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paporomantic

Sexual attraction as felt by aros

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@Mark That doesn't surprise me. Romance is treated as the ultimate attraction, the superior, must-have attraction--because apparently unless you desire someone romantically, you don't truly desire them at all. Because apparently, romance is the only acceptable emotion you can have if you want to be intimate with someone. Of course sexual attraction isn't considered as important. Because sexual attraction, that's just physical, right? There's no emotional component involved with sex. At all. /sarcasm

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I don't really understand why it's so hard for some people to grasp that some people really don't feel romantic and sexual attraction for people of a single (or both) gender at once (OK, I do, it's mostly amatonormativity/heteronormativity lol). Pretty sure a lot of allos have felt that way about someone, even if they don't recognise it the same way we do. I am just speculating, though, but I don't think it's inconceivable that someone who normally experiences both sexual/romantic attraction at the same time, for people of the same gender at least, can experience only one or the other towards the odd person, whereas that would be the norm for a varioriented person. 

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On 21/02/2017 at 7:51 AM, omitef said:

@Mark That doesn't surprise me. Romance is treated as the ultimate attraction, the superior, must-have attraction--because apparently unless you desire someone romantically, you don't truly desire them at all. Because apparently, romance is the only acceptable emotion you can have if you want to be intimate with someone. Of course sexual attraction isn't considered as important. Because sexual attraction, that's just physical, right? There's no emotional component involved with sex. At all. /sarcasm

This post makes me feel terrible for some reason. :/

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On 2/21/2017 at 4:55 AM, Mark said:

I once encountered someone who insisted that all bisexuals must be biromantic. But, curiously, not that all biromantics must be bisexual.
Effectively claiming that sexual attraction must be associated with romantic attraction.

Ironically, the most common type of split attraction (at least according to the one and only study I've found) is heteroromantic bisexual. 

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It's really interesting how much the split attraction model is becoming vindicated (I feel for heteroromantic homosexuals or homoromantic heterosexuals, they probably don't have it easy).

 

I was skeptical about the split attraction model first, too, but it is more easily to accept if we notice how effortlessly the brain manages to give us a mix of different inputs/sensations/feelings/etc. which then seem totally unified to us in normal circumstances.

 

For example, persons with normal eyesight are not consciously aware that they have light-intensity-receptors (rods) and colored-light-receptors (RGB cones) in their retina. When the light becomes dimmer, it's not like abruptly switching to black and white vision, no, we gradually shift to black and white vision. The “split-color-vison model” only becomes apparent if something goes wrong or we do a special experiment, like seeing chimerical colors, that can only be explained by this model.

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I've only been sexually attracted to one boy so far. To me, it happens gradually. At first it was all about thoughts and fantasies. My mind started wandering about, if you know what I mean, Then as time passed, my body started reacting when I thought about him, too. The thought of being intimate with him is such a turn-on. This is how it works in my case. I have a strong desire for us to be skin against skin, to explore his body, and have him explore mine, and to feel his body as close to mine as possible in every way. 

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This is such an interesting thread. Personally, I don't quite experience instant sexual attraction, but close to it. I need to see/hear someone 'in motion' a little bit to provoke my interest. Spending an hour or two 'with' someone (whether that's literally in conversation/activities with them as themselves, or watching someone performing on a stage or screen- I work on-off in theatre) is usually enough to know whether I have a desire for them on a physical level. Sometimes I need a day or two to sort of stew on it, but often I'll know after that first meeting.

 

What exactly attracts me to someone is a question I wrestle with 24/7. I tend to just throw up my hands and call it 'charisma'. I don't have a type as such; it's all in the way someone just *is*. It's a particular attitude and sense of humour, combined with a particular expressiveness of features.

 

Sexual attraction itself, for me, feels like being hungry/greedy for a specific food. It's distracting, you keep thinking of the act and you can almost taste/feel it. You want to skip out on whatever you're supposed to be doing and indulge in it regardless of whether it's entirely healthy. There are, uh, physiological arousal reactions which I won't trouble you all with graphic details of, though I will say at its most intense I've felt brief headaches from it! (But I suspect that's just a stress/frustration response I have due to being a naturally stressy person, and not necessarily a common experience.)

 

Actions I categorise as sexual are overt sex acts, any kind of physical contact in states of undress or intimate settings like a bed, and kissing anywhere other than cheek/nose/forehead. These are the things I feel compulsion to do with people I'm sexually attracted to. I categorise 'safe for work' contact, like kissing, cuddling on the couch or holding hands in the street, as tokens of romantic attraction- and I virtually never feel an urge to do these. If I was going to imagine or do those it would be because my sex partner wanted them on a sensual level, not because they're part of my desires. Sensual attraction for me is moot- I don't want to do sensual things with people I'm not sexually into.

 

The emotional level is a bit less clear-cut. I need to spend non-sex time with sexual partners as a trust- and bond-maintaining thing, just like you need to spend time and do fun stuff with any close friend. In a fully romantic relationship, I feel like those bonding acts are usually used as an unspoken method of escalating the relationship towards spending more and more time together and eventually life-combining. For me, they're maintenance, not escalation. That's something I just need to be very communicative about with partners.

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Well, you've come to the right person.  It seriously freaks me out when people see a connection between romantic and sexual attraction, or are able to have a simultaneously romantic and sexual relationship.  Of course the concept of romantic attraction in general is bizarre, but...anyway.  Yeah, a lot of it's based on looks.  As someone else said, I can find lots of people aesthetically attractive (including girls), and the entirety of the much smaller group I find sexually attractive is within the male part of the former group.  I don't know how to explain to aces what makes these particular people sexually attractive to me, but I know they tend to share some common traits.  See, I'm emo trash, so I go for that whole look, you know what I'm talking about.  I have a pretty specific type, but it can vary a little.  Some things which can add to my attraction to someone are their personality/behaviour--let me clarify, I don't conflate platonic attraction with sexual either; though they can be simultaneously present, they're unrelated--I mean if I find something hot about the way they act.  Similarly, interests/talents, like how I find so many band members hot.  As for how it manifests, sometimes I do just think 'he's hot, I want to make out with him/fuck him,' but even then, I'm not really, like, thinking about it; it's more of a feeling.  Now, I may sound like the stereotypical misconception, you know, very sexual, all about hooking up, but if anything I might be less sexual than the average person, and I'm actually virgin, by the strict definition.  My strong friendships are among the most important things in my life, not to mention that I enjoy my own company; sexual attraction and interaction is just something kinda fun, really not a big deal.          

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On 2017-6-17 at 11:39 AM, Gingerplume said:

 

The emotional level is a bit less clear-cut. I need to spend non-sex time with sexual partners as a trust- and bond-maintaining thing, just like you need to spend time and do fun stuff with any close friend. In a fully romantic relationship, I feel like those bonding acts are usually used as an unspoken method of escalating the relationship towards spending more and more time together and eventually life-combining. For me, they're maintenance, not escalation. That's something I just need to be very communicative about with partners.

 

I'd like to communicate something similar, I think ('life-combining' *shudders*) How successful have your communications been in the past? (or is this post more hypothetical? all of mine are, lol). Is it something that partners struggle to "get" in your experience? Or have you had some positive experiences with being communicative like this?

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On 6/29/2017 at 0:27 PM, aro_elise said:

Now, I may sound like the stereotypical misconception, you know, very sexual, all about hooking up, no emotions, but if anything I'm less sexual than the average person, and I'm actually virgin, by the strict definition. 

Yes, it just seems this way. As mentioned in the first post of this thread:

On 6/20/2016 at 2:17 AM, paporomantic said:

It would be useful to read about what happens specifically in aro (gray)sexuals' minds when they're attracted sexually because, in their case, there's no romantic 'noise' and it's easier to discern raw sexual attraction.

raw doesn't mean strong... though they're usually confused with each other.

On 6/17/2017 at 0:39 PM, Gingerplume said:

The emotional level is a bit less clear-cut. I need to spend non-sex time with sexual partners as a trust- and bond-maintaining thing, just like you need to spend time and do fun stuff with any close friend. In a fully romantic relationship, I feel like those bonding acts are usually used as an unspoken method of escalating the relationship towards spending more and more time together and eventually life-combining. For me, they're maintenance, not escalation. That's something I just need to be very communicative about with partners.

It sounds you're like one of the few people here who don't have any problems to maintain those relationships. I have problems to even begin one. I surely don't want to hit on my friends. Last time I had sex was with a complete stranger and everything went so fast that it felt quite weird to suggest “to meet again”...

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I have a bit of trouble separating aesthetic, sensual and sexual attraction, and as they are sort of tied together for me I have started using the term aesthetic appreciation where most people use aesthetic attraction as I feel it fits my experience better.  Whatever it is, it is very instantaneous. When I meet someone for the first time it is either there or it is not (I have only had it happen 3 times in my life so far out of the hundreds of people I have met). I don't really notice a sexual component at first, maybe because the other attractions overwhelm it for awhile or I experience responsive sexual attraction. Don't know, there are so few instances of it happening it is kindof insufficient data to produce conclusions.   

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3 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

I have a bit of trouble separating aesthetic, sensual and sexual attraction, and as they are sort of tied together for me I have started using the term aesthetic appreciation where most people use aesthetic attraction as I feel it fits my experience better.  Whatever it is, it is very instantaneous. When I meet someone for the first time it is either there or it is not

I relate to this but for me it can be gradual, growing due to fondness for the peson and such. I often feel sensual attraction for friends the more I get to know them, wanting to have skin to skin contact and be close to them physically

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So far I'm very heterosexual and VERY aromantic so my sexual attraction is usually aesthetically tied. I usually immediately know I'm sexually attracted and move to initiate a sexual interaction (Seems aggressive, but it's more casual, consenting, and context appropriate than I described and not very frequent.). These feelings aren't usually tied, or followed by any romantic desires, but maybe more sexual ones lol. I do tend to have sexual desires for the same person for a long time. 

 

My sexual attraction is more physical than say my sensual desires to caress or cuddle my friends which develop with time from a want to show I care physically. and the way I FEEL is very different when experiencing these.

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I know I'm replying to some really old posts here but this thread was a really interesting read, and I had thoughts, so!

 

On 11/19/2016 at 3:52 PM, NullVector said:

Another interesting question would be how these experiences differ for male vs. female sexual aros, or with male vs. female hormones cascading around in your body systems.

FWIW, I'm a cis female and experience sexual attraction pretty much exactly the way you describe.

 

In terms of sexual attraction, people broadly fall into three groups for me:

 

1. Physically unattractive (to me). I do not want to have sex with them. The idea of having sex with them grosses me out. I'm kind of baffled by the idea that anyone else would want to have sex with them, even their romantic partners.

2. Not unattractive (to me). I'm not going to actively try to have sex with them, but if it seemed like it would be fun, and I believed I could trust them with my safety, I'd be up for it. This group is where I find the "cerebral" attraction @NullVector describes plays a part; if someone is particularly intelligent or witty or interesting that's going to make me more interested in having sex with them.

3. Highly attractive (to me). This is where "pure lust" applies. Given the opportunity I will actively pursue having sex with them, based purely on their physical appearance. I will probably also fantasise about having sex with them. This group includes people from celebrities to strangers, and most of the one night stands I've had have been with people in this group. Even if someone in this group is kind of a dick I'm probably still going to want to have sex with them, as long as they don't raise any red flags in terms of my personal safety.

 

On 1/24/2017 at 5:11 AM, James White said:

As much as I'd theoretically like to try the whole sex thing, there's always that nagging thought in the back of my head "but what if she likes me?" I've avoided all such interaction because I'm worried that the female human in question is romantic.

So, this is something I've had problems with in the past. I've had a lot of sexual partners - one night stands and friends with benefits - and after a few instances where people started hoping for more than sex from me, I've adopted a strategy of being completely blunt and up-front before I have sex with them.

 

One of my FWB situations started out with sexual tension developing between a friend and me. When it reached the point that other mutual friends were commenting on it, I approached the friend in question and told him, "I'm definitely up for having sex with you, but I don't want any kind of actual relationship." He was cool with that; we had some fun times together. When I hook up with people I know I make sure it's only ever on the condition that having sex with them doesn't imply I want anything more, and I make sure they know that I explicitly do not want anything more.

 

Every now and then I still end up in a situation where someone gets attached, but when I've been honest about my intentions from day one I find I have little trouble stepping back and letting that be their problem to deal with. 

 

To be honest, hooking up with strangers at pubs/bars/clubs is in often easier because the default expectation is that nobody's looking for anything more than one night together. You don't even need to give them your full name, let alone your phone number 😂

 

On 2/3/2017 at 10:05 PM, NullVector said:

What I think I find more awkward is the trying to 'escalate' anything beyond that baseline of casual friendliness. I have problems with social interactions where there are a lot of unspoken rules operating.

Ehhh these are things you can learn. I went from a child so socially-averse my teachers had meetings with my parents about it, to a highly extraverted adult very comfortable initiating and escalating social connections. It was an active, intentional process on my part that took many years - and I still occasionally fuck up those unspoken social rules - but pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is definitely a good way to start.

 

On 2/5/2017 at 1:04 PM, Kojote said:

How people go romance first even though they literally don't know jackshit about the person in question is mind boggling to me. How could someone possibly know that they'd want that person in their life without anything to base that on apart from looks and first impression? Does not compute o__o

A-FUCKING-MEN

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So here's my really really long novel about my sexual attraction. Because it's something that I figured out basically last week so really new and something that is really really complicated (that's why it took me a ton of tiiiime) so if you're interest in a random person's weird and complicated sexual attraction hope you'll enjoy. If not, I really don't blame you. I probably wouldn't read that for someone else either. It was still therapeutic for me to write it :)

I realized really recently that I'm not allo heterosexual like I thought all my life. It's something that I've always been sure about because I have a really higher libido than average and has always been really obsessed with sex. Especially since I'm 100% aro, I think I was really overcompensating because what I thought was sexual attraction was the only one I could feel (except platonic but I've really overcompensated on that too I was obsessed with having a best friend it was borderline creepy). I never felt aesthetic attraction which I thought was just me being not superficial. Before I realized that it's not that at all since being superficial would be only liking someone for their looks when feeling aesthetic attraction is just recognizing that someone looks in a way that we find artistically beautiful. I never did. It can be weird to imagine but to me everyone looks not the same but just really plain. What I feel are vibes which is not like charisma at all. It's what I call emotional and intellectual attraction. I need to say that I'm precocious and that makes me really really good at feeling emphatically what others people are feeling and understanding their proccessus of thought and reflexions. That creates two other forms of attraction for me. I can be attracted to someone if I sense they share an intense set of emotions that I'm close to. Mostly sadness if they share a sadness that seems similar to the one I can feel sometimes I feel like I could easily connect emotionally to them and that makes me want to be close to them and share deep personal problems about my life or just things that could trigger a really emotional moment (even if it's with a stranger. It's never us crying it's just that I feel other emotions even it's unconscious and it connects with mine. There's not even the need to be talking it's just being in sync emotionally). I also feel intellectual attraction which is something that officially exist I think. Anyway if it doesn't it's an attraction I feel so it clearly exists to me and that's what matters. It's when I'm instinctively perceptive enough to truly understand how a person process of thoughts and dealing with emotion or just dealing with everything seems like they're really unique and interesting person (they don't have to be in sync to me aaaat all compared to emotional attraction) I feel like I can have deep philosophical conversations with them or just really learn a lot from their experiences and create a really special bond that if associate to platonic attraction can create a really great relationship even stronger than friendship (especially if it's paired with emotional attraction that's like the ultimate combination). It doesn't have to be tho. I don't want to be friends with everyone I feel intellectually attracted to. A lot of times they have really shitty personalities but that's what's really attractive. Because they're people that are really don't necessarily like or have anything in common with me. But they expose to me another point of view of things and push me to challenge myself and be more aware of nuances in life. 

When it concerns sexual attraction it's really complicated to me and mostly really really new (which is why it's so complicated I think). Because yeah it hit me like 1 month ago I think that I was really not attracted to people. I've discovered that I'm Androcupiosexual (which is a combination of androsexual and cupiosexual I guess it doesn't technically officially exists but it makes sense to me and it's my label so I'm pretty sure I'm that). Which mean that I'm sexually attracted to male (androsexual) and that even if I'm not sexually attracted to people I want to have sexual relationships. I'm sexually attracted to male bodies but never to people which made me think I was heterosexual and then I listened to what heterosexual people had to say about being sexually attracted to people and that's not me because they're sexually attracted to peooople. They can have fantasies about people because it's these person in particular that they can want. It's something that I never felt. I've tried before to format myself to have celebrity crushes and fantasies because everyone had them. I realized pretty soon that I'd better focus on the sexual part of that than on the romantic part because obviously it didn't seem interesting at all to me to have a celebrity crush to marry me and take me on dates but sexual relationship yeah it could be fun to imagine. Like I said I've always been obsessed and interested by sex. But even if I was interested in the idea because it seems fun and I had some celebrities in mind that I felt I could get along with because I felt intellectually or emotionally attracted to (it's easy to tell when they're artists like actors or singers) and that's like really TMI but I've never felt turned on by thinking about them. Thinking about scenarios where I had sex yeah that's super cool super great but I just thought about sex and eventually about bodies because that's what turned me on at the end of the day. I never thought someone was hot because I actually don't get sexually attracted to people and the fact that I don't feel either aesthetic attraction makes it worst. Btw so you can imagine because I feel like it's weird to imagine since I've never met anyone else ever in my life that didn't fell aesthetic attraction. When I say I'm attracted to male bodies that's like every one. Someone with a muscular body do not seem more appealing in any way than someone with a bigger body and a bit of tummy fat. It's the same level of attraction to both. Which takes it back to Cupiosexual because I want sexual relationships. I would love to have a qpp I could have sex with because I think it's something really fun and that I don't really mind. Which I feel is what's cupio is. "I don't mind" that's the key. It's not something that I crave for (I mean my libido sometimes but not really me). It's not something that I'll actively searched for and in the end it wouldn't bother me at all to live the rest of my life only being with myself on that part. It's not something that I need as opposed to friendship, emotional and intellectual connections (I feel lonely, ununderstood and useless without these types of relationships/encounters) but it's something that I don't mind. If a friend that I'm close to wants to have sex with me well yeah okay why not. (not my best friend tho that would be really weird and creepy to me) If it's good for them sure, it'll be probably neutral for me (better with someone with a male's body that's for sure but I still don't care that much). Because these type of relationships interest me. I don't need to have another form of attraction to have sexual interactions with someone (for me that is platonic, emotional or intellectual) but I can't have sexual interactions with someone if I am deeply unattracted to them with another form of attraction. In order it's Intellectual is the most important, then emotional than platonic. I think I could have sex with someone that is really repulsive to me platonically/friendshiply (because platonically seems like neutral to me when friendshiply is more positive so you get it) but I really don't think I could if they're emotionally or intellectually repulsive to me. I think it could balanced itself tho like I probably could if I'm super super super intellectually attracted to them but they're really emotionally repulsive to me. (because intellectual attraction is the most important one to me) 

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On 5/23/2018 at 12:04 AM, eatingcroutons said:

I know I'm replying to some really old posts here but this thread was a really interesting read, and I had thoughts, so!

This thread is badass, so please feel no guilt for bringing it back! 👍

 

On 5/23/2018 at 12:04 AM, eatingcroutons said:

but pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is definitely a good way to start.

Haha, you have identified my Kryptonite! (well, that and probably some latent shyness/self-esteem issues). But thanks for the insightful advice and I will try to take it!

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Cool thread! 

 

I think I only really find people attractive when I'm already horny. I never get distracted because someone's attractive, but I will find certain people more attractive if I'm actively looking for a sexual partner? 

 

Of course this is also tied up with the fact that I'm pretty sure I have some level of prosopagnosia (faceblindness) , and I have to have known someone for a while before their face sticks in my mind well enough that I'm even able to find them attractive. And if by this point I've discovered I don't like them as a person, I'm not going to find them attractive. 

 

So I only find people attractive when I'm horny, I've known them for a while, and we're reasonably friendly and get along and even then I don't find most people attractive, or find anyone distractingly attractive. 

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