November 2017
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allosexual, asexual, demisexual, grey-asexual definitions & explanations & poll


icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

A person who experiences sexual attraction in a way that matches the norm is called allosexual.
A person who never experiences sexual attraction is called asexual.
A person who experiences sexual attraction only in the context of an emotional connection is called demisexual.
A person for whom none of that is true (perhaps they experience sexual attraction very rarely, or in cycles, or only in certain situations) is called grey-asexual.

Another way the difference between allosexual and demisexual people is explained is by dividing sexual attraction into two types. Type 1 sexual attraction is when something external about the person (looks, smell, the way someone moves, their voice, their style, etc) creates sexual attraction for you. Type 2 sexual attraction is when emotional connection creates sexual attraction for you. Allosexuals can experience both. Demisexuals only experience Type 2. Asexuals don't experience either. Grey-asexuals vary. Still a bit confused? this FAQ answers a lot of questions in depth: Under the Ace Umbrella: Demisexuality and Gray-asexuality.

A lot of demisexuals have a time element to their sexual attraction (they need to know the person for a length of time before they can feel sexually attracted), but I don't think this is inherent. I think it just takes a good amount of time for most people to get to a place where they feel emotionally connected. I have spent a good chunk of my life reducing the amount of time it takes me to feel emotionally connected with someone, so I know how to build intimacy really quickly if the other person can be fully present and engaged. So, theoretically, I could feel sexual attraction to someone the same day I met them. This has happened once, when I met someone who was a violet spirit and feminist and trans and cuddly and we went to a cuddle party and talked about meaningful things the whole time. Usually it's not until I've had a 7+ hour conversation on intense topics with the person, and I really doubt it could ever happen in one day with someone who wasn't a violet spirit (violet spirit is a belenen-specific concept that references how I perceive the non-physical aspects of people). I've parsed out the four essential elements for me to feel sexual attraction to someone and I'll make that a separate post.

What about you?
Poll #2018055 (confidential - only I can see who said what)

choose which best fits or fill in the next blank!

grey-asexual
6(31.6%)
demisexual
3(15.8%)
asexual
1(5.3%)
allosexual
9(47.4%)

if you use none of the above, what do you use instead?


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Comments
aubkabob ══╣╠══
My sexuality has always been extremely confusing to me. I will go through long phases where I don't think about sex or physical intimacy at all, then hit a short phase where I think about it a LOT. I consider myself 80% hetero (I generally fantasize about men but occasionally feel a strong attraction towards a woman), but am usually completely oblivious to people around me in a sexual manner. It's almost when I do hit the patches of sexualness, I'm more attracted by the idea of it all instead of the actual act.

I'm also sad I missed out on the truth or truth today. My work schedule has caused me to flake on several occasions with many people. I've hit a point where I really need to write stuff down and plan in advance to wake up super early (I woke up at 10 pm your time). I'm not a flaky person by nature and truly hope that I can get my brain in order to be able to function with "day folk" again.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I had one really strange period where I was sexually attracted to everyone and felt really ravenous about it. I think it was because I was having physically satisfying sex for the first time in years, and living with someone who was also experiencing that. It was sort of my reclaiming of my body, but I found it really uncomfortable and was glad when it stopped.

No worries from me about missing ToT, I will definitely invite you to the next one!
aubkabob ══╣╠══
Thank you! I can't tell you how much I appreciate people's understanding as I get accustomed to my new schedule. I'm getting much better at writing things on my calendar.
kehlen_crow ══╣seasonal - river╠══
I don't really fit any of these categories, even though I've experienced attraction to someone based on their looks/smell (both strangers and people I knew to be quite deep) and attraction that died quite abrtuptly when the person turned out to be shallow. I also don't really feel the physical need to act on the attraction I might feel.

So I'd say I have elements allo, and demi and a in me.
belenen ══╣pensive╠══
hm, yeah, it's an interesting mix!
hands_cupped ══╣╠══
I somehow only recently learned about gray-ace and I was just like..... ..... okay.... yep.
belenen ══╣connate╠══
*grins* I understand that feeling.
wildrose ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣adoring╠══
<3
song_of_copper ══╣skogkatts!╠══
I’d say allosexual is the best fit for me. It is fairly rare that I feel sexual attraction solely in a Type 1 manner, but it does happen. In some ways I feel like I ‘try not to feel’ attraction based only on external factors, but I’m learning simply to allow that - to let myself notice desire where I find it, and respond in a natural way.

Like so very many people, it took me a very long time to learn not to place restrictions on attraction or types of attraction. Just as asexual people face a world that thinks sexual attraction is the be-all and end-all and often doesn’t even believe they exist, those who do experience sexual attraction are encouraged to apply that to any relationship where it could potentially occur. Looking back from my current POV, I can see that there were times I was (a) afraid of feelings of sexual attraction that were ‘inappropriate’ or ‘out of character’ in terms of what I hoped/assumed my sexual preference to be (in order to not be thought weird or transgressive!) and (b) I was sometimes confused and worried about feelings of strong attraction that were *not* sexual. There are so many ways to experience desire, and my deepest regret in life is for those relationships that never stood a chance because I didn’t understand the nature of the desire I felt for that person. :-(
belenen ══╣artless╠══
There really are so many ways to experience desire! I am sorry for your regrets around that, I can empathize. I'm glad you have learned more of how to embrace your desires in whatever form they take!
stray_infinity ══╣╠══

Hmm. It's hard placing myself on the spectrum of sexual attraction mostly because it's hard for me to distinguish physical attraction from sexual attraction - either that, or I fade in and out of sexual attraction based on the person's behavior.


I do have a group of physical traits that trigger my arousal and attention, like smoothly pedicured feet and an anklet, long legs, short shorts. Those things make my eyes never want to look away. But that doesn't make me jump to wanting sex. Instead it makes me want to be physically close to that person, talk to them, laugh with them, hug them, anything that gets our skin in close proximity. Only after dicovering the person's personality that I figure out if I desire sex with them.


I've known girls with amazing (to me) appearances  and shitty personalities. I could only imagine sex with them without any physical/carnal desire. When I enjoy both personality and appearance, then I consider myself sexually attracted - I sweat, breathe shallowly, fidget. It seems biconditional to me, so I wouldn't say I'm allosexual since the definition seems to imply that an allosexual can experience sexual attraction in either of the two ways. I'm definitely not asexual. I think I'm somewhere in the demisexual ballpark since my sexual attraction seems more dependent on one's behaviors and moods, which tend to vary a lot more than physical traits - I have a heightened sense of people's emotions and they easily influence me, so I can't feel sexual attraction when someone who looks stunning is depressed. I dare say I'm a bit of a grey-asexual because my sexual attraction seems largely dependent on how the person's personality is making me feel in the moment.


I don't know, haha.

belenen ══╣analytical╠══
Well as I understand it, being able to be sexually attracted upon first encounter with someone rules out asexual and demisexual. But then, if you are not experiencing sexual attraction but aesthetic attraction, then that doesn't rule out those things. I think a lot of allosexuals can lose desire for a person if they find out the person is bad, but it's not so much that they stop being sexually attracted but just that there is a stronger motivation for avoidance. The ability to lose desire is something I think allo, demi, and grey-a people all have. It's more about what can cause desire at the beginning.

If you were put in a situation where you were with a celebrity you find sexually attractive, and they wanted to have sex with you right away, could you see yourself doing that?
belenen ══╣giving╠══
also, thanks for the thoughtful response!
volamonster ══╣╠══
So far it appears I'm the only asexual! Not surprising at all though; we're not a huge percentage of the broader population.
belenen ══╣pensive╠══
*nods* I think you may be the only asexual I know, though I do know a number of people on the ace-spectrum, as it were. But then, my memory is questionable *makes face*
call_me_katya ══╣Icy Rose╠══
I've been thinking about this for a while, in a puzzled fashion. First off, I'd heard the word demisexual before but never knew what it meant, and somehow assumed it was the same as pansexual.

For me, I'm probably not allosexual, assuming that normal people are sexually attracted to many folks on first sight and in an ideal world/world with no consequences would be happy to become sexually intimate with them immediately. I'm also not asexual, as I have strongly sexual crushes occasionally.

So perhaps I'm somewhere between demi and grey-a. Emotional connection and possibly a shared sense of humour that I've gotten to know over time can lead to a sexual attraction to someone I would not really notice if I passed them on the street. It would make me overlook any 'flaws' that I had noticed on the first or second meeting. It takes time for this to lead to actual sexual attraction to me, the thought that this is a person I enjoy spending time with and could advance to sexual attraction with is always first, in that it's usually a conscious decision to start thinking that way. The switch is flipped by me. I would have mentioned the time factor but I think you're right, it's the emotional connection that's usually connected to time. If I watch a two hour movie that takes me through a full relationship, runs the gamut of my emotions then I will be emotionally connected to a character and sometimes sexually attracted, something that will lead to me having a crush on this actor in future roles, even if they are very dissimilar.

But then you mentioned grey-a people experiencing attraction rarely, or unusually, or in cycles. Once in a blue moon [maybe every few years or so] I will meet someone and we will have an eye-meeting charged first conversation - maybe only for ten minutes or so - and that will lead to a sexual attraction, if I know it is being returned. Without this conversation though I imagine it would just be a face that I like, as I really enjoy looking at faces but perhaps that's an aesthetic attraction, rather than sexual. I see the sexual one as being two-way and I have to know it's two-way.

belenen ══╣intrigued╠══
the thought that this is a person I enjoy spending time with and could advance to sexual attraction with is always first, in that it's usually a conscious decision to start thinking that way. The switch is flipped by me.

omg! you are the first person besides me who I know that refers to this conscious decision. I'm very excited to know that I am not the only one!

also, I really liked all of your thoughtful response, thank you.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.