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


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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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