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Telecaster68

For asexuals who just haven't been able to take it any more

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Telecaster68

Yes, there's definitely some anxiety in the mix there somewhere, and she's on some mildish ADs amongst other things. Obviously they can affect libido too but since she had no libido it seemed like a calculated risk.

She's never self identified as asexual and I don't really care about the labels in themselves. But at the beginning of the year she described herself in terms that were often word for word definitions of asexuality- no interest in sex, no libido, no fantasies, happy to never have it again, etc. - and for me, or was less stressful to start from the premise she was functionally asexual. It made it possible to get my head round her lack of interest not being a sign of anything wrong with our relationship or her. I'm not particularly bothered about hanging onto it as a label beyond its usefulness.

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TryingWife

As the sexually "indifferent" half in my marriage, I am fairly certain that the stress and conflict over sex over many years has done more to ruin our sex life than any low libido, affair, etc could ever do. I don't know about the OP's situation, but I know that the change happened very gradually over years for us. Sort of like boiling a frog. So I think it wasn't that hard for me to be a bit oblivious about it. And then it becomes the elephant in the room and takes the fun out of everything. Keep in mind that other than medical situations, a "dry spell" has almost never been more than a couple weeks. But if I ever really felt free to opt out for as long as I like, it could be much longer.

Using the tea analogy, would the tea maker expect the tea drinker to be unhappy if they decided to sleep in on Sundays and skip the tea? Maybe after a while they realize they enjoy the extra rest and skip tea more and more. At what point is the tea drinker allowed to demand more tea or be unhappy with the lack of tea service?

Another thought. If you are a person that just inherently doesn't think about sex that much, it's a bit hard to wrap your head around the idea that lack of sex could really be THAT distressing and it feels like the other person is like the spoiled kid at the store pouting over ice cream they wanted. It seems like a nicety that shouldn't be a big deal one way or another. And then it's very hurtful when it seems like sex matters more than you do.

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Telecaster68

Trying to wrap my head round a boiled frog turning into an elephant in the room... ;)

To de-analogise... it wasn't so much about when people are allowed to be unhappy - my focus is on at what point they'd notice. The whole how much sex is enough debate is so moot I didn't really want to get into it. In this case, it's dry spells of months and before there's any compromise, both sides have to register there's something to compromise on anyhow.

On pouting and ice-cream - that boils down to noticing but not caring, to be blunt.

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TryingWife

On pouting and ice-cream - that boils down to noticing but not caring, to be blunt.

That is a judgement based on an assumption that less sexual partner really "gets" all the complexities and the significance of sex to the other person. And that may not happen until there's been a lot of soul searching. I've spent a lot of time reading and thinking and trying to understand it in a way and I'm still not really there. I just really can't grasp it it in a instinctive way at all. I haven't been able to develop a parallel situation where there is something I need from my husband that would be so devastating or hurtful or evoke the same kind of anger as the sexual differences have caused. To me, it was in the same universe of all the other things that weren't ideal for one or the other of us. I used to pack his lunch every morning.

I'm sure he would like for me to do that still too and it honestly had taken me a long time to even begin to grasp how it could be any different. For a long time, it seemed to be in the same category as "it would be cool if you bought cocoa crispies more often". And my reaction to anger over the matter was about the same.

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Telecaster68
That is a judgement based on an assumption that less sexual partner really "gets" all the complexities and the significance of sex to the other person.

You don't have to understand all the whys and wherefores and ins and outs (sorry) to see how miserable its absence can make your partner, and by putting that misery in the same bracket as pouting for ice cream because you don't share it, you're essentially not caring about it. At some point, we all have to accept that there are things that mean lots to others that we'll just never understand, and not dismiss them. Like, not having sex means lots to you, and I'll never understand that.

I can understand there's no one thing that's a parallel for asexuals - but how about if he decided he couldn't face talking to you or cuddling you again, ever and insisted your ensuring misery was pouting childishly, because there are other ways to be intimate?

(Sorry if this sounds pointed. I'm not being snarky, just concise).

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Philip027

Simply put, when people don't speak up (no matter how miserable they try to appear about something) everyone else will assume everything is fine; possibly because it's easier for them that way, possibly because they just really won't get the idea any other way.

This doesn't just go for sexual mismatches. Believe me, I went through years of depression thinking my mom ought to have had a clue about it without me having to go "hey mom, I'm fucking depressed" but some people just really don't.

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TryingWife

You don't have to understand all the whys and wherefores and ins and outs (sorry) to see how miserable its absence can make your partner, and by putting that misery in the same bracket as pouting for ice cream because you don't share it, you're essentially not caring about it. At some point, we all have to accept that there are things that mean lots to others that we'll just never understand, and not dismiss them. Like, not having sex means lots to you, and I'll never understand that.

Exactly!! But we're all programmed to accept some things as "misery worthy" and other things as just wanting your own way. Have you ever seen how miserable someone can seem to be over something that is generally perceived as trivial (if not, try taking away your teens' cell phone for a week!!). If I told anyone that my husband had issued an ultimatum that he was leaving me unless I agreed to get up at 4AM and fix him a full breakfast every morning, most people would have no problem labeling him an a-hole. But if that's really important to him, it's really important to him and I have to decide if I can try to meet that expectation or not. But I would definitely resent being expected to make that choice. Maybe he'd settle for breakfast twice a week in deference to me, knowing that I'm not a morning person. Maybe we could be okay with that compromise, maybe not. Trade not wanting to fix breakfast to not being independently wild about sex, and I'm a frigid b**** that the poor bastard should drop like a hot rock. (Note - there is no breakfast demand, just using it as an example). But whether an expectation of breakfast is any more reasonable than an expectation of sex is definitely based on individual prejudices. Someone could be equally miserable with either loss, but one is definitely more empathized than the other.

I think trying to remove those prejudices from your assessments of other people's expectations is a huge part of the maturing process. Just because I don't understand it doesn't make it invalid on it's face. But not appreciating the depth of the loss isn't just selfishness on my part - it is just truly not being able to relate to sex being any more important to someone than a weekly manicure or any other luxuries we may not always get to indulge. Honestly, I don't have any emotional attachment to "not having sex". I just hate that it's such a big barrier in our relationship and that what I can give is not good enough.

I'll be honest - in the early phases of our "mismatch", a lot of my thought was something like "I'm drowning here and you're grumpy about getting laid????"

I really hope you and your SO find a solution to move forward. I just don't know what's going to happen here. But it definitely hurts.

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Telecaster68
when people don't speak up (no matter how miserable they try to appear about something) everyone else will assume everything is fine

For the specifics, yes, But humans as a species are adept at reading faces - large parts of our brains deal with it, more so than other animals (that's why we see faces in clouds, for instance). Then there's body language and tone of voice (and animals notice these things too). I'm at a loss as to how it's possible to miss these things about your partner when they're really upset. Apparently though, it is.

My argument is that having noticed something's amiss with the person you love, isn't it natural to ask what's wrong? If nothing of use is forthcoming, that's another issue, of course. And yes, that applies to everything, not just sex.

If I told anyone that my husband had issued an ultimatum that he was leaving me unless I agreed to get up at 4AM and fix him a full breakfast every morning, most people would have no problem labeling him an a-hole

I can completely follow your parallel about how unimportant sex is to you - my wife's version of that is any pleasure she got from it was like making me a cup of coffee. (To be fair, I'm total coffee snob...)

Obviously each couple can only in the end work out what's best for them, but the 'most people' here wouldn't assume marriages including dragging yourself out of bed at 4am to make breakfast for your spouse. 'Most people' would assume marriage includes sex (for Christians, that you're not committing adultery because you're married is pretty much the point of getting married if you go back to St Paul), and that most people like sex - because mostly, they do. So in face there's external pointers towards sex being important too, and because 99% of people do find sex important, it just is the default. I've never seen the importance of having a car, having kids, earning loads of money, but they're the defaults and I'm aware that most people think they're important, so if I was married to someone I knew loved cars, it wouldn't surprise and annoy me they wanted to have a car. Ultimately we all have to find our own way, but I think there's far more reason to be baffled and/or oblivious about the importance of 4am breakfasts than there is the absence of sex.

I'll be honest - in the early phases of our "mismatch", a lot of my thought was something like "I'm drowning here and you're grumpy about getting laid????"

He should've been sensitive to your drowning, too. Maybe I'm way more sensitive to people around me than I thought.

Thanks for your thoughts. We're progressing, I think, just at a glacial pace, which means the effort that at one point I was putting into not getting resentful about not being desired, I'm now putting into lowering my expectations of progress. The best outcome I can see at the moment is not having to put any effort into not being pissed off.

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Serran

Something to remember is people sometimes have different world views and experiences to others. For example, when I mentioned my lack of interest in sex, I had a friend be like "THAT'S TOTALLY NORMAL! Me and my husband haven't done it in a while, because when I want to, he doesn't and when he wants to, I don't. So we just haven't. Dry spells happen in marriage." And... I mean, she was talking over a year. She considered that "the norm" in sexual relationships. I've heard "As you get older sex just doesn't matter as much, find a quickie every so often and whatever. People expect it after years of marriage" from other married couples. My 20-something year old friend said not wanting it more than once a month or less is her norm. Then there is all the TV/movie junk of "Sex is what happens before you get married".

So... combine hearing things like that with a natural loss of interest and you might just think it's not as big a deal to your partner as it actually is. I know I have to constantly remind myself that it's an emotional need of my partner's, otherwise it just kinda feels like "Omg how can you possibly want this so often? Doesn't it get boring to do the same exact thing thousands of times?" ... if I wasn't actively reminding myself of it, then I just wouldn't think about the sex thing being an issue. And most older married women I have talked to (married 10-20 years) all tell me that not wanting sex much is normal at the stage of our relationship, so their advice would be harmful rather than helpful if I listened to it.

Sex for me, personally, is only "fun" at the early stages of the relationship. That is because of "limerence", I find ANY form of being around the person and/or touching the person fun. We could be watching a movie I hate and it would be fun. We could do anything and it'd be fun. But, then, my actual likes/dislikes come in and honestly, sex is so far from my mind it's not even funny unless I am reminding myself about it for my partner's sake. It's pretty easy to just slip into the natural state of "Sex? How could anyone want that?" about it. And it's honestly kinda tiring to try to keep up with "OK, how long has it been since my partner had something sexual from me? Is this too long?", because it isn't natural to consider it.

When you get to the point you just can't do it anymore (I have, temporarily, in the past) then it actually becomes something to be avoided... if I thought about it, I would feel anxious and horrible, so I didn't put that effort in to remind myself, because it was so negative to me to do so. Did I know lack of was causing distress? Sure, but to even so much as think of it would cause be distress and I knew if I pushed it, I would feel that way longer. Only way I can feel like compromising again after feeling like that is if I can totally get away from it - not think about it, not be asked, not be bothered and be able to feel like sex just doesn't even exist for a little while.

Of course, people's experiences will vary. But, those are my battles with not slipping into the no sex, no talking, no seeming to care about it state of mind within my relationship.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

When you get to the point you just can't do it anymore (I have, temporarily, in the past) then it actually becomes something to be avoided... if I thought about it, I would feel anxious and horrible, so I didn't put that effort in to remind myself, because it was so negative to me to do so. Did I know lack of was causing distress? Sure, but to even so much as think of it would cause be distress and I knew if I pushed it, I would feel that way longer. Only way I can feel like compromising again after feeling like that is if I can totally get away from it - not think about it, not be asked, not be bothered and be able to feel like sex just doesn't even exist for a little while.

Yep that exactly.

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Telecaster68

"if I thought about it, I would feel anxious and horrible, so I didn't put that effort in to remind myself, because it was so negative to me to do so. Did I know lack of was causing distress? Sure, but to even so much as think of it would cause be distress and I knew if I pushed it, I would feel that way longer. Only way I can feel like compromising again after feeling like that is if I can totally get away from it - not think about it, not be asked, not be bothered and be able to feel like sex just doesn't even exist for a little while."

I'm honestly sympathetic, and I know that the stress over the thought of sex is real and must be bad because in the end, it wins out over the stress you know is your partner is having. But it does win out. It's not that you don't care about them, it's that you can't help but care more about your own distress, as we all do in the end.

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Tarfeather

I feel that the stress of having sex when you don't really desire it is most likely genuinely harder to bear than simply not having sex.

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Sally

I think the point of knowing that your partner wants to have sex with you when you just about can't stand the thought of it is that you feel like you are a target. Even worse, you are a target for someone who you love, and who you know loves you. And you just want to get somewhere that you don't feel like that target; you don't want to hear about it, you don't want to talk about it, you just want to NOT BE A TARGET.

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Telecaster68
I feel that the stress of having sex when you don't really desire it is most likely genuinely harder to bear than simply not having sex.

I guess it depends on the respective needs of the partners - some asexuals actually quite like sex for their partner's sake even though they'd never think of it themselves so they're not going to be particularly stressed; and some sexuals can (apparently) be perfectly okay with what's clinically a sexless relationship, so they're not going to be as stressed as a more sexually active partner.and obviously all combinations in between.

The one thing that's always on the sexual is the lack of choice, and there's plenty of research showing that is a massive stressor - it's why for instance poor people working the same number of hours as rich ones are more stressed. The rich are choosing to work those hours, and how they organise their work. The poor have no control over those things.

Sally

I don't think the fact of being a target - in the sense of being objectified, I think you mean - is the difference. Sexuals target each other too but the difference is they enjoy being sexually objectified by their partner (in the context of a healthy relationship of course). So when you say 'not be a target', you're essentially meaning you don't want to be thought of sexually.

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Tarfeather

I think the point of knowing that your partner wants to have sex with you when you just about can't stand the thought of it is that you feel like you are a target. Even worse, you are a target for someone who you love, and who you know loves you. And you just want to get somewhere that you don't feel like that target; you don't want to hear about it, you don't want to talk about it, you just want to NOT BE A TARGET.

I might actually show my girlfriend this post and ask her if that's how she feels. I sure hope not, I've been trying very hard not to let that happen.

EDIT: I asked her and she says she doesn't feel that way.

The one thing that's always on the sexual is the lack of choice, and there's plenty of research showing that is a massive stressor - it's why for instance poor people working the same number of hours as rich ones are more stressed. The rich are choosing to work those hours, and how they organise their work. The poor have no control over those things.

I actually feel I have a huge amount of choice, but this might again boil down to perspective. I have choice in that I have a strong and enduring personality, and so I can actually choose whether I want to continue this relationship or not based on what I as a person want, not based on what my primitive instincts tell me to do.

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Skullery Maid

I feel that the stress of having sex when you don't really desire it is most likely genuinely harder to bear than simply not having sex.

Absolutely. Or, at least, having sex when you don't want to. And having sex while dreading having sex has got to be exponentially worse than just not having sex.

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Telecaster68

Maybe we should differentiate between 'having sex' and 'living in a sexless relationship' in this context.

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Lady Girl

Maybe we should differentiate between 'having sex' and 'living in a sexless relationship' in this context.

I would still agree with Skulls and tar. Having sex while dreading having sex seems worse (harder to bear) than living in a sexless relationship.

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Sally

Sally

I don't think the fact of being a target - in the sense of being objectified, I think you mean - is the difference. Sexuals target each other too but the difference is they enjoy being sexually objectified by their partner (in the context of a healthy relationship of course). So when you say 'not be a target', you're essentially meaning you don't want to be thought of sexually.

No, I didn't mean being objectified. I meant being the actual target of someone else's sexual feelings, being the person that they expect to engage in sex with them. That's very different from a sexual being a target for their partner for sexual activities that they want and enjoy. I don't care who thinks of me; I care who expects me to be something for them.

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Skullery Maid

Sally

I don't think the fact of being a target - in the sense of being objectified, I think you mean - is the difference. Sexuals target each other too but the difference is they enjoy being sexually objectified by their partner (in the context of a healthy relationship of course). So when you say 'not be a target', you're essentially meaning you don't want to be thought of sexually.

No, I didn't mean being objectified. I meant being the actual target of someone else's sexual feelings, being the person that they expect to engage in sex with them. That's very different from a sexual being a target for their partner for sexual activities that they want and enjoy. I don't care who thinks of me; I care who expects me to be something for them.

It's not the same, I know that, but I instinctively understand that "target" thing because of my introversion. When my partner comes home from work I get this knot in my stomach because I know she's going to tell me every detail of everything she did and said during the day... she looks at me with this look while she's talking that says "I want to receive meaningful nonverbal feedback from you" and I just stare at the ground, hoping she'll stop looking at me and hoping her phone will ring or something will take the giant TARGET sign off of me and refocus her energy elsewhere. It's an awful feeling.

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Float On
Having sex while dreading having sex seems worse (harder to bear) than living in a sexless relationship.

I personally take this perspective, but I am always wary of perspectives like these. why assume that only I am the one to suffer? I see others suffer, and I do not know their experience. maybe their pain is "worse" maybe mine is "worse" maybe one of us has better tolerance, then which one is "really worse"

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Frigid Pink

I mainly want to comment on communication in relationships. I view "implicit communication" as passive aggressiveness and strongly dislike it. It's not my responsibility to figure out my partner's feelings, it's their responsibility to communicate their feelings to me. I'm not a mind reader and I think it's unreasonable to expect someone to be one (or it's equivalent). If someone doesn't communicate their feelings to me, then that's on them, just as it's on me to share (and manage) my own feelings.

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Stranger
when people don't speak up (no matter how miserable they try to appear about something) everyone else will assume everything is fine

For the specifics, yes, But humans as a species are adept at reading faces - large parts of our brains deal with it, more so than other animals (that's why we see faces in clouds, for instance). Then there's body language and tone of voice (and animals notice these things too). I'm at a loss as to how it's possible to miss these things about your partner when they're really upset. Apparently though, it is.

We humans are definitely good at seeing patterns, but we're also pretty darn good at seeing patterns we want to see (or are looking for). It seems to me people are able to "not see" things all the time - especially things that cause stress that you can't affect. The example of this that leaps to mind is the spouse that is the last one to figure out they are being cheated on, in spite of seeing the cheater more than anyone else and probably knowing them better.

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closetPonyfan

It's the being oblivious to the effect of this part that baffles me. And it's not all asexuals, by any means. I know many are really anxious about it. But many also don't seem to have a clue.

I'm definitely interested to see some of the answers people might have to this thread. My wife recently went on a trip and was away for 10 days. It was the longest we'd been apart since we got married. She's Ace, but we do have sex probably 2 or 3 times per month. Maybe it's unreasonable but I was half hoping that we'd give it a go as soon as she got back. Not the first night if she's tired after the plane ride, but the second? She's been back almost a week and doesn't even notice that she haven't had sex since before she left. But more than not noticing the lack of sex, she doesn't notice how unhappy I am, or how angry I feel, all the time. And I'm left feeling depressed and guilty, whilst she is blissfully unaware or any problems with our marriage. I get that it's probably mostly a communication failure, and that's mostly my fault, but she also suffers from anxiety and depression. If I were to bring this up, she'd cry herself to sleep for a week.

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aceghost

So for me, it worked like this:

1) As someone who doesn't naturally want/desire sex, it takes an *incredible* amount of mental preparation ahead of time for sex to feel safe/consensual.

2) So when you're in your 20s and all the "new love" chemicals are bursting everywhere and you have very little obligations beyond some school assignments or whatever, such mental preparation is fairly easy to do.

3) When you're in your 30s, and you now have an intense full-time job, a mortgage, a kid, and tension in the marriage as a result of those things, that mental preparation becomes much, much harder.

4) And you'll think that is probably ok, because the media is filled with messages like after you get married you'll have less sex, or after you have a kid you'll have less sex. So you'll think your relationship is just going through some natural/predictable lull, as you're simply not capable of comprehending your partner's needs, since you do not (cannot) share them.

5) But, now that the period between sexual encounters has gotten longer and longer, the pressure to "perform" has grown more and more. To the point where eventually, you've entirely eroded your ability to mentally prepare, because it no longer feels *possible* to have safe/consensual sex. Now it feels like you're being pressured/forced into it.

Ta-da.

Oh, btw. #4 in that list is precisely why if the frequency (or whatever) with which you're having sex is a problem for you as a sexual person you have to communicate it. And #5 is a reason to do said communication delicately and with compassion/empathy for what your partner is feeling.

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Telecaster68

Thanks, that's really useful. The whole 'life getting in the way' happens to sexuals too; I guess the difference is that we really want - need - to get the sex back, and miss it even though we're stressed.

you'll think that is probably ok, because the media is filled with messages like after you get married you'll have less sex, or after you have a kid you'll have less sex.

It is, but it's also filled with messages about important sex is to most people (as evidenced by the ongoing 'why is the media obsessed with sex' threads in the Rants forum). It sounds like there's some confirmation bias going on here.

So you'll think your relationship is just going through some natural/predictable lull,

That's pretty much what sexuals feel at first too, and we're (generally) sensitive to our partner's needs so we let it ride rather than hassle them about it. We probably still try to initiate, though less than in the honeymoon period, but persistently get rejected. Chances are we have no idea they basically find sex a stressor (rather than relaxing), and over time we assume there's something more going on, because in most relationships there would be.. Sexual lack of interest is generally seen as a proxy for something deeper going wrong, because the assumption is that everyone fundamentally wants sex (and indeed 99% of people do). We can only conclude they've gone off us. Or they're having an affair. Or we're terrible in bed. Again, those generally *are* the reasons, when both partners are sexual (and since nearly 99% of couples will both be sexual, that's a natural working assumption). Whatever the reason, the asexual partner doesn't want that closeness and it hurts like hell.

My own experience, and from posts on AVEN, is that quite often, when this is brought up, with compassion and empathy, by the sexual partner, the asexual feels like their partner is whining because they want ice-cream, sex isn't important, they have loads of sex (once a month seems like a common figure that asexuals feel is 'loads'. It's actually more like 25% the Kinsey average, fwiw.), it's all too stressful, they feel they're just a piece of meat, the asexual partner promises to try harder, they might have sex more often if the sexual partner stopped bringing it up. Quite often, it takes an outburst of anger or abject misery before the asexual actually properly listens.

And it's not because they're generally selfish or uncaring. I know many asexuals are really stressed by the relationship tensions (though not obviously the lack of sex). There's just a massive blindspot about the intensity of their partner's distress. This is the obliviousness that baffles me and a lot of sexuals. That's what's niggling away at me here, more than the lack of sex itself.

Sorry if I sound like I'm attacking - I'm not

I'm just frustrated. because often it seems sexual partners are between a rock and hard place. If we make the depth of our pain clear, it just adds to the stress, and asexuals will feel under attack (and we don't want our partners to feel like that) and even less like sex. Yet if we don't make that pain clear, we're not communicating our needs and how can asexuals be expected to understand them...

. I get that it's probably mostly a communication failure, and that's mostly my fault, but she also suffers from anxiety and depression. If I were to bring this up, she'd cry herself to sleep for a week.

My situation is pretty much identical, although our 1-2 a month is on a very shallow upward curve, so I'm a little more optimistic, quite often.I'm not sure if she's 'technically' asexual, she doesn't self identify as such, but her not interested in any sex with anyone, doesn't fantasise, doesn't masturbate, 'it's something I used to do' statements put her functionally in that bracket, and at least gives me a way to try to convince myself it's not personal...

She also has some mildish anxiety and depression (I've seen the full-on suicidal type at close hand, and hers isn't that). What got her past it was some compassionate but persistent pushing from me to get on antidepressants and in general get off the sofa and stop watching Netflix so much. In other words make it not primarily about sex (although it there's no getting away from it being somewhere in the picture really). As she's slowly got less depressed and anxious, I've kept the concept that Sex Would Be Good gently on her radar, and as I say, there's a glacially-paced improvement.

Oddly enough, she went away for 10 days recently too, and there's been no hint of sex since.

If someone doesn't communicate their feelings to me, then that's on them, just as it's on me to share (and manage) my own feelings.

Pink:

So you'd say the question 'you seem upset, what's wrong?' would be playing up to passive aggression?

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Aching
That's pretty much what sexuals feel at first too, and we're (generally) sensitive to our partner's needs so we let it ride rather than hassle them about it. We probably still try to initiate, though less than in the honeymoon period, but persistently get rejected. Chances are we have no idea they basically find sex a stressor (rather than relaxing), and over time we assume there's something more going on, because in most relationships there would be.. Sexual lack of interest is generally seen as a proxy for something deeper going wrong, because the assumption is that everyone fundamentally wants sex (and indeed 99% of people do). We can only conclude they've gone off us. Or they're having an affair. Or we're terrible in bed. Again, those generally *are* the reasons, when both partners are sexual (and since nearly 99% of couples will both be sexual, that's a natural working assumption). Whatever the reason, the asexual partner doesn't want that closeness and it hurts like hell.

I know these feelings all too well.

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Sally

Oddly enough, she went away for 10 days recently too, and there's been no hint of sex since.

That kind of struck me -- could it be possible that during those 10 days, she realized how comfortable it was to not have sex "in the air", and came back determined not to have to deal with it at all?

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Telecaster68

Well given the epic bit of misassumption that underlies the situation we're in, I wouldn't write anything off but that's really not the reading I have of it.

I *think* what's happened is this. I don't mention sex, initiate, act like I'm expecting it and generally assume it's never going to happen. There's a fair amount of touch, including playful gropes on both sides, but almost always curtailed by her before there's any hint of it going further, except about once a month this develops into something actual sexual. She initiated in this kind of way a couple of days before she went away, which I suspect was a lot to do with her being relaxed in anticipation of her holiday. For a sexual some kind of territorial subtext might have been in the mix too - 'I'm not here, but you're still mine' - but I don't think her basically asexual brain works like that (or might it? Insights welcome...). Anyhow it was a about ten days before the implicit monthly scheduled sex would have been, and I think that's been a kind of reset on the schedule. She was away for ten days, she's been back two weeks, so sex is due in about a week. Simple as that really. As a sexual, I'd want to make up for lost time while I was away, but that's not how she works.

All of which makes it sound like its entirely a chore, still, and I guess it might be. But she seems to be enjoying it more, even though she wouldn't necessarily initiate if I hadn't made a fuss months ago (although I haven't mentioned it for months since).

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Serran
when people don't speak up (no matter how miserable they try to appear about something) everyone else will assume everything is fine

For the specifics, yes, But humans as a species are adept at reading faces - large parts of our brains deal with it, more so than other animals (that's why we see faces in clouds, for instance). Then there's body language and tone of voice (and animals notice these things too). I'm at a loss as to how it's possible to miss these things about your partner when they're really upset. Apparently though, it is.

I was rereading this thread and just wanted to comment on this part - not everyone is adept at reading faces or body language. Personally, I find detecting moods horribly difficult. And my partner tells me that the section of my brain meant for faces just isn't there. I can't even remember peoples faces. Someone so much as changes their hair/clothes and unless they have a very unique face (like Travolta's chin cleft thingy) I couldn't tell at all that they are the same person. And body language? I read books and articles and blogs about it. I try to actually LEARN what other people know by instinct. But, I am not very good at it. I am a LOT better at reading the furry kind of animals than I am at reading the human type of animals. My last partner before this current one was the son of a social worker. She worked with me on trying to learn to be more socially able, reading people, knowing what is acceptable or not, detecting when people are uncomfortable, how to adjust your actions based on this and that reaction... and it helped, a bit. But, seriously, it's A LOT to think about all the time, to consciously keep those lessons in my head with every second of every day and try to apply them to my relationships. It's exhausting. It's a lot easier if people just TELL ME what's bothering them instead of expecting me to just figure out it's something and I am supposed to ask. Got an issue? Speak up. Don't expect me to read you based on some magical (seriously, this whole naturally knowing what someone is feeling based on a facial twitch or whatever feels like magic some days) skill I do not have. I actually prefer text conversations in part because of this - people expect you to pick up on so much in the background based on their body language and facial expressions, or tone of voice, etc and I ... really would rather they just explain themselves better than expecting me to get all that.

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