What even is sexual attraction anyway?
I mentioned in my last question that I like the definition of Asexuality as not experiencing sexual attraction in the absence of other sexual stimuli and how I like this because it’s less confusing for sex favourable aces who might still want to have sex, but don’t feel attraction.
The idea of being able to explain something you don’t experience, or have others explain it to you, is really weird, but often a necessary part of the journey to identifying as asexual.
Are there any descriptions or metaphors for sexual attraction or desire that have really resonated for you, and made you go ‘yup, that is a thing i don’t experience’
A friend once described feeling sexual attraction like this: “It´s as if a part of myself awakens that´s usually dormant. And when it´s awake, it feels almost animalistic and wild and intoxicating.” She spoke of feeling the urge, almost like a hunger, to unite with the person she feels attracted to.
I can feel deeply connected, I can feel the need to be close to someone – but I never felt any “animalistic” part inside of me. Never felt a “hunger” like this.
Another hint is the different way some people talk about those they feel sexual attracted to and the way they talk about people they don´t feel attracted to. While some simply say: “I´m interested/not interested in person X.”, others say: “This person is hot/sexy/a real man/woman/etc.” or “This person is so ugly/disgusting/etc.” (heard it quite often, especially among teenagers, when someone of the group suggests that a sibling of someone else would look good).
To me, there´s no difference between people. Some are pretty, some are not. But I can only call behaviour or things (and sometimes animals) “ugly” or “disgusting”, not people.
One time, in a discussion on what sexual attraction is, someone commented that the fact that they’d read all these explanations and still couldn’t understand it seemed like a pretty clear tip off that they didn’t experience it. I more or less feel the same way
The one description I relate with is that allo people often say that they are turned on by someone’s body scent, and I never had that in my life. I think their experience is different from simply liking a scent.
I find that explaining sexual attraction this way could fit with your description because it separates sexual attraction and just feeling sexy. The first one would be a reaction to other people’s presence and likely to accompany the second one, and the second one would represent the things that can happen by itself without other people.
And there are actually studies supporting this! Although there is no direct support, there are studies that show sexual attraction is triggered by specific types of body scents in straight, gay and bisexual people.
(By the way, when I use the term ‘attraction’ here I’m only referring to attraction to other people. So in your explanation about sex-favourable aces I would put asexuality as “not experiencing *targeted* sexual attraction even in the *presence* of sexual stimuli”, because it doesn’t deny that sex-favourable aces may want to have sex.)
When I came across those studies they only had studies for straight and gay people, and from that I’ve been thinking that this might be extended to us asexuals and bisexuals, and now it’s extended to bisexuals. I think it was on Nature this year. I hope someday they’ll do that study with asexual people.
The physical sensations associated with sexual attraction, I suppose, since those happen to me so rarely they really seem to stand out, whereas other symptoms (e.g. preoccupation) also happen with other types of attraction.
I remember you wrote that. What do you mean by in the absence of other sexual stimuli? I both think I get and and don’t lol.
I think of sexual attraction as being sexually aroused because of someone. It would be a clearly sexual reaction to an external person. I say person because I wouldn’t call being aroused by a sexual object a form of attraction we could split into asexual, hetero, bi, etc. I define sexual attraction that way to distinguish it from sexual desire, where I’m just aroused because I’m bored or tadah magically it just happens or something else. That would be an internal experience.