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The Wordsmith's Forge - Nonsexual Intimacies (Part 5 of 5)
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Nonsexual Intimacies (Part 5 of 5)
This is part of my activity for Asexual Awareness Week.  Read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4.


Urgent Situations

This category differs from the others somewhat. Urgent situations are rarely planned, and sometimes involve people who aren't already close. This can make them good for introducing characters to each other. Conversely if they happen between people who do know each other, they tend to change the nature of the relationship. Also, such urgent situations happen infrequently in everyday life, but they appear more frequently in the high-tension atmosphere of fiction.

Childbirth. Attending the blessed event entails providing a lot of moral support for hours under high stress. It can create a bond with the baby as well as with the mother. When planned, this opportunity is only offered to the closest family members or friends, barring professionals. But it can happen by surprise in very awkward circumstances, a popular motif in fiction.

Saving someone's life. Quick action in a life-threatening situation demonstrates how much one person values another. This can create a strong sense of connection, and sometimes obligation. It often, though not always, entails personal risk for the rescuer. This is fairly typical for military buddies or police partners, etc.

Risking your life for someone. Placing someone else ahead of your own life shows their importance to you unequivocally. This often, though not always, involves trying to save or protect another person. While it can create a sense of gratitude, it frequently causes anger as well -- someone who loves you will generally object to you endangering yourself, even to protect them. Military and police buddies protect each other regularly.

Making emergency decisions for someone. This reveals both how well you know the person, and how much you care about them -- whether you know what they would want, and act on it even if it differs from your personal preference. Unlike some of the other options, in this one the initial action is often outweighed by the aftermath. Both characters have to deal with the results of the decisions, good or bad.

Deathwatch. Dying can be as intimate as giving birth. Staying with someone while they pass is an act of love; so is providing moral support to someone sitting deathwatch for a family member or other person.  Many soldiers and police have done this for someone.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: October 28th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now that I'm looking for asexual characters in my fiction, I think I've found a couple more. Lord Ottoman Lichter, though a dandy in a romantic relationship with an alternate universe version of himself, feels asexual to me. And from the Traipah stuff, Nokwahl's partner (in crime fighting; they're police detectives) Alex Davison feels asexual as well. I think I'll make it canon when I can.

LOL, not going to count my machine races. To say they're asexual would be redundant. :-) Hell, most of them don't even have gender!

Also, something else occurred to me. Traipah's sentient species are all of one sex (hermaphroditic), and can either have sex or self-propagate. Gender is considered a part of one's personality, and it's not very common for people to stare at each other like they're objects. So I think asexual romance would be more prevalent there.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: October 28th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: October 29th, 2011 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I've done all but the first.

I feel strongly morally obligated to do the best I can for another person in distress -- even if I happen to for example, hate their guts. This has sometimes meant being very uncomfortable doing things that I felt were morally obligatory. My experience has been that doing so deepens the existing feelings in whatever direction they presently exist.

Gratitude also sometimes translates as resentment.

I think my favorite asexual romance is the movie "Enemy Mine" in which childbirth featured prominently.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 29th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>I feel strongly morally obligated to do the best I can for another person in distress -- even if I happen to for example, hate their guts. This has sometimes meant being very uncomfortable doing things that I felt were morally obligatory.<<

Wow. That's ... rather heroic.

>> My experience has been that doing so deepens the existing feelings in whatever direction they presently exist. <<

*nod* Very often, yes, though it can turn about.

>>I think my favorite asexual romance is the movie "Enemy Mine" in which childbirth featured prominently.<<

Yes! I love that movie. Alien Nation is another good example.

drewkitty From: drewkitty Date: October 29th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

It shouldn't be heroic to look out for your fellow human being. It should be what humans do. The kindness of strangers has sustained my faith in humanity when almost nothing else did.

I had forgotten Alien Nation. Excellent series.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 29th, 2011 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Looking out for people you care about should be standard. Looking out for random strangers is a bit farther out. Looking out for people you hate is something that very few people are willing or able to do.
cheriola From: cheriola Date: January 7th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not a life-and-death situation, but I think it can be a fairly intimate form of emotional support between family, lovers or close friends to accompany someone to the doctor. Especially if the patient has some kind of related phobia (for example dentist phobia), the procedure is going to be painful (usually western medical services don't allow hand-holding unless it's family, but with historicals, fantasy or scifi everything is possible), or the appointment is emotionally harrowing.

To a lesser extent, providing support for a friend who is going into hospital to visit a gravely ill loved one, also requires emotional intimacy.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Those are good examples. Thanks for sharing!
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 24th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Being someones next of kin or emergency contact.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 24th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

That's an excellent one.
Megha Mehta From: Megha Mehta Date: March 30th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow....I just realized that I've done almost half of the stuff here with my ex-best friends. No wonder it still hurts when I think about them. :P

If you have difficulty going through all these intimacies described above, does it mean you have trust issues? Or are you just emotionally shallow lol.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 31st, 2013 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Wow....I just realized that I've done almost half of the stuff here with my ex-best friends. No wonder it still hurts when I think about them. <<

That makes sense.

>>If you have difficulty going through all these intimacies described above, does it mean you have trust issues? Or are you just emotionally shallow lol.<<

That depends on the context. Some things a person might not find appealing. Some things might have no opportunity. I'd consider trust issues if both of you want to explore a given area of intimacy, or deepen your relationship in general, but you can't bring yourself past that threshold. Or if you have a history of people violating your trust.

Shallow emotion is most often just because a person hasn't had enough life experience to develop more complexity -- such as being young, or having restricted opportunities -- and more rarely, because someone chooses to keep things at that level. So there I'd look at the types of intimacy: are they all at the shallow end, or is there a mix? Then consider what the reason might be. Usually it's possible to develop more depth by exploring new things; nonsexual intimacy is among the safer options.
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