What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Questions and discussion about your sexual lives, choices, activities, ideas and experiences.
radicallyunique
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What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Unread postby radicallyunique » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:15 am

I have been doing some thinking about sex and sexual attraction and I am just very confused. Basically what I have been wondering is whether it is sexual attraction if you are drawn to a person but have no desire to have sex with them at the moment. I use the word sex very broadly - for me it means basically what most people would not be comfortable doing in a public place, so any kind of genital sex but also shirtless above the belt activities could be sex to me. I understand that many people want to have sex physically but do not for a lot of reasons - waiting till marriage, wanting to be in a relationship, not being in the mood for sex at that moment, not being emotionally ready, etc. But if you don’t want to have sex with someone at all, until you have some kind of emotional connection, how does that defer from the aforementioned situation? Another way of asking the same question - for people who are not ace or demi but don’t want one-night stands, is there a physical desire to have a one-night stand even if they would not act on it? And how does the absence of the desire to act on sexual impulses differ from the absence of the sexual impulses in the first place.

Im basically asking because I think I might be demisexual and this is a key piece of the puzzle for me.
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Sam W
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Re: What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:32 am

Hi Radicallyunique,

I'm actually going to answer you last question first. The main difference is where in the chain the disinterest appears. If someone doesn't have any or many sexual impulses, it means they don't have those moments of going "huh, sex with this person/sex in general sounds fun right now." But someone else could have those desires for sex, but when they think about actually pursuing it, it doesn't sound interesting or feel like something they want. Sometimes, the fact that they never feel like acting on those impulses can be a sign that someone is ace or demi.

That being said, I think not wanting sex unless there's an emotional connection can fall under those other reasons you listed for why people might desire sex but not act on it. For some people, that need for deep emotional connection before sex is an option is a sign they might be demi. But I think lots of people who aren't demi still want some kind of emotional connection before they have sex with someone, even if it's casual or one-time sex. It's very rare that casual sex is completely devoid of emotion; trust, comfort, or general feeling of being friendly towards each other are all things that people factor in when deciding to have sex, casual or otherwise.

Does any of that help?

radicallyunique
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:21 pm
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Re: What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Unread postby radicallyunique » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:01 am

Thanks for the reply. It’s a bit helpful but I’m still confused.

When I mentioned not wanting sex unless there is an emotional connection, I did not mean “having a desire for sex with a person but not acting or not wanting to act on it unless there is an emotional connection”. Instead I meant there is literally no desire to have sex with the person based on attractiveness and aesthetics alone and then having the emotional connection makes you have the desire for sex with the person.

It’s possible I have answered my own question when writing this out lol. But just for some clarification, would you say that for people who are not demi, it is mostly the former?
I am a walking contradiction - Anxious but extroverted. Logical but very emotional.

Sam W
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Re: What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:19 am

Ah, okay, thank you for clarifying!

It's tricky to settle on an exact answer, since the way people of all orientations experience attraction can be so personal and varied. But, the general definition of demisexuality is what you described. That is, someone who is demi only becomes sexually attracted to people after that deep, emotional connection is present, rather than before.

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Re: What is the difference between sexual attraction and willingness to have sex?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:48 am

I'm ace, so I'm not exactly the perspective you're looking for here, but a lot of ace people struggle with what sex drive/libido vs. attraction is, so this something I've participated in discussions regarding similar topics of at length. One of the best ways I've seen sex drive vs. sexual attraction described is: sex drive is "I want to have sex/want to get off" and sexual attraction is "I want to have sex/want to get off with/to that person in particular".

So we could extract a bit and say that sexual attraction vs. willingness to have sex could be described as "I want to have sex/want to get off with/to that person in particular" vs. "I want to have sex/want to get off with/to that person in particular, and I'm going to take actual steps to see if this person wants to as well".

Maybe that helps? Your posts really do sound familiar to what a lot of other acespec people have told me!


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