The Presence of Absence: Asexuality and the Creation of Resistance

Abstract

This paper investigates the existence of asexuality or ace identity. The aim of the paper is twofold, to examine the emergence of a seemingly impossible identity and to consider the consequences of an asexual space in a sexual discourse. Since the term ‘asexual’ proves problematic in its dependence on the existence of sexuality, the first half of the paper attempts to renegotiate a definition of asexuality, focusing on the power of the term “ace”. I then explore the work of three exemplary authors, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Lillian Faderman, and Michael Foucault, who prove successful in constructing an alternative discourse to the dominant sexual regime. Using their work, I argue that not only does an asexual space help individuals articulate their existence; it also creates resistance against the dominant power regime. Outside of academia, I argue that technology takes the reins, as the Asexual Visibility and Education Network’s (AVEN) online presence continues to raise awareness and expand the asexual community.


For a long time, the story goes, we supported a sexual regime, and we continue to be dominated by it even today (Foucault 3). Sexuality manifests itself in discourse as desire. A constant thirst that can never be quenched, sex is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. Whether through condemnation or glorification, sexuality protrudes into every crack and crevasse of society. It disguises itself as a secret or, even more cunningly, as a tool for resistance, designed to revolt against sublime virginity. Sex, however, is only desire—a concept that holds no more truth than God or reason. Yet, just as religion builds unseen structures to order society, so too does sexuality. Through desire, sexuality orders a world in which its imagined existence controls and contorts the behaviour of its inhabitants. What, then, is sexuality without desire? Surely such a thing could not exist. To remove desire from sex would be to remove sexuality, and sexuality cannot be removed because it refuses to be located, operating only at an invisible level. However, whether through smokescreens and mirrors or some biological hiccup, the impossible has happened. There exists sexuality without desire. This paper investigates the astonishing existence of sexuality without desire, or asexuality, as it is more commonly known. The aim of this essay is twofold, to examine the emergence of a seemingly impossible identity and to consider the consequences of an asexual space in a dominant sexual discourse. In terms of emergence, I argue the ‘process of becoming’ initiates an asexual space in which an identity outside of the sexual regime can exist. In terms of the consequences, I argue that asexuality creates resistance by constructing a structure based on the absence of desire. Throughout the paper I draw attention to The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), signalling the importance of this virtual space in building asexual identity.

Before addressing the creation of asexuality, however, the term must be defined. As previously stated, asexuality is sexuality without desire, but this paradoxical definition requires further investigation. AVEN describes an asexual as,

… [S]omeone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently (asexuality.org).

Prior to AVEN, however, defining asexuality proved tricky. Writing in 1977, Myra T. Johnson notes in her essay “Asexual and Autoerotic Women” that, while definitions existed for chaste or celibate individuals, there were no “really appropriate words in the English language to describe the individual who… [seems] to prefer not to engage in sexual activity” (97). She labels these individuals “asexual—by default” (97). The ‘default’ establishes the awkward dichotomy of sexuality and asexuality, where by asexuality exists as both the opposite and subset of sexuality. The term asexuality only has meaning in relation to sexuality, thus asexuality requires sexuality in order to exist (meaning is located in difference). Yet, at the same time, asexuality dismantles the dominance of sexuality revealing its fickle dependence on desire. Asexuality, therefore, is simultaneously the dependent and the destroyer of sexuality.

Since asexuality adopts this dual position, the reasons for embracing the term are equal to the reasons for rejecting it. Although AVEN’s use of the term asexual fails to adopt an active position, existing only as a dependent (read the Non-sexual Visibility and Education Network), the website links to a number of blogs, community sites, and personal pages that demonstrate both an effective use of the term asexual and, in contrast, an alternative non-sexualized word, ‘ace‘. Ace fulfils a similar function to ‘black’ (as opposed to non-white), where ‘the other’ attempts to become a neutral opposite instead of presenting itself as ‘not-the-norm’. An ace is without desire, but this does not mean they lack desire. Websites such as Ace of Hearts, Glad to be A, and Acebook, all discard the sexual attached (by default) to asexual in order to negotiate their space within discourse and construct a unique identity. In contrast, other sites, such as Asexual Tension and asexy beast create playful inversions of sexuality. Commandeering the language of the dominant norm, these websites deconstruct sexuality by parodying its use. Both the adoption of ace and the use of asexuality as a subversion of sexuality prove productive moves toward creating a discursive ace space.

Defining ace identity, however, extends beyond understanding the meaning of the term asexual. As the AVEN description states, “each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.” Just as sexual people divide into diverse identities (gay, straight, bi), so too do aces. Furthermore, although it may be tempting to position asexuality as a fourth orientation, in contrast to gay, straight, and bi, this in fact undermines the purpose of asexuality because, unlike homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality, asexuality is not a sexual orientation. Attempting to fit aces into the existing discourse of sexual orientation can only achieve so much, since the discourse itself is sexual. On AVEN’s perspective page, one ace writes that,

Our entire language around relationship matters is dominated by terminology and styles of speaking that accurately reflect the experience of people (males in particular) who are strongly driven by sexual attraction. In addition, sex has been historically associated with virility and power and strength and dominance and all sorts of desirable qualities that leaders in a tribe will possess. And they are the ones who have set the standards for all of us, who have described their experience for all of us, who we have been programmed to emulate and look up to (asexuality.org).

An example of this dominance would be the common occurrence of sexuals asking aces whether they masturbate. Of course, the sexual is inquiring about sexual masturbation, leaving the ace no agency to respond (see appendix). The ace must define their masturbatory practices using the sexual’s term, when, in fact, given the absence of desire, asexual masturbation is distinct from sexual masturbation. This demonstrates the difficulty of ace existence in a structure that uses desire as a temporary center. An ace space must therefore adjust discursive language and disciplines to embody a non-sexual narrative.

The process of creating an ace space is challenging. One cannot not simply declare existence and expect the approval of truth, especially when that existence undermines what is considered true. Rather, asexuality must first be thought of as true and then come into existence. This is the process of becoming. Fortunately for aces, the structure of truth is malleable. By acknowledging a difference both internally and externally, aces begin to question the dominance of desire. Since it is a difference that aces possess, and difference depends on multiplicity, the structure of desire does not collapse. Instead, another truth reveals itself. This truth mimics the structure of desire from which it differs, except at the center, where absence replaces desire. The presence of this absence is the truth that brings the ace into being.

How, then, does difference create absence? Although the ace exists as other, the goal of the ace is not assimilation. The goal of the ace is becoming, thus the process of definition is central. In addition to the definition of asexual at the start of this paper, the process of definition must come from the ace community. AVEN members acknowledge this task, with a perspective from the founder explaining that,

In terms of visibility, we’re starting from a difficult place, because most people aren’t aware asexuality *exists*—including the people the word describes—so first we have to get the word out about our existence and then we can work on getting people to believe that asexuality is a valid orientation (asexuality.org).

Note that simply getting ‘the word out’ proves insufficient. In order for aces to exist, people must “believe” in asexuality, thus the matter of truth is at the heart of existence. Only after aces are thought of as true is their declaration of existence validated. Through a number of, what I term, ‘definition perspectives’ and forum discussions on terminology, AVEN members continue to build an alternative discourse in which an ace identity exists as true. Asexy A-postle (an online persona), for example, elaborates on the process of definition by posting in a discussion, “The term I use in my own head to describe myself is “Bi-semi-romantic autoerotic asexual”” (see appendix). Asexy A-postle’s terminology reveals the complexity of defining ace identity. Bi, in this case, has been appropriated from sexuality and reversed; it is defined by absence, not by desire. Semi-romantic refers to her ‘romantic drive’, that is, her desire to be in an intimate (but not in that way) relationship. Autoerotic is a behavioral term used by asexuals who masturbate. Johnson distinguishes between asexual and autoerotic women explaining that, “the asexual woman…has no sexual desire at all… the autoerotic woman… recognizes such desires but prefers to satisfy them alone” (99). The term autoerotic (also referred to as autosexual) causes much debate within the AVEN community, in part, because its definition is not fixed. Some sources suggest it means self-arousal through desiring oneself, thus cannot describe ace identity (see appendix). Others, such as the online persona Megan Mitosis, argue that, “Orientation is defined by attraction, not behavior. If you want to call an asexual who masturbates autosexual, then an asexual who has sex should be called sexual” (see appendix). Adding another voice, Aeros Incarnate (again, an online persona) contributes to the discussion by exclaiming, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to have my orientation defined on whether or not I masturbate” (see appendix). The process of working through these terms is a productive one. Asexy A-postle’s ability to articulate (if only to herself) an identity is, in fact, the process of becoming an ace. Prior to developing an identity she was, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. A subaltern of the sexual world, she had no identity. Thus, the articulation did not change her from a bisexual (or any other kind of sexual for that matter) into an ace, but brought her from non-existence into being.

While only the individual can bring herself into existence, others can make the process of becoming easier. Acknowledging the presence of absence and altering sexualized discursive practices to accommodate this presence, helps open up a space in which aces can exist. For example, Ann Fausto-Sterling in her book, Sexing the Body, discusses the implications of labelling ‘sex hormones’ with the connotations of sex. Although Fausto-Sterling work deals primarily with gender roles, her argument helps facilitate an ace space. Fausto-Sterling proposes renaming sex hormones steroid hormones. She argues that because our body produces molecules, similar in function to androgen and oestrogen, which we call steroids, labeling sex hormones steroid hormones is correct from a scientific perspective (193). Furthermore, steroid hormones are only one factor of “the creation of male, female, masculinity, and femininity” (Fausto-Sterling 193-4). Labeling these hormones ‘sex’ hormones suggests that they define and create sex, where as in reality “environment, experience, anatomy, and physiology” (Fausto-Sterling 194) also shape gendered and sexual behavior. In terms of asexuality, the removal of sexual connotations from steroid hormones liberates aces from being defined as biologically sexual beings. Furthermore, labeling a sex hormone as such suggests that the hormone somehow produces sex, whether through physical appearance or through desire. Thus, removing the sexual connotations from the hormones creates a space that is no longer restricted to only sexual meaning; the ace has space to exist.

Another facilitator of the ace space is Lillian Faderman, author of the book Surpassing the Love of Men. The book is a detailed history of female relationships—specifically friendships—from “the Renaissance to the present” (or to 1981, which is when the book was published). The most significant contribution Faderman makes to the ace movement is establishing the notion that society has not always been as sexually preoccupied as it was in the 1980s and continues to be today. Faderman effectively argues that, for women, the presence of absence existed in past societies, reminding the reader that love and sex are separate entities. She writes that, “We have learned to deny such a depth of feeling toward any one but a prospective or an actual mate. Other societies did not demand this kind of suppression” (84). A chapter entitled “The Asexual Woman” discusses an 1811 lawsuit in which two women were accused of “improper and criminal conduct” (i.e. gay sex) (Faderman 147). However, because the judges (and society en mass) could not fathom the concept of lesbian sex between to women of good standing—“If a women embraces a women it infers nothing” (qtd. in Faderman 152)—the two women were found innocent. Faderman writes, “it was generally inconceivable to society that an otherwise respectable woman could choose to participate in a sexual activity that had as its goal neither procreation nor pleasing a husband” (152). In this circumstance, although it is entirely possible (if not probable) that the women did desire each other, they are assumed to be asexual. Today, the reverse is true; men and women are both assumed to be sexual. In other words, in a contemporary western society, participation in a sexual activity rarely has procreation as its goal. Faderman notes this reversal in her introduction, explaining that “My studies… led me to conclude that it is in our century that love has come to be perceived as a refinement of the sexual impulse, but in many other centuries romantic love and sexual impulse were often considered unrelated” (19). Her book, written only three years after Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, acts as a magnificent counter to Foucault’s reading of the presence of sexuality in past and present society. What effect does Faderman’s locating of a time when desire was second to absence have on Foucault’s work?

Investigating the impact of absence on Foucault’s work aims to locate an ace space in the history of sexuality—a history of asexuality, as it were. One might question the use of Foucault’s work in a paper positing the notion of ace bodies within the sexual regime, however, while The History of Sexuality concentrates on the omnipresence of sexuality in society, Foucault positions sexuality in a post-structuralist discourse. Thus, although one might presume that The History of Sexuality leaves no space for ace existence, in fact, the opposite is true. Foucault’s work proves to be the most seminal text in the facilitation of an ace space, because, in The History of Sexuality, sexuality reveals itself as a construct—and, in a discourse that lacks a fixed center or truth, that which is constructed can always be deconstructed. Thus, Foucault provides the tools with which sexuality can be dismantled and an ace space can begin to manifest. This becomes apparent when Foucault spends the final pages of his book discussing the idea of a time when sexuality does not dominate discourse, he writes that,

Perhaps one day people will… not be able to understand how a civilization so intent on developing enormous instruments of production and destruction found the time and infinite patience to enquire so anxiously concerning the actual state of sex; people will smile perhaps when they recall that here were men—meaning ourselves—who believed that therein resided a truth every bit as precious as the one they had already demanded from the earth, the stars, and the pure forms of their thought (157-8).

Of course, to Foucault, the idea of a truth not centred in desire, seems entirely preposterous, as he personally believes sexuality (or the desire for sex) to be universal.

One should not dismiss Foucault’s work, however, as he also argues that a truth centred on desire proves just as bizarre as a truth based on absence. Foucault continues,

[P]eople will be surprised at the eagerness with which we went about pretending to rouse from its slumber a sexuality which everything—our discourses, our customs, our institutions, our regulations, our knowledges—was busy producing in the light of day and broadcasting to noisy accompaniment (158).

For Foucault, both desire and absence are obscure. Furthermore, if Foucault is not creating a space for aces, what purpose do the closing pages of his book serve? Why bother to include a description of a hypothetical society not driven by sexual desire? One might presume these pages function as an afterthought, but this would not be in keeping with the Foucaultian tradition of writing. In fact, the closing pages of The History of Sexuality create a site of resistance, thus prove to be of significant value to the ace community. Although Foucault argues a truth outside desire does not currently exist, the suggestion that such a thing could exist is sufficient. In this glimmer of possibility, desire detaches itself from the center of truth. As Jacques Derrida insists, “The center is not the center” (84). Although detachment does not remove desire from truth, it reveals truth as a construct, thus it is possible to construct a truth based on absence. After all, imaging an existence is half the battle of achieving truth (the other half is convincing everyone else to imagine something similar). While Foucault presents a methodology for creating an asexual discourse, the matter of power remains in play.

Foucault concludes The History of Sexuality by stating that, “The irony of this deployment [of sexuality] is in having us believe that our “liberation” is in the balance” (159). A sexual regime, in other words, has coyly disguised sex as a method of resistance, when in fact it is another method of control. The irony being that power controls both discourse and resistance. Liberation through sex is an illusion constructed by sexuality—hence it becomes “liberation”. True resistance, Foucault argues, involves breaking from “the agency of sex” (157). He writes that, “The rallying point for the counterattack against the deployment of sexuality ought not to be in sex-desire, but bodies and pleasure” (157). Given Foucault’s argument that desire yields no agency, the existence of the desire-free ace is perhaps one of the few sites of genuine resistance. Thus, the becoming of an ace is more than a creation of self; it is the creation of resistance against the deployment of sexuality. In her AVEN perspective, Ily, author of asexy beast, asks, “Who should care about asexuality?” She goes on to argue that asexuality is for,

Everyone who’s ever felt pressured to kiss someone they weren’t attracted to, suffer through a boring blind date, or have sex because everyone else was doing it. Everyone who ever wondered if there was something more than the dating-marriage track, and why we have so few meaningful relationship options. Asexuals are tired of our culture’s constant pressure to be sexual and sexy. We envision a world where people are free to explore their sexuality in their own way and in their own time, whether their libido is at zero or hyperdrive. Why would anyone disagree with that idea of freedom? (asexuality.org).

Here, Ily moves beyond becoming and instigates asexuality as true resistance. Ily can talk about liberation sans scare quotes because her “idea of freedom” exists without desire. Undoubtedly, the acknowledgment of an ace body and the pleasures it seeks creates a space for aces to exist. This space, however, is not one of limits; of course, the ace space houses aces, but it is also a sanctuary for anyone who no longer wishes to be confined by the sexual regime.

This space exists in discourse though the practice of becoming ace. While authors such as Faust-Sterling, Faderman, and particularly Foucault have all contributed to creating an ace space, AVEN’s role in bringing the ace (and resistance) into being must not be overlooked. David Jay founded AVEN in 2001 (although most online material dates from 2004) (newscientist.com). Currently, the site has over 27,000 members (asexuality.org). AVEN has two goals, “creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community” (asexuality.org). AVEN provides a space where those without identity can come into being. In his perspective “Am I the only one,” AVEN member Mandrewliter ‘googles’ asexuality and discovers AVEN, a place where he ‘feels he belongs’ (asexuality.org). Through AVEN Mandrewliter became an ace. Neither AVEN nor the internet invented or created asexuality per se, rather the invention of AVEN brought asexuality into existence on a scale that Kinsey’s report and Johnson’s essay could not fathom. Arguably, without AVEN, existing as an ace would be close to impossible. One might identify as having what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) labels “Hypoactive Sex Desire” (asexuality.org). Or perhaps one might turn to God to help with her identity crisis? This, however, would only confirm non-existence, since Vision 2002 informs us, “Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity” (vocationnetwork.org ). Rejected by both God and science, it is no wonder aces struggle to exist. Fortunately, AVEN’s ability to reach everyone with an internet connection has reversed some of the damage done by the dominant sexual regime. While those under the influence of the sexual regime may use the internet to satisfy their desire, AVEN cunningly adapts the internet as tool for resistance, rallying the counterattack around virtual bodies and desireless pleasure.

The importance of acknowledging the presence of absence cannot be overrated. Not only does an ace space help individuals without identity articulate their existence but it also creates resistance towards the dominant regime of power. If aces are able to identify themselves using a language that affirms their existence then they have positioned themselves in a productive discourse and come into being. While for sexuals, the act of becoming may be second nature, for those living outside of the dominant regime, proving existence is a struggle. For any individual, the ability to identify as ace is, therefore, a significant triumph. While becoming is a task only the individual can fulfil, others can aid the process by creating discursive space. In terms of an ace space, I have identified three exemplary authors (Fausto-Sterling, Faderman, and Foucault) whose work proves successful in the art of manifesting an alternative discourse. Although the task is daunting, the ability to open a space for resistance may be the most valuable contribution a theorist can make to society. Outside of academia, technology takes the reins, as AVEN’s online presence continues to raise awareness and expand the ace community. Thus, I argue that AVEN, more than any other contributing factor, brought ace identity into existence. Through AVEN, aces have found a voice; the question now, is can they be heard?

Bibliography

Derrida, Jacques, “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” in Critical Theory Since 1965 ed. Hazard Adams & Leroy Searle (Florida: University Presses of Florida, 1986).

Faderman, Lillian, Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present (USA: William Morrow and Company, Inc, 1981).

Fausto-Sterling, Anne, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

Foucault, Michael, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1 (New York: Random House, 1978).

Johnson, Myra T., “Asexual and Autoerotic Women: Two Invisible Groups” in The Sexually Oppressed ed. Harvey L. & Jean S. Gochros (New York: Associated Press, 1977).

Nantais, David, S.J. and Opperman, Scott, S.J., Vision, “Eight myths about religious life,” n.d. Web. http://www.vocationnetwork.org/articles/show/49.

Spivak, Gayatri, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, 1988.

Westphal, Sylvia Pagan, “Feature: Glad to be Asexual” in New Scientist, Oct. 2004. Web, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6533-feature-glad-to-be-asexual.html.

AVEN (accessed April 10, 2011)

AVEN: http://www.asexuality.org/home/.

“Overview,” http://www.asexuality.org/home/overview.html.

“Am I the Only One?” Feb. 2009, http://www.asexuality.org/home/node/35.

“How Things Change,” Oct. 2004,http://www.asexuality.org/home/node/23.

“Life After Asexuality,” Jan. 2009, http://www.asexuality.org/home/node/30.

“Question What You Think You Know,” Nov. 2009, http://www.asexuality.org/home/node/40.

Appendix

AVEN discussion on identity terminology.

Available from, http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?/topic/30870-asexual-vs-autosexual/:

Asexual Vs. Autosexual Please delete this thread if it’s been covered before!

#1 Perplextus
Posted 09 April 2008 – 08:05 AM
So, I’ve tried coming out to a few friends, and most of them refuse to buy it. I think they can’t get amoebas out of their heads, and think I mean that I expect to just “clone myself” or something. But one of them brought up the term “autosexual” after I agreed that I still masturbate
(though my ability to fantasize has declined sharply since I admitted to myself that I really wouldn’t want to do any of that stuff in real life). I know a lot of people here retain the desire to give themselves pleasure in the genital region, so what do y’all think of the term “autosexual”? I guess it’s easier for the sexuals to accept because it doesn’t quite imply a *complete* rejection of their way of life, but I don’t know. I kinda think “sexuality” implies a desire to copulate with another creature, and asexuality is essentially a lack of this desire. But what are everyone’s thoughts?

#2 andrew_w
Posted 10 April 2008 – 06:59 AM
Perplextus, on Apr 9 2008, 02:05 AM, said:
So, I’ve tried coming out to a few friends, and most of them refuse to buy it. I think they can’t get amoebas out of their heads, and think I mean that I expect to just “clone myself” or something. But one of them brought up the term “autosexual” after I agreed that I still masturbate (though my ability to fantasize has declined sharply since I admitted to myself that I really wouldn’t want to do any of that stuff in real life). I know a lot of people here retain the desire to give themselves pleasure in the genital region, so what do y’all think of the term “autosexual”? I guess it’s easier for the sexuals to accept because it doesn’t quite imply a *complete* rejection of their way of life, but I don’t know. I kinda think “sexuality” implies a desire to copulate with another creature, and asexuality is essentially a lack of this desire. But what are everyone’s thoughts?

Lots of asexuals have sex drives, and lots of asexuals masturbate. Asexuality is simply a lack of sexual attraction. It is possible to experience (primary) drive without attraction. Autosexuals are people who are sexually attracted to themselves, not asexuals with a sex drive.
A new autism/neurodiversity forum: Spectrumites

#3 Perplextus
Posted 10 April 2008 – 07:29 AM
andrew_w, on Apr 9 2008, 11:59 PM, said:
Lots of asexuals have sex drives, and lots of asexuals masturbate. Asexuality is simply a lack of sexual attraction. It is possible to experience (primary) drive without attraction. Autosexuals are people who are sexually attracted to themselves, not asexuals with a sex drive.

That was kind of my argument, because masturbation aside, I don’t exactly find myself sexually attractive. Like, if I had a clone of myself, I wouldn’t “do me”. I guess it is pretty gray for me, since I do get aroused by (thinking of or looking at) women, but have no desire for intercourse. The only person I enjoy being sexual with is myself, but I am not aroused simply by myself, there has to be a fantasy. Hmm…maybe I should write Dan Savage?

#4 Olivier
Posted 10 April 2008 – 09:40 AM
The term autosexual is also used to mean those who prefer masturbation over partnered sex (see here for example). I’d say this is a far more common usage than the meaning of one who experiences self-attraction, although both seem to be out there, which is unhelpful.

Using this meaning of austosexual, it would accurately describe the behaviour of an asexual with a sex drive that they prefer to deal with through masturbation.

#5 DaniTheGirl
Posted 10 April 2008 – 04:48 PM
The term I use in my own head to describe myself is “Bi-semi-romantic autoerotic asexual.” Although I, too, have experienced a decline in my desire to masturbate/ability to orgasm since admitting I don’t want to have “real” sex.

Perplextus, on Apr 10 2008, 02:29 AM, said:
Hmm…maybe I should write Dan Savage?

YES

#6 SarielLunar
Posted 10 April 2008 – 05:25 PM
This is the same problem I have. I do …uh… masterbate. (GOD that was hard to admit!) But I cannot have sex with someone. I have tried and I’m never turned on or I get physically sick(a bit insulting to my partner). I’m still a virgin because of it and I don’t really mind. I do crave affection like hugs mostly but nothing else. Some guys have tried to go farther and I have to punch them so they get the message that I don’t like it! The last time I kissed a guy(I’d just turned 25) I got really grossed out which was confusing. The last kiss I’d had before him was when I was sixteen and I loved it. So it good to hear that I’m not the only person that feels like this.

#7 Shockwave
Posted 10 April 2008 – 07:00 PM
In this context “autosexual” describes sexual behavior, whereas “asexual” describes sexual orientation. Big difference.

#8 spinneret
Posted 11 April 2008 – 03:42 AM
Well put, Shockwave.

#9 andrew_w
Posted 12 April 2008 – 06:00 AM
If you’re using “autosexual” to describe behavior, it is still incorrect to describe an asexual who masturbates as autosexual. You could describe their behavior as autosexual or autoerotic, but I don’t think that it would make sense to describe the person as autosexual. Orientation is defined by attraction, not behavior. If you want to call an asexual who masturbates autosexual, then an asexual who has sex should be called sexual.

#10 DaniTheGirl
Posted 12 April 2008 – 08:19 PM
Shockwave, on Apr 10 2008, 01:00 PM, said:
In this context “autosexual” describes sexual behavior, whereas “asexual” describes sexual orientation. Big difference.

:nod:
That’s why I call myself an autoerotic asexual

#11 Sally
Posted 02 February 2010 – 09:45 PM
Since some asexuals and some sexuals masturbate, why invent a new term for it? Just use masturbate. Otherwise, more term confusion, since a sexual can also be an autosexual if they masturbate, but an asexual wouldn’t if they didn’t masturbate.

Keep it simple and if you individually need to go on for pages to someone you’re trying to explain yourself to, then do it individually. I just can’t see why you would, since most people aren’t that interested.

As possibly the oldest person on this forum, no, I saw no mention of autosexuality in anything I heard or read or talked about since 1985 or before 1985.

#12 Ily
Posted 02 February 2010 – 10:08 PM
Autosexuality isn’t a new term. In 1977, there was an article about “Asexual and Autoerotic Women”. I agree that it was never a household name, but apparently people studying sexuality were using it.

#13 ~Acer~
Posted 02 February 2010 – 10:31 PM
In any case, if one wanted to use terms Asexual = someone who doesn’t masturbate and Autosexual = someone who does masturbate, I’ll be damned if I’m going to have my orientation defined on whether or not I masturbate. It’s a label that means I might as well shout “I touch myself!” to anyone who asks.

#14 Sally
Posted 02 February 2010 – 10:50 PM
Ily, on 02 February 2010 – 10:08 PM, said:
Autosexuality isn’t a new term. In 1977, there was an article about “Asexual and Autoerotic Women”. I agree that it was never a household name, but apparently people studying sexuality were using it.

We (the general public) read of the term “autoerotic”, that the OP was asking about autosexual.

#15 Ily
Posted 02 February 2010 – 11:00 PM
Ah, I see. Certainly the two concepts are closely related, though?

#16 Ocelot
Posted 03 February 2010 – 04:06 AM
Technically “autosexual” refers to someone who is sexually attracted to him/herself. I’d direct you to the Wikipedia article on autosexuality, but some asshole changed it so it redirects to the article on masturbation, thus making the original article inaccessible.