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DeltaV

Male sexual desire?

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Does aromanticism impact male sexual desire? And how does it influence acting on those desires?


I'm going to start with a reply to @NullVector's post in the thread “Female sexual desire?” where it was off-topic (but I will still stray into off-topic territory again, yet not that blatantly :)):

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I also don't get whatever the romantic equivalent of sexual frustration is. Like, at all. Some people just struck me as incapable of being single for more than five minutes, but this never bothered me. I seemed to be more-or-less content with it, at least compared to their clawing at the walls to get a new boyfriend/girlfriend!

Yes, “lovesickness” includes this. And it definitely does exist and is common. I know IRL guys who become depressed because of it, like it's the worst thing ever and their life has no meaning without romance. I don't feel a thing. :$ And it's totally different for me with pure loneliness. At some point I really, really feel that.

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I too have considered trying 1. in light of my recent discoveries about aromantic identities, but not really sure how to go about it. Any ideas? When you say "relevant online communities" what sorts of places are you talking about? Arocalypse, for example? Or, could you 'subvert' the online dating process, writing an online dating profile 'marketed' at aro-spec women? (I've wondered about these sorts of tactics; but like you, I'm too lazy to actually try and put them into practice! :P)

Since I haven't tried it out yet, and I just engaged in lurking, I hesitate to give you any tips. I surely don't want to hit on Arocalypse members here! :):aropride: And they're probably thousands of miles away, anyway. :P

 

Using a normal dating platform works, though it's sub-optimal. If you write something like “dating but nothing serious” a lot will interpret it as meaning “basically looking for casual sex” in online-dating speech. Still, I heard some people thinking that's some sort of playing hard to get. :facepalm:
 

Though, since sex doesn't give me any long-term happiness (there's nothing in it for me than a short “high”) don't wait for me to overcome my laziness.

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I 100% thought that was me, until fairly recently. Then reading about aromantic identities made me question it - but not really come off the fence firmly one side or the other (hence joining this site with a profile that was essentially a question mark, lol). I was hoping conversations on here would help resolve some of the confusion and, in a way, they have. I can relate to some quite specific experiences cited by the people on this site, making me think I am quite possibly aromantic. I'm at the very least leaning more and more towards there being 'something else' going on with me

I thought this for a long, long time or maybe even worse things.


One of the strong hints that it's aromanticism (aside from the obvious ones: no crushes, no real desire for a romantic relationships etc.) and not being dating-challenged is that it doesn't become better despite successes. This is usually not the case for most anxieties people have. Sadly you don't have any such experiences.

None of my romantic “successes” made anything better, instead I always felt horribly guilty because I obviously hurt other people and it felt like the greatest thing in the world was being wasted on me. Also I really wondered if some the stuff hurled at me like “cold-hearted psychopath” was actually true?


I developed an active repulsion to romance gradually and relatively late. Before, romance seemed just strange, silly and boring (yes all of this is possible. Think of dodecaphony ;)). My last fling was the worst and made me give up any further attempts. Nobody told me that 23-year-olds would still be so childish and clingy and would very openly express their love (or infatuation?) and expect you to reciprocate it. The hints were already there when I was like 15: I did not understand the ridiculously silly romantic behavior of my classmates, but then I thought this was just their youth and they took a bit longer to mature than me.

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I'm at the very least leaning more and more towards there being 'something else' going on with me - beyond just a general awkwardness and anxiety around new people compounded by the presence of sexual attraction (which is undeniably a thing for me, lol. Just not enough to account fully, or even mostly, I suspect now, for my lack of romantic/sexual relationships)

My romantic experiences made me awkward in general, because it lead to a lot of self-hate. Also romance-repulsion feels like a very awkward thing to me, I may seem very open about it here, but I sometimes think that's just psycho. But I didn't start that way, so this isn't the reason for me to not be able to avoid getting always dumped.

 

Also, I don't experience sexual attraction out of the blue in neutral situations regularly, something a bit special has to happen. But this doesn't help me at all.

 

To the contrary, sexual attraction is the magic wand for me: It brings heavily romantic stuff (endless tongue-wrestling) suddenly into okay-territory, it gives reciprocating this stuff a certain naturalness that I can't convincingly emulate by just forcing myself. But I'm repeating myself. And it's not like in the non-aroused state I'm cold or robot-like, not at all, I can easily be very emotionally close, I love cuddling etc. since all this is friendly not romantic. Still, that's not enough...

 

Probably you're just too self-conscious about your sexual attraction. I think that it is (if it's not extremely strong) usually more easy to hide than romantic attraction. If you don't look like a glassy-eyed Pervy McPerv, who would notice? And many women will assume you're sexually attracted to them even if you aren't, anyway. ;)

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I've always had issues with aspects of conventional masculinity / expressions of male sexual desire. Stuff like lewd comments and 'marks out of 10' I just found really gross when my male friends did it and it's not the sort of thing I've ever done (or would do)

Yes, I also have issues with this. But this behavior is also mostly associated with guys who only want sex.

 

I can't come up with a single example of a man in fiction who just wants to have sex and is not either a player or sleazeball. Often it adds another insult that the special ~GIRL~ appears to the player, he falls in love, she cures him of his affliction and suddenly his life is fixed! >:(

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

But yeah, I didn't think you were really 'supposed to' want sex without the 'ennobling' aspects of romance to go along with it. So I wasn't really prepared to admit to myself that I wanted sex but not so much all the other stuff! Plus, I grew up in a conventional 'nuclear family' structure with long-term happily-married monogamous parents and that just seemed to me like the 'proper' way to go about these things. So admitting to myself that maybe I wanted something pretty different to that was difficult*.

If everybody had communicated to me that it was completely fine to just want to have sex, rather than doing the exact opposite, I think that I would be far more normal today.

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

Although I wouldn't be interested in 'just sex' - in the sense that I'd have to like anyone I had sex with as a person, find them interesting, consider them a friend, and so on. Would you say the same thing?

Friendship + sex sure sounds far nicer than a mutual sex-delivery contract with nothing else (well, decency and respect of course) – in theory. But aside from finding an aromantic woman, you have a slim chance to get it both from one person without it becoming romantic.

 

To understand this, watch “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. It is a cringe-worthily bad movie (scatological humor included), but it's THE aromantic logic bomb. So in this sense, it's perfect.

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

I mean, friendship and intellectual challenge is also something you can get from guys too - I guess that is what you meant by 'woman qua woman'?

Yes that's what I meant, a very different statement than something horrible like “women are only good for sex”. Also this was a bit of a humorous exaggeration, because there's still one important gender difference left (for me more important than the fact that I find women sexually attractive but not men). But this difference is in my opinion wholly a result of cultural norms.


There's the problem at least in Western culture, that men have a very, very serious problem to be emotionally open, it takes a damn long time and a lot of work to soften them up.

 

So in a very strange way my happiness is nearly dependent on women. O.o Normally this would be no problem, a commandment like

 

“Thou shalt only be emotionally close to people with XX chromosomes”

 

would be just a nuisance, because there are 3.5 billion of 'em around. :)

 

But with this it does not end. Sadistically, friendships to women are extremely devalued, which I absolutely hate, hate, hate, hate. There's just the suspicion lingering around that deep down you just really want to have sex or are secretly pining about her. You're just the loser, who under the guise of friendship secretly hopes for it. And then boyfriends get jealous yadda yadda yadda.

 

I can't say that I don't like sex or that I would never experience sexual attraction to a female friend, but it would be only sporadic and mostly fleeting (!), and sex isn't even remotely number one on my priority list in life. Also, what about bisexuals... are all of their friendships just impure and not real because they are potentially tainted by sexual attraction?

On 4/23/2017 at 9:32 PM, NullVector said:

* The following analogy has recently occurred to me. I'm somebody who really likes books. Now, imagine you told me that I had to pick just one book to read, for the rest of my life. No doubt I'd pick a really good book, one that I'd enjoy reading many times. I'd come to have a very deep understanding of that book and an appreciation for every aspect of what makes it great. Maybe far more so than if I'd spent my time reading a lot of different books instead. But after a while, wouldn't it get a little, I dunno, boring. There'd be so many other perspectives I'd be missing out on! Monogamy starts to seem a bit like that to me these days. I mean, it's not like we're only allowed one friend! Although I'm well aware that everything I just wrote is, for me, entirely hypothetical! xD

I wouldn't have the slightest problem to live monogamously, I don't think it would become boring for me. Sure, I don't see any point in it, it seems like a completely arbitrary rule. It's because allo-romantics feel jealousy, and it causes them to go batshit insane, something which I'm totally, absolutely incapable to understand and strikes me as completely alien. I also don't understand the hate people in open relationships get, they seem perfectly fine to me. But if I would make this promise to live monogamously to my friend I certainly would keep it.

 

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As a woman, I too hate the 'men and women can't be friends' thing. There's a lot of guys who'd have made decent friends with me, but they either came on to me or I panicked and sabotaged the friendship to prevent them coming on to me. I wish I could get to know some guy other than my family who I know for a fact will never want a sexual/romantic relationship with me. (I'm kinda romance-repulsed towards men, and cupioromantic for women and NB folks. Also sex-repulsed for everyone.)     

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On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

I know IRL guys who become depressed because of it, like it's the worst thing ever and their life has no meaning without romance. I don't feel a thing. :$ And it's totally different for me with pure loneliness. At some point I really, really feel that.

 

To be fair, there is a lot of not-so-subtle cultral messaging that essentially says that it is the worst thing ever and their life does have no meaning without romance. No girlfriend = loser and virgin = mega loser are fairly prevalent 'toxic memes' for men to contend with (women have different 'toxic memes' to contend with - see 'slut-shaming', for starters). But yeah, I would be pretty miserable without friends. Lack of a romantic/sexual partner just seems to have less noticeable impact all-round.

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

One of the strong hints that it's aromanticism (aside from the obvious ones: no crushes, no real desire for a romantic relationships etc.) and not being dating-challenged is that it doesn't become better despite successes. This is usually not the case for most anxieties people have. Sadly you don't have any such experiences.

It would help a lot to have had such experiences. I'm just not really willing to 'experiment' on women to find this out if it risks hurting them (which it obviously does). Perhaps I need access to some super-computer somewhere to run a simulation on :P

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

The hints were already there when I was like 15: I did not understand the ridiculously silly romantic behavior of my classmates, but then I thought this was just their youth and they took a bit longer to mature than me.

I actually wrote something very similar to this in the school thread

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

Also, I don't experience sexual attraction out of the blue in neutral situations regularly, something a bit special has to happen.

Happens to me all the time just walking down the street :P

I never can decide if this is a blessing or a curse! xD

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

Probably you're just too self-conscious about your sexual attraction.

Probably. But it's also (and I've mentioned this before) that I've got little confidence in my abilities to express that sexual attraction in an appropriate way. So I basically default to not expressing it at all.

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

There's the problem at least in Western culture, that men have a very, very serious problem to be emotionally open, it takes a damn long time and a lot of work to soften them up.

Yeah, that is a massive problem. Another of those pesky 'aspects of conventional masculinity' that I mentioned!

 

On 4/26/2017 at 2:52 AM, DeltaV said:

I wouldn't have the slightest problem to live monogamously, I don't think it would become boring for me. Sure, I don't see any point in it, it seems like a completely arbitrary rule. It's because allo-romantics feel jealousy, and it causes them to go batshit insane, something which I'm totally, absolutely incapable to understand and strikes me as completely alien. I also don't understand the hate people in open relationships get, they seem perfectly fine to me. But if I would make this promise to live monogamously to my friend I certainly would keep it.

 

Yeah, it all depends. I certainly wouldn't want to rule out a long-term monogamous relationship, if it seemed like I had a good thing going. Just play it by ear, I guess. I absolutely would not 'cheat' on someone (and if I did, well, that would be pretty appalling behaviour by me). Of course 'cheating' and 'open relationship' have nothing to do with one another, as the latter implies mutual consent/agreement. But off the top of my head, I can think of a few potential explanations for that 'hate people in open relationships get' :

 

1) As already mentioned: people may confuse 'open relationship' with 'cheating'. So they think it's unethical on that (mistaken) basis.

 

2) Some people just can't wrap their heads around the concept that other people doing something they would find undesirable or unpleasant actually has no real impact on them, their happiness, or whatever things they do like to do. For some reason I cant quite fathom, they assume a knock-on negative impact to themselves. So they condemn it.

 

3) People love to have their life choices validated :P. Anyone doing something a bit different can be threatening - it forces us to confront the question of whether we've been living our lives in the way most authentic to us, or just following along with a social herd mentality. And if they've been trying (and failing) their entire lives to follow that 'herd mentality' and be happy, then if forces them to confront the even more threatening question: have I wasted my life? They don't want to do that, so denial/anger/condemnation/whatever kicks in to preserve their fragile psyche.

 

 

 

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On 4/27/2017 at 5:37 PM, Ettina said:

As a woman, I too hate the 'men and women can't be friends' thing. There's a lot of guys who'd have made decent friends with me, but they either came on to me or I panicked and sabotaged the friendship to prevent them coming on to me. I wish I could get to know some guy other than my family who I know for a fact will never want a sexual/romantic relationship with me. (I'm kinda romance-repulsed towards men, and cupioromantic for women and NB folks. Also sex-repulsed for everyone.)     

One could write a whole book about what “wanting” means in this case, at least in the case of sex. Probably there are two axes, the first is sexual attraction (it's not consciously wanting, but it's connected to it as it provides the usual motivation):

 

“repulsed” (0)

“none” (1)
“weak, sporadic” (2)

“mostly weak, sometimes moderate” (3)

“moderate” (4)

...
“C-R-A-Z-Y, haze of sexual fantasies, weak in the knees” (9)

[I don't really want to know what could come after that... O.o] (10)

 

And the second axis would be the conscious willingness to have actually have sex:

 

“firm no” (A)

“no, but conflicted” (B)

“open but with reservations if approached” (C)

“open without reservation if approached” (D)
“open and actively giving hints, then stopping if no success” (E)

...

“actively abusing friendship with the sole intention to get sex” (J)

[asshole level beyond description] (K)

 

That's the nuance which gets lost in such discussions and the comfort level is different for everybody. If somebody's friend is at 8-A that's a very horny but very principled person, yet it might be damn uncomfortable to know it. But if something exceeds your comfort level it's not necessarily unethical. Though I guess we all agree that people lingering around at the high end of the second axis are just horrible. Since friendship is the deepest connection I can experience I find it very depressing how one could abuse it in such a way. :aropride:

 

The problem is also the complete lack of honesty here. If somebody totally truthfully would say that they are at 4-B many would interpret it as being 8-J, and saying they are at 6-D would mean it's 10-K. It's a white lies arms-race, like with job applications.

 

I believe that there are only few situations where a 0-A or 1-A can be absolutely guaranteed, no matter what gender or noticeable sexual orientation. There are hidden bisexual tendencies etc. Even aces could because of curiosity or social pressure to lose their virginity move to 1-E.

 

It's usually seen as more honorable to use friendship as a guise (or let's say “instrument”) to get love. Rationally love seems like a much deeper version of friendship, so I would say this might explain it to a certain degree? That's also another question regarding the term “friendzone”, if it would be about sex and not romantic love it would sound nearly comically asshole-like. So I always interpreted it as being about romantic love.

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@DeltaV Your 'sexual wanting-willingness plane' concept is interesting :)  

 

When you came up with it, were you thinking of it as each person having just one point on the plane? (from an average taken across how they feel towards everyone of gender(s) they're attracted to - and across time) Or should we each assign ourselves many separate points on the plane - one for each distinct relationship we have with someone - and with all those points moving around over time? I mean, obviously we would get different number-letter combinations when thinking of different people, and these could change depending on how our relationship with them develops over time. Even an average taken across all people of a particular gender, say, could move around with time - depending on how horny you feel during any given day, for example! :P

 

Averaging across all (female) people and times, I think I'm probably something like a 6-C. Although certain specific women might dial that up to as far as something like a 9-E :$ (it's probably something like a 1-A applied to guys - not much interesting in having sex with them, lol. I'm basically aro-ace for guys). How about you?

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On 4/27/2017 at 8:52 PM, NullVector said:

To be fair, there is a lot of not-so-subtle cultral messaging that essentially says that it is the worst thing ever and their life does have no meaning without romance. No girlfriend = loser and virgin = mega loser are fairly prevalent 'toxic memes' for men to contend with (women have different 'toxic memes' to contend with - see 'slut-shaming', for starters). But yeah, I would be pretty miserable without friends. Lack of a romantic/sexual partner just seems to have less noticeable impact all-round.

I always wonder what's the point of this is. With a lot of sympathy I can see perhaps something well-meaning in the virgin meme, people might think that sex is a basic human experience and maybe if one doesn't do it, develop certain hang-ups, lack of sexual experience might become problematic etc. Still doesn't explain why it's much worse for guys.

 

But having a girlfriend??? I just don't get it. A pure pro-natalist meme would make at least some sense (kind of like in fascist regimes, lol). But strangely childless people are seen as near normal if they have a long-term romantic relationship. I tend to accept the wacky theory that it might threaten capitalism if people would really value other strong connections beyond romantic love, because capitalism works best with an atomized society consisting of couples.
 

Anyway, lovesickness is an emotion that comes from deep within and there is no confusion. Confusion only exists in people who don't really feel it. I've read too many depressing, desperate declarations of lovesickness and I see something far more genuine than in what I personally felt. If it's socialization – which I strongly doubt, there is evidence that the disposition for romantic love is innate – it must be level 4 socialization.

On 4/27/2017 at 8:52 PM, NullVector said:

It would help a lot to have had such experiences. I'm just not really willing to 'experiment' on women to find this out if it risks hurting them (which it obviously does). Perhaps I need access to some super-computer somewhere to run a simulation on :P

If everybody would be so inhibited as you, only hopeless romantics would find each other. It's normal for romantic people feel conflicted, have problems with commitment, find a romantic “adventure” only lukewarm enjoyable (men! – doesn't make them aromantic, that's quite a difference), etc. I could now write a long text what one is supposed to feel, but since this would be only book knowledge, I rather don't do it.

On 4/27/2017 at 8:52 PM, NullVector said:

I actually wrote something very similar to this in the school thread

If one had asked me what the most important thing would be for me in a woman, I would have answered “She has to be mentally very mature and grown-up.”. Who else would say such a thing? :D

On 4/27/2017 at 8:52 PM, NullVector said:

Yeah, it all depends. I certainly wouldn't want to rule out a long-term monogamous relationship, if it seemed like I had a good thing going. Just play it by ear, I guess. I absolutely would not 'cheat' on someone (and if I did, well, that would be pretty appalling behaviour by me). Of course 'cheating' and 'open relationship' have nothing to do with one another, as the latter implies mutual consent/agreement. But off the top of my head, I can think of a few potential explanations for that 'hate people in open relationships get' :

 

1) As already mentioned: people may confuse 'open relationship' with 'cheating'. So they think it's unethical on that (mistaken) basis.

Yes, but one has to consider the strength of moral condemnation of cheating.

 

Cheating to me seems like giving a promise to a friend about something that is extremely important to him but completely incomprehensible to me. Like “Don't ever serve me real coffee, it's against my Mormon faith!”. It would be highly unethical if I don't care and serve him real coffee and tell him it's coffee substitute. That's the only way I can make sense of it. Very differently than for romantics where infidelity directly stirs up strong, extreme emotions and they don't need any such crutches to make sense of it. They don't just see this as a “broken promise”. No, it's that strong.

Quote

The neighbours look relatively bored at the shocking attack.

The horrendous video footage was released by Kundan Srivastava, a human rights activist.
But the clip hasn’t had the full effect that Srivastava was hoping as many people have tried to defend the man’s actions.

 

:gasp:

 

Even in modern Western societies, if you kill somebody in the heat of passion because of sexual infidelity you may qualify for the lesser charge of manslaughter and not murder. What if said Mormon killed me because I served him real coffee...? A religious maniac, lock him up for life! So no “broken promise” analogy really helps to fully understand this.

 

IMHO even the most awkward “loser-aro” is more sane than somebody who goes into a violent rage because of sexual infidelity. :aropride: Though the latter is, while his behavior would not be condoned, still seen as far more normal.

On 4/29/2017 at 11:07 PM, NullVector said:

When you came up with it, were you thinking of it as each person having just one point on the plane? (from an average taken across how they feel towards everyone of gender(s) they're attracted to - and across time) Or should we each assign ourselves many separate points on the plane - one for each distinct relationship we have with someone - and with all those points moving around over time? I mean, obviously we would get different number-letter combinations when thinking of different people, and these could change depending on how our relationship with them develops over time. Even an average taken across all people of a particular gender, say, could move around with time - depending on how horny you feel during any given day, for example! :P

I had in mind how much you're willing to have sex with your friends, see point J, but this can easily generalized.

 

What's on the first axis can of course change over time, but I didn't have short term changes in mind, more like how you feel during normal activities. So sitting together naked in the sauna and chatting about sexual topics is not included. Because with something like this we can easily reach 8 and 9.

On 4/29/2017 at 11:07 PM, NullVector said:

Averaging across all (female) people and times, I think I'm probably something like a 6-C. Although certain specific women might dial that up to as far as something like a 9-E :$ (it's probably something like a 1-A applied to guys - not much interesting in having sex with them, lol. I'm basically aro-ace for guys). How about you?

It difficult to give an average here, but there's no way in the world it's that low for guys all-times for me. Because my homo- & then bisexual phase went on for quite some years, though I don't remember exactly when attraction to guys tapered off completely.

 

In my teens something like 8-A to 8-C for my male friends was common, even 9-C happened (in the bi-phase girls turned me on helluva lot, too. Not any less). And, yeah, I admit it now, I had same-sex experiences. Same-sex was actually my first sexual experience1: a hot boy tried to seduce me, and... I just couldn't resist. :$ Of course, I felt guilty, like every time. My father made more than a casual homophobic remark at home. He's not Fred Phelps, but like “I need a medal that I'm tolerant about such perverted behavior”.

 

So, in a sense, sex was mostly attached with guilt trips. Opposite-sex experiences also, because I even felt some kind of resentment (all the romantic stuff thrown at me was so weird and suffocating) against my partner deep down, which obviously felt like using them.

 

And as already said and to be very precise using AVEN definitions, my libido did never decrease, but the strength of sexual attraction over the years decreased to a much weaker or rather non-distracting :P level2. Now it's far more situational. In a normal context I would say 2 – 4 is usual for women in my age group and younger. But up to 6 can sometimes be eked out in normal context, 7 very rarely. And I'm A or B regarding my female friends, it just does not work, period.

 

So that's again one of my exhibitionistic post, really shouldn't do those anymore. Because it's kind of silly, that I of all people do it. And no, I'm not secretly gay (if it only would be that easy), I wouldn't have any problems to “admit” that now.

 

1 I think it would have been relaxing to file this as “lost virginity: done” – but I thought it didn't count: handjobs and oral sex with a girl wouldn't have counted either!

2 Decrease of libido on the other hand, if it comes sudden, might hint at endocrinological problems, which was also one of the motivations to read on AVEN. Not that anyone wonders, because a lot of what I write doesn't sound remotely asexual. Usually I confound libido and sexual attraction, but they're different.

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15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I tend to accept the wacky theory that it might threaten capitalism if people would really value other strong connections beyond romantic love, because capitalism works best with an atomized society consisting of couples.

Well, you aren't the only one ;) 

 

15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

If everybody would be so inhibited as you, only hopeless romantics would find each other.

Hmm. I think you're right there. I tend towards being extremely over-cautious as a person. I should probably try taking more minor risks...

 

15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

If one had asked me what the most important thing would be for me in a woman, I would have answered “She has to be mentally very mature and grown-up.”. Who else would say such a thing? :D

I mean, sure, if I tried to have an interesting conversation about science or philosophy with some hot girl and she only stared blankly at me or looked at me like I just made a bad smell (!) well, that would be the biggest turn-off xD 

 

15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Cheating to me seems like giving a promise to a friend about something that is extremely important to him but completely incomprehensible to me. Like “Don't ever serve me real coffee, it's against my Mormon faith!”. It would be highly unethical if I don't care and serve him real coffee and tell him it's coffee substitute. That's the only way I can make sense of it. Very differently than for romantics where infidelity directly stirs up strong, extreme emotions and they don't need any such crutches to make sense of it. They don't just see this as a “broken promise”.

I think I proably see it like you. But I can't say for sure - it might change in a relationship (maybe I would get some jelous feelinge, etc?)

 

15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

In my teens something like 8-A to 8-C for my male friends was common, even 9-C happened (in the bi-phase girls turned me on helluva lot, too. Not any less). And, yeah, I admit it now, I had same-sex experiences. Same-sex was actually my first sexual experience1: a hot boy tried to seduce me, and... I just couldn't resist. :$ Of course, I felt guilty, like every time. My father made more than a casual homophobic remark at home. He's not Fred Phelps, but like “I need a medal that I'm tolerant about such perverted behavior”.

 

Well, I'm sorry you had to go through that kind of judgement and were made to feel guilty about those experiences :( 

I get the impression that bisexuality (or any experimentation in that direction) is still not very socially accepted for guys. Almost like it's totally fine for a guy to be gay (or heterosexual, obviously) but being bisexual is still seen as a bit beyond the pale (whereas bisexuality / bisexual 'experimentation' is much less of an issue for girls?) I don't know why that would be - it seems really arbitrary and unfair and stupid to me >:( These are just impressions I have, mind. Not sure if they're accurate or not...

 

I could just be internalising that cultural bi-phobia, but I don't think there's even a little bit of bisexuality in me! I can find male bodies aesthetically attractive (nicely proportioned muscles, etc.) but they just don't do things to me in the way that female bodes do, lol. There's just something inexplicably yummy about soft, feminine curves :$. I'm really drawn (sexually) to everything in women that highlights any sort of pronounced average difference vs. men's bodies.

 

15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Usually I confound libido and sexual attraction, but they're different.

Can you elaborate a bit? I'm not really familiar with the AVEN definitions. I'm guessing somebody with high libido and low/no sexual attraction might, say, masturbate a lot, but have no real motivation to enagage in partnered sex? (and wouldn't fantasise about that whilst they masturbate?)

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Well, you can have a high libido but never have it actually point at another person and go "hey, I want that one!" xD I'm guessing many people can't separate them or even realise they're not the same thing.

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On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

Not again. :D I've read about this in an article by the anthropologist Charles Lindholm. You too?

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

Hmm. I think you're right there. I tend towards being extremely over-cautious as a person. I should probably try taking more minor risks...

It kind of would be great to know what this “spark”, which one should feel at dating, is like. That would help a lot, but I can't make sense of it. I can understand crushes, because they are so extreme. But this “chemistry” or “spark” is just too subtle. Anyway, just don't drag it on for a long time (“long” for romantic standards. In dating guides you read stuff like one shouldn't say “I love you” before two months... O.o).

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

I mean, sure, if I tried to have an interesting conversation about science or philosophy with some hot girl and she only stared blankly at me or looked at me like I just made a bad smell (!) well, that would be the biggest turn-off xD 

But you can be highly intelligent and still hopelessly romantic. ;) I probably described something like “aromantic” with “mature and grown-up” because I didn't know the term then.

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

Well, I'm sorry you had to go through that kind of judgement and were made to feel guilty about those experiences :( 

Thank you. On the positive side, I think that the last 10 – 12 years have made some difference, probably less an issue for teenagers today.

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

I get the impression that bisexuality (or any experimentation in that direction) is still not very socially accepted for guys. Almost like it's totally fine for a guy to be gay (or heterosexual, obviously) but being bisexual is still seen as a bit beyond the pale (whereas bisexuality / bisexual 'experimentation' is much less of an issue for girls?) I don't know why that would be - it seems really arbitrary and unfair and stupid to me >:( These are just impressions I have, mind. Not sure if they're accurate or not...

They still are. And I don't know why... Maybe it's because men are supposed to “take a clear stand” and it's okay for women to be undecided and flaky?

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

I could just be internalising that cultural bi-phobia, but I don't think there's even a little bit of bisexuality in me! I can find male bodies aesthetically attractive (nicely proportioned muscles, etc.) but they just don't do things to me in the way that female bodes do, lol. There's just something inexplicably yummy about soft, feminine curves :$. I'm really drawn (sexually) to everything in women that highlights any sort of pronounced average difference vs. men's bodies.

Like with asexuality: If you have to ask yourself, you don't really feel it.

 

And similarly it's correct to say that I am heterosexual. But who knows how much sexual plasticity one has. If I notice that I feel sexual attraction at men, I'm going to change my profile.

 

Now to this:

On 5/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, NullVector said:

Can you elaborate a bit? I'm not really familiar with the AVEN definitions. I'm guessing somebody with high libido and low/no sexual attraction might, say, masturbate a lot, but have no real motivation to enagage in partnered sex? (and wouldn't fantasise about that whilst they masturbate?)

and

On 5/1/2017 at 8:13 PM, Untamed Heart said:

Well, you can have a high libido but never have it actually point at another person and go "hey, I want that one!" xD I'm guessing many people can't separate them or even realise they're not the same thing.

What I'm thinking of is the difference between:

  1. How many orgasm can you “produce” per week? How fast do you get grumpy without “physical release” (masturbation).
  2. How strong do you feel sexual attraction? How inelastic is the impulse to have sex? How easy is it to set off? How much problems do you have to tolerate a long time without sex?

It's possible that one scores “high” regarding 1 and just “medium” on 2.

 

The extreme case of an asexual scoring high on 1 and zero on 2 is difficult to imagine for me.

 

But I also can't see how anybody would chose a year without broadband Internet access over a year without sex. Do you even have to think about this? And sex is at the base of Maslow's hierarchy while broadband doesn't even appear! :D

 

So basically, male sexual desire is a mystery to me like female sexual desire.

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17 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Not again. :D I've read about this in an article by the anthropologist Charles Lindholm. You too?

Nope! Had to google him. I come to all sorts of weird conclusions by myself ;) (well, I do read some anarchist stuff)

Have you got a link to the article?

 

17 hours ago, DeltaV said:

But I also can't see how anybody would chose a year without broadband Internet access over a year without sex. Do you even have to think about this? And sex is at the base of Maslow's hierarchy while broadband doesn't even appear! :D

 

Well, honestly, I would take that deal at this point, lol. But I am something of a special case. As you were saying earlier "people might think that sex is a basic human experience and maybe if one doesn't do it, develop certain hang-ups, lack of sexual experience might become problematic etc." Well, yup. My experience is that these things do become more difficult and worrisome when you didn't develop that basic "sexual skill-set" as a young person (20s, say) to give you some confidence. People also have the (understandable) tendancy to ask "why not?" - and may expect that only some kind of underlying pathology can answer it...(again, especially if you're a guy, is my impression).

 

 

 

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On 5/3/2017 at 7:47 PM, NullVector said:

Have you got a link to the article?

Here, found it in an anthology about romantic love. But don't expect to much, it's mentioned together with other observations about romantic love. And I probably extrapolated a bit on my own on the basis of this.

On 5/3/2017 at 7:47 PM, NullVector said:

Well, honestly, I would take that deal at this point, lol. But I am something of a special case. As you were saying earlier "people might think that sex is a basic human experience and maybe if one doesn't do it, develop certain hang-ups, lack of sexual experience might become problematic etc." Well, yup. My experience is that these things do become more difficult and worrisome when you didn't develop that basic "sexual skill-set" as a young person (20s, say) to give you some confidence. People also have the (understandable) tendancy to ask "why not?" - and may expect that only some kind of underlying pathology can answer it...(again, especially if you're a guy, is my impression).

I don't think that there is a basic sexual skill-set, what should that be? Or if there is one, installing a RAM stick is massively more difficult. So it's more confidence itself, that's the problem.

 

I think that strong (lack of self-esteem | social inhibitions) + aromanticism (yes, I know you're an “?”) is pretty much a killer combo. Aromanticism, I don't call that a pathology of course, and it would be futile anyway because there isn't a way to make aros feel romantic attraction (though I guess, there are ways to help them indirectly). I've seen a documentary about a guy who literally suffered from Tourette syndrome and ... had a pretty girlfriend. The list of examples from such “you can't believe it” people is really long... including very socially inhibited ones. So maybe, I guess, there are certain, let's say, conditions that cause it, the killer combo mentioned would be an example, but there isn't anything sinister or extreme about them, they are just very efficient in this area.

 

As an analogy, I know somebody who does scuba diving and suffers from multiple sclerosis (“I'm diving as long as I can!”). Obviously MS is a severe illness that can massively impact the quality of life. But something perfectly treatable (hey, it goes away on it's own) and with no lasting impact in any other areas of life at all, like having had a pneumothorax once – so we're talking about a pretty much completely healthy person –, means “No diving for you anymore. Period.”.

 

Aromanticism just directly, severely impacts one's “ability” to be in a romantic relationship (the desire isn't there and from my own experience and from what I've read here, romantic love doesn't even intuitively make sense for aros) and by this it can close off the standard way to have a sexual experiences. Even if an aro can get sex easily, they have a far higher chance to run into all sorts of problems.

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20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I don't think that there is a basic sexual skill-set, what should that be?

 

I wasn't referring here to the literal mechanics of sex (lol). More the inter-personal negotiations that would go on around it. I think you could charaterise that as a skill-set. Like how you would get more proficient and comfortable at, say, chairing meetings, if that's something you did a lot. In that sense, normative gender roles are again problematic here, because there's often an assumption that men will take the initiative with sex (which also links in with confidence issues - it's hard to have confidence around an activity you lack actual experience in).

 

20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I think that strong (lack of self-esteem | social inhibitions) + aromanticism (yes, I know you're an “?”) is pretty much a killer combo

 

Okay then: just for you, I've gone ahead and edited my profile a little ;) Seriously though, I was starting to feel dishonest with the pure "?", as I relate too much to too many specific things that people post on here. The one point that still has me questioning is whether I've experienced any romantic "crushes" in the past. Previously, I assumed I had - but I think I may have just confused this with strong sexual attraction for a particular woman. Do you think there is any simple 'acid-test' to distinguish a romantic from a purely sexual "crush"?

 

 

20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Aromanticism just directly, severely impacts one's “ability” to be in a romantic relationship (the desire isn't there and from my own experience and from what I've read here, romantic love doesn't even intuitively make sense for aros) and by this it can close off the standard way to have a sexual experiences.

 

Yeah, I think that's it for me. I've overcome social inhibitions in all sorts of other areas of life, so I'm pretty sure I would have been able to get myself into a romantic-sexual relationship by now: if the intrinsic motivation to do so was really present in me to any noticable degree.

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Also, I read the article by Charles Lindholm that you linked. Here, have some of my off-topic ramblings ;) 

Spoiler

 

Quote

For lovers love provides “a kind of secular salvation… that could redeem their entire existence, even though they might die of it.” As the philosopher Roberto Unger has remarked, this ideal is “the most influential mode of moral vision in our culture." Powerful cultural images of romance relentlessly invade, motivate and animate ordinary lives – not only for those who are in hot pursuit of the dream of love but also for cynics who want to debunk love as a mere mask for sexual desire.

 

Yeah, that's part of what I was trying to get at here. I think that romantic love has largely stepped in to take on the social role of God, heaven and transcendance through religious contemplation in a largely post-Christian, state-capitalist, secular-liberal society (it's the 20th/21st century's 'Opiate of The Masses', if you like). And the 'Masters Of The Universe' are totally fine with that - you're welcome to love intensely in that way - so long as you confine it to one 'significant other' and keep it outside of standard working hours. To me, that's nowhere near enough. People should ask for more than that out of love.

 

And the essay itself ends on a similar theme:

Quote

Giddens assumes that romantic love is likely to vanish in favor of utilitarian pure relationships where idealization is replaced by calculation. Sociobiologists would argue that this is impossible because of a human genetic predisposition for idealization. A more anthropological/psychological approach, which I favor, would affirm that romance can indeed fade, but that the hope for something other than the daily routine and the practical pleasures cannot, and will instead find expression through some other compelling imaginary of the sacred – perhaps in charismatic collectives, perhaps in other, as yet unknown forms. I believe that when we think about “what we talk about when we talk about love” we need to remember that human beings always want to exceed their concrete lives and be more than rational maximizers of cultural goals. This existential desire is the source of the human yearning for the sacred. Romantic love is a modern form that this yearning takes, offering salvation in this world, if only in imagination

 

Just so long as it's "only in imagination" - then it's not a threat to state-capitalism.

 

There's also some stuff in the middle that caught my eye:

Quote

It is very often assumed by Western social scientists and philosophers that the Western ideal of romantic love serves primarily as a socially acceptable reason to engage in sexual intercourse

 

Well, wouldn't it be interesting if an unusually high number of historically prominent Western social scientists and philosophers were actually aro-sexuals? :D:aropride:

 

Quote

A great body of literary evidence clearly indicates that a powerful ideology of romantic love was well developed, at least among the elite, in many premodern non-Western complex societies, such as Japan, China, India, and the Middle East, as well as among our own cultural ancestors in ancient Greece, Rome and elsewhere. In all of these cases there are remarkable similarities to our own modern experience of love, as well as some striking differences. The most obvious and surprising difference is that in every one of these cultures love and marriage were at odds with one another. As Seneca wrote: "To love one's wife with an ardent passion is to commit adultery."

 

It's interesting if this conflation of the romantic/amorous with the domestic/economic is a relatively recent development. It was one of the main points in Elizabeth Brake's book Minimising Marriage that you really ought to be able to separate these two things - both conceptually and legally. One thing I particualrly liked in that section was a letter she quoted from a 12th century Christian nun, Heloise, to her former husband, the monk Peter Abelard:

 

Quote

I never sought anything in you except yourself; I wanted simply you, nothing of yours. I looked for no marriage bond, no marriage position, as it was not my own pleasures and wishes I sought to gratify, as you well know, but yours. The name of wife may seem more sacred or more binding, but sweeter for me will always be the word friend (amicca), or, if you will permit me, that of concubine or whore.

 

Again, the amorous-economic conflation is not universal across cultures - as an example, you might recall my post mentioning the Mosuo people - they enforce a strict separation between the two. I think an arrangement like theirs sounds great (I think I probably wouldn't like to live with somebody I was amorously involved with - but it seems like this is a bit taboo as a long-term arrangement in our society...).

 

Overall, it felt like he touched on a lot of different ideas, but left them mostly under-developed. But I guess that's part of his point - this stuff has been left under-developed by anthropologists. The question of how universal the 'romantic' experience and 'romance' as a social construct really are would be an interesiting one to have more research done on. For instance, I was reading elsewhere on this forum that romantic/sexual behaviours like kissing that we might take for granted as universalised across cultures really aren't.

 

 

 

 

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On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

I wasn't referring here to the literal mechanics of sex (lol).

Yeah, I suspected it. :D But there are a lot of involuntary reactions involved and it helps to be relaxed about it.

On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

More the inter-personal negotiations that would go on around it. I think you could charaterise that as a skill-set. Like how you would get more proficient and comfortable at, say, chairing meetings, if that's something you did a lot.

Yes, but this is not something easily done. Of course an early “diagnosis” of aromanticism might help to go what's the easiest route for oneself, even it is the more difficult route for the average person. But a late “diagnosis” may cause one to do nothing (no skills) or like me the exact opposite (and leave a hell of a lot of baggage).

 

Now, if I knew a solution to your “problem”, I surely wouldn't make a secret of it.

 

We also run into the problem that people who desire sex without romance are seen as sex-obsessed – and I assume that it is true that sex has to be a very high priority in your life if you experience average romantic attraction and still are only content with sex of a sort which a normal monogamous, romantic relationship cannot provide – so we're dealing with a very special “community” here. But it's possible to be a hard aro and have a low sex drive, yet still want sex strictly without romance attached.

 

If you excuse another of my strange analogies, it kind of feels like a nerdy mathematician visiting a Casino to try his Black Jack strategy. The people who normally go there are very different, be it the suave high-roller or the gambling addict.

On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

In that sense, normative gender roles are again problematic here, because there's often an assumption that men will take the initiative with sex (which also links in with confidence issues - it's hard to have confidence around an activity you lack actual experience in).

It could very well be the case that men naturally have a higher sex drive than women. ;)

But as I said in the female sexual desire thread, sex studies have a serious problem to track the truth (and this is decisively proven), so such a vague statement – it may be absolutely true  – is worth nothing as long as we cannot reliably quantify it,

On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

Okay then: just for you, I've gone ahead and edited my profile a little ;) 

I always wanted you to become one of us. :D

On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

Seriously though, I was starting to feel dishonest with the pure "?", as I relate too much to too many specific things that people post on here. The one point that still has me questioning is whether I've experienced any romantic "crushes" in the past. Previously, I assumed I had - but I think I may have just confused this with strong sexual attraction for a particular woman. Do you think there is any simple 'acid-test' to distinguish a romantic from a purely sexual "crush"?

Pure sexual “mesmerization” typically lacks any emotional warmth (that crushes and also squishes have). There may be a honest admiration of the person's beauty, sexiness, etc., but nothing more. It may make the person the center of your sexual fantasies, but not your universe.

 

Aside from strong sexual attraction usually feeling cold it can also feel selfish and possibly ego-dystonic. One does not have crushes on succubi (or, uh, for completeness sake incubi)!!! :D

 

There's also a distinct childishness (I really tried to say this non-cynically) about a crush (that also distinguishes crushes from squishes): you care strongly about minor non-sexual details, for example, you find a certain mannerism insanely cute. With a crush there's a feeling that you just want her in your life, and it's typically inexplicable what you could “gain” by it and why you want it. There may be a silly or absurd idealization of the person. Full-blown romantic love in its manic phase can go so far that you think “As long as I am together with her, whatever fate throws at me, I'm happy.” – the usual crush is not that strong, but it at least hints at this feeling.

On 5/5/2017 at 8:33 PM, NullVector said:

Yeah, I think that's it for me. I've overcome social inhibitions in all sorts of other areas of life, so I'm pretty sure I would have been able to get myself into a romantic-sexual relationship by now: if the intrinsic motivation to do so was really present in me to any noticable degree.

I think that even lukewarm romantic feelings (commitment-phobia) would be enough.

 

Were there ever clear-cut instances of romantic attraction directed at you? How did that feel?

12 hours ago, NullVector said:

Well, wouldn't it be interesting if an unusually high number of historically prominent Western social scientists and philosophers were actually aro-sexuals? :D:aropride:

I thought the exact same thing. :D I also agree with everything you wrote in your last post. Don't have anything to add to it.

12 hours ago, NullVector said:

Overall, it felt like he touched on a lot of different ideas, but left them mostly under-developed.

Also to analyze romantic love in such breadth and still with reasonable depth can probably only be done in a book.

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20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Of course an early “diagnosis” of aromanticism might help to go what's the easiest route for oneself, even it is the more difficult route for the average person. But a late “diagnosis” may cause one to do nothing (no skills) or like me the exact opposite (and leave a hell of a lot of baggage).

How I wish I'd been on this forum 10 years ago!

 

20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

If you excuse another of my strange analogies, it kind of feels like a nerdy mathematician visiting a Casino to try his Black Jack strategy. The people who normally go there are very different, be it the suave high-roller or the gambling addict.

 

I like this analogy! (it also made me think of this xD)

I'm curious what sort of 'blackjack strategies' you've tried! My preference would be towards being totally transparent from the start - but I've heard you say before that it's just not really possible in practice. So, at what point would you generally break it to them that you're not interested in following these steps - that this relationship, at least from the typical allo-romantic's perspective, "isn't going to go anywhere"? And how do most people react to that, in your experience? Probably not always well, I'd imagine :( Perhaps the source of some of that "baggage" you referred to?

 

20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Pure sexual “mesmerization” typically lacks any emotional warmth (that crushes and also squishes have). There may be a honest admiration of the person's beauty, sexiness, etc., but nothing more. It may make the person the center of your sexual fantasies, but not your universe.

 

I've thought about this question a lot recently and arrived at similar conclusions/wordings in my head. So thanks for the vindication :)

"The center of your sexual fantasies" - oh boy, definitely that :P. But those fantasies never, I don't think, extended to picturing our 'perfect life togther' (2.4 kids, weddings and white picket fences, or anything of that ilk). I don't know what allo-romantic people would typically fantasise about in that context - but probably more than just the combination of sex and interesting conversations / a strong intellectual connection? (those were about the outer limits of my person-specific fantasies, I reckon). If you'd asked me to honestly summarise what I wanted from a partner, it would have been along the lines of: "just somebody who I can really talk to - and want to have sex with!" (or, even shorter: sexy and not boring!)

 

20 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Were there ever clear-cut instances of romantic attraction directed at you? How did that feel?

 

Good question! Unfortunately, in my experience, women are rarely "clear-cut" about these sorts of things xD (gender norms strike again!)

I've never been directly 'asked out', for example - which is something that I understand happens to most women fairly often (along with general low-level harrassment, unwanted "compliments", etc.). However, there were a handful of situations where it seemed like someone might have "liked me" like that - and, had I acted on those intuitions, I could potentially have gotten myself into relationships with them. And what surprised me was that the idea of their "liking" me - and me actually reciprocating that "liking" - freaked me out quite a bit! (my 'reflex reaction' was a sort of: "Woah there girl! Slow that thing down! Back it up a little!" :rofl:

 

I assumed that a romantic relationship was something I really, really wanted, but then, when the opportunity seemed to finally be there for the taking, I didn't act on it. A lot of 'stuff' was going on at a subconscious level, I now reckon. For instance, I invented some (in hindsight) fairly nonsensical rationalisations as to why a romantic relationship with this particular person couldn't possibly work - and so it was pointless to even try pursuing one in the first place. I just assumed I had pretty high standards, or other immediate priorities, or something (well, maybe 'aromantic' just means that your 'standards' for a romantic relationship are set to 'infinite' and the 'prioritisation' is set to 'zero'?! :D)

 

Later, when I first started reading about romantic identities, I resonated most of all with the descriptions of lithromanticism - based on those experiences I just mentioned. I still assumed I really had felt romantic attraction - but that it then disappeared or morphed into active repulsion/freakout if it was ever reciprocated. But now, I'm not convinced I ever actually felt it in the first place... I maybe just figured I was "supposed to" - on the basis that romantic desire is the 'done and decent' ancillary to (strong) sexual desire. The 'killer-combo' of so much cultural-level romantic propaganda (we're practically swimming in the stuff! as I said here) - plus adult role models who all followed conventional 'virtuous' relationship patterns - could have lead to that level of self-denial / self-alienation / lack of self-awareness / all-around confliction in me, I reckon.

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You're asking a lot of things I don't have first-hand knowledge of or only experienced in special circumstances. Keep that in mind. Maybe someone more experienced than me could write about it. PLEASE!!

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

I like this analogy! (it also made me think of this xD)

I'm curious what sort of 'blackjack strategies' you've tried! My preference would be towards being totally transparent from the start - but I've heard you say before that it's just not really possible in practice.

You have to think with your right hemisphere here. :)

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

So, at what point would you generally break it to them that you're not interested in following these steps

First I would find it extremely weird to be so technical.

 

In the correct context (if you end up having sex shortly after approaching somebody not-so-romantically), saying that you don't want a romantic relationship is not strange.

 

IMHO the earliest acceptable point is when a sexual encounter is imminent (there was some obvious physical contact). It's still awkward, yet probably the “maximally” honest thing you can do n our culture. Probably “talking” after the first sexual encounter is far more usual.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

that this relationship, at least from the typical allo-romantic's perspective, "isn't going to go anywhere"?

Well I didn't want to suggest that fwb/fb arrangements are exotic, they obviously are not. But they are usually just unstable “fillers” rarely surviving a few months. So it's normally the more difficult route and, I believe, to pull this off consistently is rare and only a pretty special type of person focuses on them.

 

Something like users are talking about on this board, a (sexual) QPR ... expect an allergic reaction or just not to be understood.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

And how do most people react to that, in your experience?

If everything points to “romantic relationship”, how do you think would they react? Well, right. Not so well. :D But in the correct context, it's probably not going to get worse than a curt rejection.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

Probably not always well, I'd imagine :( Perhaps the source of some of that "baggage" you referred to?

I was perhaps unclear here. My baggage comes from short romantic relationship (I really dislike it to even use this term for them) where romance was thrown at me massively and I relied on left-hemispheric raw computational power to make it work (I think my right hemisphere works okay, but romance was just left out of it), which left me romance-repulsed (I don't think it's something with the acts itself that repulse me, but more how they are meant, the mens rea, lol. ;) Hopefully I'm able to have “self-discovery” casual sex to find out).

 

I fear I have some neurotic tendencies, because other aros have no problems with that, they just go along with it until they are dumped (or they dislike it and leave shortly without any problems):

 

“I am actually in the same situation, I've been with my girlfriend for 2+ years now and we've been best friends for a long time and it's as you say she's emotionless. In her own words she cares for me like she would a best friend but tells me she loves me to make me feel better about the whole thing. She says that it's not just me she never feels "love" romantically. We always have fun and we live together and are engaged, but sometimes I wonder if it's just because she's afraid no one else will be as patient as me.”

 

textbook-aro. :D From here.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

I don't know what allo-romantic people would typically fantasise about in that context - but probably more than just the combination of sex and interesting conversations / a strong intellectual connection?

Definitely yes.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

Good question! Unfortunately, in my experience, women are rarely "clear-cut" about these sorts of things xD (gender norms strike again!)

I have been directly asked out twice clear-cut romantically. The first time it just felt strange (as everything surrounding romance), the second time I already had more than enough of it.

 

It's kind of sad that we have to play lay-psychologists here, because of the near complete lack of professional research about aromanticism. The distinction between aromantic aversion to romance and a phobic reaction because of fear of failure is really important and we have to be very careful not to do any damage.

 

Still what you write, in my view, very strongly points to aromantic aversion (less extreme than repulsion). I also experienced freak-outs at some later point and I tried hard to push through and it just got worse. I believed that romantic feelings would still come. "Woah there girl! Slow that thing down! Back it up a little!" – imagine that going on for weeks! And all the guilty feelings on top of that.

On 5/7/2017 at 10:09 PM, NullVector said:

Later, when I first started reading about romantic identities, I resonated most of all with the descriptions of lithromanticism - based on those experiences I just mentioned. I still assumed I really had felt romantic attraction - but that it then disappeared or morphed into active repulsion/freakout if it was ever reciprocated. But now, I'm not convinced I ever actually felt it in the first place... I maybe just figured I was "supposed to" - on the basis that romantic desire is the 'done and decent' ancillary to (strong) sexual desire. The 'killer-combo' of so much cultural-level romantic propaganda (we're practically swimming in the stuff! as I said here) - plus adult role models who all followed conventional 'virtuous' relationship patterns - could have lead to that level of self-denial / self-alienation / lack of self-awareness / all-around confliction in me, I reckon.

I think that you put it very mildly. If you would admit to anyone that you want sex strictly without romance attached and additionally that you had sex a long time ago, you would be literally the worst.

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23 hours ago, DeltaV said:

You're asking a lot of things I don't have first-hand knowledge of or only experienced in special circumstances. Keep that in mind. Maybe someone more experienced than me could write about it. PLEASE!!

 

Sorry about all the questions! I'm not expecting you to be my therapist here. Honest! ;) So apologies if that's the dynamic I seem to be creating, it's not the intention. I'm just interested in what you have to say about this stuff and enjoy reading your responses. My interaction style on this site is a bit different to real life too, cos there's opportunuties here to ask questions and share stuff that you wouldn't typically be able to ask/share 'out there'.  I'm not anything like this much 'work' in real life (well, at least I hope not xD)

 

23 hours ago, DeltaV said:

First I would find it extremely weird to be so technical.

 

I wouldn't talk about it using precisely the same terms as in the article I linked, or with anything like that level of detailed breakdown. But I would express some sort of interest in pursuing an 'unconventional' relationship and begin querying whether a 'conventional' relationship is something they would strongly desire or not. That would lead into what the ingredients of a conventioanl relationship are and what sort of 'recipe' we'd want to cook up instead... (I like Relationship Anarchy as a concept)

 

23 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Something like users are talking about on this board, a (sexual) QPR ... expect an allergic reaction or just not to be understood.

 

Well "allergic reaction" made me laugh, but also feel a bit sad, simultaneously.

I dunno though, if even only 1% or even 0.1% of people were potentially receptive to this sort of thing, but you're able to introduce the concepts into casual conversations to see if they bite the 'hook' - well who knows (I leave these sorts of conversational 'hooks' dangling all the time in my attemps to scope out and befriend fellow weirdos :D)

 

 

23 hours ago, DeltaV said:

It's kind of sad that we have to play lay-psychologists here, because of the near complete lack of professional research about aromanticism. The distinction between aromantic aversion to romance and a phobic reaction because of fear of failure is really important and we have to be very careful not to do any damage.

 

More research would be good. What sort of potential "damage" would you have in mind here though? (sorry, more questions :P). Discouraging somebody to work on an actual phobia by encouraging them to adopt a (false, in their case) aromantic identity instead - could that be one example? In my case though, I'd say don't worry about that: I'm neither especially fragile nor suggestible when it comes to one person's opinons. Even yours ;)

 

23 hours ago, DeltaV said:

If you would admit to anyone that you want sex strictly without romance attached and additionally that you had sex a long time ago, you would be literally the worst.

 

I'd say that's their problem/issue, not yours. You're doing absolutely nothing wrong here if you're being honest about it from the outset. But there's also the preliminary step of admitting it to yourself and not thinking to yourself that you're "literally the worst" - whether conscously or subconsciously. I think I found that a difficult preliminary step to take in starting getting on board with aromantic identities - maybe you as well? (sorry, now I'm playing lay-psychologist :P)

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On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

I wouldn't talk about it using precisely the same terms as in the article I linked, or with anything like that level of detailed breakdown. But I would express some sort of interest in pursuing an 'unconventional' relationship and begin querying whether a 'conventional' relationship is something they would strongly desire or not. That would lead into what the ingredients of a conventioanl relationship are and what sort of 'recipe' we'd want to cook up instead... (I like Relationship Anarchy as a concept)

I simply don't know how well this works, you have of course more freedom if it's done online.

On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

Well "allergic reaction" made me laugh, but also feel a bit sad, simultaneously.

I dunno though, if even only 1% or even 0.1% of people were potentially receptive to this sort of thing, but you're able to introduce the concepts into casual conversations to see if they bite the 'hook' - well who knows (I leave these sorts of conversational 'hooks' dangling all the time in my attemps to scope out and befriend fellow weirdos :D)

If you can pull that off, great. I wouldn't know how to do this, outside of my circle of close friends. Only a small minority of people are aromantics (I guess) so it's like: How do you casually introduce that you really like Nietzsche in an evangelical church coffee morning..? “Oh, I recently read a poem by Nietzsche and I thought this wasn't so bad... stylistically...” O.o

On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

Discouraging somebody to work on an actual phobia by encouraging them to adopt a (false, in their case) aromantic identity instead - could that be one example?

Yes, mainly this.

On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

In my case though, I'd say don't worry about that: I'm neither especially fragile nor suggestible when it comes to one person's opinons. Even yours ;)

Very good! :D

On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

I'd say that's their problem/issue, not yours. You're doing absolutely nothing wrong here if you're being honest about it from the outset. But there's also the preliminary step of admitting it to yourself and not thinking to yourself that you're "literally the worst" - whether conscously or subconsciously.

I would say that two things helped me here:

  • having a normal sex life isn't a high priority in my life (okay, combined with aromanticism this makes you kind of a sexless being, but I can live with that).
  • I honestly find romantic love to be pretty shallow, too. Heteroromantic love mystifies the other gender as if there was something super-special about it.

What still bugs me is that lack of sexual activity is in our strange world seen as creepy, too (did I already mention that? Oh, yes...). Sorry, but it doesn't get any safer than that! It might be unfortunate for the person who is sexually not active, but it's surely not creepy, godamit.

 

I guess, it's suspected that somebody who is celibate for a long time has accumulated so much sexual energy that he's like a ticking time bomb who is to going explode any minute. :facepalm:

On 5/9/2017 at 9:33 PM, NullVector said:

I think I found that a difficult preliminary step to take in starting getting on board with aromantic identities - maybe you as well? (sorry, now I'm playing lay-psychologist :P)

Yes, it's true. But even on this board we have posts like this. I agree with everything in here, but what's the “real problem” actually? Are allo-aro men more likely to be misogynists?

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21 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I simply don't know how well this works, you have of course more freedom if it's done online.

 

As usual for me, it's all hypothetical :D

 

21 hours ago, DeltaV said:

If you can pull that off, great.

 

Well, of course, it only work 0.1-1% of the time! :P The other 99.0-99.9% of the time you get *blank expression* / *person slowly edges away from you in search of somebody normal to talk to* xD 

 

21 hours ago, DeltaV said:

What still bugs me is that lack of sexual activity is in our strange world seen as creepy, too (did I already mention that? Oh, yes...). Sorry, but it doesn't get any safer than that! It might be unfortunate for the person who is sexually not active, but it's surely not creepy, godamit.

 

I guess, it's suspected that somebody who is celibate for a long time has accumulated so much sexual energy that he's like a ticking time bomb who is to going explode any minute. :facepalm:

 

Also, I guess it's seen as part of having "normal social skills". And lack of said "normal social skills" clearly means you might be a serial killer or something. As in that scene from the 40-year-old virgin, where they can tell there is something socially "off" about Andy, but can't quite place it and so:  "I don't wanna end up a lampshade in some creepy apartment".

 

21 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Are allo-aro men more likely to be misogynists?

 

If anything, the opposite strikes me as more likely the case. In the aftermath of a bad romantic relationship breaking down, especially, it seems like a lot of men can really 'jump the shark' and go: the monstorous caricature I've constructed of my ex-partner = how all women actually behave to all men, always.

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1 hour ago, NullVector said:

hypothetical

Me_IRL

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On 5/12/2017 at 11:09 PM, NullVector said:

Well, of course, it only work 0.1-1% of the time! :P The other 99.0-99.9% of the time you get *blank expression* / *person slowly edges away from you in search of somebody normal to talk to* xD 

Okay, in a 1:1 conversation it might work, though it takes quite some boldness. In front of others, who would admit to it?

On 5/12/2017 at 11:09 PM, NullVector said:

Also, I guess it's seen as part of having "normal social skills". And lack of said "normal social skills" clearly means you might be a serial killer or something. As in that scene from the 40-year-old virgin, where they can tell there is something socially "off" about Andy, but can't quite place it and so:  "I don't wanna end up a lampshade in some creepy apartment".

I totally accept the right of everyone to subjectively find anybody creepy and therefore to avoid them (I hope the creep-dar works better than the gaydar). But usually this feeling is confused with a fact, “X is creepy” is often a phrase of moral condemnation as if X did something wrong. But just being surrounded by an aura of ‘there's something “off” with X’” is not unethical itself.

 

I mean, Ron Perlman also looks scary to me, just by his looks. But I don't confuse this with gaining any insights about his character, maybe he's super-nice, lol.

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19 minutes ago, DeltaV said:

In front of others, who would admit to it?

 

Assuming some sort of context where it might make sense to "admit it" : what's the worst that could happen?

 

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That a negative label is tacked onto to you. What you're trying to do is communicating that your psychological set-up is seriously “off” and at the same time saying something about your sexuality. Bad combo (I write a lot of things here that I wouldn't dream of saying except to my very closest friends and perhaps not even then, it just comes across too creepy. Even the title of this thread... :D And no this isn't because of anonymity [though that helps], but mainly because we are all in the same boat and know that we are just normal human beings aside from aromanticism and the very strange things it does to us.). For women it would be like “cold-hearted slut” etc.

 

I wonder how you imagine such a dialogue could play out. Could you perhaps give an example?

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On 5/14/2017 at 6:02 PM, DeltaV said:

I wonder how you imagine such a dialogue could play out. Could you perhaps give an example?

 

Hmm. Well, I've never tried it in a situation where sex was potentially "on the table", so to speak (not literally on the table - then it really would be awkward to have that dialogue :D) I guess the "rules" are rather different in that context. 

 

I've had three recent conversations (real, not imaginary!) where I've been somewhat candid about "it". There's the one with my sister that I described here. I said (amongst other things) that I might quite like a friend I could also have sex with rather than a typical romantic relationship; but as a long-term thing with somebody I respected and liked, not a one-off 'hookup' with someone I barely knew. And her reaction to that was: yeah, typical guy (something like she thought: this is what most guys really think/want, they just don't come out and say it, was the vibe I got. I don't buy it!). Another with a friend from work, where I was taking about amatonormativity and the 'relationship escalator' concepts (we have a lot of conversation like this - his favourite question for me is "what have you been reading about recently?") He suggested I make a dating profile tailored around those sorts of things and see who would be up for it! And another one with a friend from university, where I was feeling a bit more bold that usual (alcohol, lol) and said something like: "Is romance really a thing? Don't you just make friends with someone then try and have sex with them?!" To which he laughed and said something like "Pretty much, yeah!" (and this is a guy who got married recently).

 

So all those conversations went fine and nobody thought I was a monster or even that i was saying anything especially "out there" (unless they were hiding their horror quite well?!) But, as I said, I wasn't angling towards having sex with any of these people xD  So that might have changed the dynamic quite significantly (and in bad ways).

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On 5/15/2017 at 9:34 PM, NullVector said:

So all those conversations went fine and nobody thought I was a monster or even that i was saying anything especially "out there" (unless they were hiding their horror quite well?!)

As you put it, of course you're not seen as seriously psychologically “off”. As a man you have to be pretty clear about your lack of romantic attraction, otherwise you'll be seen as normal. Only hinting at it, or making a remark that could be interpreted as tongue in cheek is not enough (try saying something that you don't like the phrase “I love you” or otherwise really hammer it home that you're aromantic... I guess then you would get a negative reaction. It's similar with asexuality for women). Of course, for placing “hooks” this maybe enough. So okay, I would agree with this.

On 5/15/2017 at 9:34 PM, NullVector said:

But, as I said, I wasn't angling towards having sex with any of these people xD  So that might have changed the dynamic quite significantly (and in bad ways).

Yes, this would exacerbate it.

 

As said, there is nothing strange or unreasonable about wanting a “relationship” without romance, just having a good time (so we're definitely way better off than certain asexuals who want romance but not sex). But the difficulty comes in when wanting to have this long-term, especially with an attractive, intelligent woman (assumed you don't stumble at one of those mythical aro women – then everything is different).

 

I think, while you won't be seen as a monster, you would be seen as very arrogant and self-deluded to believe that you could get something like what you want long-term and not just be a “filler”. Especially if you answer no to the following questions: Do you have a very charming, interesting, fun personality? Are you some kind of sex god? Are you very attractive? (I really don't want to be insulting here, I just don't know how to put this more nicely. Aside from the last question perhaps, I personally would answer “no”).

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