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SamwiseLovesLife

Sex with feelings #NoRomo

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Hi all you beauties,

 

In the topic-

A few of the commenters and I discussed briefly the concept of having/enjoying sex where there are feelings involved as opposed to 'physical acts for simple tactile pleasure' when you are on the Aro-spectrum. My thoughts were that I haven't enjoyed sex that is 'meaningless' but as I don't experience romantic attraction, I was unsure what to call this when for example you choose to have sex with someone you are platonically close to, and the strong bond you have strengthens the plasure experienced.

 

So I'm curious; I've noticed a fair amount of Arocalypse discussions around sex seem to consist of the notion that sex is a transaction, physical and nothing more (in the absense of romantic feeling), so I want to know if any more of you have thoughts on the kind of feeling that can improve the experience of sex, beyond a simple lust-based experience.

Thoughts?

 

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3 hours ago, SamwiseLovesLife said:

I want to know if any more of you have thoughts on the kind of feeling that can improve the experience of sex, beyond a simple lust-based experience.

I don't know that I have any words to this point specifically, but I wanted to share my experiences as a relationship-positive, highly sensual, sex-neutral ace for comparison with some of the more allosexual members of the forum.

 

I've only ever had sex with people I've had very strong feelings for - to me it's a very intimate act. That said, my actual feelings during the act are... strange. The lead-up, cuddling, kissing, messing around are all enjoyable. I'll also end up with an erection as often as not along with a generalised, but not strong, urge to have sex. If I do follow through with that, then it... happens.

 

4 hours ago, SamwiseLovesLife said:

the strong bond you have strengthens the pleasure experienced.

And this is the bit that's always stumped me, listening to other people. I've never felt pleasure from sex. Not physical pleasure, nor emotional pleasure. I've done it because it's expected and it's not bad, but I've not really had a good experience during the act. Before and after are often lovely though.

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Sex for me has always been an emotionally intense experience.  I almost envy people who can have sex more casually, because it sounds like a lot of fun.  An allo friend recently described to me the desire for sex as "an itch that needs to be scratched" and I don't think I've ever experienced it like that.  If I'm with a partner for a long time, I can get more comfortable with them and sex can be less emotionally charged for me and can become playful and fun, but there's always that foundation of trust and emotional intimacy.

 

I can only speculate about why sex is like this for me, but I think it's because empathy is the main tool I use to build intimate relationships.  Emotional connection is what I want most out of friendships and intimate relationships.  This is probably why I've been able to have the occasional functional romantic relationship, because my desire for deep emotional connection is sometimes compatible with some alloromantic people's desire for a committed partner.

 

What I want out of sex most of the time is more empathy, deep and intense empathy.  I also experience lust and sexual attraction, but those aren't the prime drivers for me, they're more like extra spice added to the meal of empathy.  I'm a very touch-oriented person, so I like to use touch as a kind of emotional expression.  I'm also a communication nerd, and some people are very expressive in unique ways during sex, so it's very satisfying for me to participate in that, especially when combined with all the other ways that sex is enjoyable.  So, the best sex I've experienced is like a combination of really tender cuddling, a very stimulating conversation, an immediate experience of feeling loved and appreciated, the satisfaction of desire, and tactile pleasure.

 

Since my experience of being on the aromantic spectrum manifests partly as a lack of differentiation between the love for close friends and the love for intimate partners, then the kinds of trust and emotional intimacy I build in those relationships are effectively the same for me.  I end up feeling comfortable with close friends in nearly identical ways to how I end up feeling comfortable with intimate partners, and so I feel like the same boundaries would work for me, as well as the same expressions of affection.  But they don't work for most alloromantics, which is something I have to remind myself of frequently.  I usually navigate this problem by relying on explicit and clear verbal consent.

 

As for what can improve the experience of sex, I think that's a highly individual thing.  One of my partners and I liked to talk a lot during sex, and we found that affirmations really enhanced the experience.  Like, we'd be doing something sexual and simultaneously just saying things we liked about each other.  Sometimes they were related to the sexual experience and sometimes they weren't.  That had a noticeable change in sex for me as an experience of mutual appreciation and shared empathy.  Finding things like that can take time and exploration.

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I have a very strong disconnect between sex and emotion. I do not, and never have, viewed sex as emotional nor inherently romantic, and had always been profoundly confused by the gravity that society seems to attibute to sex. I figured i just wasnt getting it because i had never had sex, but once I had, i still didn't understand what the big deal was. I engage in casual sex much like I would go to see a movie. I don't do it too often, but I enjoy it from time to time, and sometimes I get a friend involved for a platonic, not at all romantic activity.

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21 hours ago, Momo said:

I've only ever had sex with people I've had very strong feelings for - to me it's a very intimate act.

Yes, this is definately what I mean. I find it to be very intimate, and if void of all feeling, I get no enjoyment from it.

 

21 hours ago, Momo said:

I've never felt pleasure from sex. Not physical pleasure, nor emotional pleasure. I've done it because it's expected and it's not bad, but I've not really had a good experience during the act. Before and after are often lovely though.

It's nice that the lead-up and afterwards are happy for you, I would be sad to think that it was just something you do for other people and hate all of it <3

 

13 hours ago, Eklinaar said:

Sex for me has always been an emotionally intense experience.  I almost envy people who can have sex more casually, because it sounds like a lot of fun.  An allo friend recently described to me the desire for sex as "an itch that needs to be scratched" and I don't think I've ever experienced it like that. 

Yes I agree! lucky a-holes (lol.. A..) who can simply 'get their end away' without conflicting feelings about it

 

13 hours ago, Eklinaar said:

Emotional connection is what I want most out of friendships and intimate relationships.  This is probably why I've been able to have the occasional functional romantic relationship, because my desire for deep emotional connection is sometimes compatible with some alloromantic people's desire for a committed partner.

I really relate to this

 

13 hours ago, Eklinaar said:

I also experience lust and sexual attraction, but those aren't the prime drivers for me, they're more like extra spice added to the meal of empathy.  I'm a very touch-oriented person, so I like to use touch as a kind of emotional expression.  I'm also a communication nerd, and some people are very expressive in unique ways during sex, so it's very satisfying for me to participate in that, especially when combined with all the other ways that sex is enjoyable. 

Exactly! If there's an orientation or what for what you're describing, then it's my word too! But despite the pain-in-the-ass that these feelings are for me, I can't help but be happy that my relationships (platonic ones) are so warm and mutually benefiting, because of this empathy and closeness I feel for others

 

13 hours ago, Eklinaar said:

One of my partners and I liked to talk a lot during sex, and we found that affirmations really enhanced the experience.  Like, we'd be doing something sexual and simultaneously just saying things we liked about each other. 

^ That is so cute

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On 8/14/2017 at 9:49 PM, NullVector said:

Although I wouldn't want to imagine it like a 'spectrum' on which 'committed romantic relationship' and 'ONS' were extremes at either 'end' (not saying that's what you were doing; but it potentially could be read that way, just from the use of 'in between'). I'd want to imagine it more like a complex multi-dimensional space of relationship possibilities, within which 'committed romantic relationship' and 'ONS' were just two particular points, with various possibilities spanning various different dimensions existing all around them.

I indeed wanted to hint at a spectrum here, but only in an imprecise way: a spectrum considering the “average stability” we do observe in arrangements where sex happens.

On 8/14/2017 at 9:49 PM, NullVector said:

Yep, I think that's more what I was getting at. I take a while to warm up to people in general and even I don't really know what it is I actually want vis-a-vis 'relationships'; so I'd feel a bit sorry for some poor partner who had to try and figure out all of my nonsense xD 

Yes, your comfort zone seems so small that you might be, no not a monster (you remember that thread?), but a bit …  straining. ;)

 

On the positive side, I don't think that it is totally fixed. I managed to get rid of very, very peculiar preferences (or less euphemistically, strong aversions) by “exposure therapy” in the last months. Now my preferences are only peculiar. But YMMV.

 

I'm basically approaching it like Yalena ‘Dutch’ Yardeen from “Killjoys”, though she once stumbles and, regretting it, says:

 

I usually know better.
Shouldn't have slept with someone I care about.

 

Some relationships which people have here sound very nice, but I have no idea how they manage to get them and make them work. Maybe it's less difficult than I believe, but I'm like totally clueless in this regard.

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On 8/14/2017 at 11:21 PM, Eklinaar said:

Like, we'd be doing something sexual and simultaneously just saying things we liked about each other. 

awww…

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1 hour ago, SamwiseLovesLife said:

I know right! @Eklinaar gets all the cute stuff. Jealous >:(

 

I mean... that was 8 years ago, and hardly anybody's touched me since then... but yeah I admit it was pretty great at the time.  Sometimes I wish I didn't crave that kind of closeness, though, because the loneliness sucks.

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On 17/08/2017 at 7:47 PM, DeltaV said:

I managed to get rid of very, very peculiar preferences (or less euphemistically, strong aversions) by “exposure therapy” in the last months.

 

What did you try? Just forcing yourself to interact, or more exreme measures?! I did try out some salsa and life drawing classes recently - both uncharacteristic activities for me, but you get to touch girls and see them naked, respectively. Which is nice xD

 

On 17/08/2017 at 7:47 PM, DeltaV said:

I'm basically approaching it like Yalena ‘Dutch’ Yardeen from “Killjoys”, though she once stumbles and, regretting it, says:

 

I usually know better.
Shouldn't have slept with someone I care about

 

I haven't seen the show. So, does she have bounty-hunter-specific reasons for taking that approach, or is it just a personality makeup thing?

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On 14/08/2017 at 10:21 PM, Eklinaar said:

Like, we'd be doing something sexual and simultaneously just saying things we liked about each other.  Sometimes they were related to the sexual experience and sometimes they weren't.  That had a noticeable change in sex for me as an experience of mutual appreciation and shared empathy

 

There's this cute scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a romantic movie that I actually liked, lol) which is just Joel telling Clem over and over again that she's pretty as they have sex (helping her to overcome some childhood complex she had about it, IIRC). Your comment above reminded me of that a bit, anyway. 

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On 8/14/2017 at 5:21 PM, Eklinaar said:

An allo friend recently described to me the desire for sex as "an itch that needs to be scratched" and I don't think I've ever experienced it like that.  If I'm with a partner for a long time, I can get more comfortable with them and sex can be less emotionally charged for me and can become playful and fun, but there's always that foundation of trust and emotional intimacy.

 

I feel the same way. 

 

I enjoy sex and desire it sometimes, though not really to the same extent or intensity it seems like my partner does. For me the act is nice, but the intimacy and care afterwards with them is equally nice. I take the view that even if we don't experience it exactly the same way, as long as we're both having fun it's alright.

 

For me, practical concerns (being trans) tend to disincline me from casual sex anyway, and I can't imagine comfortable with trying it with someone I don't at the least trust to understand my hangups regarding my body and to respect my boundaries in regards to that. But even if those hangups sometimes mean I have to tell my partner to stop in the middle of things because I feel unexpectedly awful, I know that they'll immediately stop what they're doing to comfort me. And knowing that makes it easier for me to do stuff with them: I know that whatever happens with our clothes off, they care about me and my well-being is more important to them than getting off.

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Well... When I explain to my friend how I can be satisfied by "having sex without the person that I love", I roughly answer this :

 

Long answer :  

Sex have many aspect, colour and taste. There is the one that come out of nowhere, like an "itch that need to be scratched'' as Eklinnaar said, very brief, but intense. There is the one that you have, because you're bored. There is the one you have with a close friend that can be awkward at the beginning but with an awareness of the other's limits and their emotions. The one with a sex friend, well-fuctioning and with a strong intimacy. The one with a total stranger although there is more intimacy and tenderness that you could have with a long-term relationship, etc....

Sex isn't just casual or just the one with trust and emotional intimacy. And emotional intimacy doesn't always suggest the feeling of 'love'. I had as much intense and satisfaying sexual intercourse with total strangers as I had with a friend or a QPR.

It isn't just about me, but also about the person, the right time and the feeling at the moment.                                                                                                                                                                                        

Short answer :                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   If whatever between my partner and I is fully sane, consensual and wanted (you can add the option ''talking about what the person involved is comfortable about and/or would like to do'' if you have the time ), then Allons-y :D !

 

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21 hours ago, NullVector said:

What did you try? Just forcing yourself to interact, or more exreme measures?!

Yes, I forced myself to interact. Go to Irish Pub (yes, that sounds weird, but this one had some kind of special reputation), chat, invite home and so on. But picking up strange women sounds extreme for my standards! :$ What could more extreme measures be like? So I had sex 3 or 4  times (depending how you count) this year, but that already has taught me that I'm at least more normal than I assumed.

 

I feel soooooo bad1 to put it that way, but if all the sensual acts2 aren't “tainted”3 with romance, they surely feel completely different! Just nice, normal, instinctual. Without any of this “otherworldly vibe” that romance brings with it…

 

1 like approaching “monster territory” O.o

2 okay, there wasn't even that much of it going on. I wonder how common ONS which look like in movies are? Do they even exist? :D

3 I think that the problem was exacerbated by my past romantic partners being incredibly romantic.

21 hours ago, NullVector said:

I haven't seen the show.

I probably wouldn't recommend it, if you don't have a high tolerance for low-brow sci-fi. :D All the current “no humanoid aliens” space adventure shows (Killjoys, Dark Matter and The Expanse… have I forgot one?) have in common that platonic love is given at least the same importance as romantic love.

 

Since The Expanse is so much better on any level than the other two (and it's also one of the “hardest” sci-fi series, not goofy fun), I would start with that, if you haven't already seen it.

21 hours ago, NullVector said:

So, does she have bounty-hunter-specific reasons for taking that approach, or is it just a personality makeup thing?

The “bounty-hunter-specific reasons” are explicitly mentioned, but I guess, it's also hinted at that it has something to do with her special life experiences.

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To me, sex is first and foremost about making each other feel good and treating each other with respect whether there is any emotional bond between the parties involved or not. However, the stronger the bond, the more beautiful the intimate moments. If I have a very strong bond with the boy, then sex is no longer only hot and steamy, but also a way of showing that we feel at ease around each other. We add even more sensual elements to it, such as holding hands and snuggling. Emotionally speaking, feeling his body close to mine makes me feel safe and warm (absolutely no difference compared to what I feel when we cuddle and hold hands with clothes on). All in all, lust and satisfaction are accompanied by a deep feeling of safety and comfort. It is like a heterogeneous mixture. 

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On 23/08/2017 at 2:05 AM, Confidential_Con said:

For me, practical concerns (being trans) tend to disincline me from casual sex anyway, and I can't imagine comfortable with trying it with someone I don't at the least trust to understand my hangups regarding my body and to respect my boundaries in regards to that. But even if those hangups sometimes mean I have to tell my partner to stop in the middle of things because I feel unexpectedly awful, I know that they'll immediately stop what they're doing to comfort me. And knowing that makes it easier for me to do stuff with them: I know that whatever happens with our clothes off, they care about me and my well-being is more important to them than getting off.

Ahhh yes I very much relate to this. It sounds lovely that you are able to experience that in the safety of friendships :arolove:

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I've been lucky to cultivate long-term sexual nonromantic a few times. Lust and sensuality were definitely staples of the relationships, but I can say that a more emotional bond was created through LOTS of mutual respect for the situation (generated through communication about the schematics of the relationship), willingness to interact with each as non-sexual, non-romantic individuals for each others pleasure/friendship (Giving each other rides, cooking/eating meals together, healthy chit-chat even if we're trying to right to the point, touch/cuddling/partner care). Though they are very intimate due to the nature of the relationship, theres an understanding that this aspect of the relationship is/ can be private. There is no room for possessiveness or jealousy, just honesty. 

 

I can say that there was no real attempt to make a deep connection with these partners before I started a sexual relationship. But we did create a deeper friendship than "just fucking" as we continued exploring the sexual relationship. These relationships were interesting especially in the sense of us not being exclusive, romantic, or dating in any sense, and having no obligation to each other (except to tell the other when you need time, or the situation is no longer working.), but still a closer relationship than other day to day nonsexual, nonromantic relationships. 

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I very much desire and enjoy sex, I have a high sex drive and am quite kinky. I've had good sex with strangers or people I've hooked up with once or twice, but I've had amazing sex only with people I've had a strong emotional connection to. A part of it has to do with repeated encounters: I am more likely to have more sex with people I feel more connected to, and the more sex I have with them, the better it gets as we get to know each other's bodies more, and get to explore and try more things. Greater emotional connection also means I will be more relaxed, which frees up my mind and body to experience and share pleasure with my partner. 

 

I also have generalised anxiety disorder, and am quite introverted and easily worn out by socialisation, so I strongly prefer to spend time with people I already know and trust in all contexts, not just sexual. This is exacerbated by the fact that I have quite a few kinks and fetishes, and I often get very anxious as to whether the other person will also enjoy them, or if they will judge me harshly because of them. I also get scared about seriously harming my partner, or crossing limits/boundaries, the risk of which is reduced as we establish solid communication and trust. With hook ups and new people, you can only really do the generic stuff unless you've talked about what you want to do and limits etc. extensively beforehand, and while non-kinky/BDSM sex can be good when done right, it often just bores me.

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I'm definitely one of those people who feels sex as an itch that needs to be scratched. I've never really understood treating sex as some kind of reverent, emotionally intimate activity - in fact partners who get emotionally intimate during sex make me uncomfortable. (Possibly because pretty much every time that's happened to me, it's led to situations where the person I was sleeping with wanted a relationship with me.)

 

The platonic friends I have sex with regularly - FWBs - are people I can absolutely trust not to make sex a weird emotionally intimate thing. So the sex I have with the people I'm closest to platonically usually ends up being pretty transactional. When I sleep with one of my FWBs it usually happens along the lines of one of us texting "You free tonight?" and then hooking up an hour later for mutually enjoyable orgasms. It's not intense or emotional, it's just a fun thing to do with friends.

 

Sex with a new partner tends to be more intense/exciting for me because there's an element of anticipation to it. The whole process of making eye contact across a bar, flirting to feel out whether the attraction is mutual, finding subtle ways to touch each other - there's just more of a thrill to it than the simple comfort of hooking up with a FWB.

 

I also feel more intense desire when my sexual partner is someone I respect or admire. I guess there's an aspect of arousal that comes from enjoying being seen as wanted and worthy of attention in their eyes - of knowing they also find me attractive and desirable.

 

Other than that... nah, sex for me is about lust, and I much prefer it that way.

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