OS is a weird thing, I’ll admit. Weird in that it clashes with everything the dominant culture says we should be doing.
The dominant culture says that humans come first. (Except when they don’t.)
The dominant culture says that we should be fucking people, not objects. (Except when people are the objects.)
The dominant culture says that things are disposable, and that shopping for new things to replace the old is one of life’s greatest joys.
The dominant culture says that objects don’t have feelings, and those of us who feel that they do are sockpuppeting or mentally ill – it has no ontology for accepting us on our terms.
That’s fine, because I know what I’m about, son.
And you can write me off as a quaint novelty who’s “not hurting anyone”, or as a basketcase that can’t handle real relationships even though I’ve been married for over 5 years, but there’s something as real and vital here as any other relationship, and the nature of our disparate existences only makes it that much more profound.
I can’t get over how at home I feel with him. How easy it is for me to fall asleep in the back seat, even though it takes me forever to doze even in my own bed. I get in and it’s like a hug: a little restrictive, but soft, warm, and soothing. I want to spend every lazy afternoon with him; watching clouds, reading, having lunch.
I can’t get over how stereotypically our relationship has thus far developed. The spontaneous blind date that went suspiciously well; the early rockiness of two beings getting to know each other; the ups, the downs, and finally, one tiny moment – I was trying to fix his dome light – where something clicked, the air in the cabin changed, and I knew we were happy with each other. We were official.
I can’t get over how complete I feel, having this opportunity to be with the machine of my dreams. A lot of the disquiet underpinning my previous sexual searching, the experiments with another human partner, the fundamental unrequitedness of being both a macrophile and mechanophile, has all but vanished in the face of this wonderful new object in my life. I haven’t had much in the way of kink cravings since I got him, and I feel so even-keel now. I had no idea that dating a machine would be so good for me.
Hutch isn’t a thing to be used up and tossed aside. I want to wake up in the morning and look out my window at him 20 years from now. I’ll rebuild his engine if I have to; weld new steel onto his frame when it pits from rust; pry differentials and transmissions from long-abandoned XJs at junkyards when his start to show their age. I’ll give him a funeral when it’s time for him to go.
There’s someone in there, I promise you. That someone ain’t human, ain’t ever was human, ain’t ever be human, but he’s a someone nonetheless. And he speaks in his own language, tells his own kind of jokes, smiles his own kind of smile.
To put it cheaply: if being objectum sexual is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
So about a month ago I met a guy.
His name is Hutch: he’s white, 5’6″, 21 years old… and about 4000 pounds.
Did I mention that Hutch is a car?
His sightlines, the feel of his seats, his steering wheel in my hands, the rumble of his inline six engine, those distinctive seven slats on his broad and angled grille.
I’ll save you the story of how we met, but things are going great so far and I hope we have many years ahead of us. I feel legitimately poly right now, and even my husband says my excitement is adorable. (He knows I’m OS.)
I don’t have much else to say about this. I’m just ridiculously happy. Trying to avoid the L-word, knowing that it’s just new relationship excitement; but I’m committed long-term, and he likes me a lot. Here’s to hoping for the best!
Oh and I may get him some flowers this week…
I’ve really been exploring my objectum sexuality over the past year, and it’s gotten to the point where I really feel that it’s something I can claim as a genuine second sexual orientation now. Not going to come out to any family about it, obviously, but I’m settling into the idea of technically being “bisexual”, and it… feels good. It feels good to know what I want from my intimate relationships.
And what I want is to be in a poly relationship with my husband and a car. That would be like… a dream come true. (I need a car first, though. The specific sort of car I’m attracted to. And to make sure the car likes me back. But you get the idea.)
At any rate, I started a thread on AVEN about it, if anyone is interested: http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/147089-ask-an-objectum-sexual/
So this blog really isn’t serving me anymore – I just sort of blab about my own deal, which doesn’t really help me so much these days, and I have so few readers that it probably isn’t helping many other people either.
Basically I’ve just moved on from the Tumblr mindset of, well… I’m sure you guys know what I mean. I’m a gender nihilist (which, according to SJWs, puts me on par with fascists and transphobes), I don’t experience dysphoria hardly anymore if at all since the surgery, and my sexuality is so unpredictable that I’ve stopped trying to analyze it because I’d rather be living my life instead of navel-gaze and pontificate and label (or mislabel) myself.
A couple days ago I bought sizekink.com, and that’s where I plan on putting all my kinky fetish stuff from now on. At this point in my life, writing stories is a better use of my time than keeping a public diary. I’m also going to start trying to monetize my niche brand of smut and erotica via Patreon or ebooks or whatever, and it’s just better to keep it all under one roof anyway. So that’s what’s going on in the world of my macrophilia and BDSM inclinations.
So this blog is gonna stop updating. I’ll probably go and mass-delete a bunch of entries too – ones that have no comments or pingbacks or that I think won’t be really useful to somebody at some point.
The idea that the human body, if left to its own devices, undergoes a single puberty is an oversimplistic explanation, or an outright lie. Trans people who take hormones can sometimes be said to undergo a second puberty, depending on their dosage. But I think puberty, as a concept and a physiological phenomenon, is just as nuanced and unique to every individual as “biological sex” itself – a Frankensteinian construct cobbled together from a constellation of chromosomes, hormone profiles, genital appearance, among other things.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve undergone three different puberties over the course of my life – maybe four, depending.
The first was what most people would recognize as the puberty. I started getting periods, growing body hair, gaining weight around my hips and chest, and grew a few inches. I started being drawn to material I understood to be sexual (whether anyone else agreed with me or not is a whole different ballgame), and started developing what I now know to be a very kinked sexuality. I began to understand myself as a potential target for the sexuality of others, too. That was when I was about 11-12.
My second puberty happened when – ugh – I saw the 2007 Transformers movie. It opened some kind of floodgate in me, flipped a switch, however you want to describe it. Either way, it changed (ruined?) me forever. I suddenly had a completely new, completely unprecedented direction welded onto my already nebulous grasp of sexual orientation. Out of the blue, giant robots that turned into vehicles were now officially fair game. It was like seeing a new color for the first time.
I was talking about this with my husband the other day – the urban legend, “ghost story” aspect of Transformers mythology that nobody hardly ever explores in the franchise. That feeling I got when walking out of the theater after that movie and looking around at the cars parked in the parking lot or driving in the street, this feeling of they could be alive! For years after that I couldn’t shake the feeling that cars parked along the street might be looking at me as I walked past them, or that I had to be on my best behavior when sitting in one because it was courteous to the car, and not necessarily the owner. Sometimes I’d see the same car being driven around my college neighborhood in midtown Manhattan – a four-door Jeep Wrangler being one of them – and I’d wind up with a spring in my step as I straightened up and looked my best as though there was somebody there to impress.
I don’t really do that anymore – and this is honestly something that I’ve never told anyone in my life – but I do still get crushes on cars (…Jeeps in general and green Wranglers in particular), and lately, with my current comic work, WW2 aircraft. I always thought that the Jeep thing was because my favorite character, my “uberfuck”, as a friend calls him, turns into a Jeep, but the airplane thing is new. This is all just at looking at photo reference, reading specs, studying their interiors and gear and crew. Not in a million years could I imagine myself saying, “yeah, nightfighters are kinda hot”. Those floodgates that that stupid franchise rent open? To mix my idioms, there’s no putting that genie back in that bottle. This is going to be with me for life. Thank god I can’t afford to own a Jeep and have no love for modern car culture whatsoever – otherwise I’d have to really start calling myself poly.
I was 18 when that movie came out.
My last puberty happened over the course of 2015, after my hysterectomy. I went off birth control at the same time, too, and was expecting to get my libido roaring back like I’d done almost every month up until I was 19 and went on the pill for medical reasons. And it did, though not right away. Hysterectomies fuck with your hormones, even though the uterus isn’t exactly part of the endocrine system, and it can take months to get back to normal. Which it did for me, but I was also going back to a pre-pill normal – that is, raging with testosterone and adrenaline until I ran myself ragged. So come back it did, and my first few months of dealing with it were really intense. I was rabidly hypersexual – and this is where the open-marriage arrangement for me came in – but it came in waves like it always did. A week of being “on”, and several of being almost completely “off”, and so on. But I’ve noticed that, like a pendulum, each pass is getting shorter and less intense, and now, over a year post-op, my days of being “on” feel less dysfunctional. I don’t know if this is because I’m getting better at curbing myself (because it’s easy to let it sort of spiral out of control, especially where adrenaline is concerned) or if it’s because my hormones are finding equilibrium, or a combination of both. But last year, I feel, was a kind of puberty. That’s another genie that’s not going back into its bottle – that uterus is not coming back.
I was on the cusp of 26 when I had my surgery.
The other puberty that may or may not be considered as such, is a similar such moment as the one I had at 18 – that is, I was imprinted with an orientation suddenly and by chance. I was probably 5 or 6, and that’s when I became fascinated by size difference thanks in no small part to television. (But you’ve heard that story already.) But this, and I guess by the later imprinting experience too, depends on whether sexual “awakenings”, or imprintings, really might count as part of puberty. I don’t know, and there’s so little research done on what prompts someone to develop one sexual orientation over another that I’m not even going to bother with conjecture beyond what I can extrapolate from anecdote. (Not to mention that such research would be very difficult to structure in an ethical way, so I’m actually kind of glad that science is staying out of our heads.)
To end, here’s Wikipedia’s explanation of puberty for reference, with the essentialist crap removed:
Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction to enable fertilization. It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads[…]. In response to the signals, the gonads produce hormones that stimulate libido and the growth, function, and transformation of the brain, bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, breasts, and sex organs. Physical growth—height and weight—accelerates in the first half of puberty and is completed when an adult body has been developed.
Notable among the morphologic changes in size, shape, composition, and functioning of the pubertal body, is the development of secondary sex characteristics, the “filling in” of the child’s body[…]. Derived from the Latin puberatum (age of maturity), the word puberty describes the physical changes to sexual maturation, not the psychosocial and cultural maturation denoted by the term adolescent development in Western culture, wherein adolescence is the period of mental transition from childhood to adulthood, which overlaps much of the body’s period of puberty.
I like the connotation of ‘puberatum’.
Macrophilia 200 Series
- Giants in Popular Media
- Female Socialization, Male Gaze, and Paraphilia
- Asexuality, Paraphilia, and Identity
- On “Reverse Pedophilia”, GT vs SW, and Other Tangents
204: Asexuality, Paraphilia, and Identity
The intersection of asexuality and paraphilia is a tricky one, and they’re not things that most folks, aces and paraphiles alike, can even imagine come close to intersecting. It’s a difficult to explain, there’s been no organized effort to discuss the subject among other aces, let alone any academic inquiry (despite a strong tradition of studying us like animals within sexual psychology and the related fields).
This is going to be my official proposal for the introduction of paraphilic attraction to the attractions model as most commonly understood among GSRM circles.
WHY: This isn’t relevant to just me, or to just aces. Many fetishists (of the banal and inoffensive variety) are strongly attracted to traits, actions, scenarios, objects, and sensations that are otherwise inexplicable and cannot easily be reduced to a simple preference in aesthetics, just as gender cannot easily be reduced to the ownership of/desire to have certain body parts. It is informed by romantic, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, sexual and sensual orientations, but is not them. It’s another piece to the puzzle that I feel the current model lacks and which proved to be a hurdle over the course of my own self-discovery. I imagine that introducing this term might help others who struggle with their conception of and relationship with intimacy, sexuality, and/or asexuality because of incongruities with their own lived experience with the accepted definitions.
HOW paraphilic attraction works: To speak in terms of fire-fighting, an attraction can be both an accelerant or a fuel, depending on how they mix with the others. Paraphilic attraction functions in the same way. A foot fetishist experiences paraphilic attraction to an object, which may or may not also mean sexual attraction. A physical masochist is primarily attracted to the sensation of pain, with less importance given to who is inflicting it, and may or may not be sexually stimulating to them on its own. But they are also usually capable of augmenting other kinds of relationships and orientations. Someone who enjoys seeing people wearing latex will probably be even more fulfilled if their partner (someone who they experience other kinds of attractions toward) is interested in wearing it. Someone who enjoys orgasms will enjoy them all the more if the orgasm is achieved with the inclusion of their fetish focus. Aaand so on.
A FETISH FOR SEX?
This is an idea that I saw get alluded to on a few occasions back when I still made use of the AVEN forums: having a fetish for the sex act itself. As in, the sensations aren’t pleasurable enough on their own to merit pursuing, you don’t experience sexual attraction, but you’re still having sex for more than just pleasing your partner. It’s still enjoyable in a both cerebral and primal sort of way despite the feeling of being disinterested in the actions being performed in and of themselves.
A lot of aces still watch, read, write, and draw porn. According to an AVEN poll, ~53% of aces still watch porn at least sometimes. And according to this poll, ~30% of aces who have and enjoy sex like it for reasons that don’t include pleasure or partner satisfaction. (The “other” option for question #8 might be inflated because the poll was unclear, however.)
I think I can say that I’ve got a sex fetish. I don’t have sex just because my husband wants to. I don’t have it because a libidinous itch needs to be scratched. (Not the world’s biggest fan of orgasms; I can take em or leave em for the most part.) Sex is fun, and I’m drawn to it for reasons that are mostly as inexplicable as my attraction to dudes of impossible proportions. It’s a completely cerebral relationship that I have with it, and like with everything else about the way I do intimacy, it probably comes down to abstracted and symbolic violence for me – mememto mori – and reinforcing feelings of ownership. It can be appealing along other axes of attraction as well; aesthetic, romantic, whatever.
It’s probably useful for me to define “sex” here also, since it’s so… meaningless in discussions like these. And especially since I don’t believe that sex is even remotely the only way for bodies to engage in physical intimacy of the ecstatic variety. So I guess in this context, “sex” is going to refer to oral, anal, or vaginal penetration and/or actions that result in erotic pleasure that are at least intended to build toward orgasm. That’s not exactly the definition that I use in my own personal relations, but it’s useful enough I think.
PARAPHILIA WITHOUT LIBIDO
Do you feel the urge to masturbate whenever you see someone pretty walk down the street? When you get a hug from a friend? When your crush tells you about their day? No? Well, if those kinds of attractions can exist independently from sex drive, then so can paraphilic attraction. Not all pleasure is erotic pleasure – things can be pleasurable to the touch, to the ears, to the tastebuds, and even to the brain. Wikipedia describes pleasure like so:
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment,ecstasy, and euphoria. The early psychological account of pleasure, the pleasure principle, describes it as a positive feedback mechanism, motivating the organism to recreate in the future the situation which it has just found pleasurable and to avoid situations that have caused pain in the past.
Duh, right? Of course, laid out like that it’s obvious – yet how often in our casual interactions do we equate all forms of pleasure with sex and eroticism? The Asexuals Involved in BDSM blog has recently wrapped up a week of guest posts about what being ace and/or non-libidinous is like, and I highly recommend it for folks having a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that paraphilia does not preclude libido or sexuality.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS ALL HAVE TO DO WITH MACROPHILIA
Well, it should come as no surprise to you, having read all of the essay up until now, that the fantasy of being in the presence of giants or tiny people need not be sexual in order to be thrilling in a deeply-felt way. Just as children can form obsessions that end up becoming foundational to their identity as developing human beings, sometimes these obsessions carry over into adulthood and continue to produce that same awe-inspired fascination. Being exposed to the focus of the paraphilia produces a knee-jerk reaction the same as being addressed by name.
Which brings me to…
PARAPHILIA AS IDENTITY
If concepts like “homemaker” or “bread-winner” or “husband” or “wife” are sources of very real identity for people who participate in the wider Western overculture, then concepts like “giant” and “tiny” accomplish the very same for those of us within the comparatively small, sub- sub- sub-culture of macrophilia.
To use myself as an example, imprinting happened around 5 or 6 years of age: I caught a vintage Disney short, The Brave Little Tailor, on TV, and unknown to me, a switch went off. Movies like Thumbelina and Fern Gully fast become favorites, but the identity forming in my psyche didn’t become apparent until I started having major growth spurts. Being able to reach things on high shelves seemed distantly unsettling; I felt a sense of loss when my parents and other family members couldn’t pick me up anymore; rooms and furniture I once remembered as being enormous eventually grew smaller and plainer; and as soon as I started to outgrow my twin bed, I knew I’d lost something very important to me and was never going to get it back, even though I didn’t really know what that something was.
For me, approaching puberty didn’t just mean slowly developing secondary sex characteristics and the onset of menstruation (none of which I was thrilled about either), but in a way, I was also undergoing a “slow growth” transformation not unlike what can be found in growth process fetish material. Do a google search for “slow growth GTS” and you’ll know what I mean. They key here, though, is the feeling of growing past what was reasonable and normal to me, resulting in a feeling of “overcompleteness” once I was done, which is how sufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder/xenomelia explain their feelings of not needing a full set of limbs. Needless to say, I feel that those of us who “identify” with a smaller size might fall under the BIID umbrella.
Having a fetish identity need not always translate into body issues, though. As identities of every sort are socially constructed (from orientation, to gender, to race, etc.), it’s important to remember that an identity simply functions to situate you in relation to others. To use myself as an example again, I feel that “small and cute” more adequately conveys my gender and orientations than almost any other label available to me, and I have never been able to put into words how this is. (I have tried, though.) In terms of the kink and leather community, the fetish identity often functions to fix one’s place along a constructed hierarchy; usually this translates to an hierarchy of two partners, but sometimes it can be successfully situated within larger groups, whether temporarily during events, or more permanently, like within a leather household.
Next up, the last piece of the essay: “Reverse Pedophilia”, GT vs. SW, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, and a few other things.
(Wow, I’m actually going to finish this, it looks like. Neat.)
I’m trying to come up with an idea for a macrophilia tattoo that might be recognizable to another macrophile should they see me with it. I’m also trying to come up with a symbol that the rest of the community might find useful to use, seeing as how it’s exploded in size and activity over the past 4-5 years for reasons that are beyond me.
I want the symbol to be simple, versatile, and visually striking, and I want it to be able to play well with other symbols, like the LGBT rainbow or BDSM triskele do. And in reacquainting myself with the various pride flags so that I can do up some comps and make sure that it really will work just as well with the ace pride colors as it would with the trans pride ones (because there are a lot of aces in the “G/t fandom”, as folks are calling it), I do a little googling. And of course googling “pride flags” will invariably bring you to tumblr.
Specifically, tumblr blogs like this.
And it’s sort of vaguely interesting to me at first – I’m fascinating by worldbuilding in fictional storytelling, and I see a lot of parallels here. The thought that Tolkien put into designing his heraldic devices and war banners is eerily similar to the thesis-quality trains of thought that go into picking a specifically avocado green over an apple green.
But then the fascination turns to apathy, turns to morbid curiosity – I’ve moved from having one foot in that world to having none, now suddenly an outsider – and I wonder just what is it that people do with this glut of pride flags? Abstract representations for the way you lose interest in someone after getting to know them; for the inexplicable way you’ve been conditioned to want to kiss people who wear make-up and whose underwear never tent; for why you gravitate toward toward commodified, airbrushed, sex-on-demand instead of other people. I’ve even seen countless requests for pride flags signifying confusion and indecision. (How about this: use a goddamn question mark.)
What purpose do pride flags actually serve in a world coked up on advertisements, capitalism, identity-as-iPhone-color, identity-as-operating-system, identity-as-tumblr-aesthetic, identity-as-who-am-I-in-this-cartoon-that-exists-to-sell-me-shit?
If pride flags are born on tumblr, then etsy is where they go to die.
Etsy pride peddlers have knick-knacks (whose constituent parts are made by near-slave labor overseas – what colors is the sweatshopsexual pride flag?) of the likes you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s a greeting card that will do the coming out for you if you’re genderqueer. Here are some sexuality pride blobs made of environmentally irresponsible plastic nurdles if you happen to want them in the shape of a computer mouse. (Talk about capitalizing on a niche market.) Here’s some resin in a bottle done up to look like the aromantic flag. Here’s a beanie made from oil so that you can tell the world that you’ve pinned down your otherwise difficult-to-pin-down sexuality. Here’s a bar of soap that will make you smell like a straight ally. (C’mon people, allies are a totally untapped market here – straights have money too! Get on it!)
Me? I’ve actually given up with trying to figure out “what gender am I”. Somewhere along the line I became vaguely aware of what I was really trying to do: I was trying to brand myself, adopt an aesthetic, and turn myself into a commodity. I was setting myself up for something pretty spectacularly depressing: an identity and lifestyle propped up entirely by the clothes that I wore, the media I consumed, what fictional representations I saw when I looked in the mirror (“am I more BMO or Salem the Cat today?”), how I walked, talked, and even occupied a chair while sitting. I was looking into a pattern of behavior and trying to project forward from it, into the future. I called it ‘being descriptive’, but I was being prescriptive instead. And once I realized that my sexuality could be played like a fiddle depending on what medications I was taking, that my gender could change depending on how much I liked myself that day and how much money I had in the bank, when I started recognizing myself in a number of definitions of “different” “genders”, I didn’t want another label to slap on it like duct tape holding together something rapidly falling apart. I was sick and tired of trying to find a neat, tidy, abstract representation of my lived experience. I was done.
Crimethinc. has a booklet out what serves as a pretty decent introduction to anarchism, called To Change Everything. And it has a really nice section outlining why representation in all its myriad forms – whether governmental representation in the form of laws or elected officials, or media representation – does no service to autonomy and the project of liberation:
You can only have power by wielding it; you can only learn what your interests are by acting on them. When every effort to exert leverage on the world must be channeled through the mediation of representatives or translated into the protocol of institutions, we become alienated from each other and our own potential. Every aspect of our agency that we yield reappears as something unrecognizable and hostile to us. The politicians who always disappoint us only show how much power we have given up over our own lives; the violence of the police is the dark consequence of our desire to avoid personal responsibility for what happens in our neighborhoods.
In the digital age, when every person must continually serve as his own secretary to manage his public image, our very reputations have become external, like vampires feeding on us. If we weren’t isolated from each other, competing to sell ourselves on so many professional and social markets, would we invest so much time and energy in these profiles, golden calves made in our own image?
We are irreducible. Neither delegates nor abstractions can stand in for us. In reducing human beings to demographics and raw experience to data, we lose sight of everything that is precious and unique in the world. We need presence, immediacy, direct contact with each other, direct control over our lives—things no representative or representation can deliver.
Is it really any surprise that the ancients had no real words for homosexuality, for asexuality, for non-cis identities, but we do now? We have nothing else but capitalism and the Enlightenment to thank for that. And I don’t know about you, but that’s not a legacy I want to reinforce when I get dressed every morning.
I had my hysterectomy: it’s what I needed, though even now language fails to explain how and why that is, fails to convey the peace I feel now. But it’s really not my responsibility to explain, is it? Or language’s responsibility to be adequate enough, abstract enough, to neatly convey my innermost thoughts and emotions? I don’t want a word for how it makes me feel to not have a uterus or cervix. Words are cheap.
And pride flags are too.
So let’s not forget what they really are: branding. Commodification. They’re no different than wearing a Star Wars shirt or a pair of Nikes. The desire to wear these things is the desire to be acknowledged as a demographic and a market. Someone to be sold and sold to.
And that’s exactly what I’m doing with the macrophilia symbol. I would say that we’re unmarketable, like most of BDSM or polyamory or any number of other forms of expressing intimacy that our current system has no means to capitalize on, but I’d be flat-out lying if I said that. Macrophilia is almost entirely a product of capitalism: the early-childhood imprinting that most of us have experienced came from some piece of media or another – from television or a video game. Sometimes it comes from a book, and even rarer still does it come from an actual, physical experience. Either way, it all has the same effect: we crave the impossible, the fantastic. We crave something in the abstract, and that’s something only capitalism can really deliver.
So for now, I’ll make the pride symbols. Because why not? We’re all already far down the rabbit hole, and we might as well try and make the best of it.
But in the meantime I will continue to envision a world without pride symbols, without gracelessly strung-together Greek words to try and describe something that maybe doesn’t need describing. That maybe only contributes to the world in the same way as clean needles contribute to the well-being of a drug addict. In other words: I’m interested in people who recognize that the drugs, the glut of genders and orientations, are a reactionary symptom and not in any way a meaningful solution to the bigger problem of mass misery and alienation.