Tag Archives: sensuality

What does sensual attraction mean for queerness?

I’m curious.

There’s been some revival of the asexuality & queerness discussion over at the Asexual Agenda, and while I have little to (directly) contribute to that, it brought up a question for me regarding where sensual attraction fits in relative to other types.  Aside from transness, a conservative definition of queerness/qualification for an individual to ID as queer tends to require same-gender romantic or sexual attraction.  Sensual attraction is usually treated as irrelevant.

Which is interesting for me because this is not the case any time people (indirectly) speak of same-gender sensual attraction outside the context of asexuality debates.

For the purposes of this post, I’m defining sensual attraction as any impulse/involuntary interest in kinds of touch that, to the individual, would not be defined as having sex.  Kissing, for example.

We know that you don’t necessarily have to have a crush on someone to want to kiss/enjoy kissing someone (i.e. it can be recognized as a purely physical attraction/desire/pleasure).  And we know that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to want to kiss/enjoy kissing someone (ex. some sex-averse romantic aces like this).  Therefore: kissing is neither necessarily romantic nor sexual.  Individuals may feel it’s one or the other or both for them, but such categorization doesn’t have to be true for everyone or every case.

Yet ladies kissing ladies is often considered queer (or grounds for queerness), and the same goes for dudes kissing dudes.  Granted, it could be argued that, in these instances, kissing is being read as synechdochic for romantic and/or sexual feelings.


I believe I’ve seen same-gender sensual attraction itself being labeled as gay or queer, and so I wonder if that’s contingent upon it being accompanied by other forms of attraction as well, or if people really do interpret “I wanna smooch this person of the same gender as me” as itself queer (or “worthy of being deemed queer”), irrespective of the person’s sexual or romantic orientation.

In any case, it casts what I’d previously only regarded as an error in a new light — that is, whenever people define sexual orientation as who you’re “physically attracted to”, implying inclusion of nonsexual physical attractions (what I’ve been terming here “sensual attraction”).

The desire for cuddles isn’t generally considered relevant to this conversation, and that may be fair, but then again, I don’t see why certain sensual activities should carry more weight than others.  Do we just group things according to the concentration of nerve endings in a given body part, then?  Wouldn’t that make hand-holding a significant one, if that were true?  Does same-gender physical attraction only become possibly-queer once it involves genitals?  Where does that leave butts and boobs, then, which are conventionally sexualized by some cultures?  How thick is the line between same-gender physical attractions that are “worthy of queer”, so to speak, and those which are not?

Enthusiasm, Consent, Ethics, & Passivity

The other day luvtheheaven linked a good post about consent, and while its main point is one that’s good and important, I have some complicated thoughts about how it got there.

Content Note: This post is about ethics and preferences around intimate physical interaction and has talk of hypothetical physical situations (including sexual ones) involving non-responsiveness and complete passivity on one partner’s end.  I’m not sure it’s really a “tw: rape” situation, but you deserve a heads up in case that affects whether you want to skip this post.  You won’t be missing out on much, I promise.  As for the post I’ll be discussing, it includes a description of non-hypothetical actual sex, which you will only see if you decide to click the link to it.

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Taking Invetory of Personal Affection Prefrences

Sex isn’t the only area of physical affection where people can have varied preferences.  Just ’cause it’s fun to do and good to think about ahead of time, I’ve made a brief list of what I’ve figured out so far.  You may have opposite preferences, or you may like none of these at all, and that’s all fine.  This is just me and my quirks, and if you read this, I hope it encourages you to think about what your own preferences are.

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The Issue of Sexualizing Pleasure

It sounds silly, because even the word “pleasure” itself has taken on a sexual connotation.  Some might even contend that sexual gratification is its definition, or an inherent part of its definition, and I’d argue with that idea, but that’s beside the point.  Somehow, through popular usage of the word, sexual context has become its primary association.  That fact is both demonstrative of and a hindrance to what I want to discuss, which is the paradigm of verbally sexualizing our happiness and satisfaction in order to convey intensity.

I decided to write a post about this after Victrix left a comment on one of my posts, bringing up a valid complaint about how people describe whatever pleases them:

This post pretty much addresses one of the things, partcularly the last paragraph, with the constant use of the word sexy to describe things as being good or appealing. I’ve lost count over a two week period of university lecturers using it to describe phones, roads and even accounting concepts.

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Differentiating Types of Attraction

magnetBecause sexual attraction usually (but not always) comes mixed with other kinds of attraction, prying them apart for categorization can be a tricky process, firstly because some allosexuals resist attraction disambiguation on the basis that it’s “not necessary” — for them, because they experience these attractions simultaneously.  However, even a bisexual friend of mine reports having experienced sensual attraction to a man she was not sexually attracted to.  We were in the midst of a discussion about attraction types when she came to this realization, with a sudden exclamation of “OH, that’s what it was!”

[This article is now available en français! Thanks, Valentin!]

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