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"Divide and Conquer" Approach To Compromise- Save the villagers!:)

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Hello:) This is my very first topic thread initiation so...lol, please forgive my sad newbie status:) I posted this little write-up kind-of deep in another thread, but thought I would post this here as well. I was going to post it to the compromise thread, but honestly, as a new person, that thread is overwhelming and I thought maybe there might be some other forum "beginners" that might appreciate a new thread that was a little less intimidating! I would love to hear if anyone else is trying a version of the "divide and conquer" approach, what they are doing and how it is working!

I am EXTREMELY sexual, and my husband is asexual with a natural biological drive that kicks in about two to three times a year. He is happy to have sex about once a month as a compromise and I could seriously do it every day. It's a huge gap, in terms of natural drive and desire, and, it goes without saying that that can make anyone feel trapped in their sexuality! That is WAY different than feeling trapped in your marriage. I know that I have absolute freedom to stay or leave. What makes this forum great is that we all want to stay and are working hard to support each other as best we can.

For what it's worth, my husband and I came up with a kind-of 'divide and conquer' approach to my sexuality and our sexual interaction as a couple. We look at it kind of like a city powered by lots of rivers. For most people, sexuality is a main river that sources the city with a ton of power. Therefore, sexual couples benefit a lot by finding ways to increase the force of those rivers into the city. For those of us who are sexual and married or in relationships with aces, our rivers, or at least mine, tends to flood our city and destroy all the happy villagers:) So for us, finding ways to divert that river is the healthiest thing for our little town. We are still working out how to do that, and are definitely still figuring stuff out. We do, however, have this open document that we can both edit that outlines where the focus of our intimacy is, what role sex plays in our marriage, all the different parts of my sexuality and the associated needs, as well as options for how those needs can be met. It has made me feel a lot freer, and like I actually have viable outlets. Before we started to put it together, I outlined, for myself, the different dimensions of my sexuality. For me personally the list included the following aspects: spiritual connection, emotional connection, a bridge to deeper intimacy, biological drive, stress relief, the thrill of the game (see below), the ability to relinquish control, and a few other things. Using that as a guide, we outlined ways each of those needs could be met. Like ingredients for moose munch, the parts do not equal the whole. You can eat white chocolate, popcorn, almonds and M & M's separately and they are really good. When you melt them all together though, you have something that is so good you should really only eat it at holidays:) It would be awesome to get it all in one place. I would love that. But that's not our life, so we are working really hard to be creative in our approach and see where it takes us. Here is kind-of an outline of what we have going:

1. We started by outlining what place sex and sexuality holds in our relationship- it's a small side component for us

2. We outlined how we generally experience intimacy and where we will look for and invest most heavily- companionship is where it's at for us

3. We acknowledged that sexual intimacy is always going to be a really important expression of love for me, and so should still be included in our interactions, as long as we always value and honor our different sexual orientations in the process.

4. We also agreed that beyond that, I need outlets for the parts of my sexuality that we can't share together. Things that honor our relationship and our commitment and still give me some freedom and outlet options.

5. We came up with a comprehensive list of sexual outlets for me that are just mine, (i.e not things we have to do together but things I can choose to do whenever I want to). Each addresses a different dimension of my sexuality:

- The Eucharist- Yep, I am starting with the one that is going to seem the weirdest!!! We are Catholic, and I am not going to try and make this make sense, because I think it either does or it doesn't. But somehow, and I don't understand it, but somehow, I personally find the spiritual part of my sexual needs addressed when I take the Eucharist. Lol, I feel like I should try to explain that more, but honestly....it wouldn't help so I am just going to move on:)

- Working out- addresses stress relief and endorphin rush cravings

- Arm wrestling buddy- this one is something that is definitely edgy, but that we are experimenting with. If you were really into arm wrestling, and you took your opponent to the table every single time instantly with no competition at all, it would be really unsatisfying. One of the things that I crave in my sexuality is that push back. Feeling the other person meet you and give as much as they get so to speak. Someone who it will take skill and all your strength to "beat". The give and take, back and forth part where both people instinctually know what to do next. So that is an area that is naturally tough for us. Tough for me to have satisfied and hard for him to simulate on a regular basis. So we came up with this idea to address that. We have agreed that finding an online arm-wrestling buddy is an acceptable outlet. Something that is purely chat based, no real names, no in-person contact. Just the outlet of a shared interest in the surface level enjoyment of being desired, not focused on a deeper connection or anything at all meaningful beyond pure sexual attraction and sexual outlet. We set-up parameters that made us both feel comfortable: Complete honesty. Nothing hidden, shameful or secret. My husband can read or ask about anything he wants to at any time, can access convos on his own, and will never be out of the loop if he wants to know anything, though generally he will probably choose out-of-the-loopness. Our hard line is nothing in person, and no actual physical contact. We also have other guidelines like not talking to other people when we are hanging out and if it starts making things in our relationship weird, we reassess and make changes accordingly. It honestly feels so good to have some kind of option that lets me have that back and forth, but with the safety of anonymity, and the complete openness that removes shame, guilt, deception and the violation of trust. Even if we have to adjust these initial guidelines or throw it out altogether, it's still really cool to have this option to explore.

- "Solo time" whenever I want it:) Lol, probably will just leave it at that lol.

6. We also outlined how we would approach our sexual relationship:

- Take responsibility for giving each other good information. If one of us isn't straight with the other and lies or misleads about a need or doesn't mention it, that is on them, not the other person. We are totally honest and up front with each other, and take what the other person says at face value, trusting them to communicate accurately about themselves.

-Frequent open and honest communication. We have been learning a lot about letting each other feel sad or whatever openly and not feeling the other person should jump to fix it. It turns out letting people feel hard emotions without just trying to fix it all and instead simply being present is hard. But when it happens, it is really really amazing and extremely freeing because all the sudden you don't have to hide from each other any more.

- Have all the fun we possibly can all the time we can have it! Put tons of energy into feeling connected in ways that make us both really happy, whatever that happens to be at the time. If there are sexual things that make both of us happy, do it! If there are non-sexual things that make both of us happy, do those too!

- Sex once or twice a month- we have decided to schedule this pretty intentionally, with specific dates. That way I know how long I need to wait and he can get his head into the game so to speak.

- Husband assisted personal time for me a couple times a month:)- I need to feel overpowered sometimes. I am fairly on top of things and in control most of the time, and there are some things we do in the bedroom that let me kind-of let go and loose control in a way that I find really really stress-relieveing and freeing. And he finds those activities pretty fun too, for kind-of different reasons than I do, but as we are both having fun, who cares? :) So we are, again, going to schedule this very specifically, so we both have the same expectations. Obviously giving grace when things have to move around, but if a date does get moved, we are specifically rescheduling it for an actual date, not just saying, 'catch you later'.

- Keep praying together- I started the list with some of our God stuff and I figured I'd just end it that way too:) Always a good option and keeps us centered in what we truly value most deeply.

So anyway, I don't know if that sounds too intense or edgy or if it doesn't seem like a workable option for anyone but us. But I will say that having this all written down and getting to engage so openly and honestly has been amazing for both of us. As I said before, I really did feel super trapped in my sexuality before, and as the tension built up...all the hard thoughts got harder. Now I feel like I have space to breathe. I have options. And that is amazing for me, for him, and for our relationship. :) I'd love to hear what others are doing as well!!!!

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