Here I work through my thoughts and personal definitions for some apparently contentious vocabulary. I’d like it if people could tell me where their personal definitions diverge.
Repulsed: Having strongly negative feelings about the idea of having sex oneself (e.g. being disgusted at the idea, finding it repulsive). Does not have to mean being squicked or triggered by sex in other contexts (e.g. porn), although it frequently does. Does not have to mean not having a libido, not masturbating, not having sexual fantasies, not reading/watching porn, etc. Does not imply anything about one’s attitude to sex in general, other people having sex, etc.
Sex aversive: Is a new word I’ve seen that appears to cover the same ground as “repulsed”? It doesn’t really make sense to me, though, because averse is the word that means “having an aversion to”. Aversive mainly has meanings a la aversive conditioning. Plus, I’m also not too keen on the association with Sexual Aversion Disorder - so I’m not currently planning on using that word for myself.
Indifferent: Having neutral to slightly negative feelings about the idea of having sex oneself (e.g. feeling “meh”, “boring” about it). Just as repulsed, doesn’t have to mean anything about sex drive, masturbation, moral feelings about sex and sexuality, etc. Does not have to mean actually willing to have sex or consider having sex themselves.
Sex positive: Okay, I cheat, I know the difference in definitions here and am just taking the opportunity to point out it exists. This word frequently gets used as “not judgemental about other people’s sexual decisions and sexuality”, with the implication that if you’re not sex-positive you’re an arse. I personally don’t feel it’s possible to divorce it from the sex-positive movement, and I’ve had such nasty experiences with ace erasure and anti-ace attitudes there plus other issues with their priorities (embedded in “positive) that I refuse to identify that way despite having those attitudes; I call myself “sex-nonjudgemental” when I need to describe this, which I feel is more accurate, but that doesn’t seem to have caught on.
Nonlibidoist: Originally very strongly associated with the Official Nonlibidoism Society back in the day, it looks as if this term has lost its antisexual elitist connotations and is now just a word for “someone who doesn’t have a sex drive”?
I should probably also toss in that I, personally, try to use ace as an umbrella term for the ace spectrum - it was suggested a while back and I liked the idea a lot. Now, however, I worry that this is idiosyncratic and hence I’m being read as ignoring/erasing grey-a people.
There are probably others I can’t think of right now. What spurred this post is someone drawing a distinction between “sex-aversive” and “repulsed”, which really confused me. I’ll also note that it seemed as if “repulsed” was taking on a negative meaning, and that… kind of makes me angry? Because I actually identify that way under the above definition which I am *relatively certain* was widespread at one time and I feel as if people are stealing my label out from under me. Plus, it’s pretty frustrating to not have the slightest idea what is going through people’s minds when I say “I’m a repulsed ace and…”