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This post contains some more graphic content. So, if you don't want to see any of that, please skip this one.

Coincidentally, the following exchange took place yesterday:

Co-worker: Did you see the new attorney downstairs?

Me: No. Why?

C-w: She's really hot. She has a nice big ass.

Made me smile. See? To this guy, a woman with a big butt is like having a license to print money. I bet if he saw my ex-girlfriends, he would puke.

Okay, I have been doing some thinking (some of which is thanks to you all). Here's something that I like. I really like taking my 105 pound girlfriend, throwing her over my shoulder like a damn caveman, and carrying her to the bedroom. I like to hold her up while I am standing while we are discussing the big bang theory. Those are just a couple examples of the practical applications of having a more . . . Slender . . . Woman. Once we start talking about 150 - 165+ pounds, we hit some limitations. Is this legit?

Also, I have never, since high school, dated a girl/woman who was not really, really attractive (on paper, according to common societal definitions). Now, this does NOT mean that I will date any attractive woman. I see that some of you are inferring that I am all form and no substance. That is not true. I have never, since I became an adult, dated a woman based on looks alone. But, the fact of the matter is, that the only women that I really got to know happened to be attractive. Basically, if a woman wasn't attractive to me, it never got to the point where I would know her character one way or another. I mean, you have to understand, that to me, a woman's body feels a certain way. Tummys and butts are tight. My hands almost go around their waist. I can carry them around with ease. Boobs are smallish (I hate fake boobs) and firm. Nothing really "jiggles" or feels squishy. I know this sounds really shallow, but I am telling you, this is a freaking profound difference on the sensory level. Imagine you had only ever heard nylon string, classical guitar for your whole life. Then one day, you hear Slash. That's probably going to seriously challenge your ideas of what the guitar is. Only question is, after all those years, can you learn to really enjoy Slash?

Furthermore, I have turned down a fair many sexual opportunities, because I was not interested in the woman BECAUSE of her character.

Surprised that nobody has mentioned getting older. What am I going to do when I am 60, date 22 year-olds? That is another thing I worry about.

Really want to thank all of you (one exception) for keeping this going. I am reading all of your posts (one exception) and giving them all consideration. I am going to keep reviewing them, probably for months. Also, you should all check out those Lenny P. podcasts posted earlier.

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Mindy - here is a copy/paste from an online dictionary for "fetish": Something, such as a material object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.

So, while the word is close, I don't think it is totally on point.

Think of S-M behavior as being requisite for its practitioners to become aroused. That isn't physical objects (I know, they have lots of that too) it is behavior. Have you read "Lolita?" The biographical explanation of Nabokov's sexual "imprinting" is interesting in that case. Perhaps "fetish" isn't the right word. I ran my theory by my psychiatrist husband, and he didn't suggest I had the wrong term, but I'll do some research to be sure.

-- Mindy

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Surprised that nobody has mentioned getting older. What am I going to do when I am 60, date 22 year-olds? That is another thing I worry about.

I wouldn't worry about this until you're old enough that it's an issue, at which point it probably wont be. Few people are going to find someone 30 or 40 years older than them attractive. I think as you get older, however, the appeal of young probably loses some of it's attractiveness because it is coupled with either immaturity, or simply an overly vast difference in life experience.

And as we age, what we value in a partner will almost certainly change. I'd guess it's probably a result of the mind-body connection. Obviously, I can't speak from experience, but I don't see a lot of Granddad's hitting the clubs trying to pick-up...

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What about a man who is tall, muscular, tanned with a perfect smile. A man who has confidence, integrity and competence, and who cares deeply about his woman?

Or, a woman with a perfect hour-glass shape, who takes great care to look her best, but is still strong, intelligent, elegant, benevolent and caring?

Alfa, you missed my point entirely. My point was that those things do not *necessarily* go together. That they do not logically entail each other at all. Yes, they may HAPPEN to be combined in a person but that's rare. You missed my point entirely...

Has everyone forgotten Notre Dame de Paris? La Esmeralda was "in love" with the tall, handsome Phoebe whom she THOUGHT/ASSUMED was a dashing, gallant, caring man. Yet he was NONE OF THOSE THINGS. While, at the same time, the absolutely hideous Quasimodo who risked his own life to save La Esmeralda and who loved her deeply, never received any love from Esmeralda at all.

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Alfa, you missed my point entirely. My point was that those things do not *necessarily* go together. That they do not logically entail each other at all. Yes, they may HAPPEN to be combined in a person but that's rare. You missed my point entirely...

Has everyone forgotten Notre Dame de Paris? La Esmeralda was "in love" with the tall, handsome Phoebe whom she THOUGHT/ASSUMED was a dashing, gallant, caring man. Yet he was NONE OF THOSE THINGS. While, at the same time, the absolutely hideous Quasimodo who risked his own life to save La Esmeralda and who loved her deeply, never received any love from Esmeralda at all.

My point, by trying to illustrate people who match inside and out, was to point towards what others here have already argued; that love is a matter of body and soul. It's true that looks and character don't always match, but I can't see that anyone has argued otherwise.

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Okay, I have been doing some thinking (some of which is thanks to you all). Here's something that I like. I really like taking my 105 pound girlfriend, throwing her over my shoulder like a damn caveman, and carrying her to the bedroom. I like to hold her up while I am standing while we are discussing the big bang theory. Those are just a couple examples of the practical applications of having a more . . . Slender . . . Woman. Once we start talking about 150 - 165+ pounds, we hit some limitations. Is this legit?

It most certainly is legit.

A big part of sexual attraction and romance is the celebration of your differences as man and woman. What you describe is just one way of enjoying that(not the only way, but definitely a very common way).

I think most women like to feel small and feminine, while men like to feel big and strong and physically in control. That contrast can be a big source of enjoyment, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

The only thing I like to add is that you should consider how important it is to you and your own abilities. What I mean is to place it properly in your value hierarchy, and if you're short enough to exclude most of the female population it may create a problem(at 6'3" that wont be a problem though).

Also, I have never, since high school, dated a girl/woman who was not really, really attractive (on paper, according to common societal definitions). Now, this does NOT mean that I will date any attractive woman. I see that some of you are inferring that I am all form and no substance. That is not true. I have never, since I became an adult, dated a woman based on looks alone. But, the fact of the matter is, that the only women that I really got to know happened to be attractive. Basically, if a woman wasn't attractive to me, it never got to the point where I would know her character one way or another. I mean, you have to understand, that to me, a woman's body feels a certain way. Tummys and butts are tight. My hands almost go around their waist. I can carry them around with ease. Boobs are smallish (I hate fake boobs) and firm. Nothing really "jiggles" or feels squishy. I know this sounds really shallow, but I am telling you, this is a freaking profound difference on the sensory level. Imagine you had only ever heard nylon string, classical guitar for your whole life. Then one day, you hear Slash. That's probably going to seriously challenge your ideas of what the guitar is. Only question is, after all those years, can you learn to really enjoy Slash?

Furthermore, I have turned down a fair many sexual opportunities, because I was not interested in the woman BECAUSE of her character.

I wonder, have you ever met a woman who's personality managed to change your whole perception of her looks? Let's say someone you at first saw as rather unappealing, but after getting to know her you actually found her sexy?

I'm not saying your preferences are wrong here, however it seems to me like there's a certain kind of woman you haven't yet met. And I don't mean just liking her personality, it's more than just "connecting", feeling affection and mutual admiration(I like to call it "IT", because before I see it in front of me it tends to be rather intangible). Let me give you an example:

I met a girl once who at first looked rather unattractive to me. She got a pretty nice body, nothing exceptional but certainly worth checking out. However, she got a very harsh looking face, small eyes, and the corners of her mouth were turned down making her default expression look like she was constantly pissed. Getting to know her I noticed though that she was a real sweetheart, she was witty, had a wicked sense of humor, and she always - playfully - challenged me. Not only did she have a great personality, but she knew how to push the right buttons and play the right strings. That in turn made her irresistible, not only did I find myself attracted to her but it became a great pleasure for me to put a smile on her face and make her giggle - I guess it was the contrast when I saw her face soften into a smile.

I think that's the interaction between body and spirit. That's something you tend to see when you fall in love with someone; either you overlook the flaws in favor of the good things, or the flaws get turned into something positive - like something uniquely individual, that makes her more interesting.

Now there's not much you can do about that. I think the right course of action is to pursue those women you find attractive, and others you interact with on a friendly basis. Then maybe someday you fall for someone who's not really your type, or maybe you don't. But if you do it may change your perception a little bit.

Surprised that nobody has mentioned getting older. What am I going to do when I am 60, date 22 year-olds? That is another thing I worry about.

When I was younger I used to be very picky about what I liked and did not like. Over the years that has changed though. Of course I still go for women I find beautiful, but it has become a much wider variety of women. I think the difference is that i'm more open to finding beauty where I previously didn't even look. It's like where someone else might say that her hips are too wide and her butt is too big, I say "sure, but her face is lovely, she moves gracefully and she seems proud of herself".

I think it can be sense of life thing, where you are more focused on the values you see instead of the negative aspects.

Edited by Alfa
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Nor am I denying the importance of sexual attraction, which is partly physical (although sexuality is more importantly a function of the mind and not the body). But the OP as well as many Objectivists tend to treat real live people as if they were characters out of one of Rand's novels. The simple truth is that so-called God given looks and character + personality have ZERO causal connection. Certain things do, such as overall physical *condition* and hygiene because those are under direct volitional control. And so those should be given primacy over physical attributes that are totally outside the control of the individual, such as how long one's legs are or one's height.

But the OP seems to be focusing on physical attributes to the outright exclusion of personality and character. The woman he is with is an amazing person by his own admission, but her body isn't good enough so she's unworthy of a romantic relationship. Frankly, that is the definition of shallow. If your standards of what is physically attractive have that little wiggle room, then I don't really see how you are capable of a healthy romantic relationship.

Here's a thought, have you ever considered going to the gym with your girlfriend, or going on bike rides, or doing something physical? If her "unattractiveness" stems from too much body fat, or whatever you consider too much, then maybe you can work out together and she will lose that as a result.

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So for me' date=' purpose determines value, and my purpose in a romantic relationship includes(but is not limited to)enjoying a woman's body. The sensorial experience of enjoyment includes how she looks, in addition to how she feels, smells, and sounds. [/quote']

I couldn't agree more and this is my whole point.

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Nor am I denying the importance of sexual attraction, which is partly physical (although sexuality is more importantly a function of the mind and not the body). But the OP as well as many Objectivists tend to treat real live people as if they were characters out of one of Rand's novels. The simple truth is that so-called God given looks and character + personality have ZERO causal connection. Certain things do, such as overall physical *condition* and hygiene because those are under direct volitional control. And so those should be given primacy over physical attributes that are totally outside the control of the individual, such as how long one's legs are or one's height.

No, sexuality is a function of both mind and body.

Has anyone here claimed that accidents of birth determine character? Where?

But the OP seems to be focusing on physical attributes to the outright exclusion of personality and character. The woman he is with is an amazing person by his own admission, but her body isn't good enough so she's unworthy of a romantic relationship. Frankly, that is the definition of shallow. If your standards of what is physically attractive have that little wiggle room, then I don't really see how you are capable of a healthy romantic relationship.

No, he does not. He has explicitly stated that he has turned down good looking women because of their character. The fact that he's not turned on by her despite her other qualities just means that they are better suited as friends. That does not make him shallow. In fact, considering he seems to have dated women who most men would feel intimidated by, I would be willing to bet that he's got a lot of confidence and self-esteem.

Here's a thought, have you ever considered going to the gym with your girlfriend, or going on bike rides, or doing something physical? If her "unattractiveness" stems from too much body fat, or whatever you consider too much, then maybe you can work out together and she will lose that as a result.

Sure, if they would have been involved in a serious relationship for a longer period of time, where he was strongly attracted to her at the beginning... then I could see that as a viable solution. That is, in an attempt to re-ignite the spark that was already there in the beginning. Now it's more like going into a relationship by trying to change who she is.

Could you imagine going into a relationship where your partner told you that first, in order for it to work, you'd have to loose some fat and put on more muscle? Add to it other suggestions that have been posted here, like turning the lights off and pretending it's someone else. I don't know about you or anyone else, but my reaction would be: "WTF!?" I'm out!".

Trying to force things to work here will only end up being cruel to her. It's a sad situation for both of them, and I hope they can get through it with their friendship intact.

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I really like taking my 105 pound girlfriend, ......

This is a child's weight. Anyone above 5 feet 3 inches with this weight would be in the unhealthy range. This is unrealistic for most women and no sane woman would even hold herself to this standard (although some women still do, sadly).

There are still plenty of men out there with reasonable sexual preferences, thank Galt.

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Eventually that will become your new habit. Perhaps there is something similar with physical attraction, but to my knowledge there is not.

There is. What I find physically attractive has changed over the years as I made new/different associations. When I was much younger I was constantly running into situations in which I was physically attracted to people who, most often than not, did reflect my values enough, and on a few occasions I found myself not attracted to those who I knew did reflect them to a large degree including the optional values. This placed me in a loose-loose most of the time and made me feel very disintegrated. I wanted to have both in one and the reality is that great people are hard to find - much harder than some specific physical type. I don't find myself having that dilemma today.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Sophia - i don't think its fair to say that I don't love her. Unless, of course, you are proposing that sexual attraction is an inevitable byproduct of love.

(This one's a cute reversal on the more common problem of "I can't I fall in love with the woman I'm sexually attracted to/involved with.")

What you're describing is that you have all the important connections to her - cerebral, spiritual,emotional - and you're 'just' lacking the sexual.

Personally, I propose that romantic love is sometimes and rarely, a possible by-product of sexual attraction.

You can't have one without the other, so far as I've seen.

Attraction, followed by infatuation, acceptance, respect, and lastly, trust, is a fairly good general equation as the path to love.

But without that initial powerful attraction (both ways), you are going nowhere.

I suggest cutting her loose, keeping the friendship if you can, and saving both of you the angst. You are never going to rationalise sexual chemistry.

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Kendall wrote a very wise post some time ago on the topic: chemistry vs. character in romance. I will quote some of it here:

Only in the last couple of years have I really delved enough into the Objectivist ethics to really feel like I understand what virtue is and how it ties to actions, and frankly it takes some time to fully integrate your emotions with your intellectual analysis of virtue so some of this may not make sense and it may even feel like you'd want to go in an opposite direction. Fully understandable.

Here's 3 basic frameworks by which to think about what you've got.

1. Character before chemistry (or make sure the chemistry you're attracted to is tied to character)

2. Admiration of virtue and values as the basic core of a relationship

3. The concept of visibility as critical. That is you must be admired for the things you wish to be admire for.

1. I'm not saying that chemistry (i.e. all those behavior things that attract you to a person) isn't important. What we are really attracted to initially in a person is their "sense of life." But some of what makes up chemistry is easily mutable, and some of it is more stable. The part that is more stable is more closely tied to values and virtues. If you can, ask yourself if you can tell that behaviors have value judgements behind them, or if they are value-less, or if they show contradictions. Find the chemistry that you believe flows out of character and that is the chemistry that is likely to be more stable. Additionally I think some elements of chemistry can be "learned", so even if you don't feel chemistry in a particular area look for character traits that are still there.

2. This is the fundamental. You each have to be able to find virtues and values in the other that you can admire. It is not necessary I think to value every single thing about another person, but certainly what you do value must outweigh (by more than just 51/49) what you don't. Additionly, you must try to assess what values within the other person are in conflict and which one is more likely to win out. I think of this in the most traditional terms, and I'd go to the Objectivist virtues. What you've listed to me, really aren't virtues or values so you might want to think about recasting your evaluation. Clever, funny, sexy, strong. Those really aren't virtues, or values. It's mostly chemistry. Dig a little deeper. Ask yourself, what is it that she is trying to seek or gain, and what is she doing to get it. Try to think of it in essential terms, (i.e. what are the top 3 things...). It will also try to help you figure out what her real "sense of life" is.

3. This is the toughest thing to understand and learn and I'm not sure I've even fully mastered the concept. It is not merely sufficient that you have found something that you can admire and value in her, and vice versa. But at the core, you have to be admired for the things which you wish to be admire for, and vice versa. If not, then even if you can find something in her to admire, and respect, she won't feel as though she is admired on essentials. She will feel "invisible" in the relationship.

I completely agree that chemistry that does not flow out of character is not going to last. The stable part of chemistry is closely tied to values and virtues.

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Kendall wrote a very wise post some time ago on the topic: chemistry vs. character in romance. I will quote some of it here:

I completely agree that chemistry that does not flow out of character is not going to last. The stable part of chemistry is closely tied to values and virtues.

Well, I think that that is a thoughtful and considered post , too. The admiration and visibility points he made are crucial to a relationship.

But... we have to backtrack to an earlier and initial stage. Where I differ firstly is that I don't consider sexual attraction to be an emotion. How much of it that can be integrated with your rational values (like emotions) is debatable - and I notice that Kendall has thought about this with his "stable" sexual chemistry division.

It's the other part, the unpredictable - even magical - side, that appears to defy identification.

IMO, it is 'pre-sense of life', and pre-character.

So there is either attraction, or there isn't, and until an Objectivist gains more maturity, I don't think he or she can tie values and virtues to sexual chemistry. And even then, I am dubious - but could be I just never got it right.:)

Can one reason one's way to sexual chemistry, when it has not been there from the start? Just can't see it, and that's what we are talking about here.

There's an amusing- and valid - quote from some Greek philosopher, that "every philosophy should begin with acknowledgement of a man's body" (or something like that).

Same with romantic love; desire is the best and only start, but a lot has to happen after that beginning.

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Can one reason one's way to sexual chemistry, when it has not been there from the start?

I answered - NO to this question few posts back. He can't reason himself into being attracted to this girl. This is not what I meant.

What I do know is that sexual attraction is not something unexplainable. These preferences were and are formed based on certain evaluations and associations.

For example, I noticed that many of the physical attributes which I found attractive where those of my past boyfriends. I made a positive association between certain physical features and pleasure (both physical pleasure and that derived from their character) and that became my sexual preference. I realized that many of those were accidental: if they had different features my preferences would form differently. This is just one example.

Do I think there is no baseline at all? NO, there probably is, but it does not have to be that rigid. It is not for me. I have no preference for race, or coloring, or even weight became a rather wide range for me after some amazing experiences with someone who was a bit bigger than what I would normally go for. But this is not something you can convince someone of - I would never attempt to. This is a self development thing.

Also, from my experience physicality can only start and fuel sexual attraction for about 6-8months after which what maintains chemistry, at least for those people who are thinkers like me, is character. I have fallen out of love many times because of this, because I went for chemistry and the person, although they did have many good qualities, did not spark admiration in me enough after the initial infatuation period was over. I don't think you see people clearly until that 6-8month mark. Knowing that, I go for character today as that is the only thing which actually can make it last for me.

That is my 2cents of wisdom. That is my recipe. If something else is working for you - great.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Could you imagine going into a relationship where your partner told you that first, in order for it to work, you'd have to loose some fat and put on more muscle? Add to it other suggestions that have been posted here, like turning the lights off and pretending it's someone else. I don't know about you or anyone else, but my reaction would be: "WTF!?" I'm out!".

Trying to force things to work here will only end up being cruel to her. It's a sad situation for both of them, and I hope they can get through it with their friendship intact.

How, exactly, would that be cruel? It would almost be worse to say "you're no good now, so I won't bother." Better to work on ways to deal with an admitted feeling and hoping, maybe, the other person will be interested in helping you feel better.

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How, exactly, would that be cruel? It would almost be worse to say "you're no good now, so I won't bother." Better to work on ways to deal with an admitted feeling and hoping, maybe, the other person will be interested in helping you feel better.

It would be cruel because it will only prolong the pain of feeling unattractive and inadequate for her. She would not only be told "sorry, but this isn't working", she would also be given the full experience of how it's not working. And frankly, I don't see how any attractive woman(or man, for that matter) with self-esteem could put up with that. Also, OP has already bothered.

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  • 5 months later...

This is a child's weight. Anyone above 5 feet 3 inches with this weight would be in the unhealthy range. This is unrealistic for most women and no sane woman would even hold herself to this standard (although some women still do, sadly).

There are still plenty of men out there with reasonable sexual preferences, thank Galt.

With the average height of a woman in the US being only 5'4", he is hardly being unrealistic. Well, maybe in a country of fat people like the US. (myself included!)

Also, not to put words into your mouth, but it has been my experience that most who protest a man's so-called unrealistic expectations on the low end, are not so judgemental of his preferences if they are on the high end.

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Unfortunately, I have to say: NO.

You should not romantically pursue women who do not attract you sexually. It is called friendship.

You have to find the qualities you value in a woman who also turns you on.

I concur with Sophia. And, if I may suggest a wild possibility, it may be that the DNA match is so awful that you are recoiling at a visceral level that you cannot control mentally anymore than a typical NYC gay man can become sexually excited at the thought of naked boobs (apparently, one of the major ugghs for most of the gay men I know).

For example, it is reproducibly demonstrable by controlled experiment that the pheromones of siblings are not as attractive as those of strangers. There is something chemical going on, and it is likely tied in to genetics.

- ico

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  • 4 months later...

See.

This is my problem with sex being only for the expression of love. It's silly. If you love a girl's mind then that's one thing but to have a long term sexual relationship with someone require a spark of sexual attraction otherwise, you are nothing but really close friends and having sex with her would be a sacrifice (maybe not altruistic but still) and not done for the pleasure of the sex. You might be pleased that you made someone you love happy by having sex with them and so it's not altruistic, but it's not giving yourself the sexually satisfying sex you would rather have.

You need both sexual attraction and love for it to work.

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