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Chiaroscuro

I Suddenly Hate My Kind

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Chiaroscuro
But is sex or sexuality really an emotion in the same way that anger/rage is?

Yes.

Of course, we may have different interpretations of what sexuality means. If by sexuality, you mean "Look at that person, I'd like to jump on him/her", okay, that's not an emotion. It is a response to an emotion, but that's not what I'm talking about. When I listen to a particularly beautiful soprano, I will feel strong, sensual feelings, yearnings, desires moving around below my navel. I have no concrete sexual fantasies. I don't feel a call to action. But its an intense, emotional moment, calling out to my sexual self. When I look at the painting that I used for my Avatar (by John Singer Sargent), I feel the sexual overtones between the man and the woman. It's not pornographic. It's not overt in any way, but his posture and hers call up sexual echoes in me.

Let me be clear, the sexual response is not the ONLY thing I feel when I look at that picture or listen to opera. It's part of a cocktail of emotions I feel all the time. Sometimes the sexual component is strong, sometimes not there at all. I believe that's what Mark means by "wiring".

-Chairoscuro

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Revenge of Rain
Do you mean that people from traditional families seem to symbolically sexualise more the more outgoing they are?

No, I mean it's often the case (or really seem so anyway) that people raised with puritanical influence and who associate with similar people (sheltered, they call it) often really don't think about sex and are quite surprised when others assume sexuality in everything. Then there are also the ones from such backgrounds who go entirely against the 'defence' from or 'repression' of sex. I'm not sure if this is because they have higher sex drives (although again I'm pretty sure I do and I don't sexualise much) or because their personality type puts them agaisnt authority or because they can't deal with the contradiction between people who don't act outwardly sexual and those that do (who they will eventually be exposed to) or because, as many here are saying, they do indeed have some sort of innate tendancy to perceive the world around them as relating to sex.

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Revenge of Rain
But is sex or sexuality really an emotion in the same way that anger/rage is?

Yes.

Of course, we may have different interpretations of what sexuality means. If by sexuality, you mean "Look at that person, I'd like to jump on him/her", okay, that's not an emotion. It is a response to an emotion, but that's not what I'm talking about. When I listen to a particularly beautiful soprano, I will feel strong, sensual feelings, yearnings, desires moving around below my navel. I have no concrete sexual fantasies. I don't feel a call to action. But its an intense, emotional moment, calling out to my sexual self. When I look at the painting that I used for my Avatar (by John Singer Sargent), I feel the sexual overtones between the man and the woman. It's not pornographic. It's not overt in any way, but his posture and hers call up sexual echoes in me.

Let me be clear, the sexual response is not the ONLY thing I feel when I look at that picture or listen to opera. It's part of a cocktail of emotions I feel all the time. Sometimes the sexual component is strong, sometimes not there at all. I believe that's what Mark means by "wiring".

-Chairoscuro

What you're describing still seems to me to be more imagination related than emotion related, although it is different as in this case the imagination is not purely detached thought as it often is in the most mundane sort of daydreaming (although relating to episodic memory perhaps) but attached to the chemical response that is your sex drive. In any case, if an emotion, it seems more of a complex or layered and composed than more basic and immediate emotions. It is something that seems similar to conscious but chemically sustained hopelessness (somethign I'm quite familiar with, for example).

I think I'm basically saying that this seems to necessarily be conditioning of some sort, due to the complexity of how it manifests in yourself and others. Just as my hopelessness and despair (when I'm in such a state) might be fueled by abstract things like the spread of farming to river deltas (a very abstract notion that is clearly built on previously acquired knowledge and information) I would say that your perception of sexuality and its presence is something that you have acquired through either personal experience or relayed social concepts (that is for example just WHY the situation in your avatar picture is indeed romantic or sexual, for example). I don't mean to sound like I'm declaring 'you're entirely wrong'--it's more that this is the only thing that makes sense to me and I'm just trying to work all the information into this.

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square peg
How is this tendancy to consciously (maybe not willingly or 'self' instigated but certainly observable and knowingly and consciously desirable' date=' as BunnyK seems to say' date=' and as I would say of myself too) use symbolic thought as an extension of one's sex drive something that is innate or inherent or 'reptillian' (yay medulla!)? [/quote'']

I don't see why it wouldn't be. I use symbolic thought as a form of catharsis (and so it seems does everyone, at least when dreaming). Society didn't make me that way; it's in my wiring to love metaphors. If I were sexual, it's almost inconceivable to me that I wouldn't interpret more of the world as referring to sex in some way, because the thought of sex would be more personally meaningful or satisfying and so nearer to the fore of my mind.

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Mark from the OCD board

WARNING: There's some sexual stuff in this post. If you don't like to read that sort of thing, you may want to skip it.

@ OperaGhost: I know that your fear is real, and I won't minimize or mock it.

I'll just say that the best reason to dress up and look good is for yourself. Even when my seven female students took me out to dinner to thank me, I still wanted to look good. As a gay man, I am not sexually interested in women. And even if they had been seven males, they would have been off limits since they are my students. Quite simply, I like looking good, and I like it when others (no matter who they are) think I look good. Even as a sexual I say that it is not always sexual.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

@ Wally Hudson: All of my students speak English as a Second Language. I teach lower-level undergrads who are still learning the language and near fluent graduate students with degrees from overseas who have to improve their reading, writing, and speech quickly in order to work on graduate degrees in science, business, pedagogy, art, or whatever. Many are scared and have already had very bad experiences with English speakers. That is why I correct their papers with kid gloves and let them know that, despite errors, there is a lot of good material in them. I used to hate the professors who never had anything positive to say, and I vowed I would never be one.

By "wiring" I mean "programming." In other words, as soon as I hit puberty I started responding with semi-sexual thoughts (before I even knew what sex was) to guys. I knew instinctively to hush this up, the way most asexuals instinctively know not mention their lack of interest in sex even before they realize they are asexual.

Heterosexual guys, on the other hand, are often free to start expressing their sexuality, even if it means teasing and being nasty to pretty girls because they do not know how to express attraction. (In my grandfather's day, boys dipped girls' pigtails into inkwells.) Heterosexual girls, who often mature faster than heterosexual boys, gather together and giggle over who is "cute"; the boy start talking about the girls' new breasts in their own circles.

And the young gays, lesbians, trans-identified, and asexuals wonder what the hell is going on.

Back to me... When I was eight or nine and watching The Brady Bunch in the mid-70s, I would smile widely and get excited whenever Peter (the middle boy) came on screen. I also loved his jeans--the ones with the back pockets that were not the same color as the rest of the material. It took a few years before I realized that I had been staring lustfully at his butt, not at his bi-colored pants. And then, at that tender age, there was the episode where the Bradys went to the beach and Peter took his shirt off... I almost passed out.

Let me again emphasize that I had no idea what sex was, and that all I could imagine at the time was sleeping next to him with my arms around him (and our shirts being off). It was instinct.

It was also instinct when, in seventh grade (1977/1978), I fell in love with my best friend. By that time I knew what sex was, of course... Still, there has never been anything between us (obviously, as he is heterosexual). I came out of the closet in 1988; I told him I was gay in 1990 (the year I had sex for the first time); I was an usher at his wedding in 1994; we are still good friends.

His wiring lead him to marry a woman (one I really like and think perfect for him). A good gay friend of his wife's was at the wedding, and I was following my wiring when I got his phone number... :wink: The bridal party's "Mark's working the wedding" jokes continued for some time...

@ Square Peg: My wicked sense of humor comes into full play whenever I see something that even remotely resembles something sexual. As an example... As an undergraduate, I attended Brooklyn College. The picture you see is of one of the college's prized possessions, a piece displayed in the center of campus. It is an exact replica, made by cast, of a famous code of laws in ancient Athens. I have other FREUDIAN ideas about it, however, and my friends and I have had many laughs over it... :lol:

Could the ancient Greeks have intended it as a phallic symbol? Males... Power... They were hardly politically correct, so maybe.

P1010229.jpg

So, yeah, I see stuff like that EVERYWHERE. Remember the episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel were giggling at various non-sexual references that they took sexually even though Ross and his scientist girlfriend were not? I would have been giggling along with them. I am really, really, really bad. :D

@ Chiaroscuro: I agree completely. And yes, when I first saw your avatar, I, too, thought about the sensual overtones in the way the bodies are positioned. It's not pornographic and it's not something that turns me on--but I do appreciate its sensuality. Not all sexuals would see it like that, although I'd be willing to wager that the artist intended it.

Many years ago, I horrified my mother and some of her church friends by explaining the sexuality in fairy tales like "The Frog Prince," "The Ugly Duckling," and "Sleeping Beauty"--something I had researched and written a paper on back when I was an undergrad.

I don't remember the exact quote, but when Freud, having fled from Nazi Austria, told some British women about his ideas on repressed sexuality, they said something like, "Maybe Austrian ladies are like that, but we're British."

I don't know where I'm going with this, but, as usual, I am waaaaay off topic and should probably close the post. 8)

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maufry
I'm thinking that sex probably releases the same or slightly more than a good workout, and no one accuses people who work out (or play sports, for that matter) of being "addicted", or wasting "SOOO much time and effort" on obtaining a chemical reaction from the brain.

If a person is working out solely b/c of how it feels (and not b/c of getting thinner, or healthier, or anything), and they NEED to workout and get antsy and irritable if they don't work out, and they spend time fantasizing about working out when they're not doing it, then yes. They are addicted. Actually, that's how a lot of anorexics are with regards to working out. (And body builders, I'll venture to guess.)

I'm not saying that sexuals are bad, horrible, stupid people. I understand wanting to make love with one's partner. It's not a desire I have, but I get that sexuals see it as an expression of their love, etc. I get the same emotional benefit from cuddling up on the couch or exchanging good back rubs with my guy as sexual people do from sex. And a good back rub is THE most physically pleasing thing I've ever experienced. Especially when the other person involved is my boyfriend. And sure, when I'm in a relationship, I'll initiate/ask for such things. But if I'm not in a relationship, I don't dream about these things. I don't fantasize about it, I don't pursue it, I don't crave it. I don't see backrubs in everything out there. That's the part I don't get. That's the part I see as an addiction. Not the emotional communion, but the obsession with and need for a physical itch to be scratched.

I don't look at my car and think of sex.

Obviously enough people out there do, since it's pretty much the only marketing tool car companies use.

chiaroscuro wrote:

Like Bunny said, sex isn't something you pluck out of your life and say "today, I will not be a sexual person. Tomorrow, back to my addiction." Sex is like compassion, or mercy, or anger, or fear... it's part of you. It can be expressed in beautiful ways and in ugly ways. So when I say I sense sexuality in all art (art being created by humans as an expression of their humanity), it's like saying I see anger in a lot of artwork. Of course it's there, because it's created by people for whom sexuality is a fundamental drive. So the addiction analogy is wrong, because sexuality isn't something that's being added to the human condition from outside. It's wired into us. It can be bent, twisted, messed up... of course, just like any other basic human attribute. But it rises from inside us, and how we express it is part of what makes us individuals.

But is sex or sexuality really an emotion in the same way that anger/rage is? This seems to me more like if I were to for example take one of my addictions (caffeine or running when I'm on it) and go on to feel certain artwork as very 'caffeinated' or with a sensation of running. Again I'm sexual, insanely so at times, yet even then I wouldn't suddenly have a new set of emotions or anything like that. I could look at a 'sexual' picture and go 'oh yes I would like to have sex with that person had they existed', or 'I'm really horny right now and I can certainly understand just how what is depicted in this work of art displays a connection to sexual desire', but there isn't anything overreaching and 'mystical' about it, which is how I'm understanding what you're saying. I love language and linguistics too but it doesn't come from my core of being or anything like that, even when I spend all day thinking about related topics in a rather insane matter. It's something you can observe as being an intense interest probably stemming from the utility of cultivating such interests (in either things or people) going along with the idea that our super duper cerebral cortex uhh... helps us.

Exactly. I like the analogy to languages. No matter how much I like a particular activity, it's not a hard-wired part of who I am.

It is wrong to expect asexuals to live like sexuals or to mock their wiring, but it is equally wrong to expect sexuals to live like asexuals (unless they choose celibacy) or to mock their wiring.

I certainly don't expect sexuals to live like asexuals. I do expect them to recognize sex for what it is. An activity. Sure, it can be quite a meaningful activity sometimes. But it's just one activity among many, many things that are out there to be enjoyed. It is NOT the end all and be all of existence. No single activity is.

OperaGhost and maufry: You don't need to fear looking attractive. There is a difference between thoughts and actions, and most sexuals have a lot more control than you think. As for the others... Some people are pigs, whether sexual or asexual.

Besides, the truth of the matter is that better-looking people have an advantage in life, even in business. This is not always sexual. Even the sex or sexes outside one's sexual orientation seem more reliable and trustworthy when well-groomed, mannerly, and bathed.

Sometimes the way one is supposed to appear is rather idiosyncratic. Many men in pharmaceuticals, for example, do not grow beards and moustaches since the general public has a stereotype of shifty moustached salespeople... Further, American men in corporate business never wear brown suits... Dumb but true.

If you have an advantage, press it. Others press theirs.

Yes, but pressing my "advantage," as you call it, means that I get sexually harrassed by random people on the street. Why should I be penalized for living my life the way I see fit (i.e. clean and presentable with pretty clothes)? I'm going to be presumptuous and assume that you, as a gay man living in this godforsaken society of ours, can understand that general sentiment.

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maufry
Could the ancient Greeks have intended it as a phallic symbol? Males... Power... They were hardly politically correct, so maybe.

P1010229.jpg

So, yeah, I see stuff like that EVERYWHERE. Remember the episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel were giggling at various non-sexual references that they took sexually even though Ross and his scientist girlfriend were not? I would have been giggling along with them. I am really, really, really bad. :D

Yes, yes, yes!!! THIS is the stuff I was talking about. Seeing sex in EVERYTHING. It's just sex, for god's sake! (Mark, I'm not trying to put you down or anything.** I just REALLY don't get it. Especially the stone thing. Sure, it's long and skinny, but it's triangular... Never would have occurred to me.)

@ Chiaroscuro: I agree completely. And yes, when I first saw your avatar, I, too, thought about the sensual overtones in the way the bodies are positioned. It's not pornographic and it's not something that turns me on--but I do appreciate its sensuality. Not all sexuals would see it like that, although I'd be willing to wager that the artist intended it.

THAT is sensual?? They're not even touching! I really don't get sexuals....

**Something just occurred to me. I wonder if your explanations of your sexuality don't bother me at all b/c you're gay. Which means that you're not trying to objectify me in any way whatsoever. If you had been straight, I'd probably dismiss you as a sex obsessed pig who would never see me as anything other than a glorified sex toy. Interesting...

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Hallucigenia
Sure, it can be quite a meaningful activity sometimes. But it's just one activity among many, many things that are out there to be enjoyed. It is NOT the end all and be all of existence. No single activity is.

I think that both sides of this debate may be at cross purposes to each other right now.

I don't see anyone here saying that sex IS the end all and be all of existence (though admittedly this thread a lot to get through and I might have missed something somewhere). And I don't see anyone here saying that there are no other pleasant things that make them happy. I think that it's possible to like something a lot, miss it when it's gone, even fantasize about it when it's gone, without seeing it as the end all and be all of existence, and that may be what you're not getting.

See... okay, example: I write stories in my spare time. And when there's a specific story that I want to write, I get a little bit attached to it. I go over it in my head when I have the chance. I fantasize about what the characters are going to do, so that I have a better idea of what to make them do when I'm actually writing. If I'm very busy and don't have time to write the story I'm thinking of, I might get kind of annoyed, because my stories are something that I value. And if I see something striking and interesting, it may very well give me an idea for something to put into the story.

Nevertheless, I am perfectly capable of making rational decisions, like working on my actual schoolwork and other important things instead of running off to write stories when I don't have the time. Stories are NOT the be all and end all of my existence. They are one activity among many, many things that I could be enjoying. I realize this. I continue thinking about my stories when I can because they are important to me and give me an outlet for many valuable mental and emotional processes that I experience.

Sex is like that. The only difference is, it happens to involve gooshy organs.

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Hallucigenia
If you had been straight, I'd probably dismiss you as a sex obsessed pig who would never see me as anything other than a glorified sex toy. Interesting...

Being attracted to someone is not the same thing as seeing them as nothing but a glorified sex toy. And just because you are attracted to one gender doesn't mean you are attracted to everybody in that gender. But I'm guessing you knew that.

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maufry
But is sex or sexuality really an emotion in the same way that anger/rage is?

Yes.

Of course, we may have different interpretations of what sexuality means. If by sexuality, you mean "Look at that person, I'd like to jump on him/her", okay, that's not an emotion. It is a response to an emotion, but that's not what I'm talking about. When I listen to a particularly beautiful soprano, I will feel strong, sensual feelings, yearnings, desires moving around below my navel. I have no concrete sexual fantasies. I don't feel a call to action. But its an intense, emotional moment, calling out to my sexual self. When I look at the painting that I used for my Avatar (by John Singer Sargent), I feel the sexual overtones between the man and the woman. It's not pornographic. It's not overt in any way, but his posture and hers call up sexual echoes in me.

Let me be clear, the sexual response is not the ONLY thing I feel when I look at that picture or listen to opera. It's part of a cocktail of emotions I feel all the time. Sometimes the sexual component is strong, sometimes not there at all. I believe that's what Mark means by "wiring".

-Chairoscuro

So you're turned on, but you're not turned on? I don't get it.

Side note: you just gave me another reason never to date a sexual. It would never have occurred to me that a guy would lust after my musical abilities. Or after the pose that my body takes while I'm picking up a cup of tea. Thanks for the edification.

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Hallucigenia
So you're turned on, but you're not turned on? I don't get it.

Most sexuals have the ability to emotionally recognize a hint of sexuality in something, without actually wanting to (or planning to or even think about) do anything sexual to the people involved.

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OperaGhost
@ OperaGhost: I know that your fear is real, and I won't minimize or mock it.

I'll just say that the best reason to dress up and look good is for yourself. Even when my seven female students took me out to dinner to thank me, I still wanted to look good. As a gay man, I am not sexually interested in women. And even if they had been seven males, they would have been off limits since they are my students. Quite simply, I like looking good, and I like it when others (no matter who they are) think I look good. Even as a sexual I say that it is not always sexual.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

I don't want to look good because I'm too afraid. I was thinking about it today and I was wondering if maybe it has to with control. I can't control if other people are attracted to me, and I can't accept that. I don't want to be attractive, so I feel that other people should respect that and just not be attracted to me. It's just I feel threatened because there's the risk that some people may feel something for me that I'll never be able to understand, that I perceive as a threat, and I will not be able to prevent them from feeling that. But I must. I have to try my best to prevent people from being attracted to me.

Some people say that "no one can love you if you don't love yourself" or something like that. So if that applies to sexual attraction as well (I don't know if it does) then if I just think of myself as ugly, then other people shouldn't be able to be attracted to me. I know that I think of myself as ugly, and I know that I snapped at someone once while they were making distateful comments about ugly people (something to the effect of wanting them all to die) and somewhere in the snapping said that I was ugly, and they were just confused, like, "What? You're not ugly..." So some other people don't think I'm ugly, so that means that I must not be trying hard enough to keep myself safe.

I know that when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't really see myself as ugly. But then I start thinking that I'm ugly, and it doesn't connect, so I get confused and realize that if I can see attractive features in myself, other people might be able to, too. Then I panic and try to hide everything, because if anyone can see anything attractive about me then I am not being modest enough.

I don't know how to stop thinking like this, but it doesn't seem healthy to think like this. I don't know. :(

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Octarine
But is sex or sexuality really an emotion in the same way that anger/rage is?

Yes.

Of course, we may have different interpretations of what sexuality means. If by sexuality, you mean "Look at that person, I'd like to jump on him/her", okay, that's not an emotion. It is a response to an emotion, but that's not what I'm talking about. When I listen to a particularly beautiful soprano, I will feel strong, sensual feelings, yearnings, desires moving around below my navel. I have no concrete sexual fantasies. I don't feel a call to action. But its an intense, emotional moment, calling out to my sexual self. When I look at the painting that I used for my Avatar (by John Singer Sargent), I feel the sexual overtones between the man and the woman. It's not pornographic. It's not overt in any way, but his posture and hers call up sexual echoes in me.

Let me be clear, the sexual response is not the ONLY thing I feel when I look at that picture or listen to opera. It's part of a cocktail of emotions I feel all the time. Sometimes the sexual component is strong, sometimes not there at all. I believe that's what Mark means by "wiring".

-Chairoscuro

That makes perfect sense. (I'm not being sarcastic, btw) It's part of liking someone, a part that we don't have. That clears up a lot of things.

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maufry
If you had been straight, I'd probably dismiss you as a sex obsessed pig who would never see me as anything other than a glorified sex toy. Interesting...

Being attracted to someone is not the same thing as seeing them as nothing but a glorified sex toy. And just because you are attracted to one gender doesn't mean you are attracted to everybody in that gender. But I'm guessing you knew that.

Well, yes, I knew that. I said "me" in a general sense. Let me rephrase: I couldn't respect a sex obsessed pig who would never see women as anything other than glorified sex toys.

And no, being attracted to someone is not the same thing as seeing them as a sex toy. But the desire to sleep with that person (which tends to directly follow being attracted to a person, at least with sexuals) is. I'm not sure how to explain this, so I probably won't communicate this properly, but I'm going to try. Thinking about sex incessantly like most sexuals seem to does two things. One, it treats sex as something that is only important to the person desiring it. I want sex. I want to get off. It's all about that person's pleasure, and only that person's pleasure. It's just a gratification thing. (Which is probably why I look down on the activity so much. Sure, I enjoy things that are merely gratifying, but I certainly don't think that they're valuable experiences. It's enjoyable fluff - like cotton candy.) Two, it cheapens the activity and ruins any chance of it ever actually being special. Say person A (for the sake of simplicity, we're going to call person A a man) continually tells person B (a woman) that he wants to sleep with her b/c he's in love with her. He wants to share that emotion and have this wonderful bonding experience with her. However, if he's not in a relationship, he'll sleep with - or fantasize about, for that matter - anything with tits. Doesn't say much for any girl he wants to sleep with, now does it? And it certainly doesn't say anything for the believability of the guy. Why should she believe that he sees sex as a special bonding thing if he obviously will take it wherever he can get it?

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Chiaroscuro
And no, being attracted to someone is not the same thing as seeing them as a sex toy. But the desire to sleep with that person (which tends to directly follow being attracted to a person, at least with sexuals) is.

Maufry, that's just a flat out ignorant thing to say. You've been here long enough to know better. I look at my wife and desire to sleep with her. I don't act on that because I know she wouldn't enjoy it. That doesn't make me a pig, and it doesn't mean I see her as a sex toy.

Period.

-Chiaroscuro

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Mark from the OCD board

I like what Hallucigenia said--and I like square peg's "if i were sexual" reasoning... :)

And... I agree with Chiaroscuro that desiring someone sexually does not make a person a pig. If it does, just call me Wilbur...

@ maufry: No worries. You have not put me down or offended me in any way. :)

This is only a discussion, and I encourage you and others to be honest so that we can understand each other better. We can always agree to disagree if we reach an impasse--and then we can still talk.

I am not an expert on the ancient Greeks and cannot pretend to be, but I know that they did indeed use sexual imagery in some of their art, and, long ago, I studied their sexual iconography on vases and urns. Whether it applies to the code of laws in my photo is beyond me. My opinion is that it does, but my opinion is not fact.

It is the opinion of many sexuals I know, as we have had a lot of fun with jokes about the four-foot penis in the center of campus... ;) But, of course, many people, whether sexual or asexual, would not see it that way.

Much of life is interpretation--and yours is as valid as mine.

@ OperaGhost:

As I was telling someone else in another thread, don't let your self-worth come from others. Some people will be nice and some will be mean, and you don't need to be on an emotional roller coaster. Self-worth comes from within, and it helps you be thick-skinned enough to ignore the stupidity of others.

Loving yourself need not mean perfect love. Like all other love in the real world, it only has to be good enough--in other words, totally human.

Some people think I am ugly, and some people think I am good looking. My honest assessment is that I am average looking. My face could be a little less weasel-like, but I am otherwise satisfied with most of my features. I dress to look good more for me than for anyone else.

The best way to deal with all the internal voices saying you are ugly is to ignore them.

@ maufry, OperaGhost, and everyone else:

My love for languages, science fiction, and so on is not hard-wired into me, but my sexuality is. In fact, as a gay male who has faced persecution and had heterosexuality forced on him by the church, I get very defensive and hot-headed when the importance of my sexual wiring is minimized. (That will not happen here, as this is a friendly discussion, not an Inquistion by homophobes.)

Again, you can be honest. I respect you as women who want to be treated as intelligent individuals and not hunks of meat. Unwelcome sexual advances are unwelcome and inappropriate no matter the circumstances. You and I see eye to eye on this issue--and I would extend it to handsome young gay men who also want to be seen as more than meat.

Pressing the advantage does not mean you have to go to work in a bikini and nine-inch pumps! :wink: What I mean is... You don't have to go in a baggy sweater, oversized jeans, and uncombed hair, either. There is a midpoint between the extremes. Value judgments based on appearance are not fair, but neither is life. For example, overweight people are less successful in business because many people assume, even if unconsciously, that their lives are out of control and they are thus not good workers. An overweight woman who wears tasteful make-up, has well-groomed hair, and wears fashionable clothes can make up for some of this loss in others' eyes since she will be seen as in control of her life. Of course, the whole thing is ridiculous, and Henry David Thoreau once said that you should beware of people who judge you by your clothes (by the exterior instead of the interior). But that is how life is.

Dressing for success does NOT mean dressing for sex! I usually dress semi-informally when I teach (no t-shirts, no shorts in summer... But no jacket and tie either). When I have an important meeting to go to, I wear my red power tie and a white shirt. A gray suit goes best with that combination. My hair is combed perfectly, and if I have to do a touch-up shave in the men's room, fine. It gives me a psychological advantage over the slobs in the room, and one thing I am is successful at what I do.

Back to sex... If I see a hot guy, I think what I think, and that sometimes includes a desire to sleep with him. If a heterosexual guy sees a hot woman, he thinks what he thinks. Sexual women, depending on their sexual orientations, think what they think when they see women and/or men.

BUT... The most important thing to remember is that many, many sexual people separate fantasy from reality, as I do. My desire to sleep with Joe Hotguy on the bus does not mean I would even if I had the chance. I, personally, would have to get to know him first.

Even asexuals have thoughts about extreme anger, wanting to take revenge, wanting to obtain (non-sexual) power over others, and so forth. If I encounter a few asexual snakes or control freaks, should I assume that all asexuals are the same? Aren't there also asexuals who go out of their way to separate such thoughts from the kind way in which they strive to treat all others?

It's the same with sexuals. In addition to having the same thoughts as asexuals, we also have our sexual thoughts--and, quite honestly, my sexual thoughts give me intense pleasure. That does not mean I am incapable of treating someone I find sexually appealing with dignity and respect, and it does not mean I am incapable of having friends whom I do not find sexually appealing.

Sex is part of who I am, and trying to separate me from my sexuality is like trying to deny asexuals' asexuality.

Dialogue and mutual understanding is the key.

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ChildOfTheLight
If a person is working out solely b/c of how it feels (and not b/c of getting thinner, or healthier, or anything), and they NEED to workout and get antsy and irritable if they don't work out, and they spend time fantasizing about working out when they're not doing it, then yes. They are addicted. Actually, that's how a lot of anorexics are with regards to working out. (And body builders, I'll venture to guess.

I disagree. Man was not meant to be sedentary. That's like saying that needing nutritious food is an addiction.

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BunnyK.

I'm going to come back to this thread later when I feel I can reply without biting through my own keyboard in frustration. :roll:

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Placebo

Wow, this thread is really interesting.

I am finding it interesting the way that sex/sexual feelings/etc. is being described between the sexuals and asexuals.

Correct me if I'm wrong--but it seems like from a sexual perspective, the association of being a sexual person is. . . (I'm probably going to get the wording wrong here) primarily an emotion-drive-desire--the activity is. . .not unimportant. . . but it's the wiring, not the act that is determining how you see the world. So from your perspective, asexuals saying that they don't want to have sex is a little like saying that we don't feel hunger EVER or that we don't feel anger or happiness EVER--(I'm trying to think of this as being a necessity combined with an emotion) and thus that of course we don't act on those feelings by doing things like eating or breaking windows when frustrated. As far as identifying as a sexual, the actual act is secondary to the whole drive/emotion/feelings in it. That makes sense, I've known it before but I hadn't realized it consciously as well as you guys expressed it. Hopefully I got it kind of right.

On the other hand: asexuals seem to be viewing it from the other direction. From their end, the sexual act is perceived as being "ugh, I don't want that" because everything else--the whole emotional and sexual drive sense of self are. . . not there to build off of, so it's pretty incomprehensible. How do you explain sight to a blind person? Thus, from that perspective, going after sex seems like trying to get a fix on a drug--artificially imposed, like a drug or some other (artificial) need--or at best, like an odd hobby. ("Yeah, I like to read in my spare time," "really? Well, I like to have sex," "Hmm. Each to his own!"). For instance, I like to say that I need my "fix" of coffee or chocolate. Maybe I really like chocolate. Maybe I think about it alot, and so as an asexual if I'm trying to extrapolate it might seem like me "needing" chocolate is the same as a sexual "needing" sex. But it's really not a good analogy. --there's an entire *something* there that I'm missing--an emotion, like anger or happiness, or a drive like finding food or shelter--something fundamental to most people and not to me.

I think I'm probably being tremendously redundant and I'm sure that this has been said before in various forms--so I'm going to go think this over some more. However, it was really interesting to be reading over the last page of two of this thread and just have this disparity come and smack me in the face from reading the viewpoints. This conversation is really interesting!

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square peg

If a person is working out solely b/c of how it feels (and not b/c of getting thinner, or healthier, or anything), and they NEED to workout and get antsy and irritable if they don't work out, and they spend time fantasizing about working out when they're not doing it, then yes. They are addicted. Actually, that's how a lot of anorexics are with regards to working out. (And body builders, I'll venture to guess.

I disagree. Man was not meant to be sedentary. That's like saying that needing nutritious food is an addiction.

Not quite. Wanting to eat is a natural born instinct, whereas as far as I know, we don't realise that exercise feels good until we've done it (due to other instincts to explore etc.) and experienced the endorphins released. I think sex is a bit of both. Most people instinctively seek sexual experience when the brain develops to a certain point, but there are also endorphins released that are potentially addictive. Most sexuals have an amount of sex that improves their health, just as most fitness fans do themselves more good than harm. However, people are sometimes diagnosed with physiological addictions to both of these activities. Nutrients are not addictive, because getting a large amount of them does not diminish the effect they have on the brain, so you don't ever get to a point where you need excessive amounts just to feel normal. 100% of your vitamin C, zinc, selenium or DHA recommended daily allowance will cheer you up just as much a year after you start getting it as it does when you first do. Lots and lots of sex or exercise would reduce the effect the activity has on you (maybe that's why married couples lose interest after time... could I be on to something there? :wink: ).

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scamper
Sure, it can be quite a meaningful activity sometimes. But it's just one activity among many, many things that are out there to be enjoyed. It is NOT the end all and be all of existence. No single activity is.

I think that both sides of this debate may be at cross purposes to each other right now.

I don't see anyone here saying that sex IS the end all and be all of existence (though admittedly this thread a lot to get through and I might have missed something somewhere). And I don't see anyone here saying that there are no other pleasant things that make them happy. I think that it's possible to like something a lot, miss it when it's gone, even fantasize about it when it's gone, without seeing it as the end all and be all of existence, and that may be what you're not getting.

See... okay, example: I write stories in my spare time. And when there's a specific story that I want to write, I get a little bit attached to it. I go over it in my head when I have the chance. I fantasize about what the characters are going to do, so that I have a better idea of what to make them do when I'm actually writing. If I'm very busy and don't have time to write the story I'm thinking of, I might get kind of annoyed, because my stories are something that I value. And if I see something striking and interesting, it may very well give me an idea for something to put into the story.

Nevertheless, I am perfectly capable of making rational decisions, like working on my actual schoolwork and other important things instead of running off to write stories when I don't have the time. Stories are NOT the be all and end all of my existence. They are one activity among many, many things that I could be enjoying. I realize this. I continue thinking about my stories when I can because they are important to me and give me an outlet for many valuable mental and emotional processes that I experience.

Sex is like that. The only difference is, it happens to involve gooshy organs.

I totally agree with hallucigenia's post, but I wanted to add one quick thing - and actually, Placebo has already covered much of what I'm about to say, but I wanted to reiterate it from the sexual perspective.

"Sex" may be an activity (and one that we can place more or less importance on, etc) but "sexuality" (which is often what we're really talking about on this board) isn't an activity, it's much more than that.

Beign a sexual person means seeing the world through a sexual lens, yes. That doesn't necessarily mean imposing your own desires and feelings on other people - sexual people can be insensitive and thoughtless, but that's not inherent in sexuality itself.

What being a sexual person does mean however, is that the manifestations of your sexuality are part of who you are on a really fundamental level - just like the language you speak, or the fact that you're left or right handed, or any other "neutral" characteristic is part of who we are. I say neutral because often illnesses, disabilities, etc are a part of who we are as well, but people differ on whether they see them as neutral, positive or negative aspects of their lives.

Sexuality is something that goes deeper than "choosing what activities to participate in". Whether it's seeing a sensual tension in figures on a painting, seeing phallic symbols in architecture, or any of the other things that have been discussed here, your own sexuality is an intrinsic part of your worldview.

It's very easy to talk about "sex" as just another activity - and indeed, it is one. But I think it's important to make this distinction, otherwise we run the risk of misunderstanding and undervaluing sexuality in our discussion.

I'm sexual, and if I was forced to live without sex I'd be sad, but I'd manage somehow. However, if I was asked to give up my sexuality, it would feel like losing a limb, because all of those feelings, urges, thought processes, sensations, emotions, desires, ways of looking at the world (etc, etc) are such an important and deep part of who I am. Of course, explaining that to someone who doesn't feel it can be as difficult as explaining how expressing oneself in French or Spanish is subtly and intricately different from expressing oneself in English, to a person who speaks neither of those languages.

Hope that made sense!

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Chiaroscuro
the activity is. . .not unimportant. . . but it's the wiring, not the act that is determining how you see the world. So from your perspective, asexuals saying that they don't want to have sex is a little like saying that we don't feel hunger EVER or that we don't feel anger or happiness EVER--(I'm trying to think of this as being a necessity combined with an emotion) and thus that of course we don't act on those feelings by doing things like eating or breaking windows when frustrated. As far as identifying as a sexual, the actual act is secondary to the whole drive/emotion/feelings in it. That makes sense, I've known it before but I hadn't realized it consciously as well as you guys expressed it. Hopefully I got it kind of right.

Bang. You got it Placebo. That makes me feel hopeful :)

And Scamper, you're right, there's been an assumption on both sides here that we've been talking about the same thing, when we haven't. We need to take a step back and make it crystal clear (as you've begun to do), what it is sexuals are talking about when they talk about their sexuality.

And since Mark brought up vulcans, can you imagine what it would be like to try to understand what an alien is talking about? Here we are, all member of the same species, and we're talking past one another because our underlying assumptions are completely different.

-Chiaroscuro

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Placebo
And since Mark brought up vulcans, can you imagine what it would be like to try to understand what an alien is talking about? Here we are, all member of the same species, and we're talking past one another because our underlying assumptions are completely different.

Yes, what we need in this situation is a vulcan mind meld. ;) Language is a pain in the neck.

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OperaGhost
I like what Hallucigenia said--and I like square peg's "if i were sexual" reasoning... :)

And... I agree with Chiaroscuro that desiring someone sexually does not make a person a pig. If it does, just call me Wilbur...

@ maufry: No worries. You have not put me down or offended me in any way. :)

This is only a discussion, and I encourage you and others to be honest so that we can understand each other better. We can always agree to disagree if we reach an impasse--and then we can still talk.

I am not an expert on the ancient Greeks and cannot pretend to be, but I know that they did indeed use sexual imagery in some of their art, and, long ago, I studied their sexual iconography on vases and urns. Whether it applies to the code of laws in my photo is beyond me. My opinion is that it does, but my opinion is not fact.

It is the opinion of many sexuals I know, as we have had a lot of fun with jokes about the four-foot penis in the center of campus... ;) But, of course, many people, whether sexual or asexual, would not see it that way.

Much of life is interpretation--and yours is as valid as mine.

@ OperaGhost:

As I was telling someone else in another thread, don't let your self-worth come from others. Some people will be nice and some will be mean, and you don't need to be on an emotional roller coaster. Self-worth comes from within, and it helps you be thick-skinned enough to ignore the stupidity of others.

Loving yourself need not mean perfect love. Like all other love in the real world, it only has to be good enough--in other words, totally human.

Some people think I am ugly, and some people think I am good looking. My honest assessment is that I am average looking. My face could be a little less weasel-like, but I am otherwise satisfied with most of my features. I dress to look good more for me than for anyone else.

The best way to deal with all the internal voices saying you are ugly is to ignore them.

Pressing the advantage does not mean you have to go to work in a bikini and nine-inch pumps! :wink: What I mean is... You don't have to go in a baggy sweater, oversized jeans, and uncombed hair, either. There is a midpoint between the extremes. Value judgments based on appearance are not fair, but neither is life. For example, overweight people are less successful in business because many people assume, even if unconsciously, that their lives are out of control and they are thus not good workers. An overweight woman who wears tasteful make-up, has well-groomed hair, and wears fashionable clothes can make up for some of this loss in others' eyes since she will be seen as in control of her life. Of course, the whole thing is ridiculous, and Henry David Thoreau once said that you should beware of people who judge you by your clothes (by the exterior instead of the interior). But that is how life is.

.

It's difficult to ignore it. I feel that I need to believe that I'm ugly. I don't know how to feel safe otherwise.

I only like wearing baggy, oversized clothing (I'm underweight so that's not too hard to do). Whenever I have tried to wear a nice blouse or something, I like how I look and then that triggers the fearful thoughts. I don't like combing my hair, either, because it's too painful.

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Mark from the OCD board

Hey there, OperaGhost. I understand that your fear and pain are real, and you may want to share them with an asexual-friendly counselor so that they are not so paralyzing. We fear what we fear, and as an OCD person I will never mock someone else's fear. But when fear gets too all- encompassing, that is when we have to learn what is really behind it. Keeping it to yourself only causes endless rumination, and that is not healthy. I am really, really sorry that this is such an unpleasant issue for you.

My sister and many of our friends are girly girls who have never had anything like what you fear happen to them. There's a big difference between not dressing provocatively (which is wise) and dressing to look ugly.

Of course, you don't have to be a girly girl. Dress and act the way that feels right to you. Don't change yourself because of the way you think others will react, though.

Wonderful, insightful posts by Placebo and scamper! :) You both make a lot of sense and do not have to second guess yourselves.

On the one hand, I appreciate the extreme maturity with which we are approaching this subject; on the other hand, I would like to inject a little more immaturity into it in hopes that we can stop taking some aspects of sex so seriously. Um, ya know... for sexuals, sex is supposed to be fun... 8)

Yes, what we need in this situation is a vulcan mind meld. ;) Language is a pain in the neck.

So's a Vulcan nerve pinch... ;)

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

About Star Trek, Chiaroscuro...

So true! Imagine our inability to comprehend alien sexuality!

The Ferengi have this thing about ears and lobes, and I'm sure we "hoo-man" sexuals don't get it.

Sex among the Q takes a second and involves light finger touching, but Q's find it amazing.

Also (according to the Deep Space Nine semi-official relaunch/eighth season in paperback), Andorians find our sexuality amusing, as it takes four to have good sex in their culture. They have four sexes, two like our males and two like our females, and when a foursome meet, it is not just male-female interaction...

In his paperback Star Trek: New Frontier series (the one with Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the U.S.S. Excalibur), Peter David created the intersex Hermat species whose members have all the organs and desires of both males and females. In appearance, they look like a cross between humans and felines on two legs. Chief Engineer Burgoyne 172, the Hermat assigned to the Excalibur, has to find extremely open-minded sexual partners among the inferior single-sexed species who make up the bulk of Starfleet...

In the same series, it seems that gays bars on Vulcan are the most popular nightspots for non-Vulcan residents and visitors regardless of sexual orientation. Actually, they are just about the only nightspots... It also seems that, unlike their heterosexual cousins, gay Vulcans do not experience seven-year mating drives through Pon Farr since they do not breed; they can have sex any time they want. Hee hee.

So, yes, I am not the only Trekker who ponders these things...

------------------------------------------------

And now, since it's all about interpretation and seeing the world as some sexuals see it...

Here's another picture to ponder, once again from my alma mater, Brooklyn College. Apparently, the physical education department is embarrassed by this award, as they hide it in the back of their trophy case. Could physical education professors be thinking the same thing as my positively howling friends and me...?

Never knew Benjamin Franklin had it in him. "Come sit on my lap, little boy..."

P1010215.jpg

P1010216.jpg

Next... Absolutely nothing to do with sex. I just can't resist a cheap shot at Brooklyn College.

Some of the money set aside for beautifying the campus went to... These tacky rubber trees displayed in the Plaza Building. What were they thinking?!!

P1011455.jpg

P1011456.jpg

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Placebo

Sure, Mark. . . but in all of those cases it seems as though the writers understand that there is SOME sexual feeling going on, just the actual expression of it is changing. Are there instances where the concept or drives surrounding procreation are fundamentally different?

Also. . . those pictures are funny. :lol: What is it the last naked guy's holding onto behind his back? Or dare I even ask?

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Mark from the OCD board
Sure, Mark. . . but in all of those cases it seems as though the writers understand that there is SOME sexual feeling going on, just the actual expression of it is changing. Are there instances where the concept or drives surrounding procreation are fundamentally different?

In the Star Trek novel I finished last night (Vulcan's Glory by D.C. Fontana), the character of Number One (not Riker--the character played by Majel Barrett in the original pilot with Captain Pike before she portrayed Nurse Christine Chapel and L'waxana Troi) seems to be a hetero-romantic asexual. She has been genetically engineered as the perfect woman mentally and physically, and many men are sexually attracted to her; however, she spurns all advances. She has romantic feelings for Pike, but none of them are played as sexual.

Other characters have sex and think sexual thoughts in the novel, and I believe a conscious attempt was made to give Number One a specific character. In the afterword, D.C. Fontanat says that she had a long talk with Majel Barrett, asking what the original concept for the character was, before she started writing.

The novel is wonderful for other reasons, too. Spock and Scotty, both in their early twenties, are assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise at the beginning, and, throughout the novel, we get to see them interact with Captain Pike, Number One, Dr. Boyce, and all the other pre-Kirk characters shown in "The Cage" (which became the flashbacks in the two part episode "The Menagerie"). We also go to Vulcan and visit Sarek, Amanda, T'Pring, and Stonn before "Amok Time."

What else? There was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which a planet of biologically sexless people were horrified by the concept of male and female (and thus, perhaps, procreation). They persecuted people among their species who were more in touch with their male or female part, and indeed such a person, more in touch with the female part, fell in love with Riker. This was the so-called "gay episode," but it can also be seen asexually.

In various series, there have been species (the Horta, for example) who reproduce by non-sexual means and did not seem to require a mate.

If I put my thinking cap on, I am sure I can come up with more.

Also. . . those pictures are funny. :lol: What is it the last naked guy's holding onto behind his back? Or dare I even ask?

As much as I would like to say that he has a phallic symbol behind his back... It is just a rolled parchment tied by a ribbon. :P

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Placebo
As much as I would like to say that he has a phallic symbol behind his back... It is just a rolled parchment tied by a ribbon. :P

Well. . . I suppose you could construe that as a phallic symbol, somehow.

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Revenge of Rain

I'm not calling myself sexual here anymore. Maybe I'll just pick something I like like the Lena Delta and name my 'sexuality' after that. Then I won't have any need to be defensive with all these definitions of 'what it means to be sexual'.

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Chiaroscuro
I'm not calling myself sexual here anymore. Maybe I'll just pick something I like like the Lena Delta and name my 'sexuality' after that. Then I won't have any need to be defensive with all these definitions of 'what it means to be sexual'.

Wally, do you feel that, for you, sexuality begins and ends with the sexual act? If not, then we all agree, and your Lena Delta Fetish can remain unchanged :)

-Chiaroscuro

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