Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

teagansk

Sexuals - How to replace empty feeling

Recommended Posts

Sally

And as to a "business contract " if you feel that any commitment is a business contract then you're right. I don't. If you have a child and one day you FEEL like leaving, you're breaching a personal commitment, definitely, not a business contract. And if by THEIR feelings you're just envisaging the parent's, not the child's, then there is not much more to be said: May you have a wonderful life!!!

That's a rather silly analogy. A relationship partner is not a child. I was responsible for the wellbeing of my children when they were minors, and I am still responsible for the wellbeing of my developmentally disabled daughter. I am not responsible for the wellbeing of another capable adult. Nor are you, or anyone, married or not.

As far as "Otherwise it looks like all rules that were governing our marriage when we married", there you go with the rules again. Did someone read out those rules to you? Did you read them out to your wife? Did you inform her that any change in her feelings must be cleared through you? If not, sounds like non-disclosure to me, and therefore the business contract is nullified. May you and she have wonderful lives separately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

What Steve calls 'rules' I'd call 'agreement', and all relationships have them, implicit or explicit. Changing the agreement over how much sex you'll have together will affect both of you, whether it's to more or less. The agreement needs renegotiating.

I think 'how much sex', or how important it is for the relationship, is often implicit and it's easy for each side to assume it errs towards their own predilections. HLs assume more, because that's the norm, culturally and statistically, and people who with lower libidos or who are asexual assume less because they just don't see it as important.

I am not responsible for the wellbeing of another capable adult. Nor are you, or anyone, married or not.

But you are, if they're your partner, to the extent that you've made a commitment to each other and your actions affect each other. Many asexuals feel guilt about not being able to have the desire that would make their partners happy. Many sexuals feel guilt about the pressure that puts on their partner. That's accepting some responsibility for another adult's wellbeing. To not have that in a relationship would indicate to me there's no love.

Exactly how much of that is reasonable or acceptable is something else, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve2050

Right on the nail, Sally. You are not responsible. I am. From the moment I said "I do" I was responsible for her weelbeing and she was responsible for mine. Otherwise we should have asked the marriage sentences to read "I promise before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife/husband; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; so long as we both shall live or until I feel otherwise". When I say the rules, unless the word is complicated for you, it means "the rules of the game". They are non written, non spoken, non signed. They just are. Just as you don't walk naked in the street, you don't hit a child when it's screaming in the bus, you don't drink your soup out of the bowl in a restaurant, etc. In Spanish they are called "Reglas de convivencia" which more or less translates as "Rules of coexistence". If you don't have them in your life you must have a wonderful intuition. So I don't have to "inform her that any change in her feelings" must do this or that. Any change in her feelings without any catastrophic consequence in my life does not have to be cleared by anyone. Any change in her feelings that puts my life upside down definitely has to. Or else it's not a couple, it's just two individuals without a commitment, without a sense of belonging, without a compass. If that's your vision of a fulfilling life for a couple then I understand. I have four children whom I dearly love, just as I love my wife, she's not responsible for being asexual, nor am I responsible for that. Being asexual and not having sex means she lives the life she wants. If I didn't have sex I would not be living the life I want. I started when my youngest turned 18. And I am very happy. My wife supposedly doesn't know, because just as with her asexuality these things are not discussed, but being extremely intuitive I am sure she knows. Either way I don't care, just as she doesn't care whether she committed to a sex life when she was young and then unilaterally decided otherwise. That's what we would call a win-win situation. Now you tell me what your win-win situation would be (or hopefully is)...

Exactly, Telecaster68, difficult to put it better than "The agreement needs renegotiating". Should we have renegotiated 25 years ago I am sure we would have agreed on a zero sex policy with her (which it hasn't been, much to her discomfort, but close to zero) and a free sex policy for me. The end result would have been the same (because the family is extremely united) but I would have enjoyed some sex during my best years. But from reading these pages I realize there are some fundamentalists who follow the same rationale as vegans: they are not content with refusing to eat animal products, they must try and convert other people to doing that and, in the worst case scenario, to accept that they are wrong...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

Being deliberately deceived would mean one knows exactly what they want before they enter such a relationship. Learning more about oneself is not deliberately deceiving someone. Neither is admitting this is OK short term, you thought it would be the same long-term but it just isn't.

Ah, I see your point now. Well, first off, I agree that whatever you didn't know at the time, you can't be held responsible for later. I also agree that everyone can make mistakes and end up being wrong about what they would be okay with in the long term.

I think the reason I had a hard time imagining your example was because I have a very high expectation to self honesty and introspection in myself and any friend/partner of mine. For instance, my partner never tried to pretend that she enjoyed sexuality or anything of the sort. She's always been completely honest about her feelings. If she hadn't, however well meant, it would probably have been a deal breaker for me, just because it would have destroyed my trust in her. However, I acknowledge that these are just my personal standards to a friend/partner, not everyone's.

I didn't know asexuality even EXISTED when I first entered my current relationship. I had issues with sex, but I was told it was because I was doing it wrong, or my partner was, or I just needed to loosen up, etc etc. So, my trying and trying wasn't "deceiving" it was simply listening to stupid advice cause society claims everyone loves sex. But, ya know, when EVERYONE you know says it, you tend to believe it. Five years in, I just couldn't do it anymore.. I didn't want to try to like it and love it and want it. Did that change the relationship? Yeah, of course. In the same way my partner telling me he really didn't want to share the bed anymore did. In the same way my partner saying he really didn't want to cuddle anymore did.

Sorry. I believe you. It's just very hard for me to understand how one could go for such a long time without coming to realize this about oneself.

That does NOT mean I can just go get what he can no longer offer from someone else, same as he can't get what I can't offer from someone else. That isn't how a monogamous agreement works. It's not "give me everything I want, or I go elsewhere" - that's unrealistic and idealistic.

I very honestly think that coming to understand such a fundamental flaw in the assumptions on which a relationship was founded indeed does make all agreements null and void. If neither party had any idea what the other, or even they themselves, were like when the agreements were made, then those agreements are meaningless and essentially the relationship needs to be newly defined. I don't agree either that this makes it fine to just go and cheat on your partner without permission; But it'd equally not be fine to at this point expect the partner to adjust to the new situation without any kind of negotiating. Basically, in my opinion, the relationship should be rendered void/broken up, and negotiations should start to either re-establish the relationship with the new knowledge, or not. If the relationship continues, as has happened in your case, that's fine. But if it doesn't, that should be fine, too and the problem with marriage is that there are mechanisms in place to explicitly discourage one partner from breaking up without the consent of the other, even in situations like this. So I kind of see where Steve is coming from, even though I don't completely agree with him.

If you feel that you had an agreement to have sex a lot AND breaking that is a major breach of trust then...the solution isn't "I will hurt you for hurting me". That's not healthy. That's toxic. And isn't going to end well if your wife is against it.

Fully agreed to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

Right on the nail, Sally. You are not responsible. I am. From the moment I said "I do" I was responsible for her weelbeing and she was responsible for mine. Otherwise we should have asked the marriage sentences to read "I promise before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife/husband; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; so long as we both shall live or until I feel otherwise". When I say the rules, unless the word is complicated for you, it means "the rules of the game". They are non written, non spoken, non signed. They just are. Just as you don't walk naked in the street, you don't hit a child when it's screaming in the bus, you don't drink your soup out of the bowl in a restaurant, etc. In Spanish they are called "Reglas de convivencia" which more or less translates as "Rules of coexistence". If you don't have them in your life you must have a wonderful intuition. So I don't have to "inform her that any change in her feelings" must do this or that. Any change in her feelings without any catastrophic consequence in my life does not have to be cleared by anyone. Any change in her feelings that puts my life upside down definitely has to. Or else it's not a couple, it's just two individuals without a commitment, without a sense of belonging, without a compass. If that's your vision of a fulfilling life for a couple then I understand. I have four children whom I dearly love, just as I love my wife, she's not responsible for being asexual, nor am I responsible for that. Being asexual and not having sex means she lives the life she wants. If I didn't have sex I would not be living the life I want. I started when my youngest turned 18. And I am very happy. My wife supposedly doesn't know, because just as with her asexuality these things are not discussed, but being extremely intuitive I am sure she knows. Either way I don't care, just as she doesn't care whether she committed to a sex life when she was young and then unilaterally decided otherwise. That's what we would call a win-win situation. Now you tell me what your win-win situation would be (or hopefully is)...

Exactly, Telecaster68, difficult to put it better than "The agreement needs renegotiating". Should we have renegotiated 25 years ago I am sure we would have agreed on a zero sex policy with her (which it hasn't been, much to her discomfort, but close to zero) and a free sex policy for me. The end result would have been the same (because the family is extremely united) but I would have enjoyed some sex during my best years. But from reading these pages I realize there are some fundamentalists who follow the same rationale as vegans: they are not content with refusing to eat animal products, they must try and convert other people to doing that and, in the worst case scenario, to accept that they are wrong...

Honestly, I don't judge you. You are free to lead your relationship/marriage in whatever way you prefer as long as that works for you. And no, I don't think "cheating" is an issue there anyway. What you lack is, and I don't think you can deny that, honesty and communication. If that's truly not of importance to the two of you, no problem, but I honestly fail to see how you could ever be effective at being "faithful wife/husband" without good communication and honesty. Or maybe that was your point, that neither of you are being faithful?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally

Being asexual and not having sex means she lives the life she wants. If I didn't have sex I would not be living the life I want.

Then that's the reality of your situation. She wants no sex; you want sex. You each have an equal right to live the life you want as you are now, no matter what happened or didn't happen or how you each felt 10-15-25 years ago.

Your problem now is how the two of you deal with that noncongruity, without either of you becoming bitter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

Which is fine in theory.

In practice though, since the status quo suits one person better than it suits the other, they have almost no incentive to change. That puts all the onus on the sexual partner to either do all the changing, leave, or find an incentive for their partner to see the value of a compromise. And then the sexual partner is seen as blackmailing, trying to 'heal' the asexual partner etc.

Sometimes the asexual partner feels they've been compromising all along and can't/won't do it any more, sometimes what they see as a massive compromise from their new position is in practice a compromise of a previous compromise, pulling it further in theasexual's direction.

Both sides feel they're doing more than the other. The asexual by having sex at all; the sexual because they've probably never had anything like the sex they've desperately needed. (for reference, Mckinsey stats are 4-5 times a week in your twenties or thirties, a couple of times a week after that. Obviously an extremely broad brush but that's the baseline, rather than the 'once a month is ample' figure that is sometimes assumed)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

Both sides feel they're doing more than the other. The asexual by having sex at all; the sexual because they've probably never had anything like the sex they've desperately needed. (for reference, Mckinsey stats are 4-5 times a week in your twenties or thirties, a couple of times a week after that. Obviously an extremely broad brush but that's the baseline, rather than the 'once a month is ample' figure that is sometimes assumed)

While I agree with the rest of your post, this part seems pretty.. well.. entitled to me. I think it's absolutely fine to want/desire/expect a certain amount of sex in a relationship and to see the absence of it as a deal breaker. But living for years and years without any chance or hope to ever have sex.. Welcome to my life, friend. Feel free to leave your relationship if you can't deal with it, but don't act as if your partner is doing you some kind of great injustice by not giving you something that many people in this world just have to deal with not ever getting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

It's no more entitled than expecting birthday presents from friends and family. Rationally, yes, it is entitled, but since that's what nearly everybody does it's hard to see it as unreasonable.

My point with the stats was the disparity in baseline expectations on both sides, and that affects what you see as a fair compromise. My perception from AVEN is that asexuals have no idea what the stats are - either they think sexuals are at it like rabbits indiscriminately (and they reject that as any kind of option) or that maybe once a month or once a quarter are the norm. So the compromise is between 'never' and 'once a month' to the asexual so once a quarter seems fair. To sexuals, the compromise is between say 3 times a week, and never, which is maybe more like once a week. They're not going to agree.

So then there's a compromise on the compromise, either explicit or implicit, and because the status quo is 0,it ends up way more like once a month than once a week. That's one quarter of what the sexual would settle for, but more or less what the asexual thought was okay.

Sorry if this is a mass of broad brush generalisations and not too clear... I'm on my phone on a bus. I hope you get the drift tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
butterscotchwm

In some of these instances where spouse A is asexual and spouse B is sexual, spouse A doesn't identify with the spouse B's feelings or sexual needs, and therefore will find it hard to empathize. They might think "What's the big deal about not having sex? Why is that so hard for you? Why are you so obsessed with sex?" This is even more likely to happen with unknown asexual people who don't really know or understand what it means to be asexual. Therefore, spouse B's sex life gets put on hold, and they become miserable because they need it emotionally in order to achieve intimacy with their partner. BUT spouse A does not need it and would most likely prefer not to have it.

This is why asexual education and visibility NEEDS to be a thing. Ideally, person A would find out that they were asexual, and fully understand what it means to be asexual vs. non-asexual, before making a life-time commitment to someone they aren't sexually compatible with. The truth of someone's partner being asexual shouldn't be a knife, but a remedy.

I do have a question for some of you spouse B's who are currently very miserable in your relationship... Are you committed to your relationship with spouse A because you're holding on to a sliver of hope that maybe things will change? Because unfortunately, asexuality is a sexual identity, and people's identities don't usually change. I would say: get thee to a marriage counselor so that you two can openly and honestly talk about each other's issues and decide if divorce or annulment is the best option. You guys can still love each other unconditionally, but to be in a successful marriage relationship you kind of HAVE to be sexually compatible. I'm sorry to say this because I know practically none of you want to divorce your partners, but you probably have to. Go see a marriage counselor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

I agree it would help if asexuality was better known in a lot of cases. However, sometimes (like in this case) it seems all desire to have sex with anyone disappeared at menopause, so education wouldn't make any difference. It seems to be pretty common. The 'will I have a libido post menopause' articles try to dance round it in with their cheerleading, but it's there if you read carefully.

Just to be clear: my wife doesn't identify as asexual, and I'm not labelling her beyond noting she says she felt no attraction to anyone and has no libido. It's just easier for me to not be enveloped by misery and rejection and we get along better if I privately bracket it as asexual, on the 'if it quacks like a duck' principle. She's trying to do the 'I'll try to enjoy your enjoyment' bit as she's not repulsed, and I just have to let go of the idea I'll ever be desired again. She refuses counselling. The options are find a way to live with it, or disentangle 16 years of married life when the rest of the relationship is very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gayasanaro

There's always masturbating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

Just like there's decaff coffee, aspartame, and alcohol free beer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Epic Tetus

I think the reason I had a hard time imagining your example was because I have a very high expectation to self honesty and introspection in myself and any friend/partner of mine. For instance, my partner never tried to pretend that she enjoyed sexuality or anything of the sort. She's always been completely honest about her feelings. If she hadn't, however well meant, it would probably have been a deal breaker for me, just because it would have destroyed my trust in her. However, I acknowledge that these are just my personal standards to a friend/partner, not everyone's.

I didn't know asexuality even EXISTED when I first entered my current relationship. I had issues with sex, but I was told it was because I was doing it wrong, or my partner was, or I just needed to loosen up, etc etc. So, my trying and trying wasn't "deceiving" it was simply listening to stupid advice cause society claims everyone loves sex. But, ya know, when EVERYONE you know says it, you tend to believe it. Five years in, I just couldn't do it anymore.. I didn't want to try to like it and love it and want it. Did that change the relationship? Yeah, of course. In the same way my partner telling me he really didn't want to share the bed anymore did. In the same way my partner saying he really didn't want to cuddle anymore did.

Sorry. I believe you. It's just very hard for me to understand how one could go for such a long time without coming to realize this about oneself.

The problem is everyone prepares you for sex being a vital part of your life, and ties the idea of sex really tightly to the idea of romance. If you have a libido and you want to be close to someone and the idea of sex doesn't repulse you - what's supposed to tip you off that something is different?

Yeah, looking back, a lot of things make more sense for me now, like how I always thought people who talked about how hot other people were were exaggerating to look cool, and how I never really understood the question "Do you prefer blondes or brunettes?", but in the moment I chalked it up to me being a bit shy and awkward.

It wasn't until my lack of desire caused problems for the marriage that I even started to think there was something very wrong. But it was a few years late by then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

To clarify - I did know I didn't really like sex, but I was told I would get over that (which is the part I didn't know was wrong). I even told him before we met IRL (which was before any relationship) that I had issues with maintaining any interest in sex during a relationship that lasts longer than 6 months (during limerence for me, any touch is good, I don't care what... so sex is never an issue for me until after that fades, when I what I actually like/dislike starts to matter a lot more). He told me it was because I was dating inexperienced partners, which is the exact same thing most people told me... and that after a few years with an experienced partner, I would find what I liked and sex would be awesome. It's kinda hard to go "Ok, 20+ people who are all MUCH older than me (at the time I was 19) say this is true, they say they've been through it, but I KNOW they are all wrong". Not a lot of teenagers are gonna be able to know the world and themselves well enough to do that. Especially when asexuality is not discussed/known about. I had never heard of anyone in the world that did not like sex.

And no, he wasn't all sex no non-sexual intimacy when we got together. He would cuddle me for hours, kiss, massages, etc. But, again, I am his longest relationship. Things you don't particularly like tend to become an issue after years, when the "honeymoon" phase ends. He was in his 30s, but mostly did FWB and sex-only relationships, which leave you little room to learn about what you like in a romantic life sharing type relationship.

When you get together like that, you learn a lot about yourself. And the other person. And there is growth and change. And I will NEVER require him to ask my permission to change how he feels about something. I mean, he can realize he doesn't like cuddling and tell me that. He can realize sleeping in the same bed makes it hard to work early cause of a bad night's sleep and need to sleep elsewhere. It's HIS life and HIS feelings. I don't own him, he doesn't need my permission for that. We got married, not enslaved. My permission is never needed to be himself. Or do what is right for him. Same as he doesn't own me and doing what is right for me is not something I need permission for.

Now, that doesn't mean we have to stay together if at any point us being ourselves causes too much of a burden on the other. We have already discussed at what points our relationship will end. If I one day cannot compromise on sex, it ends. If he one day wants another woman romantically/sexually, it ends. If he really wants to go back to drugs and such, it ends. If I decide I really do need the non-sexual cuddling and stuff, it ends, cause I would need it from another guy not him since he doesn't like it.

I don't know a lot of asexuals in a mixed relationship that think once a month and nothing is the place you have to negotiate from. Most know their partner's libido and needs, because it's been discussed. But, there is what an asexual can HANDLE and what they CANNOT. Sex, when you do not enjoy it, can be draining at best and traumatic at worst. It's not easy. It's n ot easy for the sexual either. Most I have talked to know that. And feel guilty about it. But, you can't hurt yourself to please your partner, either. It's a careful balance in a mixed relationship.. And sometimes that balance cannot be achieved. Mine is in constant flux to try to keep us both happy. It's complicated. It's easier when the ace does enjoy sex, though.

As for the who does most - I personally find that a big trap that's easy to fall into, but not really good to do. On paper, I do the most. My ideal is 0. His ideal is 1-2 times a day. We end up at 4-7 a week. But, paper isn't accurate. Numbers mean nothing. It's about EMOTIONAL cost and that can't be measured, really. It takes X emotional energy for me to have sex. It takes Y emotional energy for him to not have sex. Who has it worse? Who knows? And who cares? We get to the point we can both be content, that's the goal. When that can't be reached, we have agreed to split, because we don't want to try to stay together if it's not working. If we had to lie to each other like that, we wouldn't find it worth it. Even if throwing away nearly a decade together would kinda suck.

Tar - I can see breaking up and totally renegotiating it all again if something major changes. But, if staying together, I just talk it out and see if something mutually works.

What is chosen is up to the couple, of course. Nothing is "wrong" if both consider it the right solution. And of course it's not cheating if both are OK with that (even if the agreed upon solution is don't ask, don't tell).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally

When you get together like that, you learn a lot about yourself. And the other person. And there is growth and change. And I will NEVER require him to ask my permission to change how he feels about something. I mean, he can realize he doesn't like cuddling and tell me that. He can realize sleeping in the same bed makes it hard to work early cause of a bad night's sleep and need to sleep elsewhere. It's HIS life and HIS feelings. I don't own him, he doesn't need my permission for that. We got married, not enslaved. My permission is never needed to be himself. Or do what is right for him. Same as he doesn't own me and doing what is right for me is not something I need permission for.

:cake: :cake: :cake:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally

She refuses counselling.

Counseling doesn't affect how you physically feel (or don't feel).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
butterscotchwm

Ah yes... I'm sure a lot of asexuals would refuse counseling - I can understand that personally. There's always this doubt that the counselor will not understand that person's asexuality and just diagnose that person with HSDD, or say that the asexual person is the one who needs to re-evaluate themselves and start taking steps to sexually "reawaken."

I think if people are in a compromise situation that is good enough and livable (because everything else in the relationship is good), then staying in the relationship is their prerogative. For some I guess it might just be a matter of having somewhere to vent, which is exactly what this forum is for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

Counseling can help a lot in communicating, so even though it isn't likely to change the sexual/asexual partner wanting/not wanting sex, it can make opening up the understanding of both partners easier. But, yeah, I can see a lot of aces being scared of being told to just fix their broken selves and love sex. People on AVEN have been told that by therapists before. Not all are like that though, you can find ones that will work with you. So, if that IS a concern of anyone denying counseling - perhaps recommend calling and talking to various therapists and finding one that is accepting of asexuality when suggesting counseling to try to soothe those fears. For my relationship, it's actually the sexual partner that doesn't like therapy. But, therapy is a really good place to discuss such sensitive topics without it turning into a blame-flinging screaming match, since a lot of hurtful things get said when you're discussing the sex issue in a mixed relationship. So, it's a reasonable thing to want to try, if other things haven't worked.

To respond to the OP:

My partner doesn't come on AVEN. But, I think he feels a lot of that disconnect empty feeling the OP is talking about, because of the lack of mutual desire (even though we have sex, a person just laying there bored isn't the same). I know he has trouble feeling fully loved without that. Of course, on the flip side, I've had a fully intimate (naked cuddling, etc) relationship where me saying I didn't want to have sex meant we didn't. And so that leaves me feeling a bit ... off when sex always comes up with my partner. But, ya know, it's just difference in communicating your feelings. For him, sex is the easiest and best way. For me, it's just being close without sex and sex ruins it. You have to kinda try to find a way you can both understand to connect and keep the connection alive. And it's going to be different for most couples. For us, it often ends up being geeky nonsense. It doesn't make him stop wishing I could connect with him sexually. But, it's managed to keep us going for years after the asexuality discovery we both had (since I discovered it, told him about it, etc). *shrug*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

It's kinda hard to go "Ok, 20+ people who are all MUCH older than me (at the time I was 19) say this is true, they say they've been through it, but I KNOW they are all wrong". Not a lot of teenagers are gonna be able to know the world and themselves well enough to do that. Especially when asexuality is not discussed/known about. I had never heard of anyone in the world that did not like sex.

Well, I guess my partner is very unusual then. ^^ The problem is, this isn't just about asexuality. There are a myriad of ways in which someone can be "neurodiverse" and have some special property that 99% of population don't share. We can't raise awareness of all of them, we don't even know of all of them. It'd be very important that people in general learned to accept that some people are different, and that if someone's happy living a life that others wouldn't enjoy that way, that doesn't make them "mentally ill" or "in denial" or "she just doesn't like X because she hasn't tried it/isn't doing it right" or anything of the sort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Epic Tetus

It's kinda hard to go "Ok, 20+ people who are all MUCH older than me (at the time I was 19) say this is true, they say they've been through it, but I KNOW they are all wrong". Not a lot of teenagers are gonna be able to know the world and themselves well enough to do that. Especially when asexuality is not discussed/known about. I had never heard of anyone in the world that did not like sex.

Well, I guess my partner is very unusual then. ^^ The problem is, this isn't just about asexuality. There are a myriad of ways in which someone can be "neurodiverse" and have some special property that 99% of population don't share. We can't raise awareness of all of them, we don't even know of all of them. It'd be very important that people in general learned to accept that some people are different, and that if someone's happy living a life that others wouldn't enjoy that way, that doesn't make them "mentally ill" or "in denial" or "she just doesn't like X because she hasn't tried it/isn't doing it right" or anything of the sort.

This is true, but adjusting the attitude of everyone everywhere is sadly a lot harder.

In addition, from personal experience, if I'd known more about asexuality 8 years ago, my life would have been a lot different, and there'd be less hurt all around. If raising awareness can spare a single person that pain, it's worth it to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

Serran

I agree about numbers not really being the point, but they're about the only even slightly objective indicator of the respective amount of compromise. From what you've said, you make a massive effort and it's great you're both happy with it. But from the posts on here, a more common attitude is that sexual activity is closer to the 0 end of the scale, or even the compromise is around whether cuddles can move towards making out, and whether the stress of knowing that's going to happen, and go no further, is such that even cuddling comes off the agenda. Not all the time, but my perception is that it's way more common than starting from 0 and compromising on 4-7 times a week.

Here's another way of looking at it. Asexual wants never; sexual wants four times a week. Compromise on once a week. Asexual doesn't get what they want (no sex) 52 nights a year. Sexual doesn't get what they want (sex) 156 nights a year (IE three of the four nights a week). Thats 104 more nights a year they're in pain. Only if you say it's twice as painful for an asexual to have sex as it is for a sexual to not have sex, does that seem an equal compromise.

Of course in a way that's absurdly reductive, but it's easy for sexuals to feel that's how the asexual logic goes. Maybe that's the nature of compromise when one side of the negotiating starts from an absolute.

None of the above is intended as an attack btw. More me trying to figure out why in practice the logic of compromise can feel impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

See, but the numbers again aren't a good measurement. My ex who is sexual is in no pain with sex once every two weeks, my current partner is in pain if he goes two days without sex. Others don't particularly care if sex happens with their ace partner or not. An asexual who is repulsed or has issues with sex will be in pain having sex ever, perhaps to the point they seriously cannot mentally / emotionally handle even once a month, or even once a year. One that is neutral may be in pain only if it's weekly, or daily. While one who enjoys it might not ever really be in pain about sex.

But, a good way to do it, imo is to go "OK. My ideal is X, but I could probably handle Y. How about you?" If you're trying to do a compromise. If the asexual cannot handle ANY, then you have to then discuss other ideas - "Ok, you can't handle that. But, how about this?" (example, can't handle penetration, but may be able to handle oral or manual or some such). If all of it is off the table, then discuss other options - how do both feel about poly/open? Is celibacy completely off the table as well? etc, etc... kinda go over it all point by point until you both find something that is kinda like "Yeah, that might work". Of course, compromise doesn't mean it's a guarantee that it will happen exactly as agreed. It's usually a thing that changes all the time.

If nothing is reached after that, then that is where you hit a roadblock. I need this, you need to not have that at all... what do we do. If the emotional needs are that different, it becomes a serious problem. Because the sexual cannot hurt themselves and be miserable, but neither can the asexual. And a lot of the time having sex at all is going to be pretty harmful. And a lot of the times not having it enough is going to be pretty harmful. One should not hurt themselves to please another. So, then it becomes tricky.

The reason I CAN compromise on sex is because I am "neutral" - it's simply boring, not harmful. This doesn't mean I am more understanding or whatever of my partner than other asexuals. It means the emotional toll of sex is lower for me than many other aces. For me, it's more like doing the dishes... really boring, but if I make chore lists or run song lyrics through my head, so I am distracted enough to not be bored out of my skull, I can handle it (most the time). A lot of people feel really negative after sex though and that's not something you should make yourself feel for anyone, for any reason. Yes, it would be awesome if it was more like actually doing the laundry and you could evenly divide it up to make it look fair on paper. But, sex is a lot more complicated than that for most people. There is a vulnerability, an intimacy. If it gets to the point it's too much for me, I actually start to get a bit repulsed and being touched at all kinda makes my skin crawl (even if it's just a hug). My tolerance is just really high.

As for compromise being around cuddling/making out and stuff.. well, that kinda happens, yeah. Because say for me, cuddling is only enjoyable if it DOES NOT lead to sex. If it leads to it, I'd rather just not do it. It ruins that connection and safe feeling I love from cuddling. Which, I guess works, cause my partner doesn't really like cuddling anyway... so no risk of it leading to sex. But, being able to be sure you can do X without it leading to sex is actually really helpful for some aces. I have actually spent 8+ hours with no liquids (not even a glass of water) because I was too scared to walk past my partner and risk being asked for sex, because the anxiety of the constant "Everything might lead to sex and if I say no, it's a fight, or at best I get to feel really guilty because he obviously gets upset" ... it's not fun. That's why a lot of compromises involve days where it's 100% guaranteed no sex requests, so the ace can be free of that anxiety. And some prefer kinda knowing what days sex is expected, so they can prepare for it and it's not sudden out of the blue. Of course, some sexuals need it to be spontaneous. But, yeah. There is a lot involved in compromising, not just frequency of sex, but in other things as well.

Not having sex doesn't mean the ace doesn't understand it's hurting their partner. It doesn't mean they don't get sexuals need it. It doesn't mean they don't get it's an emotional and sometimes considered spiritual thing. A lot of the people who post the rather sex-negative things on the forums are younger, not been in a mixed relationship. I wouldn't judge us off the "Sexuals can think of nothing else!" sort of posts. I've talked to many aces in mixed relationships and they got it. They felt guilty. They just couldn't do it, because that would be throwing themselves into negative emotional states to please their partner. And I get not being willing to do that. Just like I get not being willing to stay if the sexual isn't getting their emotional / physical needs met. *shrug* If any of you think your partner truly doesn't understand your needs, then perhaps write them a letter, well written and in detail and let them soak it in before talking again - it can sometimes be hard to explain such personal things that are kinda alien to each other, some time to really think through what you want to say/let them think over what you have said can help. Especially if defensive behavior happens when you discuss it face-to-face, which is kinda common, it's easy to take the things said when discussing it personally.

Ah and my advice on deciding compromises : Never fall into the trap of "averages". The "average" couple does this or that, so we should too. What other couples do has no impact on what you as a couple should do. It's about personal needs, not keeping up with the Jones'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally

Not having sex doesn't mean the ace doesn't understand it's hurting their partner. It doesn't mean they don't get sexuals need it. It doesn't mean they don't get it's an emotional and sometimes considered spiritual thing. A lot of the people who post the rather sex-negative things on the forums are younger, not been in a mixed relationship. I wouldn't judge us off the "Sexuals can think of nothing else!" sort of posts. I've talked to many aces in mixed relationships and they got it. They felt guilty. They just couldn't do it, because that would be throwing themselves into negative emotional states to please their partner. And I get not being willing to do that. Just like I get not being willing to stay if the sexual isn't getting their emotional / physical needs met.

Yes ^^

I've read a lot of posts by frustrated sexuals who say "He's very happy; I'm miserable". I really doubt the asexual is happy when their partner is miserable. That's portraying asexuals as being heartless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

Broadly, I agree about the numbers thing - it's a rough proxy nothing more - and more to the point, it's about the differences are perceived, not frequency in itself. I wasn't talking about antisexual posts, more that your level of nonrepulsion doesn't seem to be that widely shared, going by posts on here.

And averages: obviously whatever works per couple is what works. But anecdotally on here, and other forums, asexuals seem to think in terms of times per month, or months per time, in some cases. Sexuals tend to think in days... And that's not anecdotal, that's data. It seemed a big difference, and likely skews what asexuals assume will be acceptable - starting points do that (read Nudge by Richard Thaler). This will affect how individuals tend to approach negotiating their relationships.

On my own situation - we're talking, we're making progress, but I'm not sure it will end up being enough. Not particularly because of frequency, but because my wife's lack of desire means that to me a huge chunk of how we express closeness is missing. What I thought was the most intense language between us was never there after all, and while taking pleasure in your partner's pleasure is better than pity sex, it's not nearly the same as actually wanting them sexually. Rationally.... Other ways to show love, Blah blah blah, yep, I get it. Rationally the closeness is a flood of oxytocin. Rationally, neglected orphans should choose food over human contact. But they don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telecaster68

"I really doubt the asexual is happy when their partner is miserable."

Yes, I've seen a lot of bitter sexuals who seem to lack the empathy to see their partner isn't happy, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

Using any data from other people is a recipe for failure in negotiating your own relationship anyway. Hopefully, if any aces/sexuals do that, they learn quickly they have to take things as they are between the two of them and not base anything off the forums, or talking to other people. Of course, some probably do try to base it off other people. But, that's a bad habit to get into.

And my level of non-repulsion.. probably not as common, but asexuality is a broad spectrum. Some even enjoy sex and are able to be into it and easier to compromise with them than with me. So, it's kinda up to each person and how they feel. But, repulsed or unable to do it at all/often is probably the most common, yeah.

And for your own situation - if it's not enough, then it's not enough. And I certainly wouldn't fault you for not staying if that was the case. We all have what we need in a relationship and no point keeping it going if we aren't getting it. Hopefully you can work something out, but if not, well... sometimes people aren't compatible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lady Girl

I've seen so many different numbers for what is average or healthy, and it indicates one thing to me...the average or healthy amount of sex is dependent on the person (and sadly sometimes what they've heard is healthy or average). I think the best approach is the one Serran proposes, figure out your own ideal and your own acceptable amount.

How you think about it affects your numbers too (your age might as well, and so might your group of friends). My ideal has varied wildly in my life so far, and so has what I felt I would call an acceptable amount.

One of the best things I learned on this site was to not compare my relationship to other couples or popular expectations. I'm in a non traditional situation, so basically I have to just see how I feel about it without all the comparisons and bemoaning of my lack (I had to let go of the why can't I have what they do mentality).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

Sexuals tend to think in days... And that's not anecdotal, that's data.

Before coming here, I believed that "once a week" was much and that I had simply an exceptionally high libido. So it's not even that "we tend to think that", it's more that that's how it seems to go down in practice.

I have actually spent 8+ hours with no liquids (not even a glass of water) because I was too scared to walk past my partner and risk being asked for sex, because the anxiety of the constant "Everything might lead to sex and if I say no, it's a fight, or at best I get to feel really guilty because he obviously gets upset" ...

o_O

That's why a lot of compromises involve days where it's 100% guaranteed no sex requests, so the ace can be free of that anxiety. And some prefer kinda knowing what days sex is expected, so they can prepare for it and it's not sudden out of the blue. Of course, some sexuals need it to be spontaneous. But, yeah. There is a lot involved in compromising, not just frequency of sex, but in other things as well.

Don't even know what to say..

Not having sex doesn't mean the ace doesn't understand it's hurting their partner. It doesn't mean they don't get sexuals need it. It doesn't mean they don't get it's an emotional and sometimes considered spiritual thing. A lot of the people who post the rather sex-negative things on the forums are younger, not been in a mixed relationship. I wouldn't judge us off the "Sexuals can think of nothing else!" sort of posts. I've talked to many aces in mixed relationships and they got it. They felt guilty. They just couldn't do it, because that would be throwing themselves into negative emotional states to please their partner. And I get not being willing to do that. Just like I get not being willing to stay if the sexual isn't getting their emotional / physical needs met.

Yes ^^

I've read a lot of posts by frustrated sexuals who say "He's very happy; I'm miserable". I really doubt the asexual is happy when their partner is miserable. That's portraying asexuals as being heartless.

Well, people in general are often heartless and don't care much for others as long as it doesn't affect them, in my experience even toward their partners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

I have actually spent 8+ hours with no liquids (not even a glass of water) because I was too scared to walk past my partner and risk being asked for sex, because the anxiety of the constant "Everything might lead to sex and if I say no, it's a fight, or at best I get to feel really guilty because he obviously gets upset" ...

o_O

Ok, I should probably clarify that was before we had things worked out - back when it was just "WHY WON'T YOU HAVE SEX WITH ME?" and me going "Erm, I dunno, cause I don't want it like you do?" (which, to his brain was "because I don't want you"...) without any of the labels and books and various other things to go "There, see, it's not just me!" :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...