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The "How many past partners have you had?" question

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mke
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Frankly, I'm not sure I see the problem with casual, safe sex.

You don't gain as much from it as you do when you are in a great relationship, but you don't lose anything either (provided you are attracted to the other party, and you take a few precautions)

Even if you later think that it is a person that, on reflection, isn't good enough to have slept with -- the only real loss is the time you spent.

Of course it's also important to approach the whole thing honestly: both honesty to yourself, and to the other party.

I think it depends on what you refer to as casual sex, and the context.

If it's something based on real values and not just some form of hedonistic pleasure, then I don't see a problem with it either. The context can also be such as your ideal romantic partner is not available, and you're in a situation where you can't do much about it. In that case I see nothing wrong with having sex with someone you value, regard highly, find attractive and respect - even if you don't intend to start a serious romantic relationship. A more hedonistic approach would on the other hand be more like "it feels good, therefore it is", with no regard to other values than gaining a moment of pleasure.

Even if this is done for the right resons there are potential problems though. Things can get complicated and you migh end up ruining something that could have been a good friendship. Also, contraceptives don't always work, and some act irrationally when facing the choice of abortion. This does of course not make the whole concept bad, but they are good reasons for not treating the subject lightly.

Edited by Alfa
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I think it depends on what you refer to as casual sex, and the context.

If it's something based on real values and not just some form of hedonistic pleasure, then I don't see a problem with it either. The context can also be such as your ideal romantic partner is not available, and you're in a situation where you can't do much about it. In that case I see nothing wrong with having sex with someone you value, regard highly, find attractive and respect - even if you don't intend to start a serious romantic relationship. A more hedonistic approach would on the other hand be more like "it feels good, therefore it is", with no regard to other values than gaining a moment of pleasure.

Even if this is done for the right resons there are potential problems though. Things can get complicated and you migh end up ruining something that could have been a good friendship. Also, contraceptives don't always work, and some act irrationally when facing the choice of abortion. This does of course not make the whole concept bad, but they are good reasons for not treating the subject lightly.

I agree with all of the above. Sex, just like the rest of life, shouldn't be treated lightly.

It goes without saying that one should judge the costs, risks and values involved before making any choice.

Though I don't think it needs to be confined to situations such as when your ideal partner is not available. Even if you were in a great committed relationship, I can't see any reason why sexual exclusivity needs to be treated as a moral axiom: it is fine, given the appropriate context.

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I guess i'm more inclined to trust my first impression of people. I agree of course that it's important not to jump to conclusions and discard that first impression if it proves to be wrong. But I tend to be able to rather quickly form an accurate impression of people(I think it might be something i've learned from being more of a quiet and observing type).

That makes sense. I totally get that then. In contrast to you, I tend to be sort of an in-your-face type that attracts a lot of attention without even trying. I get a lot of, "Oh, of course I've heard of you." LOL And random people tend to just come my way (not that this is a bad thing, I have my lovely mate and two fantastic friends because of this). For better or for worse, I have a weird brand of charisma, a sort of anti-popular notoriety.

For women there's also the risk of getting beaten and raped if they attract the wrong guy. Therefore I think it's also wiser for women to require a higher degree of trust before sleeping with a man.

I can't say for sure how I would feel about that situation as it has never happened, but I don't think i'd have any problems with it. My actions would be in response to the values I see. But, I don't act by giving anything away. I don't regard it as a gift or anything like that, it's more like obtaining a value. If it turns out she doesn't actually live up to that, that would be disappointing but i'll just make sure to find someone better next time. Whatever she got from it must be as gratifying as having sex with a person who's thinking of someone else(besides, that someone else would eventually get what she couldn't).

I see what you're saying now. I admit I wasn't thinking about that, but I certainly do know enough women who've had that sort of thing happen, usually when alcohol is involved. It's not as big of a concern for me because I rarely drink and almost never get drunk, and I'm sort of big and scary for a woman so most guys would know better than to pull that crap with me. :D In contrast to you, I do feel like I give someone something when I sleep with him. It's a concretization of a kind of ownership over me. And I take something for myself in return. I take ownership of him too, take everything I want from him and leave him in a heap. I guess that's why it's a bigger deal for me. I understand that not everyone feels that way and there's nothing wrong with people who don't.

I also operate from the somewhat unusual context of only having been with one person, but for years and years now. So that probably affects my perspective. Your take on things makes good sense from your POV.

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All this 'reasoning' about casual sex, is starting to look a little thin. Look, if you a have an itch, and the opportunity to get it scratched, there isn't necessarily any harm - in the short term.

However, unless you have armor-plated self- esteem, it can, and will, catch up with you in the long run. And nobody has.

We are all cocky enough at first to believe we can handle anything, but it's only on looking back that we know we couldn't.

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All this 'reasoning' about casual sex, is starting to look a little thin. Look, if you a have an itch, and the opportunity to get it scratched, there isn't necessarily any harm - in the short term.

However, unless you have armor-plated self- esteem, it can, and will, catch up with you in the long run. And nobody has.

We are all cocky enough at first to believe we can handle anything, but it's only on looking back that we know we couldn't.

Yes! Thank you for stating my point so eloquently.

Look, we're not talking about casually eating too much over the holidays. Most people rationalize that and then they have to loose the weight. But that's not as serious as sex. I've already mentioned the physical risks of casual sex. Protection is not 100% effective, and an abortion may be necessary. What if this woman doesn't want to have an abortion? You're suddenly up shit creek all because of something that was "casual." But what about the psychological effects? It's one thing to, say, regret becoming addicted to porn, but it's a *completely* different matter to regret having sex with someone you knew for a couple of days, were only vaguely attracted to, and had sex with on a whim. WHY IS THAT A GOOD IDEA??!?!! All those idiotic teenagers who just couldn't wait to have sex, porked some chick, got her pregnant, and now have a family at 16...oh yeah, I bet they LOVE the idea of casual sex now.

Have you heard of masturbation? Maybe you should try it to relieve some of those "urges" or "itches."

Sex is supposed to express the awesome depth of feeling you have for someone else - how much you admire them for their virtues, how much you love every aspect of their being. Sex is supposed to be an expression of *LOVE*. Not an expression of, "Oh hey I saw you from across the room and I've talked with you for 5 minutes. I barely know anything about you except the few anecdotes you've told me. Let's fuck." You can't fall in love with someone in one date or two. Love takes time and so therefore, so should sex.

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Tito is not recommending that you sleep with random strangers or people you've known for only a few days. He is saying that there's nothing wrong with having a sexual relationship with someone you, say, don't intend to form a PERMANENT attachment to. These relationships can be very enjoyable and are an excellent option for, say, people who have not found anyone who really suits them completely. Masturbation is fun, but it doesn't fulfill one's desire for companionship or shared values.

The world can be a hard place and real companionship a rare thing. *Good* opportunities should be seized, not bypassed because they aren't perfect. Selection is important, but it does not imply that one must therefore live the life of an ascetic.

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God, has the whole world gone insane?

Saying that fulfilling, long-term relationships are rare is *not an argument*!! I've had two in my life, and I waited 4 years in between. I dated, of course, in an attempt to find my next long-term partner. But I didn't stick around even if there was some compatibility.

Maybe it's just personal preference, but I have to have long-term relationships. They're too much fun to give them up for a bunch of short-term flings.

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Maybe it's just personal preference, but I have to have long-term relationships. They're too much fun to give them up for a bunch of short-term flings.
Did anybody suggest that a long-term relationship should be given up for a short term relationship?
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You're taking my wording far too literally. I mean that I'm not willing to have any short term relationships because I much prefer long-term ones, even if that means waiting years and years without relationships beyond friendship, I'm fine with that. That's what I've already done for the past 4 years anyway and I never felt this so-called urge or itch to have sex with someone. I obviously wanted companionship, but it's just not enough companionship if it only lasts a few weeks or a month or two.

Edited by Krattle
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You're taking my wording far too literally. I mean that I'm not willing to have *any* short term relationships because I much prefer long-term ones.
wonder if I'm really taking you too literally , because your clarification seems to posit the same choice ("short-term relationship" versus "long-term relationship"). Using your clarification, I'd change my question to: who said they preferred short-term relationships to long-term ones?

Are you saying that only when you are fairly sure that the relationship is going to be long-term, then and only then are you willing to make it sexual? If so, what do you mean by long-term? Are you speaking about a partner for life, or something less than that? If you really mean that the relationship must reach a certain depth, then is that any different in principle from what Tito is saying?

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Yes, I am saying I'm only willing to make it sexual if I'm fairly sure it's going to be long-term, and by long-term I mean years and yes, hopefully partner for life. That implies reaching a certain intimacy with the other person - an appreciation of their personality, their virtues, their interests, their goals, the way they work and think about life and bigger issues, and even a knowledge of some vices (if there are any). Most of all there *must* be mutual understanding of each others' sexual preferences.

EDIT: For instance, what if you have sex with someone and you find out they're into S&M? Would it have killed you to get an intimate knowledge of your partner's views on sex before you went to the bedroom? Although I know some Objectivists think S&M is OK....whatever.

Edited by Krattle
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As Jen and SNerd pointed out, I'm not suggesting any sort of prioritisation of casual sex over long term relationships, neither am I suggesting sex with people you don't know.

Sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, discovering your partner is a maniac, etc. are all risks associated with *all* sex. You may know somebody for 5 years, then have a casual relationship, yet I doubt you would object to a sexual relationship between a romantic couple who knew each other for just 1 year. The two aren't even exclusive.

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As Jen and SNerd pointed out, I'm not suggesting any sort of prioritisation of casual sex over long term relationships, neither am I suggesting sex with people you don't know.

Sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, discovering your partner is a maniac, etc. are all risks associated with *all* sex. You may know somebody for 5 years, then have a casual relationship, yet I doubt you would object to a sexual relationship between a romantic couple who knew each other for just 1 year. The two aren't even exclusive.

It sounds like the question is really coming down to whether it is OK to sleep with someone for whom you have a lot of affection but know you have no future with. Then it comes down to what you are comfortable with, I think. For example, take a college student. What if you love your boyfriend but are fairly sure that life circumstances are going to take you your separate ways at graduation? Should you then never have been with him? I think that's a bit silly.

I do think it's probably not so kosher to know beforehand that you're not going to have much to do with someone after a week and then still sleep with them, but this is rarely knowledge that is certain unless you plan it out that way. On the other hand, it seems excessive to me to posit that someone has to be a life-partner candidate before you sleep with them. I think love or great affection and fondness is enough, even if it's not forever.

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This issue comes up over and over again on the boards because nitwits are constantly assuming that people who say they aren't worried if a relationship isn't forever are just jumping in and out of the sack with anyone who comes along. Krattle, I'm looking at YOU. This is a fundamentally immature view that wipes out the huge complexities that can attend romantic relationships and replaces them with a false either/or view that does not even come close to applying to everyone.

The thing that I find amusing is that I oftenest see this viewpoint from people who have very "standard" relationships . . . i.e. people who date. Me, I don't date. Almost all of my friends live hundreds if not thousands of miles away and most of them I've never met in person. I have spectacularly eclectic interests and achieving a meeting of minds with someone just to establish a FRIENDSHIP is INCREDIBLY difficult and rare for me.

So, yes, if the opportunity to, say, attend OCON and hook up with a distant but dear friend who I'll probably not get to see again for a lengthy period of time comes along, you can bet I'm going to carpe the hell out of that diem. :dough:

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True, romantic relationships are very complex and varied, but there still have to be principles.

Anyway, I like how *you* make an assumption about *my* dating habits. Maybe if you did date, you'd find there are more people out there with similar mindsets than you're willing to admit. Besides, the only way to find compatible people is to be out there, talking with people, dating. If you fail 20 times but succeed once, you still succeeded in the end.

I also do not "date" in that sense of just dating for the sake of dating. I date in the hopes of finding someone compatible. How the hell else am I going to do it? Just sit around and mope about how lonely I am. Of course not.

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EDIT: For instance, what if you have sex with someone and you find out they're into S&M? Would it have killed you to get an intimate knowledge of your partner's views on sex before you went to the bedroom? Although I know some Objectivists think S&M is OK....whatever.

Usually such things are hard to know beforehand. Most people are not very open about their fantasies and fetishes, unless they really trust the other person, and you can bet the weirder they are the less open they're going to be about it. So I guess if there are differences that cannot be worked out... well, that would suck.

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That makes sense. I totally get that then. In contrast to you, I tend to be sort of an in-your-face type that attracts a lot of attention without even trying. I get a lot of, "Oh, of course I've heard of you." LOL And random people tend to just come my way (not that this is a bad thing, I have my lovely mate and two fantastic friends because of this). For better or for worse, I have a weird brand of charisma, a sort of anti-popular notoriety.

Hehe, sounds like the polar opposite to me. Strangely though i've always liked in-your-face kind of people, especially women. :D

I see what you're saying now. I admit I wasn't thinking about that, but I certainly do know enough women who've had that sort of thing happen, usually when alcohol is involved. It's not as big of a concern for me because I rarely drink and almost never get drunk, and I'm sort of big and scary for a woman so most guys would know better than to pull that crap with me. :dough: In contrast to you, I do feel like I give someone something when I sleep with him. It's a concretization of a kind of ownership over me. And I take something for myself in return. I take ownership of him too, take everything I want from him and leave him in a heap. I guess that's why it's a bigger deal for me. I understand that not everyone feels that way and there's nothing wrong with people who don't.

I also operate from the somewhat unusual context of only having been with one person, but for years and years now. So that probably affects my perspective. Your take on things makes good sense from your POV.

Seems like you just have a more feminine perspective. To clarify my position a little bit though, let me just add that of course i'd also be giving something in the form of pleasure(hopefully :D ) - it's part of the value obtained(just felt I had to say this, so as not to damage my reputation :D ). I merely want to contrast this from being a form of "gift", or sacrifice, and instead see it as a form of trade(if I understand you correctly though we're talking about the same thing here).

In your case though I think it's better to regard it as "giving ownership" to the values you see in him. And even if he does not live up to them, those values remain. You just retract that "ownership" and give it to someone more deserving, also giving him something the other man could never have.

I think this is an important view to hold, because break-ups do happen - for whatever reasons. Even for good rational people. We can make mistakes and our partners can change. This can be more or less painfull, but it's important not to think that we lost parts of ourselves to someone who was undeserving.

All this 'reasoning' about casual sex, is starting to look a little thin. Look, if you a have an itch, and the opportunity to get it scratched, there isn't necessarily any harm - in the short term.

However, unless you have armor-plated self- esteem, it can, and will, catch up with you in the long run. And nobody has.

We are all cocky enough at first to believe we can handle anything, but it's only on looking back that we know we couldn't.

Where does the reason look thin? You haven't even adressed anything specifically.

I don't think any of us are talking about getting some itches scratched. Atleast i'm certainly not.

Hell, if it's only about having an itch I couldn't be bothered to find someone to scratch it for me. I don't even like sex when it's done as a mere physical need. I think what makes sex good is the person i'm having it with, and that requires more than just feeling a little frisky.

When it comes to self-esteem you better have a damn solid one before thinking about getting any kind of partner, because you can bet it's gonna be put to the test. I also think it's fair to assume most people here know what it's like when you get hurt.

Edited by Alfa
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This has gone off-topic, hasn't it? Still it's a significant and vital subject, so I'll just continue the trend.

Some core issues and principles have emerged here, about something essentially so simple and natural, (boy meets girl ... what can be so 'wrong' with what they do together?); and at the same time so complex and far - reaching, that one moment's bad judgement can damage a life.

I speak for myself, in saying that I found sex to be the most incredibly powerful force in binding two people -- for better, or for worse. There was a period of my life I am distinctly un-proud of, when I took all that came my way. With women not just inappropriate to me, but at times objectively 'bad' for any man. Then, also, there were the decent, thinking, feeling, ones, that I usually walked away from. So, when I got involved with the exciting, but destructive ones, I might end up hurt; while the good ones I did not appreciate fully. This was a time that sex, with all it's conquest, experimentation and self-validation, ruled me, rather than the reverse.

That's why I earlier argued against any hint of rationalisation of long term, casual sex always being okay, or normal, or desirable, or especially, romantic.( Not that anyone has quite gone that far, yet!)

As I say, I found that the intimacy that often ensues from the sexual experience, can intricately involve one, even when you know deeply that she (or he) is not what you want. Apart from unwanted emotional entanglements, it has resulted, for me, in unplanned pregnancies, and a child. All this from someone who always prided himself on self-control and rationality. My image of Self needed many years, much introspection, and behavior-changing to rebuild, I must confess.

On the other hand - I have also found the extreme pleasure of what a relationship based on solid values, can be like, and whaddaya know, it is also the best sex of all.

Without advocating any Puritanical, celibate, or self-abnegating approach to any contact with the opposite sex, my sincere advice is to be highly conscious and honest of what one is doing, and who with, and why. It is all about Individualism; just that one woman, with sex as the means, not the end.

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Going through this thread, aswell as some others, I cant really say I've seen your point.

Obviously somebody can get pregnant, and you could get STDs - but the latter is quite rare (to date it have not occourd to me, and unless its something serious, which is extremely unlikely, it wouldnt be that big a deal).

The pregnancy issue is obviously a risk-element, even if your both protected and she assures you she is an advocate of aborting non-planned fosters, but what are these other terrible lifeshattering consequences I get the impression everyone is so informed of?

It seems people are under the impression that if you have sex with more people then the average, thats a result of low selfestem and will ultimately make you unhappy.

Obviously we can all agree that it is more fulfilling having sex with someone your having a longer relationship with (all though waiting three months, as suggested previously, seems a bit of an overkill) then it is having casual sex with someone you barely know and met at a bar.

However, the latter is still a significantly better experience then just heading home and (as previously recommended) masturbating.

If your equating the two, either your competance in the one or other field is way above average - as the latter is nothing close to actually having intercourse.

Me and my friends enjoy going to bars, and also like to socialise when where there.

Trying to get a girl interested in you to the point where she lets you come back with her at the end of the evening is quite enthrilling aswell as challenging.

Its not that you need her "validation" because your only value-estimation of yourself is based on the sexual perception others have of you - its something you attempt because you appreciate both the attempt and the result, should you get one.

If one wants to make a moral argument against having sex with more then two people in ten years, one must argue thats its selfdestructive or alturistic to do so. In most cases its not alturistic, all though it obviously can be, but that is not what im proposing or practising.

So the argument remaining is that its selfdestructive.

Somewhere along the road your going to regret the fact that you sleept with so and so many women.

How is this supposed to happen?

I do however consider it, if not selfdestructive, atleast certainly not selfish, to deprive myself of this oppourtunity as long as im not in a commited relationship and as long as im still young and fit enough to effectivly "practice" it.

Disclaimer:

I consider myself 100% Objectivist on all other topics, just cant wrap my head around this issue. :P

Based on personal experiences I would consider it a personal deprivation to follow what appears to be the Objectivist consensus

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I consider myself 100% Objectivist on all other topics, just cant wrap my head around this issue. :P

Based on personal experiences I would consider it a personal deprivation to follow what appears to be the Objectivist consensus

I don't see any consensus here, nor whenever the topic arises on the forum. Edited by softwareNerd
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Its not that you need her "validation" because your only value-estimation of yourself is based on the sexual perception others have of you - its something you attempt because you appreciate both the attempt and the result, should you get one.

Why do you appreciate the attempt and the result, though? What do you get out of it? And what's wrong with being alone that makes it so undesirable? I *like* being alone. It takes quite a significant interest in another person for me to prefer their company to being alone. If I do have that interest, of course, I'm not going to forgo their company on the basis that I'm not planning to spend the rest of my life with them.

Going home alone is often the best part of my day.

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I don't see any consensus here, nor whenever the topic arises on the forum.

- I perceive it as a relative consensus, off course everyone does not agree, but the viewpoints expressed do not in a great deal differ.

But my perception is merely based on scrolling through two threads, so it may be misinformed.

Why do you appreciate the attempt and the result, though? What do you get out of it?

- The attempt is fun for several reasons. For one you get to know alot of good looking girls, aswell as enforcing your social skills.

You'll learn alot about how people function and what general outlooks people have on life. Off course to a very limited extent, but still its great fun.

The result (given that you get a result) is something which gives you satisfaction and a great time, possibly over a significantly long amount of time.

Does it give you much more then physical satisfaction?

No. But that does not seem an argument for NOT doing it in the first place.

And what's wrong with being alone that makes it so undesirable?

- Its not wrong, but thats how your going to spend most of your nights, and some variance is quite exciting and necessary in my oppinion.

I generally prefer the company of others to the isolation of my bed, TV or computer.

Off course there can be to much of that aswell, for example in the military I lived with nine other guys in one room for the first two months. That was obviously less enjoyable.

But all in all you need both, and a good way of ending a night out with your friends is definitly going home with someone other then your friends, or taking a cab back home. In my case much cheaper too, taxis are insanely expensive here, but I guess thats not much of an argument :P

I *like* being alone. It takes quite a significant interest in another person for me to prefer their company to being alone. If I do have that interest, of course, I'm not going to forgo their company on the basis that I'm not planning to spend the rest of my life with them.

Going home alone is often the best part of my day.

- Fair enough, I dont agree myself though, but still one cant apply morals subjectivly - does that meen theres a context where a more promiscuos sexual life could be moral?

If not, why not? :P

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I don't see any consensus here, nor whenever the topic arises on the forum.

Casual sex is faking it. Full stop. I have seen all the rationalisation for it that I care for on these threads - but the usual outcome is "what's wrong with what I enjoy doing".

I can't speak for everyone, and every occasion, (and let's face it, there is an element of subjectivity here), but there comes a time and place where we all are vulnerable.

So you like going to bars and 'socializing' with women, and sometimes you get lucky.

OK, I did that for 20 plus years, and I will insist one more time that it is not good for anyone. Somewhere between the 6th time and the 36th time, you will lose sight of what you're doing it for; you will be able to call up 'pretend' affection and interest in the girl, without raising a sweat; you will have become a serial lover; and you will have become an accomplished faker.

Why? Because that type of girl you meet, generally wants the illusion of love, to go through with it(and maybe you will too.)

Leave aside all the practical disasters that can result from casual sex - they're almost secondary. The ones that count are mental, emotional, and spiritual, to you. Eventually, week after week, self-justification adds up to self-contempt.

Alternatively, it is often a fine thing to be alone - and just imagine how you can creatively use all that sexual energy elsewhere. :P

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Casual sex is faking it. Full stop. I have seen all the rationalisation for it that I care for on these threads - but the usual outcome is "what's wrong with what I enjoy doing".

- Does one need to explain it any further?

Seems a decent justification?

So you like going to bars and 'socializing' with women, and sometimes you get lucky.

- Well, its not like you show up alone on monday afternoon scounting the place out, but I do go out with male friends to drink, have fun and pick up girls. Sometimes we make fools of ourselves, sometime some of us get lucky, it depends. But its always great fun and a decent end of the working week.

OK, I did that for 20 plus years, and I will insist one more time that it is not good for anyone.

- Im not saying its a lifestyle one would pursue consequently and exclusivly for the remainder of ones life, personally I'd like to settle down and maybe get a kid when im closer to 28-29. But thats still seven years away, so for the time being im contempt living life to the fullest.

Somewhere between the 6th time and the 36th time, you will lose sight of what you're doing it for; you will be able to call up 'pretend' affection and interest in the girl, without raising a sweat; you will have become a serial lover; and you will have become an accomplished faker.

Why? Because that type of girl you meet, generally wants the illusion of love, to go through with it(and maybe you will too.)

- Well, that depends. Off course your going to be more affectionate, but I dont think thats got so much to do with being "fake", more a direct result of consuming alcohol. This effects both parties, they are both aware of this, and it is still not something I see as selfdestructive.

One could argue that this would "wear one out", and that you would not be able to appreciate a proper relationship.

But in my experience thats not the case. My last relationship was not very long (bit over six months) - but it was really close and intimate, and the actual intercourse was something very different and much better and personal then the casual one.

That does not meen theres anything wrong with the casual style, its just not AS good as a relationship.

But if the latter is not an option at the given place and time, then the former is no vice, imo.

The ones that count are mental, emotional, and spiritual, to you. Eventually, week after week, self-justification adds up to self-contempt.

- Im sorry, but I still dont see how this would necessarily lead to self-contempt..

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- Im sorry, but I still dont see how this would necessarily lead to self-contempt..

That's because it's complicated, and most people aren't even aware that they feel self-contempt because most people have never experienced self-love. (I haven't, I have severe self-esteem problems and probably always will. But that's another story.)

There are basically two ways to be square with yourself in life. The first way is to have high standards and live up to them. This is difficult, though. A much easier way is to have low standards, trivial standards, or no standards and do whatever feels good at the moment. The problem is that if you choose this method in any area whatsoever, you begin to lose your sense of exaltation in life. Joys fade into mundanity and you cease feeling them strongly. It is not that you begin to despise yourself and say, "oh, what a worthless creature I am", it's that you cease to believe that your life is a precious, sacred thing and every moment on earth a shining gem to be spent on buying the happiness of the miraculous creature which is yourself. You stop looking to climb to the pinnacle and start looking for ways to avoid being bored/tired/hungry/alone. After a while, even your low standards start to slip because without the fuel of any profound joy there's no determination to pursue goals or maintain standards.

Personally, I'm a third case--I lived for too long with standards that were not just high but IMPOSSIBLE and now I have the unshakeable subconscious conviction that happiness is not for people like me. Even if I give everything I have, I think, I'll never be able to actually accomplish what I want to accomplish. Result: I accomplish nothing. On those rare occasions when I'm able to bring myself to strive after something, I do mediocre work at best which only reinforces my sense of my own worthlessness.

I have a more "relaxed" view about how "permanent" a relationship needs to be before I'd sleep with someone not because I have low standards but because I know just how easily "permanent" can become "not-permanent". I am not advocating low standards, I am advocating *rational* standards so that people don't wind up feeling like a failure because they didn't somehow magically predict everything that would happen. I've been the victim of this particular form of neurosis for my entire life.

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