Question of the Week: August 8th, 2017.

How do you like to give and receive affection? 

So aceinthehole says in their faq that they don’t desire sex when they are getting enough non-sexual intimacy, which got me thinking about the ways i express intimacy.

For me it’s mostly talking.  Both face to face serious sharing, and random stuff throughout the day online.  There was a meme going around a while back, where someone was asking the question which is better? with the two options both being sex acts, and someone had crossed them both out and written ‘sharing memes’. I love that so much, because not even joking, that is my relationship <3.

I also value time in the other person’s company, *especially* if you aren’t doing anything.  Like active stuff with important people is nice, but the people I feel really intimate with are the ones where I can hang out while they clean their room or whatever and still feel great about being there.

How do you give or receive affection?  This doesn’t have to be in romantic or official relationships, friends and family totally count.  If you are unsure, looking up ‘love languages’ might help.

About astarlia

Astarlia is proud of herself for only having volunteered for..... okay if you have to stop and count it's probably too many things isn't it? She is passionate about nerd culture, disability and mental health, alternative relationships, sexuality, and young adult fiction.
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15 Responses to Question of the Week: August 8th, 2017.

  1. Jenna says:

    Talking and hugs and just sitting in the same room, not even interacting but being together

  2. luvtheheaven says:

    Looking at aceinthehole’s FAQ there makes me uncomfortable in multiple ways. Yes Taryn who blogs there is a totally different type of ace than me; that’s cool, that’s great. But this isn’t her “about” page? There are so many better ways to phrase most of that which the ace community has discussed in depth… phrasings that don’t act like aromanticism doesn’t exist at all when the Frequently Asked Question is about that basic thing… phrasings that don’t equate desire and attraction as the same thing, things that actually explain sensual attraction/sensual desire as terminology is specifically for referring to physical touch that is non-sexual instead of defining it *so broadly* that sharing memes could count – at least if not for astutely considering the examples. (I mean *really*, compare the way they use the word affection in the sensual attraction definition to how you just did in the main question this week.) And that’s not even mentioning the huge fact that the last Ace Census seemed to indicate that the majority of asexual people do NOT have the ability to experience sex as an option to feel more intimate with a partner… and while more sex favorable ace perspectives being put forth is awesome, this was overlooked in what otherwise seems meant to be a general FAQ about asexuality.

    It’s just. You linked to it here. You implicitly endorsed it for The Asexual Agenda. Despite so many other posts on this blog over the years that have dealt with a lot of these topics.

    At the end of your question you accidentally say friends and family don’t count as a relationship either. Couldn’t you at least specify “romantic relationship”? Again some people are more sensitive than others to this, not really my personal hill to die on, but “relationship” is the one main, broad, generic word we can use for any and all interpersonal interactions, friends and family included as well as romance (etc.!)

    Ok sorry. Criticism over.

    • astarlia says:

      This is all super good feedback thank you ❤

      I'm going to go change the wording now, and I will make sure to have someone help me proofread my posts more carefully for slips like that. I'm going to go reread the stuff I linked too more carefully too, because I'll admit that *that* parapraph spoke to me, but I didn't consider the wider context, and I need to be more aware when posting from a group account.

      thanks for speaking up

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    About the answer to your question, about how I give and receive affection…

    Well I don’t think it’s giving OR receiving affection (per se) that you’re describing when you talk about: “the people I feel really intimate with are the ones where I can hang out while they clean their room or whatever and still feel great about being there.” YES, totally, me too. That’s a good measure for me that wow I indeed am comfortable with this person, that I have affection for them… but it’s not how I show it?
    Sharing really personal thoughts, feelings, creative creations (like my fanvideos or podfics or fanfiction), or trying to get them interested in music/TV/foods/activities that I enjoy is a part of how i show my affection, make myself vulnerable around them in a way where I’m taking our emotional intimacy deeper if it works out. I also will try my best to be as genuinely interested BACK in any of those types of things if they are shared with me. I love someone being excited to tell me things or show me their favorites, especially if it’s somewhat equal to the amount I am excited to share mine with them.

    After I have a close degree of emotional intimacy from all the deep conversations, the baring our souls and pasts, the time spent together or what have you…

    Then I’m emotionally intimate enough with the person for my “demi-sensuality” to kick in. I might start craving a hug even. I will feel like affection is being shown to me if they briefly touch me. I don’t really need touch in my life but I can like it in small doses with people I’m already emotionally close to. Not kissing, and usually not prolonged cuddling/hand holding because I can get physically uncimfortable pretty fast, but yes to a lot of the rest of it.

    Going through the love languages…

    Once I feel love for & feel loved by someone, I don’t need lots of time spent to keep feeling it, I don’t think.

    I don’t find it very easy most of the time to say words to express my affection, although often that’s because I’m afraid it’ll ruin a good thing. Since my queerplatonic partner suddenly broke up with me after consistently using a lot of words of acknowledgment and expressing his affection that way, even maybe saying more than ever how much he loved me, I feel kinda strongly that words need to be backed up with action and can be meaningless and also not enough. Words can be manipulation, misleading, or a well intentioned effort to convince yourself as much as the object of your affection that you really do care about them that much.

    Gifts are complicated but I think a gift that proves how well you know the person can be super powerful, gifts are really difficult for me to pick out for people a lot of the time and can be frustrating to receive from well intentioned people who “just don’t get you”, but like conversation, I think they can drive people slightly further apart emotionally OR increase the emotional intimacy, depending. I only like them as ways to show or receive affection in the rare cases when it adds to our intimacy. I feel like it’s one of the most difficult options. A gift I the form of an act of service though could more easily work out for me in the manner intended. 🙂

  4. Rivers says:

    Hmmm … great question. A lot of my deeper relationships seem to depend on how capable I am with forming strong inside jokes with the person. The little things count a lot in relationships (in the all-encompassing sense of the word), and the more you can build on them or have more, the more intimate and trusting the relationship is. At least for me.

    Although I understand that the “love languages” are helpful for many people, I personally don’t find them very helpful when trying to explain how I show affection for someone. I think they can be somewhat over-hyped. How I express my affection to people never seems to be as linear or easy-to-categorize as the typical love languages seem to suggest, and I personally find it very limiting. Though, since love languages can help people, I don’t discount their benefits to other people based on my experience.

    • astarlia says:

      Yeah i don’t find them super useful either, but I know other people do. I am enjoying that so many people here are responding with ‘just time with people’ though.

  5. Rivers says:

    I also find that my ability to use traditional displays of affection are somewhat limited by my demi-sensuality (I find this term very useful even though I’ve barely seen it mentioned). Even in people I really hit it off with from the start, I have a really hard time with hugging, holding hands, light touches, personal space, etc. Even when I want to. Even when I would really like to be completely chill with those things.

    As I get to know people, this changes. I become use to them, and as long as my experience with them is positive, I enjoy those things. I can even really enjoy those things. My QPP and I do a lot of those things (we can hug for five to ten minutes, which confuses pretty much everyone else who knows me).

    • astarlia says:

      demi-sensuality is a great term!

      I use demi-aesthetic sometime, which is super awkward to say but totally true! (I don’t really find people pretty til I already like them)

      • Rivers says:

        I’ll have to think about using demi-aesthetic. Sometimes I’ve found it can be awkward to throw demi-sensual out there because of people’s general misconcepts about the word sensual, or if I’m trying to talk about my experience/feelings without outing myself.

        • luvtheheaven says:

          I’ve only ever used the term demisensual here:
          And would only use it in a “conversation with other aces or someone I was really going in depth with terminology about my experiences” kind of space, whether online or (especially) offline. It’s also not an identity but rather a description, a slightly clarifying piece of information…

          • Rivers says:

            I appreciate your links, although I’m kind of fuzzy on how exactly I feel about identity vs. description. It’s definitely something to think about. I guess I kind of wish there was a middle-ground word.

            For me, I would like to just use it only in spaces that would be understanding and friendly. However, sometimes I’ve gotten into situations (sometimes meaning almost every time I try to have a close friendship with anyone) where I would like to be able to drawl a line and clarify my boundaries without the person secretly thinking I hate them or something. Demisensual would be a word that I would like to have become a thing I could talk about with almost anyone just because the people I need to express this to the most are often people who aren’t really into a conversation about in-depth terminology.

  6. Jess says:

    I think for me I act differently with different people. My sister and I aren’t ones who talk all the time, but are very comfortable in each other’s presence, and she especially usually expresses herself through actions rather than words.

    With close friends, it’s usually through talking/opening up. It doesn’t have to be a thing where we tell each other everything about ourselves, but if I’m able to comfortably & enjoyably hold conversation with someone for a few hours, that’s a person I’m close to.

    In terms of love languages, I would say mine are mainly quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service. I’m not particularly drawn to physical touch from other people (like if that’s their love language), but a lot of that has to do with intention, too. If I feel that what the other person is doing is more performative than genuine, I generally don’t like it and back off. But a hug once in a while from someone I know respects my boundaries/isn’t doing it to be overly familiar – that’s totally fine. (Like, generally I’m not touch averse, but I don’t like what I feel like is performative/not genuine intimacy.)

  7. Blue Ice-Tea says:

    Great question! My #1 love language is quality time, followed by physical affection. Gifts generally do nothing for me, and I’m not big on receiving acts of service. However, I do like *doing* acts of service for others. That’s handy, because my best friend’s love languages are quality time and acts of service. So, if I do something to help her out, she feels cared for by me. And we both enjoy spending time together. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – cooking, laundry, watching T.V. – as long as we’re going it together. She’s not super big into physical affection, but she tries to remember that I like hugs. Plus, she has a very affectionate small child.

  8. Blue Ice-Tea says:

    On a side note, I just want to second luvtheheaven’s point that friendships and family ties are kinds of relationships, not alternatives to relationships. If you mean “romantic relationships”, say “romantic relationships”. Otherwise, it’s just confusing.

    • astarlia says:

      I meant like formally recognized relationships which to me includes like queer platonic etc, but yeah I can see that it’s super confusing and i’ll change it, thanks (and thanks for saying it’s a good questions – i’m still learning what people are going to respond well too and i’m sure i’ll mess it up a few more times yet!)

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