the touchy-feely thread

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
Michael Smoker
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the touchy-feely thread

Postby Michael Smoker » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:46 am

I already broached something like this subject on AVEN and got only constructive responses, but since this is not the same community, I thought I'd ask something similar here.

I am what one might call a "tactility agnostic." While I am not averse to physical contact, I get no kind of satisfaction from it. Things like hugs, kisses, pats, cuddles, etc. leave me totally blasé. When dealing with a tactile person, I have to think in terms of compromise, similarly to how one might think of compromise sex, except that this is comromise non-sexual touching. It doesn't bother me to engage in most kinds of non-sexual touching if the other person has a need for it; I just don't derive any benefit from it myself. With one friend I've even developed a kind of two-handed wave that is a substitute for a hug between the two of us. We probably look silly waving at each other, but it's what we both want.

Anyway, I was wondering how other people here feel about non-sexual tactility. Are you averse to all touches, are you a compromise toucher like me, or do you derive some personal benefit from non-sexual physical contact?

Michael

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Dargon
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Dargon » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:59 am

hugs and high-fives I like. I have been working over the years, and definately improving, on becoming less tacitly averse. Extended physical contact with my hands or arms, and any physical contact with anything else, it weirds me out.

Mind you, this is a vast improvement from the me years ago who would be significantly weirded if you so much as tapped me on the shoulder, or if our hands accidentally touched if I were handing you something.

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Gadfly-in-Chief
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Gadfly-in-Chief » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:41 pm

I don't like being touched casually or by strangers, except for handshakes. I've learned to accept hugs as being a convention in certain communities I belong to and can accept them in that context, but not otherwise. Oddly, at a time in my life (now long passed) when multiple cheek kisses were part of a greeting ritual in communities I belonged to, that did not bother me, as long as it was within the context of said communities.
Yes, the unexamined life is not worth living. But as a student of logic, you must realize that this does not imply that the examined life is.

Joe of Loath
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Joe of Loath » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:13 am

I'm a cuddle slut.

You should see me at meets...

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KAGU143
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby KAGU143 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:27 am

I'm ... erm, well, I don't really know, TBH.
I am definitely different than I used to be when I was younger. Back then, I absolutely craved contact, but then a funny thing happened. When I was in my 20s I finally figured out that wanting to snuggle sent a very wrong message to all of the guys that I was hanging out with. They were all sexuals, of course, since it was the 70s and asexuality was completely unknown. (If there were any asexuals among my circle of friends they were trying to "pass" just as much as I was, and we all managed to completely fool each other.)
I backed off in a hurry and became very stand-offish about any kind of contact at all. (Much personal grief ensued, but I considered that to be preferable to the alternative, and I still do.) Eventually, after several years, the forced change seemed to sink in, and it became a permanent part of my personality.

I don't have any particular dislike for casual contact nowadays, but I don't seek it out either, except occasionally, and then only from my husband. (I will make a temporary exception if it's extremely cold, but that's only because I hate freezing!) I never liked having people in my face and I still don't. For some reason, it has always seemed very threatening to me and it creeps me out and makes me defensive - even when I don't want to feel that way. Sitting side by side is fine, though - no problem at all, especially with people I know.
I will smile and tolerate receiving brief kisses when I have to, but they don't do anything for me.

In summary:
I'm probably somewhere in the middle? I can take it or leave it.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby apsaf » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:12 pm

KAGU143 wrote:I never liked having people in my face and I still don't. For some reason, it has always seemed very threatening to me and it creeps me out and makes me defensive - even when I don't want to feel that way. Sitting side by side is fine, though - no problem at all, especially with people I know.
I will smile and tolerate receiving brief kisses when I have to, but they don't do anything for me.

I feel the same way. Having people in my face is what I hate the most! When they totally invade my space while we're talking! I feel like I'm suffocating, I can't breathe because their mouth is open in my face and I can't concentrate on what they're saying because all I can think about is how to avoid being spat on. This even happened today, at the gym, of all places, and the person is just an acquaintance, so I couldn't just tell them to back off. I'd just put the towel on my face pretending to wipe the sweat (although I wasn't sweating, lol).

As for the OP topic, I'm definitely not a cuddly person and my reaction varies (depending on my mood, the circumstances, the people concerned...) between accepting it, analyzing the weirdness and silliness of the gesture (like the meaning of a handshake or a hug or a kiss while doing them) or being totally aversive and really wanting to avoid them but not wanting to offend the other person, because I know those gestures mean something totally different to them.

I do my best to "act" just to fit in socially, at work and events but, thankfully, most of my close friends respect my privacy and my boundaries.

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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Jicragg » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:26 am

Joe of Loath wrote:I'm a cuddle slut.

You should see me at meets...

Understatement.

I'm pretty much the same as Joseph. I go a bit crazy after a while if I don't get a hug - probably one reason I went crazy at university (three months with few hugs and no cats). I mention cats because I do love stroking them and hugging them and I know it isn't the same as human-human contact but it's still pretty good.

I compromise when I have friends/people I want to hug who don't like being touched. I'll do as much touching as they're comfortable with, clinging to arms/legs, handshakes, air hugs (that is, pretending to hug them in front of them if they really do not like touching - hugs aren't fun when people don't want them. There's a big difference between 'no.' and 'nooooo!' the latter being 'I want you to hug me but I'm going to struggle'.

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Dargon
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Dargon » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:11 pm

Jicragg wrote:I mention cats because I do love stroking them and hugging them and I know it isn't the same as human-human contact but it's still pretty good.


This brings two rather interesting thoughts. As I stated, I rather dislike being touched. That being said, I enjoy touching people who do like it. Giving backrubs or massages (which I still need to get better at) or the like to people who rather like them, I find that rather nice. I just kindly ask you do not attempt to return the favor.

And cats, I love cats. My cat is the only thing that can cuddle with me. That being said, if she gets too close to the neck, that still bothers me.

Michael Smoker
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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Michael Smoker » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:29 am

Cats are wonderful in all respects except in how they feed in the wild. I think their hunting and feeding habits are sadistic. With people, however, a friendly cat is a joy. My late kitty could bring me a lot of comfort from just sitting in my lap--whereas a human in a similar position is a totally neutral experience for me.

There seems to be no significant correlation between being ace and attitudes toward tactility. That's a fact that the wider world definitely needs to be more aware of.

Michael

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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby fridayoak » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:49 am

My parents got a new cat a few months ago and I saw her for the first time over Christmas. She is adorable so I cuddled her plenty, but I grew up with cats and was close to them but I struggle with other animals (dogs for example I was always scared of).

But anyway in general, I only like hugs/cuddles with someone who I am close/intimate with emotionally, so basically someone I am in a relationship with or at the very least someone I have developed a bond with. If other people really want a hug from me, then nowadays it's ok, I'll indulge them as I've learnt over the years to deal with it so it's not a big problem. But in my younger days I couldn't handle it at all and would avoid it at all costs.

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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Joe of Loath » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:35 pm

Jicragg wrote:
Joe of Loath wrote:I'm a cuddle slut.

You should see me at meets...

Understatement.

I'm pretty much the same as Joseph. I go a bit crazy after a while if I don't get a hug - probably one reason I went crazy at university (three months with few hugs and no cats). I mention cats because I do love stroking them and hugging them and I know it isn't the same as human-human contact but it's still pretty good.

I compromise when I have friends/people I want to hug who don't like being touched. I'll do as much touching as they're comfortable with, clinging to arms/legs, handshakes, air hugs (that is, pretending to hug them in front of them if they really do not like touching - hugs aren't fun when people don't want them. There's a big difference between 'no.' and 'nooooo!' the latter being 'I want you to hug me but I'm going to struggle'.


Heh heh heh. I found a way to stop you struggling.

(Wait, they were meant to be a present for you, not to be used on you...)

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Re: the touchy-feely thread

Postby Jicragg » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:51 am

Dargon wrote:
Jicragg wrote:I mention cats because I do love stroking them and hugging them and I know it isn't the same as human-human contact but it's still pretty good.


This brings two rather interesting thoughts. As I stated, I rather dislike being touched. That being said, I enjoy touching people who do like it. Giving backrubs or massages (which I still need to get better at) or the like to people who rather like them, I find that rather nice. I just kindly ask you do not attempt to return the favor.

Move to the UK. You can be my new best friend. I'll have foot spas and back massages on alternative nights. Chop chop.

My cat Tiger is quite non-touchy feely. He loves strokes and he'll curl up close to you but in the twelve years I've had him he's settled in my lap twice. Skibba on the other hand is borderline. She'll either attack your foot or curl up on your shoulder, purr in your ear and watch you play a game or nibble your hair.