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Asexual Article
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smiley_cow wrote in asexuality
So someone linked me an article on asexuality that came out today. The headline and the header are off, but the article itself seems OK. Except I've never heard the term 'acquired asexual' before and the article doesn't really explain it very well. Anyone know more about it? Like my guess would be that it's people who used to feel sexual attraction but don't anymore. Except while I don't doubt that it's possible, I would think it would be pretty rare. Unless I'm just totally off-base somewhere.

Article in question:

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Oh yeah, I hadn't considered losing libido from medication. If that's what it is, that'd make a lot of sense though.

But is that really asexuality? IIRC, AVEN spent a lot of time discussing loss of libido due to medical problems and how or whether that relates to asexuality.

I haven't spent much time on Aven, personally. Did they reach any conclusions? I dunno, if hyposexual people feel comfortable in asexual spaces, or with an asexual label, even if it's not technically accurate, I don't really take issue. But I'm not hyposexual, and I don't really know much about it either way.

I don't know about conclusions, but one of the more common "myths about asexuals" that most of the vocal educators (swankivy, aven/dave, etc.) debunk relates to asexuality being a medical condition -- e.g. loss of libido -- rather than an actual sexual orientation.

I have no qualms whatsoever with hyposexual people gathering under the asexual banner, so long as asexuality is not being largely or solely defined by it.

I personally think it might be tied up in psychology as well - if a heterosexual or homosexual person had a reduction of libido/drive due to medical or other reasons, would they still be psychologically in favour of the act of sex? Want it emotionally, but not have the urge for it biologically? I don't know if I'm confusing asexuality with aromanticism in this case, but I tend to think a person who identifies their enduring orientation as asexual might not have the same psychological drive for sex, regardless of hormones/libido. The way I see it, a straight man who is for some reason castrated, is still straight.

I agree that asexuality isn't a loss of libido, nor are asexuality and libido necessarily linked, nor is "no sex drive" the same thing as asexuality, but I do think it's important to recognize that if someone has a medical condition and the condition itself or the medicine they take for it leads that person to have an identical experience to an asexual person, we shouldn't deny them the label or access to the community. They're having the same experience we are because of it.

I think the most important thing about reminding people that asexuality isn't a sickness is making sure to point out that THE ASEXUALITY ITSELF isn't a sickness and THE ASEXUALITY ITSELF does not indicate that one has a sickness. A person can be both physically ill and asexual, and teasing out how much of that experience is NOT related to the person's physical illness is sometimes very complicated.

I really like how you said it: "so long as asexuality is not being largely or solely defined by it." If a sick person is identifying as asexual and knows or suspects that it's tied in with their sickness somehow, I don't really see anything good coming from asking them not to identify as asexual, especially since there are situations besides illness that interact with sexual orientation so that it would be very difficult to draw a definitive line for what's "really" your sexual orientation and what "really" became how you felt because of influences in your life.

Yes to all of that, especially the last point. I wasn't trying to prevent anybody from identifying as asexual, just bringing up the point that it's a very sensitive subject with a lot of unknown variables that need to be properly considered.

Yep! Exactly! I just know some people who are like "Yeah, I've been on this medicine forever, it's no longer possible for me to figure out how much of this is who I'd be without the medication and how much is caused by it, but it's who I am." And I hope they don't feel unwelcome. :)


I have to ask: if no sex drive doesn't mean asexuality, what does it mean? (I'm asking out of ignorance, not defensiveness.)

If you have no sex drive, you have no sex drive (libido, etc.). You might mean you have no ability to experience arousal if you say that, too. People kind of use it differently. But asexuality is usually the word they use for their lack of sexual attraction experiences.

For instance, a man can be sexually attracted to women and call himself heterosexual, right? But if he doesn't really have a sex drive, doesn't actually have sex, or can't get aroused, those things are separate from whether he's heterosexual. He can still say he finds women sexually appealing even if he does nothing about it and doesn't walk around feeling a desire for sex unconnected to any particular person.

For asexual people, we can have an absent sex drive too, and some of us do. But most people are calling themselves asexual based on who they find attractive. Hope that makes sense!

Interesting, I had never heard it delineated like that before. I do call myself asexual because I have no sex drive to speak of, and don't desire to have sex with anyone, though I'm attracted to all sorts of people. Not that this matters. Thank you for explaining.

As long as the word "asexual" has meaning to you, it's fine to use it to identify yourself. Especially since there are lots of ways to be attracted to others (aesthetically, romantically, sensually) without sexual attraction.

Yeah, I get that. I guess it can be tricky walking that line between wanting to be inclusive, but also wanting to be clear about what asexuality as an orientation is, and that it's not a disorder.

But yeah, I agree. So long as people aren't confusing the two, and still making the distinction that sex drive and orientation are two separate things, (and this does seem to be overwhelmingly the case) then I've got no issues.

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I identify with "acquired," but how he used it doesn't quite fit what I think he meant in context.

Would it be alright if I asked what you mean when you consider yourself acquired? I'm honestly just curious since I never heard the term before today, and google didn't really help.

I've never used 'acquired' before, but I do identify as grey-a, and I used to be sexual. The 'cause' is a whole tangle of things, medical stuff only being a part of it, so the only clear reason I can give is probably the same as many grey-asexuals (both born and acquired) would give: mostly not wanting to have sex with anyone :-).

Ah OK. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense when you put it that way. Thanks!

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