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View Poll Results: Q: Do sex objects bypass mirror neurons?

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  • Yes

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    5 55.56%
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Thread: Sex objects bypass mirror neurons

  1. #1 Sex objects bypass mirror neurons 
    Time Lord
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    So-called mirror neurons exist in humans and primates. They have an inexplicable and almost magical ability to light up both when one does a thing, and when one observes another doing that thing. For example, when a person eats toast alone, a certain pattern of neurons will fire - this is the "experience" - and yet when a person sees another eating toast this same pattern of "mirror" neurons will fire. Also, one "clones" mirror neural patterns of activities never directly experienced. So one experiences, in a small but uncannily parallel way, what it feels like to be that person eating toast. In a way, one is tasting the toast and feeling the chew of it.

    Looks like we've dissected sympathy itself, and found it literally is true correspondence of experience.


    Sexual objectification is the depersonalizing of another that coincides with focus on the sexual nature of that... body.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Perhaps we imagine (that is: our mirror neurons are activated) what we would feel ourselves if we 'used' the 'sex object', rather than what the 'object' would feel.

    When you watch someone eating a toast then imagining what it feels like for the other to eat this toast equals imagining what it would be like for ourselves. It's the same for watching people who are in pain, we know that we'd feel the same thing if we were in that person's position.
    With sex it can be different. It's technically possible to have fun while the partner has no fun or even feels pain. So watching a 'sex object' and imagining what 'using the object' would feel like for ourselves doesnt have to equal imagining what the other would experience.

    Perhaps it's similar with a predator and its prey. When a cat watches a bird he may imagine the taste of the bird, the feeling of putting its teeth into its body, etc. I would be surprised if the cat would instead imagine the pain this bird would undergo if it were catched. Or at least that wouldn't be a very useful adaptation for a predator :wink:


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  4. #3  
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    I don't know how the rest of you experience dreams, but in mine I can see the other person and then often I find that I am the other person.

    If the dream contains many people, I might see them, then be them.

    So if this in any way relates to a more direct example of how mirroring works, then we are first aware of ourselves, then aware of the other as a separate entity to ourselves and then we 'imagine' that we are that other person, experiencing whatever they are experiencing, whether it be pain or pleasure.

    With regards to predatory animals thinking about their preys pain before attack. Do we know animals possess mirror neurones? Aspergers people apparantly do not.

    Meanwhile, when a human is in aggressive mode and considering attack, they will indeed visualise their victim writhing about in pain etc. They may not 'feel' it when they are in attack mode as they are not observing they are participating.

    With regards to watching porn, observers would generally imagine they are experiencing the smells, sounds, textures of what they observe.
    Participating is a different matter.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    Do we know animals possess mirror neurones?
    Monkeys do - this is where we found mirror neurons initially. I don't know if we've tested other animals, but I've asked a few dog owners with your question in mind: apparently they "have it". For example a (strange) dog gets horribly injured on the road, the dogs witnessing this flip out yelping and running in circles. But I suspect dogs exceptional and might even be mirror enriched through breeding. Contrast cats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    I don't know how the rest of you experience dreams, but in mine I can see the other person and then often I find that I am the other person.

    ...

    Meanwhile, when a human is in aggressive mode and considering attack, they will indeed visualise their victim writhing about in pain etc.
    Dreaming "other people" who are really just aspects of the self, is common. I think it's also common to attack in others what one really needs to attack in oneself. Projection. Unsure how mirror neurons/sympathy fits there... maybe a reversal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    With regards to watching porn, observers would generally imagine they are experiencing the smells, sounds, textures of what they observe.
    Porn as sex object. I suppose it must be. What about the role model though? For example I'm a dude watching this dude getting his throbbing shlong serviced, does that sympathetically fire my mirror neurons? How about the inevitable "money shot" all porn movies show? What's really going on there? Or, for women, what's more exciting: the performing hunk, or the lady having a good time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoryofrelativity
    Participating is a different matter.
    Totally different, I think.

    So back to the original post. The problem, explicitly, is when a male and female screw, they can't possibly sympathise. They may try to empathise, at most. The problem is larger: striving for empathy gets in the way of enjoying differences in the opposite sex. And larger still: heterosexual attraction is going on all the time everywhere - does this inadvertently stagnate a part of the brain, or explain sexual discrimination at the clinical level?
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  6. #5  
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    Dog owners would not be the ones to ask about mirror neurones.

    I've seen cats and dogs around dead and injured animals with zilch reaction. It is more likely that the dogs react to their owners change in mental state, ie anxiety and fear.
    'Time is the space between birth and death' by me.
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  7. #6  
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    So back to the original post. The problem, explicitly, is when a male and female screw, they can't possibly sympathise. They may try to empathise, at most. The problem is larger: striving for empathy gets in the way of enjoying differences in the opposite sex. And larger still: heterosexual attraction is going on all the time everywhere - does this inadvertently stagnate a part of the brain, or explain sexual discrimination at the clinical level?

    This is damn interesting!
    The solution is: phantasy.
    Phantasy allows us to deny a part of the Real which is going on an thus creating our own reality.
    I am.
    You can't deny it.
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  8. #7  
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    So... we make people sex objects by placing them in the phantasy "container" (even if it's not very "phantastic")? And whatever happens in that container, does not trigger mirror neurons?

    When I'm turned on, the feeling is predatory, even kinda sociopathic. "Hungry Like The Wolf" Mirror neurons just aren't happening. I don't imagine for a second what it's like to have big hands groping my butt.

    We still have the problem of porn-fed mirror neurons. Obviously much porn viewing is highly sympathetic of the same sex model, otherwise porn would not be in the format it is. So "normal" porn must not go into the phantasy container since that would isolate it from the mirror neurons. Why would porn bypass phantasy if real sex does not?

    Confused.
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