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The Asexual-Sexual Q&A Thread

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supergeekgirl

Since this thread is back up again... I have a question.

WARNING! THIS IS A TMI QUESTION!

<TMI */That's "too much information" for those who are acronymn challenged.>

So... I'm an asexual, but I'm also a masochist. I've never had a desire for sex, but I fantasize about execution, torture, public humiliation... I didn't know that that was actually a sexual act until I was reading an abnormal psychology book last year (for the fun of it) and found that I was actually fantasizing myself to orgasm. I was just the TINIEST bit weirded out by that, but I've come to terms with it now.

</TMI>

Anyway... do sexuals ever fantasize about things other than sex (as part of masturbation or not) but still want to have only "vanilla" sex (not involving those things)?

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Hallucigenia

I do. :oops: But not exactly the same things as you.

Without getting into so much TMI-ish detail that nobody on AVEN will ever talk to me again, I think I can say in general that some people are turned on by the ideas of some things that would be impossible or unpleasant in practice. (And, what do you know, the Wikipedia article on "Sexual fantasy" backs me up. You can probably check in there for more details.)

One common example is the rape fantasy - many women fantasize about being raped, but few (if any!) would enjoy an actual rape, let alone seek out such an experience. There are lots of different theories about why this occurs - maybe rape fantasies provide an outlet for sexual energy in women who would see themselves as sinful or dirty if they imagined themselves initiating sexual activity. Maybe some of them were sexually abused and are trying, in a weird twisted way, to come to terms with it. Or maybe these women find the idea of being overpowered exciting - but only in a completely safe environment, namely that of their own mind, where nothing they think of can actually hurt them. Regardless, a rape in real life for these people would still be a very BAD thing.

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sonofzeal

Very definitelly yes. Like Hallu, if most people knew some of the stuff that I enjoy in my mind, they might never talk to me again. But the context that I enjoy them in is so utterly unlike the real world that it would never even occure to me to enjoy them in real life. Not only would I not do them, they wouldn't even be attractive to me. But in my mind, I can overlay other ideas on top of them, and experience things from different angles.

Totally hypothetical example - I know some guys are into castration fantasies. These guys might imagine a girl cutting off parts of themselves, but see it from the girl's point of view, or overlay a feeling of sexual release over it. And most of these guys would never even concider getting castrated in real life, and if it happened they likely wouldn't enjoy it whatsoever, to put it mildly.

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Brodertun

I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.

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Dixie
I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.

same.

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spinneret
I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.

same.

Um, I think that really applies to most people.

Most people I've ever talked to, anyway.

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deladangerous
I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.

same.

Um, I think that really applies to most people.

Most people I've ever talked to, anyway.

*raises hand* Not to me...

I've never thought about this, though. It's sometimes freaked me out a little, when I would hear people talk about some of these things that would go through their minds at any given time. I was not under the impression that it was "normal". :|

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spinneret

del darling, I am always glad that "most people" isn't "all people." Because man, life would suck if all people were like most people.

That said, the majority of people I've talked to about this stuff do have at least some weird/scary/taboo fantasy--not necessarily even something they like fantasizing about--that they'd never actually want to participate in. I agree, it is kinda freaky.

If you're not one of 'em though, good for you. That's your "normal."

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Desert_Rose

I have a bit of a bondage and domination fetish (not so much into the pain and masochism aspects though)

For me.... it isnt really a sexual fetish. It can BE a sexual fetish in the right situation (ie, handcuffs and blindfolds are hot and everything...) but mostly, the domination thing is about adrenalin rush first and formost.

For instance, I have always loved the scenes in books and movies where the main character is captured by the bad guy, and the bad guy has them at their mercy, and gloats over them, maybe tortures them, ect.

And them I was always dissapointed when the main character escaped. It had nothing to do with sexuality, it just gave me an adrenalin rush to witness the domination and the situation the main character was in. Consequently, I always ended up crushing on the villains instead of the heros.

But when I started getting more sexual, I realised that this love for domination also came in handy in the bedroom. Being tied up and "ravished" is hot, but romantic sex still has a huge appeal to me as well.

Ummm I guess for me, Sex and Bondage are two different things that I like, and that sometimes can go hand in hand.

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Romy
I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.

I think I'd be dead by now if I did any if all of the things I do in my head. The thing is I think my fantasies have got more and more extreme as I have got older. I do use my fantasies to masturbate with and always have an orgasm. Nothing remotely Vanilla would ever make that happen, ever. I sometimes think the longer I go without sex, the more I need the fantasies to be totally depraved to turn me on. As I am a virgin and 31 I dread to think where they will head in the future.

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fabulous_freak_of_nature
I've never had a desire for sex, but I fantasize about execution, torture, public humiliation...
I have always loved the scenes in books and movies where the main character is captured by the bad guy, and the bad guy has them at their mercy, and gloats over them, maybe tortures them, ect. And them I was always dissapointed when the main character escaped.
I have the most extreme sexual fantasies, and I mean Extreme involving non consensual sex and bdsm. ----- I do use my fantasies to masturbate with and always have an orgasm. Nothing remotely Vanilla would ever make that happen, ever.
I can't imagine how gross I'd feel if I actually saw/partook in some of the stuff I fantasize about.
...if most people knew some of the stuff that I enjoy in my mind, they might never talk to me again. But the context that I enjoy them in is so utterly unlike the real world that it would never even occure to me to enjoy them in real life. Not only would I not do them, they wouldn't even be attractive to me.

I'm sorry for that mass of quotes, but they all made me scream in my mind: EXACTLY! I knew that many people had fantasies they wouldn't want to happen to them in real life. But to have such extreme fantasies as I have - and to be asexual, to top it all! I didn't think that was possible, I wondered if all other people like me were rapists and murderers and sickos.

I feel like you have given me my humanity back or something :D Thank you Aven.

(This is a stupid post...)

*bows down*

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Jumper

Well, after reading the past few days worth of posts in this thread - I'm feeling like a very boring sexual....

I can honestly say none of that type of stuff has ever gone through my mind. Maybe I've been sheltered, I don't know.

You learn new things everyday! :o

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Hazelwudi
I've got a question!

What's sexual attraction like? I've asked this question to a few other people, and it seems like when I do get a reply, half the time they're describing sensations that don't seem (on their face) to have much to do with sex -- they get weak at the knees, or things like that. If this is the case with you, could you describe how those sensations tie in to sex? In other words, if you know you're attracted to someone because you get weak in the knees, how did you originally realize that that sensation was sexual attraction?

Thanks.

I doubt my own personal data will generalize to sexuals as a whole. I've even been accused of being asexual before, myself... largely because there are a variety of intellectual and emotional conditions which must be met before I even start to consider a man in a sexual light.

For what it's worth, I can offer said data though.

It started as a largely unconscious process, but I watched myself and observed my own biological and emotional reactions to various men and sorts of men, and began to realize there was an underlying logic to it.

It starts as a friendship. Nothing sexual in the offing, no kissyface or any of that stuff. He and I have similar interests and compatible personalities. We talk about video games, various advances in science, and debate politics with each other. There might be practical jokes back and forth, and a lot of bawdy toilet-humor sort of jokes swapped. We go places together... out to eat, walking in the woods, and so forth... but again, nothing sexual in the offing. Soon, the intellectual bond we have formed is joined by an emotional one, as well.

We grow to know each other quite well.

Once this has occurred, it's like some ancient judge in the most primitive parts of my brain begins to size him up for fatherhood... a judge who probably wears animal hides and bones rather than a black robe. :P

How does he treat those who are substantially smaller and weaker than himself? Is he mentally well-balanced... or is he more than a bit neurotic? Is he physically weak, or would he make a fitting contribution to the genetic pool? Are there any serious hormonal imbalances or obvious genetic defects? (For example, he should have broader shoulders than I, more upper body strength than I, and have appropriate secondary sex characteristics... body hair, for instance, and the capacity to grow a mustache and beard, even if he does not choose to grow one.)

If he does not pass this evaluation, he'll remain a friend and never advance futher. For the record, most male friends don't... they generally get hung up on the psychological adjustment qualification. This is largely due to the fact that by nature I tend to mostly socialize with people who aren't "normal". However, there are different varieties of not-normal. For example, there's "too bright to ever really be anything but somewhat eccentric" types of not-normal, and then there's "I'd vote him most likely to climb a bell tower with an assault rifle." or "Damn, and I thought I had issues!" types of not-normal. These latter two types simply don't make the cut.

If he passes this evaluation... things start to get interesting. I find myself almost unconsciously making excuses to touch him. When I am in his presence for extended periods of time, I notice myself starting to lubricate. I'll have to go to the bathroom to pee, wipe, and ... huh, what's going on down there? :oops:

If he or I are in a romantic relationship with someone else at that point, I'll consciously supress it for all I'm worth. I don't believe in cheating on people or helping someone cheat, I wasn't raised that way. But if we're both single at the time.... :oops:

Perhaps as an extension of my own literal-mindedness, my body is pretty straightforward in demonstrating such things. I can't rhapsodize about "butterflies in the tummy" or "weak knees" or any of that stuff, sorry. lol :P

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Niemand

Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

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Nightmare
Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

Kind of a confusing question. For instance when I'm reading AVEN and half the posts deal with topics related to sexuality, you could say I'm thinking about sex or sexuality, but it wouldn't be in the "omg me need fuck right now" sort of way, but as distant thought, like when you're watching a tv program about a serial killer and you might imagine what serial killers are like, but you're not having urges to murder yourself.

But as to what you probably intend, questioning the frequency of what I suppose is best broadly stated sexual desire, I think that for me at present it begins to manifest a couple of times per day for a few seconds. If it goes beyond that, beyond the odd though, then it sticks in my mind a bit longer--5-15 minutes. Then there are the days when for all I know I don't think of it at all, and when my mind is stuck on it for hours at a time.

The one time I probably never do is when I'm around a group of people, because they're probably bringing up something distantly relted to sexuality in a way that sickens me and prevents any such thoughts for some time after (days on occasion). From expressing their personal sexuality, to stereotyping the world in general, males, or females, to just happening to hit upon some bad connotative cluster I carry in my head.

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Niemand
Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

Kind of a confusing question. For instance when I'm reading AVEN and half the posts deal with topics related to sexuality, you could say I'm thinking about sex or sexuality, but it wouldn't be in the "omg me need fuck right now" sort of way, but as distant thought, like when you're watching a tv program about a serial killer and you might imagine what serial killers are like, but you're not having urges to murder yourself.

But as to what you probably intend, questioning the frequency of what I suppose is best broadly stated sexual desire, I think that for me at present it begins to manifest a couple of times per day for a few seconds.

Sorry, I guess I didn't phrase my question very well. :oops: But yes, you're right, I meant sexual desire not what I guess I would call scholarly thoughts about sex, such as looking at the AVEN boards or pondering other things about it while not actually having an urge to engage in it.

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Run

I'm not a sexual, but the supposed (probably not totally accurate) rate that people think about sex is once every six seconds. The band Saliva (presumably) named one of their albums as such -- Every Six Seconds.

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sonofzeal
Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

I'd say an average of maybe like once per day, but I've gone through periods (measured in months or even years) of way more and way less. It's hard to measure though - does a brief sexual image count? Is the question about how many times I experience arrousal? Does a 2-second thought about sex count the same as a 5-minute one? Clarification would be appreciated.

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BunnyK.
Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

Broadly speaking, a few times a day. Like the others said up there, it depends on the day, and the intensity of the thought varies greatly.

There might be a few snippets here and there when something reminds me of a texture or an image that arouses me, and then I'll think for a little bit of how nice it might be to see/feel it again in the flesh, as it were. These usually are just momentary reflections, like you might see someone eating a sandwich and think "Mmm..turkey sandwich for lunch sometime this week".

Sometimes the actual sexual drive is up and going and I'll maybe spend a couple of minutes fantasizing about having sex. This is usually something like a minor fantasy in the car on my way somewhere which vanishes as soon as something more interesting crosses my mind, like if I arrive at my destination or get a little work to do or if someone cuts me off.

Occasionally I'll be really, really bored, and start daydreaming, and sometimes those daydreams can turn very sexual, so they end up being pretty much a 30-minute sexual thought. Or longer, if I'm in a boring class or don't have much to occupy my mind while doing busy-work.

Finally, sometimes I'm really, really sexually frustrated, and I'll end up fantasizing to the point where I'm completely aroused and the only thing I really want to do at that point is either have sex or masturbate.

Usually the fleeting thoughts are the most common - a few times a day, with maybe one instance of the other types every day, and usually I'd be most content with some kind of sexual expression once a day or every other day. If I'm depressed much less, if I don't have a boyfriend or feel especially deprived for some reason it can be quite a bit more.

Anyway, that was probably way more than you wanted to know. :P

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Hazelwudi

My own experiences are much like BunnyK's. If I'm really busy, I think of it less. If I'm not so busy, I think of it more. If I feel crappy, I think of it less. If I don't, i think of it more. I'd say it crosses my mind in some respect or other an average of maybe 2-3 times a day.

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Chiaroscuro

Bunny nailed it. I'm a man, I'm 43, and it's pretty much always been like she described. An amusing side note: I paint pictures for a living, and many times I paint beautiful women (and men too), and my frequency of sexual "zaps" increases. Painting the curve of a thigh, or that highlight between the breasts...

Is that TMI?

:?

-Chiaroscuro

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Niemand

Thanks to everyone who's responded so far. And I don't mind the TMIs because I'm trying to understand the average sexual's mind and, in that, there will undoubtedly be too-much-information.

It's hard to measure though - does a brief sexual image count? Is the question about how many times I experience arrousal? Does a 2-second thought about sex count the same as a 5-minute one? Clarification would be appreciated.

I kind of left this question open because I don't really know about the different types of sexual thoughts that crosses one's mind. So, basically, I'm leaving the definition up to you. Sorry, that probably doesn't really help....well, I think I get what you mean about it being hard to measure. (And I guess I wouldn't necessarily count arousal because people can get physically aroused without thinking about sex, can't they?)

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Chiaroscuro
I wouldn't necessarily count arousal because people can get physically aroused without thinking about sex, can't they?

Speaking personally, I can't think of a time arousal wasn't linked with sexual thoughts. And if there was some non-sexual cause for the arousal, the sexual thoughts flooded in immediately after.

-Chiaroscuro

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Quinn

I am reeling after watching the Primetime special (partly on asexuality) last night. It's like I just found the theory to explain my every previous and current sexual experience. I am in a relationship with the sweetest boy and love him dearly and he saw my reaction to the show and he suspects and i am just scared. He is very sexual and I don't know how to get this discussion started. Any advice on how to broach this subject in a non-threatening way? Anyone have any "compromise" solutions that seem to be working? This discussion cannot start off with him thinking there will be no sex in his future with me and I am willing to compromise to some degree. Oh, this is scary. I've just experienced 5 long-term relationships with sexual issues in each and it was always assumed that I had a problem. It's really possible I'm just not sexual and that is OK? I'm looking for anything here - any kind of support - I'm feeling lost.

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Chiaroscuro

Hi Quinn,

I'm sexual, so am coming from the other side of the divide. I think I would rather know that my partner was asexual than not (because otherwise I'd constantly be thinking her lack of interest was lack of interest in ME specifically). Also, if sex is going to be an issue, best to get that out sooner than later. You say you're willing to compromise. That's a good sign, because you and your guy can negotiate. I don't know that this kind of thing is ever going to be easy to bring up... people don't tend to talk about sex, everything's based on assumption. I think you just have to be brave and gentle. Help him see nothing you feel is about him specifically, but just is the way you're wired. He will be frustrated... sometimes A LOT. That's not something you can take responsibility for, but you have to make it clear up front otherwise there will be lots of hurt feelings.

Sorry you have to face this, it must be very scary.

-chiaroscuro

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Desert_Rose
Okay, another question for all the sexuals out there. How often do you think about sex/sexually related things? I know it's probably different for everyone and I'm not exactly expecting a "I think about it every ___ minutes!" answer, but I mean, do you think about it a few times per day? Or do you think about it constantly, whether you're at work, home, or out with friends?

I dunno, I usually only think about it if something triggers that area of my brain. Example, if I see a hot guy, or if I smell a particular smell that my brain assosiates with sex. But not all the time, no.

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scamper
I have one question. If one of your friends, or even an aquaintance said they were asexual, how would you react? What would you think of them?

I'm trying to decide whether I should be open or not.

Hi lockshockbarrel! I wanted to respond to this question specifically because (even though it was posted pages and pages ago) this is the reason I joined the AVEN message board. A friend of mine recently came out as asexual. Now, as far as I'm concerned, this will have no impact on our friendship. I love my friend, and her sexual orientation doesn't affect that. However, I wanted to find out more about it so that if she did need any friendly support in the future, I'd be better equipped to be there for her.

If you've got generally kind, accepting friends, I'd say go ahead and tell them, they love you for who you are, not for who you are or are not attracted to. :wink:

I just wanted to comment on two other things related to [sexual] women's experiences (since I am one and I think about this stuff a lot):

1. I think men are interested in having sex with virgins for social/cultural/psychological reasons more than physical ones. Being a virgin doesn't guarantee that you're going to have a hymen (i.e. a 'cherry' to 'pop'), and it doesn't guarantee that your vaginal walls will be tighter than other women's. Lots of girls break their hymens long before they ever have sex - during general little kid horseplay, with a tampon, due to masturbation or other body-exploration type activities. And vaginal muscle tone & size is partially something you're born with and partially something you can change through Kegels & similar exercises.

(the slightly more graphic 2nd part...)

2. Women are much more likely to orgasm during masturbation than intercourse, because they know their own bodies, aren't self-conscious when they're all alone, can be patient and take the time to learn how to give themselves pleasure, etc. However, with proper stimulation, encouragement and communication, all of this is possible with a partner (if that's what you're into, of course), and it's definitely not just about the clitoris. In my personal experience, orgasm can be reached through just-clitoral-stimulation, just-vaginal-stimulation, or just-anal-stimulation (not to mention the other more fantastical non-genital-area kinds). The nerve endings are there. It just takes a bit of patience (and of course the interest/willingness) to figure them out.

Oh, and I absolutely love Hallucigenia's description of attraction/arousal being similar to hunger (early on in the thread). I think that's a really good analogy!

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sonofzeal
I am reeling after watching the Primetime special (partly on asexuality) last night. It's like I just found the theory to explain my every previous and current sexual experience. I am in a relationship with the sweetest boy and love him dearly and he saw my reaction to the show and he suspects and i am just scared. He is very sexual and I don't know how to get this discussion started. Any advice on how to broach this subject in a non-threatening way? Anyone have any "compromise" solutions that seem to be working? This discussion cannot start off with him thinking there will be no sex in his future with me and I am willing to compromise to some degree. Oh, this is scary. I've just experienced 5 long-term relationships with sexual issues in each and it was always assumed that I had a problem. It's really possible I'm just not sexual and that is OK? I'm looking for anything here - any kind of support - I'm feeling lost.

It's okay to be asexual, there's nothing wrong with you, and we'd love it if you stayed around here to contribute to the community. =)

That said, asexuality can mess up relationships with sexual people, depending on the "degree" of your asexuality. And yes, there are wildly varying degrees. Some asexuals love certain acts (and have reached orgasm with a partner), some are repulsed by anything remotely sexual, and some are in between. Which compromises work totally depends on you and how you feel about it. The only thing I'd suggest you keep in mind is that, for most sexuals, just putting knob A into slot B isn't that great if their partner isn't participating and/or reacting, so it's better to suggest things that you think you can get into.

(Warning, TMI ahead)

Beyond that, here's some compromises that some asexuals have reported enjoying, or that make sense to me: cuddling without clothes, sexy-dancing, grinding with clothes on (or off), breast play, anal (surprisingly enough), posing erotically while they self-satisfy, letting them watch as you self-satisfy (if you do), handjob, oral, cyber, bondage, erotic roleplay, etc.

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Placebo

I have a question too! This one is similar to the last one about "how often do you think about sex and sexually related things."

I think something similar to this question has been asked any number of times, but I just wanted to clarify to myself.

Ok, so how much does sexuality (in any context) affect you in day to day life?

By this I'm referring to how often you're made aware, to yourself at least, that there's something of a sexual nature going on or being hinted at or something. This can include your own thoughts, but I'm also interested in stuff going on externally to you.

This includes but isn't limited to (because I seem to be uniquely color blind on this subject, and miss most things sexual) any form of media--radio, television shows, ads, casual conversation, "head turning" to look after people that you're attracted to, television/film stars, and of course probably being with your significant other.

Does it ever bother you, like, "why am I thinking this? I'm supposed to be thinking about work/homework/mowing the lawn"? Is it like saying "don't think about that pink elephant"? Do you notice it, or is it just another of those background thoughts, on the same order as, "hmm. . .I should have said this" or "I need to remember to pay my credit card bill"?

Part of the reason I'm curious, in addition to the questions, is that many of my friends are involved in serious relationships--dating, married, whatever--and most of them said that when they begin dating they can't think of anything else except their significant other, but also that they become even more aware of sexual sorts of things. My sister suddenly "got" a lot of jokes with sexual innuendo and even started making up her own shortly after dating.

Additionally, my friends' attention span was terrible and grades or work performance usually suffered. And this is considered to be a good thing? How long do such emotions last before your significant other is just another person that you get warm fuzzies about sometimes?

Thanks!

P.S.--sorry about all the questions. In my head they're all tied together and related, but I'm having a hard time phrasing it succinctly.

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Hallucigenia

I can't answer all your questions, Placebo, but I'll take a stab at a few.

Does it ever bother you, like, "why am I thinking this? I'm supposed to be thinking about work/homework/mowing the lawn"?

XD That's a good way of putting it. Yes. If I'm doing something interesting then I won't think about sex unless there's a very sexual distraction all of a sudden. But, like, if I'm kinda bored in class and some random word or fact links me back to a thought about something else that links me to some sexual thought... well, it's a natural place for a mind to go. And then I'm like "OMG, stoppit Hallu, you're supposed to be concentrating!"

Is it like saying "don't think about that pink elephant"?

Sometimes it is. Especially in the above circumstances. Finding something else interesting to work on gets rid of it, though, unless it's really intense (which hardly ever happens).

Do you notice it, or is it just another of those background thoughts, on the same order as, "hmm. . .I should have said this" or "I need to remember to pay my credit card bill"?

Both. It depends on the thought. For some reason, I can have a lot of sexual thoughts sometimes without actually getting turned on (or at least not enough for me to notice it). Just like, "la di da, what would happen if..."

Part of the reason I'm curious, in addition to the questions, is that many of my friends are involved in serious relationships--dating, married, whatever--and most of them said that when they begin dating they can't think of anything else except their significant other, but also that they become even more aware of sexual sorts of things. My sister suddenly "got" a lot of jokes with sexual innuendo and even started making up her own shortly after dating.

I've experienced the first thing, but I'm not sure about the second one. (Maybe I just haven't done anything sexual enough yet?) It makes sense, though - a lot of emotional responses (including humour) are based on one's own experience.

Additionally, my friends' attention span was terrible and grades or work performance usually suffered. And this is considered to be a good thing? How long do such emotions last before your significant other is just another person that you get warm fuzzies about sometimes?

Hmm, well, I got together with my current boyfriend in the summer, so I have no idea. The previous one got together with me while we were in a very self-directed all-day school program together, so we just worked on stuff together all the time and ended up both near the top of the class. There was a guy before that who may have affected my school performance, but my mental state was so generally poor at that time that I can't really say for sure.

It's quite possible that your friends are exaggerating the extent of their thoughts about their significant others unintentionally. Thinking about one's significant other is usually more pleasurable than thinking about one's work, so they'll probably remember it disproportionately. And anything you spend time or emotional energy on - including a relationship - will naturally take time and energy that you theoretically could be spending on work or school. But if you have good time and energy management skills, the rest of your life doesn't necessarially have to suffer, I think.

(There probably is a reason that newlyweds tend to run off on vacation immediately, though...)

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