How much to disclose in OLD [split from Rants]

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Post by The Wisp on Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:37 pm

I think what mel said is somewhat correct, but -- though I regret having to be a debbie downer here -- I still think even if a sexual person knew that an individual asexual were willing to give to their partner sexually, many them still wouldn't want to date asexuals. I know for myself, and I am certain probably most other sexual people, a big part of what makes sex appealing and awesome is the fact that your partner desires you and is into it. It's the mutuality of it on the level of sexual desire that's appealing. I hang out on the sex subreddit, and I can't tell you how many people are hurt by their low libido (usually not asexual) partners who "go through the motions". 

Frankly, if being desired didn't matter, if the mutuality didn't matter, you'd see many many more lonely virgin guys seeing prostitutes. Now, I'm not saying that a relationship with an asexual is anything like prostitution, but just that people may find it unappealing for some of the reasons they find sex with a prostitute unappealing.

Maybe not all sexual people feel like I do. I do think being more specific couldn't hurt because asexuality isn't a well-known term.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:08 pm

Mel wrote:
Izmuth wrote:snip

IMHO, this is a totally different situation. I do think ideally you'd want to find a romantic partner who you could trust enough to be open with, who could be a real team with you in helping you deal with your concerns rather than shaming you for them. But I don't think this is something a person needs to know early on, because it has nothing to do with how you're going to relate to them. If you're honest about what you're looking for in a partner and how you feel about that person once you're dating, it really doesn't matter what other feelings you have, especially since you have no intention of acting on them. I think you'd be well within ethical bounds to hold off on discussing this with someone until you were sure you could trust them and were safe with them.

+1 for this. It's definitely complicated in your case, too. In ethical terms, though, I think it's completely fine to avoid the issue by any means until you feel safe about it. Ideally, you still wouldn't have to outright lie since for most situations you could just present it as asserting boundaries (e.g. "I don't really like visiting zoos" if that comes up as a date proposal). But if you were cornered and had to lie about it, I dunno what other folks here think, but I think protecting yourself takes precedence over other people's feelings in that case.

Mel wrote:What I think it might help to realize is that some (most?) people who make that immediate decision are probably not doing it because they're lazy or don't care enough about finding out what compromises you'd be open to but because they're actually trying to be respectful of you.

readertorider wrote:My impression in general is that if something is listed on an OLD profile it's expected that someone contacting them to arrange a date will be accepting of that something, and someone accepting a date will bring it up if that something is a potential problem for them. Religion/kids/poly/pets/moving-to Alaska-in-3-years/whatever, I think there's an expectation that if people start dating anything listed on a profile won't become a problem later on. I don't think everything works out this way--minds/circumstances/feelings change and Me+3yrs likely has a very different conception of what moving to Alaska in 2017 means than current me--but there is pressure to either say "yes" in an informed way, possibly with qualification, or say no.

To bring this back to asexuality--My impression is that a non insignificant number of people think asexual = "my emotions are controlled by logic" or "I don't want physical closeness" just because they never thought about the concept before and media characters who don't actively show an interest in sex follow a (TOS) Spock/Sheldon/Sherlock model. Since your profile largely contradicts this (you're looking to meet people in a romantic context) people reading it might google and be overwhelmed by information  (Wikipedia has "Because there is significant variation among people who identify as asexual, asexuality can encompass broad definitions" as it's first sentence under "Definitions"). I think by including one link that describes how you view asexuality you have a chance to explain your own nuances (like Mel said) without it overwhelming the profile, but obviously YMMV.

I don't think it's lazy for somebody to decide to go look at another profile instead of spending whatever amount of time deciding whether something's a potential deal-breaker, or dealing with the stress of navigating what kind of behavior is respectful. I'm not that special. Razz Or put another way, getting the information necessary to say "yes" in an informed way takes time, and saying "no" doesn't, and I don't see anything wrong with making the more efficient choice when you have that option. (Honest question: is it wrong of me to want people to not move on to someone else that early in the process, and for that to be a reason to withhold information?)

I do agree that it's best to provide an explanation in addition to (or perhaps instead of) just throwing terminology at them. But, is that actually something that should be in an up-front profile/summary? (If I had an IRL friend introduce or describe me to someone on my behalf, wouldn't it be weirder to bring that up than religion/politics/long-term plans? Or is that a bad comparison?) Should I just insert it into PMs if the subject of meeting in person comes up? Or do I just wait until the nth date? "By the way, I have a mental and emotional appreciation for your presence that extends to wanting very much to please you physically, and we may reasonably infer that this includes most of the forms of sex that you would be inclined to try, but I am morally obligated to inform you that I do not experience sexual attraction before you make a decision."


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Post by The Wisp on Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:47 pm

I think it comes down to how you feel about it and what trade offs you want to make. As long as you disclose before sex happens or before the relationship becomes a thing (whichever comes first), I think you're fine. You might get more first dates with latter disclosure, and you might get some people to be more open-minded than they otherwise were, if you disclose later. However, you'll probably get more in-person rejection and it may be harder to be outcome independent to those rejections.

On the other hand, if you put it in your profile, you will have fewer first dates, but you will know they're okay with the asexual part.


is it wrong of me to want people to not move on to someone else that early in the process, and for that to be a reason to withhold information?

It's not wrong to want that, and it's not wrong to withhold information early on. As long as you disclose before things get serious, you're fine.
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Post by Mel on Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:08 pm

I agree with Wisp--there are pros and cons to bringing up the info at different points, but it's best to do it before there's significant emotional investment, or before sexual activity is happening.

It might help to consider what you would want from someone in an equivalent situation. If a potential date was aromantic but willing to behave romantically with someone she found attractive on a friendly and sexual level, would you want to know that upfront, or would you be okay if she only told you after some dates (and if the latter, how long would you be okay with her waiting)? I find "do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you" is a reasonably good moral guiding principle.
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Post by Izmuth on Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:42 pm

Could I be a jackass and ask you not to quote me in the future Mel? Don't know if anyone has me blocked (yet), but I'd like to prevent them from seeing my posts as best as I can.

Having said that... my problem is that I don't agree it doesn't affect them.

TW: Pedophilia

Spoiler:
Most extreme example: I still see myself featuring in one of Neil Gaiman's columns someday.

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

I'd like to think I'm more careful than that, but fact is I only have to roll a natural one on a derp check once and I'll get V& in no time, and I'd daresay that would have a negative effect on the well being of someone I'm dating (well, and mine, but I'm the one taking the risk).

Less extreme example: We've got a case of an alleged child molester here that has been dragging on for decades now, but he's too well connected and too smart for anything more concrete than rumours to surface.
Every time I read a news story about that and I mistakenly look in the comment section I get disturbed for days, since people tend to channel their impotent rage at a man who's adept at using the system to get away with his shit to...less productive and frankly frightening comments.

Of course, I could just say that I'm not feeling particularly well on such instances, but it feels... dishonest.

Dating inside my community isn't really an option either, because there's literally only one forum with about 20 members who share my ethics and even then you hear horror stories of pedohunters making fake profiles.

It's just so incredibly shit I haven't got a clue how moderately enlightened people would respond to me coming out to them one year into the relationship or something. Would they feel hurt? betrayed?

I don't want to keep lying forever, but am I not unfairly burdening them with information they might not know how to deal with?

Until now I'm doing the only thing I know for sure is ethical: not date at all. But that kind of sucks.
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Post by Werel on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:43 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Mel wrote:
Izmuth wrote:snip

IMHO, this is a totally different situation. I do think ideally you'd want to find a romantic partner who you could trust enough to be open with, who could be a real team with you in helping you deal with your concerns rather than shaming you for them. But I don't think this is something a person needs to know early on, because it has nothing to do with how you're going to relate to them. If you're honest about what you're looking for in a partner and how you feel about that person once you're dating, it really doesn't matter what other feelings you have, especially since you have no intention of acting on them. I think you'd be well within ethical bounds to hold off on discussing this with someone until you were sure you could trust them and were safe with them.

+1 for this. It's definitely complicated in your case, too. In ethical terms, though, I think it's completely fine to avoid the issue by any means until you feel safe about it. Ideally, you still wouldn't have to outright lie since for most situations you could just present it as asserting boundaries (e.g. "I don't really like visiting zoos" if that comes up as a date proposal). But if you were cornered and had to lie about it, I dunno what other folks here think, but I think protecting yourself takes precedence over other people's feelings in that case.

Agreed that protecting yourself is top priority in your case, with potential partners' feelings coming in a distant second (because yeah, like you said, you being hauled off or worse is going to hurt anyone you're dating, too). It seems like something that would be better-received when the person in question has a good deal of context for you personally, rather than telling them right off the bat before they've had a chance to form a holistic picture of you as a [conscientious/kind/funny/interesting/insert adjectives applicable to you] person. It's much harder to have a kneejerk negative reaction when it's someone you already know and like telling you something that is clearly painful for them, rather than it being the only data point you have for someone who means nothing to you.

Have you had any experience disclosing to close friends? What was the timeline like there, and what aspects of that experience could you draw on as good/bad ideas for future disclosure conversations?

edit:
Izmuth wrote:I don't want to keep lying forever, but am I not unfairly burdening them with information they might not know how to deal with?

While this is likely to be information that almost no one would know how to deal with right away, the burdening only seems unfair if the person hasn't yet chosen to be emotionally invested in you. Seems like it might be a good candidate for "easing into"-type disclosure, i.e. "I have some very tough-to-deal-with and maybe scary parts of myself that I don't want to burden you with just yet; it has nothing to do with how I feel about you, I just need some time to figure out how best to tell you about them." Their reaction to a general statement like that might tell you how safe a person they are to disclose to-- are they sympathetic? Put off? Gentle? Dismissive? Do they push you to spill it all before you're ready? Etc.
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Post by Mel on Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:39 pm

Izmuth--sorry about the quoting thing, I've edited the content out.

About the rest... I don't totally follow the Neil Gaiman reference (I skimmed the article and he seems to be talking about freedom of speech/art--I'm not sure if you're saying you could see yourself writing in to complain about something or creating something someone would write in to complain about or what). The less extreme example, I think it would be okay to say you're just disturbed by reading some violent comments on the internet, which is technically true. I do think you have the right to protect yourself, and your thoughts and feelings are things you can't control in your head. It's what you do that defines who you are to the world around you. IMHO a thought or a feeling on its own cannot be immoral if you have no intention of acting on it.

And I think at least a fair number of enlightened people will feel that way too. A somewhat related example from my own life (though feel free to skip the spoilered bit if you think the details would be upsetting/triggering for you):

TW for spoilered bit: Mistreatment of animals

I'd been dating my first boyfriend for a few months--though we'd gotten emotionally intense very quickly, exchanged "I love you"s etc.--when he felt he needed to confess to me something he felt really horrible about.
Spoiler:
His family owned two dogs, and one time a couple years before he'd been so horny and desperate-feeling that he'd considered... I guess raping is the word for it... one of the dogs. And actually started to act on it but not ultimately gone through with it.
I was horrified, but not because it was something he'd considered--because he'd come so close to actually doing it. And even though I was horrified, after a few days to process it, all the other things that made me care about him overwhelmed that and I accepted it and moved on with the relationship. I was only 17 years old. If a 17-year-old can accept not just feelings but action on the verge of, I have to think it's not impossible for you to find someone who'd be able to accept that part of you.

I guess one way to test the waters early on--to get a feel for whether you'd be safe later on without outright confessing--would be to bring up general related subjects, like people with OCD who have obsessive thoughts that are sometimes disturbing that they can't control, or that sort of thing, and see what they say about that. If you get the sense they'd be judgmental of someone's thoughts/feelings regardless of how the person acts, then you could decide this isn't the right person for you to be with before things got more serious.
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Post by azazel on Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:46 am

nearly_takuan wrote:
I don't think my feelings were really hurt, but I appreciate the concern. Smile Mostly, your post just got me to look one more time at something and make a different set of assumptions than before*. The "insights" gained may seem kind of negative/bleak, but that's just kind of how I am anyway. Razz

I figured you had good reasons anyway, but the added context does make it even clearer.

And yeah, definitely see your point re: the unwanted scenarios. Oddly enough, I have similar anxieties about what comes next if I should start dating a sexual woman—will she expect me to detect when she desires sexual activity and initiate on that? Would we both just waste a bunch of time waiting for the topic to come up, and then have it turn out way after the fact that she wants someone who is, as Enail put it, actively interested, not just agreeable? But in my case, I guess I have the luxury/advantage of not crossing that bridge until I get anywhere near it. Most of the advice-columns and such seem to advocate the third date or so as the sweet-spot for that sort of thing (on my end), with the exception of Dan Savage but I'm beginning to see why other aces hate him too.

*I don't think I can word this to completely match what I'm thinking of, but it kind of flipped a switch from "maybe the more open-minded types would be willing to try, or even interested in, the idea of dating an ace and seeing what that's like," to "even an intelligent and well-informed individual with a good attitude could have their reasons for not wanting to consider it". I still don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with the ethical implications of the alternative, but I think if I knew that telling someone my orientation had made them change their mind about dating me, I would definitely feel like I had made a mistake by saying anything. (Again, though, you didn't do anything wrong; I'm just extrapolating to my own squids.)

One thing to note, although I'm sure you already know, people have a tendency to make things about them instead of you.
You don't want to have sex? --> But you're a man! --> A man is always eager --> I must be ugly.

So seeing as how much context you have to provide, I'd personally say it's okay for you to leave it out of your profile, as long as you don't hold it against them if they bail after hearing your explanation.
As long as you've defined clear boundaries for yourself and communicate that you have those, they also don't have to worry about pressurizing you into something you don't want.

@Izmuth: I tried thinking of advice to give you, but I'm coming up short. Sorry buddy.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:38 am

Mel wrote:I agree with Wisp--there are pros and cons to bringing up the info at different points, but it's best to do it before there's significant emotional investment, or before sexual activity is happening.

It might help to consider what you would want from someone in an equivalent situation.  If a potential date was aromantic but willing to behave romantically with someone she found attractive on a friendly and sexual level, would you want to know that upfront, or would you be okay if she only told you after some dates (and if the latter, how long would you be okay with her waiting)? I find "do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you" is a reasonably good moral guiding principle.

Heh, I can tell this is going to be a good hypothetical example because I'm afraid I won't like my answer.

Well, supposing I did talk to a woman for a bit (IRL or online), and then we went on some dates and stayed in touch and so forth, and after a month or so she told me she was aromantic but willing to behave romantically etc., I think these would be my thoughts:

  • I'm flattered that she saw something she liked in me, even though I don't really understand it.
  • (As Azazel's most recent point predicts,) I'm not-so-flattered that she doesn't have the same depth of appreciation for my personality and mind as I was beginning to have for hers.
  • How much sexy-time do I already owe her for the romantic experiences we've already had together just by dating and chatting and touching? (Anxieties about coming up red on the proverbial balance sheet.)
  • I'm probably not a good match for her; she's probably not a good match for me; I'm willing to try if she is, but we should discuss this more if so, even though it'll be uncomfortable. I definitely have to tell her at this point that I'm an "ace of hearts", if I haven't already.
  • Regardless of the above, I'm still glad for the time we've already spent together. (Less sure of this one; zero experience with dating, let alone handling ex-es.)

Not terrible, but on the whole not necessarily something that would ultimately be good for me. Then again, if she brought it up before I even met her, I might not have agreed to a first date. Or, well, actually I'm pretty sure I still would, because I'm kind of desperate and rather male, but I think I'd see it differently if I had other options. (I'd also have other options.) Even going for it, though, I'd probably carry in certain expectations that may undermine the date, even being aware of this and not wanting to.

I think I should spin off yet another thread to discuss boundaries, because it's come up before but I still might need some practical advice on that part too.
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Post by Izmuth on Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:26 am

TW: Pedofilia
Spoiler:

Werel wrote:
Agreed that protecting yourself is top priority in your case, with potential partners' feelings coming in a distant second (because yeah, like you said, you being hauled off or worse is going to hurt anyone you're dating, too). It seems like something that would be better-received when the person in question has a good deal of context for you personally, rather than telling them right off the bat before they've had a chance to form a holistic picture of you as a [conscientious/kind/funny/interesting/insert adjectives applicable to you] person. It's much harder to have a kneejerk negative reaction when it's someone you already know and like telling you something that is clearly painful for them, rather than it being the only data point you have for someone who means nothing to you.

Have you had any experience disclosing to close friends? What was the timeline like there, and what aspects of that experience could you draw on as good/bad ideas for future disclosure conversations?

The only one who knows my face and knows I'm a pedophile was a researcher, whom I agreed to meet to balance out the bias that pedophilia research most of the time has by only considering convicted pedosexuals.

Reason I never told my friends is that at this moment it doesn't affect them at all, and honestly it's a rather insignificant part of what I am. It's the thing that I have the most trouble dealing with mentally, which is why I might seem like an one-trick advice asker on here, but that's also because the anonymity of the internet makes it waaaay easier to ask advice about it. For other problems I've got my IRL social network Razz

Werel wrote:edit:
Izmuth wrote:I don't want to keep lying forever, but am I not unfairly burdening them with information they might not know how to deal with?

While this is likely to be information that almost no one would know how to deal with right away, the burdening only seems unfair if the person hasn't yet chosen to be emotionally invested in you. Seems like it might be a good candidate for "easing into"-type disclosure, i.e. "I have some very tough-to-deal-with and maybe scary parts of myself that I don't want to burden you with just yet; it has nothing to do with how I feel about you, I just need some time to figure out how best to tell you about them." Their reaction to a general statement like that might tell you how safe a person they are to disclose to-- are they sympathetic? Put off? Gentle? Dismissive? Do they push you to spill it all before you're ready? Etc.

Yesyesyes! This is a great idea! Thank you!

Mel wrote:Izmuth--sorry about the quoting thing, I've edited the content out.

No worries. I try to keep spoiling anything that might be triggering anyway.

Mel wrote:About the rest... I don't totally follow the Neil Gaiman reference (I skimmed the article and he seems to be talking about freedom of speech/art--I'm not sure if you're saying you could see yourself writing in to complain about something or creating something someone would write in to complain about or what).

Ah, sorry for being unclear. The article was about the legal status of cartoon CP (like Simpsons rule 34), which I've got to admit I've got a stash of. It's incredibly stupid and unsafe to have it (although currently still legal-ish depending on the country) but since it's victimless and I enjoy it quite a bit I can't be arsed to delete it.

Mel wrote:
The less extreme example, I think it would be okay to say you're just disturbed by reading some violent comments on the internet, which is technically true. I do think you have the right to protect yourself, and your thoughts and feelings are things you can't control in your head. It's what you do that defines who you are to the world around you. IMHO a thought or a feeling on its own cannot be immoral if you have no intention of acting on it.

And I think at least a fair number of enlightened people will feel that way too. A somewhat related example from my own life (though feel free to skip the spoilered bit if you think the details would be upsetting/triggering for you):

TW for spoilered bit: Mistreatment of animals

I'd been dating my first boyfriend for a few months--though we'd gotten emotionally intense very quickly, exchanged "I love you"s etc.--when he felt he needed to confess to me something he felt really horrible about.
Spoiler:
His family owned two dogs, and one time a couple years before he'd been so horny and desperate-feeling that he'd considered... I guess raping is the word for it... one of the dogs. And actually started to act on it but not ultimately gone through with it.
I was horrified, but not because it was something he'd considered--because he'd come so close to actually doing it. And even though I was horrified, after a few days to process it, all the other things that made me care about him overwhelmed that and I accepted it and moved on with the relationship. I was only 17 years old. If a 17-year-old can accept not just feelings but action on the verge of, I have to think it's not impossible for you to find someone who'd be able to accept that part of you.

I guess one way to test the waters early on--to get a feel for whether you'd be safe later on without outright confessing--would be to bring up general related subjects, like people with OCD who have obsessive thoughts that are sometimes disturbing that they can't control, or that sort of thing, and see what they say about that. If you get the sense they'd be judgmental of someone's thoughts/feelings regardless of how the person acts, then you could decide this isn't the right person for you to be with before things got more serious.

Hmmm yes I'm already keeping tabs on the attitudes of people about bisexuality. I'd daresay that if they can't grasp someone being into both men and women, they probably wouldn't understand my heterosexual+ sexuality.

But I've got to admit I respect your first boyfriend then, because I think personally it's a lot easier to just never act on it than to stop just before the point of no return.

But thanks again for your advice Werel/Mel! Really helping a lot!

azazel wrote:
@Izmuth: I tried thinking of advice to give you, but I'm coming up short. Sorry buddy.

No worries.
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Post by azazel on Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:09 pm

I either attract them with my incredibly goods looks or fellow asexuals are more common than you think Nearly.

I now know two IRL, and two from dating sites. All girls, oddly enough.

I'd personally leave it in your profile you're asexual, makes it easier to be found by fellow aces.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:01 pm

Funny you should say that... only a day after I removed it, I got a visit from somebody who does not explicitly identify as ace but otherwise might as well be a female me. No ONS/short term, prefers to be friends and go slow at first, similar ideas about coffee/alcohol/food/jaywalking despite not being strongly religious or politically regressive. Also seems to be open to or even looking for an LDR.

Apparently, we like each other. Because I rarely get visitors in the first place, it's hard to tell which parts of my profile people like or don't like, and I don't know how this one would have reacted to an early disclosure any more than I know how many other people looked and took a pass after seeing it on there.

I do know I've keyword-searched the term many times, several months apart, and always found the same two women and one man (guess they haven't had much luck either).

Well, there was also that message from Montreal observing that we don't live anywhere near each other. She found me.

Ugh, good profiles are so few and far between that I hesitate to send a message in case it's phrased wrong and Ruins Everything. Egg timers are useful here.


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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:29 pm

Go for it! Message her! Smile
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:54 pm

I mean, I did; that's what the egg timer remark was about. Razz

"You have ten minutes to write a thing, and then you're going to send whatever you have. GO."
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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:02 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I mean, I did; that's what the egg timer remark was about. Razz

"You have ten minutes to write a thing, and then you're going to send whatever you have. GO."

Ah, that was unclear Razz

Good luck!
The Wisp
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How much to disclose in OLD [split from Rants] - Page 2 Empty Re: How much to disclose in OLD [split from Rants]

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