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Ace, Probably???


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I know that I'm definitely aro, but I'm not so sure about the ace part. Like, I think I've never experienced sexual attraction, but how would I know what it feels like? (this is also literally what I said to friends at sleepovers during the "crush discussion" bit) Part of it's because I'm still young enough to wonder if the hormones just haven't kicked in yet or whatever. Like I pretty much think I'm ace bc I've heard sexual attraction described as looking at someone and wanting to have sex with them, and I've definitely never experienced that, but then again, it could just be a youth thing. And I realize that just because sexuality might change in the future doesn't mean it's not valid now, but it's so frustrating to not know for sure. Idek. This post is a mess.

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I think of my sexuality as N/A because I think my Aromanticism is so strong it overpowers it. I think I don't care enough to pursue sex because I see it as part of a relationship (and I know it doesn't have to be, but that's how I see it). I figure as long as I'm never going to be in a relationship with anyone why even bother thinking about sex. 

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45 minutes ago, thalia-rose-lovegood said:

I know that I'm definitely aro, but I'm not so sure about the ace part. Like, I think I've never experienced sexual attraction, but how would I know what it feels like? (this is also literally what I said to friends at sleepovers during the "crush discussion" bit) Part of it's because I'm still young enough to wonder if the hormones just haven't kicked in yet or whatever. Like I pretty much think I'm ace bc I've heard sexual attraction described as looking at someone and wanting to have sex with them, and I've definitely never experienced that, but then again, it could just be a youth thing. And I realize that just because sexuality might change in the future doesn't mean it's not valid now, but it's so frustrating to not know for sure. Idek. This post is a mess.

For someone younger (I'm pretty young), I would think that it would have kicked in as "Oh, wow, that guy/girl is really hot." At least, that's what I think. It wouldn't be so much "I want to have sex with them right now," because I doubt the majority of younger people would want that until mid high school or so. I definitely know one of my friends already experiences that, and she's 14. But, for most people, I think sexual attraction would start off as being "horny" and thinking certain people are really hot (in sexual ways, not just aesthetics).

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It's a long read but this is what finally made me understand asexuality. As for being "too young", that is certainly a possibility. At 37, I may also be "too young" too. We can never completely rule out the possibility that we will desire sex in the future forever and ever.

 

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/104713-defining-asexuality-a-better-definition/page-45#entry1061478141

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37 minutes ago, Blue Phoenix Ace said:

It's a long read but this is what finally made me understand asexuality. As for being "too young", that is certainly a possibility. At 37, I may also be "too young" too. We can never completely rule out the possibility that we will desire sex in the future forever and ever.

 

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/104713-defining-asexuality-a-better-definition/page-45#entry1061478141

i read the post you linked to and yeah, that did help to explain a lot. I do kind of want to have sex just to see if I would like it or not, but idk who I would want to do that with (the same problem I have with dating). Though sex I wouldn't have to think about for a few years before it becomes weird for me to still be a virgin. but yeah, would that make me not ace? I think it's probably just better in general to just wait until I'm older to start giving myself labels, but it's frustrating bc I want to do that now. those are my thoughts on the subject.

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I don't think curiosity counts as a deep innate desire to have sex. So you could still be asexual but curious about what sex is like. As for thinking that it's weird to be a virgin, that's just what most people think. If you don't ever feel like doing it, then you shouldn't just to make other people think different about you.

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4 minutes ago, thalia-rose-lovegood said:

i read the post you linked to and yeah, that did help to explain a lot. I do kind of want to have sex just to see if I would like it or not, but idk who I would want to do that with (the same problem I have with dating). Though sex I wouldn't have to think about for a few years before it becomes weird for me to still be a virgin. but yeah, would that make me not ace? I think it's probably just better in general to just wait until I'm older to start giving myself labels, but it's frustrating bc I want to do that now. those are my thoughts on the subject.

You can label yourself whatever suits you best, honestly. You shouldn't just think "Maybe I should wait until I'm older so I can be absolutely sure," because when is the magical threshold when it is okay to say you're ace? No matter what age you are, people are going to say you're too young or too old. So what if later you change your mind, as long as it helps you now. I'm not saying you have to label yourself if you don't feel comfortable, what I'm saying is that you shouldn't feel like you CAN'T because you are too young. I hope that made sense, and good luck finding yourself out xD :icecream:

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Just now, Spud said:

You can label yourself whatever suits you best, honestly. You shouldn't just think "Maybe I should wait until I'm older so I can be absolutely sure," because when is the magical threshold when it is okay to say you're ace? No matter what age you are, people are going to say you're too young or too old. I'm not saying you have to label yourself if you don't feel comfortable, what I'm saying is that you shouldn't feel like you CAN'T because you are too young. I hope that made sense, and good luck finding yourself out xD :icecream:

yeah, you make sense. thanks.

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I know it's frustrating to not know for sure where you fit, but don't feel too pressured to label yourself.  There's no rush :)  If you find a suitable label, that's great.  But it's okay to take your time figuring things out too.  

 

As for the ace stuff specifically, the "sexual attraction" part of the definition often trips people up.  Like Pan explained in the post Blue Phoenix Ace linked to, lacking an innate desire for partnered sex is probably a clearer definition. And I also don't think that curiosity for what sex is like means you aren't ace.  Curiosity isn't the same as an instinctual desire.  

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On 4/4/2016 at 7:26 PM, thalia-rose-lovegood said:

i read the post you linked to and yeah, that did help to explain a lot. I do kind of want to have sex just to see if I would like it or not, but idk who I would want to do that with (the same problem I have with dating). Though sex I wouldn't have to think about for a few years before it becomes weird for me to still be a virgin. but yeah, would that make me not ace? I think it's probably just better in general to just wait until I'm older to start giving myself labels, but it's frustrating bc I want to do that now. those are my thoughts on the subject.

 

Heya, ace here (actually nosing around on these forums because I know I'm ace but am not certain whether or not I'm aro)! I think, as Spud said, it manifests some in "Wow, ___ is hot" - I'm not certain though, it's something I haven't felt, and was always baffled by that sentiment tbh (other people's "hot" to me was more of "well I mean they look nice I guess but ???"). But growing up, I definitely was surrounded by talk like that, of people being hot and later on people getting rather physical in their relationships, and I saw the whole thing as immoral- I didn't know what asexuality was at the time, I just thought people seemed to have this weird obsession, making a huge deal out of physical attractiveness and it seemed really shallow to me. Part of that was definitely youth, yes, but it was six months to a year after I was married before I learned what asexuality was- and it made a huge difference with my outlook on other people. Because... wait... sexual attraction was a real thing? That people felt? A normal feeling? Like yes, back in high school I think people especially made a big deal about it, youth probably, like I said, but... ultimately, it's a normal feeling, and not indicative of immorality (I had a rather conservative upbringing, oops)

 

But uh... I got off-topic. ANYWAYS, I don't feel the "so and so is hot" but i do LOVE people and their aesthetic appeal- but just like... as humans; I don't feel any sort of desire for them (aside from "wow you're great can I look at you and maybe be your friend"). And really, that's what asexuality is, not getting whatever that desire is- or ace spec if you get it only very rarely or in certain cases. And yes, asexuals can have sex, and even enjoy sex, or desire sex, and still be asexual- it's just not driven by a specific desire for that person. 

 

But also, sexuality can change- and so can your understanding of it. It's totally okay to use a label for a while and then switch to a different one, or not use it til you're comfortable. If the term asexual helps you to understand what you're feeling, you are more than welcome to use it. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I interpret sexual attraction as looking at people and just randomly having this desire to have sex with them, because you think they look nice, even if you have never meant them before. At least, after I realized it wasn't an exaggeration.

 

Also, even if you end up not being ace, like you said, sexual orientation is fluid.

 You might want to look into the ace spectrum as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The way I see it, if you're not sure you've felt it, you probably haven't. I hear it's pretty unmistakable. Any Matrix fans here? Cuz being the One is like being in love: no one can tell you you are; you just know it, through and through. That's how I think of attraction. That's how I worked out I feel platonic and aesthetic and sensual attraction, but not sexual or romantic. I can't explain it to people, but some stuff is just there, and some stuff just isn't. As an aro ace, hit me up if you'd like :) . Cuz I'm the opposite: I came into my ace identity sooner and more easily than my aro one, which I'm still figuring out. Whatever you decide, I'm here.

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12 hours ago, Bee said:

The way I see it, if you're not sure you've felt it, you probably haven't. I hear it's pretty unmistakable. Any Matrix fans here? Cuz being the One is like being in love: no one can tell you you are; you just know it, through and through. That's how I think of attraction. That's how I worked out I feel platonic and aesthetic and sensual attraction, but not sexual or romantic. I can't explain it to people, but some stuff is just there, and some stuff just isn't. As an aro ace, hit me up if you'd like :) . Cuz I'm the opposite: I came into my ace identity sooner and more easily than my aro one, which I'm still figuring out. Whatever you decide, I'm here.

I'm not completely sure of the accuracy of the "unmistakable feeling" that "you'll know when you feel" thing. At least, it's probably not that easy for aro or ace people. 'Cause I am still unsure if I've felt romantic attraction. So it's not really definitive for me, and I've seen other people say similar things.

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You've seen the color yellow before right? (If you are color-blind then I am so so sorry, so imagine tasting sugar instead). When you see yellow, you just know it. It might be an odd shade of yellow, or it might step into green, brown, or orange. But, you're a pretty good judge on the color of yellow by now.

 

Have you seen the color octarine? No? It's kind of a purplish, pinkish, green, wavy, chunky color. I'm very sorry if you can't see it, because it's a really interesting color.

 

If you think of romantic attraction as seeing the color yellow, that is, something you are familiar with, then you have felt it. You just know it. If romantic attraction seems like octarine to you, and you just don't think you've ever felt it, then you haven't.

 

I really do think it can be that simple.

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57 minutes ago, Blue Phoenix Ace said:

If you think of romantic attraction as seeing the color yellow, that is, something you are familiar with, then you have felt it. You just know it. If romantic attraction seems like octarine to you, and you just don't think you've ever felt it, then you haven't.

It may seem that simple to you, and most other people, but it's really not for me. I don't "just know." I know I've felt something, but I don't know what it is, and you can't just tell me that my lack of comprehension automatically makes my feelings non-romantic. Because I have definitely felt some things that make it seem very romantic, while I've also felt other things that make it seem platonic.

 

So while that analogy might work for most of the population, it really doesn't for me (and just ask "wtfromantic" people if it's that simple...) For most completely aro or completely allo people, I'd say this is the case. But I'm not sure where I fall and it is really confusing for me, so don't assume it's the same for everyone.

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I definitely agree that it's different for everyone. You can ask a bunch of people what romance is and get many different explanations. I think what I'm trying to say is this. If romance changes depending on a person's own definition of it, then you are free to define romance any way you choose, to fit yourself. That definition is based on the feelings you've experienced in the past. So, you can basically end up with one of these things while creating this definition:

  • Realize that none of the feelings you've felt were ever romantic (aromantic)
  • Realize that some of the feelings you've ever felt were romantic (grey-romantic or romantic)
  • Be confused about which bucket all of your feelings belong to (quioromantic)

sort of understand the concept of quioromanticism. To be honest, I was pretty confused about my feelings for a long time too, so perhaps I was quioromantic for a while. But, I was able to peel away why I was clinging to certain thoughts being non-romantic and discover that yes indeed, I have actually had romantic feelings for somebody (once). I have this vague notion that quioromanticism is kind of like purgatory. It really should be a temporary area you find yourself in before you move on to something more concrete. Is it possible to remain in this romantic purgatory your entire life? Absolutely. I'm not sure how to direct anybody from the unknown zone to something more defined though.

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I'm not sure if this helps, as I won't be able to explain what is it like to be ace, but I can try can explain sexual attraction...

 

As an allosexual aro, based on personal experience, I would say if are not sure if you have felt it, you probably haven't?

I was really unsure about what romantic attraction feels like, or if I have felt it or not, but sexual attraction was an obvious thing, quite hard to ignore.

 

I would also separate actions from attraction, as actions can be motivated by multiple factors (sexual attraction being only one of those) and they are more of a conscious decision.

People have sex cos they are bored, stressed, want to please their partner, want to feel attractive, etc.

 

On 2016. 04. 03. at 11:06 PM, thalia-rose-lovegood said:

I'm still young enough to wonder if the hormones just haven't kicked in yet or whatever.

 

As you put it, the hormones kick in or whatever when one is around nine or ten years old (tw towards the end of the paper), so that would be the average age when people start to experience sexual attraction...

I can definitely remember having the first hints of sexual attraction when I was about that age.

The more complex stuff, such as 'I would like to do stuff with her' came much later, at that point I did not have a desire to have sex with anyone. That starts to be a thing about 4-6 years later, and develops slowly.

Of course its still valid if you only start feeling something in your twenties or thirties or even later on, this is just what's common :D

 

So, I'll try to describe the feeling (this list isn't proper sexology just observation):

  • One gets hot and flustered, kind of like after running quite a bit
  • One's eyes are glued on the other person's certain body parts, its difficult to look away.
  • The heart starts beating faster, also kind of like after exercise
  • Getting a bit wet/hard etc
  • One instinctively starts to display their body in a flattering way (for example licking and biting one's lips)
  • It tunes out everything else in the room, a bit like being under a glass jar together, everything else is muted, blurry, time feels weirdly slow.
  • Wanting physical contact, being hyper focused on even the smallest, even non-sexual touch

So its quite physical, basically arousal triggered by another person, and there might be a strong desire to have sex with them. May or may not be acted on. One can feel a strong sexual attraction to someone, but I have absolute no desire to actually have sex with them.

 

Of course it can be a stronger or a weaker attraction depending on many factors. For example the person's features (scent, body parts, behaviour, voice etc.), but also stuff one does to get sexual attention (revealing clothing, erotic dance or posing, etc.)

 

Sex appeal may not have anything to do with aesthetic or platonic attraction (so you may not even find this person pretty or interesting intellectually etc).

 

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As an ace, it's always interesting to hear people describe sexual attraction.  It definitely sounds like sexual attraction is a lot more clear cut than romantic attraction, and I would imagine it would be harder to miss it if you've felt it.  But then again, who am I to say? I'm one of those people who is clearly aro and ace to the point that I've never questioned either--I knew from the start that I never felt either type of attraction, regardless of how they are defined. I know it's not always that easy for people to determine, which is why descriptions (as opposed to straight up definitions) like @Cassiopeia gave can be much more helpful.

 

11 hours ago, Cassiopeia said:

Sex appeal may not have anything to do with aesthetic or platonic attraction (so you may not even find this person pretty or interesting intellectually etc).

 

This has always confused me.  At first, I used to think of sexual attraction as inextricably linked to aesthetic attraction in allosexuals.  I thought if they found someone they thought was attractive, they automatically were sexually attracted to them.  Obviously, I know now that this isn't the case, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to find that out xD

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Regarding the AVEN post @Blue Phoenix Ace linked, I have mixed feelings. Its really hard to create these definitions, without gatekeeping or erasing people.

 

Quote

"How many times do you meet a gay man who literally only desires and enjoys sex with women and has no interest in having sex with men, but because he finds men more aesthetically attractive than women, he says he’s homosexual?… Do you know why you don’t meet guys like that? Because that’s not homosexual!"

 

How many times have I met people like that? Like every time I go to a darn gay bar?  We used to hunt for profiles like that (or even weirder) on queer dating sites while shrieking with laughter. (Not nice, I know. Shame on us...but look, karma did its thing)

Because that's like the 70% of gay men at some point in their life. There is the confusion, and there is the heteronormativity and there is the denial. Its just a mess.

 

Just because you genuinely want to experience a feeling, it does not mean you'll be able to force yourself to do so...but you can (almost) convince yourself  that you do. Or the opposite.

People voluntarily sign up for ex-gay programs, think they did, and then realize they did not 'cure' themselves for a reason. Closeted gay men in denial have girlfriends, have sex with them, get married to women and face major crisis after major crisis while doing so for a reason.

Interest can be forced or suppressed, its a miserable thing, but can be done.

Sexual pleasure is possible to achieve in that scenario, although its gonna feel a lot like that first kissing scene from But I'm a cheerleader. Stimulation does the job, they might even enjoy it, but that does not mean the person had attraction or desire.

 

I mean I wanted to fall in love and to be in a romantic relationship. People told me it was wonderful and magical and meant to be, of course I wanted it. Kind of like when your friend says their fluffy slippers are so comfortable, so you try them on, cos you want the best thing for yourself, but your feet is three sizes larger, or has a different shape so its not comfortable at all.

Out of desperation, I did try this fake it til you make it thing for months. It did not work.

The whole relationship mostly felt weird, gross, awkward, distressing...but I silenced those feelings and ignored the lack of interest. I wanted to be in love, I wanted to be a good girlfriend so much. That was the only known and acceptable way of being at the time, so it had to be the thing, right?

People can lie to themselves really efficiently.

I guess that was a desire of some sort, but obviously not attraction.

 

This no-desire-for-partnered-sex or no-desire-for-a-romantic-relationship definition may not useful for someone who is questioning and dealing with compulsory heterosexuality and internalized amatonormativity. It can be really hard to separate actual desire from the desire to experience that desire.

 

Quote

"I wish there was a way everyone who comes to this thread could read what I am about to say, because no matter how many times I repeat myself, as soon as a new page starts, that’s it, I either have to repeat myself, again, or just let it go. The letting go is so frustrating, as I believe this is so frikken important for the asexual community, like, the most important thing. "

 

I think people should just chill and look at the issue with some empathy.

Yeah, others sometimes come up with some bizarre stuff when they are trying to define themselves. Questioning is hard. That is such a vulnerable place to be, we do not exist in a vacuum, there are so many labels, stereotypes, expectations and assumptions forced on us.

I think the main priority for these communities should be to give everyone a safe space, and that means people will have different experiences and definitions of labels. Sexual and romantic orientations are spectrums, and its really hard to draw those imaginary borders. And who should be the one to do so? Why them, based on what? Would that really keep out the people who aren't gold star and therefore not aro/ace/homo/trans enough according to someone's definitions? Isn't it a bit of a hypocrisy to say, 'hey, amatonormativity is such a nonsense, here, have some norms we made up instead, see, these are much better'? Just because our experience or definition of a label is different, it does not mean one of us is wrong and therefore has no right to identify with that label.

 If creating a safe space means we have to sacrifice some theoretical homogeneous image, then so be it.

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