Jump to content
Cassiopeia

Where is the line between sexual and romantic behaviour?

Recommended Posts

!This topic may discuss some sexual things that could make people uncomfortable. That is not my intention, so please stay safe!

 

Fellow people who have mismatching orientations (so mainly allosexual aromantic or alloromatic ace folks, but others can reply as well), where is the line that separates sexual and romantic things?

 

Are there certain gestures, actions, behaviours that clearly fall into this or that category for you, no matter what? (OK, sex obviously is sex.)

But what about gestures that can be seen as both sexual and romantic?

 

The prompt for this topic was this strange discovery I had about kissing.

 

I never was the one to just randomly make out front of the lockers at school. In fact, I never really understood what's the point of it.

For me, if a kiss happens in a neutral setting, it feels awkward and slimy, and unnecessary. Even boring.

Like kissing good bye? (As in french kiss). Nope. I'd rather give them a hug or something, that feels a lot more meaningful.

But if it happens in a sexual situation, it is exciting. Its a bit like when you switch another light source on, suddenly everything seems different, but still the same. Like somehow the whole kissing thing starts to make sense. The action itself is the same, at least on the physical level, but I can feel a clear contrast in how it feels. I cannot explain what is exactly different about it, it just is. It feels lot more natural as well.

 

Anybody else had similar experiences?

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm aro ace, so I don't really want to say much about the line between romantic and sexual, but I think it's probably similar to the line between romantic and platonic: quite blurry. Something that might be romantic for one person might be sexual for another and something that one person thinks of as completely platonic might be romantic to someone else. Drawing a clear line between different forms of attractions/relationships seems pretty much impossible to me.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I have somehow simular feeling. 

 

I can kiss. I often kiss my famely members. friends not so much but it happens as well. 

However I do tend to get bored of kissing very fast. I also dont understand when I see couples who tend to like kiss multiply times right after each other like how they tend to do in movies or act like its supossed to be something big and special to me its just not nessesarry.

 

In sexual setting I am not nessesarry a kissing person either however I feel sexual kissing are alot different than both platonic and romantic. its less of an "hi mom" or "I love you/trust you" kiss and more just about getting a sensation out of the activity. in that way I feel sexual and sensual is way harder to seperate than sexual and romantic.

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, mouth-to-mouth kissing is pretty gross when you think about how much bacteria is transferred between the kissers. In general, I think humans tend to avoid contact with the bodily excretions of other humans due to an innate pathogen aversion. That might contribute to the 'slimy' feeling of kissing outside of a sexual context. The thing about sexual arousal is that a whole bunch of stuff happens physiologically and involving dopamine( which is linked to pleasure) and norephinephrine(fight or flight response), with one side-effect of arousal as weakening feelings of disgust.

 

Romance is kind of similar in that there's some physiological stuff happening along with the release of oxytocin ( which is linked to bonding). So maybe the difference is physiological, along with personal comfort levels of physical intimacy and also ingrained beliefs regarding what acts are considered romantic(and therefore expected to provide some sort of neurogenic reward)? 

 

This is just stuff I've gleaned from academic and casual papers. If I didn't feel so lazy, I'd provide more documentation but *shrugs*. 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 4/15/2016 at 3:12 AM, Cassiopeia said:

I never was the one to just randomly make out front of the lockers at school. In fact, I never really understood what's the point of it.

For me, if a kiss happens in a neutral setting, it feels awkward and slimy, and unnecessary. Even boring.

I understand completely, I don't get kissing.( I say kissing as mostly mouth to mouth kissing. Depending on the person kissing on other parts of the head or body are usually platonic, or sexual.) I have done it probably a total of 5 times in my life, 3 of those instances I was drunk, and each time I hated it. 

To me kissing is highly romantic and something I can't get behind at all. Like my brain categorized kissing as romantic, and as romance repulsed, kissing is a nono. 

I don't like kissing, watching people kiss, or even watching animated people or animals kiss. To me it is disgusting.  

Even when I have sex, I don't kiss. It's a rule I have with my partners that you can kiss anywhere you want but my lips/mouth is off limits, you kiss me there and we are done.

Along with this I don't understand kissing, like it's nasty. There are more germs in a human mouth than a toilet. Like I don't understand how having a mouth on your own mouth is enjoyable.

To me I would rather, much rather, put my mouth on someone's genitals than on someone's mouth. I don't get it, and to me kissing is just repulsive.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the line between sexual and romantic is defined by intent. Did you kiss that person because you think they're cute and you're trying to display your affection towards them? Then that kiss was romantic. Did you kiss that person because you want to sleep with them? Then that kiss was sexual. 

 

I only feel gross about actions like kissing, when there's a difference between the intent of the giver and receiver. If the person who's kissing me, is kissing me because they want to show how much they're romantically attracted to me, I feel gross. If they're kissing me because they want to f*ck me, or because they want to just as way of expressing intimacy, then I don't mind...I might even like it, depending on the person. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, omitef said:

For me, the line between sexual and romantic is defined by intent. Did you kiss that person because you think they're cute and you're trying to display your affection towards them? Then that kiss was romantic. Did you kiss that person because you want to sleep with them? Then that kiss was sexual.

I'd define romantic intent as they want you to be "theirs".
Something purely affectionate would be great.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just recently realized that flirting is also a two folded thing, but I guess people can't really tell if they feel both romantic and sexual attraction at the same time.

Like the sexual flirting (seduction) is more body language, but its definitely separate. Biting your lip, looking through your eyelashes etc is seduction.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On April 15, 2016 at 10:34 AM, aihpen said:

I'm aro ace, so I don't really want to say much about the line between romantic and sexual, but I think it's probably similar to the line between romantic and platonic: quite blurry. Something that might be romantic for one person might be sexual for another and something that one person thinks of as completely platonic might be romantic to someone else. Drawing a clear line between different forms of attractions/relationships seems pretty much impossible to me.

 

For me, cuddling (unless it's platonic between my mom and I), or any mention of physical contact with the other sex freaks me out in Real Life. (I might not be heterosexual- I don't know yet to be honest.) . I see kissing as either/or (sexual or romantic). 

 

I don't know, because the sexual fantasies I've had are mostly heterosexual- but lately with someone being romantically attracted to me- I'm beginning to question it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I feel pretty much the same way. Often I'll view kissing as just...really weird and unnecessary, but as soon as things are with sexual intent it's a lot better. If someone is kissing me in a sexual way it makes sense but romantically and to show romantic interest...I kind of back off and

 

ew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will one hundred percent kiss my friends if they're okay with it, leads to some confusion with other people but I don't mind that.

 

To be honest the line between romantic and sexual for me is usually the context of what's happening. And a hell of a lot of trust in the other person and knowing what you're both pursuing.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/17/2016 at 7:07 PM, omitef said:

For me, the line between sexual and romantic is defined by intent.

 

Yes!

Intent is everything with any sexual/sensual/physical/platonic act. I am a very open person physically, I would be happy to hold hands, cuddle, kiss, and potentially have sex with most of my friends and other people I know (not family, but probably largely because it's such a deep taboo in society that it's ingrained in me that way). It doesn't have anything to do with emotions for me, it's a purely physical act that I would do more if people were OK receiving that. Sexual is sex related, but lacking in emotions, romantic is emotional, but doesn't have to involve any touch at all. The two can be combined in others, but they are quite separate for me, I rarely feel romantic, but often feel sexual.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, I'm aroace but sex-repulsed and romance-favourable, so the distinction shows up that way. Partly my repulsion kicks in for any act that involves sharing germs - not sure if that piece counts as sex repulsion or just part of my OCD tendencies. Kissing bugs me for that reason, even platonic kissing (eg my mother kissing me on the cheek, which she learnt not to do when I was a preschooler).

 

But if I think about stuff that doesn't involve germs, well, stuff that comes to mind is fondling boobs or butt cheeks, removing clothing in a sexual manner, watching the person masturbate, seeing naked male-bodied people, seeing an erection or the outline of one, seeing/hearing someone having an orgasm, knowing someone is sexually attracted to me, all of those set off sex-repulsion. Even stuff that's normally not sexual, if it triggers someone's fetish, it would be iffy for me. (Eg I could imagine enjoying a foot massage, but not if it's given by a foot fetishist who is clearly enjoying the experience in a sexual way.) But I think there it would be seeing the person's reaction that would repulse me, not the act itself. Whereas most conventionally sexual acts, even if my partner was ace or otherwise not attracted to me, it would probably still bother me.

 

What's less clear to me is the distinction between platonic and romantic. Close positive emotional bonds make me smile, regardless of which category they fall into. And very often I can't tell if two people are friends or romantic partners. I like people cuddling, giving gifts to each other, wedding proposals, etc. Incidentally, regarding gift giving, I feel the same about a person giving their SO flowers or chocolates or whatever as I do about a friend giving a birthday present, as long as the enjoyment of the gift seems similar. Even watching others kiss can make me smile, if it was set up well. The only times I feel repulsed by romance is if it looks unhealthy (eg overly controlling) or in fiction if the story wasn't written well or the romance replaced an awesome platonic relationship.ANo idea how I'd react to someone being romantically interested in me, because the only offers I've gotten were from allo/allo heterosexual guys, who clearly wanted sex as well, and it was the sexual aspect that sent me running.         

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Until recently I'd always seen kissing as purely romantic - even though I'd grown up seeing people on TV/movies kissing before they had sex (and less so in a purely romantic context). I still don't see kissing as sexual and have never kissed any of my boyfriends with the intention of trying to get sex to happen - not even my ex who's the only person I have slept with!

I don't feel like kissing is gross - though I can totally understand why others do - but I also don't really get anything 'special' from it, either? I think I've enjoyed it because it's romantic coded and one of the few ways I seemed 'allowed' to express how I felt towards certain boyfriends in the past. I certainly don't get butterflies or sparks of anticipation like I've heard other women describe. I vastly prefer hugs to anything else, maybe closely followed by caressing or ruffling hair, but excessive hugging (my preferred level, apparently...) has never been well received by guys :P 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting old threads surface here from time to time.

 

French kissing is okay for me in a sexual context, and by this I mean that I experience sexual arousal. Without it it's like “What are you doing? I'm not interested in your saliva thank you very much.”. It just feels nasty. Why not put your tongue in somebody's nose or ears? That sounds pretty much the same to me.

 

In a sexual context I find open mouth and french kissing okay. Similarly to @Cassiopeia, the difference is really dramatic and it certainly feels much, much more natural.

Still, it's not something I would miss very much if it doesn't happen. Going down on on a woman is so much more exciting to me.


It seems there is a level of intimate affection much beyond “baseline” (which would be hugging, cuddling, etc., all the stuff that happens between close friends or family members) but below obvious sexual acts, which alloromantics really enjoy if they experience romantic attraction. They don't have to be sexually aroused for it.

 

Therefore, in the infatuation phase it can go on for more than a hour and multiple times a day. If it were sexual, that couldn't happen because probably nobody manages to be sexually aroused for such a long time.

 

Personally, I'd rather do any chore rather than engaging in a long making-out session. Brrrhhh. I'm really torn if cleaning a public toilet is worse than that. ;)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kissing has always been a distinctly sexual thing to me, since I was little-little. I still remember being scolded for not kissing relatives because the concept disgusted me, haha. (I didn't know non-sexual open-mouth kissing even existed? Is...is that a thing for romantic people? How?) Even "platonic" kisses feel like they're supposed to lead to something sexual to me, which makes me uncomfy sometimes.

 

Something that I DO view as romantic 90% of the time is holding hands. It makes me super uncomfortable to hold hands with someone for more than a few seconds. Far too intimate.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/14/2017 at 11:53 PM, JoanieDark said:

I didn't know non-sexual open-mouth kissing even existed? Is...is that a thing for romantic people? How?

Let's take this comic from an asexual lady, picture 03: “Let me go ahead and assure you that I am all in favor of cuddling ...  kissing ...  and making out ...”

 

In this case, it's the more parsimonious explanation that people can enjoy open-mouth kissing if they experience romantic attraction. Sexual attraction is not needed!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/04/2017 at 4:41 PM, Untamed Heart said:

Until recently I'd always seen kissing as purely romantic - even though I'd grown up seeing people on TV/movies kissing before they had sex (and less so in a purely romantic context). I still don't see kissing as sexual and have never kissed any of my boyfriends with the intention of trying to get sex to happen - not even my ex who's the only person I have slept with!

 

I always saw it as romantic rather than sexual. I think probably due to the trope in so many romantic movies about that 'magical first kiss' that 'changes everything between us'. I think for that reason the idea of kissing has always weirded me out a bit and triggered a degree of romance repulsion/anxiety in me.

 

On 14/04/2017 at 9:40 AM, DeltaV said:

Going down on on a woman is so much more exciting to me.

Um, yeah, now you mention it, always really wanted to try this :arolove: 

The idea of it appeals to me way more than kissing does! (and doesn't trigger any repulsion/anxiety ; quite the opposite, actually!)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, NullVector said:

I always saw it as romantic rather than sexual. I think probably due to the trope in so many romantic movies about that 'magical first kiss' that 'changes everything between us'. I think for that reason the idea of kissing has always weirded me out a bit and triggered a degree of romance repulsion/anxiety in me.

 

Um, yeah, now you mention it, always really wanted to try this :arolove: 

The idea of it appeals to me way more than kissing does! (and doesn't trigger any repulsion/anxiety ; quite the opposite, actually!)

 

Ahaha, well I don't exactly have magical first kisses so much as drunkenly making out with friends, so...

 

(And also I second Delta V cunnalingus is A+ 11/10 you should try it)

On 4/16/2017 at 6:46 AM, DeltaV said:

Let's take this comic from an asexual lady, picture 03: “Let me go ahead and assure you that I am all in favor of cuddling ...  kissing ...  and making out ...”

 

In this case, it's the more parsimonious explanation that people can enjoy open-mouth kissing if they experience romantic attraction. Sexual attraction is not needed!

 

I...guess that's fair, I can't talk for romantics obviously. Then again, I can make out with people I'd never wanna go to third base with, so I guess I can kinda peripherally get it.

On 4/14/2017 at 3:40 AM, DeltaV said:

Interesting old threads surface here from time to time.

 

 

Personally, I'd rather do any chore rather than engaging in a long making-out session. Brrrhhh. I'm really torn if cleaning a public toilet is worse than that. ;)

 

(Sorry I necro'd a bunch of threads when I joined :P)

 

Also totally off topic, but for the most part cleaning public toilets isn't too bad in my 8 meager months of experience, haha

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me cuddling is almost entirely platonic and something I do a lot with friends However, if said friend has romantic feelings towards me it becomes really uncomfortable, especially if other people see it as romantic. I think hand holding seems to be mostly romantic? But I don't really have any issues with it I just don't get why you'd do it. I feel like kissing would be something I'd be fine with in a sexual context, but not just randomly if someone wanted to say hi or whatever. And I definitely wouldn't want to be part of those couples making out by the lockers that's gross to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite interesting... As far as I am concerned, I always thought that kissing was with someone who was important for you and not always in a romantic way. And because I couldn't understand romance and most of the time the people I've seen kiss, seemed content and happy with it, well... No problem.

 

My reasoning is very simple : I know that I'm aromantic, and I allow someone to kiss me, ONLY if they know about it or if i'm sure there no more than physical attraction. Then I can enjoy the feeling to kiss and beeing kissed without freaking myself about what that would maybe means for the other person. I love the ACT of  kissing and the intimacy it brings with it, but the 'what if'  because of the romantic aspect of kissing, kill it immediately u.u 

 

So I can kiss quite frequently my friends or my QP pals, but I won't go visit the throat of the other with my tongue unless I want it to finish under the sheets and still most of the times it just don't feel good. ('french kissing' my ass...) Just the peckin' :D 

 

On the other hand, I have NO problem gettin' a little more filthy when it's on the sexy side ;)

 

But in the end, It's alway difficult to determine the line between a sexual and a romantic behviour, unless you have a frank discussion at the very beginning and it STILL very confusing sometimes !

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if i'm sexually attracted to someone, i would love to sit on their lap and make out with them, but it has to be distinctly sexual.  to me, romantic kissing entails mainly gentleness and closed mouths and i definitely don't want that.  similarly, like, let's just touch each other's chests, none of this caressing shit, you know?  and the whole perfunctory thing, like greeting kisses: why?  no.  same to publicity; anything sexual has to be a private thing, for me.  i also like oral sex and dislike holding hands and cuddling.  even with friends, it seems like an unnecessary invasion of personal space.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 04/05/2017 at 12:13 PM, sarcastic kitten said:

I won't go visit the throat of the other with my tongue unless I want it to finish under the sheets

 

2 hours ago, aro_elise said:

if i'm sexually attracted to someone, i would love to sit on their lap and make out with them, but it has to be distinctly sexual. 

I agree with these statements, but as I see it as such a sexual thing it has to be private which is probably why I so aggressively ignore PDA. However quick peck kisses are sort of neutral. Intimate but not romantic or sexual (though wanting more than 3 a day is being greedy, and sometimes I'm not even comfortable with 1).  

 

Hand holding is a friendly thing, but linking arms is a romantic thing, but (I'm weird, I know) an arm around the shoulders is a mild sexual thing. Putting on some sort of cream/moisturiser with light rubbing is neutral or sexual, while massage -especially with oil- is a big honking no (there is some sort of repulsion at work but I'm not sure if it is specifically romantic). Sharing a bed is never romantic. Feeding someone else food is entirely romantic and it flicks all my repulsion boxes ~ I have never eaten food off of someone else or vice versa but seeing body shots squicks me out so I think I would be fairly repulsed by that too even if it is meant to be sexual. I guess baby talk and dirty talk are different things but both are a fairly big no from me so they might as well be the same. I think I am fairly indifferent to pet names, I can be accepting of them even if they are neutral, romantic or sexual. However there are some pet names I dislike, some I specifically identify as familial, and one I recognise as sexual. I guess it really depends on how I perceive the name and I react accordingly?

 

One I forgot to mention before is dancing. I don't particularly think of dancing as romantic, probably because when I was prepubescent I did years of modern dance training and took formal dancing lessons. Dancing with someone else strengthens a connection, be it friendship or sexual........so I tend to only dance with people I already like. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

One I forgot to mention before is dancing. I don't particularly think of dancing as romantic, probably because when I was prepubescent I did years of modern dance training and took formal dancing lessons. Dancing with someone else strengthens a connection, be it friendship or sexual........so I tend to only dance with people I already like

 

I tried some salsa classes a while back. I quite enjoyed them, but one thing that bothered me was that it was extremely heteronormative - traditional male and female gender roles were very much built into the way you could/should express yourself during the dances. Men 'lead', women 'follow', the hand gestures, the way of moving, etc. Are the modern dance styles you did like that as well, or is freedom of expression outside of the heteronormative 'box' more encouraged there?  

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, NullVector said:

Are the modern dance styles you did like that as well, or is freedom of expression outside of the heteronormative 'box' more encouraged there?  

So the modern dance was more about individual or collective actions, there really wasn't any pairing for a significant time. I guess some movements could have been described as masculine or feminine but they weren't applied to the dancers in a gendered way, everyone did everything. The formal lessons covered things like foxtrot and waltz but there was rarely an even gendered class so there was some swapping of roles but it was fairly enforced that men 'lead', women 'follow'. Of course me and the other girl in the same modern dance school (not to mention the show-off ballet students) would mess the formal class up a fair amount of the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...