Asexuality and aesthetics.

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    While asexuality is not new in principle to me, the concept of having a label to describe the way I was always feeling a social pariah, is.
    I lived for 40 years having never heard the term, perhaps had I learned sooner I might have had an easier time.

    Im sort of relieved to see quite a few men around here, while I dont underestimate the female asexual aspect for a second I seem to think in general culture women are less sexually agressive by default, and hence are naturally closer to asexuality.

    My question I have however is how the concept of beauty is defined without sex. Personally I have always admired beauty in many physical forms while never wanting to f**k it, yet the likes of Freud would have said everything is inherently about sex, and Dawkins argues that we are pre programmed as the vehicle for production.

    So what do others think about noticing beauty and how it fits into their persception?


    Don’t listen to Freud. He was a twisted and confused man. In my opinion, he is irrelevant to modern psychology.

    Beauty in and of itself is not inherently tied to sex.
    Its found in many different forms and ways.

    Thats my 2 cents anyways.


    I’ve always assumed Freud to have been an egotist, as Erasmus said ‘in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king’.
    Freud’s ingrained sexual stigmata created his very own Freudian slip, projected on to one and all.

    Though it does go without saying that the base reaction of beauty, and it’s main intention, is to attract the attention of the most carnal.
    If humans aren’t in the business of procreation, then what are they supposed to be in the business of?


    I don’t believe that to be true about beauty. But it is okay for us to disagree.
    Experiencing the beauty of nature, art, architecture, friendship or family transcends anything carnal.
    I personally believe we are more that just humans, and we posses souls that are here to learn and grow in a multitude of ways.


    I agree it’s ok to disagree.
    Though I’m convinced the function of beauty is attraction, to create desire which is the trigger for sex and the continuation of the gene.
    I think it was Democritus who believed everything was just attempting to emulate perfection. We recognise this in its various forms as we are made of the same matter.
    Of course as I said originally, that doesn’t mean we as an evolved species seek out to have sex with everything desirable, as might be the case with a beautiful car…..but some do (believe it or not) and it’s a result in my opinion of a misfiring of triggers.
    The pleasure reward principle that constantly changes us akin to pavlov’s dog has essentially conditioned the individual in error and now they want to have sex with the car.
    To continue that theme, it is my view that the asexual is also a disfunctional result, perhaps a severing of the intended connection between beauty, desire and sex, which results in us betraying the very intention of the forwarding of the species.

    I’m not personally convinced about spirituality. I’ve read several books but I think they are just opening up new connections between parts of the brain and synapses that they interpret as either (god) or some mysticism.

    I don’t think there is anything else, as Diogenes said ‘virtue is and of itself the reward’ (we reward ourselves, nobody(or thing) else.)


    I think appreciation for beauty is a reflection of humans desire to strive for the best possible things in general. Sex is just one of so many thousands of things the could be potentially influential. Reproduction is regulated by feromones, not by beauty. Allosexuals can easily be attracted to someone who is not beautiful in their own standards.


    Hello G,

    I think I understand your thought process. Beauty is meant to initiate sexual arousal, in that beauty–> arousal–>procreation; however, you can find beauty in something and not want to have sex with it, but for those who do–especially when arousal comes from non-human subjects–are experiencing brain irregularities. You also proceed to use such brain irregularities as an analogy for the emergence of asexuality.

    Before I move on I’d like to say that I am not attacking anyone, but merely being blunt in my own opinion. Please don’t be offended.

    I agree w/ Rachel that beauty isn’t necessarily tied to sex. I’d like to extend on that to say that sex isn’t necessarily tied to beauty (A/= B; B/=A) which supports my theory that beauty–>arousal–>reproduction is not so linear. Beauty in terms of human aesthetics can very well contribute to a desire for sex; however, it is not a required factor. People have sex, just to have sex; it goes without saying. People have sex to procreate (no shit); people have sex unwillingly (tradition, cultural pressure…among other things). We decide on sex based off, not beauty, but on our own motives to have it.

    I do agree with the pleasure reward principle w/ it’s relation to Pavlov’s dog. I think it was a good explanation for the example you posted of the relations b/w an individual w/ a non-human object. I cannot see it’s connection to asexulality. In my experience as an individual trying to cope w/ low libito in a highly sexualized world (this was before I knew I was a graysexual), I thought that there was something physically wrong with me (like a chemical imbalance; thyroid issues). My GYN said this was normal, so did my PCP, and so did every other doctor I spoke with. Whatever the reason us asexuals do not have the same sexual experiences as the larger population, is not something that can prevent us from doing anything others can do (reproduction).

    On a short and final note, our impacts on the world are not limited to procreation. Our “business” is whatever we want to make it.


    Sex and beauty are two different things as are sex and love and I am an individualist to the core who plays by her own rules in life, not to others.

    I am certainly not here to procreate and never have been. Never got the urge to have kids. In fact I could not think of anything worse for me personally. I would never want to be here to carry on the species, I am not a robot and being untilised for that purpose.

    I intend to leave a lasting legacy in my own right and help as many people as I can. Which I am already doing and will do more of.

    Asexuality exists, we exist, and we do not need to prove our worth as an asexual.

    If heterosexuals are just designed to procreate, thank God I am not one of those and I was one of those people who are especially privileged to being asexual.

    Oh and I get high levels of arousal and it does not make me want to procreate or have sex, and I can get it without beauty being involved.


    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Sandra.

    I have read the above posts with interest, thank you all.

    However I’m a very logical creature and I have never got over reading Richard Dawkins’ assessments of life and it causes and reasons.
    It is true that beauty exists outside of any sexual construct, but only as an intended vehicle to reach the desired outcome….that being sexual reproduction.
    A baby is ‘beautiful’ to assure it’s chances of not being abandoned which allows it to be nurtured until which time it becomes sexually active.
    What most people chose not to consider is that what I believe Dawkins called the ‘survival machines’ (from memory), these being your brain, heart lungs etc that have evolved over time to aid the individual and protect it in a competitive world until it’s able to reproduce.
    What is even less palatable to most is that what the gene giveth it also taketh away via any predisposition that will ultimately kill you.
    Not convinced? Then why has it always been that on every continent from poor countries to rich, from the beginning of time until today, the average mortality age has always been no less than the sexual peak of the human?
    Put another way, you are considerably less likely to die until such time you have given your best in the reproduction of DNA, and after which point you first lose sexual potency and then die, all to save the degenerate nature of procreating degeneracy.
    It all comes down to a simple question; do you believe this existence is a means to an end or an end in itself?
    Your gene couldn’t careless whether you write poetry, make a scientific discovery or dig ditches while here,that’s not what it set you up for, and whether you have done ‘enough’ of those things by the time it’s preset destruction of you arrives, it cares not.


    if you name all beautiful things, you’ll find only a little few that have usefulness towards reproduction and thousands of things that have no correlation whatsoever. That means that either to you this world is so ugly that you only see an extremely limited amount of beautiful things, which suggests depression or either you’re just discussing for the sake of discussing. It sounds a lot like you’re trying to ‘convert’ us. And of course our gene pool cares about sciencentific discoveries and art, why else would those abilities even be in our genes. Both are things that increase our chances of survival in a non-sexual way. (art makes happy and happyness keeps the morale to survive high, discoveries makes groups of people more knowledgeable, knowledge will be carried over, etc.)

    People died because of a hostile environment (wilderness, disease, etc.). Mortality rates didn’t show the curve that justifies that explanation. For that mortality suddenly had to rise from a certain age, whilst in almost all societies it was a gradual increase in mortality, not a sudden rise. Only in todays world where most dangers are eliminated you see a sudden rise in mortality from a certain age, and that is long past their reproduction usefulness, but around the time they no longer are useful for doing work. Which is a bigger contribution to survival than reproduction.

    Our genes are set up this way that we can each be useful in our own ways and that’s why our genes differ and make sure not everyone is allosexual, because that would’ve likely hurt chances of survival if there were no childrenless people who could serve as 1) a backup for the high mortality rate in adults 2) do other tasks in society because they have more time on their hands. Ever since human lives in societies, our brain has evolved reapidly in such a way that we found more ways of survival than just one. That is one of the strenghts of humans, the ability to diversify, yet you want to reduce to being mere beasts.

    Babies are considered ugly by most ‘except their own one’, so that’s a non-argument and even insulting towards parents.


    I said beauty is the vehicle with the end game reproduction.
    It’s attraction to a specific thing. A flower attracts insects by various means etc. I don’t see an ugly world but as a Nihilist I see a pointless one.
    My vocation is design, I recognise aesthetics everywhere, but I also see where they originate and nothing is new, just an emulation of nature itself.
    Be it a curve or a shape that has been subconsciously recreated or through engineering finding the optimum in a fog of possibilities, just as nature itself does.
    The notion of attempting to convert anyone is absurd, I’m new to asexuality and am probing in my own pursuit of self discovery.
    What you describe about inherent inbuilt inquisitiveness is just an extension of the red queen effect, which itself is to continue the existence of the gene itself. The randomness being key, but as you outline this leaves outcomes with lesser significance or outright pointlessness, my question is attempting to establish how the asexual deals with this, do they resign themselves to be worker bees for the betterment of the colony?
    I’d rather suggest art that pleases the viewer is a continuation of the former point of recreating the world around us via stimulation.

    The point regarding mortality was showing evidence that the gene is always ahead of the curve, if it were mere random you would be as likely to die as a child as an old person, which isn’t true. The fact in western societies mortality increase over time is true, but sexual peaks don’t change accordingly, the gene stops you reproducing before it kills you by suseptability to disease after its made use of you.

    I would suggest more people think babies cute than ugly whoever’s they are.


    Incidentally, it’s my view that we are all shaped by the things that gratify us. If it were possible for the glands to release dopamine every time sex was thought of then I believe asexuality itself wouldn’t exist (dopamine is a toxin so this is naturally regulated and so is not possible without synthetic catalyst) and therefore those who are inherently sexual are so because they gain stimulation to encourage it….rather like the tide that floats all boats however badly designed.
    The asexual’s tide is just perennially ‘out’ or they have a reconfigured pathway that generates dopamine release from alternative actions.

    To hear the suggestion that asexuals are happy in their pursuit of assisting others (namely the vicarious sexual reproduction of other humans) is alien to me I have to confess. Much like when I read about science talking about inhabiting other planets due to earth being ultimately doomed. To me it’s erroneous, I have no investment in the human race, what difference does it make to the likes of me?


    People have selfless desires, like caring for children whose parents died etc. That’s probably how asexuality first originated. The desire to care is stronger than the desire to procreate. How self-centered asexuals reason i can’t answer you.

    On the other hand it’s not like asexuals are incapable of reproduction, they just sunconciously know it’s not necessairy and thus shift their focus on more important things. Like, almost everything. We live in a world where extinction of the species due to natural causes is extremely unlikely, therefore we do not have the need to perform reproduction to fullfill our social role. It’s not like asexuals don’t have libido either. They just evolved beyond beastly desires. Why? Because we can. A lot in evolution happens ‘because we can’.


    First of all, I wanted to say that I find this conversation quite intriguing and pertinent to my own musings on the subject.

    In no way am I an expert on Human sexuality, asexuality, reproduction, genetic mechanisms, and autonomic responses in the body.

    But I believe your original question is a fair question, and one I’ve often grappled with attempting to explain to sexual oriented persons.

    Of course, I also recognize that the originator of this post is well-read, highly intelligent, quite concrete, intellectual, and if I may, quite aware of his intellectual assets as evidence by his tremendous command and recall of pertinent external excerpts from preeminent individuals who were well researched themselves.

    I can relate to many of your sentiments, but have to point out that no one person has complete knowledge of any particular subject matter, and be as it may, no ammount of devotion and belief in a given field of study can lend perfect knowledge on who we are as a species. History has proven time and again, that just when our pre-eminent experts, philosophers, theologians, scientists and scholars have led us to believe in an infallible unquestionable truth, something comes along and completely rewrites our understanding of why and or how, and something sold off as so completely irrefutable, has fallen into the annals of some of our most embarrassing fallacies.

    As such I would point out that one such “expert” in his day was in fact Freud, and we have all lived to clearly see how his “truths” have stood the test of time, or rather, fallen into disgrace. If one expert on such mysterious subject matters can lose his credibility and standing in the scientific community, to the point that you also have no reservations in extending those invalidations as evidentiary proof for various points you’ve made, you have to be willing to consider the potential that Richard Dawkins, for whom you so wholeheartedly advocate, could potentially be skewed or invalid in his theory’s or rather, hypothesis.

    Take for instance the simple notion provided that all energy expenditure is for the the eventual propagation of the species, when all is said and done.

    I could equally say this isn’t so, and no one could say I was wrong, not definitively, because there always remains the potential that previous notions are incorrect.

    If a beaver chews down a tree, drags it to a river and dams it up into a lake, we easily see where he’s going with this. We also must think about beauty. Was he driven by beauty to select his mate, or was there some kind of sixth sense used that helped him factor out any genetic variations that would have led to undesirable mutations in their offspring?

    Regardless, the lake is dammed and he sets to building his house on the lake. The tries his luck with the ladies and one finds his humble abode suitable, she moves in and beats him many tots through the years. He’s set.
    He never had an inkling to get another career, find his purpose in life, feel fulfilled, grow a garden, learn a craft outside the skills needed in order to cut down a tree, dam a river. Neither did he avert his focus to take care of an ailing parent, skip out on responsibilities at home and travel the world. He didn’t get a dog, didn’t feel the need to collect stamps, gamble his money away because of a pointless and fruitless addiction, and he didn’t make time to commune with his maker and congregate in a church, or frock himself and swearoff a life of sexual contact for a higher purpose, he didn’t do those things because to the best of our knowledge, beavers aren’t self-aware, sentient creatures. Simply put, a beaver is as a beaver does.

    As you say, you aren’t terribly sure about creation, so at some point it might be reasonable to suggest that you’ve contemplated the evolutionary pat over the creationist path, as many of your points and comments have actually referenced. That being said, this is okay, but carries with it the question then, if we all came from the primordial ooze and naturally survived into our current form simply through desire to propagate the species, especially as it relates to our concepts of beauty, why is it that the majority of the animal kingdom, and even our closest relatives, pay more attention to there sixth sense, usually th ough olfacotry snses alone, to detect genetic superiority between mates? That, or the more than typical stealing sex or forcing ourselves on our females as the common practice for procreation and to ensure our genes go forward, and not some other man’s? And before you say birds use beauty to attract their female counterparts, understand that any given male in even the birds of paradise genus look relatively the same, and it’s rather the eloquent execution of a males performance that makes or breaks his successes to mate. Not even mentioning his ability to provide by means of providing and adequate nest that’s flashy.

    I obviously understand how this could relate then to ostentatious displays of wealth in a man’s car or home, to attract a mate. But then why does a man overwhelmingly chose a partner off of looks alone, rather than genetics? If he wanted a busty woman, why not go for a woman who, genetically, possessed big breasts? Why settle then for a woman he feels is inadequate enough in that department that he pushes for her to get breast augmentation. It speaks more to his ego, than his desire to propagate the species. We understand why the woman is doing it, but if humankind as a whole, men and women both, are tied to subconsciously being drawn to beauty in all its forms, what place does an augmented, genetically inferior woman with small breasts going to do for him? It’s not like those augmented breasts will produce any more milk for his children. And let me be clear, women with smaller breasts are NOT genetically inferior, not even slightly. Nature allows for variations to attract the men who are drawn to those variations. I’m simply stating a point here, that the man obviously felt she wasn’t adequate enough until she had breast augmentation. And let’s be honest, it’s men who drive women to augment their breasts. They’ve been conditioned to think they have to plump them up to attract men.

    And this concept would make sense in the grand scheme of beauty as the basis for propagating the species, if the man wasn’t fully aware that the breast were artificially enlarged. But he does know.

    However, I point out, how does someone’s express enjoyment and ultimate ruin from gambling help him propagate the species in the end? Was it born out of a need to provide? Or more likely out of a desire to thrill? Where does thrills come into play? Such as sky diving or dangerous tight rope walks across canyons come into play with continuing humanity? I say it doesn’t. In fact, it jeopardizes that likelihood, but neither is it a deformity or mental illness than nature is trying to eliminate through natural selection processes. The person simply enjoys these past times and fills fulfilled in a way that he simply can get from another person. So this actually drives him or her away for the moment, from the arms of someone who could make reproduction matter.

    Before you say, perhaps it’s for income reasons, let’s say it’s a past time he does for no pay or reward at all, except for his own sense of accomplishment? What then? Especially if he’s having to spend hard-earned money to have this pastime, money that could be used for the end-game of building and supporting his family? Are his priorities mixed up, or is he simply sewing his adventurous wild oats? What if he never grows up or settles down, choosing instead to pursue this pastime? How does that work toward establishing a circumstance rife with opportunity to pass on DNA?

    There are so many selfish endeavors that humanity engages in, that literally have nothing to do with the propagation of the species and actual jeopardize that potential completely. Sports alone is an excellent example, sure a man can make a great living, but he can also lose his ability to have kids. And it happens all the time. I dare say, it was the desire for money despite the risk that he fell into the temptation, the fame, the sense of accomplishment.

    Humanity can’t be over-simplified by such simplistic statements, simply for the fact alone that we are self-aware, and prone to selfishness in a away that can devastate our options to procreate.

    I think beauty CAN be a vehicle for reproduction, and it certainly doesn’t hurt the odds, but I believe that along the way, our own self-realization, frequent belief in a higher power, self-imposed celibacy, thrill-seeking, etc, has driven humankind away from the more simplistic, live, eat, reproduce, die…autopilot pattern that non-sentient animals partake in, quite literally, involuntarily.

    But that’s not our plight. Our self motives alone give rise to other forms of creation that bring fulfillment and beauty into our lives, that don’t require the propagation of the species to bring about, nor do they need to begin with sexual contact. Beauty is subjective, and because it exists in some form, does not entirely mean it’s tied to the continuance of our particular species.

    And the slowing down, as gradual as it is, of the human population growth is eveidence enough that reproduction tends to be driven more by a need than by beauty. The baby boomers were a result of the Great Depression and war era, a time when poverty was so great, that the mortality rate for children was at an all time high. This alone drove the desire and need to reproduce like rabbits if you will, to prevent the death of entire family trees. I assure you that beauty had nothing to do with it, necessity and desperation alone drove this need. And that also meant free labor to work the fields, which hopefully meant more food production, etc. Children were married off at obscenely young ages, especially preteen girls at one point, most usually to more well to do older men, to get her out of the home to free up available food for the mouths that worked the fields.

    Now we see a considerable decrease in population growth from those desperate times, and it’s continuing to do so, because we no longer live in a desperate situation that kills off our children at such young ages. Medicines are allowing them to surpass previous mortality rates caused by simpler reasons than the common flu.

    I’d think, we are definitely living in more “beautiful” times now than ever before, and feeling more well-off than our baby boomer hoarders grew up feeling. And yet, our birth rates are actually dropping. No, it was during our ugliest, dirtiest, filthiest, most desperate moment in history, that we saw such an influx of births. And thank every precious life that survived during that time, but truth be told, every snsus out there, even the Social Security system agrees, too many of them lived. It’s been eating away at our resources ever since. The nuclear family the boomers grew up in was something they desired to have as well.

    But thankfully, in this instant gratification era of instant beauty everywhere we look, the current younger generations are choosing to have less children than there parents, and waiting longer to have them too, if at all.

    As for asexuality and beauty, I think that male sensuality is beautiful, I’m homoaesthetic though so I would. But for me, beauty still matters regardless of my aversion to sexual contact. For me, beauty is how his eyes gaze into mine leaving me feel special, loved, unique. It’s his smile that lets me know he’s happy and I’m enough for him. It’s his strong, beautiful and masculine arms that serve as extensions of his personality, that help him nonberbally express his love to me in a tangible way I can relate to. It’s his voice, that soothes me in difficult moments, and makes me laugh like I’ve never laughed before when he’s being coy and playful. It’s everything, and his beauty may not be evident to everyone who sees him, but that’s ok. Because he’s made his choice to give his companionship to me alone, and to dedicate himself to a life with me, and that’s just the most beautiful thing. Aesthetic beauty isn’t just for the sexual, it’s not just for the propagation of the species. It. Ignite aid in it, but to me, beauty is just how I see him, without even trying to, because that’s love.

    I know this is long, but you asked a difficult question, one I see others struggling to answer. But with each response I saw, a also saw a excerpts, and passages, and philosophical reasoning, minimization and invalidation, and mostly, all taken out of context to support various conclusions held firmly in place by an improession that was imparted by an author, who’s personal truth passed on as fact, could be just as invalid as freud’s is considered now, in another 10, 20, or 30 years. The point is, no single person possesses all truth, and the human mind is a powerful tool, easily able to generate its own truth to achieve understanding. So many studi s have been done that conclusively show that human mind is so desperate to know things and appar knowledgeable, that it will pass off what it considers to be common sense, as cold hard truth in the absence of evidence to the contrary. We fill in the gaps where don’t don’t understand, and fill those gaps with unpoven concepts and theories that hold absolutely no scientific evidence. But at least we didn’t risk looking like we knew absolutely nothing about something when we were asked.

    Perhaps that’s why so much of what we consider to be proof and truth, gets replaced so readily with new and contrary evidence all the time. Or perhaps the person generating these facts were simply partial to their own personal thoughts on the matter and neglected to keep their findings unbiased and unskewed.

    For for thought. If you got this far, thanks for taking the time to do so.


    Roger Scruton is a philosopher who has made a cool documentary about beauty: But I guess he is right that there is such thing as beauty as distinct from any form of carnal attraction.

    Art is something that is beyond sexuality although it might play with it.

    About Freud, I think these comics do a good job of portraying the way he though:, clearly, Freud cannot even conceive of the existence of asexual people.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Rafael.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Rafael.

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