bad at. Describing feelings tends to be one of the things it's especially bad at. For example, it is often difficult putting our feelings into words, but we have little difficulty putting into words most of the things we talk about on an everyday basis; generally, it takes considerable skill to be able to effectively communicate your emotions. It doesn't take much skill to be able to describe what you had for breakfast, what you did yesterday, or what you're planning to do tomorrow. Another thing language is especially bad at is physically describing things, which provides a good illustration: ask ten people to describe a floral design on a piece of furniture, and you'll probably get ten very different responses. This isn't because they have radically different experiences of the pattern, but rather that it's difficult to describe.

My own perspective on this matter, and my interest in it, is kind of a hodgepodge. Partly, I come at this from the perspective of an asexual trying to understand something I'm generally an outsider to though I can draw on bits and pieces of my own experiences. Partly, its a matter of wondering how different asexuals are from "sexual people", wondering if, perhaps, there are a lot more "sexual people" than we tend to think who experience some parts of sexual attraction but not others (or only experience some parts pretty rarely.) And I admit, part of this comes from the fact that I have difficulty believing that other people are actually interested in sex. Rationally, I know that most are, but I tend to assume that most aren't.

Also, an important part my perspective comes from being someone interested in the more psychological/cognitive aspects of human sexuality and someone interested in how to effectively operationally define sexual orientation (and especially asexuality) in non-internet-recruited samples. (In that context, distinguishing between the above five things labeled as sexual attraction, and possibly others, is vitally important, though I admit that this is a matter that I spend a lot more time worrying about than most people do.) And partly, I approach this as someone interested in the question "Who identifies as asexual and why?" Since very early in the asexual community, after enough people came together to have sustained discourse, it was recognized that people identifying as asexual are a very diverse lot, with each person having their own reasons for adopting that identity. I think that separating the different things considered "sexual attraction" is important because for people who experience some but not others, the question arises "What additional factors (social, romantic attraction, romantic and/or sexual experiences, frequency of feelings, etc.) cause some people in these borderline areas to identity as asexual, but not others?"

As for whether there really is such a thing as sexual attraction, most of the categories that people use are fuzzy around the edges. We tend to want well defined categories with necessary and sufficient conditions. Yet, such categories tend to be the exception, not the rule. For sexual attraction, it's probably the same way. When a bunch of things considered parts of sexual attraction all go together, they are pretty straightforwardly identified as sexual attraction (though I also suspect the 95% figure is way too high). However, when they don't all go together, things get more complicated. I suspect that a lot of asexuals have experienced at least one of the five things identified as sexual attraction, and for people for whom they don't all network together, separating them is, I think, important. And for people who experience some, but not others, (or all of them, but not together), deciding if they experience sexual attraction or not might be difficult because they question might not make sense.

And I hoped that the title of the thread might be provocative enough to get more people to click on it. :lol:

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby forgetmyself » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:12 am

Hello! I'm new here.

I'm far from being a sex expert. However, it seems to me that this thread may actually be moving us toward resolving the puzzle of defining the attraction that asexuals, by the usual definition, don't feel. pretzelboy argues that there are many components to sexual attraction. In turn, Olivier argues that sexuals experience all or nearly all of these facets when they are attracted to a person. Maybe an asexual is someone who experiences only a small subset of these components, but the particular subset is variable and specific to the individual. For some, the subset might be empty, but for many it will not be. One benefit of such a view is that it would allow for some asexuals to perceive "hotness" while maintaining no desire to act upon that perception.

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ily
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby ily » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:35 pm

Welcome to the forums! You make a good point.

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:03 am

I think we're getting to a stage where all we say is becoming subjective speculation. What we need now is a MRI and do some active brain scans to confirm pretzelboy's hypothesis.
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:49 pm

Attraction is a subjective experience, and there is unavoidably a large amount of subjectivity involved. But I think the ideas I'm proposing (at least the direction I'm trying to head) would, I think, by testable with survey research (focus groups would probably be necessary first in order to create the survey.) I think that you could get more reliable data with questions like those in (2) than those in (1):
(1) Have you ever experienced sexual attraction?
(2) (a) Have you ever felt sexual urges toward someone you found attractive? (If so, on a scale from 1-5, how often?)
(b) (for males) Have you ever had an erection while fantasizing about someone? (If so, how often? How many people? Gender of such people, etc.)

MRI's on the other hand, would be, I feel, a lot more subjective. First, you'd actually want fMRI research (MRI's get you info on neural anatomy of someone, fMRI gives you information about where stuff is happening in the brain. To use fMRI, you have to first have an MRI for that person.) Now, in neuroimaging studies, you can't just have someone do something and see what parts of the brain are involved; lots of parts of our brains are working at all times. So, what you have to do is get a test condition and a control condition and then subtract. The goal in that in the control condition the person is doing the exact same thing as in the test condition except for whatever you're testing them over (reading some words on a screen, watching porn, thinking themselves off (for those that can do that), having their partner manually stimulate their genitals etc. (You don't want to have them doing it themselves because then you also have the parts of the brain involved in motor control active.)

In order to get a big enough sample to do statistical analysis, you need to have multiple participants in your experiment. This creates a significant problem: all neuroimaging studies are based on the assumption that everyone has the same brain architecture, and the same processes are done in the same place in everyone. The problem is that this is known to be wrong. Neuroplasticity is well-established. I think that there has been evidence that people such as composers with very advanced levels of musical training and using that over a lifetime can case some areas of the brain to be larger. In studying language and the brain, it's actually necessary to systematically exclude left-handed people from experiments. The parts of the brain most involved in language processing for most people are the left inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. But it is known that for some people language processing is done principally in the right hemisphere. (Way back when, they decided it would be a good idea to use chemicals to essentially put to sleep one half of someone's brain and see what they could do. Supposedly, this was safe, but I wonder... Most people could still talk without their right hemisphere active, but couldn't without their left one active. But some people were the opposite, mostly lefthanded people, though a minority of them, I think.)

And then, after doing the study and spending huge amounts of money, basically all people have found is that certain brain regions seem especially active in certain tasks. How reliable this is largely depends on how good the stimuli were and how good the control is. But even when everything is done well, pretty much all that can be said is "These parts of the brain seem to be involved in X. We don't really have any idea what that means, but it's really neat!!!"

So my main point is that with survey data, if it's the best designed, best administered survey ever, you get good data on people's subjective experiences, which can be interpreted in a relatively straightforwardly. With neroimaging studies, even if it's the best designed neuroimaging study ever, you get very objective data that no one actually knows what they mean, so interpreting them is, in many ways, even more subjective than interpreting survey data. (Academia is finally getting to me: Using plural agreement for "data" actually feels natural to me.)

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby forgetmyself » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:07 pm

MRI, scheMRI! The clear answer here is for us to use the Vulcan mind-meld.

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:13 pm

I don't think the field of psychology would really go for using the Vulcan mind-meld anytime soon. I mean, how would you establish inter-rater reliability?

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Shockwave » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:59 am

pretzelboy wrote:I don't think the field of psychology would really go for using the Vulcan mind-meld anytime soon. I mean, how would you establish inter-rater reliability?

With more Vulcan mind melds.

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:59 pm

Thanks for correcting me on my fMRI/MRI thing. I think our disagreement stems from our different value placed in different types of results, you seem to prefer a easily interpreted, if subjective, conclusion; I can understand this, after all, any sort of individual can only experience reality subjectively, everything we perceive is shaped by everything we have perceived. I on the other hand (and I think this is the mechanical engineer in me talking), I view objective data as incredibly valuable resource in its own right, because one set of data can be used to create multiple subjective conclusions, in fact, evolving conclusions over time, as correlations, causations, and nature in the data itself becomes more aware.
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:36 pm

In my current academic setting, I'm sort of in a place where I'm part linguistics, part psychology, and sometimes some philosophy as well. This, combined with reading I've done for trying to better make sense of asexuality and for our DSM project, the result is that I don't have anything close to a typical psychology background, but I spend a good part of my time reading psych. journal articles and other academic publications.

The field of "scientific psychology", like the social sciences in general really wants to hold the cultural authority granted to science. The natural sciences have made enormous progress, have gotten a lot of respect, and the social sciences want a piece of the action. However, ethics considerations greatly limit the degree to which controlled experiments can be done on people; moreover, the higher level of complexity you get (molecules are more complex than atoms, cells are more complex than molecules, tissues are more complex than cells, organs than tissues, organisms than organs, ecosystems than organisms, etc.) the more variables are at work in the system, making it really impossible to control for things the way it is possible in physics.

With studying people, there is a certain allure that using "objective" measures has, but I think it is deceptive. I think that such measures certainly have their place and can be quite useful is used properly. However, there is also a very real temptation (all too commonly given in to) towards reductionism--the idea that what is happening at simpler levels is somehow more "real" than more complex levels, the idea that somehow physiological processes or unconscious cognitive processes are what's "really going one" rather that people's subjective experiences. Yet, in getting "objective" measures, it becomes necessary to control a number of variables, which includes excluding most of the things that make real life so much more complicated than artificial tasks done in a lab. In many ways, this is necessary: if we aim to understand everything all at once, we won't make any progress on understanding anything. Thus, to understand the role of individual components of some system, things have to be simplified to understand the individual parts. And sometimes people then like to pretend that how these individual parts work is what's "really going on." Ultimately reductionism is a failure to appreciate the ancient maxim that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The ways parts work together creates new complexity, new properties (termed "emergent properties") possessed by none of the individual parts. Because of the simplifications necessary for doing science, and because of the artificial conditions in this lab, this leads to the question of "ecological validity", which asks how much stuff found in the lab can be generalized to life outside the lab. (It is, after all, how stuff works in real life that we're really interested in.)

One "objective" method sometimes used in studying human sexuality is phallometry (which I've written about here regarding why it should not be used to study asexuals, though that piece needs some serious editing). They hook this thing up to a guy's penis and make him watch porn so they can measure changes in penile circumference (or volume, depending on the instrument). It gives "objective" data, but there is a question: to what extent does watching porn (that someone else picked out) in a lab resemble the rest of life? (Sadly, these studies are limited by the fact that the researchers are sort of oblivious sometimes, don't understand that there is anything wrong with throwing out a third of your data because it doesn't fit your theory and then pretending that it's still okay to generalize your data to those people, and they don't understand that the mean is a measure of central tendancy, NOT the whole damn data set.) The result is that the people doing this kind of research (depending on the person) often make exaggerated claims about the utility of the methodology, or make generalizations based on their experiments that are simply unwarranted by the data--and they do it on highly politically contentious issues.

Edit: I've added a bit to the above, and I've included another major reason not to trust "objective" measures over subjective ones: the two are interdependent where studying people is concerned.

Whether studying human sexuality, language processing, or whatever with non-self-report methodologies, the only way to interpret the data--in fact, the only way the theories that are being "objectively tested" are generated--is by hypotheses and models developed on intuitions, introspection, self-report, and imagining what others are probably thinking/feeling while participating in the experiment. In fact, the models that are tested with numbers devoid of self-report are all derived from subjective experience, and all of the data must be interpreted in light of subjective experience. How can we possibly understand the results of some "objective" measure without trying to imagine what people were doing/thinking/feeling in preforming the task? I've read a number of papers by people who don't really consider these questions, and the result is that there are major confounds the authors are completely unaware of.

So, I guess my point is that seemingly objective data has a certain allure, and while I think it certainly has its place, I don't think it deserves any kind of primacy.
Last edited by pretzelboy on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Noskcaj.Llahsram
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:22 pm

I think your right, the engineer in me is drawn to the 'allure' of objective results; causing me to ignore the fact that the presence of an intelligent subject would necessitate such artificial experimental conditions, so as to, at best, call the results an abstract representation of reality.
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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby forgetmyself » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:50 pm

I've spent my career building "abstract representations of [human] reality." Of course these model are all "wrong" in the larger sense, but they are useful when they provide some insight and, dare I say it, some predictive power to some aspect of human behavior and interaction. You can productively analyze a whole lot of situations with the good ol' supply and demand curves!

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby pretzelboy » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:24 pm

I once heard an analogy for science that I really like. Scientific theories are like maps. First, you can't make a map with a 1-1 scale because that wouldn't be a map; that would be reality. As such maps (and scientific theories) are necessarily simplifications, which isn't to say they don't have their uses. Secondly, you can't make a map unless you have an idea of what you are trying to make a map of. It is a road map, a topographical map, a map of population density? All maps require some kind of (human created) measure, and different measures yield different maps. However, once you've decided what kind of map you want to make, the map can be more or less accurate representation of what you want it to represent. (Is it a good topographical map? How accurate is it?) That's pretty much how I think about science.

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby Clarity » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:00 am

I didn't read all the above discussion once we started arguing research methodology, but it seems to me that the strongest reason for using surveys is the sort of information we want:

1. We're trying to develop conceptual models of asexuality by seeing what makes people identify as asexual.
2. That identity formation is definitely a subjective thing that occurs at about the same metacognitive and emotional level as survey responses.

Part of the reason it's useful to break down "sexual attraction" into constituent components is to make those questions more clear-cut. Someone who feels psychologically aroused and also is wet and warm or has an erection will say that they are aroused, but someone who has physical signs but no or inadequate emotional sense of arousal, or who has an emotional sense but no or inadequate physical signs will not know how to describe that state if you just ask about "arousal".

But if you break it down enough and find the right wording, the way someone responds on a survey becomes much less subjective, and you might get some useful information.

***

I don't believe in sexual attraction. I think that "all the signs going together" is mainly the domain of spoiled, healthy, highly sexual people who, due to their "privilege", don't see the struggle that a large percentage of people (much larger than the ace community) put into having satisfactory sex and/or relationships--but 90% of your spam folder does, as do talkshows, magazines, sex therapists, and so on. What separates asexuals from the frustrated sexuals is that asexuals stop, think, and realize that they can have fulfilling lives and actually would prefer not to pursue sexual relationships. Frustrated sexuals can stop and think too, but what they realize is that they're screwed because part of them really does require sex and/or romantic sexual relationships, but it's gonna take a lot for them to get all their different types of attraction to line up ideally.

I was thinking about Betty Dodson, who has taught women to have orgasms for forty years. I was wondering, "Who are these women, and why would they want to be more sexual when I'd much rather not have all this pro-sex pressure to 'discover my sexuality' and 'overcome repression', even though I know I'm physically capable of arousal?" But then I realized that they probably have a sex drive and experience psychological and some physical arousal, but they don't climax, but they still have that drive to reach it and they still consider their desire to be in sexual situations to be an essential part of their lives. I, on the other hand, would feel a great weight off my shoulders if I stopped trying to make what scraps of sexuality I have into a functioning sexual identity, not because anything in my experience of sexuality motivates me to do so, but because people tell me my experience of sexuality ought to be motivating.

More importantly re: Why not to believe in sexual attraction, all the symptoms of a crush can be experienced non-sexually, but sexual people automatically conflate that with sexual attraction (or at least, pop culture does). But as I tried to answer the question "what is sexual attraction?" last night, I found myself saying that it's what motivates (attracts) someone to have sex. Things that motivate many people or are a sign that someone is motivated to have sex with someone may include the last four of the list, but none of them or even all of them together are sufficient to imply the first.

1) desiring to engage in some activity with a person felt to be sexual,
2) physical sexual arousal on account of immediate sensory stimuli (i.e. visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) involving the person,
3) sense of subjective sexual arousal on account of immediate sensory stimuli,
4) physical sexual arousal on account of fantasies involving the person,
5) subjective sexual arousal on account of fantasies involving the person.


I guess I should add that "sexual attraction" clearly exists as a social construct of a number of experiences that are correlated, but we already knew that. I don't think, however, that "sexual attraction" is a valid concept for everyone identifying as asexual, because it seems highly likely that those experiences aren't nearly as correlated in the self-identified asexual population as in the general population. It's really a mind-bender to try to define oneself as "someone who does not experience sexual attraction" if you do experience many things that belong to the cluster of traits that are collectively called "sexual attraction", but you don't experience the key conditions that would motivate you to pursue partnered sex.

Of course, if you are an asexual who doesn't experience anything in the sexual-attraction cluster (or if you can revise your sense of the sexual-attraction cluster to exclude anything you do experience and perhaps relabel it as "sensual" or "romantic" or "physical" or "aesthetic" or "asexual libido"), then "sexual attraction" might make sense to you and it might be a useful way of bundling together a bunch of things you don't experience.

But it's certainly useful to have alternative conceptual models than just "sexual attraction vs. no sexual attraction".

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Re: I'm not sure I believe in sexual attraction anymore

Postby ouinon » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:14 am

Hello!

I just joined because someone linked to this page on a thread I started at Aven, called "What exactly is sexual attraction? Does it actually exist?". :) They thought I might find it interesting, and I do. :D

This is the link to my thread in case anyone here is interested:

http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php? ... lly-exist/

I am definitely thinking that "sexual attraction" when defined as pertaining to "people or persons" does not exist; I no longer believe in it, and I have explained why on my thread. Not sure if I should post more here already, as this is quite an old thread, but will see if anyone is still interested in the topic.

The forum looks very interesting and I look forward to reading around it. Thanks again: :)

.