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I've realized I'm not sure what sexual attraction is


Holmbo
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I understand that it's the desire for sexual contact with someone. But is it always as concrete as that? Or can it just be feeling a physical sensation of arousal by someone?

If I look at a picture of a really hot celebrity I can feel sexual arousal from that, but it doesn't mean I feel any longing to physically interact with them.

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Can't speak for allosexual of course, but I can say to you that sexual attraction and arousal are different things. I suppose there can be arousal when sexually attracted, but I'm not sure you have toi,  and you can just have that physical reaction without any desire to have sex.

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  • 2 months later...

yeah, arousal to me is more of a biological response? like, sometimes it cant be helped, it just happens. where sexual atraction is the active thought of "i would be down to have sex with that person". that's just how i think of it. 

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I do not think that sexual attraction and a physical arousal go hand in hand. You can want to have sex with someone without feeling arousal because you are not looking for the pleasure of the act, you are looking another thing, like sex to release stress because it relaxes you. In this example you are doing an activity for one purpose while your partner probably does it for another, so even though your partner may feel physical arousal and pleasure from the act of sex, you do not. This is from my perspective, as an aroace who is sex indifferent and sex neutral, and like some people here sexual attraction is a concept that I do not fully understand since I do not experience it but I try t give an educated guess based on my experiences and knowledge.

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@Blake I don't think this can be completely right. While sexual attraction does not need to lead to physical arousal, it's more than just "wanting sex" for any reason. After all, sex is the normal way to get pregnant, which is a common goal. To engage in sex purely for that reason is also wanting sex. At least this kind of "wanting" is something virtually no one would describe as sexual attraction.

@Holmbo We're arguing about words here – what a quite fuzzy term means. It's not really a factual question. The idea that there can be subconscious sexual attraction is probably common. I mean, Freud made a career out of it.

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6 minutes ago, DeltaV said:

@Blake I don't think this can be completely right. While sexual attraction does not need to lead to physical arousal, it's more than just "wanting sex" for any reason. After all, sex is the normal way to get pregnant, which is a common goal. To engage in sex purely for that reason is also wanting sex. At least this kind of "wanting" is something virtually no one would describe as sexual attraction.

I understand. Yeah I know it is more than just wanting sex, however I don't know how to explain it more detailed than that because I do not want to mix it up with other kinds of attractions. Also, recently discovered I was ace so I can only do educated guess at best. ^^ tryin to help as I can, but thanks for reminding me that emotions and what make us attracted toward people is very complex and not just straight answers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

self-proclaimed allosexual here... I'll try my best to answer this but of course it's a bit hard to describe.

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say sexual attraction towards a particular person is an intrinsic mental push/nudge to have sex with that person.

- I say "intrinsic" because sex feels like a goal in and of itself.  It's separate from wanting sex to please them, or to have a child, etc. although a person can have more than one motivation simultaneously. I'm tempted to say that this idea is even a bit separate from the idea of "wanting sex because it feels good"... there's plenty of things that "feel good" but only sex is sex.

- By "mental" I mean to say that it's not necessarily related to physical arousal of the body. It is a mental feeling, although the lines are not actually clear.  Sexual attraction is often tied to mental arousal, which is then often tied to physical arousal. If you look at a "hot" person and feel mental arousal, that's probably sexual attraction, but if you just feel the more physical components then it probably isn't.

- I say "push/nudge" because sexual attraction is just one factor in the overall decision of whether to have sex with a particular person. I don't mean to play too many word-games, but I think it's important to point out that there's kinda two meanings to the word "want".  At one level, what a person wants is what they decide to do (the overall balance of pros vs cons).  But on another level, the "want" can just refer to half of the overall balance (the "pros").  When I feel sexually attracted to someone, I want to have sex with them, but that definitely doesn't mean I want to actually have sex with them.  e.g. if I feel attracted to a stranger, and then stranger asks me to have sex with them, I'd definitely say "no" regardless of the attraction.  In contrast, a demisexual also wouldn't want to have sex with a stranger, not because the sexual attraction is outweighed by other situational/social factors, but because they don't feel sexual attraction to strangers in the first place.

- And finally, it does involve a preference for partnered sex, over just having an orgasm or relieving "physical tension" of some kind.  Although the latter can sometimes work to satisfy the desires.

I hope this answer helps.... feel free to ask questions.

 

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Everything would be much simpler if humans still had functional pheromones receptors... inconclusive research but something to look if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

I think that attraction implies a pull and not a push.

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  • 8 months later...
On 4/7/2021 at 6:54 AM, I.B. said:

- I say "push/nudge" because sexual attraction is just one factor in the overall decision of whether to have sex with a particular person. I don't mean to play too many word-games, but I think it's important to point out that there's kinda two meanings to the word "want".  At one level, what a person wants is what they decide to do (the overall balance of pros vs cons).  But on another level, the "want" can just refer to half of the overall balance (the "pros").  When I feel sexually attracted to someone, I want to have sex with them, but that definitely doesn't mean I want to actually have sex with them.  e.g. if I feel attracted to a stranger, and then stranger asks me to have sex with them, I'd definitely say "no" regardless of the attraction.  In contrast, a demisexual also wouldn't want to have sex with a stranger, not because the sexual attraction is outweighed by other situational/social factors, but because they don't feel sexual attraction to strangers in the first place.

 

 

Interesting, but also confusing!
What makes you not want to have sex with a stranger! Is it concerns separate from the physical desire, like it might not be safe or some practical concern? Or is it part of the attraction equation somehow? It's ok if you don't want to answer.

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Honestly, I think it can be a desire for sex just in general...... doesn't make sense to me to call oneself asexual and yet be like..... wanting to have sex. That's my opinion at least.

I do personally identify as lithsexual, which with my definition of sexual attraction, means that I experience a kind of desire for sexual activity, even though it's rarely been directed at any one person..... except, I don't actually want to do the sex in reality? Like, even though I like the idea in my head and kinda desire it..... there's a disconnect there when it comes to it actually happening.

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/7/2021 at 6:54 AM, I.B. said:

self-proclaimed allosexual here... I'll try my best to answer this but of course it's a bit hard to describe.

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say sexual attraction towards a particular person is an intrinsic mental push/nudge to have sex with that person.

- I say "intrinsic" because sex feels like a goal in and of itself.  It's separate from wanting sex to please them, or to have a child, etc. although a person can have more than one motivation simultaneously. I'm tempted to say that this idea is even a bit separate from the idea of "wanting sex because it feels good"... there's plenty of things that "feel good" but only sex is sex.

- By "mental" I mean to say that it's not necessarily related to physical arousal of the body. It is a mental feeling, although the lines are not actually clear.  Sexual attraction is often tied to mental arousal, which is then often tied to physical arousal. If you look at a "hot" person and feel mental arousal, that's probably sexual attraction, but if you just feel the more physical components then it probably isn't.

- I say "push/nudge" because sexual attraction is just one factor in the overall decision of whether to have sex with a particular person. I don't mean to play too many word-games, but I think it's important to point out that there's kinda two meanings to the word "want".  At one level, what a person wants is what they decide to do (the overall balance of pros vs cons).  But on another level, the "want" can just refer to half of the overall balance (the "pros").  When I feel sexually attracted to someone, I want to have sex with them, but that definitely doesn't mean I want to actually have sex with them.  e.g. if I feel attracted to a stranger, and then stranger asks me to have sex with them, I'd definitely say "no" regardless of the attraction.  In contrast, a demisexual also wouldn't want to have sex with a stranger, not because the sexual attraction is outweighed by other situational/social factors, but because they don't feel sexual attraction to strangers in the first place.

- And finally, it does involve a preference for partnered sex, over just having an orgasm or relieving "physical tension" of some kind.  Although the latter can sometimes work to satisfy the desires.

I hope this answer helps.... feel free to ask questions.

 

I definitely identify as asexual, cause i don’t feel sexual attraction towards people. I can’t look at someone who might be attractive and hot for everyone and think “My gosh you look so hot! I’m gonna have sex with you” 

Though i do have sexual fantasies/kinks and love the idea of sex, feel a huge arousal, have a high libido and feel like a baddie, i couldn’t see myself having sex with anyone else. To me being asexual is more about not feeling sexual attraction but still loves sex. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

yes, it's about attraction to a specific person.  like i could be horny and want to do certain sexual things with some hypothetical partner(s) (because they're enjoyable), but if there's no one i'm attracted to--and that's likely, because i'm very picky--oh well, not happening.  also, i could find someone attractive, but there could be some reason i don't want to have sex with him, like if he's an unpleasant person, or i know we're sexually incompatible.  but you can't help finding them hot, like you know those women who say crap like "men are proof that sexuality isn't a choice"--to be clear, i think that's a weird, sexist thing to say even as a joke and i would not change my orientation if i could--but it does illustrate the same point.

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On 4/18/2022 at 2:43 PM, Cocothecoconut said:

I can’t look at someone who might be attractive and hot for everyone and think “My gosh you look so hot! I’m gonna have sex with you”

Haha personally as an aroallo that's not what I usually think, but I suppose I have those kinds of moments where I realize someone is hot in that way. For me it is more something I feel than think.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, nik said:

Haha personally as an aroallo that's not what I usually think, but I suppose I have those kinds of moments where I realize someone is hot in that way. For me it is more something I feel than think.

I mean i do have these moments too, but only if they’re fictional. Cause people in real life doesn’t really attract me sexually or romantically. However i do find people aesthetically attractive, like looking at some beautiful paintings. And of course i’m interested in the idea of sex, i’m sex positive and i’m not repulsed by it at all. People regardless of their gender just doesn’t attract me and i don’t feel anything towards them. 

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20 hours ago, Cocothecoconut said:

I mean i do have these moments too, but only if they’re fictional. Cause people in real life doesn’t really attract me sexually or romantically. However i do find people aesthetically attractive, like looking at some beautiful paintings. And of course i’m interested in the idea of sex, i’m sex positive and i’m not repulsed by it at all. People regardless of their gender just doesn’t attract me and i don’t feel anything towards them. 

I used to kinda feel that way but I think it's because I feel a bit weird about being attracted to real people, like afraid I'm objectifying them or being creepy I guess

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For me, I used to have a sorta small idea on what it was. My previous "relationship" changed that, I used to be all for the idea of sex. Now I am sex-repulsed. I used to have the idea that if I was more interested in sex than dating, I shouldn't do it. That last relationship kinda ruined the whole idea of sex for me. (With other people.) Now I just cant have those "omg lets have sex." I could before, but now i'm just in a limbo state, my last relationship kinda screwed with my head about whether i've been screwed with or if I genuinely lost interest in sexual attraction. 

It sucks not knowing.

 

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6 hours ago, AviaWilliam said:

For me, I used to have a sorta small idea on what it was. My previous "relationship" changed that, I used to be all for the idea of sex. Now I am sex-repulsed. I used to have the idea that if I was more interested in sex than dating, I shouldn't do it. That last relationship kinda ruined the whole idea of sex for me. (With other people.) Now I just cant have those "omg lets have sex." I could before, but now i'm just in a limbo state, my last relationship kinda screwed with my head about whether i've been screwed with or if I genuinely lost interest in sexual attraction. 

It sucks not knowing.

 

Now i don’t wanna be rude and you don’t have to answer my question. But what made you sex repulsed? 

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On 5/8/2022 at 5:00 AM, Cocothecoconut said:

Now i don’t wanna be rude and you don’t have to answer my question. But what made you sex repulsed? 

Yeah, so my last "relationship" kinda had me being used, we hung out originally hung out and such but after time we strayed away from that, (this was before I was aro & acorosexual.)

I genuinely did not like how it was going. I tried breaking up. The person threatened to blackmail me, so I kinda had to stay. (in the school at the time I was somewhat liked, not popular by any means. Im very reserved with my personality so it takes a while to make friends for me. I didnt wanna lose my friends.) around this time I gradually started realizing I was being used as an object. The person only invited me over if they were horny. (the person knows when no means no so that's good, Helped me a few times.) The person basically bragged to their friends about me. I genuinely felt more like a possession than a human with this person.

It sucked. I still see that person every so often in the hallways, I try my hardest not to make contact.  So that is why i'm sex repulsed, (and acorosexual.)

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