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Physical contact survey


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I'm just a little curious what other people feel about physical contact with people they are comfortable with, presumably their QPP or other friends. I've heard experiences from both ends of the spectrum which makes me a little curious about what is more prevalent. Since romantic interactions often involve physical contact in some form it seems reasonable to expect that lots of people who feel uncomfortable with physical contact would identify as aromantic but I know there's quite a few on the other end of the spectrum who really enjoy it like myself as well.

 

I'd love to hear specifics if you care to share, but otherwise just clicking a box above is more than enough! Thanks for helping out.

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I have 3 people outside of my family, that I hug almost every time we see each other. Besides those, I almost never initiate a hug, but when somebody hugs me... well, it may be nice or awkward, it depends on the situation and my humor. For example, today was the last day of school. My friend hugged half of the class for goodbye, and I was like 'Ehm, so, bye, see you in September'. But maybe it's a question of my shyness/social anxiety.

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4 hours ago, sweetbitter said:

My friend hugged half of the class for goodbye, and I was like 'Ehm, so, bye, see you in September'. But maybe it's a question of my shyness/social anxiety.

 

I don't think that's all that unusual. Even for me, someone who really enjoys them with my close friends, I get very awkward with hugs from people I'm less close with especially initiating them with people who I know would welcome them but I haven't done that with before. Even something as simple as a handshake can be awkward for me sometimes.

 

I'm a cuddle fiend with my close friends though. I crawled into bed with my room mate this morning and we just cuddled for a good half an hour :$

 

 

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I usually just do and accept what is comfortable for me in the moment as far as physical touch. I don't like hugging or touching people I feel no real connection with. I will hug people I have a small connection with and I want to be closer to. But I will ONLY hug them. Nothing more, nothing less. As for my QPPs and very close friends, I am open to more intimate things like holding hands and cuddling. It's very much a hierarchy of physical contact based on the emotional connection.

 

4 hours ago, sweetbitter said:

For example, today was the last day of school. My friend hugged half of the class for goodbye, and I was like 'Ehm, so, bye, see you in September'. But maybe it's a question of my shyness/social anxiety.

I agree with Momo that it isn't strange to refuse/avoid physical touch from anyone. I certainly can force myself to accept a hug, but I always feel like I will make a person feel more awkward by hugging them and clearly being tense and uncomfortable, than if I just refuse & exchange nice words instead. But, as I've gotten older I find it easier and easier just to say no to unwanted touch and never think twice about it. 

 

5 minutes ago, Momo said:

I'm a cuddle fiend with my close friends though. I crawled into bed with my room mate this morning and we just cuddled for a good half an hour :$

It makes me so happy to hear about wholesome platonic love. Your relationship with your friends & roommate sound lovely. I'm so happy for you! :arolove:

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26 minutes ago, kaseythefairy said:

It makes me so happy to hear about wholesome platonic love. Your relationship with your friends & roommate sound lovely. I'm so happy for you! :arolove:

 

My kitty is less enthusiastic but she puts up with me. Mostly.

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It's highly dependent on the person, what kind of physical contact, and the situation/how I'm feeling. For example, I don't liked to be touched by surprise or without my permission and I get highly defensive of my personal space especially when stressed (I have one friend who likes to get close to you when she talks, so I'm constantly reminding her of this). However, sometimes physical contact is comforting. Some days I want to be left 100% alone, but at my graduation I hugged my best friend about a thousand times!

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That's fair. I suppose I just meant that it'd make sense for there to be a correlation, I didn't mean to imply that it was the only reason.

 

So far it's a pretty even split between people who like and people who dislike. But everyone has an opinion one way or the other which I find interesting. Apparently it's just not one of those things people are neutral about.

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On 23/06/2017 at 3:01 PM, Momo said:

I'm just a little curious what other people feel about physical contact with people they are comfortable with, presumably their QPP or other friends. I've heard experiences from both ends of the spectrum which makes me a little curious about what is more prevalent. Since romantic interactions often involve physical contact in some form it seems reasonable to expect that lots of people who feel uncomfortable with physical contact would identify as aromantic

IME people who dislike physical contact tend to be quite vocal about it.
 

 

On 23/06/2017 at 3:01 PM, Momo said:

but I know there's quite a few on the other end of the spectrum who really enjoy it like myself as well.

What can make things very difficult is that many forms of physical contact being romantic coded can make them very difficult for aros to find.

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2 hours ago, Mark said:

What can make things very difficult is that many forms of physical contact being romantic coded can make them very difficult for aros to find.

 

This is pretty much why I ended up here, looking for people to share experiences with, since I'm a very touchy person but I keep having trouble finding people where intentions don't get mixed and troubles don't come up.

 

IME, it's almost impossible to describe the aro experience to a romantic, similar to how it's very hard to explain the romantic experience to an aro. No amount of explaining or assurances seem to get past the distrust and exclusion of others inherent in a typical romantic relationship (poly aside - they are a small but important minority, but not enough to shift the average).

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On 23/06/2017 at 7:31 PM, sweetbitter said:

I have 3 people outside of my family, that I hug almost every time we see each other. Besides those, I almost never initiate a hug, but when somebody hugs me... well, it may be nice or awkward, it depends on the situation and my humor.

I'm the kind of person that hugs everybody upon meeting them and hugs them goodbye too :D (including people I've just met)

I do tend to announce when I first hug "I'm a hugger!" So it's not just a hug-attack

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2 hours ago, Momo said:

This is pretty much why I ended up here, looking for people to share experiences with, since I'm a very touchy person but I keep having trouble finding people where intentions don't get mixed and troubles don't come up.

I often struggle to be noticed. Since I'm shy and more "askee" than "asker".

 

2 hours ago, Momo said:

IME, it's almost impossible to describe the aro experience to a romantic, similar to how it's very hard to explain the romantic experience to an aro. No amount of explaining or assurances seem to get past the distrust and exclusion of others inherent in a typical romantic relationship (poly aside - they are a small but important minority, but not enough to shift the average).

I think there's a complication in that many allos may be capable to having non romantic intimate relationships. But in an amantonormative society they often can get their needs met through romance. I suspect the proportion of people who can only do intimate relationships if they are also romantic is similar to that of aros (1-2%). So possibly the vast majority of people would be able capable to understanding things from and aro POV. Given a more tolerant and diverse society.

 

2 hours ago, SamwiseLovesLife said:

I'm the kind of person that hugs everybody upon meeting them and hugs them goodbye too :D (including people I've just met)

I do tend to announce when I first hug "I'm a hugger!" So it's not just a hug-attack

Wish I could do that...

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22 minutes ago, Mark said:

I think there's a complication in that many allos may be capable to having non romantic intimate relationships. But in an amantonormative society they often can get their needs met through romance. I suspect the proportion of people who can only do intimate relationships if they are also romantic is similar to that of aros (1-2%). So possibly the vast majority of people would be able capable to understanding things from and aro POV. Given a more tolerant and diverse society.

 

To be honest, my experience is that even if someone is willing, their romantic partner isn't keen on the idea which kills it before it starts. So I think you may be on to something here, but it relies on a more tolerant and diverse society - something I hesitate to think about sometimes. In some minds it kind of skirts the edges of a poly relationship too, so it can be a bit strange on that front as well. It would be wonderful if it can eventuate though.

 

22 minutes ago, Mark said:

Wish I could do that...

 

Me three.

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6 hours ago, Momo said:

 (poly aside - they are a small but important minority, but not enough to shift the average).

IME even smaller when you consider how much of the "poly community" is highly couple and romantic centric. Most obviously opened up couples.

 

3 hours ago, Momo said:

To be honest, my experience is that even if someone is willing, their romantic partner isn't keen on the idea which kills it before it starts.

I struggle enough to ask anything even of single people. I'm too romance and couple dynamic repulsed to have any chance of asking someone who's coupled.

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I personally never hug or engage any physical contact first unless I'm hugging a family member where its a neutral we both go to hug or a person who is sad. I like it when my squishes do it though : ) but most of the time I'm indifferent. For the short period that I had a boyfriend I hated any time he touched me even just putting his hand on my shoulder but I guess that was just because I felt terrible being in a relationship in the first place (long story)

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I have really mixed feelings about physical contact. I hate frequent physical contact, and casual physical contact. Physical contact is something that's really special to me, because it's such a psychologically intense experience, which is why I generally only do it with my QPPs. Even then it's something that I have to be in the mood for.

 

I think what I struggle with more though, is how other people perceive my physical intimacy with my QPPs. Currently, both of my QPPs are dating, and to minimize any potential accusations of "emotional cheating" I've preemptively banned myself from all physical intimacy except for occasional hugs, unless they are the ones initiating. I'd love to be more physically intimate with my QPPs, but I am not interested in pursuing my happiness at the expense of their other intimate relationships.

 

"Yeah, but if their partners are so toxic and jealous maybe they shouldn't be dating those partners?"

 

True, but that's something they need to decide for themselves. It doesn't justify me playing homewrecker. Besides, what's "toxic" to an aro often seems to be "necessary" to an allo...and who am I to tell them what their needs are? 

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2 hours ago, omitef said:

Currently, both of my QPPs are dating, and to minimize any potential accusations of "emotional cheating" I've preemptively banned myself from all physical intimacy except for occasional hugs, unless they are the ones initiating. I'd love to be more physically intimate with my QPPs, but I am not interested in pursuing my happiness at the expense of their other intimate relationships.

 

This is why I've kind of given up on having romantic people as a QPP.

 

2 hours ago, omitef said:

"Yeah, but if their partners are so toxic and jealous maybe they shouldn't be dating those partners?"

 

I disagree with this statement at a more fundamental level. Romantic relationships are (usually) inherently closed to outside people. While I disagree with this as an aromantic, I've also come to the realisation that it's not really my place to dictate what romantic relationships should be like when I don't even want one!

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The most physical contact I can manage wiith another human is a handshake. Anything else is just :/. Doesn't matter who it is either. I'm completely ok with cuddling my pets though.

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4 hours ago, Momo said:

I disagree with this statement at a more fundamental level. Romantic relationships are (usually) inherently closed to outside people.

It seems that alloromantics want and desire the concept of a "couple bubble". Where they interact primarily with each other and minimally/reluctantly with anyone else.
Something I don't understand at a fairly fundermental level. Indeed the whole being with partner every waking minute and self imposed isolation from everyone else looks like self harm from my PoV.

 

2 hours ago, Zemaddog said:

The most physical contact I can manage wiith another human is a handshake. Anything else is just :/. Doesn't matter who it is either. I'm completely ok with cuddling my pets though.

I struggle a lot with skin hunger at least party because even non sexual touch is highly romantic coded. (Ironically affectionate touch seems even more taboo outside of romance than sexual.) Animals (and cuddly toys) typically don't work as an alternative for me. Since there's a lack of emotional connection and mutual desire. Hence I'd really like, at least one, cuddle buddy.

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On 7/8/2017 at 9:33 PM, Momo said:

I disagree with this statement at a more fundamental level. Romantic relationships are (usually) inherently closed to outside people. While I disagree with this as an aromantic, I've also come to the realisation that it's not really my place to dictate what romantic relationships should be like when I don't even want one!

 

I'm not so sure about that--there are relationship anarchists who do experience romantic attraction, and polyamorous folks who feel very strongly about keeping their relationships non-hierarchical, treating love as abundant, rather than a competition. There's a fine line between pointing out toxic monogamy, and between dictating desire. My best friend is one of the most monogamous people I know, and she openly admits to struggling with romantic jealousy--and we often try to figure out whether her jealousy is coming from a place of insecurity, or legitimate concern. And she helps me check my insecurity-driven lack of trust in my queerplatonic relationships. Even though both of our relationship values and styles are vastly different, we're still able to help each other work through our unhealthy tendencies, without blaming our relationship orientation.

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3 hours ago, omitef said:

I'm not so sure about that--there are relationship anarchists who do experience romantic attraction,

People who identify as relationship anarchist seem very uncommon. It's potentially possible that aros could outnumber allos here :)
It is certainly something which should to talked about more in aro forums. Given that QP and RA somewhat overlap.
 

3 hours ago, omitef said:

and polyamorous folks who feel very strongly about keeping their relationships non-hierarchical, treating love as abundant, rather than a competition.

IME most "poly communities" (both online and offline) tend to be dominated by the hierarchical couple centric form, dubbed "polynormativity".

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Do you think skin hunger is more of an issue for AMAB or male aros? I've noticed that expressions of affection that no one bats an eye at me doing with female friends (I'm AFAB), get taken as gay when two guys are doing it. (I remember seeing someone who claimed David Attenborough was erasing homosexuality in animals because he didn't ascribe sexual motivation to two male chimpanzees hugging. Which blew me away, because girls are socially expected to hug close friends, especially other girls, and it's not seen as romantic at all.) I've also heard alloromantic wlw complaining that people mistake them for best friends even when they're doing explicitly romantic acts with each other. So it seems to me that an aro girl or passing as girl who craves platonic touch might have an easier time getting it.

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25 minutes ago, Ettina said:

Do you think skin hunger is more of an issue for AMAB or male aros? I've noticed that expressions of affection that no one bats an eye at me doing with female friends (I'm AFAB), get taken as gay when two guys are doing it.

It's also likely to be seen as romantic or romosexual if it's a "girl" and "guy".

 

25 minutes ago, Ettina said:

I remember seeing someone who claimed David Attenborough was erasing homosexuality in animals because he didn't ascribe sexual motivation to two male chimpanzees hugging.

Animals don't have the concept of sexual orientation in the first place. They also, probably, don't link sensual and bonding behaviours to sex. (With sexual monogamy being especially rare amongst mammals. )
 

25 minutes ago, Ettina said:

Which blew me away, because girls are socially expected to hug close friends, especially other girls, and it's not seen as romantic at all.) I've also heard alloromantic wlw complaining that people mistake them for best friends even when they're doing explicitly romantic acts with each other.

IMHO there are no "romantic acts" as much as "romantic coded acts". With quite a bit of intersection of (assumed) gender, sexual and romantic orientations involved.
 

25 minutes ago, Ettina said:

So it seems to me that an aro girl or passing as girl who craves platonic touch might have an easier time getting it.

I think yes. With all sorts of social assumptions and attitudes coming into play here. e.g. the "nice guy" stereotype.
Biggest issue for an AMAB person would be avoiding being assumed to have an ulterior (most likely sexual) motive.

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16 minutes ago, Mark said:

I think yes. With all sorts of social assumptions and attitudes coming into play here. e.g. the "nice guy" stereotype.
Biggest issue for an AMAB person would be avoiding being assumed to have an ulterior (most likely sexual) motive.

Seconding this as another AMAB person. It's so far internalised at this point it's almost a neurosis for me.

 

19 minutes ago, Mark said:

IMHO there are no "romantic acts" as much as "romantic coded acts". With quite a bit of intersection of (assumed) gender, sexual and romantic orientations involved.

Also seconding this with a big WTF over my head as I try to examine what a romantic act (or even romantic coded act) actually is. I have another post somewhere else where I tried to do a breakdown of this... hmmm, wonder where that got to.

 

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5 hours ago, Ettina said:

Do you think skin hunger is more of an issue for AMAB or male aros? I've noticed that expressions of affection that no one bats an eye at me doing with female friends (I'm AFAB), get taken as gay when two guys are doing it.

Yes, yes. You might get some physical affection from male friends if you tell them of your cancer diagnosis. Otherwise it's gay. End of the story. If you even manage to have some sort of meaningful friendships, personally I often don't get further than “drinking buddy” stage which is a waste of time for me. And female friends are an absolute a no-go, of course. So if you don't have a romantic partner, that probably leaves you with your closest family members where it is still accepted.

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