Friday, May 16, 2014

understanding asexuality

this book is really good for beginners in understanding asexuality. i use to think that the world is divided by hetero and LGBTIQ people, and then after reading the book, i feel like Heterosexual and Homosexual people are people from the same side of the coin if to compare to Asexual people .

Asexuality can be defined as an enduring lack of sexual attraction. Thus, asexual individuals do not find (and perhaps never have found) others sexually appealing. Some consider "asexuality" to be a forth category of sexual orientation, distinct from heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. However, there is also recent evidence that the label "asexual." Maybe used in a broader sense than merely indicating a lack of sexual attraction. People who say they have a sexual attraction to others, but evince little or no desire for sexual activity, also self-identify as asexual. Distinct from celibacy, which refers to sexual abstinence by choice (meaning that sexual attraction and desire may still present), asexuality is seen in those experiencing a lack of sexual attraction or sexual desire.

More and more, those who identify as asexual are "coming out", joining up, and forging a common identity. The time is right for a better perception of this sexual orientation, written by an expert in the field who has conducted studies on asexuality and provided important contributions to this new understanding. Understanding Asexuality is one of the first book written on the topic for general readers, and the first to look at the historical, biological, and social aspects of asexuality.

pg7 (the nature of sex (and romance) can be revealed by studying asexuality.)
So over evolutionary time, the brain architecture and processing originally reserved for securely attaching ourselves to our mothers-a good thing has been co-opted and modified to allow us also to attach ourselves to attached to romantic partners. Presto: romantic love is born! In contrast, our faculty for sexual desire and attraction ("the lust system") may have evolved from the ancient animal mating and sexual attraction systems, much older neuro psychological systems than the attachment system in the brain. So what are we to make of aexual people whoform long term (and presumably) "romantic" relationship (33percent)? The fact hat many asexual people, who presumably do not operate from a lust/sexual attraction perspective, have an operating romantic-attraction system gives support to the idea that the sexual attraction and romantic attraction systems are indeed different.
Thus, asexuals who are in relationships and have romantic attachments to their partners are an important test case of the theory that asexual and romantic attraction can potentially operate independently. Asexuals are not necessarily aromantic. Hence, the nature of sex (and romance) can be revealed by studying asexuality.

pg18 (the distinction made earlier between romantic and sexual attraction. )
Thus, although asexual people often have a less experience with a partner,as one might expect, sexual experience per se would not necessarily mean that a person is not asexual (Bogaert, 2004) For example some asexual people may engage in partnered sex (e.g., sexual intercourse), perhaps out of curiosity or perhaps to please a romantic partner. The latter type of sexual activity is most likely to occur in those asexuals with romantic inclinations; it also reinforces the distinction made earlier between romantic and sexual attraction. 

pg.22 (...but they clearly have lower desire for sexual activity 'with others')
Recent research on self-identified asexuals (Prause & Graham, 2007; Broto et al. 2010) shows that they do not necessarily have a lower desire for sexual activity , but they clearly have lower desire for sexual activity 'with others'; in other words. they lack sexual attraction to others.Thus, a lack of sexual attraction is likely to be a good overarching definition of asexuality from a number of perspectives.

pg36 (Infamous Asexual characters)
Throughout history, artists have produced figures in paintings and sculptures and portrayed characters in fiction that  project an asexual aura.
Not only do such depictions reflect's the artists sensitivity to existing human variability- a variability that the audience can understand and respond to-butthey also serve to dramatic functions:first, to emphasize  a value that the artist of his or her patrons holds dear, and second, to increase the conflict or tension that makes storytelling work.

It was also this reason that Arthur Conan Doyle gave his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, an asexual aura: to portray his character as being driven by intellect. Interest in the flesh could potentially compromised Holme's power of reasoning. Indeed, Holmes as presented as being above (or somewhat immune to ) most other pleasures of the body, including eating. In Watson's words: "It was one of his peculiarities that his more intense moments he would permit himself no food, and i have known him to presume upon his iron strength until he has fainted from pure inanition" (Doyle, 2003, p.32)

pg38 (Role of Asexual characters in storytelling)
As mentioned, women have also often been portrayed in art and the popular media as asexual-for example, the iconic virgin. Such icons are presented in high art  (e.g., religiously inspired art of the Virgin Mary) to highlight virtues, but also in more popular popular fiction to increase tension and drama. For example, iconic asexual female characters seem to occur with nerdy, priggish librarian (complete with thick glasses). These portrayals may enhance the dramatic/comedic arc of the story, because these asexual female characters may likewise brush up against a sexual world. They also offer a glimpse, or at least fantasy, of an asexual character possibly becoming sexualized. No doubt such glimpses, if they are realized, have a titillating appeal to some heterosexual male audiences.

pg49 (The politics)
But why is the prevalence of sexual minorities of interests at all? Does it matter hoe many people re gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or asexual?
Yes, it does-both to scientists and nonscientists alike, and for a variety of reasons. One scientific reasons is that sexual orientation is a fundamental aspect of human variability, and thus understanding the prevalence of heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, and asexuality helps to map the distribution of human sexual variability. Second, the prevalence of sexual minorities is of interests to groups who want to use the figures to support a political cause or social issue. For example, some anti-gay groups are interested in the rate of homosexuality (particularly if it is low) to try to demonstrate that homosexuality is statistically rare and thus gay people should be considered abnormal, pathological, or at least a fringe element of society.  In contrast, gay, lesbian, and asexuality advocacy groups are interested in the rate (particularly if it is high) to demonstrate the opposite: that being a sexual minority is not uncommon or statiscally abnormal, and that sexual minorities from a significantly large segment of society. A third reason why the sexual minority prevalence rate is of interest is because of the science of demography.

pg54 (Men have a higher sex drive than women do, contrary what i know from religious people)
In the last two paragraphs, I expect i offended both mean and women. In my defense, although lots of variability exists within each sex, there is also strong evidence that men, on average, have a higher sex drive than women do, and that women are more flexible in their sex drives/attractions (see also chapter 6) (Baumeister, 2000; Baumeister, Catanese and Vohs, 2001)

Pg90 (sexual minority, minority)
First,gay people's sexuality contrasts starkly with the heterosexual majority. Second, like heterosexual people, gays and lesbians are sexual beings, strongly influence by their desires and attractions. Thus, their sexuality is doubly relevant and likely acts as a creative force in forging their identities. Of course, asexual people share with gays and lesbians their status as a sexual minority, thus they also stand in contrasts to a sexual majority. So, sexuality is potentially important go their identity also, as it makes them stand apart from majority group. But unlike gays and lesbians, asexual people are not sexual being (e.g., lacking in sexual attraction), and so sexuality, given that it is a nonissue, is not as likely to invade their psychic space and to take and front and center position when their identities are being formed.

-Some asexual people, then, may have little to no incentive to form an asexual identity and come out, or at least no incentive to make public displays of their nonsexuality.

Pg91 (Coming out as Asexual)
Consider an example to illustrate this point further: Do non-golfers-agolfers?-go to golf courses and march on the eighteenth green to assert their non-golfing identity?, It would be rather strange, of course, for non-golfers to do so, because golfing, as an activity and as a construct, is not personally relevant to most of them, nor is it part of their identity. Thus, as a golfer, as i am finishing up my round and heading to the clubhouse, I rarely see such displays and marches from non-golfers.

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