Chances are you tend to play a pretty central role in your own sex life. You’re probably the star of most of your own sexual fantasies, and when you watch porn (or read it or listen to it or whatever you do to turn yourself on) you might imagine yourself in whatever sexy scenario you’re getting off to. This may all sound pretty obvious, but if you’re someone who identifies as aegosexual, that connection between yourself and the way you experience sexual attraction might not be so clear. In fact, there might not be any connection between you and your experience of arousal at all. If that sounds like you—or if that just sounds totally confusing and you want us to explain—here’s what you should know about aegosexuality.
Part of the asexual spectrum—which, BTW, encompasses a diverse range of identities used to describe people who experience little to no sexual attraction, or who only experience attraction under specific circumstances—aegosexuality is generally defined as a disconnect between the self and the object or experience of one’s sexual arousal. While aegosexual people have the ability to experience sexual attraction, arousal, and desire in response to sexual stimuli, they likely lack any inclination to participate in those scenarios or even to imagine themselves in them, explains clinical sexologist and sex therapist Elyssa Helfer, Ph.D.
When we think of fantasies, desire, and arousal, many of us probably tend to include ourselves in an imagined or potential sexual scenario. (Like, say, when you’re watching Bridgerton and thinking about how hot it would be to get dicked down Regency style.) For aegosexual people, not so much. Here’s everything you need to know about what that actually means, and what aegosexuality looks like for those who identify with this lesser-known label.
What Does Aegosexual Mean?
Some clues to better understanding aegosexuality are actually in the term itself. To break it down, the word “aegosexual” features a combination of Latin words: “a” meaning without and “ego” meaning self. Hence, aegosexual literally means sex without self.
It’s a newer term for an identity that was originally known as “autochorissexualism,” (sometimes “autochorissexuality”) coined in 2012 by psychologist Anthony Bogaert, who described it as “identity-less” sexuality. However, Bogaert’s definition viewed autochorissexualism as a form of “paraphilia” (aka a mental disorder involving “atypical sexual interests,” according to the American Psychiatric Association), so the term aegosexual has gained popularity as an identity-affirming alternative. Its origins are often traced back to Tumblr, where, according to the Asexuals Wikia, it was coined in a 2014 post by user Sugar-and-Spite.
What Does Aegosexuality Look Like?
“An aegosexual person typically experiences sexual arousal, may fantasize or masturbate, yet does not have the desire to engage sexually with a partner,” says Dan Copulsky, Board Member and Research Affiliate at the Center for Positive Sexuality. “In fantasies, aegosexual people often imagine other people or characters and do not imagine themselves as part of the activity.”
The most defining factor of aegosexuality is that aegosexual people typically don’t play a role in their own fantasies, and often have little to no desire to participate in the sexual scenarios that may turn them on. But as is true of all forms of sexuality (and asexuality), there’s no single way aegosexuality manifests. While some aegosexual people may be sex-neutral or sex-repulsed, “others enjoy some types of sexual activity and can often experience intense fantasies,” says Nathaniel Morris, co-author of Transforming Orgasms with Psychedelics, Cannabis & Science. Some may experience more or less sexual desire than others, and some may experience no attraction to other people at all, but still enjoy masturbating and get aroused by explicit content or fantasies.
The key to aegosexuality is the disconnect an aegosexual person experiences between themselves and the object of whatever sexual attraction or arousal they do experience.
So What’s the Difference Between Aegosexuality and Voyeurism?
While aegosexuality can involve being turned on by watching sexual activity without usually wanting to get in on the action, this doesn’t mean aegosexuality is the same thing as voyeurism, says Helfer.
For one thing, voyeurism is a fetish or a kink, aka a specific thing or behavior—in this case, watching other people have sex—that turns someone on. Aegosexuality, meanwhile, is a sexual identity that describes how someone experiences sexual attraction and desire.
Moreover, Helfer notes that consensual voyeurism actually involves the participation of others, while aegosexuality more often involves the fantasy of others.
That isn’t to say that aegosexual people can’t identify as voyeurs or have voyeuristic tendencies, because they totally can! But they’re fundamentally different things. While voyeurism is a kink, aegosexuality is an identity.
How to Be an Ally and Support Aegosexual Friends and Partners
There may be parts of aegosexuality that you do understand and parts of it that you don’t, and that’s okay. The most important way to support and accept aegosexual people in your life (or in general) is by honoring their identity and recognizing its validity.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being aegosexual,” says Morris. And while he adds that defining this sexual experience can help folks better understand themselves and their sexuality and connect with a supportive community, we’re going to tell you what we always tell you about labels: If a certain identity or label feels like a fit and helps you feel seen and accepted, great—if not, then feel free to ditch it.
At the end of the day, all forms of sexuality (and asexuality) exist on a spectrum. Aegosexuality is just yet another (totally fine and normal!) way of experiencing sexuality.
Source: Read Full Article