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Change what is attractive?

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Greetings, all. I have posted in the past, but I want to be anonymous for this one. Also, the woman that I refer to in my question is not someone who posts here. Thus, if you happen to be a woman here, please don't worry. This post is not about you. :)

Issue: Can I change what I am attracted to? If so, how!?

I am with a woman. I love her to the point where my heart nearly explodes. Seriously, if you are around us, you may get hit with heart shrapnel and/or flying cholesterol. Wear goggles. Anyway, I love to hold her hand and to cuddle with her. I love our smooches. Our conversations evaporate the hours. If there was an iPad "create the ideal woman app," she would be the finished product based on my parameters, except for one thing . . . I do not find her sexually attractive. Our sex life is virtually nil. It's driving her bonkers, though she loves me like I love her. If I found her as attractive as my prior girlfriends, I would quit my job and have sex with this woman until they foreclosed my house. Then I would have sex with her in the street.

I am desperate to want her. Eventually, it seems inevitable that my lack of desire for her will end our relationship. If that happened, I would be devastated.

In the past, I have been with women who would be considered very beautiful (on paper). Now, when I see my current love step out of the shower, I still love her, but I kind of cringe. It really breaks my heart to even type that. She is such an angel. Not only that, but a "regular guy" would want her sexually. She is not ugly. She has a beautiful face. In terms of health, she has probably a "normal" body mass index. She just doesn't have a magazine cover body, and that's what I am used to. I just can't shake this.

Is there anything I can do to "fix" this? Am I immature? Shallow beyond hope?

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Romantic, a lot of guys I know are hung up on looks. They seem to go through magazines and assume every woman should look like a swim suit model. That just ain't realistic. I've even had discussions with a few objectivists who placed looks on a moral level. It seems that this woman means everything to you, but she doesn't measure up to a certain standard in her appearance. Is it really so impossible to accept her for what she looks like? Believe me, looks fad. Character and personality are forever. Which would you rather have.

BTW, how about your looks? I once dated a short, bald, heavy-set and pretty homely guy who described himself as "slim and good-looking." I couldn't believe he was that blind. Romantic, take a look in the mirror and try to cherish the treasure you already have.

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Kevin - i consider those things to fall more in the "affection" category than the "sexual" category.

Claire - The fact that I don't find her attractive has preemptively run a stake through the heart of our sex life (or lack thereof). I just can't function sexually with her. I very, very much want to, but it isn't happening. It's like broccoli - no matter how good it is for me, I just can't enjoy eating it. I don't mean to demean a wonderful person by comparing her to broccoli. That is not my intent. What I need to know is if there is something I can do to fix this problem! :(

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Kevin - i consider those things to fall more in the "affection" category than the "sexual" category.

Claire - The fact that I don't find her attractive has preemptively run a stake through the heart of our sex life (or lack thereof). I just can't function sexually with her. I very, very much want to, but it isn't happening. It's like broccoli - no matter how good it is for me, I just can't enjoy eating it. I don't mean to demean a wonderful person by comparing her to broccoli. That is not my intent. What I need to know is if there is something I can do to fix this problem! :(

Yuk - ya had to go and mention broccoli. Now I'm totally turned off. Anyway, is she really a female Quasimodo? If she's totally ugly, you might actually have a point. I'm going to assume she's not, since most people aren't. Yet you can't function sexually with her. Would you consider discussing the problem with a professional? There might be a reason why you can't function with this wonderful person.

When I was living in NY and knew some of the "objectivist leaders," there was one at least (I won't mention names!) whose wife was totally unattractive (okay, she was butt-ugly). Yet he invariably refered to her as "my lovely wife." I guess he really loved her. And I guess it's all in how you look at things. Many a shrink can help sort it out.

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Like I said in my original post, she is NOT ugly. I think most guys would find her attractive.

Two possible explanations for your situation are:

1) You suffer from a Madonna-whore complex where you can only feel sexual attraction for women you don't love and rationalize this by saying that your girlfriend isn't beautiful enough. Have you ever loved a woman the way you love your girlfriend and found her sexually attractive at the same time?

and/or

2) Sexual attraction for you is based purely on physical beauty without any contribution by her personality or mind. If you aren't aroused by what she says to you or who she is as a person, those are good signs you have this problem.

Both of these conditions require a competent psychologist or therapist to help resolve.

Edited by Myself
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So you mean she doesn't have DD boobs, flat abs, toned arms and legs, blah blah blah and all that bullshit?

May I ask what you look like? Do you have huge pecs and biceps, washboard abs, 3% body fat blah blah blah? Are you 6' tall with blond curly hair waving in the wind and blue eyes, etc? No, didn't think so.

Don't you think you're maybe being just a little bit hypocritical? You hold your girlfriend up to a physical standard that only a handful of people ever achieve and even then it lasts for only a few years because the effort it takes to maintain that look becomes greater than the time and energy you have.

How old are you? 16? 18? 20? 22? 24?

Get out of puberty, stop looking at the Playboys, FHMs, and Maxims. Those women are airbrushed, surgically altered, and their lives are *dedicated* to exercising and dieting.

Real women don't look like that, period. Real women have some fat here and there, they don't have perfectly shaped boobs (that are surgically enhanced anyway), and you know what, all those magazine models have the personality of a wet tea bag. They're vapid, brainless, emotionally-immature nothings who stand around all day getting photographed.

Genetically-determined looks are outside the province of morality. So stop treating them that way. And yes, there is a thread on this forum that attempts to prove that "God-given" looks are susceptible to moral judgment. Yeah....you do that.

Tell me who is more sexually attractive:

1) a brainless whore with a fake plastic body who acts like an emotionally retarded child and is constantly preening herself and is dedicated to her image above all else

OR

2) a women with a normal body who is nonetheless quite beautiful, who is intelligent and passionate and is going somewhere in life, and who loves you dearly and would do anything to please you physically, say sexy things to you, and who has no shame or embarrassment about her body.

Edited by Krattle
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I thought about the shrink route, but I am profoundly skeptical of them and psychologists. I have friends who see shrinks, and some of the things the shrinks say are just horrifying.

I would really really doubt you have some sort of psychological problem. I would suspect it's more related to how she doesn't have a "magazine-cover" body, and over time that came to be, in your mind, the only thing you *should* say is attractive looking. If you look at the type of woman in the 1920s that was equivalent to today's "magazine-cover" body, standards of what make an attractive female body were quite different. It may help to remind yourself that she is not any "less beautiful" than the idealized body, and really she just has a different kind of body. I don't mean that as a method of rationalization, I do think most bodies simply look different rather than more or less beautiful/attractive.

It's possible that your lack of sexual attraction is due to something else entirely.

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Krattle - Don't be a douchelord. Instead of addressing my good faith question, you railed on me for having a line of thinking that I am trying to change.

Also, no I'm not 6' with blond hair and blue eyes. I am 6'3" with blond hair and blue eyes, and I prefer lean to bulk. Also, had you read my initial post you would see that I was not referring to "Maxim" magazine so much as my previous girlfriends. Further, I am older than my mid-twenties, and a highly educated professional. Further further, I have not the slightest interest in "brainless whores" and you will notice that my question was NOT "hey, can y'all help me be interested in brainless whores?"

You now stand convicted of grievous premeditated douchelordery. Have ye anything to say on ye own behalf?

Edited by Hopeful romantic
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Myself - i really don't think that's it either. I have never our pursued one night stands or anything like that. I don't go "pick up" women. In fact, I find the hedonist notion of sex to be extremely distasteful (to say the least). I have a history of loving relationships. It just so happens that they have been with women that I found attractive. I LOVE sexual intimacy with a woman I love. Sadly, though, it also seems to be dependent of attraction as well.

Edited by Hopeful romantic
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Oh yes, and I'm 6'8" with the body of Fabio and I'm a multimillionaire. You can say anything on the internet.

As per your original post, yes, you are immature and hopelessly shallow. If you can't get past your own weird preference for "magazine cover" bodies, too bad.

Anyway, why would you even come to this forum first? Your only posts are the ones in this thread. Why would you not talk to your girlfriend about this obviously serious problem first? Or a psychologist? Or someone, in reality, whom you trust instead of a bunch of strangers on some forum?

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Real women don't look like that, period. Real women have some fat here and there, they don't have perfectly shaped boobs (that are surgically enhanced anyway), and you know what, all those magazine models have the personality of a wet tea bag. They're vapid, brainless, emotionally-immature nothings who stand around all day getting photographed

When giving advice it is best not to range into wild hyperbole.

You have to know this is not factually accurate.

I've known several models who were intelligent, decent hardworking people who through good genetics and a lot of physical and nutritional discipline realized they could make a large amount of money in a short period of time before their looks faded somewhat (at least by modeling standards) and they could go into whatever their future would be well funded.

"have the personality of a wet tea bag. They're vapid, brainless, emotionally-immature nothings who stand around all day" could be said about all kinds of women, or people for that matter.

Your hatred of these women just because they are beautiful is irrational.

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Is there anything I can do to "fix" this?

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.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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First of all... this woman must be aware there is a big problem by now, right?

Attraction has many components some of which we can change some which to the best of my knowledge we can't.

Persons that meet our highest values but we cannot/do not find them sexually attractive we call "friends".

Break things down to their smallest essentials maybe to break down just what it is that keeps you from being attracted.

You may find that it isn't a lack of model good looks at all but a few things that you choose to lump together that way.

You mentioned broccoli, we're "allowed" to have preferences in features the same we are "allowed" to have preferences in food.

It is just as irrational to let a few preferences make you miserable romantically as it is to starve to death because you are alone on a desert island with nothing to eat but broccoli.

So.

She's a person with many features, some of which you find lovely some of which you find average.

Break it down to the parts. Eyes, hair, teeth, legs, feet and so on.

Doing this you may either find her less or more attractive than before- depends on what you discover when you look at the minutae.

Do it as well with the women you are comparing her to. They may seem less attractive when you break it down this way.

You may find out that some of your lack of attraction isn't really about looks. Certain things in appearances are within our control. Someone who is very fit may be more personally compatible with you. Perhaps some of it is tactile- some people like running their hands over firm flesh, some like soft, some like smooth, some rugged. This may not even be about "looks" as such.

It may be that over time you are able to see the things you find unattractive as trivial.

Or you may realise that the package just isn't for you.

Either way, figuring it out should make you less miserable.

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I hope someone here can prove you wrong, though. :)

Perhaps you don't know what love is because from what you describe you are not in love. You want to be this guy who can love this girl but you are not. As a result you are being cruel to this woman. It is probably the most hurtful thing in a romantic context.

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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. Honestly, I can't imagine feeling more strongly about a woman than I feel for her (aside from the attraction issue). I don't want to lay next to anyone but her. She's it for me. I do agree that this situation is not fair to her, though. That's why I am trying to decide if it can be corrected or if I have to face the inevitable demise of our relationship.

I do not believe that I have said anything that would demonstrate that I don't love her (other than the attraction issue, if that, in fact, even is a demonstration that I don't). I have known her most of my life. We even dated in high school. We lost touch for some years, but we got together, this time as adults, nearly two years ago. It is otherwise a Disney movie relationship. Her and I sit and talk for at least an hour a day. Nothing but talking. We share virtually everything with each other. We laugh like we're stoned (we're not). Her values and personality are simply exceptional. I truly did not know before just how much I could care for someone. Then she came along. No, this is not an issue of "love."

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with having high physical standards. The contemplation of physical beauty is an immense psychological value, and physical excellence, taken as a concrete symbol for human greatness is a goal every man and woman should strive for in their own lives. "Average," "Normal," and other such words are smokescreens for physical mediocrity, a way for people who discount the value of material brilliance to pretend that all that matters to a man's life is the spiritual, and that bodies are simply warehouses for the will, ultimately interchangeable little nothings. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Man is a being of matter and spirit, of conceptual thinking and concrete experience. Man must think to live, but he must live in a material world, and he must be able to relate his most important concepts, his principles and widest abstractions, to the daily task of engaging with reality; and he engages with reality on the concrete level.

This ability: relating his concepts to his percepts; relating his principles, his values, his entire conceptual hierarchy--to the occurrences of his every day life is an indispensable capacity, it is the capacity of concretization.

In no other aspect of human life is concretization more vital and important than in romance. Romance is not a way of rewarding those that you deem to be moral. It is not a way to say "Hey, I think you live a good life therefore I will reward you with sex." Romance is profoundly self-centered. It is a reward for oneself, a way to gaze upon one's own personally important values exemplified and embodied in the actions, convictions, AND appearance of another person. The only thing more damagingly hypocritical than demanding an intensely attractive mate while not being intensely attractive oneself, is to be intensely attractive yet regard it is unimportant or valueless, to profess a love for human greatness yet snide at its physical manifestation, to profess to love the exceptional yet hold the "average" to be "normal." That is why "mere looks" are so important, because that's the whole point of the thing; you're romantic partner should be a concrete symbol for your own love for your own sense of life and of values. If they don't "look the part" they can hardly adequately serve that purpose, at least not consistently and without contradiction.

Does that mean that only people who look like "Maxim" models are suitable romantic partners? Absolutely not, though they probably make the best candidates all other things being equal. Good romantic partners must fit within one's own hierarchy of values, and they must reflect as much of the top ones as possible. The more values they embody the better they are, but if they lack even just one of those that occupies the top few spots they fail at their purpose which is to concretize THE MOST IMPORTANT personal values.

To get more to the topic at hand:

Don't feel guilty for not being sexually attracted to someone you love, and love deeply. That is the difference between platonic and romantic love; its not a matter of degree, but of type. You can love your platonic friends immensely and that is such a valuable thing without the introduction of sex. Sex is not necessary in order to get the most value out of a particular relationship.

The question then becomes: can this woman take any action to make herself a more fitting romantic partner for you? If she can and its a matter of her taking steps to show she values her body as much you do yours, then its up to you to try to convince her that her body is that valuable and that taking those steps would be an added value to her life. It wont work if she does it simply for you. If not, then you must face the inevitable and state clearly that a platonic relationship is all that you can have with this woman, hopefully that can still include the exchange of affections you enjoy to partake in, I suspect it wouldn't.

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Hopeful Romantic, if you're interested, there are three (at least) places in his podcasts in which Dr. Peikoff has addressed questions similar to or related to your own. Perhaps you'll find his comments to be of some help to you.

Episode 21 -- July 14, 2008 @ 04:32 "I love a man, but I am not physically attracted to him though I really want to be. Is it possible to learn to desire someone, to create a desire from love when it does not come spontaneously?"

Episode 69 -- July 06, 2009 @ 09:44 "How important should physical attractiveness be? Some women share my values, but some who do so only to a lessor extent are more physically attractive to me. How important should this physical attractiveness be?"

Episode 101 -- March 1, 2010 @ 11:52 "'To what extent should physical attractions, as distinct from brains, be favored into the selection of a wife?' and he says earlier that of course brains are important."

Edited by Trebor
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with having high physical standards.

Now just to be clear, before I write anything further, I am not saying how a person looks does not matter AT ALL.

However, what would a high physical standard be? What would a low physical standard be? Seriously, I struggle to give any rational reason why any physical appearance is necessarily better. I don't think there is a rational reason most times. Now we can discuss extreme deformities, but that's not even the context here. The problem the OP is describing does not seem to be a matter of having "too high standards", but rather, no REASON to have whatever standards these are.

Does that mean that only people who look like "Maxim" models are suitable romantic partners? Absolutely not, though they probably make the best candidates all other things being equal.

I get the 'all else being equal' part, but what makes these Maxim models (or various fashion models) necessarilly more physically attractive/beautiful than anyone else? At best, you will say it's makeup. Don't forget that HOW a person stands even changes their appearance immensely. Or you might say they take better care of their health and body. In any case, it's not anything like a "better" nose, "better" legs, or a "better" chest. What would better even be? Women in the 1920s *tried* to make their chest flatter, and nowadays it's pretty much the opposite. All I'm getting at is that yes, physical attractiveness is great, but what IS physical attractiveness anyway and what makes a person attractive? Either the OP is simply friends with this girl similar to what Sophia said, which is perfectly fine, OR he has some arbitrary standard of beauty that is somehow getting in the way.

Edited by Eiuol
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Eiuol:

I think physical attractiveness has a lot to do with a sense of proportion and integration, especially as it relates to symmetry and to physical features that show vitality and youth. I don't think a certain type of nose is "better" so to speak, but I do think what makes a face attractive is that the proportion among and the relationships between a person's nose, eyes, chin, and so forth can be "better" or worse. They can speak of a certain continuity or integration that is pleasing. Symmetry appears orderly, the ugly is chaotic, without a unifying theme. Things like weight and fat distribution, scars, pimples, bagginess, slackness of skin, dull complexion, etc are outward signs of disease and unhealthiness. Radiant and smooth skin, supple lips and hair are signs of health and flourishing. Toned muscles are a sign of strength and ability.

Put simply: Beauty is a concrete expression of vitality, a representation of virtue, a symbol for all that is pro-man.

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