Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Stryker_A

How should a discriminating young man approach/view sex if no one he e

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

JASKN, your view of university is decidedly and disappointingly narrow, lol  :worry:  Sure, I would imagine there's more adults being idiots on a college campus than in pretty much anywhere in the (modern, free) world, but that by no means characterizes the majority of people. Some of the most interesting, mature, intelligent, ambitious, and capable people I've met, I've met during my (ongoing) college career. 

 

Though, I would say, I've had more luck meeting such people at my former community college - there was a greater proportion of older people there than elsewhere, and some of the adults who had decided to return to college had some of the most fascinating and enlightening stories and experiences I've heard. 

 

 

I would comment on the OP, but it seems that other posters here have pretty much helped him with his problem already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though, I would say, I've had more luck meeting such people at my former community college - there was a greater proportion of older people there than elsewhere, and some of the adults who had decided to return to college had some of the most fascinating and enlightening stories and experiences I've heard.

So, it has been in your experience, too, that older students who have had experience away from a college environment and have had an opportunity to discover some degree of independence and self-sufficiency, are less idiotic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been my experience that older students were more likely to be more interesting and less "idiotic" as you put it. But it has not been my experience that the majority of college students are the way you describe. I'm sure there are plenty who are, but I've met a pretty wide range of people in my time in college and university. I do, however, try to cast a wide net - I don't stick to one single social group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something about what you are doing strikes me as very wrong and makes me feel weird. I don't know why. It just strikes me as self destructive and odd.

 

It strikes me as though you are going the opposite way. Some people only care about looks, you seem to only care about personality. If you are sexually attracted in looks, since you say they are attractive physically, why not date and have sex with them and see if things are OK? Why do you have to have a long term relationship with every girl you date and have sex with? You are a man. You are not a robot. Ayn didn't intend for us to cast off our humanity. A woman is an integrated being of mind and body. A man is an integrated being of mind and body. You seem to be completely denying your body, and denying the fact that you are attracted to these girls physically. So long as there are no false pretense and no false declarations of love, it's not dishonest. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. I've always had some issues with Objectivist love making rules.

Edited by Peter Morris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always had some issues with Objectivist love making rules.

Me too. If you can enjoy the more casual kind of sex, then don't deny yourself sexual pleasure just because Rand said sex without romantic love was immoral. However, it seems that some people do need to be in a long-term relationship (or at least to see the potential of it) to be comfortable with sex; physical attraction alone isn't enough to them. For people like that, I guess casual sex will indeed be a self-sacrifice as Rand claimed. It seems to be the OP's case to me, though I can't be 100% certain.

Of course, there are many shades of gray between the two extremes of "not needing emotional connection at all to enjoy sex" and "absolutely needing to be in a committed relationship to enjoy sex." Is it more important to have the sexual experience itself or to have sex with someone you love? That's up to you (the OP) to answer. If you conclude that you need to be in a committed relationship to enjoy sex and there's no one suitable around you, there's still the option of trying to find someone who is right for you (by expanding your social circles, joining interest groups, online dating, etc.).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you identified something somewhat important above: is having sex outside of a relationship a self-sacrifice for you? Is doing so hurting your self esteem? It doesn't necessarily have to, but it could. Is doing so keeping you from pursuing a more gratifying relationship?

 

I'm personally not interested in a relationship at the moment. I just came out of one. So casual sex makes great sense to me right now, whether Rand said it was a good idea or not. But if I were specifically interested in pursuing a long term relationship, casual sex could perhaps hurt that goal (though it doesn't necessarily have to), and therefore could perhaps be a self sacrifice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It still bothers me that I am not in control of my sexual desires. I want to believe in Rand's idea, but it just doesn't square up to everything I know and experience. I have no choice about feeling horny or being sexually attracted to a certain type of female. So I'm to repress myself or indulge in self destruction. It seems like a lose-lose situation. Sex is the last bastion of my malevolent universe premises. Everything else is win-win, but of sex and love, everything seems lose-lose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think Rand's idea about sex is realistic. She seemed to believe a virtuous person will only be sexually attracted to people who share his values, and her heroes (Francisco, Galt, etc.) can be celibate for years because the person they love isn't available and they're not attracted to anyone else. This is kind of like demisexuality, but it's not the norm. From what I observed, most people can experience sexual desire that is independent from desire for a specific person, or be sexually attracted to people they're not romantically interested in. 

 

Now, I'm asexual so I don't experience any of that, but I'm very sex-positive in that I see (other people's) sexual desire as part of human nature that shouldn't be denied and casual sex can be good and healthy. This is against Rand's view on sex, but I think it's consistent with the basic principles of Objectivism, because sexual desire is part of the objective reality. It's better to accept it than to suppress it.

Edited by Eponine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It still bothers me that I am not in control of my sexual desires. I want to believe in Rand's idea, but it just doesn't square up to everything I know and experience.

Emotions aren't a thing to "control" in the sense you mean. No, you don't decide or even choose in the moment what to feel. You have no choice at the time but to feel as you are feeling. There are many choices that result in feeling as you do. Repression is not part of a rational plan of action since it would be in part denying that you haven't totally agreed with Rand's view anyway, and denying that you have your own convictions about sex.

For Rand, her main point is that your views on sex and deeper philosophical views determine who you may be attracted to in the first place. She goes further to say virtuous people wouldn't really fall for anyone other than who is their highest value. There is nothing to repress. If your views are different than that, you wouldn't fall for people other than those who meet whatever criteria you've set. Demisexuality is a silly term I find, as though being "picky" is "special". To be sure, Rand would say another view is immoral, but it doesn't follow that therefore the Objectivist view on how to lead your life is to repress any emotion that represents or originates in views against Rand. If you have rational reasons (i.e. benefits your life long-term) to suggest a different standard of sex is appropriate, follow it.

 

From what I observed, most people can experience sexual desire that is independent from desire for a specific person, or be sexually attracted to people they're not romantically interested in.

I'm not sure why this matters in the conversation. This is about normative claims regarding sex, so it translates to "people can experience sexual desire differently", which wasn't in question. The important question is: What is the life-affirming view man qua man to have on sex? Desire independent from a person, or desire independent of any mental connection, are both expressions of a mind-body dichotomy. Sex is a whole experience, and to explicitly compartmentalize desire is not life-affirming at all. Still, human nature and sex are quite related, which is part of why Rand said sex is too important to take lightly. And in my view, that also means to carefully evaluate even your current ideas on sex.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

 

How should a discriminating young man approach/view sex if no one he encounters shares his values? 

 

I am a 21 year old male that is at a dilemma in my life. I agree with Rand in her belief that sex should be the physical expression of love between two people who admire values in each other. However, I have not yet found a woman who has the values I admire in her and am extremely picky with my partners. Throughout my life I have rejected dozens of offers from girls to be in relationships with them and I really do not think I will find this woman anytime soon. I have raging hormones and it is highly frustrating to get offers from tons of girls (many who are very attractive), but decline due to me not being attracted to their personality. Due to my pickiness I have no sexual experience and I fear that I am losing out on an important aspect of life. What advice would you give me to help my situation?

 

 

 

 

i can certainly believe that you haven’t met a woman who is really worthwhile yet. and i don’t think the solution is to change your attitude on sex.

 

the key is realizing that you don’t need to find a perfect woman- you can create one. look for someone you’re attracted to physically and that you see some admirable qualities in (if it’s one of these girls who are already interested in you that’s even better), and work with that. a person can be introduced to Objectivism, they can be convinced by rational arguments, they can choose to focus, they can develop new interests, they can change their mind on important issues, they can completely alter their values, demeanor, and behavior. most people have bad philosophy because they just haven’t examined it. give them a real chance. if this is something you want, you can’t sit around and wait for it to fall into your lap- especially not in this culture- you may have to put some work in. expect the best in people, and help bring it out.

 

 

So much this!

 

There is no need to sacrifice your pickiness OP, it sounds like your head is in the right place in that sense. 
 

If you are seriously "rejecting dozens of offers" it sounds like you are doing something wrong - introduce them to Objectivism! Talk about the things you value, convince them that you are right and that they should have the same standards and values that you do. Start the right conversations - and stick with them! You can have *everything* you want. Just believe it and stick to it. You will get there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Demisexuality is a silly term I find, as though being "picky" is "special".

It's different from being picky. A picky person may desire sex without any specific person in mind or find many people sexually attractive, but will only have sex when there's an emotional bond/committed relationship; a demisexual doesn't desire sex or experience sexual attraction at all until an emotional bond is formed.

 

Desire independent from a person, or desire independent of any mental connection, are both expressions of a mind-body dichotomy. Sex is a whole experience, and to explicitly compartmentalize desire is not life-affirming at all.

I just don't get why sex is singled out from all the other physical contacts. One can desire a good massage or a hug independent from any mental connection (e.g. getting professional massage service or giving free hugs to strangers), and no one says that's a mind-body dichotomy, so why desiring sex just for sex is? Again, it comes back to what I said in my first reply: it depends on how you experience desire. If your desire for sex is inseparable from desire for emotional connection, then don't have sex with people you don't love; if you experience desire for the physical aspect of sex alone and are comfortable with casual sex, then casual/non-romantic sex may very well be good for your life. Edited by Eponine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The key is realizing that you don’t need to find a perfect woman- you can create one.

 

If you are seriously "rejecting dozens of offers" it sounds like you are doing something wrong - introduce them to Objectivism! Talk about the things you value, convince them that you are right and that they should have the same standards and values that you do.

 

I don't think this is a good idea. Your emotional connection with someone shouldn't be dependent on them being anyone other than who they are. I suppose the idea of finding women with moderately decent values and telling them about Objectivism, then forming a relationship with someone who actually converts, has merits, but don't get invested with anyone you're not comfortable being in a relationship already, for any reason.

 

I do think it's also important to form a realistic idea of what values you would expect a person to hold, and what qualities they would need for you to be compatible with them. For instance, I would like to find a woman who is an Objectivist who has a personality which is compatible with my own. However, there aren't very many people of either gender out there who are Objectivists, and the few women I've met who were Objectivists were too introverted and submissive for my taste. (Though I'm sure they would make wonderful partners for a man with a personality different from my own.)

 

I think it's good to start by focusing on compatibility, then narrow the list down to whoever holds values which are basically rational. If you try to focus on fulfilling an unrealistic ideal, you're going to drive yourself crazy, and likely make stupid decisions as a result

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's different from being picky. A picky person may desire sex without any specific person in mind or find many people sexually attractive, but will only have sex when there's an emotional bond/committed relationship; a demisexual doesn't desire sex or experience sexual attraction at all until an emotional bond is formed.

 

Picky in that sense sounds more like the repression I'm saying is unhealthy. I used scare quotes to suggest that having a sexual desire based on some type of emotional bond is the case for anyone. The bond may be shallow and superficial, but attraction itself under an Objectivist is inherently a matter of mental and physical aspects being directly related. Separating the two is impossible, and trying to do so creates problems in oneself. The heroes in Atlas Shrugged are anything but superficial, so attraction is related to their high standards. Demisexuality is redundant though, as all people experience attraction based on some bond. That the bond required is deep or not doesn't require a special label, unless we want to say attraction based on bonds is a unique type of attraction.

 

One can desire a good massage or a hug independent from any mental connection (e.g. getting professional massage service or giving free hugs to strangers), and no one says that's a mind-body dichotomy, so why desiring sex just for sex is?

I agree with you that there's no apparent reason to single out sex. However, I would say desiring those things independent of a mental connection is expressing a mind-body dichotomy, or at least views that are not integrating mind and body. Some sort of bond, at a minimum, is required to at least feel okay being touched. Massage may be an exception, as its purpose is different than a hug. An individual's minimum may be higher, though. Rand didn't talk about other physical contact, so I see that as a problem for demonstrating the strength of her views on sex specifically. The key point, though, is that desire for sex is inseparable from emotional connection, for anyone. I say the same about other affections.

For the record, I'm not saying casual sex itself is always bad. I'm only saying, ultimately, be aware of how your mental and physical desires are related.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some sort of bond, at a minimum, is required to at least feel okay being touched. Massage may be an exception, as its purpose is different than a hug. An individual's minimum may be higher, though.

I agree, if "bond" is defined broadly. For example, I've enjoyed free hugs; I didn't know any of the people I hugged personally, but I guess you can say we shared a bond in the sense that we both saw the beauty in sharing a simple gesture of kindness and affection. And for people who are okay with casual sex, perhaps simply seeing each other as attractive and decent people is enough of a bond.

For the record, I'm not saying casual sex itself is always bad. I'm only saying, ultimately, be aware of how your mental and physical desires are related.

Agreed with that too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think this is a good idea. Your emotional connection with someone shouldn't be dependent on them being anyone other than who they are. I suppose the idea of finding women with moderately decent values and telling them about Objectivism, then forming a relationship with someone who actually converts, has merits, but don't get invested with anyone you're not comfortable being in a relationship already, for any reason.

 

I do think it's also important to form a realistic idea of what values you would expect a person to hold, and what qualities they would need for you to be compatible with them. For instance, I would like to find a woman who is an Objectivist who has a personality which is compatible with my own. However, there aren't very many people of either gender out there who are Objectivists, and the few women I've met who were Objectivists were too introverted and submissive for my taste. (Though I'm sure they would make wonderful partners for a man with a personality different from my own.)

 

I think it's good to start by focusing on compatibility, then narrow the list down to whoever holds values which are basically rational. If you try to focus on fulfilling an unrealistic ideal, you're going to drive yourself crazy, and likely make stupid decisions as a result

 

"who they are" is not metaphysically given - it's man made. It could be anything else. A person's philosophy, their premises, and their beliefs can change, and with it their volitional choice of actions, and eventually changes to their emotions and sense of life will follow, too. Do not accept this psychological determinism that "who you are" is metaphysically given - this is the furthest thing from the truth in Objectivism and in reality.

The number of people out there who hold your values and are compatible with you is not a fixed piece of pie to be divided like the socialists' view of the economy. This is not a zero-sum game. Just like you have an unlimited capacity to create values in reality and to grow the economy, so too is there an unlimited capacity to convert people to a rational value system and healthy psychology. 

 

Seek the best you can find and help them to reach their potential. You can create all the values you want in life, including romantic values.

 

As an aside I would point out that submissiveness in women, as a feature of femininity, should be attractive. Masculinity in men and femininity in women is fundamental to human esthetic beauty and physical attraction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seek the best you can find and help them to reach their potential. You can create all the values you want in life, including romantic values.

 

As an aside I would point out that submissiveness in women, as a feature of femininity, should be attractive. Masculinity in men and femininity in women is fundamental to human esthetic beauty and physical attraction.

Heading into any relationship with the intent to change the other person is, in my experience and opinion, a guaranteed path to disappointment, anger, resentment... nothing good. Even in the most ideal (and uncommon) of scenarios where the person actually does want to change, the chances are they won't wind up wanting to change in exactly the ways that you would have them change.

I think it's better to take people for what they are, or not. And likewise, present yourself to other people as you are, offering them to take it or leave it. If this approach yields a long term friendship (not likely but still happily possible), it will have done so in the best of ways, with the personal independence of each party intact, even through many life changes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I forgot to add:

I couldn't tell if your masculinity/femininity comments were serious or not, but assuming they were, you've got a lot of explaining to do if you want people to buy into those views.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I think it's better to take people for what they are, or not. And likewise, present yourself to other people as you are, offering them to take it or leave it. If this approach yields a long term friendship (not likely but still happily possible), it will have done so in the best of ways, with the personal independence of each party intact"

what you're describing wouldn't even be a relationship- two people not affecting each other in any way. that's almost impossible. and of what use would that be: a relationship that left you completely "intact", exactly the way that you were before it? every relationship you have should make you better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That wasn't my intended implication -- quite the opposite. I think change should happen as often as an individual feels that it's necessary. But he should be the reason behind his own change, and in fact if he tries to change for others it will be inauthentic and unsuccessful. If he wants to change because it will make him better suited for a relationship he desires, that is his decision and may be a good one.

But changing because someone tells him to is not his decision. Likewise, expecting someone to change just because you want them to, without the motivation coming from within that other person, is worse than pointless, it's actually insulting. "Do because I say, and who cares what you want."

Maintaining independence is the most important reason to leave changes up to each person, but it's not the only reason. "Teaching" a romantic interest how to be "better" has many other potential negative psychological consequences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I think it's better to take people for what they are, or not. And likewise, present yourself to other people as you are, offering them to take it or leave it. If this approach yields a long term friendship (not likely but still happily possible), it will have done so in the best of ways, with the personal independence of each party intact"

what you're describing wouldn't even be a relationship- two people not affecting each other in any way. that's almost impossible. and of what use would that be: a relationship that left you completely "intact", exactly the way that you were before it? every relationship you have should make you better.

 

I like your way of putting that. I just came out of a three year long relationship. The break up was amicable. The relationship had it's ups and downs - unfortunately, there were a lot more downs than ups. And over the course of it, I feel like I fundamentally changed in a lot of ways. But, despite the many downs of the relationship, I feel like I came out of it a better person. I think even a bad relationship can end and leave you a better person. If you feel like you're gonna be a worse person at the end of a relationship, you should be jumping ship as soon as possible.

 

Just because a person is affected by another person, does not mean that that person has lost their independence. We are all free and independent individuals, but we are not all islands - we affect each other, and that shouldn't be avoided. 

 

 

 

But changing because someone tells him to is not his decision. Likewise, expecting someone to change just because you want them to, without the motivation coming from within that other person, is worse than pointless, it's actually insulting.

 

 

Is it? I don't think it's awful for a partner in a relationship to ask another partner to change in a way that will make the relationship better. If the partner can recognize the value in it, I don't see it as a problem at all. Expecting the person to do it isn't even awful - you are, after all, allowed to set the parameters of your involvement in a relationship.

 

 

 

The key point, though, is that desire for sex is inseparable from emotional connection, for anyone.

 

 

I really, truly, do not know that that is true. My intuition suggests to me that sex is quite separable from an emotional connection, but I'm open to the contrary. Do you have anything additional to say about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" What "proof" would you have me give? Should I go and interview each student? Their parents?

 

Your statement is not provable. That's my point. It's absurd to try and gather data on it. I suppose you just accept it on faith since you have claimed you have no concrete evidence to back it up.

 

One hard fact which you could deny (though didn't provide evidence for yourself) is OSU's world size rank, which turns out is probably around 150 -- though at 50,000 attendees within a square mile, it's big enough for the points I made.

We don't need evidence though.. You have made that very clear. What would you have me do? Go to every single college? Count every single student I see?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm unsure what is your purpose in posting these replies to me. I did not say, nor even imply, what you claim. I have plenty of evidence which I readily cited, just not the kind that you personally can verify yourself, right now, from your computer chair.

Please stop making false claims about what I wrote.

Edited by JASKN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

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

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...