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-   -   "Gray-A" Asexuality (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56837)

SchrodingersCat 10-04-2013 09:15 AM

"Gray-A" Asexuality
How can it be that I'm so learndid on all this terminology, alternative relationship / sexuality / etc stuff... and I've never heard this term??

Gray-A describes people who are "more or less" asexual, but it's not that they don't have sex, just that they don't really have a sex drive and don't tend to be sexually attracted to people.

In other words, me.

I learned this word at bi/pan group today, and it was one of those moments that a lot of people experience when they learn about bisexuality or polyamory. "There's a word for that?"

I always knew that I wasn't that "into sex." I enjoy it plenty when it happens, but I almost never seek it out. When I do, I usually have to talk myself up and convince my brain to convince my privates that we want to seek sex. It's very non-spontaneous. But I'm extremely easily seduced.

So for the longest time, I identified as "asexual...sometimes." I knew I wasn't completely asexual because I didn't "not have sex ever." But I also knew that my sex drive was much lower than average. I can pretty much take it or leave it. I've had periods of months and months without sex, without even noticing. Sometimes I go through phases where sex seems like more of a chore than something enjoyable.

Anyhoo, just thought I would throw this out there for discussion. I figure if I've never heard this term before, and I get around in these groups where such things are discussed, then I can't be the only one who has always felt this way and never had the right word for it.

YouAreHere 10-04-2013 12:53 PM

That's okay - it's new to me too, and from looking things up online, there's still a bit of resistance to some of the labeling ("Oh, you're just looking to join the queer bandwagon"). I've found that the "gray-A" and "Demisexual" labels tend to describe me best... I went YEARS thinking I had no/low libido with my ex, only to find that with P, we have an amazing sex life.

(Amusingly enough, I remember researching mismatched libidos when P and I were getting together, and before we had sex, because I was soooo worried we wouldn't work out in the bedroom... Funny to look back on that now... especially after tripping a breaker this morning due to the bed moving and pinching off some cords. D'oh. :o )

Like you, I don't seek it out (P has a high libido anyway, so I don't typically have to), but I do get hornier with P than I have with my ex (since maybe college).

If I go without for a while, I go without for a while. Meh. No real urge (except once in a while). I don't fantasize about "hot people" - in fact, random people don't get me hot and bothered at all. I will fantasize about people I've become good friends with, however, once in a while.

When I heard there was a label for it, my first reaction was actually amusement. I never felt I needed a label before, never felt that anything was really "off" - maybe just on the lower end of some spectrum. In my case, though, it never really impacted me - I had three relationships in my life, period, and since high school, I've been "in a relationship" (with some small gaps in between). I never went through a major dating phase where maybe I would have felt pressured into feeling like I need to have sex. I can imagine that folks who are dating may feel like there's something "wrong" if everyone they see is enjoying sex, and they're just not feeling it.

So yeah... I don't know. The labels are new to me too. I feel almost wrong using them... I know I'm not asexual, so I don't want to glom onto anyone else's identity, but it's interesting to find out that there's a name for what I've always been.

Inyourendo 10-04-2013 04:36 PM

I'm all about sex with N. We are extremely active but I haven't has sex with anyone else in over 2 years nor.have I had interest to. I fooled around with the guy I was seeing recently and even though I was very aroused physically I didn't have a mental desire to have sex with him. I would have been more than content to just cuddle.

InsaneMystic 10-04-2013 07:07 PM


Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 235034)
I knew I wasn't completely asexual because I didn't "not have sex ever."

Just to throw in, that's not a necessary criterion. Asexuals can have sex (e.g., as compromise in a relationship with a non-asexual partner), they just don't feel any innate desire/urge for it, and/or no sexual attraction to anybody.

Some asexuals - like myself - are lifetime virgins, others aren't. The former are not "more ace" than the latter.

Anyways, huge congrats to finding a label that you find to describe you well. In the spirit of the asexual spectrum community, have some cake! :D

SchrodingersCat 10-04-2013 09:30 PM

I agree with the "not needing a label" thing. I'm not the kind of person who needs to write a laundry list of labels in order to identify myself. I'm just "me."

But I do find that specific terminology is very useful when talking to people and explaining how I feel about certain things. If I can throw down a word and tell people to look it up, knowing they will find the same information that I could provide, but with much less effort on my part, I'm a fan of that.

My husband sometimes feels dissatisfied that I don't initiate sex. It will come up now and then, I'll make an effort for a while, then I'll get preoccupied with something else going on in my life and forget about it. I feel like having a label like this will help me explain to him why it is that I don't jump him, even though I very much do enjoy sex with him when it does happen. It will clarify that it's not about him, and I'm not a total freak for feeling that way.

Eponine 10-05-2013 12:11 AM

I was going to reply that asexuals can have sex (I'm one of the sexually active asexuals), but InsaneMystic beat me to it. :P

Here's the Gray-A entry on AVEN wiki, in case you're interested: http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index...e=Gray-asexual

I used to identify as gray-A, mainly because I can enjoy sex, which seems pretty rare among asexuals. But as I got a better understanding of asexuality, I decided I was asexual, because although I can enjoy sex, I never desire sex for the sake of sex. I'd be totally fine with not having sex ever again.

FindingMyselfInTheGrey 10-10-2013 02:00 AM

Yup. Another Gray-Ace here (although in my own head I use the term Grace, because it's pretty).

I also suggest going to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network http://www.asexuality.org/en/
They have a forum as well and a ton of reference material to read through.

When I finally figured out the label for what I thought was a 'dysfunction' I was ecstatic. It was a glorious feeling to know that, after ten years of searching, there are people like me.

You are in good company as an Ace, Gray-Ace, Grace, Demi or Semi-sexual (whichever term you prefer). And, please have some cake!

SchrodingersCat 10-14-2013 06:05 AM

This raises a new question for me, then.

Where does arousal fall into this? Those who identify as asexual but still have sex, do you get aroused? Or is it just like "here, you can pleasure yourself with my genitals. I'll just think about baseball."

I do get aroused, though rarely without physical contact. I pretty much never get turned on by seeing an "attractive" person. I never feel sexually attracted to people, at least not visually.

With arousal, what about masterbation? I rarely do it, almost never in fact. But I do go through the occasional spell where I'll masterbate every day, for about 3-4 days. Then it's over as quickly as it began.

I mean, when I hear "asexuals can have sex" I think "well of course they CAN. I can also poke needles in my eyeballs, doesn't mean I do it." Not that I liken sex to poking needles in my eyeballs of course, but I can easily imagine some people feeling that way about it.

Eponine 10-14-2013 06:41 AM

Some asexuals can get aroused, some can't (but from my observation, it seems that most can). Some asexuals masturbate frequently, some don't at all.

I can get aroused, but also always through physical stimulation. I can't get turned on by attractive people, porn, or fantasies (but some asexuals can - the asexual spectrum is complicated!). And when I'm aroused, I don't feel the urge to have sex. I can just masturbate, or do nothing.

Some asexuals do feel having sex is like poking needles in their eyeballs, but some may just feel it's like picking their nose, and some can enjoy it physically and/or emotionally.

FindingMyselfInTheGrey 10-14-2013 05:20 PM


Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 238141)

I mean, when I hear "asexuals can have sex" I think "well of course they CAN. I can also poke needles in my eyeballs, doesn't mean I do it." Not that I liken sex to poking needles in my eyeballs of course, but I can easily imagine some people feeling that way about it.

Funny I just spoke with someone about how sexuals vs asexuals view sex.

For most sexuals sex is like pizza-even when it's bad, it's good.

For some asexuals it's more like...I'll eat the pizza, but mostly just to make the bringer of the pizza happy. There may be parts of the pizza that is enjoyable. Like the crunchy crust, but the rest of it is completely optional.

However, there are also sex-repulsed asexuals.

Even within the asexual spectrum you will find a whole range of people, of wants, needs, and desires. There are those who do still feel attraction (emotional, romantic, intelligence, spiritual, physical, etc...) there is only a lack of sexual attraction.

Asexuals can still feel arousal - It just may not be directed at any particular person.

Asexuals can still masturbate, - But for some it is more of a physical release mechanism than a sexual act.

Asexuals can still have sex (and some do regularly) - There are just as many reasons for an asexual to have sex as there is for a sexual. Sex can bring increased intimacy, it can please the partner, create children, and -YES- for some Asexuals it still feels good.

Asexuals can achieve orgasm.

Asexuals can still have 'kinks' - there are a few on AVEN who are into BDSM.

Just remember - Just as there is more than one way to be a sexual...there is more than one way to be an asexual.

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