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Ace Of Hugs

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    Ace Of Hugs
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  1. I'm glad you've found it thought-provoking... I am quite interested in hearing the perspective of folks of different genders, cultures, and orientations.
  2. There is a concept I came across several years ago that I truly believe has had a large effect on my psyche, not just in terms of orientation, but also some of my other emotional issues. That concept is called "touch hunger" (also known as "skin hunger", but I will be speaking more on that below). In brief, it refers to the idea that human beings require a certain amount of affectionate touch in order to thrive… and in the West, they aren't always getting it. Oh, when a baby is born, in most cultures, it spends much of its time in close proximity to its mother. And, for the first couple of years or so, a child only has to wobble over to a parent, arms outstretched, to be picked up and held. But after a while, that activity ceases. Kids are expected to socialize with their peers, primarily in a school setting. At least at the beginning, affectionate physical contact is acceptable, if occasionally unexpected. [True story: On my very first day of kindergarten, a boy walked up and hugged me hello. This actually freaked me out a bit, because my own upbringing was a bit more standoffish than most, despite my Italian-American upbringing. (My parents weren't huggers, and while I did have an aunt or two who were, it wasn't so much affectionate as smothering. Seriously... bears could have taken lessons. ) ] This does not last. As youngsters become pre-teens, the idea of touching your peers with anything more than a handshake or a slap on the back slowly but surely becomes socially awkward, especially with boys. They are expected to be tough, and self-reliant. Showing tenderness to a peer would be construed as a sign of weakness at best... and as they aged, a signifier of their possible orientation. And touching a girl? By the time they even admit girls exist, practically any sort of contact, affectionate or otherwise, is construed romantically. Do you remember "$BOY and $GIRL sitting in a tree..."? I will confess that I do not know whether girls are allowed to hug other girls, or at what age it becomes coded as a romantic or sexual signal. But I would suspect that the transition happens later than with boys. Meanwhile, any other role models they may have are pretty much exclusively hands-off. I don't believe I need to explain why. They don't get touch from their parents. They don't get it from their peers. And they CAN'T get it from other adults. So they get older, and the hormones kick in, and suddenly, they are expected to pair up with a peer of the opposite gender (or, more progressive areas, any gender) and enter into a romantic relationship... which is expected to turn sexual after a certain age. At this point, affectionate touch is hardwired as a form of foreplay. But what is an aro/ace to do? Stay at home, starving for a tender touch. After a while, at least for me, it transitions into a need for skin-to-skin contact beyond handshakes. I tend to call this skin hunger, as it's a degree beyond clothed hugs and the like. Of course, this is nearly impossible to experience in any relationship, same-gender or otherwise, without it being interpreted as a prelude to something else... and I must confess, the last "romantic" relationship I had, approximately 2 decades ago, was basically an excuse to achieve the touch I really needed. It did not end well, which may be part of the reason why my preference these days has switched to those of my own gender. Impossible to say, at this juncture. There are glimmers of hope, however. There are other cultures, primarily Japanese & South Korean, where the idea of older teens showing affection is more acceptable. And I've also seen younger actors & performers show affection to each other in public, something which would almost certainly have been controversial when I was their age. But as things stand now, we have generations of children, male, female, or other, who are not getting the affection they need... and that can turn them into broken folks like me…. Requested/suggested by @Coyote.
  3. Not that I'm aware of, although I've occasionally wondered if they are the same thing, merely expressed in different ways. Vision & touch are both senses, after all. I will say, however, that my aesthetic attraction seems more specialized than my sensual one... it's more of a question of taste/preference than something fundamental (And it may also tie into some other personal issues I'd rather not go into)
  4. Well, there are two other orientations I occasionally use: Aesthetic & Sensual. And there's also the whole "oriented/angled" qualifier, but I'm not sure if that's something to add to an existing box or put in a new one. How would you record "oriented aroace" in the current system?
  5. I don't fear loneliness... I accept it. Not having a steady relationship of any stripe means that my only Real Life social contact is the occasional movie with friends. So yes, I do get lonely sometimes.... Then again, 30 is quite a ways behind me now, so the dynamic is different.
  6. I had one once (under an unrelated name) and I may have even ranted there about it. But I shut it down a good 5-6 years ago due to lack of traffic. I could start a new topic later today, if there's interest... where do you think it would be most suitable (as it's not exactly on-topic)?
  7. I have a fairly long rant about "touch hunger" (a.k.a. "skin hunger") but I don't want to derail your thread. Absolutely. What's acceptable to women in terms of friendly touch is practically verboten to men. I can't speak of other genders, but I'm curious.
  8. That's definitely an issue with me and my fondness/need for affectionate physical contact. It's almost impossible to hug a non-relative without it being interpreted romantically/sexually, especially someone of the opposite gender. And, of course, amongst my (apparent) peer group, hugs between males are often interpreted negatively. It's definitely at least partly cultural, since amongst my Italian cousins, public affection between friends is socially acceptable (if approached more like rough-housing than anything else), and I've heard before of a Korean concept called "skinship" which encapsulates the activity. I do believe mores are changing, however, as I've seen more examples of late in the media, in particular between young male actors.
  9. Only to the degree that it was expected of me by society in general (and my mother in specific ). Frankly, I've never seen the point.
  10. I was using the latter definition of platonic. I am perfectly willing to use a more appropriate term form "non-sexual/romantic, but still physically affectionate" relationships, if one exists. I agree that it's not a perfect model, but it's the best one I have (so far) for describing what I experience. I suppose that the loyalty I feel towards my friends (which is labeled as commitment) would skew things more in a QPR direction.... gah, now I'm not sure. I think what's throwing me is that my relationships with my male & female friends have been very similar... I just feel more comfortable giving (and receiving) affection from the former than the latter. This is possibly partly due to the fact that hugging someone of the opposite gender, at this time and place, is often interpreted romantically, if not sexually (which is also why I've historically had more male than female friends). I'll admit that I'm a little fuzzy on the definition myself, hence my equivocation. I seem to have a pattern of finding almost the right words for things. .
  11. Well, I'm assuming you've already made your way through Alfred Hitchcock (the grand master of psychological horror), so I'll suggest Silence of the Lambs. You can skip the sequel & prequel, though.
  12. As I understand it, QPRs tend to be higher in commitment than what I'm talking about. My friendships tend to be more "friends with (non-sexual) benefits"
  13. Romance-indifferent is probably the closest, but I would be more likely to describe myself as "romance-confused".
  14. Where would "really affectionate platonic friendships" fit? (If you're familiar with the "triangle theory of love", my close relationships tend to be "companionate".)
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