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tygersongbird

For the sexuals and everybody, honest opinion: Is sex really all that great?

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ChainReact
2 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

Yeah I dunno. I'm outta here for a while. These forums here were my way of finding support for myself when I needed it (or maybe I should say, contextualizing my experience and understanding it). But I'm happy now & got a lot to do IRL.

I took Tar's message as a valuable statement on not obsessing over the value of something one doesn't have or can't experience, and I think it still is.

And, Chain, my pronouns are on my profile. I detest being referred to with female pronouns.

I’m sorry, I never looked at your profile and just carelessly assumed. Thank you for your contributions to the various discussions that I’ve also taken part of. You’ll be missed, but it’s wonderful to hear that you’re happy enough to move on for now. Good luck IRL!

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ryn2
9 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

But I'm happy now & got a lot to do IRL.

Glad to hear you’re in a good spot and have gotten what you needed here.  I’ll miss reading your insights, though.

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anamikanon
13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

You can easily go without. And by the very nature of how human sexuality works, a lot of people do, especially men.

Easily???!!!

 

13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

From my perspective, I don't view sex as this "oh so great, highly important thing", but more as an unfortunate addiction. Could it feel nice? Absolutely. Would focusing on pursuing that nice feeling completely ruin my life? Absolutely.

Personally, I find it rather easy to put sex out of my mind - IF - I don't have a trigger. In the sense, before I met my ace, I'd just come out of an abusive marriage and was overall pessimistic about men other than the sex and had decided that men were too much maintenance for a woman who wasn't domestically inclined. I was done. Self sex was the best sex and all that. I do fine when my ace is out of town. What makes it hard is sleeping next to him day after day KNOWING that sex is not likely and well, frankly, it may be a handicap, but it is among the key ways I get close to a partner, so I feel like I don't know what to do with myself come bedtime. 

 

Addiction speaks of an unhealthy obsession. At least, for me, it isn't like that. I simply lost desire for my ace altogether once I realized that he wasn't likely to be very interested in our relationship being sexual. We are actually struggling for me to be able to see him in a sexual manner, because otherwise I become too... indifferent to him on a personal level.

 

But even without being attracted to him, bedtime can still be fifty kinds of confusing for me, because I am really not into sharing my personal space with people I am not intimate with. So I have this person sleeping in my bed and I don't quite know what to make of it. Hug? Cuddle? Touch? How much is affection, where does sex begin? I have no freaking idea. I don't touch men I don't find attractive to begin with and I don't quite see the point of touching someone in a way that indicates physical closeness knowing that it is all that is going to be. Don't see what is okay about touching his face, back, arms, chest, thighs, feet but not nipples or penis, because I can so totally seduce with the right kind of touch anywhere and touching a penis or vagina can also be completely non-sexual! 

 

In the end it just totals to irritating, because there is no clarity. The distinction my ace sees between sex and the rest of the physical closeness is invisible to me.

 

What I am trying to say is that perhaps what you are calling the addiction to sex is more an obsession because it doesn't add up and is perplexing. So I may not be attracted to him, but my brain keeps trying to make sense of this arbitrary line - is it about anatomy or purpose? The urgency or eagerness of a caress appears to imply a desire to be closer, but if I act on that message, it is wrong. Then again lingering caresses on one part of the body are super and the other is sex. It keeps appearing like mixed signals and I end up thinking about sex far more around my ace than I have with actual sexual partners, including one spectacular relationship when we were literally at it several times a day if opportunity allowed - for years!

 

So which one is the addiction? One where I have sex several times a day for over half a decade or one where I am having it several times a year? And yet I can do without any at all if left to myself? Am I actually choosing to focus on sex? Actually not, particularly when I've actually moved on from my ace as a sexual partner. Yet the incongruity of the physical allowed/not can be a riddle that remains a threat to the relationship through violation or disengagement, because I don't actually understand what is going on and thus cannot protect my emotional stake.

 

Sorry for the excessive philosophy, just was trying to lay out some of the complexity that makes the desire to have sex a lot more faceted than an addiction. There usually is no aspect of addiction that is important to save. It is something that is usually of negligible utility and considerable harm. For example, if I toss out the drinks, I can refuse drinking situations, avoid pubs, dump alcoholic friends and so on without much harm. If I toss out the sex, I'm still going to have to walk a fine line to not toss out the partner and other affectionate contact that is distinguished by a line that is hard for me to isolate.

 

13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

I honestly think there's an issue in this society. This kind of "fuck you, got mine" attitude, where everyone is encouraged to seek the greatest pleasure and success for themselves, and sex is treated the same way in that context. Both asexuals and sexuals who aren't fortunate enough to find that sexual fulfillment, are hit in the same negative way by that kind of culture. I guess that's part of why I can relate to so much of what asexuals say on here.

I am not able to see seeking greatest pleasure and success as a harmful expectation. The harm is in letting others decide what defines success or pleasure for us. It is like shooting the messenger to say success or pleasure should not be seeked by all. If we abdicate our duty to ourselves to identify and pursue what holds joy and meaning for us, the list of things that we will call bad is endless.

 

13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

When you've found someone who you'd actually like to share that experience with and it's reciprocated, I'm sure sex is nice. Otherwise, the need for it is a highly harmful thing, especially when going unmet over years and decades.

I disagree. If our needs are unmet, it is our responsibility to see that they are met. Feeling deprived and then holding random grudges is not useful. The need for sex not being met once or a few times or consistently for a month or say a year... can be a circumstance. Choosing to stay in that circumstance and not alter it is a CHOICE. Blaming sex for the frustration in its absense is like blaming food for starvation when it is absent. It isn't the food that is bad, it is the starvation that is bad - whether food is available or not. The problem is not the food. The problem is that we have not made decisions that have ensured its availability.

 

Calling the grapes sour won't solve the real problem - that they are not within reach. And we can't even begin to solve our problems unless we identify them honestly. Food is necessary, therefore must ensure availability. Sex is desired, therefore to make choices that allow me to enjoy it. Grapes are tempting, therefore to find a ladder or a long stick with a hook or something.

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Tarfeather
On 8/21/2018 at 2:00 PM, ChainReact said:

While I would not physically die without, the statement “you could easily go without “ is, for some people, myself included, laughable. Honestly, if I were to find out that the rest of my life would be without sex, I would seriously contemplate suicide. And I’m generally a very resilient person! Now the fact that I was contemplating suicide would prompt me to immediately seek help (I have lost friends to suicide and I couldn’t bear the thought of inflicting that pain on others), but I would be psychologically devastated. So while it is not a physical need, the fact that for some people, it is a need, is not hyperbole. 

Context. The 'easily' was meant in comparison to truly essential things like food and shelter. I don't disagree with Telecaster at all that sex is something of equal importance as something like talking to a lot of sexuals. You can survive without it, indefinitely. Would you want to survive without it? That's a different question, and I share your sentiment. I personally don't see much positivity in the kind of life I'm living, and if I knew it'd be over soon, I wouldn't be very upset about that. But I also recognize that compared to the hundreds of thousands of people starving to death in this world, the people locked up in torture camps, and the millions of animals who are forced to live in torturous conditions for their whole lives, I have it pretty good. It's all relative, you know.

 

Also, yes, I very much consider it the height of irony for people who've never had to go without sex for extensive periods of times to claim they don't really need sex that much, and to look down on people who are struggling with the lack of sexual intimacy in their lives. So, again, I'm not denying what you say at all, I just don't think that sex, or conversation for that matter, are fundamental enough needs to constitute human rights, which a statement like "you just can't go without it" would imply.

 

21 hours ago, CBC said:

I dunno about Tar, but I wouldn't mind getting enthusiastically laid in the foreseeable future. Might take the edge off my daily existential nightmare a little bit. :lol: 

Neither would I. There's a sharp difference between not minding something and getting worked up over it.

 

22 hours ago, anisotropic said:

Not everyone can get enthusiastically laid. They may have severe medical issues, like obesity (as well as more rare and purely genetic conditions), that are  enormous barriers to the chances of this happening.

Or in my case, severe mental health issues. Sweet merciful Buddha, it took me a while, but very recently I realized that my problem can basically be boiled down to me being at the emotional level of maturity of a child, while being cursed with the body and sexual instincts of an adult. That generally doesn't go very well. I also now understand that my problems are not sexual in nature, but rather related to the very things that kept me from emotionally growing up. Not that any of the countless mental health professionals I consulted helped me reach this understanding. Took me 15 years to figure it out on my own in the end. It's a lot easier to navigate my situation now that I understand this, though.

 

Thanks for sticking up for me, but honestly, I don't mind what anyone here says. Caring about what strangers on the internet say is not a good place to be. As I hinted previously, there are some harmful thought patterns that are pretty much culturally embedded at this point, and pointing out the faults within that will get you outrage pretty much anywhere you go, including places like AVEN. Sure, AVEN challenges some of the wrong assumptions, such as that everyone likes sex, but there are many more such problematic assumptions which most AVEN members still have internalized. You have to work with that knowledge and accept that most people don't think very critically if you want to engage in public discussion.

 

11 hours ago, anamikanon said:

Easily???!!!

As I said, that was meant relative to something like food and shelter.

 

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Personally, I find it rather easy to put sex out of my mind - IF - I don't have a trigger. In the sense, before I met my ace, I'd just come out of an abusive marriage and was overall pessimistic about men other than the sex and had decided that men were too much maintenance for a woman who wasn't domestically inclined. I was done. Self sex was the best sex and all that. I do fine when my ace is out of town. What makes it hard is sleeping next to him day after day KNOWING that sex is not likely and well, frankly, it may be a handicap, but it is among the key ways I get close to a partner, so I feel like I don't know what to do with myself come bedtime. 


Addiction speaks of an unhealthy obsession. At least, for me, it isn't like that. I simply lost desire for my ace altogether once I realized that he wasn't likely to be very interested in our relationship being sexual. We are actually struggling for me to be able to see him in a sexual manner, because otherwise I become too... indifferent to him on a personal level.

(emphasis mine)

 

And that's kind of exactly what I'm talking about. I can't speak for you, but let me just share my own experience, and you decide for yourself whether something like this might apply to you or not. Myself, I have strong mental health issues resulting from my childhood, when I was abandoned for a while as a 3 year old child by my mother. I've had a really big issue, with these kind of abandonment issues mingling with my romantic and sexual desire. Namely, it's like this big gaping hole of loneliness and need for intimacy in myself, and very often it felt like the only way to "fill that hole" was to fall strongly in love, get sexual with that person, stuff like that. I wasn't able to get intimate with other people outside of that kind of romantic / sexual line, yet at the same time I was unable to find that specific kind of intimacy, because neither am I that attractive nor female. It sort of became a cycle of low self-esteem, and constant repetition of that "abandonment" scenario which I experienced as a child, as I drove any woman away from me who I got remotely close to.

 

Lately, I made some very good friends, and I was able to make a very important experience, which is emotional intimacy without romantic or sexual desire. For these friends, I can experience a form of strong love, which is similar in nature to the kind of feeling I experienced as a child for my mother, and in this way I can to some degree "catch up" on the development I missed out on as a child. By pushing my romantic and sexual desires to the side and focusing on this kind of intimacy, it allows me to become much more stable and mentally healthy than would otherwise be possible for me. That's why, personally, I view my sexual desire as unhealthy and more akin to an addiction. I'm not saying that the same necessarily applies to you, just that it might, and actually the fact that you seem to be unable to become emotionally close to your partner without some sexual component is a big red flag there for me.

 

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But even without being attracted to him, bedtime can still be fifty kinds of confusing for me, because I am really not into sharing my personal space with people I am not intimate with. So I have this person sleeping in my bed and I don't quite know what to make of it. Hug? Cuddle? Touch? How much is affection, where does sex begin? I have no freaking idea. I don't touch men I don't find attractive to begin with and I don't quite see the point of touching someone in a way that indicates physical closeness knowing that it is all that is going to be. Don't see what is okay about touching his face, back, arms, chest, thighs, feet but not nipples or penis, because I can so totally seduce with the right kind of touch anywhere and touching a penis or vagina can also be completely non-sexual!

That is not going to work. For a relationship with an asexual to work, you need to actually love them in some non-sexual manner. Sexual compromise can be used as a tool to make it easier on the sexual part, but it would only be in order to strengthen the component of romantic / platonic love. If that romantic / platonic component isn't there at all, this is doomed to fail.

 

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Yet the incongruity of the physical allowed/not can be a riddle that remains a threat to the relationship through violation or disengagement, because I don't actually understand what is going on and thus cannot protect my emotional stake.

What you need is a shared desire. Like, for instance, if you both had the desire to cuddle platonically, then that could be a common ground, and the lines would be clear. But if you only ever experience the desire for something physical as a part of a sexual act, then of course physical acts will become difficult, if not impossible.

 

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Sorry for the excessive philosophy, just was trying to lay out some of the complexity that makes the desire to have sex a lot more faceted than an addiction. There usually is no aspect of addiction that is important to save. It is something that is usually of negligible utility and considerable harm. For example, if I toss out the drinks, I can refuse drinking situations, avoid pubs, dump alcoholic friends and so on without much harm. If I toss out the sex, I'm still going to have to walk a fine line to not toss out the partner and other affectionate contact that is distinguished by a line that is hard for me to isolate.

... huh? Have you never heard of the term 'workaholic', i.e. someone with an unhealthy obsession for work? There are plenty of things which have a positive component, and yet you can obsess over them to the point of addiction. In fact, I'd argue those are the more dangerous ones, which one needs to especially watch out for.

 

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I am not able to see seeking greatest pleasure and success as a harmful expectation. The harm is in letting others decide what defines success or pleasure for us. It is like shooting the messenger to say success or pleasure should not be seeked by all. If we abdicate our duty to ourselves to identify and pursue what holds joy and meaning for us, the list of things that we will call bad is endless.

Completely agree, and I live by that philosophy. For instance, I'm determined to, rather than seeking sex just for the sake of having it, to give myself time and wait for a person I'd truly like to share it with, and who reciprocates that feeling. And that may never happen, which I have to accept.

 

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I disagree. If our needs are unmet, it is our responsibility to see that they are met. Feeling deprived and then holding random grudges is not useful. The need for sex not being met once or a few times or consistently for a month or say a year... can be a circumstance. Choosing to stay in that circumstance and not alter it is a CHOICE. Blaming sex for the frustration in its absense is like blaming food for starvation when it is absent. It isn't the food that is bad, it is the starvation that is bad - whether food is available or not. The problem is not the food. The problem is that we have not made decisions that have ensured its availability.

I wouldn't compare 'availability of sex' to something material like food. That would quite literally entail the objectification of people. Which is funny, usually when a feminist accuses someone of 'objectifying', that's a rather far fetched claim, but now in this case there's literal objectification going on, and it's coming from a woman.

 

So, yeah, already from a philosophical standpoint I would like to disagree that it's anyone's "responsibility" to ensure "availability of sex", because we are supposed to treat others with respect, not try to manipulate the odds to get us what we want.

 

But even if you disregard that point, and analyze sexual behavior from a game theory perspective, your point doesn't really stand. It's basically the same kind of worn down argument that the economic right makes about the poor. "These people just don't work hard enough", etc. The thing is, though, in the real world there are just fewer jobs available than people looking for work. Even if everyone were a model citizen, got a decent education, worked hard, there would still be people going without a job. Sure, with a higher quality of work, some more job opportunities might open, but not nearly enough to cover everyone. Factually, unemployment is an intended aspect of the labor market, because those in charge (corporations) can use it to get better bargains with the people who do work.

 

The same applies to sexuality. Factually, there are just fewer heterosexual women looking for sex less frequently than heterosexual men. Even if every single man worked hard to be as attractive as they could be, get out as much as possible, while this dynamic might shift a little, it wouldn't fundamentally change. There would still be plenty of male sexual frustration to go around. In other words, practically trying to "ensure the availability of sex" for a heterosexual man, boils down to trying to outcompete other heterosexual men. Every "success" you have, in the grand scheme of things probably means less success for others. You essentially enter an arms race with all the other men striving for the same thing. And I'm just fundamentally not interested in that. It's a game I fundamentally don't want to participate in at all, which is why I "lose by default", and end up without any kind of shot at sexual fulfillment.

 

And you know what? I totally prefer it this way. I'm not interested in competition. It's not in my personality. I don't want to perform the kind of actions which I know would practically raise my chances of having sex, because frankly, I'm not really interested in the kind of woman who would be susceptible to that sort of manipulation. I'd rather wait to find a woman who's different, and who is interested in me for who I am as a person. I know it's possible because it happened once. I just got pretty unlucky because that person was also asexual. But it can still happen. Might take years, might take decades, might happen never. In the meantime, I need to keep my sexual desire in check, and not let it drive me into actions which I know are unhealthy for me.

 

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Calling the grapes sour won't solve the real problem - that they are not within reach. And we can't even begin to solve our problems unless we identify them honestly. Food is necessary, therefore must ensure availability. Sex is desired, therefore to make choices that allow me to enjoy it. Grapes are tempting, therefore to find a ladder or a long stick with a hook or something.

You are contradicting yourself. Just a few paragraphs before, you said that it is harmful to let others define pleasure and success for you. And here you are, trying to define pleasure and success for me. Also, I never called the grapes sour, nor do I think that no steps at all should be taken towards reaching them. I just don't think it's at all healthy to focus too much on the grapes when they are pretty much out of reach at this point.

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anamikanon
5 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

I've had a really big issue, with these kind of abandonment issues mingling with my romantic and sexual desire. Namely, it's like this big gaping hole of loneliness and need for intimacy in myself, and very often it felt like the only way to "fill that hole" was to fall strongly in love, get sexual with that person, stuff like that. ... I made some very good friends, and I was able to make a very important experience, which is emotional intimacy without romantic or sexual desire. For these friends, I can experience a form of strong love, which is similar in nature to the kind of feeling I experienced as a child for my mother, and in this way I can to some degree "catch up" on the development I missed out on as a child. By pushing my romantic and sexual desires to the side and focusing on this kind of intimacy, it allows me to become much more stable and mentally healthy than would otherwise be possible for me. That's why, personally, I view my sexual desire as unhealthy and more akin to an addiction. I'm not saying that the same necessarily applies to you, just that it might, and actually the fact that you seem to be unable to become emotionally close to your partner without some sexual component is a big red flag there for me.

This doesn't really apply to me. I'm a loner out of choice. I also have friends with whom I have friendships and platonic relationships without feeling the slightest urge to share a bedroom with them. I also have an excellent relationship with my ace beyond the sexual. It is the sexual aspect that is the arbitrary line that I find hard to understand. For example, he loves it if I squeeze his bottom in passing. He doesn't see it as sexual, but it is an action I wouldn't do with anyone I wasn't planning to have sex with. He loves getting showered with small kisses and breathing on his skin and fairly intense cuddling. I see it as sexual. He doesn't. For him, it is just physical affection. I wouldn't mind sharing a bed with a visiting friend, but I would not plan to do that for life!!! To me, these are mixed messages. I don't have an issue being platonic with anyone, but I sure as hell don't go around getting personal with their bodies then and I'm sure you didn't do that with the friends you found who taught you about the joys of being platonic too. Unless of course you shared lingering kisses and naked skin to skin contact with them without having sex. That sort of thing just makes me wonder what the point is and where the lines are being drawn, because I don't have a context for what goes on in his mind and my idea of non-sexual is too distant for him.

 

Sorry if this comes across as snarky, but it is really strange that you read an inability to be close to someone without being sexual from what I posted. I thought the confusion was fairly clear - that the boundaries of what is considered sexual don't make sense to me. A squeeze of an arm can send a sexual message without getting anywhere near the genitals and genitals can brush without any sexual meaning if you're cuddling naked. What he sees as sexual and what is not can be completely alien to me and thus take up a lot of attention even when we are being platonic, because even to be platonic and not sexual you need to understand what is being defined as sexual, right? THAT is what I was taking about when I was saying that the effects are beyond addiction and there are effects even if completely platonic - my ace and I are currently platonic, but attempting to resume sexual relations - on his request.

 

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That is not going to work. For a relationship with an asexual to work, you need to actually love them in some non-sexual manner.

He doesn't want my non-sexual love. He finds it.... less close than how I am with him when we are physically involved - which actually brings a lot of sexual undercurrents to the relationship as a whole - interactions, flirting...

 

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Sexual compromise can be used as a tool to make it easier on the sexual part, but it would only be in order to strengthen the component of romantic / platonic love. If that romantic / platonic component isn't there at all, this is doomed to fail.

If there was no romantic love for my ace, why would I be in a relationship with him at all? It sure can't be for the mindblowing sex addiction!

 

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What you need is a shared desire. Like, for instance, if you both had the desire to cuddle platonically, then that could be a common ground, and the lines would be clear. But if you only ever experience the desire for something physical as a part of a sexual act, then of course physical acts will become difficult, if not impossible.

What is cuddling platonically? That is the question. I cuddle my son platonically. You too have described a mother-child relationship. Pretty sure I don't do the things to my son that my ace likes doing with me when we cuddle. Kissing and touching each other's bodies doesn't count as sex to him, to me it is foreplay. And I hardly think I am the only one here at a loss to separate the sexual from the rest in a way an asexual can. I can be platonic with him, no problem, but my mind can't see the point of erotic touch if sex is not on the table. Erotic touch for its own sake too can be fine, but let us be clear about that then - also not likely, because he doesn't see it as erotic at all. I don't need to touch his skin extensively to feel an emotional bond with him. I have never kissed the lips of any of my platonic friends while having profound relationships with them. So what is going on here?

 

You are describing the fixation with sex as an addiction, but from a lot of stories we hear here, it is more often about not understanding where we stand. Are we desired? Are some things we do desired and others not? It takes considerable mental processing to wade through all that and it has little to do with wanting sex and more to do with protecting our hearts from what seems like shifting sands. That is the point I am making - unlike an addiction, the obsession with sex sexuals go through is not about simple dysfunctional wanting. That deep sense of not being able to know exactly where we stand and the extent to which we feel accepted can remain even after writing off sex altogether. Like I said - even to be platonic, you need to be able to identify what is considered sexual in order to eliminate it.

 

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... huh? Have you never heard of the term 'workaholic', i.e. someone with an unhealthy obsession for work? There are plenty of things which have a positive component, and yet you can obsess over them to the point of addiction. In fact, I'd argue those are the more dangerous ones, which one needs to especially watch out for.

Workaholic is compulsive behavior, not addiction. Just like someone with OCD repeatedly checking to see if lights have been switched off in the kitchen is not addiction. 

 

Not commenting on the objectification of people and supply and demand type arguments mixed up with the economic right and what not, because I have no idea what to say. It appears to have wandered far outside the context of a sexual-asexual relationship and gone into ensuring that every person on the planet is provided with a sexual partner in an egalitarian manner or something as a counterpoint to our behavior in our relationship shaping what we are receiving and being denied. All that is way beyong the scope of my purpose.

 

The reason why I am arguing about the addiction is that it inherently sees sexual desire as unhealthy. Your examples of platonic relationships are actually friendships with no sexual context to begin with. It is great that you learned to appreciate people you don't have sex with, but I don't think that is either here or there in terms of the impact of sexual frustration. You don't feel sexual frustration over not having sex with people irrelevant to sex to begin with. I don't think this is a useful perspective.

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Telecaster68

Tar... just to amend my initial statement: you do need to get laid, but not yet.

 

My own issues are in the same general ballpark as yours, re childhood stuff, and I think I pretty much get what you're saying. Figuring out how to have a trusting, authentic (and therefore intimate) relationship is a massive deal and needs to be taken cautiously because one unexpected step from someone else will send you scurrying back to your hole, I'm guessing. I think that at some point you'll get to sex being a healthy part of it, and not feel it's an addiction. 

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Anthracite_Impreza

@anamikanon Regarding sexual vs platonic touch, I can obviously see your partner's point of view more than yours because I am also ace (and have no experience in sexual matters). The idea that an arm squeeze or lingering kiss (not French kissing, just keeping lips there) is inherently sexual to you is something I don't understand either. I accept you see it differently, but to avoid any more confusion you're going to have to do a Sheldon Cooper-esque run down of what exactly different touches mean, or this frustration and confusion will continue to happen.

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dbyrns

Every experience is different, but for me, a married man of 24 years. it has never been any good to me, Not earth-shattering anyway. I also, when younger, was with a guy or two and it was unimpressive to me as well.

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SG100084
3 hours ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

@anamikanon  The idea that an arm squeeze or lingering kiss (not French kissing, just keeping lips there) is inherently sexual to you is something I don't understand either. I accept you see it differently, but to avoid any more confusion you're going to have to do a Sheldon Cooper-esque run down of what exactly different touches mean, or this frustration and confusion will continue to happen.

This lyric from the finest band of my youth from the town we're both from seems terribly apt
https://genius.com/Danse-society-heaven-is-waiting-lyrics

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Telecaster68
9 hours ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

@anamikanon Regarding sexual vs platonic touch, I can obviously see your partner's point of view more than yours because I am also ace (and have no experience in sexual matters). The idea that an arm squeeze or lingering kiss (not French kissing, just keeping lips there) is inherently sexual to you is something I don't understand either. I accept you see it differently, but to avoid any more confusion you're going to have to do a Sheldon Cooper-esque run down of what exactly different touches mean, or this frustration and confusion will continue to happen.

The difference is entirely to do with context (Google the Kuleshov Effect)... 

 

An arm squeeze could be consolatory at a funeral, medical from a doctor, aggressive from a bouncer, affectionate from a sibling etc. If it's from your sexual partner, there's going to be an element of erotic frisson to it, even if it's not primarily erotic. Sex is part of pair bonding, to sexuals. They just like touching you, even if it's not going to lead anywhere. But if we know it's not going to be reciprocated or escalated (as it would with a sexual partner) we just have to manage our expectations. 

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Anthracite_Impreza
24 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

The difference is entirely to do with context (Google the Kuleshov Effect)... 

 

An arm squeeze could be consolatory at a funeral, medical from a doctor, aggressive from a bouncer, affectionate from a sibling etc. If it's from your sexual partner, there's going to be an element of erotic frisson to it, even if it's not primarily erotic. Sex is part of pair bonding, to sexuals. They just like touching you, even if it's not going to lead anywhere. But if we know it's not going to be reciprocated or escalated (as it would with a sexual partner) we just have to manage our expectations. 

Yeah but the problem is, if he's ace, he's probably gonna have the same mindset as me (which anamikanon has said already he has), so they're gonna have to blunty, spell-it-all-out talk about it and decide if touch is going to be ok or just frustrating. If touch is out of the question I can't see much of a future here tbh; even I need to snuggle with my bro.

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Telecaster68

Absolutely it needs to be talked to about, but rather than needing a compendious play book, asexuals could keep a few principles in mind and generalise from them,  like say:

 

For sexuals:

 

1. Touching us is never a bad thing. It won't cause us anxiety, repulsion, or anything apart from a warm melty feeling. Even if your timing is off, we appreciate you're thinking about it. 

 

2. The only exceptions are if we're stupendously furious (and you'll know) or the situation is deeply inappropriate, like a funeral (and even then a hug is fine). 

 

3. Rather than stand back pondering till the moment passes, just do it. Or at least ask. 

 

This does require the quid pro quo of the sexual remembering their partner is never trying to get in their pants, but it seems to me most sexuals pick this up fairly quickly. We don't like it, but we do get the principle and learn to act on it.

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Anthracite_Impreza
10 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Absolutely it needs to be talked to about, but rather than needing a compendious play book, asexuals could keep a few principles in mind and generalise from them

My autistic brain likes specifics :P

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Telecaster68
1 minute ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

My autistic brain likes specifics :P

I know. I'm just trying really hard not to keep drawing links between autism and asexuality in every single one of my posts... 

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ryn2
11 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Touching us is never a bad thing. It won't cause us anxiety, repulsion, or anything apart from a warm melty feeling. Even if your timing is off, we appreciate you're thinking about it. 

This doesn’t seem to be universally true, though.  Several of the sexuals posting in this forum have withdrawn from/mentioned wanting to withdraw from touching as well if they aren’t (or aren’t regularly) engaging in sexual activities with their ace partners.

 

59 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

If it's from your sexual partner, there's going to be an element of erotic frisson to it, even if it's not primarily erotic. Sex is part of pair bonding, to sexuals. They just like touching you, even if it's not going to lead anywhere. But if we know it's not going to be reciprocated or escalated (as it would with a sexual partner) we just have to manage our expectations. 

Sounds like the question here is “what if it’s reciprocated, but never escalated?”  It’s likely part of pair bonding for the ace, too, but doesn’t indicate an urge to take things further.

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Telecaster68
1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

 Several of the sexuals posting in this forum have withdrawn from/mentioned wanting to withdraw from touching as well if they aren’t (or aren’t regularly) engaging in sexual activities with their ace partners.

Yeah, it would take a bit of talking to resolve that, if it is the case, but it's not uncommon for asexuals to  assume that touch in itself is as potentially fraught for sexuals as it often seems to be for asexuals. It's just not, everything else being equal - that withdrawal is in response to a relationship dynamic, not an existing response from the sexual, so it can be got over.

 

1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

Sounds like the question here is “what if it’s reciprocated, but never escalated?”  It’s likely part of pair bonding for the ace, too, but doesn’t indicate an urge to take things further.

And remembering that is part of the quid pro quo from the sexual, in return for the asexual actually finding a way to remember that touch is important to their partner. 

 

I'm absolutely not saying changing the tension over whether to touch or not is entirely down to the asexual partner, but neither can they play the 'it's all too stressy to work out and remember, so I just won't' card.

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ryn2

Interesting.  Most of the talk I’ve seen on here has been the other way around, from sexuals saying they are no longer interested/willing to engage in touch now that they know their ace partners do not desire them sexually.  From personal experience touching a sexual partner who does the touch equivalent of “starfishing” (no reaction at all, or pulling away) doesn’t send your above message that it’s likely to be fine and welcome.

 

Some of what anamikanon mentions above gets at what you and I talked about a while back re:  differences between romantic relationships and friendships from an asexual perspective.  When I listed off sharing a bed, you said friends do that (and I agree)... but I wouldn’t intentionally touch a naked friend in bed, or intentionally spoon a naked friend.  I say “intentionally” because once everyone is asleep moving around happens.

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Telecaster68

I don't think I was the one who talked about sharing a bed with friends... 

 

The touch thing goes in phases, I think. First of all, sexual wants sexual and non sexual touch. Clearly all touch is okay at this point. Then they discover they're never going to get sexual touch in the way they assumed, and back off for rapey reasons and because they just don't want to get aroused knowing it'll lead to frustration. This is the point where sexuals just can't deal with any touch. Assuming there's still communication and both sides are engaged, the relationship dynamics will change, probably, so that the sexual may come to prefer being touched without being desired to the alternative of never being touched again at all. So touch is then all right.

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ryn2

So it still comes down to “it varies from person to person and situation to situation.”

 

I’m not sure I could even find the other thread at this point, but I’d listed off the things that - to me - still make my romantic relationship different than the friends/roommates relationship my partner says it is, and I’m sure I listed sleeping together (in the literal sense) among them because that’s one of the key things I would not do with a friend/roommate under normal circumstances.

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ryn2

Found it.  Emphasis added now.

 

Me:  “Also, while I would by definition live with a roommate/housemate I would not share meals whenever we were both home, do their laundry, hug them lots (not in the same way, anyway), or  do their grocery shopping... or sleep in the same bed with them.  When I lay that stuff out, though, it sounds 1) too dry and “clinical” and 2) a bit like complaining (which it isn’t).”

 

You (tele):  “I guess for a sexual, having sex is very much 'making that person a priority' in action, and easily the most important of the things we don't want to do with anyone else. When I've shared houses with friends, I have at times done all the other things with/for housemates from time to time.”

 

Me:  “Same with doing things for a friend/roommate - I might occasionally do most of the things I listed, but not every week for 20 years.

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anamikanon
14 hours ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

@anamikanon Regarding sexual vs platonic touch, I can obviously see your partner's point of view more than yours because I am also ace (and have no experience in sexual matters). The idea that an arm squeeze or lingering kiss (not French kissing, just keeping lips there) is inherently sexual to you is something I don't understand either. I accept you see it differently, but to avoid any more confusion you're going to have to do a Sheldon Cooper-esque run down of what exactly different touches mean, or this frustration and confusion will continue to happen.

A touch can convey many things. Sexual intent is one of them. If it is hard to identify from experience, am sure there will be some or the other movie shot that comes to mind where creepy guy behaves or shakes hands with a woman in some odd way, she looks uneasy and you know that that touch conveyed an inappropriate intent. Or where two people simply look into each others eyes or hold hands and you know that it is a romantic scene. Even if it isn't what you'd identify in real life, you understand it enough when you see it in a story (I hope - or I'll need different examples)

 

When I snuggle with my son, I can curl around him and he can burrow into me so tightly that the little kid is almost invisible under my much larger body. My ace says it reminds him of puppies snuggling under their mom till you can't even see them. But that is a protective touch, the love in it is to soothe or comfort or play (like tickles), but it isn't of a nature that reciprocally conveys sexual overtones. I wouldn't snuggle naked with my kid, but I'd totally do it with my ace. Both of us have tons of friends and I've never seen him grab at any other woman's body parts like he does mine (thankfully). My son may accidentally place a hand on my breast, but he isn't going to be stroking it with a specific intent to stroke me - it will be mere affection. So even if the place being touched is similar, the nature of touch can be entirely different.

 

And the direction of intimacy. The kid was inside me when our relationship began, he breastfed, now snuggles. Eventually he'll get older and we'll be touching each other much less. It is a one way relationship between two individuals who are vastly unequal in terms of power, independence, need for safety and reassurance and so on. On the other hand a romantic relationship that works will get closer with time. Things I touch my son for - reassurance, soothing, etc are usually handled with conversation, while coming together is a reaffirmation of our closeness in ways we do not share with the world at large. I don't kiss my other friends on their lips, I may let them sleep in my bed on a visit, but I wouldn't dream of doing it long term. When we hug, our hands will never randomly wander on their bodies just for the pleasure of touching their body, and so on.

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anamikanon
4 hours ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

Yeah but the problem is, if he's ace, he's probably gonna have the same mindset as me (which anamikanon has said already he has), so they're gonna have to blunty, spell-it-all-out talk about it and decide if touch is going to be ok or just frustrating. If touch is out of the question I can't see much of a future here tbh; even I need to snuggle with my bro.

Yes, we do have very good communication. The problem is that he appears to enjoy all the interaction that goes with sex, but the sexual act itself doesn't interest him too much. So, he actually likes what most sexuals would call foreplay - to put it bluntly. He likes the sexually charged looks and flirting and closeness.

 

I like him touching me anyway, and him not touching me isn't going to make me less frustrated (when I was attracted to him), so we do touch.

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Telecaster68
1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

So it still comes down to “it varies from person to person and situation to situation.”

 

I’m not sure I could even find the other thread at this point, but I’d listed off the things that - to me - still make my romantic relationship different than the friends/roommates relationship my partner says it is, and I’m sure I listed sleeping together (in the literal sense) among them because that’s one of the key things I would not do with a friend/roommate under normal circumstances.

It does vary, but you could say that about literally any human interaction, and most people don't file all human contact under 'too complicated to bother with' because each one is different. Those three phases I outlined, for instance, apply to almost all the sexuals mixed relationships I've ever read posts from. How they play out may vary, but the broad principles are there.

 

I just remembered a dream I had a few nights before a driving test (which was around the time of my A levels, so my anxieties about both were tangled up together). I dreamed I had to know the details of every single time I drove through every junction I'd ever use to pass my driving test. Obviously I didn't - I just had to learn the basic rules of the road and be able to read other drivers. But it seems like for a lot of asexuals, unless they can know the exact details of every possible combination of interactions that may possibly involve touch or sex, it all becomes too complicated to bother with. Nobody can give that info. Nobody has it. They can't. 

 

As for the sharing a bed thing - yep, I clearly did, and I remember that exchange. Even at the time, I had to think carefully about whether I'd shared a bed with a non-partner, and I have, about twice, ever. It's not something I would ordinarily do.

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ryn2
40 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

So, he actually likes what most sexuals would call foreplay - to put it bluntly. He likes the sexually charged looks and flirting and closeness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, as there are some regular AVEN posters who describe their own preferences much this way and who consider themselves sexual.  They consider themselves sexual because they want to share sexual intimacy with their partners, but do not enjoy/will not engage in “typical” penetrative sex.  The exact details vary from poster to poster.

 

Is a sexual who only enjoys foreplay-esque acts and who will not engage in PIV/anal/oral still different from an ace like your partner who distinguishes romantic relationships from friendships based on their foreplay-esque closeness?  If so, is it because there’s some fundamental difference in why they desire those acts/that sort of closeness?

 

Or are they only different because people are definining “sex” differently?

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ryn2
47 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

...most people don't file all human contact under 'too complicated to bother with' because each one is different. 

I think the difference in perception here is that I’ve noticed more sexuals raising the point that touch has become confusing/problematic, whereas it sounds like you’ve noticed more aces saying it.

 

52 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

As for the sharing a bed thing - yep, I clearly did, and I remember that exchange. Even at the time, I had to think carefully about whether I'd shared a bed with a non-partner, and I have, about twice, ever. It's not something I would ordinarily do.

Yeah, that was my original point. In my 20+ year relationship (and in any previous one where a partner and I have cohabited), almost the only nights my partner and I have not slept in the same bed, sans clothes, have been the times one of us has traveled solo for work/volunteer stuff (which has averaged about a week every two or three years).

 

A couple of times a year we may miss a night because one of us accidentally falls asleep downstairs after promising to come up to bed, or because the weather is dangerously windy (my tolerance for potential falling  trees is lower than my partner’s), and in a weather emergency my partner may have to stay at his volunteer job (again, a couple of days a year).

 

All told, we’ve probably averaged at least 355 days sleeping in the same bed naked over the past 21.75 years.

 

I can’t imagine a friendship where I’d do that.

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Telecaster68
52 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

think the difference in perception here is that I’ve noticed more sexuals raising the point that touch has become confusing/problematic, whereas it sounds like you’ve noticed more aces saying it.

It seems to me that sexuals, by and large, figure out the 'vocabulary' of physical touch in relationships in their teens, and if they don't get into a relationship with an ace, have no cause to question how they work, because sexuals share a set of givens that touch, sex and emotion are inextricably entwined in a relationship. Aces on the other hand (again as a general tendency) seem perpetually baffled by the whole concept of physical touch in relationships. 

 

I'm not entirely sure where you're going in relation to this with the whole sharing a bed thing. 

 

Edit:

 

I honestly can't remember a sexual person on here saying 'yes but what about this [very specific and probably vanishingly rare hypothetical] possibility? Not knowing a definitive answer to this scenario makes me too baffled and anxious to countenance sex under any circumstances.' 

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ryn2
50 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

It seems to me that sexuals, by and large, figure out the 'vocabulary' of physical touch in relationships in their teens, and if they don't get into a relationship with an ace, have no cause to question how they work, because sexuals share a set of givens that touch, sex and emotion are inextricably entwined in a relationship. 

Sorry, should have been more clear.  I meant I feel like I’ve seen more sexuals raising (or asexuals noting, on behalf of their partners) it as an issue in mixed relationships.

 

I don’t frequent the “young, questioning ace” threads because I feel like my experience is too dated and different to be helpful.

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ryn2
55 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I’m not entirely sure where you're going in relation to this with the whole sharing a bed thing. 

At the time, I was trying to get at “what an ace considers a romantic relationship is not the same as what a sexual considers friendship/roommates.”

 

I mentioned it here because the discussion reminded me of it.

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Telecaster68
19 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

Sorry, should have been more clear.  I meant I feel like I’ve seen more sexuals raising (or asexuals noting, on behalf of their partners) it as an issue in mixed relationships.

 

I don’t frequent the “young, questioning ace” threads because I feel like my experience is too dated and different to be helpful.

The confusion isn't confined to the youngsters. You seem to be asking for clarification, and I've seen Snoa and Serran, amongst others do the same. 

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ryn2
25 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

The confusion isn't confined to the youngsters. You seem to be asking for clarification, and I've seen Snoa and Serran, amongst others do the same. 

I believe it was anamikanon who raised it here.  I was just participating in the discussion.

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