CW: dentistry scares, childhood trauma, diddling, out-of-body experience with physical pain, consent
“Aegosexuality is defined as a disconnect between oneself and a sexual target object of arousal. This sexuality that is on the asexuality spectrum may involve sexual fantasies or arousal, aegosexuals may perform sexual activities, masturbate in response to porn but they are only a disembodied observer not an active participant in real life.”
(excerpted from Taimi Wiki entry: Aegosexual, which is a good read in general)
When I first read the description for the meaning of Aego-, I identified a lot with it except for the “disconnect” part. After having considered it for a while, I am beginning to realize how true the disconnect part is.
My earliest sensuality-related dream in my youth, maybe around age 6 or 7, was me in the kind of prison like in Shawshank Redemption or the Andy Griffith show, where there are 3 solid walls of a small room, and one wall is bars that slide closed, one person per cell. I was in such a cell to myself, but across the corridor to a cell like mine, facing me, at a girl I liked from school, in the same state– and that image still really pretty accurately describes how it is for me today in general with any subject for arousal, figuratively separated by not only the bars of my cell, but by a corridor and the additional bars of her cell, and there is a world of comfort in that separation.
When I was little, I had a series of really traumatic-to-me experiences of baby teeth that required pulling due to adult teeth coming in at between-teeth positions. In this series of dental visits, I often needed to tell the dentist to stop or that it hurt too much, but couldn’t in some cases because my mouth was kept open due to instruments or when I could talk, the people over me dismissed my concerns as ‘not that bad’ when it really was that bad, and I felt powerless to stop it and that I couldn’t trust any adults anymore because they were going to hurt me regardless of whether I said stop or not.
As a way of adapting to how scary and painful it was, I entered into a kind of state where I could view myself from outside of myself, as if I were watching what was happening and disconnected from the feeling, but I could still see the pain as a kind of red blob of color that that acted as a kind of visual meter which got brighter as it hurt more, and I could just watch the blob instead of feeling it directly, but could still feel it in kind of a vague way. That watching-from-the-exterior is that “disconnect” I realize now.
It might be worth noting on my method of diddling; I use a very soft cloth with no liquids involved. I am grossed out by touching fluids except when drinking, and immediately want to dry myself of anything fluid touching me. I can suspend the gross out to take a shower, or if I spill something on me and can’t remedy it, so using some kind of fluid to diddle would be moment-shattering. For that reason also, I also don’t want to participate in anything IRL because it would require a fluid interaction as I understand it. I am able to not encounter any fluids on release also, by a tissue catching system I’ve devised over the years that results in zero touching of any moisture, most of the time. In a sense, my diddling is also disconnected, in that I don’t skin-to-skin contact even myself in the process.
If I am ever reading a story that gets my motor running, or watching a scene that appeals to the prurient, or thinking of an idea — I am outside of it, like a floating viewpoint, and any sensations I feel with my own movements, is like that blob of color that can be seen in the periphery. I am not part of the scene taking place directly, but I can just emotionally-feel the scene for its charge, rather than imagining myself being a participant. I don’t want to be a participant, because that would break the special combination helps me get there, and I don’t want to even try getting there in person, partly because of interpersonal engagement itself is a level of awkwardness that would also break me out of it.
I am also super preoccupied with consent, because as far as the dentist’s perspective was, he had all the consent necessary and could ignore consent from me because my parents had signed off on it, plus from his perspective it would have been just another day on the job, doing nothing wrong and under the premise of actually helping me. I have a lot of trouble detecting honesty from people in general and take everything said with a grain of salt as potentially not being true later on (especially if not understanding an idiomatic phrase I’ve not encountered) if they change their mind, so even if someone were to express consent to me I would have trouble believing it, and I think acting on a doubt of consent is a terrible idea.
I have read that some people, in a moment of arousal, experience a kind of ‘drive to complete the action’ which takes over and regard for consent becomes less important, and I don’t want to risk experiencing that from the both angle of the drive-haver, or the recipient of it, so I just flat out refuse consent across the board from anyone, and only feel safe experiencing those sensations when exclusively alone, so a story to read, or a scene to watch, or an idea to ponder, is the only stims I have to work with.
The idea of a mechanical action on my part, like pushing into or vacating, as part of an interaction on my part when experiencing a diddling sensation, is not connected to the scene or the narrative, but is instead a vague sensation-metric that is either “intense or less intense.” Consider how, if you encounter an endearing or very emotionally intense scene in a movie, you may feel the need to cry in response. The crying itself, doesn’t function somehow into the scene, as if your tears were somehow dropping onto the people, or that emotion in general impacts/affects the characters involved, but is a response from you, yourself, uniquely an independently from the characters you’re watching. You’re not standing amidst them; you’re crying of your own personal response completely separate from them. Likewise, the intensity of my state toward completion doesn’t involve imagining some mechanical function of me being present among the actors in the scene of interest, or as being a character in the story, but just as an independent party disconnected from what is happening there experiencing my own reaction separately.
Think about how a person can really enjoy a police chase on the news, as the helicopter flies overheard watching the action, but not ever wanting to actually be in a real car chase. The onlooker doesn’t have to worry about a kid running out to fetch his ball that rolled into the road, or potential for a crash with a bus going on a field trip, or the wind dynamics, or the gas gauge, or the speed governor, or the escape avenues if it comes down to being on foot, or how far away the state line is, etc.
Think about perhaps someone who likes car racing, but is content to just sit in an arcade machine and race digital cars at best, but not be involved in a real car race because of the insurmountable number of variables like safety, preparation, smells, claustrophobia of potentially being trapped in a wreck, etc. The arcade version isn’t experiencing the g-forces of moving side to side when the car turns, the wind or debris possibly blinding your vision, the gas gauge or oil pressure or extra weight concerns of a real vehicle, etc.
Maybe think of someone who snuggles a teddy bear or stuffies, who needs not be concerned with social dynamics of a kiss or a hug, or whether mashing your face into their face is something they prefer or don’t prefer, nor are tasked with the anatomical upkeep of the creature like food, water, sleep, bedding, temperate preferences, etc, disconnected from all of the elements required in a more authentic experience.
Likewise, I am not interested in a real intimate interaction either; the interpersonal dynamics, the negotiating, the idea of consent being reliable, the logistics of when and where, being able to escape quickly or shut down if the senses become overwhelmed — all play into how resoundingly uninterested I am in participating in the real thing. The diddle does not function for me as “something I can do for now until I can get the real thing later” nor “something I can do to practice for when I get to do the real thing” but is instead more of a number 3, that is a personal hygiene response to a buildup in the sense of 1 or 2, that once it’s done, it’s a relief and thankful it is over now, and I can go on with what other tasks are available.