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Sexual attraction and aphantasia

Hannah Lauren asked 1 year ago
2825 views 8 comments

Recently, I was in discussion with one of my friends about sexual attraction and aphantasia. Has anyone got any experience with asexuality/demisexuality and aphantasia? Also how do other people find aphantasia affects their ability to fantasise or sex drive?

Rachel C November 28, 2019 07:20 pm

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I’ve realized my sexual attraction just isn’t the same as other people; I can’t fantasize about being with that person. I can’t see myself protecting them from danger, being intimate with them, etc. So I’ve personally never dated anyone or really felt any attraction towards anyone (and I’m turning 20 tomorrow).

I’ve wondered if I’m on the aro/ace/demi spectrum. I have other ace friends I talk to them about stuff, but none have aphantasia either, so it isn’t fully the same. However, I have heard other aphants being married and being in relationships and such, so having aphantasia doesn’t automatically mean being asexual. It is possible though asexuality is more common in aphants?

One of my friends is a lesbian and is also asexual. She always talks about longing to be with girls, but I have never felt that longing before to relate to her. It’s overwhelming for her, but it’s something I’ve never felt, and I don’t think I ever could feel. It’s strange, feeling that disconnect for love.

But Hannah, you’re not alone. You can also DM me if you want to talk more about things.

Hannah Lauren replied 11 months ago

I too have wondered a lot about being somewhat ace/aro/demi, and it seems likely for me, but yes still understanding what feels like a disconnect from love is a difficult one. I think part of it for me is when they’re not actually with me, I feel very disconnected from them, mostly because I can’t see or hear them, and I almost forget what they’re like in a sense.

Rachel C replied 11 months ago

I get that too! If I’m away from someone for a long period of time, I forgot what they’re like and don’t miss them. It’s like when I went away for a trip to Europe with my high school; my mother sobbed because she missed me, that I was going away without her, but I was fine. I didn’t miss my family at all during that time. And it was freeing then, but looking back on it now, I feel somewhat guilty for not missing them. It’s a strange feeling.

There’s a masterpost I read called “Are you a lesbian?” (I can link it if you want it) and it accounts for ways people have realized they’re a lesbian. A lot of the ways people found out involved visualization and mostly for (sexual) fantasies they would have. Some examples would be fantasies that they’re the man in a m/f relationship, or the woman isn’t them, or the male’s face is a black void and featureless. And this isn’t relateble to me because I don’t have fantasies at all. So it’s been hard for me to tell if I’m even attracted to dudes in real life.

I want to also say for this thread, I appreciate ya’ll for being open minded about other sexualities; I was really debating on whether I should make my own thread because I didn’t know how people would react. I was really happy to see this thread. So thanks.

anastasia k replied 10 months ago

This is so intriguing to me. Very much relate to everything you say you’re experiencing. Except I have no trouble missing someone. In fact, I am permanently in a state of missing the people I love (even if they are literally next door), since I can’t dream up an animated image of them talking, laughing etc. in my head. But I vividly remember and get attached to the positive/negative feelings they radiated when i was last with them. This makes me pretty depressed when I’m alone for a long time. Actual images of people are my absolute life-support.
Also interested to know how this affects patterns of asexuality, because i have been speculating what caused me to conclude my own asexuality. Also appreciating the diversity talked about here :))

Max Barber December 19, 2019 04:29 pm

This is an interesting question, much like most Aphant related ones as we all grasp to understand our minds that are not as we have been led to believe all our lives.

I was recently discussing Aphantasia with a friend who is a non-aphant and she was asking if I had ever been in love. I replied that of course I had, i’ve been with my partner for over 30 years after all! But the more she described what she believed as the fellings of being in love, the more I wondered if I ever really had been in love at all, or if I actually just believed I had, because that was what other people did.

Do I have a sex drive? Yeah, of course I do, but maybe not as pronounced as other people, I enjoy sex, but it is not something I strive for in life.

Can I fantasise about sex? That’s an issue, not really, in about the same way as I can imagine anything without actually seeing it in my mind. One interesting thing I have found is that I find audio pornography more arousing than video pornography, bit of a shame that it is so hard to find (ooh-err madam!).

Trevor Davis replied 11 months ago

I must agree with this post in or so many ways:
I too have been married for over 30 years but when asked about LOVE I don’t grasp what I think others believe is Love.
It is not just LOVE that I now realise is not “normal” its all feelings. I don’t have a sense of humour (well not like the majority). I don’t feel hatred for others no matter what they do.
Also SEX is not a must in my life, at can leave it without a problem.
Fantasy is the product of an imagination and I for one don’t have it.

Hannah Lauren replied 11 months ago

I agree with the hatred thing! All of my friends don’t understand how I do it but I don’t really feel hatred towards people. I can’t exactly speak much for the feelings of love, but it certainly is interesting. I do have a strong sense of humour

Hans Baeker replied 3 months ago

This may be rather off topic, but for years I've heard people refer to "undressing with your eyes", usually in reference to a woman. I always wondered how that made any difference, but now realize that I just can't do it at all. I can't imagine anyone I'm looking at as being dreassed any differently than they are at the moment.

By the way, I think that I'm pretty much demisexual, too. Without an emotional connection with a woman, I really don't feel interested in having sex with them.

Maggie Morton January 12, 2020 08:41 am

for me, i connect with ideas. like they say in Chess, "i get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine". i may or may not have ADHD (one of my children does and i certainly relate to the way that he thinks more than i do my other kids) so its hard to tease out what is what

Melina Lewis February 05, 2020 07:15 pm

Thank you for this thread.

About 6 months ago, I was at a workshop for my job, and I discovered that I may be demisexual. I’ve never really been attracted to random people. I can recognize when someone is attractive, but I don’t feel an physical urge unless I have feelings for a person.

Today, as a result of the viral “red star” Facebook post, I discovered I may also be Aphant. I’ve never been able to picture objects in other rooms. Though I’m great with math, geometry, and geography, I can’t picture decor or new items in a location. Makes sense if I am in fact Aphant, and it would further your conclusion that the two may be connected.

I’m looking more into Aphantasia (which is how I stumbled across this) to determine if I really might be, but I couldn’t help adding my new self-discoveries on the thread. I am in a very stable, long-term, monogamous relationship, and before this, I was in a long-term monogamous relationship. I also very much enjoy sex with my partners, and am not asexual.

Crazy connections here.

Cassie Wyatt February 12, 2020 01:47 pm

I completely relate to all of this! Asexual and have aphantasia as well.

I wonder how those 2 areas of the brain could possibly be linked though – so annoying that there aren’t any comparison brain scans of people with/without aphantasia

Roberto Rojas February 25, 2020 03:27 am

May it be all connected? is aphantasia related to emotions/feelings too? just as people can "see" memories, can they also "feel" them? feel like they felt?, I’ve always felt like an emotional golden fish, out of sight out of mind, I know how I felt but there is no emotion attached to it, is like someone in my head is coldly telling me what happened. Which is great to make level headed desitions but not much for keeping relationships; and require an intellectual effort and attention to not hurt others. But it may also be related to the fact that I may be Aspie (although the term is not longer used).

NatalieHodgson September 28, 2020 08:53 pm

Thank you for this thread, it has been such a relief to hear others who have a sex drive but struggle with the whole romance and fantasises thing. I have also struggle with my identity and sexuality for a while as I do desire friendships and with both men and women, but get very confused about the whole sex, romance and romantic relationships thing. I have never felt in love or missed people like others talk about and most of the time I look at people and agree they are attractive, but usually don’t want to have sex with them.

I do wonder if I am aromantic or demiromantic, as I do sometimes miss my current partner (which is new), but even then I sometimes feel I am saying I love you or I miss you because I think I feel that way rather than I know I feel that. The guilt gets to me as I have never actually missed or loved anyone, not even family, they are words you say to people you really care about.

My only certainly is I am not asexual, as when I was having the doubts I was quite stressed with university and when life settled the desire for sex returned – though in what feels an odd way. I don’t get sexually attracted to random people, I seem to have a ‘type’ and even then I need to be emotionally invested in them first before my drive kicks in. So, maybe demisexual?

Sex comes with a lot of hangups as I have never had fantasises, so when asked I have felt super awkward to only have vague ideas about things which I would like and eveyone else I have ever talked to has had fully fledged fantasises. Once I have tried and have a memory to work from then I can use that as a base, but I have no sensory imagination (endless blackness and silence).

I do find the comment about audio pornography highly interesting; I know if I say things in my head (in my own voice) I can get aroused and I definitely get aroused when I hear stuff.

MarkFarrar October 07, 2020 05:23 pm

I have noticed over the past few years that I am becoming increasingly asexual, but I’m not sure whether this is related to my aphantasia.

When I was a red-blooded teenager, images of naked women turned me on, but these days, they have no effect on me whatsoever.

It’s possible, of course, that my asexuality could be the result of being widowed about 22 months ago.

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