"Stages" theory of attraction and desire

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"Stages" theory of attraction and desire

Post by Aisling on Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:47 am

http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?/topic/65423-what-is-greydemi/page__view__findpost__p__1959397
Quoted from the "What is grey/demi?" thread on AVEN, my own post below:

Dang, I go outta' town for a day, and a thread goes wildly active without me. Just my luck.
I'm going to say 'drive' instead of 'desire', since desire is a bit nebulous for meaning, and could be psychological or biological, while drive is pretty much straightforward, more visceral.
Note that I consider both attraction and drive to be visceral reactions that are immediate in nature: your actual reaction to them, and your emotions, etc. you can control, but attraction and drive are not consciously regulated.

Here's how I sort it:

Attraction-based:
A- = No primary OR secondary attraction, or else both are extremely weak. Degree or type of drive irrelevant.

Demi- = Only one type of attraction, typically secondary, is present, or else one attraction is extremely weak compared to the other. Degree or type of drive irrelevant.

Grey- = Either or both attractions are present, but the degree of them is diminished sufficiently to be not-verisexual or veriromantic.
Degree or type of drive irrelevant.

Veri- = Both attractions are present to at least moderate degree, even if one is somewhat stronger than the other. Degree or type of drive irrelevant.


Drive-based:
Non- = No primary OR secondary desire, or else both are extremely weak. Attractions irrelevant.

Semi- = Only one type of desire, typically secondary, is present, or else one desire is extremely weak compared to the other. Attractions irrelevant.

Hypo- = Either or both desires are present, but the degree of them is diminished sufficiently to be not-isosexual or isoromantic ("average libido/romantic drive"). Attractions irrelevant.

Iso- = Both desires are present to at least moderate degree, even if one is somewhat stronger than the other. Attractions irrelevant.


Attraction is SPECIFIC TO THE TARGET, the person you know or are viewing. Attraction to one target may vary in type or degree from another target. It determines who the target is on whom drive is enacted (or not enacted).
Drive is GENERAL TO THE SUBJECT, the person experiencing it, and is not related to the target of attraction. Drive is consistent no matter who the target is, but it doesn't determine who the target is.


In conclusion, a demisexual person can in fact have a very strong sex drive, but the factor of attraction that would initially determine when and with whom they have sexual activity... that's where one attraction is missing or vastly weaker than the other, and it has an impact at a visceral level on if they are willing to have sex or not with a given person.
------------

Now, aside from definitions, whether or not they're widely accepted, I have a bit of speculative theory:

Attraction to a specific individual comes in stages, we'll call them Stage 1 and Stage 2 for now.
Suppose attraction occurs in an order of priorities, and Stage 2 can only happen AFTER Stage 1 has occurred actively.
Now suppose the two TYPES of attraction, primary and secondary, can actually have different priority, not just different degree, for a given person.

I posit that, for a verisexual, Primary Sexual Attraction is Stage 1. Secondary is Stage 2. This means that, for a verisexual person to be attracted to somebody for reasons other than the instantly-perceivable scent and appearance and so on, they FIRST have to be attracted to the instantly-perceivable.
If that instant interest is not obtained, they will not bother to get close enough to learn the things that are only learned through emotional connection and close interaction and exchange of thoughts and ideas.
If the verisexual person has sufficient drive of either type, and if the person has achieved Stage 1, primary sexual attraction, then they are able to want sex with that specific person, even if there is no Stage 2 connection, in this case the secondary sexual attraction. However, they cannot reach Stage 2, with or without drive, if they lack Stage 1, the primary attraction.

Now suppose a demisexual: Secondary Sexual Attraction is Stage 1. Primary is Stage 2. This means that, for a demisexual person to be attracted to somebody for reasons other than those only learned through emotional/mental connections, they FIRST have to be attracted to the emotional/mental factors.
If that psychological interest is not obtained, they will not be able to transition to an awareness of the instantly-perceivable as something attractive.
If the demisexual person has sufficient drive of either type, and if the person has achieved Stage 1, secondary sexual attraction, then they are able to want sex with that specific person, even if there is no Stage 2 connection (in this case, stage 2 = primary attraction).
However, they cannot reach Stage 2, with or without drive, if they lack Stage 1, the secondary attraction.
This is what allows such things as one-night stands.

I think that in the case of a demisexual, sometimes attraction 1 isn't missing so much as... it's low-priority, extremely low priority compared to attraction 2. They function as stages, and the stages must occur in order for them to occur at all.

This theory would explain cases in which the demi does actually develop primary attraction for their partner, after having secondary attraction for a long time.
The primary doesn't necessarily have to be NONEXISTENT to be demi... it just has to be so low-priority compared to the secondary attraction, that it cannot occur at all until the secondary attraction is in place.

Again, just a theory.
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Re: "Stages" theory of attraction and desire

Post by Aisling on Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:11 pm

Primary attraction is based on instantly available information; that only means that the info is always there (whether it's appearance, scent, or social things like wealth and taste in clothes or sports teams, &c, as displayed by outward appearance), not that it is received the first time you encounter a person, or that you see it as attractive the first time you encounter it.

I'd compare it to food with picky eaters: they might loathe the taste of a thing the first three times they're compelled to try it, but at some point they can acquire a taste for it, or they notice something about it that makes it appeal to them.

I don't consider either mode of attraction to be time dependent; rather, primary attraction is awareness-dependent (or exposure dependent, really: you have to be exposed to the person's presence sufficiently to notice outward details), and secondary attraction is interaction dependent.
Secondary attraction is based on things that can only be learned after you have interacted with a person. I don't think it even really needs to be phrased as "a bond of trust" or "emotional closeness" or "love"... it's just the things that you CANNOT know about them if you are standing too far away too communicate with them one-on-one.
Going by that definition, secondary attraction would still NOT be dependent on the amount of time you've interacted; it would only depend on IF you have interacted, and IF during that interaction you gained information about them that makes the other person attractive to you.

I don't see demisexual as a label automatically meaning "zero primary attraction, ever, even after you're already in a relationship".
I see it as, "secondary attraction is prioritized over primary attraction. If the secondary doesn't happen FIRST, the primary never happens."
For verisexuals, the primary attraction is prioritized: unless a person in a bar catches another's eye and is found attractive at a distance, neither of them is going to move close enough to get to know the other and activate the possibility of secondary attraction.
With the demisexual, the primary attraction would never be the basis of whether or not one person crosses the room to talk to the other. If conversation starts, it's on a platonic or nonsexually romantic basis from the very beginning. Once conversation has occurred, secondary attraction can take effect. If secondary attraction is achieved, then primary attraction becomes possible.

It's not that, to be demi, you must permanently lack primary attraction... it's just that your secondary attraction must be a higher priority, occurring first, for primary to happen at all.

Extending this to the other parts of the ace spectrum:

Asexual = no attraction occurs; no prioritization.

Grey-asexual = low levels of one type of attraction occurs without the other; no prioritization at all.

Demisexual = moderate to high levels of secondary attraction, and comparatively low levels (or lack) of primary attraction; secondary attraction has higher priority than primary; secondary attraction must occur first for primary attraction to occur. In some cases, primary attraction may be absent, but it is not required to be absent to qualify as demi.

Greysexual = both types of attraction occur, but at a collectively lower level than in verisexuals. Primary attraction gets prioritized over secondary, or else there is no prioritization at all. Secondary does not take priority.

Verisexual = both types of attraction occur at high levels; primary attraction has higher priority than secondary; primary attraction must occur first for secondary attraction to occur.

Or, very abbreviated:

Ace = 0 primary; 0 secondary

Grey-ace = low secondary; 0 primary

Demisexual = moderate/high secondary; 0 / low / moderate primary. Secondary happens first.

Greysexual = moderate/high primary; 0 / low / moderate secondary. Primary happens first.

Verisexual = high primary; high secondary. Primary happens first.

http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?/topic/65423-what-is-greydemi/page__view__findpost__p__1959776

Further refining and breaking down the theory, in context.
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