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Post 0

Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 3:51amSanction this postReply
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Paul, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Are you still with SG?

Post 1

Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 12:46amSanction this postReply
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Wonderful. Once again proving the point that it is one's Sense of Life that matters, above all else.

Post 2

Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 12:15pmSanction this postReply
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Would that sexual connection were so simple and natural as you portray it with SG. Unfortunately, for most people, sex has implications far beyond "do you find me attractive?" Other questions, such as "Do I trust you?" and "Will I get too attached to you and wind up being hurt?" seem to come with every relationship. I suppose you could say, though, that the ability to enjoy sex is a pretty good guide to whether you're happy or not.

Post 3

Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 12:55pmSanction this postReply
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I'm getting a little frustrated with this site, & to an extent with Objectivism as a whole, because of the sheer sexiness or sex-obsession that they reveal. I'm one of many for whom there is no honourable, even socially acceptable, context for sexual relations. I'd like to see some exploration of the idea of a life lived up to Objectivist ideals but without a romantic or sexual partner - an Objectivism where sex isn't one of the "highest values".

Post 4

Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 2:50pmSanction this postReply
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>> I'm one of many for whom there is no honourable, even socially acceptable, context for sexual relations.

Er, why?

>> I'd like to see some exploration of the idea of a life lived up to Objectivist ideals but without a romantic or sexual partner - an Objectivism where sex isn't one of the "highest values".

Why???

Post 5

Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 2:55pmSanction this postReply
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Charles, part of Objectivism involves appreciating the good things in life. Sex with a partner one loves and respects is one of those good things. While I can understand not having an honorable means to find gratification, what does Objectivism have to do with being "socially acceptable"?

Post 6

Friday, June 13, 2003 - 12:27pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you all for your opinions and comments. As to Matt Graybosh's inquiry as to whether SG and I are still together, the answer is no. If we were still together, you would have met her at the recent NY SOLO get together. SG dumped me about a year later when she met someone in school who she liked better. Now for some interesting coincidences. My late wife of 24 years Sandra, not only shared the initials SG with my former girlfriend but also had the same last name. Both had brothers named Michael. The man who MP married had a younger sister who went into the medical profession and in about 15 years after I broke up with her, became my son's pediatrician. Paul M. Kay

Post 7

Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 3:16amSanction this postReply
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Paul a question occurs to me, which I hope is not intrusive, what were the qualities of your late wife that kept you together for 24 years that SG did not have?

On the subject of relationships, it is my observation that sexual attraction alone is not sufficient to maintain a relationship.

Post 8

Monday, June 16, 2003 - 7:48amSanction this postReply
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Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face! Sex with someone you love and admire is a reward...how can that NOT be an high value? Unless, of course, the whole idea of romantic love has nothing to do with our happy existence here on earth.

"I'm getting a little frustrated with this site, & to an extent with Objectivism as a whole, because of the sheer sexiness or sex-obsession that they reveal. I'm one of many for whom there is no honourable, even socially acceptable, context for sexual relations. I'd like to see some exploration of the idea of a life lived up to Objectivist ideals but without a romantic or sexual partner - an Objectivism where sex isn't one of the "highest values"."

Post 9

Monday, June 16, 2003 - 4:39pmSanction this postReply
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Some explanation for my critics.

I’m a married celibate with children. Before I met my wife and married her, I’d been an unmarried celibate.

My historic issues have been personal ugliness, a poor physique and social ineptitude. The last of these may stem from a ban on socializing imposed on me by immigrant parents who felt that young people doing things on their own, and the Pop Culture that seemed to accompany this, were not what the England that they had come to was about. (My father thought Britain a country where ‘serious’ people more or less arranged marriages between their children. Romantic love was a luxury indulged in by silly youngsters who had too much money and felt no threat from the world’s sliding into Communism, instead of being ‘clever’ and ‘practical’ by seeking parental help in finding a person of the right ‘background’.)

I had no relatives and my father let me make no friends who could have given me pointers towards overcoming my social and philosophical isolation and ignorance. Contacts with other students at my university had been subject to my father’s disapproval until his death in my final year there - dating was out of the question. However, after he died, I met a fellow student who was to become my wife.

Just before getting married and for four years or so after, my wife and I did have sex. When my wife had had the children that she’d wanted, she more or less decided that we’d be celibate again - at least, she finds it incredible and ridiculous that at my age, nearly 46 (she's 43), I have any interest in being any other way.

My wife and I are far apart intellectually - she tends towards traditionalist conservatism (combined with a kind of Irish-mothers’-sisterhood feminism), and makes a point of never reading anything that I read or recommend. For my part, now ten or so years ago, I discovered Objectivism.

According to Barbara Branden, Ayn Rand rejected people in her circle whose psycho-epistemology betrayed any trace of a non-objective sense of life - even one belonging to their past, one which they had made real efforts to shake off. Yet, by this canon, Objectivism can only ever be a rallying-point for the bright and beautiful - people who either already had forged a life-enhancing philosophy of values of their own, one very like Objectivism, or had found in Objectivism an answer to inconsistencies between their naturally self-assertive lives and a prevailing morality that seemed to decry them.

What Objectivism can never be, by this canon, is therapy. Yet therapy is exactly what it has been for me. It makes me put the fatal question ‘Why?’ to all the acts of self-sacrifice that people used to present to me as a matter of course. It has removed all the resignation that I used to feel about things - and turned me from someone always sad but friendly into someone angry with those who trapped me in the restrictive environment that I’m still in today.

Yet I lack intellectual tools for springing the real trap. Here in England, denial of sex is grounds for divorce only if constituting desertion. If I took this line and divorced my wife, I know that she hasn’t worked full-time for years and concede that it would cause her real suffering to try to find such work now. (Return to her old profession, teaching, might entail work in a dead-end ‘sink’ school - most traumatic for her in the past.) She has no pension plan. I’d be leaving her on the scrapheap.

We have wonderful daughters of 15 and 11, both very successful academically (I set most of my disposable income aside for their $2000-a-month private day school). I’m on the best possible terms with both of them.

I fear not only that my wife, if I divorced her, would prevent my access to our girls (there are firm legal precedents allowing this), but also that the effect of divorce on them would be quite bad. A recent report from the national marriage conciliation service concludes that parents’ divorce is traumatic even for middle-aged offspring, long married and parents themselves!

And for what would I be getting divorced? Here in a media organization where I do technical support, nothing more ‘pathetic’ could exist to jeer at than a middle-aged geezer like me - ugly, flabby, unsporting and ignorant of What’s Cool to boot - seeking love or sexual relations with anybody. My twenty-something colleagues are surprised that an ‘old man’ like me ever ‘fancies’ a woman that he sees, in real life or the media, and would even think of getting divorced over ‘not getting any’ with his wife - after all, ‘They can’t have done it for years anyway, can they?’

I can’t see the ladies exactly waiting in line for me - can you?

Now, perhaps, you will understand why I seek advice on a sex-free Objectivism. I can visualize a return to my ambition at age six of being a television director. (For my father, it would have been much too much like that lowest form of life, the journalist.) More, I think of my student hope of re-establishing Linguistics as it used to be before Chomsky and his cadres destroyed it, and as it really should be - the still-elusive theory of objective language-description.

A great armchair traveller, I’m not a real one - yet. I’ve also written music, settings of Greco-Roman poetry in an attempt at ancient Greek style. I’d love to return to playing violin, and I’d love to learn to draw and paint. I’d love to write novels, too. I may have some great film scripts in me, maybe some great directing… Please understand, therefore, that I have ideas about what to do with my life that do NOT involve sex. I feel that my ideals are quite compatible with Objectivism, so long as Objectivists admit that an Objectivist’s life doesn’t have to include raunchy physical stuff with another person.

Post 10

Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:02amSanction this postReply
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Charles - you don't *have* to justify your choice to anyone here. Go for it! At the same time, realise that most Objectivists are greedy for the "raunchy, physical stuff." Live with it! :-)

Linz

Post 11

Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:00pmSanction this postReply
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Charles - as Linz said, you can do what's best for you! You can in theory be a celibate objectivist I guess. But I'm not sure what your frustration is with others talking about sex. You don't have to own art or music, but that doesn't make it inappropriate for discussions on the site. I don't even get a sense from your post that you have anything against sex, just that you choose not to take a leap and look for a situation where you might have it.

What you might get is understanding for your situation, and encouragement to do what's best for you. What you won't see is objectism changing to conform to your lifestyle. I won't even tell you that I agree with what you're doing! If you're overweight, lose weight. If you're unhappy, find your life. Trust me, your kids would recover from a divorce. (the not seeing them might be harder, but I imagine they're old enough to see you if they want?)

Also, I work with plenty of 50 year olds who right now are going through divorces and having the time of their life dating after 25 years again! So it can be done. What you choose to do is up to you, but don't look for everyone to agree with your choices and say they're all right. I heard you say often that others think this or that, I never really heard you say "this is what I want and I'm going to go for it..." So decide what that is, and make it your choice, not a situation based on outside circumstances.

-Elizabeth

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Post 12

Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 2:45pmSanction this postReply
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Linz is right, Charlie; you don't have to justify your choices to anybody here. But for Hell's sake, man, take a look at the choices you're making.

My historic issues have been personal ugliness, a poor physique and social ineptitude.


Have you chosen to repair these faults, or have you chosen, by default, to remain as you are? I'm not too handsome either (look at my photo on the Spirit page for evidence), and my physique leaves a bit to be desired, but I'm not letting either of these things hold me back. You can improve your physique by means of diet and exercise, though it's hard work, and even the Phantom of the Opera can look half-way decent with the right clothes.

Just before getting married and for four years or so after, my wife and I did have sex. When my wife had had the children that she’d wanted, she more or less decided that we’d be celibate again - at least, she finds it incredible and ridiculous that at my age, nearly 46 (she's 43), I have any interest in being any other way.


This bitch you call "your wife" used you to sire her children and to provide for her. You owe her NOTHING. She finds it "incredible" that at 46 you've retained your sexuality? I guess she's never head of Hugh Hefner. And Bob Dole, who's in his 70s, pitches Viagra here in the States.

My wife and I are far apart intellectually - she tends towards traditionalist conservatism (combined with a kind of Irish-mothers’-sisterhood feminism), and makes a point of never reading anything that I read or recommend. For my part, now ten or so years ago, I discovered Objectivism.


And you're willing to put up with this sad excuse for a woman until somebody buries you? You're almost 50. Get busy living or get busy dying.

According to Barbara Branden, Ayn Rand rejected people in her circle whose psycho-epistemology betrayed any trace of a non-objective sense of life - even one belonging to their past, one which they had made real efforts to shake off.


Ayn Rand also disapproved of homosexuals, and she wasn't too fond of rock 'n roll, either. Rand was human, and made mistakes. You're probably not the only person for whom Objectivism has been therapeutic. Nathaniel Branden's built a pretty successful practice using Objectivist-influenced methods, as a matter of fact.

It has removed all the resignation that I used to feel about things - and turned me from someone always sad but friendly into someone angry with those who trapped me in the restrictive environment that I’m still in today.


Good! You've got a hell of a lot to be angry about. Take that rage and use it to break free.

Yet I lack intellectual tools for springing the real trap. Here in England, denial of sex is grounds for divorce only if constituting desertion. If I took this line and divorced my wife, I know that she hasn’t worked full-time for years and concede that it would cause her real suffering to try to find such work now. (Return to her old profession, teaching, might entail work in a dead-end ‘sink’ school - most traumatic for her in the past.) She has no pension plan. I’d be leaving her on the scrapheap.


To start with, that bitch belongs on the scrap heap. She's been using you ever since you made the mistake of saying "I do", but she has no right to continue using you. You concern yourself with her suffering, but what about yours? She has deserted you; she used you to sire her children as if you were a stallion used for stud purposes, and now that she got what she wanted she leaves you untouched -- no sex, no physical contact, no affection.

I'd divorce such a woman in a heartbeat. I'd let her keep everything, do everything in my power to avoid alimony, and get the hell out of there.

I fear not only that my wife, if I divorced her, would prevent my access to our girls (there are firm legal precedents allowing this), but also that the effect of divorce on them would be quite bad. A recent report from the national marriage conciliation service concludes that parents’ divorce is traumatic even for middle-aged offspring, long married and parents themselves!


If your wife would use your children as weapons against you, then wait until they're both 18 and divorce the bitch then. But don't spring it on her then. Instead, tell her right now that as soon as your youngest daughter is 18 you intend to end this sham of a marriage, that your life is your own and you mean to LIVE IT!

Use that time to improve your physique and lose whatever weight is troubling you. I hear that prostitution's legal in London; take advantage of it if it's true and buy what you need. Put capitalist principles into practice.

And for what would I be getting divorced? Here in a media organization where I do technical support, nothing more ‘pathetic’ could exist to jeer at than a middle-aged geezer like me - ugly, flabby, unsporting and ignorant of What’s Cool to boot - seeking love or sexual relations with anybody.


Jesus H. Christ on a Harley-Davidson. You sound like me when I was in college. "Who'd want to date a pudgy, uncoordinated computer geek with no fashion sense and no idea how to even pretend to be hip". LET THE ASSHOLES JEER! Are you going to waste what time remains to you worrying about what the poor fucking humans you work with might say about your personal life? FUCK THEM ALL!

My twenty-something colleagues are surprised that an ‘old man’ like me ever ‘fancies’ a woman that he sees, in real life or the media, and would even think of getting divorced over ‘not getting any’ with his wife - after all, ‘They can’t have done it for years anyway, can they?’


And why, having been an Objectivist for ten years, do you give so much as a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut about what these ignorant lads think? Are you going to live your own life, or are you just going to give up because some snotnose just out of Uni thinks that middle-aged men shouldn't improve themselves, take their lives in their own hands, and fulfill all of their needs?

Please understand, therefore, that I have ideas about what to do with my life that do NOT involve sex. I feel that my ideals are quite compatible with Objectivism, so long as Objectivists admit that an Objectivist’s life doesn’t have to include raunchy physical stuff with another person.


Hey, do you think any of the rest of us think about raunchy physical stuff all the time? No, but it is fun, and it is pleasurable, and the desire for sex, for physical connection with somebody you love and respect is not a sin but something to cherish.

Do you want to be Hank Rearden before he loved Dagny for the rest of your life, Charles?

While you don't have to justify your choices, I personally think that Objectivism without sex is like Christianity without prayer. By trying to downplay your sexuality you are denying part of your nature. By denying the needs of the flesh you are trapping yourself in a mind/body dichotomy. Give it some thought.

Post 13

Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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Mark Vendelbosch wanted to know what were the qualities that my late wife Sandra had that kept us together for 24 years that SG did not have. In my previous post I mentioned that SG dumped me for another guy, somone she found to be more to her liking. Thus, it was not a lack of qualities in SG that split us up, but the fact that I lacked the qualities that SG liked. I proposed marriage to SG at least twice, but each time the answer was, "I'll have to think about it". While she was "thinking about it", she dumped me for the other guy. Sandra, on the other hand, said "Yes". Now as to what kept us together for 24 years- our marriage was not always smooth sailing. In fact, in the early days Sandra frequently engaged in extremely self defeating behavior that took an excessive toll on our happiness. I alleviated some of this with Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, a form of Cognitive Therapy which I used to lessen the pain I experienced when I lost SG. Since I am an atheist, a secular humanist and an Objectivist, I've read many essays on various websites, in books, and in magazines stressing the fact that since there is no life afer death, we have to make the most of our life on earth. I began to view each moment with Sandra as infinately precious. Whenever we went out, I pretended that I was courting her for the very first time. Each time was not "the same old thing", but something fresh and new. I pushed her faults into the background and instead emphasized and concentrated on her good qualities instead.

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Post 14

Friday, May 18, 2012 - 7:36pmSanction this postReply
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Hell, this article may be nine years old, but I absolutely love Matthew's post 12.

I hope Charles found it valuable.

Post 15

Sunday, November 19 - 3:02amSanction this postReply
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I am sure the combination of bastardy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) played a huge historic role in social mores against sexual desire.

 

That said, I treat sex like I treat jumping from a perfectly good airplane.  If you know what you are doing, it can be a hell of a lot of fun with minimal risk.  If you do not know what you are doing, you are in big trouble instantly.

 

Getting oneself fully educated and prepared for these matters well before the fact remains a profoundly sacred personal responsibility.

 

It helps to stay stone cold sober, too.



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