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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Object Lesson

Posted by on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 4:28 PM

I need advice. I'm a young male hetero. I'm a virgin and I've never been in a relationship. I keep trying though. I'm an introvert and I don't have the best confidence or self image, though I'm seeing a counselor to improve these aspects of my life. In the meantime though I still have these human desires for which I need an outlet. I've indulged in adult entertainment in the past, but lately I've begun to contemplate taking advantage of the burgeoning market of custom clip makers to satisfy my desire to see a particular fantasy brought to life.

But I'm conflicted. On the one hand I've tried to take to heart your advice about how we should embrace our desires. If it's what I want, and it's not dangerous and I'm paying for the service, what's the harm? And I think that this could also be a form of exposure therapy, that if I can make the fantasy a reality, I'll no longer be preoccupied by it, like an itch I can't scratch.

But I also wonder if I'm kidding myself, and if I'm feeding a habit that should be curtailed. I worry I'll be crossing a line, and that I may have some greater dysfunctional issues that need to be addressed rather than fulfilling my carnal desire in video form. And I consider myself a staunch feminist, so I worry that while I'm paying a professional for a service she freely offers, I may also be committing an affront to the fight for women against objectification. I want to be a good person, and an ethical one, but I still have those base carnal urges. Which comes first? Should I get the video made? Or seek guidance from a professional?

Troubled Video Buyer

My response to TVB—and his to me, and mine to his—after the jump...

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Can you tell me what this particular fantasy is?—Dan

Gosh where to begin? It's not violent or illegal. It's just oddly specific. It's a kind of hybrid fantasy, a variant on themes of agalmatophilia (attraction to statues) and erotic transformation and bodypainting. The gist of it is woman is turned into a living statue or robot, able to move about but unaware and in a hypnotic trance. There is no sexual act, no depictions of physical violation. It's pure objectification.

Actually I'm glad you asked me, this, because I was too self conscious to mention it initially, but I can see now that it's an important detail (and I'm sorry I withheld it initially). I think it ties into my issues of having not had success with women, and my own low self image. I often feel judged and I'm naturally passive by nature, and I think that has led me to nurse fantasies where the woman will not judge me... because she cannot judge me. That's why I feel so damned conflicted about it. Because I don't want to be an objectifier of women, because I try to treat everyone with courtesy and respect, yet the feeling is there all the same, and I can't shake these fantasies that absolutely DO objectify women...literally!

Does this answer your question? And am I terrible person?—TVB

In the new "Savage Love" that comes out tomorrow frequent guest expert Jesse Bering, the author of Perv: The Sexual Deviant In All of Us, helps me answer a question from a father who's worried about his son's kink. Bering tells dad to chill out: his son's kinks are done deal and there's nothing dad can do to "cure" his son of his kinks. We talked about where kinks come from—"some people (mostly males) have a genetic predisposition for being 'sexually imprinted' during development"—and Jesse made this point about the role that chance experience and exposure has in the formation of kinks that I had to cut from the column for space:

"These cases demonstrate the role of early experience in shaping our adult carnal desires; before the invention of synthetic rubber, for instance, there were no 'latex fetishists,' and while 'agalmatophiles' (arousal by statues) was apparently quite common in Ancient Rome and Greece, today it's a virtually unheard of type of paraphilia."

So it turns out that agalmatophiles haven't gone extinct—because here you are, TVB!

Rest assured: You are not a terrible person—to the contrary: you come across as thoughtful and conscientious (almost to the point of paralysis)—and you seem to have a good grasp on/rationalization for why this particular fantasy turns you on. Good for you. As for your fear of objectifying women: almost all women enjoy being objectified*. Almost all men enjoy being objectified. Almost all people at other points along the gender spectrum enjoy being objectified. Now here's the "but": no one enjoys being objectified all the time even if most people appreciate being appreciated for their externals now and then. So you shouldn't let your worries about objectifying women stop you from exploring your fantasies. What you should do is find a woman who wants to be objectified by you, one who enjoys the very particular and specific kind of objectification that turns you on (or is happy to explore your kinks to please you), and consensually objectify her at times when she's up for being objectified.

Until that woman comes along, TVB, be a job creator and order up that porn.—Dan

* This sentence will be taken out of context on Tumblr.

 

Comments (41) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
Why is it that a young hetero male types with such perfect usage? No U for You. No 2 for too. All the correct grammar. I thought texting was changing the way people write. Is this "young" male 60?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 18, 2014 at 4:41 PM · Report this
2
For Lent I gave up fretting about being a "bad feminist". I suggest everyone try it.
Posted by wxPDX on March 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM · Report this
3
@1 Because Dan edited it to put all the English back in?
Posted by Action Kate on March 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 4
@1 - These crazy kids today with their outdated spellings and fetishes...
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on March 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
5
@1, I wrote like that for emails when I was younger, too. On a keyboard the individual letters aren't nearly as burdensome (you remember T9, right?).
Posted by Anonymous Cowar2 on March 18, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
6
My one hesitation is that he feels so inept at all encounters with actual unpaid people. If watching his personal video is really easy and fulfilling and always works perfectly, and real life meeting people is stressful and disappointing, it's easy to fall back on just watching the video. Just something to be cautious of, in his particular case.

Also, Dan seems to take fantasy as a checklist of things one wants to do with real partners, which I don't think is accurate. (It's an overlapping Venn diagram, but there are things you would be happy to do with a partner that don't do much for your fantasy life; and things that are fun in a fantasy where you perfectly control every detail while aware this wouldn't translate to real life, like sex on the back of a charging elephant.) This might be a kink that happily fits in the fantasy side (which a porn tape would be) rather than a requirement for matching kink in the girlfriend he'd like to one day have.
Posted by IPJ on March 18, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
7
I would never use Internet/texting abbreviations in emails. I don't even use them when texting. They're terrible and make otherwise intelligent people look ridiculous.
Posted by Jizzlobber on March 18, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
8
I'm not sure that even crosses over into unusual anymore. Uncommon perhaps, but maybe the way things appear on my Tumbr feed is impacting my perception.
Not to mention, good grief, Pygmalion. The fantasy stretches back at least to ancient Greece, and apparently had a major renaissance during the 19th century.
Good luck and go find yourself a steampunk Galatea.
Posted by usagi on March 18, 2014 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 9
Although very uncommon, the LW's kink seems utterly mild and harmless. It also seems like a pretty easy, low-risk gig for a sex worker to fulfill. Problem solved.

Don't make this more difficult than it is.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on March 18, 2014 at 5:53 PM · Report this
originalcinner 10
Maybe the LW is totally illiterate and uses Dragon software to write his emails.

Posted by originalcinner on March 18, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 11
So, the inverse of Mannequin?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on March 18, 2014 at 6:12 PM · Report this
12
Old people never change, always complaining about young folks... Kids can't even use proper grammar without getting scolded for sounding too mature or intelligent.
Posted by hurrdahurr on March 18, 2014 at 6:29 PM · Report this
13
Assuming this guy at least approaches average looking, I would totally go on a date with him. I hope you see this comment TVB b/c even though we will never meet there are lots of women like me out there who will think that your attitude towards women and your fetish are totally hot.
One thing though: you say you're a "young" male and I am guessing that means like college age or even late teens maybe... and unfortunately for you, most women do not start to see the value in well-spoken, interesting and thoughtful men for another 5-10 years.
Don't try to change what you like or run away from it. Just hang in there and work on being platonic friends with women for now. One day somebody is going to really appreciate a guy who was reflective enough to ask this question.
Posted by NomadontheGo on March 18, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
14

Two words: Real Doll.

… & there are places where you can rent them by the hour ...
Posted by Robby on March 18, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
venomlash 15
TVB BE OVERTHINKING THIS SHIT
Posted by venomlash on March 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM · Report this
16
I'm not sure whether to say that he seems to make a halfway decent case for restricting Gender Studies classes to women or that we need a good many more people of his ilk.
Posted by vennominon on March 18, 2014 at 8:58 PM · Report this
seandr 17
Interesting to read Bering's theory on the origin of male fetishes, as I can remember the exact moment my particular little fetish was imprinted on my brain.
Posted by seandr on March 18, 2014 at 9:49 PM · Report this
18
TVB is so cute. If I were straight, I'd probably hit that.
Posted by 101010 on March 18, 2014 at 9:51 PM · Report this
seandr 19
@vennominon: restricting Gender Studies classes to women

No. It's only fair that men and women should suffer Gender Studies classes equally.
Posted by seandr on March 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM · Report this
20
@1 really? You've honestly never met a hetero male under 60 who writes in complete sentences? Where the hell do you live? I'm so tired of the constant millennial-bashing on the internet. We can't be right even when we're right.
Posted by g_l_B_t on March 18, 2014 at 9:59 PM · Report this
21
Where do I sign up to be one of the people who make these custom clips? I'm serious. Being able to satisfy people's unusual but fairly innocuous fetishes (and maybe make a small amount of cash) sounds like fun, and maybe even rewarding!
Posted by Quis on March 18, 2014 at 10:46 PM · Report this
nocutename 22
Thank you, #20.

@seandr: Well now you have to tell all.
Posted by nocutename on March 18, 2014 at 11:04 PM · Report this
nocutename 23
BTW: It's not just men who are imprinted. Some of us women can remember the specific imprinting stimuli very well, too.
Posted by nocutename on March 18, 2014 at 11:07 PM · Report this
24
@23 Totally true.
@20 Word.
Posted by puddles on March 18, 2014 at 11:36 PM · Report this
Absurdist1968 25
Hmm. I thought all agalmatophiles were gay. So much nude male statuary in Europe and such. Shows what I know.
Posted by Absurdist1968 on March 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM · Report this
26
* This sentence will be taken out of context on Tumblr.

And on countless batshit right-wing websites.
Posted by JJinAus on March 19, 2014 at 1:20 AM · Report this
27
Hmm. I'd argue that a lot of the statue fantasy of Ye Olden Times was closer to modern people lusting after a movie star they will never meet: unattainable perfection. The magical fantasy part being that you meet Zoe Saldana on a plane and she's totally into you, paralleling the idea that Zeus brings a statue to life as a real person with free will who returns your adoration.

The living statue stuff is closer to the gods throwing a glamour on someone.
Posted by IPJ on March 19, 2014 at 5:52 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 28
TVB: More interacting with actual humans, less gender-studies classes. The question of more porn or less porn isn't the primary issue here. Get out of the house and go do something with people.
Posted by Eudaemonic on March 19, 2014 at 6:22 AM · Report this
29
Personally, I can't think of a nicer, or easier, fetish to oblige a partner with (assuming not too many hours of standing stock still are involved). Just take your date to see Coppelia and see where it leads.

I know the hard bit for this chap is finding a date in the first place, but if she's anything like me it's going to be awesome after that.
Posted by misspiggy on March 19, 2014 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 30
I feel stupid for missing something that must be obvious, but what the heck is the "burgeoning market for custom clips" and how does that relate to human-statue fantasies?
Posted by Dr_Awesome on March 19, 2014 at 6:39 AM · Report this
31
Dr Sean - But so many women enjoy GS classes, and even thrive in them. I think the expectation with male students is that it takes young men who have never thought much about women's issues at all and educates them in the manner Miss Brodie would approve by leading out of them a natural pro-feminism, but I think that effect is much more often achieved the way Mr McEnroe experienced it, by having a daughter, which immediately brought about a correction in his opposition to Equal Prize Money for Women. I am not serious about this, but I suspect that someone who is could make a fair case that what happens far often after Gender Studies is that male students go one of three ways: become as paralyzed by the personalized political as the LW, become an MRA, or become Dr Schwyzer.
Posted by vennominon on March 19, 2014 at 6:47 AM · Report this
32
If you expand statues to include department store dummies or robots, the kink has never gone away. Just go watch Metropolis or the George Pal's Time Machine. If you want to remember the '80's, google Hajime Sorayama. And that's just off the top of my head. If I were into it more, I could give even more examples.
Posted by BobR on March 19, 2014 at 7:41 AM · Report this
seandr 33
@ven: But so many women enjoy GS classes

True. I was making a joke. However, I do know one woman who took a Women's Studies course and found it to be a complete farce, and I suspect plenty of others would be equally turned off by all the hypersensitivity and victimhood-wallowing that such classes seem to invite, even if they are staunch advocates for equal rights and opportunities.

@Eudamonic: More interacting with actual humans, less gender-studies classes.

I'd add more real humans and less internet. In the real world, the majority of women you encounter won't hate you because you're a man, and those who do will have holed themselves away with covens of like-minded women, only venturing out in the middle of the night when their yogurt supplies run low.
Posted by seandr on March 19, 2014 at 8:15 AM · Report this
seandr 34
@nocutename: Well now you have to tell all.

All I'll say is that it's nothing unusual or weird. In fact, it's something that might be indulged by the random woman walking down the street.
Posted by seandr on March 19, 2014 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 35
In agreement with several comments above that suggested the LW seek out real, live women to get in the habit of dealing with them as human beings - with no strings attached. Otherwise he's allowing his fetish to rule him and keep him in a state of paralysis.

However, he might just be able to satisfy his fetish safely were he to get closer to women who pose in life drawing classes. They're already accustomed to being as still as a statue, but only as a hobby or source of income. Still, they might be intrigued by his interest outside of a classroom environment. But only if he can treat them like real people first.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on March 19, 2014 at 9:15 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 36
@33: I'd add more real humans and less internet.

I agree, though now I'm a little confused about my own brain. Either I see the internet as being basically the same as a gender-studies class, or I don't see this as interacting with real people. I'm gonna go with "both."

@35: I'd add that there's a good chance that once he's gotten enough contact with actual human beings, his fetish will stop seeming so important. It's not guaranteed, but it seems to be a pattern that when you're not getting laid enough, one's brain generates all kind of strange new interests.
Posted by Eudaemonic on March 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
37
I am a hot woman who digs being objectified by men; it's one of my main kinks, in fact. I've been a table, pillow, footstool, and (yes) a statue -- the special jiggling type. :)

Speaking for myself, I'd be happy to engage in some consensual statue play with someone I was seeing, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So hang in there, OP; this kink is fulfillable!
Posted by dianasquiver on March 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM · Report this
38
Totally do it -- I'm a card-carrying woman and that sounds like a great kink to me.
Posted by Moggadeet on March 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
39
I don't think his kink is the problem, I think it's his lack of confidence and inexperience with women (or at least women outside of GS). That's where he really needs help.
Posted by Chase on March 19, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
40
I'm with @13, @18, @37, and @38: Not only is that a harmless kink, it's actually pretty hot, and the LW seems like a really sweet, lovable guy. Get out there, little dude. There is a girl who is going to love the pants off you.
Posted by emmaz on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 41
@17 - Me, too. At least two of my rather benign fetishes.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on March 21, 2014 at 3:34 PM · Report this

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