Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I hate me

Well, I told that sweet, kind, loving woman who thought the world of me that I wasn't feeling desire for her or anyone else. After basically leading her on by overestimating myself and believing I could feel desire where I should have. And failing. And I inflicted wounds I have no power to heal on that heart that has already suffered so much. And telling her this truth was the only thing I could do, but I hate myself because of what the truth was.

She tried to get me to promise not to beat myself up about this, but I knew I couldn't keep that promise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Desire and compromise 2

A more organized, less rambling, and more complete version of the main theme from my last post.

The woman I'm dating right now does not have a conventionally attractive appearance. It's far enough from the conventionally attractive that she has had a lot of experience with people showing interest in her online profile then losing interest when they see her picture, and she had pretty much given up on it and was planning to remove it.

I find that I do not really desire her, but it seems so far that I do not really desire anybody. The idea of sex with anyone except my ex is just not real to me, and it seems to short-circuit my libido. Especially with conventionally attractive women; I recognize how good they look, but it's sort of irrelevant. I can intellectually think that sex with them would/should be desirable, but there isn't any of the kind of desire that previously set my mind fantasizing or fighting off fantasies. Some kind of automatic mechanism slams the shutters on that kind of thought before it gets started. Considering that the only exception to this is when I see my ex, I figure this is largely a mechanism I built up in the days I was married.

I can't tell how much of my lack of desire is from the general case and how much is specific to this one woman.

My girlfriend right now apparently finds me more or less exactly what she wished for, except that I'm messy. But I do not find myself desiring her sexually. I like her. I think she's a wonderful person. She is probably even more eager to please than I am, which is not something I ever thought I'd find. And she is extraordinarily good at those things that we allow ourselves to do; for example I've never been kissed anything like that before. And she has a extremely active imagination, highly compatible with mine. She is extremely kind and I think she would do just about anything for me; so much so that I'm very careful what I say about what I might like.

I think she deserves a good man, and I think given the search she's told me about over past years that she isn't all that likely to find a better match, and I know she thinks she won't. I've told her as delicately as I could that her body isn't really my ideal, and she basically responded with the idea that she could make me attracted to her some day (as she continues to lose weight, and as she is no longer limited by my abstinence.) I told her because I don't want to be lying to her when I do and say things to make her feel good.

The easy thing to say is that she wouldn't want someone who doesn't desire her. But I don't think that's really true. Certainly lots of rich men date or marry beautiful young women; and certainly they're mostly not fools enough to think it's them that's desired, rather than their money. I am in the position of the gold-digger, except I want the love and devotion she offers rather than her money. (I make quite a bit more, BTW, and I pay for everything unless she argues.) She may think that being with someone who acts out of love, and gratitude for what she does for him, is much better than being alone. I certainly would have been overjoyed had my ex treated me the way I would treat her, which is an extension of the way I act now.

But the way I act now I see as a problem. I'm driving and exaggerating and to some extent even playacting my interest. And that is exactly what I should be doing if we were already married and I felt the same way, but it's not what I think I should be doing now. Now is the time to show the ugliest truths.

So what I'm thinking I should do, for my sake rather than hers, is explain the problem and try to take it back to a friend kind of level; and resume looking, but in a very low-key, friendship only kind of way. See who I meet. I think she's very unique, but I was only looking a couple of months. How would I know?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Desire and compromise

Here's some rambling, poorly organized thoughts that I really want to get out but don't have the time to organize as I'd like.

So, a bit after I decided to date one woman exclusively, we talked and realized she would be unable to move to my house if we married; we'd have to buy a home near her so her kids can stay in the same school district. It's an artifact of the shared custody with the father. I'm quite attached to my house and own it outright (no mortgage), so moving is not appealing to me. Then, there's the fact I never wanted kids. And, though it shames me to say it, there's her appearance. Between full-body massage and play I've seen a lot of her. I kinda don't want to say anything, but I also I feel like I've got to unburden myself about this somewhere, and it's going to be here. [REDACTED - I vented about what I don't like and now I'm over it.]

I hate the fact that the looks bother me. But they do. Sexy play feels more like it's for her sake than mine. I never think about what I could do with her except when I'm trying to make her happy and do something for her. I react exactly like the stereotype of the low-sex-drive, not-stimulated-visually woman reacting to a man. A nice, eager-to-please woman to be sure, but still like the stereotype of the woman who gives sex due to kindness rather than her own desire.

On the other hand there are a lot of good things about her. She is probably even more eager to please me than I am to please her, which is not something I ever thought I'd find. And she is extraordinarily good at those things that we allow ourselves to do; for example I've never been kissed anything like that before. And she has a extremely active imagination, highly compatible with mine. She is extremely kind and I think she would do just about anything for me; enough so that I'm careful not to ask.

She's such a nice person, and it's not fair about her looks. I have this urge to make the universe more fair by marrying her and being devoted to her the rest of my life, which complicates all my thinking. I imagine she probably wouldn't want it for that reason. On the other hand, how many rich old men marry beautiful young women? The idea that she is a great person and deserves at least as good a guy as me seems at least better than a money motive.

Every time I think about breaking up with someone, I think, "How dare I? Doesn't she deserve as least as good as me?"

Another thing is that I really haven't wanted anyone that much since my ex left. Apparently I trained myself for monogamy really well, such that I can't just turn it off. Every time I see my ex (every other month or so) there is a flood of desire, but I haven't felt it for anyone else. So is that more the problem than my girlfriend's appearance?

PerverseCowgirl was correct in comments some time ago, it was too soon for me to be dating, except that I needed the experience. I needed to know someone could want me. It's still very hard to believe.

UPDATE after Ozymandias's comment: Weeks ago, I broached the subject of lack of attraction as delicately as I could. She reacted with verbal persuasion to stay with her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Real women and real men

A troll named Dudequest (no link due to no respect) over at Ozymandias's prompted me to consider my view of gender roles. I think there are a set of virtues that comprise being a "real man" and another set that comprise being a "real woman." However, none of them are mutually exclusive, opposed, nor contradictory, and none of them become vices when exemplified by the opposite gender. It possible for the same person to be at the same time more of a real man than most men and more of a real woman than most women, and the difficulty is only in living up to so many virtues at the same time. Not any kind of conflicting values/virtues issue. By reason of cultural conditioning or differing hormone makeup it tends to be easier for men to exemplify the "real man" virtues and women to exemplify the "real woman" virtues, but they are by no means exclusive.

Robert A. Heinlein famously said in "Time Enough for Love"
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Virtue is like that; though many are more common in one gender than another, none are the exclusive province of one gender, and in my view as a Christian the lack of any virtue will not be excused by the idea that's the other gender's speciality.

So, for example, I think Lieutenant General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, for example, was more a real man than almost anyone ever, but at the same time more of a real woman than, say, Twisty Faster. And Elizabeth Moon, judging by her characters like Paksenarrion or Heris Serrano, is far more a real man than Dudequest as well as likewise more a real woman than Twisty.

Given that these virtues are not exclusive to one gender or the other, why identify them with gender? That can be embarrassing for a girl that has better-developed "real man" virtues or a boy that has better-developed "real woman" virtues. To go a little further, it can lead to people who, lacking any virtues at all, try to pretend their very lack of the opposite gender's traditional virtues is in itself a virtue. E.g., a man with no compassion who claims he's not a pussy or a woman with no courage who claims not to be poisoned with testosterone; that man probably has no courage and that woman probably has no compassion.

The reason not to get rid of the gender identification is that we just don't have a good alternative way of inspiring or teaching these virtues yet. And it's much better for society if the virtues are divided half-and-half than if no one has them. The perfect is the enemy of the good. If the branch you are sitting on needs pruning, move to another one BEFORE you saw it off. It's ridiculously easy to see the flaws in the old system, and damnably hard to create a new one that's actually better. Experiments with significantly different moral teachings on the large scale tend to result in more death and misery than anything else in history except maybe the Black Plague. Meanwhile, recognize and praise courage in women and compassion in men as well as the other way around, there's lots out there to see and that'll get you farther towards finding a better, less gendered way to inspire courage and compassion.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A different rebuttal

Still very short on posting time, and sleeping time. I hope to make some time to write because I've got a number of things I'd like to talk about. Right now I want to make a quick comment on something while it's still somewhat topical; Andrew Klavan's I Blame Women article in which he claims that women encourage mistreatment by lots of amorous attention for men who treat them poorly, and Anwyn's response, about how it's untrue of women in general.

I agree that it's untrue of women in general, though there seems to be a sufficient number of women who reward mistreatment to make it seem advisable. But I have a different comment to make on this. My comment is that I don't care if it works or not. The reason to treat women well is not that it makes women want to sleep with you. It doesn't even work when done with that motive; the motive is what makes women despise "nice guys." It's because it is the right thing to do.

Maybe done with the right motive it does work, certainly I've had some friends offer to have sex with me in plain English. Maybe on the other hand it's because I'm tall, or presentable, or unattainable. But that's not the point; you do right because it is right, not because it gets results.


I recently found out from my Hindu coworkers that doing your work or duty because it is right, not because of the reward, is in fact the Hindu principle of Karma. It is in stark opposition to the "what comes around goes around" idea of Karma we have in the West. "If you expect fruits for your actions, you will have to come back into this world to enjoy such fruits. You will have to take birth again". Or, "Do all works without expectation of fruits." (source)