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Marriage w/ Asexual wife about to end


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#1 SexualHubby

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 03:37 PM

Hello everyone- I have been trolling this board now for a few days and finally decided to register and post my story. Any insights, suggestions, etc. here would be most helpful. Sorry, but this post is going to be a long one.

I am a sexual male (I think a pretty normal sex drive) nearing 50 who has been with his asexual wife for nearly half of my life (married 22 years of that time) and who is truly heart broken. I asked for a divorce last week after years of suffering from a low self-esteem, depressed feelings, anger, doubt about the marriage and dwindling love for my wife all because she hasn't wanted sex or even intimacy with me. Earlier this spring I was at my wits end and and began searching out "sexless marriage" through google and came upon a forum about that topic and began to read what others had posted. Most were women in my situation but there were some men and there appeared to be a consensus that a sexless marriage for someone who was taught to value intimacy and sex in marriage as important and a true, special bond with someone you love was LIVING HELL. The forum was quite old and I noticed that there were very few posts after around 2006 (possibly because of the emergence of this site and even the term, "asexual."). Anyway, I struggled with the notion of whether or not I wanted a divorce and finally made up my mind to tell her, which I did last week.

Let me give some background information now. When I was in my mid-twenties, I courted my to-be wife who is 4 years younger than me. We did have premarital sex (after we knew we were going to be married) and it seemed wonderful enough to me- but I was inexperienced and so it is hard to gauge that against anything. Even during that time, the sex dwindled some but I chalked it up to being busy, preparing for the wedding, etc. Our honeymoon took us to beautiful Jamaica- one of those all-inclusive couples resorts and it was a fun time- but sex was only once during that time, even though I tried to get her in the mood for more. After coming home from the honeymoon, she found that she was having issue with her birth control (hormonal) so she went off of that and asked that I begin using condoms. She told me then that she didn't like the mess anyway (maybe that should have been a clue). Our sex dwindled even more to maybe once a month or sometimes even less. We took a trip overseas to another country for about a month one summer and I believe even though there were very romantic places and moments, sex was only once or so, but when we had it, it seemed fine. Finally, about 4 years into our marriage I was allowed to have sex without condoms as we wanted to start a family. Then our son was born 5 years into our marriage. After this, sexual activity ceased completely for over a year. Gradually it returned but I always initiated and it seemed a chore for her to get ready for it and to actually accomplish an orgasm. Being one who wants to pleasure the other person before myself, I would always give her oral sex (even until my tongue was tired or sore) until she could cum and then we would have vaginal penetration with a condom. Once my orgasm was completed, we would both clean up and there was never any cuddling or close moments- something she didn't seem to enjoy. Oh, I should also add that sex for her was always in the missionary position and with the lights off and under the covers- something that was not very exciting for me. Although at rare times, she would oblige in a doggy position or somewhere else in the house, she made it clear that she was not comfortable and often remarked that she thought that I wanted her to be some type of "porn star," which she was not. Especially after what I thought were wonderfully hot sexual encounters, she would often go into the bathroom and stay there for a long time. I couldn't understand this and often wondered why, if our sex was so good, she didn't want to repeat such episodes or come back and cuddle with me so we could feel some sort of an "after-glow." Anyway, long story short, our sex life has continued on into this year with the same pattern- no real intimacy- no open mouth kiss- no hugging (or if there has been, it has seemed to be one sided on my part)... oh, and always with me wearing a condom. The lack of intimacy is one of the things that has about killed me. Even if I reach for her hand in the middle of the night, it would be pushed away and she would roll over, away from me. Hugs during the day would be rejected. Kisses have been pecks on the cheek or maybe sometimes on the lips but that's it and most often when we say good-bye to each other before leaving for work, etc.

After years of the above, including one period where my wife told me that if I didn't try to initiate sex so much she would (I did not initiate for 15 months- so we never had sex during this time, until I initiated again), we fell into a pattern of just a handful (no pun intended) of times a year... the usual- valentines day, father's day, our anniversary...guess that's about it. During that period of time, I took a job about an hour away that had heavy responsibilities and often did not get home until late at night and had to leave the house early, before she even got up. I loved my job and put everything into it and she hated my job and although there were social events that she could attend with me related to my work, she chose not to. Our son was growing up and she was the main care-giver. We drifted apart- and she had some issues with her knee and lower back- so much so that camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. that involved some physical fitness- and activities that we both enjoyed together in the past could no longer take place between the two of us. The end result was that we found ourselves having very little in common....and we were no longer enjoying each others' company. I should add that about 5 years ago, there was an attempt at talking about our situation- seriously. I tried to get her to see that we needed a sexual connection and maybe if we could try a bit more, other things would begin to get better. I know for some couples this is true- sex helps other areas of their lives- it rejuvenates… for others it’s the other things that have to get better- then the sex naturally follows. The conclusion of our several hours talk (that included tears on both sides) was that she confessed that she never has liked sex and that she has never, ever, not even once had a sexual fantasy. She also told me that she never liked giving me oral sex. After our time of discussion, sex between us became even more strained- and less often, and since then, I have never received oral sex again.

Just over 2 years ago, the job that she considers my "affair" ended. I have to confess that the work I was doing was exciting and I considered it the love of my life- I couldn't wait to leave in the morning to go to it and would often linger later than I had to when my work hours were over, as I dreaded coming home. None-the-less, I was home for the first time in years (with her) and with lots of time on my hands- time I had to sort out and deal with. I should also add that although I never had an affair with another woman, there were women along the way and at my job (the one that was an hour away) especially as this job was winding down, who showed a great deal of attention to me. My mind drifted to a few of them and I knew that if I wanted to, I could have a sexual relationship with one or several of them and "get" what I felt I needed which I wasn't getting at home- but I never took that step. However, I did fantasize about what it would be like sexually to be with someone who could reciprocate and also "enjoy me" sexually.... maybe the fantasy in and of itself was like an affair- I don't know. Anyway, here I was at home and my wife and I in an uncomfortable dilemma. We knew that we were disconnected from each other, and I wanted to take a job in another city that would keep me away from home 3~4 days a week. I wanted my family to move so I would not have to drive 3 hours to and from this work but she would not budge. Conversation turned to divorce then and we both cried. I could say that at that point I was not feeling in love with my wife, although I loved her and cared for her deeply. Once again, long story short, we decided to "work on" our marriage and try to rekindle our love for each other and I took a non-exciting job with less pay, locally.

So, after searching the internet, I bought a program called the Marriage Fitness Program by Mort Fertel.. a great book (highly recommended if both partners are sexual) with a series of audio CD's that go along with the book...and I began working in earnest to try to get back the spark I felt we had had years prior. This involved exercises that begin with positive words to each other- connecting several times (even when both are at work) with simple phone calls, email and texting... and then touching each other (non-sexually) on the arm, shoulders, etc. when you are together... and a date night once a week. We found that some of these activities were helpful but date night was still problematic- we had trouble deciding where to go and finally when I was able to coax my wife out of the house, we sat there and had little or nothing to say to each other. Communication was a problem. We could talk about things we needed to do around the house, the grocery shopping, the menial tasks that we had to do for our daily living but talk about deep content was near impossible...and sex was still almost non-existent. At the end of the summer 2007, our anniversary was coming up and I made plans to really splurge and take her to a resort for the weekend where she would be pampered with massages, facials, etc. - all things that she loves. This was very expensive but it was our 20 year anniversary and we were working towards rekindling our spark. At the resort, my wife seemed to glow! She was truly in heaven. I wined and dined her- gave her every luxury I could think of- even rented the best suite they had. Then on the night of our anniversary after going to a very sheik piano bar, and having drinks, all the while holding hands like two teenagers in love- we went back to our room. I thought this was going to be it! I don't know why but I had imagined there would be lingerie, candles, soft music, etc. and of course, long, slow love-making. Instead, once she was in our room, she said she was tired- quickly got into bed and turned the lights off and rolled over to go to bed. I was left speechless and I laid in our large, cruel bed and cried quietly to myself. The next morning's drive back to our home (2 1/2 hours) was in total silence. Looking back on the events of that night- where I was rejected once again, but this time after much effort had been made to rekindle our spark- I can truly say was when my "spark for her was completely extinguished."

Life after that has been hum-drum. I tried to get into my work- became busy again. We have shared nothing in common (except for our son) and any sexual times together have seemed out of duty or guilt on her part- sometimes even as an after-thought (This year, sex was the day after Valentines, for instance...as if the guilt caught up to her for not doing anything on valentines day). Anyway, so that takes us into this year and what is happening to our relationship now.

As I had insinuated earlier- I have never felt fulfilled in my sexual life (as a sexual) and feel a very large hole in my psyche from this. Marriage was not suppose to be this way- I had always been taught and firmly believed in my heart that when I got married, my sexual needs would be taken care of, as I would take care of them for my wife as well and that I would never had to worry about straying or feeling like I would have to feel fulfillment from another or from auto eroticism (masturbation, etc.). But beyond that, I thought that a "sexual connection" with my spouse would add another dimension or another layer of closeness- a bond that takes you even deeper into each other not only at a physical level but at an emotional and spiritual level. All of this has been missing for me- all of my life.

So, I discovered the "sexless marriage" forum... and came to the conclusion (I guess I'm at that mid-life point too) that I wanted a chance at sexual happiness- that life was too short and it's now or never- because I'm too sexual of a person to keep going without feeling connected to someone I love at that level- which I crave but haven't had. I would be taking a risk to divorce. I may never find anyone I could connect with at any level- but I no longer feel truly "in love" with my wife either (after everything that has happened) and felt I could not go on... and so I told her that I wanted a divorce last week and why. During our talks leading up to my revelation to her, she told me that she did not feel that she could ever have an intimate/sexual relationship with neither me nor anyone else. But upon hearing that I wanted out, she was shocked and became quite upset and distraught. Even over a week later, she appears depressed. She cannot eat much as she ends up throwing up. Finally yesterday she went to see her doctor who prescribed an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. I have talked to both my family and hers. They have encouraged marital counseling which I have agreed to and we will be going the first of next week…I don’t know if it will do any good. My wife says she wants to try whatever will help keep me from leaving- even sex therapy. She has already had hormones checked several times in the last few years and they are fine. Our son is okay with things so far. He (almost 17 years old) is just concerned as to where he will live and if he will see both of us- although he doesn’t know the details, he has verbalized in the past to both me and my wife that we seem unhappy with each other and maybe we should consider divorce- wow…kids are insightful.

So, why am I here? I’m sure you noticed, the word “asexual” was not used anywhere above. It has only been after I told my wife that I wanted a divorce that I stumbled upon this website. Boy, have my eyes been opened. I spent three nights ago reading until 4 in the morning on this site. I had no idea….and I’m glad I found this site… at least now, I understand. The next day I asked my wife if she thought she might be asexual. She really didn’t know what that meant- so I brought her here and for a brief time, she looked around- she is not embracing it but she does not deny any of it. I truly believe that she is asexual and falls into the 1% of the population that is on that end of the spectrum. She now confesses that she had no emotional connection with me from having sex and even when we were dating and first married, sex was something she did because she thought she was suppose to do it- she felt nothing from it. When it was especially god for me, she felt she was in some kind of “porn movie” or something and felt extremely uncomfortable and distraught. At times, she felt sex was damaging to her (and we haven’t done S&M or other unusual forms of sex). Sex to her own self-esteem, etc. is meaningless and sometimes hurtful. She doesn’t like physical closeness- has never enjoyed French kissing. All the time I thought it was me- something I was doing wrong or that she was broken- but I was wrong on all accounts. All the signs are there of her being asexual. So now, I am at a point at least for the first time in our marriage where I don’t have to blame her (or me) for the way our sex life has been. I know that she just is the way she is and can’t help it. It’s not because of her upbringing and there was never any early trauma, sexual or otherwise- she is who she is. I also don’t have to blame myself. I also know that no matter what kind of program or therapy I or we go through to “rekindle” the spark, it will not change the fact that she does not like sex and does not enjoy the kind of “connection” that we sexuals feel we gain from it. I certainly can’t ask her to go to sex therapy in good conscience. It would be like asking a heterosexual to engage in homosexual acts- I understand all of that now. I understand that she is not broken. I understand that her sexual (or nonsexual) orientation is the issue.

So, I am still angry (and very much hurt and heart broken)- not at her or at myself. I guess I’m angry at God. I ask myself- why me? Why us? Why was I one of the ones that had to fall in love and get married to one of the 1% that is asexual. Why didn’t she fall in love with another asexual so she wouldn’t have to put up with me and all of the sexual tension over the years. I also am angry when I ask myself why it took this long to figure this out (22 years of marriage). Was I not paying attention? Anyway, I’m in a real dilemma now. I said I wanted a divorce and I still am leaning in that direction- My wife is hurting and reeling from this- she says, “I thought we would be married forever- I love you…please don’t leave…I can’t live without you.” From what I’ve read, to stay with her would take compromise- something I’ve already done all of my adult life (and I suppose she has done that too but to a much lesser degree). I don’t know if I can live with the fact that every time we have intimacy, I’m forcing her to do something that is against her will. With her, I will never have the sexual bond and fulfillment that I believe in my heart that married people are suppose to have and are entitled to. I also don’t see the option of going outside the marriage for such a bond…it’s just not me and it is against everything I was brought up to believe. I’m not sure if I can continue in this marriage even though 22 years, a house, a son, our things, our friends, our extended families- so much is at stake. I do know that no one would fault me for leaving, even now. I also know that many asexuals won’t have a perspective where they would understand where a sexual like myself who has been in a long marriage like myself is coming from. But I still encourage a dialogue regarding my story and our issues.

So, what say you, asexual forum? Anyone have any insights, thoughts, opinions?
I’m all ears….

Desperate, lonely and broken,
SexualHubby
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#2 Sally

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 05:55 PM

It's good you've finally found an explanation for your wife's disinterest in/dislilke of sex, and it does sound from your description that she could be asexual. (Not knowing her, it's impossible for us to say definitely that she is.)

You seem to have made the only decision you can live with. Your wife is understandably upset and will take a while to deal with it, but it doesn't sound like you can deal with continuing in this particular marriage for the rest of your life. It also sounds like you've tried everything that a sexual person could do to compromise, and your wife also attempted to compromise because she didn't know that asexuality existed and just tried to do as much of what she thought she had to, until she just couldn't. This mirrors my marriage and subsequent long affair, during which neither my husband, my partner, nor myself knew what was going on.

This is terribly painful for everyone involved (except maybe your son, who has a good practical attitude: "Just tell me where I can see you, Mom and Dad!"). That might be a lesson for some parents who think their kids would be devastated if they broke up -- not always the case.

Good luck -- I think you're headed in the only direction that is possible at this point.
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#3 SexualHubby

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 06:19 PM

Thank you, Sally- I do appreciate you answering my post. It is a really tough time- the moral issue of leaving someone you made vows to, etc., but right now I see no other answer. We'll see where the couples therapy goes- I just don't want the therapist to try to get us to "rekindle" something that never was really there to begin with. I guess the best we could do is stay together as roommates, but that's not what I want out of life.

#4 veralidaine

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:08 PM

K, I'm going to try and comment on this. Personally, I think you're better off divorcing. Although you said that she told you she loved you and didn't want you to leave, that's honestly not the impression I get from the rest of the post.

Sally, I respect what you said about her trying sex until she couldn't but if that's the only way she's attempting to compromise, it seems like she's not even trying. Sexualhubby was talking about how they barely ever kissed, barely hugged, barely touched. If she was truly trying to compromise, I would think she would do more of those things instead of just having sex then shrugging her shoulders and going 'okay, I did my part, I sacrificed' and expecting him to sympathise.

Of course, that's not the only reason I doubt her claim of love. From what it sounds like, you guys mostly live separate lives. I'm guessing from what you said about you guys having a date and barely talking, that that's a big indicator of what your relationship is like nowadays, if not before. In that case, and I'm not asking this about you personally so please don't take offence, but what is there to love? If there is barely any talk of thoughts, opinions etc. and barely anything in common, what is there to form an emotional relationship on?

To be brutally honest, I don't think your wife truly loves you when she says it, I think she's clinging to the memory of the love you guys probably/possibly had 20 years ago.

Just to put my post in perspective, I am asexual so I can imagine what it would be like to have somebody demanding something I'm not all that willing to give, but that still doesn't change my opinion.

Good Luck with everything

#5 RubyTuesday

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 09:07 PM

K, I'm going to try and comment on this. Personally, I think you're better off divorcing. Although you said that she told you she loved you and didn't want you to leave, that's honestly not the impression I get from the rest of the post.

Sally, I respect what you said about her trying sex until she couldn't but if that's the only way she's attempting to compromise, it seems like she's not even trying. Sexualhubby was talking about how they barely ever kissed, barely hugged, barely touched. If she was truly trying to compromise, I would think she would do more of those things instead of just having sex then shrugging her shoulders and going 'okay, I did my part, I sacrificed' and expecting him to sympathise.

Of course, that's not the only reason I doubt her claim of love. From what it sounds like, you guys mostly live separate lives. I'm guessing from what you said about you guys having a date and barely talking, that that's a big indicator of what your relationship is like nowadays, if not before. In that case, and I'm not asking this about you personally so please don't take offence, but what is there to love? If there is barely any talk of thoughts, opinions etc. and barely anything in common, what is there to form an emotional relationship on?

To be brutally honest, I don't think your wife truly loves you when she says it, I think she's clinging to the memory of the love you guys probably/possibly had 20 years ago.

Just to put my post in perspective, I am asexual so I can imagine what it would be like to have somebody demanding something I'm not all that willing to give, but that still doesn't change my opinion.

Good Luck with everything


But you have to remember that she had no idea that asexuality existed, and so wouldn't understand that her reaction to you was so hurtful. To an asexual, (well, to me anyway) it seems illogical to want to get all excited sexually just to have a climax and then relax again, if I'm feeling fine in the first place. I actually enjoy physical closeness, as long as I don't feel I'm being tested or challenged. The problem comes when I feel that the physical approach - touching, stroking, hugging, etc. - is a sort of test to see how I'll react, and that if I go along with it, the contact will become more and more sexual. I don't want to be accused of being a tease, leading him on when I don't want to have sex, so it seems fairer to me not to start any physical contact at all. Which makes me feel sad and deprived as well, just in a different way.

I found it very moving to read your story, sexualhubby, as I am the asexual wife in a long marriage, and so I experience the situation from the opposite side. In fact, when I started reading your post, I thought at first it might have been written by my husband. Like your wife, I would say that I do love my husband and don't want him to leave me, but I do appreciate that he has felt hurt, rejected and disappointed for many years. But it has been terrible for me as well, wondering if there was something wrong with me, and trying so hard to share his enjoyment of sex. But if your body reacts against certain touches or sensations, it's impossible to hide it successfully, however much you would like to. I have only known about the existence of asexuality for a few months, and I have not mentioned it to my husband because I'm not sure it would help. However, it has helped me to know that there is an explanation for the way I feel about sex, and I think it has helped me be more accepting of my husband's point of view.

I don't know if any of this is helpful to you, but I would like to hear from you again to get your reactions to what I've said and to see whether we can help each other to see the situation from the other partner's point of view.
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#6 < retired >

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:03 PM

So, what say you, asexual forum? Anyone have any insights, thoughts, opinions?


An interesting thought experiment for you would be to ask yourself how you would view your marriage if your wife was incredibly generous with her physical affection, except still specifically avoiding the hokey-pokey. The reason why I ask is that sometimes people blame something concrete (e.g. money, lack of sexual intercourse) when the real problem is more abstract (e.g. love, respect, admiration, affection). In other words, your marriage may be suffering because of 'abstract' problems rather than the concrete problem(s) you've identified. If so, then your marriage might be saved via marriage counseling. Of course, I'm just engaged in idle speculation as a detached, mostly ignorant bystander, so you're in a far better position to judge. I'm just trying to stir up the waters by playing devil's advocate. :mellow:

#7 veralidaine

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:16 PM

So, what say you, asexual forum? Anyone have any insights, thoughts, opinions?


An interesting thought experiment for you would be to ask yourself how you would view your marriage if your wife was incredibly generous with her physical affection, except still specifically avoiding the hokey-pokey. The reason why I ask is that sometimes people blame something concrete (e.g. money, lack of sexual intercourse) when the real problem is more abstract (e.g. love, respect, admiration, affection). In other words, your marriage may be suffering because of 'abstract' problems rather than the concrete problem(s) you've identified. If so, then your marriage might be saved via marriage counseling. Of course, I'm just engaged in idle speculation as a detached, mostly ignorant bystander, so you're in a far better position to judge. I'm just trying to stir up the waters by playing devil's advocate. :mellow:


That's exactly what I was trying to say! The problem is definitely more emotional than physical

#8 Sally

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:50 PM

I actually enjoy physical closeness, as long as I don't feel I'm being tested or challenged. The problem comes when I feel that the physical approach - touching, stroking, hugging, etc. - is a sort of test to see how I'll react, and that if I go along with it, the contact will become more and more sexual. I don't want to be accused of being a tease, leading him on when I don't want to have sex, so it seems fairer to me not to start any physical contact at all. Which makes me feel sad and deprived as well, just in a different way.


Very well said, Ruby! Some asexuals in relationships with sexuals don't really dare hug, etc., because it will be the start of something they just can't deal with. Thus, both are deprived of the closeness they may each wish from the other.
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#9 daveb

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 12:55 AM

SexualHubby, that was a long and thoughtful post! It's hard and I don't have any answers. Just wanted to wish you both the best, whether that takes you separate ways or not. Good luck!
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#10 Apocolypstick

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:03 AM

I hope I don't offend anyone with this suggestion but here it goes.

You really need to ask yourself (as does your wife) "Do I LOVE this person?" "Do I want to share the rest of my life with this person - sex aside?"

If the answer is yes, perhaps it would be possible to come to another arrangement? Open Marriage, perahaps? Where you can DISCREETLY have another partner form who you get your sexual satisfaction from? There would need to be extremely strict boundaries in place, as well as total honesty and clear communication.

It certainly wouldn't work for everyone, but it may be something you can approach with your wife.

Good Luck, I wish you all the best.

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#11 veralidaine

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:03 AM

I was going to suggest the 'find a sexual partner' thing but then I decided I believed too strongly that he should get out of the marriage

#12 SexualHubby

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:35 AM

Thanks for everyone's insightful answers. I don't believe the notion that she doesn't really love me because she hasn't compromised enough. There were times in our past that she did some of these things- but no open mouth kiss. I think maybe early on (before I had any idea that she was resisting sex) these activities invariably led to more and more and eventually sex, so that is probably why she resists them now...or for several years and doesn't "do" the physical things hardly at all. The idea of taking on a sexual partner doesn't appeal to me because what I dream of for my life to be complete is to give to one person, my all and receive the same back from that one person- something that my wife and I don't have and the source of my unhappiness. So, another idea was that our problems are more emotional than sexual- maybe so... but to a sexual like myself, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? To some degree the fact that we have nothing in common could stem from our rift and drifting apart related to the lack of intimacy and sexual desire/activity on her part and my (unknowing) push for sexual activity... The drifting apart may have also contributed to the lack of sexual activity on her part and me giving up trying until I was so frustrated, angry and demolished- so everything mentioned is circular and just snowballs. I don't know the answer and we may truly end up in divorce. We go to see a counselor in a couple of days. Trouble is, does this person even know about asexuality? Do I bring it up when my wife hasn't really embraced it? I don't know. What I do know is about my own fears concerning these "attempts." That is, if she is truly asexual, I feel that any "giving" at this point on my part will result in the same 'ole relationship that we've had for numerous years and the continuation of my unhappiness. Although she is having a very hard time with everything right now, I can't believe that she's been happy with the way our marriage has been these last several years either.

#13 Sally

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:05 AM

If the counselor knows nothing about asexuality, you may have to be prepared (as should your wife) for the counselor to say that your wife simply doesn't want to be "female" or has repressed anger or has low hormones or any number of other stuff, all of which will be irritating and hurtful to your wife, as well as being untrue, and not at all helpful for your marriage. You may need to be willing to be in the position to defend your wife to the counselor. I hope that's not the case. Let us know how it turns out.
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#14 loving_partner

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:24 AM

I don't believe the notion that she doesn't really love me because she hasn't compromised enough. There were times in our past that she did some of these things- but no open mouth kiss. I think maybe early on (before I had any idea that she was resisting sex) these activities invariably led to more and more and eventually sex, so that is probably why she resists them now...or for several years and doesn't "do" the physical things hardly at all. The idea of taking on a sexual partner doesn't appeal to me because what I dream of for my life to be complete is to give to one person, my all and receive the same back from that one person- something that my wife and I don't have and the source of my unhappiness. So, another idea was that our problems are more emotional than sexual- maybe so... but to a sexual like myself, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? To some degree the fact that we have nothing in common could stem from our rift and drifting apart related to the lack of intimacy and sexual desire/activity on her part and my (unknowing) push for sexual activity... The drifting apart may have also contributed to the lack of sexual activity on her part and me giving up trying until I was so frustrated, angry and demolished- so everything mentioned is circular and just snowballs. I don't know the answer and we may truly end up in divorce. We go to see a counselor in a couple of days. Trouble is, does this person even know about asexuality? Do I bring it up when my wife hasn't really embraced it? I don't know. What I do know is about my own fears concerning these "attempts." That is, if she is truly asexual, I feel that any "giving" at this point on my part will result in the same 'ole relationship that we've had for numerous years and the continuation of my unhappiness. Although she is having a very hard time with everything right now, I can't believe that she's been happy with the way our marriage has been these last several years either.


I'm sorry to hear about your pain. I'm a man also married to a possibly asexual woman, so I do understand a lot of where you're coming from. You care about her and are committed to her, even if you feel that you have "fallen out of love", and you do believe that she loves you as well. That seems to be some place to work from if you want to preserve your marriage. But you already know that, at least from where you stand right now, none of the possible compromises are something you think you can live with.

Honestly, it does sound bleak. But if you still care enough to try to make this work, I would say go through with talking to the counselor. Talk about everything that concerns you, including this site, that you believe she may be asexual, and that you have fallen out of love. If you don't get it all out on the table, the counselor can't help you deal with it. And be willing to do some very serious self-examination, to re-evaluate exactly what is important to you and what you are willing to change to achieve that.

It will be very hard for both of you, and it sounds like there is a very strong chance that your marriage won't survive. If you're afraid that you will drag this out forever, set a deadline to make the decision about whether you will stay or leave. If you feel that she isn't committed to the process of the therapy, call her out on that and be very clear about the consequences. Talk out all of your options - be completely clear and honest about everything you feel and everything you want.

I wish you both the best of luck.

#15 loving_partner

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:27 AM

If the counselor knows nothing about asexuality, you may have to be prepared (as should your wife) for the counselor to say that your wife simply doesn't want to be "female" or has repressed anger or has low hormones or any number of other stuff, all of which will be irritating and hurtful to your wife, as well as being untrue, and not at all helpful for your marriage. You may need to be willing to be in the position to defend your wife to the counselor. I hope that's not the case. Let us know how it turns out.


Is there any kind of resource to find counselors, therapists and other professionals who accept and understand asexuality? I know that when I was connecting with polyamoury communities, they directed me to some resources to find poly and alternative sexuality-friendly counselors...

#16 SexualHubby

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:33 AM

Thanks for the advice especially concerning the marriage counselor- I will keep all of this in mind as we go.
In regards to resources to find counselors, that would sure be nice but we live in a fairly small city in the Bible belt, so I doubt any resource would direct us to a counselor near us. In fact, I really thought there might be an asexuality support group nearby but after much searching found absolutely nothing- that would also be a great thing to have!

#17 < retired >

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 11:44 AM

What is the proper foundation for a marriage? A very interesting question. Is the correct model one of mutual satisfaction - "you satisfy my needs, and I'll satisfy yours"? If one party or the other feels that their needs aren't being satisfied, the deal's off. Are there any other marriage models available? Living deep in the Bible Belt, you'll probably encounter a marriage model or two centered around faith in a supernatural deity. Are there any others? I'm sure there are. Your marriage may need to be "born again" into a new marriage model. Which one? I don't know - having never been married I'm not an expert in these matters. A competent therapist may provide you with some options that you may not have considered. :)

#18 happylife

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 12:58 PM

it seems that you've come to a decision and clearly know what you're really wanting to do at this point. which is leaving your wife. since you know too well how things might be going. i think that your instincts are giving you strong messages. please don't ignore them. it may be that guilty feelings are trying to weaken you. i know what you're going to do is a very difficult thing for anyone to go through. so i'd admire your determination and courage if you finally make it.

loving someone is not something in your control. not loving someone as much as you used to is just something that's happened to you. nobody caused it. just happened. so blaming is totally out of place here. people usually prefer not to be in a relationship with someone they are not in love with and know that they wouldn't be criticized for that. if a sense of guilt broke into your system, it'd feel ashamed that it's found a wrong place to be in.

#19 ichthus

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:14 PM

I am approaching this from a completely different standpoint.

I am
  • a man,
  • never married,
  • having only discovered the term asexual 8 days ago, am
  • still trying to come to terms with it
  • understanding the fact that I am not completely abnormal.
  • I am just one of the 1%
Though the term is new to me, I think I must always been aware that I just did not give one jot about sex. Convention says I am supposed to, but I just did not.

There were two girls in my youth who I liked very much and friends had me paired off with both of them. It did not work out that way because I never actually made the move. Both of them married (happily) and raised families. I remain(ed) on good terms with both of them (and their husbands), though sadly one was widowed 13 years ago. It did occur to me then, that we could pick up where we had left off in 1966 but, once again, I have not been able to actually make the move.

I now realise why, deep down I know I could not fulfill her needs, and in all honesty never could have done so. I still love both of them, but in a way that perhaps SexualHubby's wife loves him rather than the way he loves her. As a Christian I could not recommend divorce, his attempt to understand is the right way to go at the moment.

Now on another track. I work on a voluntry basis for a Christian Counselling service and Trainng (for counsellors) College. As part of my duties I have compiled the PowerPoint presentations used in the 4 years training programme. There is no indication of asexuality in any of it. I have also just taken over the librarianship of the books for use of the students, having just completed the full catalogueing of 1000 books there is no reference to the topic so I have concluded in the past week that it is not part of the current training. I say this because it has been raised as a possible path for you to take. Maybe, as someone commented, the counsillor is unaware of it, so beware and be prepared to explain.

#20 Cicero

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:38 PM

That was a very moving post, SexualHubby. I feel for both of you. I really hope you can work things out.
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#21 happylife

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:48 PM

Sally, I respect what you said about her trying sex until she couldn't but if that's the only way she's attempting to compromise, it seems like she's not even trying. Sexualhubby was talking about how they barely ever kissed, barely hugged, barely touched. If she was truly trying to compromise, I would think she would do more of those things instead of just having sex then shrugging her shoulders and going 'okay, I did my part, I sacrificed' and expecting him to sympathise.

i know that for most people, asexual and sexual, sex and other forms of physical contact are not so challenging but sadly they really are for some people. i for instance find kissing to be emotionally really really painful.. not physically.. but it feels like something in me just aches.. i don't know.. if i was married and liked my spouse very much, i might feel i have to get myself to endure hugging and touching in order to make up for the absence of kissing and below average quality of sex.

i guess what i'm trying to say is no one may be able to know how she felt and how much effort she made to compromise because i don't think people can reveal their emotions and communicate their thoughts openly all the time. some people may think women can show their feelings relatively easily but maybe not always the case. i personally doubt if i'd show tears even when i've had a truly unpleasant sexual experience because i wouldn't want it to create unnecessary guilt or emotional burden on the part of the other person who's done anything wrong. moreover hearing something and understanding it are two different things so it seems like some things are just never understood, which isn't anyone's fault. appearing to be just "indifferent" can have many untold stories behind it,, and the stories can include feeling guilt..

#22 SexualHubby

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:55 PM

happylife, I agree completely with you. I think it's the "indifference" or at least the appearance of being "indifferent" to each other, after so many years that has taken it's toll in our relationship. Until I learned about asexuality, I thought that the love was gone and that was the reason- right now, I'm more inclined to think that there were real attempts and then giving up- and at the same time, an inability to communicate these feelings (guilt included) that made things appear as if we were both being "indifferent." Sorry if this is not a very good explanation.

#23 Reasoned Madness

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 06:40 PM

Your story is very interesting I would have to say and sad, but as I see it, Divorce is needed I am sorry to say. It is more that you are used to each others company than it is love. Sexuals need that connection for their relationship, it is part of them. It doesn't mean you are sex-crazed or that you are a pervert, it means you show a part of your emotional connection though sex. She is asexual, she will never give you that as she will never want it either. I think she doesn't want you disappearing from her life and this is why she fears divorce. Communication is going to be a bigger key factor for her since she is an ace, let her know you won't disappear, I am certain you are not as thrilled about divorce as she is. She also may be scared of being alone in general, loosing the child and her husband she has had for years and years? I mean many options can be taken. Move into a different room of the house if there is one. Get a house that has an apartment attached to and live there. Its time for the both of you to divide as a couple and become the best friends that you actually sound like you are. These are my thoughts and advice.

~the Voice~

#24 SexualHubby

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 08:18 PM

Thank you, Reasoned Madness- I am already in another room. I did that the night after I told her I wanted a divorce. I did stay in our bedroom for one night but found her the next morning on the couch and felt it was unfair, if I was the one wanting the divorce to stay put. I don't know about a house with an attached apartment... maybe living close by is a better option. I do want to move ahead at some point and have a chance for a sexual-sexual relationship, if I can ever find someone to connect with on many levels.

#25 Olivier

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:03 AM

Hi SexualHubby, :cake: and commiserations for your situation.

My wife and I followed a similar path to yours. She never classed herself as asexual, just busy, or tired, or stressed, or whatever. While we both had busy jobs, there was some truth to that, and with me working long hours too, our opportunities for sex seemed to be infrequent enough that it was all within my wife's tolerance level. That's not to say we had no problems regarding sex, but they were easy enough to pin to other explanations.

It was only when we moved from the city to the country and had far more opportunity for sex that we hit real dramas, and even then that was masked by having three kids, and all the sex-life disruption that goes with that (not to mention that my wife, although feeling no sexual attraction, was still keen on sex for getting pregnant, so in fact at first it seemed like the move was doing great things for our sex life).

But once all that was over, we were left with the stark reality of plenty of opportunity, and a vast gulf of willingness to take advantage of that. We began to fight: huge long arguments with tears, and finally had to admit that we were getting nowhere. I'd been pretty judgemental of my wife, seeing her sexual indifference as selfish and cruel, and she'd seen my keenness as similarly unreasonable and inconsiderate of her stated needs.

And so we each considered divorce. As it turned out it's what turned the corner for us, because we both realised that it wasn't what we wanted - everything else in our lives is close to perfect, and we just weren't prepared to sacrifice the joy we get from each other's companionship over sex. So we decided that each of us would just have to go an extra mile on sex. I shifted my attitude to one of continued hope, but zero expectation, which meant that I really didn't feel rejected so much any more (which makes sense if the lack of sexual attraction is not something personal), and my wife acknowledged that my needs were simply part of me, and not something I could just turn off by choice.

It took quite a while, but we're back to somewhere good now. But as much as that's thanks to my acceptance of my wife's asexuality, it's also due to her acceptance of my sexuality. So now I can tell her I think she's incredibly sexy, and she can feel complimented rather than threatened, and even if that leads nowhere I can take pleasure in the way she accepts the compliment, rather than rejected. And when we do have sex, the fact that both of know that it's emotional for me and ridiculous to her has sort of worked out as a tender playfulness that both of us enjoy.

Ultimately, if things are going to work out for you two together, that will depend on you BOTH choosing to make it work. You may not want to - other pastures may actually be greener. And she may not want to either - being more accepting of your sexuality may just be a burden for her.

Whichever way you choose to jump, though, I hope things work out for you both. Good luck!

#26 SexualHubby

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:44 AM

Thanks Olivier! I have read many of your posts and I can say that you truly love your wife and have much in common with her and therefore staying with her was the best solution for you. I my case, we find hardly anything in common anymore and do not enjoy each others' company anymore and it has been this way for several years- we are like roommates who tolerate each other in the same house. We go to couple's counseling tomorrow night- I am really at the point of throwing in the towel (she's not), but we'll see if there is any hope left for us to stay together. Not that pastures look greener now, but one never knows. If there is a chance at meeting that someone special, then that would be nice but I believe that real connections at the romantic and sexual level as well as having many things in common happens very rarely (maybe once or twice) in life. My fear is leaping and being alone for the rest of my life.

#27 loving_partner

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:32 AM

My fear is leaping and being alone for the rest of my life.


This isn't normally the direction that I advise, but please don't confuse being afraid of being alone with wanting to stay with her! If you love her and want to stay with her, then you will work together and try to find a happy compromise. If you stay with her only because you are afraid of being alone, you will both be miserable.

#28 RubyTuesday

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:34 AM

Hi SexualHubby, :cake: and commiserations for your situation.

I'd been pretty judgemental of my wife, seeing her sexual indifference as selfish and cruel, and she'd seen my keenness as similarly unreasonable and inconsiderate of her stated needs.


It took quite a while, but we're back to somewhere good now. But as much as that's thanks to my acceptance of my wife's asexuality, it's also due to her acceptance of my sexuality.


Olivier - thank you so much for your words. You describe so well my own situation, except that I'm the "asexual wife", who had no idea until a few months ago that the orientation existed. I completely agree that that knowledge about myself also helped me to better understand my husband's sexuality, and not put it down to selfishness and deliberate lack of consideration for my needs.

I also want to say to sexualhubby that it's very difficult to feel love for someone else when you feel so threatened yourself. For many, many years, I told myself I'd be better off out of this marriage, and that when our children were grown up, I'd start a new life. (Sorry that's such a cliche, but it was very important to me to keep our family together.) But we've been on our own for over 10 years now, so if I'd really wanted to go I've had plenty of time. When it comes down to it, I know the good times outweigh the bad, and now that I understand so much better what has caused the bad times, I'm more hopeful we can have more good times. And the reassurance I have found from knowing about asexuality and that my lack of desire for sex does not mean there's either something wrong with me or that I'm just with the wrong man, has helped enormously. I've just realised that it must sound incredibly stupid that I've never tried to have sex with anyone else to test whether it would "work better", but I think that just goes to show how asexual I really am!

I suppose the worst way of looking at it is that for me with sex it's just a case of "better the devil you know", but then I don't suppose any relationship is perfect, and for the time being, I'm much happier with mine than I was before I discovered this forum. So thanks again to the people that have helped me by sharing their experiences, and I do hope that you (sexualhubby) and your wife will find a way to stay together, or at least make an informed decision to part, not one based on lack of real understanding of the other's wants and needs.
Remember you can fly!

#29 SexualHubby

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:40 PM

Came back from the marriage counseling- The counselor listened well and understood both sides well. That was good- still we're at a standstill though. He did recognize the fact that we are very very different and have little in common and told us that what little could over-lap, and with the intimacy/sexual incompatibility issue we have, it would be a very difficult challenge to make the marriage work. Now it is up to us to choose our course of action- stay together or split up. The marriage counselor will help us with whatever direction we choose or we can go back to him for more analysis of our issues and why we ended up like we did (I think we both know without more of what we had tonight). My wife sees an individual counselor later this week- we'll see how that goes. I'm still leaning towards splitting up (although she wants to work it out) as I see no hope to rekindle anything as I feel that on my end, the spark went out several years ago- I just understand things better now.

#30 evanescence

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:56 PM

<<I also know that no matter what kind of program or therapy I or we go through to “rekindle” the spark, it will not change the fact that she does not like sex and does not enjoy the kind of “connection” that we sexuals feel we gain from it. I certainly can’t ask her to go to sex therapy in good conscience. It would be like asking a heterosexual to engage in homosexual acts- I understand all of that now.>>

I think this is an enormously important insight. Congratulations to you for "getting it." Not to sound trite, but better late than never. Don't feel guilty about divorcing her, even if she begs for you to stay. You deserve to experience real sex, just as your wife deserves to experience freedom from the pressure to have and want sex.

JMHO Evanescence




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