The Five Stages of Sexual Attraction

After reading Understanding Asexuality, I wanted to share a small section of the book that I found interesting. Bogaert calls this “The A, B, C, and D’s of Sex”. Though I wasn’t too keen on the name so I decided to call it “The Five Stages of Sexual Attraction”.

The five stages are as follows:

  1. Attraction. Attraction refers to the basic lure that draws us to something. In the book, Bogaert compares it to wanting to eat your favourite food, which I quite liked. But in terms of sexuality, attraction means wanting to have sex with a particular person.
  2. Desire. Sexual desire can be defined as “a feeling that includes wanting to have a sexual experience, feeling receptive to a partner’s sexual initiation, and thinking and fantasizing about sex” (Rosen et al., 2000, p. 191). Commonly known as “lust” or “horniness”, this is the desire to engage in sexual activities with another person. Apparently it feels like a tingly sensation in the erogenous zones.
  3. Cognition. Desire leads to cognition, which is really just another word for thoughts. This type of cognitive functioning is often automatically or unconsciously performed. After experiencing desire, the mind immediately starts to elaborate on sexual fantasies. These can be very brief (a quick flash of an arousing image) or more elaborate (a dramatic storyline involving the subject of our attraction).
  4. Arousal. This is physical response to sexual stimulation, such as erection or lubrication. It normally occurs in response to cognition, possibly incited by physical touch. However, in the case of asexual people, it can also occur solely based on physical touch. So while asexual people do not experience the first three stages of sexual attraction (or only on very rare occasions), they can experience arousal.
  5. Behaviour. Arousal leads to behaviour, whether it be solitary or partnered. It is not just the acts themselves but also with whom we do them that comprises our sexual behaviour. Again, it is possible for asexual people to engage in sexual behaviour based on physical arousal alone. However, whether they wish to engage in this behaviour depends on the individual.

I’m sure you can see what I mean when I say that the book should have been called “understanding sexuality”. But actually, I think it is very interesting to help asexual people understand what attraction is like for allosexual people, and vice versa.

If you would like to find out more then I do recommend picking up a copy of Understanding Asexuality. And if you would like to join in the discussion then please check my review right here!

Asexual Book Review: Understanding Asexuality

Asexuality can be defined as an enduring lack of sexual attraction. Thus, asexual individuals do not find (and perhaps never have) others sexually appealing. Some consider “asexuality” as a fourth category of sexual orientation, distinct from heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. However, there is also recent evidence that the label “asexual”…

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