Willow ([info]the_willow) wrote,
@ 2010-01-05 02:04:00

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Current mood: contemplative
Entry tags:#sexuality issues: general, about me, thinky opus, thinky thoughts

Not Rushing To Either Sex or Climax
Which isn't necessarily a statement the following words will be all about groiny bits bumping, or not bumping. I could, I realize now, have titled this 'Stopping To Smell The Flowers' - but that's rather broad, even if I realize there's a thread running through personality/personhood aspect re: physical intimacy and affectional orientation and all the rest that matches things in writing (my writing) and who knows what more.

But this post is because when I think things out I write.

So I dropped a few words a few days ago pondering asexuality, introversion, polyamory, friendships, affection, energy and the give and take between people - among other things. And I've spent the past two days thinking about it.

And it kind of boils down to some very basic things for me that seem to colour (to have reason to colour) so much of my life, my hobbies and my interests.

I'm abraded by sex. It's like psychic road rash; something spilling out of control at high speed in either a controlled attempt to avoid a horrific accident or a helpless careening towards doom. Either way, something is wrong.

Or more accurately, something is different and has been different for a very long time. Which is me, by the way, wanting to say that I don't think trauma has anything to do with anything in this aside from however it wired some neurons several decades ago before I was consciously, daily, self aware.

Sex, being sexual, whether in person, involving physicality or via communication media like books or movies, is abrasive to me. It's this, engines roaring, fire in the thrusters, crash helmet on, brace for impact race to orgasm. It's very destination oriented, in my observations.

I really don't care about the destination. I've observed everyone else seems to and have had occasion to fake being interested in the same goal point. But really? I'm not for it.

I'm not for climax. I'm not for designated moments of significance like penetration (a shimmer pull back of the curtain to fic and yaoi here). I've been told all my life that how I feel is a dysfunction and needs to be fixed; not individually of course, not yet. But everywhere I turn I see studies on orgasms and women's orgasms and articles, scientific or otherwise on how to have them and the various types and possible multiple orgasms and warnings not to do certain actions that may damage nerves and prevent orgasms and the need to self analyse and have therapy and deconstruct mental blockages and traumas and there's so much noise about rising above the wall and getting over and how it may involve finding just the right partner and not limiting options.

Orgasms. Orgasms. Orgasms.

Shiver, shake, tremble, moan, be out of control, muscle spasm, static in the brain, nerves afire with pleasure - orgasms.

No wonder befriending an asexual and being mindful of what she faces daily (in terms of non representation and general invisibility) was quite possibly one of the few triggers to make me re-think how I actually feel, versus how I've been told/socialized/coached to say I feel or want to feel.

And just to clear matters up in case anyone reading (in or out of my head) goes off on a mental tangent at the term asexual - no, I'm not asexual. I experience arousal and find it pleasant and even pleasurable. I'm just not interested in using it as a ladder to get somewhere, with or without possible shortcuts.

Which explains to me why I've always found the concept of sex with apparent mutual satisfaction that happened in sixty to ninety minutes to be, well, stingy and kind of meager. Even in circumstances where the whole point was to be outrageous and possibly semi-public, or just daring/rude and have a quickie.

And this, confusion and grating also explains the impatience my partners had that I could not be lead by the hand to what they saw as the big shiny at the end - if I wasn't lying to them to make them think I had followed and 'arrived'.

Aside: Go. Come. Reached the peak. It's all destination - have you noticed?

Where am I going with all this? Well, I pondered introversion vs extroversion and the concept of people getting out of something a satisfactory result given the energy they put into it and how for many introverts a whole lot of people interaction is just not worth it. And I came to the conclusion that it might be possible that, just like how there are social introverts and social extroverts there might be sexual introverts and sexual extroverts; those terms being vague parameters at best, but at least it's possible to hear the tune my brain is humming.

Emotional connection to me is far, far, far more important than physical connection. Something that confused me for a very long time in terms of what it takes to make me feel jealous; which is the same thing that makes me feel neglected (oh childhood), which coincides (compliments?) with what it takes to make me feel cared for.

And to broaden the scope a bit - what it takes for me to enjoy a story - be it fanfic, yaoi, tv or movies etc, that invokes an intimate connection. Which explains why I run shuddering from fic exploring kinks and fetishes and other ways of connecting physically with someone; stimulating the body. And why yaoi often comes across to me as 'fiddle the knob, fiddle knob, now comes wham, bam, Bob'.

Re-reading up to this part, it seems like all the prior words could be summed up as 'I live in my head. No really. And I like it here'.

What does that have to do with my interactions with physicality? Or polyamory? Or affectional orientation? (a phrase I'm currently so enamored of by the way).

Well I guess it's the difference between being wrong, a failure, weird, different, a freak, abnormal, too traumatized to have proper relations and all of that mess and just being different; having different needs, different wants.

Ponder 1: No wonder I've no problem with polyamory, provided I feel like the emotional commitment and components between me and the person I'm involved with - match intensity. I'm more focused on a mesh of minds than a mesh of bodies. And no this isn't me claiming others are somehow shallow for needing that presence and physicality and touch.

What it means is that I don't get lonely without physical presence. As long as I have a means of communication that I can consider always open; email, the phone; with the people who mean the most to me - then as far as I'm concerned they're right there. We are interacting. We are continuing to bond and build and know one another.

Aside: Which just makes me think of my glee at how twitter brings me notes of daily living minutia and random thoughts that I find helps me feel closer to individuals. There's a window to their heads.

Ponder 2: I've only 'met' one other person who got this concept, someone who commented here on iJay. We discussed not feeling lonely if we had internet access, but occasionally feeling touch deprived or touch starved. And touch starved was sort of like hitting E on a gasoline tank. It could be filled and then there was a nice long stretch (cause apparently we get great fuel mileage) before it needed filling again. And that's not counting if we get the random hugs and occasional pats and pets if we have trusted people who, well I will only speak for myself here, could instigate stimulation at a tolerable level.

This by the way has nothing to do with boundaries, which are important. But there's a difference between someone in my life with whom I have specific boundaries which enfold the concept of touch and touching; where and how and how often and in what context and someone who I find overstimulates when they touch; too hard, too often, too jarring... Something in their touch is just too much and I feel lucky to recognize that now and have vocabulary for it, other than just thinking something is wrong with me.

And again, nothing is wrong with THEM, but we're just on two different frequencies. We're different.

Aside: I could have, perhaps should have clued into this a long time ago because I have a reaction I call 'skin on skin'. If someone has been touching me for too long my reaction is very much like a cat's; hissing and swiping because felines can also become overstimulated by petting. For all my life I've thought of it as the on my skin equivalent of people's descriptions of nails on a chalkboard.

But my family first teased and then tried to fix this, claiming I needed more moisturizer or softer clothes, or something else. There's eventually been acceptance that it is what it is, or rather that it is how I am; a quirk of mine, rather than say an expression of overstimulation. Of valid overstimulation.

Ponder 3: When I am on the same frequency as another person and it's someone I care about and feel close to, I'm not sure I currently have any barrier filters or screens for how intense and/or focused I get on the interaction and exchanging ideas. Undoubtedly the benefit of having more than one individual I feel I click with like that, means there's less pressure for any one individual to respond to me on that level all the time. I'm fairly certain that one, long, luxurious drink, versus many fluttering sips is as exhausting to someone unused to it as I am to the energy exchange among extroverts.

Narrowing focus like that with one individual, being intimate and open and honest and/or creative and interaction expressive for -hours-, energies me. So much so, I'm now left with the visual of extroverts fluttering around taking little sips from other extroverts; them all taking the same little sliver amount of energy and getting it back in return. Versus the introvert who has many extroverts taking a sip, and who isn't also taking a sip from many others to make it up and would instead prefer to make a longer term and slower exchange. Should they connect to an extrovert who is used to sips - the extrovert gets drained. Should they be accosted by extroverts all taking a sip and expecting a small sip back, then the introvert is drained.

The extroverts don't mean to accost, it's just their natural mode of interaction.

The introvert doesn't mean to 'drain the host', it's just their natural mode of reaction.

You can't really match up the sippers, with the ones who plunk a straw in and settle down.

And when that comes to sex; physical intimacy and exchange, well, it seems perfectly rational to think sip vs straw would work the same way as well.

Ponder 4: So on top of straight, bi, homosexual, omnisexual, could there be, well, sensualists vs sexualists? Those are the terms that come to mind for terming sippers and strawers in this particular kind of interaction.

This brings me back to asexuality and the (self?) awareness asexuals are striving for and wanting to promote. Asexuals know it's possible to be romantic or aromantic. It's possible in their consciousness for there to be more to bonding relationships than key fits lock. They factor romantic or aromantic into things, alongside hetero, homo, bi or omni affectionate - ie- the orientation of your intimate caring.

Which is as much framework as I dare use not being asexual.

If I consider whom I feel comfortable being vulnerable around and opening myself up to allow affection from, then the door isn't closed to men. I may have less experiences of having trusted men/ finding trustworthy men, but that doesn't mean the emotional arousal, the urge to click and share is only for women, for me. It isn't. Would that be omni affectionate? An omni affectionate orientation?

And then building on that, how would that affection be expressed? Despite my hesitancy, based on my past experience, a male I trusted would have as valid a place in my life to touch me, affectionately, sensually that is, without a goal in mind, and merely sharing arousal/touch/intimacy as would a woman.

On that level men aren't more draining than women, for me.

The moment genitals got involved though - I will admit awareness of a personal bias. That I cannot comfortably accept or believe a man would not 'dive for the goal/gold' but can accept a woman maintaining a state of arousal, even heightened arousal without needing to end it.

I am aware this bias has been framed for me by society in ways that may not have been intended but have left me believing men find a consistent, sustained, state of arousal, desire and want to be an irritant and absolutely, MUST, end such a state, with a big bang and rush of endorphines.

If society hadn't framed things thusly, men who partake in, or even enjoy delayed orgasm wouldn't be framed as deviant or freaks or 'not of normal Western Culture' and thus completely Other.

If society hadn't framed things thusly there would be no 'She (cock)teased him' and 'She was asking for it' and 'OMG blue balls are worse than death' and I think to a certain extent some aspects of homophobia 'OMG another -man- might find me attractive enough to kickstart arousal! Oh shit!'

But homophobia isn't my focus here.

Ponder:5 What would 'great touch fuel mileage' mean for a situation of affectionate sensual stimulation? What would sucking up the touch and stimulation like a sponge or better, a camel, for a long haul, mean for a strawer/sensualist?

It feels like it comes back to a statement I made in the post that got me that one commenter; I'd take a massage over sex any day.

In my case I'd take a one or two hour massage over a quickie and I'd take careful non overstimulation for HOURS over an orgasm.

Is it sex if I'd enjoy nude cuddling, a massage, a shared bath, shared food, more touching and stroking either to relax or arouse with kissing and nibbling and just enjoying touch unhurried for an entire day WITHOUT anyone climaxing? (Not excluding the possibility that someone might want/need more touch, or more focus on themselves in that particular instance - this is not about appeasing the want of touch or equal balance of touch, simply no orgasm. No bang-shiver-boom)

Is it only sex then to me? From my perspective?

Is it sex if there is a goal, but it is still not climax, but instead a certain level of heightened arousal - a take me to the edge of pain and pleasure, pleasure and pain and then let me walk away and breathe and know the tank has been filled to the very tippy top?

Does there have to be climax as goal for it to be sex, the way some people think penis in vagina coitus/intercourse IS sex; the only sex? Which means lesbian sex isn't, and gay sex is only a twisted abomination - because while there's an in and something going in, and thrusting about and hitting groups of nerves, it's all just one body cavity away from appropriate sanctification?

If we broaden the goal of sex into 'to feel good and achieve mutual feel goodness' is all that's left identification and self identification and a population given permission to think that things are more than who you will physically join with and in what way and under what conditions and, I'd hope they think now, in what emotional state?

I realize that there are individuals who're into BDSM who've likely had conversations on, around, over and through this topic with even further complexities. After all top high equals satisfaction but I don't think I've seen it directly related to the top's orgasm. Just as I do not think sub space may have much to do with orgasms as the acknowledged and certified goal of any and every scene.

And BDSM is about stimulation - directing it, controlling it, too much, too little, just the right kind, etc, among other things. But there's a term to look up for BDSM and asexuality and hetero and bi and homosexuality. And I found on my own, surfing, the term affection(al) orientation. And people know something, in general, about extroverts and introverts.

But how do I communicate myself to others? A poly-affectionate, physically lesbian, non orgasm seeking sensualist? Is it lazy to want something simpler that doesn't require I print out this entry and have it shrunk and laminated?

Ponder 6: Even though I can sort of accept not having a term to describe myself, because humans are complex and anyone who wanted to get to know me (or themselves) well enough to broach this topic, or read this far, will have conversational concepts or analogies to use - it's not that simple in the world of fic.

It's taken writing most of this for me to realize I enjoy Shounen-Ai in manga more than Yaoi because Shounen-Ai is about a dawning awareness and almost cradling and nurturing of want, arousal and desire - which for me IS THE PORN and not when the characters get sticky and somehow official with the exchange of more body fluids than saliva.

Though given that so much of want and desire in manga is often framed in the narrative, (particularly in yaoi) AS, "I assault and violate you because of the crushing pressure of my desire for you" - the sweet naughty (I hesitantly describe as such) of non-con, dub-con and things along that line (rape hurt/comfort?) are not just jarring, but a kind of premature and unwanted climax (or is it only ever premature ejaculation?).

The part that was erotic, to me, can often end up very quickly swamped under a tidal wave of exploration and description that is as non-engaging as... well let's just say a non-engaging thing.

The whole warnings debate of '09 making it clear to me that hearing about unfamiliar difference is easily lost in conversations about stimulation difference. Because after all how can just the mention of ; the summary of; x, y, z, f, be too much stimulation for someone.

I am NOT going to rehash any of that. As snarky and sarcastic as it might have been meant, I took the advice of all the people saying 'Well protect your fragile self' and 'Just stop reading' and did exactly that, right down to no longer following people whose day to day I find intriguing and who as individuals I find extremely worth knowing, but whose explorations of themes in their fanfic, even just in headers, even just with icons, was like a repetitive scratch in a place with no skin that could form no callus. Rather than grow bitter towards them, I just cut out all possibility of unintended othering.

And lo a world without new and interesting lubricants, restraints, domination fetishes, sexual positions and other particulars - while also being a world without the emotional entanglements and unexpected support and affirmation of characters I'd once longed to see have a mating of the minds - has in fact not gone unshiny and dull.

Ponder 7: My last thoughts, for now at least, circle around the phrase 'emotional affair'. It is a sign of an entanglement between personalities that does not involve a ... 'communion of the flesh'. And yet I've only ever seen it acknowledged that such a union happens, can happen, could happen, when it's seen as someone else's careful balance not to cross a final line.

I've only seen it as an aspect of a wrong deed instead of as an actual option.

And when it stands in terms of adultery and infidelity - as a half shadow and incomplete thing; a half measure and first step to something else, usually something with bad/wrong implications it ends up seeming purposely shadowed against being seen as a valid option in and of itself.

If it were a recognized option would there be even more divorces among (serial) monogamists and less attempts at marriage counseling? Would the fact of it, have people recognizing decisions had been made? Would they be more willing to admit that they were seeking something missing, or wanted or possibly withheld?

Would there also be LESS rushes to marriage? Less pressure for individuals to 'grow up' and 'take that last step' and 'stop fooling around and commit already'? Would there be less need to push for more to legitimize a relationship (make it fit into a box), if it were already recognized as a legitimate form of a full and potentially vibrant relationship?

Aside: Should I inquire with some wedded homosexuals on the flavour of social institutions' recognition of a bond that seemed perfectly obvious?

It makes me feel I've circled back in a way to 'What is sex?'. In this case 'What is a relationship' or 'What is intimacy'

What changes something from 'It's just foreplay/ pre-slash/ pre-relationship/ pre-confession/ pre-admission/ pre-sex/ pre getting serious' on a perspective level without actually doing anything more?

Here is where I admit, by the way, that this 'a relationship is THIS not THAT' might not be the case in communities on the fringe of "mainstream". I'm hopeful, actually that BDSM communities and Poly communities; communities that spend a lot of time negotiating things the rest of society takes for granted in relationships of an intimate nature; might actually have dealt with this before. They might have tracks laid down. They might have more experience with individuals who process stimulation along these lines.

Of course, I'm still unlikely to poke my nose anywhere near, given my life experience of the ratio of sippers to strawers (straw suckers just sounds so rude, doesn't it?) And I'm not yet sure I need to poke anywhere. Right now it's pretty exhausting to recognize where, why and how I've been sending the mixed signals that I've occasionally been accused of sending. And it's enough to chew and digest that, alongside the realization that my personal touch issues and need for boundaries may be defensive and self protecting for reasons unrelated to the easy answer of 'childhood issues'.

Query: Now is this a thing I should put up on DW? Yes I'm totally assuming someone other than me will actually read it. Is this optimism? If so it makes my temples hurt. Also I'm stumped on tags. Sexuality Issues: General, Queer Issues? A new 'Sensuality Issues' tag? A relationship negotiating tag?

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2010-01-05 09:31 am UTC (link)
It's interesting to read your pondering, here. Probably a lot because I've been trying to figure out how to graph my own sexuality on and off... invariably deciding it's more complicated than I'm willing to deal with at whatever moment.

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2010-01-05 01:24 pm UTC (link)
I just wanted to say I *did* read this. I really don't have the spoons to work through a response to it all(especially because I got triggered with something re: sex last night) but one thing it did bring up was the comment about "reasons unrelated to the easy answer of 'childhood issues'" - something I've found is that if you have a problem, or even just a curiosity, people like go to "Well X happened, of course you feel that way".

Except... that doesn't quite work. People say "Well, bad thing related to sex happened, so surely you must be scared of sex." But. I've had some pretty impressive horse-riding accidents, and I'm not scared of horses. Yet some people who had far less happen to them are terrified. The whole "Well of course..." thing totally takes away individual responses, and shuts down conversation.

Answer to query: I think you should put this up whereever you feel comfortable doing so.

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2010-01-07 06:28 am UTC (link)
For most of my life being touched has been jarring, too much, and almost painful, even if it doesn't involve bare skin. It's not so bad if I know it's coming. It's unfortunate that my grandma constantly forgets this and grans me by the arm or shoulder without warning. (She also forgets that I gave up soda at age 9 and milk at 14 and offers them to me almost every time I come by.)

A fan friend I had years ago decided I must have repressed memories of abuse and tried to fix me with hugs and things. Since I always knew when it was coming it wasn't so bad, but the assumptions annoyed me. I only found out in the last year that my brother has a similar reaction to being touched unless he steels himself, but the fan friend would probably see that as evidence that my brother also had repressed memories of abuse.

Sometimes, not often, I feel the urge to touch other people.

With all of this and the other bodily and energy problems that came from the Chiari, I mostly express my sensuality and sexuality through writing these days.

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2010-01-07 09:58 am UTC (link)
There's no need to dream of aliens coming to earth, is there? Not really. We have all we need of diversity right here on Earth - if we just stopped insisting we weren't all different.

Why is it so intimidating for there to be wide and varied difference atop an underlying similar base? Why insist the base is all there is and anything else is damaged or abnormal.

It's hard for me to go your friend meant well and then add a but to it. Repressed memories - oh wow they exist! Was the thing a couple years ago. I'm guessing these days she'd have assumed you had Asperger's - instead of just thinking 'This is a Viridian5 thing.' far less 'This is a matter of stimulation and some people just have different tolerance levels'.

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2010-01-12 05:56 am UTC (link)
I tend to say to myself that the people who touch me mean well, especially if they let me know it's coming in some way instead of just springing it on me. (My grandma is a pretty quick strike on the touching thing even though she's 85, so I rarely see it coming in time. It doesn't help that she gets so obviously hurt when I dodge or flinch.)

It seems like so much of humanity has to feel that a narrow base of whatever is the norm and all else is wrong, damaged, abnormal, or inferior. It's how they band together and create a community, this "us vs. them" thing.

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2010-01-13 11:46 pm UTC (link)
Oh - I love how vivid, and how fitting, your butterfly-sippers metaphor is! Yes! Exactly!

(I suspect that somewhere in the poly community are people who deal with various levels of articulation with the emotional-and-affectionate vs emotional-plus-sex I think you're talking about here - elements of this echo things one of my poly friends is working out, and I wish I could introduce you to her.)

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2010-01-22 12:59 am UTC (link)
I'm really glad I read this. We seem to be opposites in nearly every way (eg I hate massages, deep emotional connections tend to leave me drained etc) but thinking about how we differ was very helpful :)

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