Sexual Equations

It started off with a conversation about defining sexuality and the question: is sexuality based on the desire for a particular person or the desire for sex?  Yes, both ends of the question deal with desire.  I think that no matter which way you cut it, sexuality is based on desire more than on what you do.

(That pertains to my recent posts about heteroflexibility in that my current, and possibly final, definition of heteroflexible is someone who does sexual things with people of the opposite gender but is not attracted to them in any way, aka has no desire for people of the opposite/another gender.  So a girl who kisses other girls for fun is bisexual.  A girl who kisses other girls for attention or because her friend wants to and she literally does not care either way, is heteroflexible.)

So we started with a list.  Each of these could be venn diagrams, though they’re written as equations.

Desire for opposite gender + desire for sex = hetero and sexual

Desire for your gender and opposite gender + no desire for sex = bi and asexual

Desire for everyone + desire for sex = pan and sexual

Desire for no gender + no desire for sex = asexual

Desire for opposite gender + desire for lots of sex = hetero and hyper sexual

Desire for no gender + desire for sex = ?
Following the standard form here, that would be asexual and sexual, which doesn’t really make sense.  Unless the first bit is really your romantic leanings, which would make the person aromatic and something sexual.  But that doesn’t actually work, because the second half of the equation is essentially the sex half, and the first half is the people half, so this one would be desire for sex without people.  What does that amount to?

(In the same sense, I’m not sure that bi + asexual really works either.  Unless we bring amount of each desire into the equation.)

Then the question followed, if sexuality is fluid and shifts over time — or even circumstance to circumstance — can you be more than one of these diagrams?  Well, of course.  So a venn diagram really is too simplistic to capture what someone’s sexuality looks like.  You need a chart.

Here was my first attempt at a chart.  I lost my right angles when I added in the romantic branch of the second z axis.

You can see that I've tried to draw right angle symbols into the corners...

You can see that I’ve tried to draw right angle symbols into the corners…

Since we weren’t talking about romantic leanings, anyway, I removed the romantic branch and tried again.  

A simpler version.

A simpler version.

And bringing it back to my question earlier — that the equations above might only work if you can bring amount of each desire into the equation, well, on this chart you can do that.  Frankly, on a venn diagram you can do that too, but I didn’t get around to drawing any of those…


About mybodymystory

Looking at things differently. I write about my personal experiences with society, especially regarding what messages I, as a woman, have received over time. I write about my body, not the body the media thinks I have or wants me to have. I write about my responses to sex, relationships, and political issues. This is my story of my body. There are a lot of things I write about that I believe overlap with other women. Come check out my story and see if you agree. Feel free to disagree, just be respectful about it.
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5 Responses to Sexual Equations

  1. acetheist says:

    It sounds like the problem you’re running into (“Desire for no gender + desire for sex = ?”) stems from the unaddressed definition of desire, which can be broken up several different ways. There needs to be a distinction somewhere between “general horniness” (libido/sex drive) and “wow she’s hot” (sexual attraction) and “wow she’s hot and I want to do something about it” (sexual desire). So even ignoring romantic orientation, you could have “desire for no gender” in terms of not experiencing sexual attraction (asexuality) in combination with “desire for sex” (the presence of a sex drive). From this post, it sounds like you don’t understand the technical definition of asexuality very well (being asexual is not the same as not wanting sex), and looking into that might help you clarify your model.

    Oh, and to answer your question… the “desire for sex without people” is generally referred to as masturbation. However, if you’re thinking of no sexual attraction + desire to engage in sexual activity, that’s something that happens too. It’s called being an asexual that likes sex. It’s uncommon, but if you understand the nuances of asexuality, then it makes sense.

    • Hmm, yeah. You split desire up three ways, where I’ve only been splitting it up two ways, and you’re right, I didn’t define them very clearly. That probably feeds into my unclear understanding — or maybe it’s an unclear description combined with a simplistic understanding? — of asexuality since I don’t think that asexual is the same as not wanting sex, I thought it was having no sexual desire. But with a hazy definition of desire, anything that’s defined by desire gets murky also. (And I will definitely be doing more research about all of this.)

      I did think of masturbation, though. But to me, masturbation defines an act, not an emotion. I think the no sexual attraction + desire to engage in sexual activity is more what I was trying to come up with. So that would be (from your definitions above) sex drive without sexual desire or attraction?

      • acetheist says:

        Being asexual means not experiencing sexual attraction to anyone. The way this differs from sexual desire is that you don’t necessarily have to think someone is sexy in order to decide you wanna have sex with ’em. There are various reasons for that. But likewise, I think it’s pretty understandable that, since no one is sexy to them, most asexuals wouldn’t want to have sex with anyone.

        Sure, masturbation is a behavior, not a feeling. But we could say “desire for sexual gratification” is a feeling, and whether the ideal satisfaction of that desire involves other people comes down to a matter of personal preference (which is not the same as orientation, since some asexuals like sex with other people and some like it better alone).

        So… yes and no. “Sex drive without sexual desire or attraction” /could/ be one way to describe the result of “no sexual attraction + desire to engage in sexual activity”, but that’s only if we’re equating “desire to engage in sexual activity” with “sex drive” and not “sexual desire”. It’s possible to be aroused but not want to do anything about it, and it’s also possible for nonlibidoists to want to have sex (for emotional/psychological/cultural reasons).

        Goodness, this is getting complicated.

        Anyway. I’d say that “no sexual attraction + desire to engage in sexual activity” just describes an asexual who wants to have sex (and my unconfirmed suspicion is that these aces usually have sex drives as well). The way I see it, “desire to engage in sexual activity” and “sexual desire” are interchangeable. Sexual attraction and sex drive, however, are their own distinct concepts.

        • My brain is too tired to be comprehending a lot of this. However, I thought it was interesting that you’re equating “desire to engage in sexual activity” and “sexual desire” whereas I’m equating “desire to engage in sexual activity” and “sex drive,” and sexual attraction and sexual desire are their own categories. (Although, considering I just saw these definitions an hour ago, my opinion may change when I’ve thought about it more.)

  2. Pingback: Difference between sexual desire, love and attachment? – Truth About Deception « How my heart speaks

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