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Antiopa

For sexuals: Why is sex so important to you?

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Tarfeather

Hadley, would you be okay with poly? That seems to me like the situation under which a romantic sexual/asexual mixed relationship could work best.

I've certainly thought about it, and I've tried to understand it better. I could be totally off-base with this assessment of poly relationships, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but my entire history has been where people discarded me in favor of someone with whom they were having sex. So a poly relationship triggers all the wrong buttons in me. I'd always be, at best, number 2, because sex is just friggin awesome.

Hm.. No, I don't feel that sex is that awesome to place relationships that don't involve it at "#2", but then again I hear I'm unusual, not a "real" sexual. ;)

And before anyone cries "You can't know that you haven't had it".. It doesn't matter to me how awesome sex is. Love isn't only about pleasure to me.

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Telecaster68
No, I don't feel that sex is that awesome to place relationships that don't involve it at "#2", but then again I hear I'm unusual, not a "real" sexual.

I strongly suspect that's because you've never had a sexual relationship with a sexual person, Tar.

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butterflydreams
No, I don't feel that sex is that awesome to place relationships that don't involve it at "#2", but then again I hear I'm unusual, not a "real" sexual.

I strongly suspect that's because you've never had a sexual relationship with a sexual person, Tar.

Naturally at some point, I should really talk to some poly people and get a more solid feel on this, but would this mean that my assessment of the #2 issue is largely correct?

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Tarfeather

No, I don't feel that sex is that awesome to place relationships that don't involve it at "#2", but then again I hear I'm unusual, not a "real" sexual.

I strongly suspect that's because you've never had a sexual relationship with a sexual person, Tar.

I've also never taken drugs, does that mean my low opinion of them is not founded? I'm a rational being, I'm capable of more than just being completely controlled by feelings and urges.

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Telecaster68
Naturally at some point, I should really talk to some poly people and get a more solid feel on this, but would this mean that my assessment of the #2 issue is largely correct?

As a general point, yeah. If all else is equally good between the two relationships, and one is going to involve never having sex, I'd think the overwhelming majority of sexuals would choose the one with sex.

The 'all else is equal' thing is important though. Those other things might be the mental connection, shared life, family etc. But they'd have to be substantial to over-ride the lack of sex, and the lack of sex would still be an issue.

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Telecaster68

I've also never taken drugs, does that mean my low opinion of them is not founded?

It means you can't predict how you'd react to taking them.

I'm a rational being,

Well that's highly tendentious. I'd argue none of us is that rational.

I'm capable of more than just being completely controlled by feelings and urges.

You can think your way out of hunger? Loneliness?

And it's not being completely controlled, just understanding that sex is extremely powerful in a relationship.

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Tarfeather

If you're saying that once I have a sexual relationship, I'll no longer be able to see my friends and non-sexual partner as more important than that, then honestly, I'd rather just never have sex to begin with, because that'd suck to me just as much as becoming a drug addict and not being able to enjoy life without drugs anymore.

But honestly, sounds like bullshit to me.

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butterflydreams

The 'all else is equal' thing is important though. Those other things might be the mental connection, shared life, family etc. But they'd have to be substantial to over-ride the lack of sex, and the lack of sex would still be an issue.

:( That's discomforting to hear, but I appreciate the honesty.

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Telecaster68

The nearest analogy I've every been able to come up with is this: imagine if you were in a happily asexual relationship in which you'd agreed you'd only talk to each other, and your partner decided they didn't understand this need to have conversations, and couldn't bring themselves to talk any more. That's your conversational life ended. However much you loved them, whatever other things you got from that relationship, whatever your history together, that's a fundamental part of the relationship that ceases to exist. It's not just the

If you're saying that once I have a sexual relationship, I'll no longer be able to see my friends and non-sexual partner as more important than that

I keep forgetting you're polyamorous. But for monogamous couples, I'd say friends and family are differently important, but yep, when push comes to shove, if you have to choose, you'd choose your partner. Try explaining to your partner how you'd do anything else and see how it goes.

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Visenya

If you're saying that once I have a sexual relationship, I'll no longer be able to see my friends and non-sexual partner as more important than that, then honestly, I'd rather just never have sex to begin with, because that'd suck to me just as much as becoming a drug addict and not being able to enjoy life without drugs anymore.

But honestly, sounds like bullshit to me.

I think that's one of the biggest reason why the idea of not actually being asexual terrifies me! :(

I'd hate to be in a relationship (or friendship, or whatever) that would make everyone else in my life seem much less important to me. And, even though I'm monoamorous (as in I'm only capable of feeling romantically attracted to one person at a time), I often wonder if being in a relationship with a poly person would be better for me...

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Telecaster68

Isn't that more to do with being aromantic than asexual? It's about being in an exclusive relationship, regardless of whether you have sex. The point of having a one on one exlusive relationship is that your partner comes first. Otherwise it's just another friendship, however close.

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Tarfeather

I've known plenty of normal sexual+romantic people to say that friendship is preferable because friendship lasts. So no, that's bullshit. Not every romantic thinks that romantic feelings are about putting your partner above everything.

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Telecaster68
I've known plenty of normal sexual+romantic people to say that friendship is preferable because friendship lasts. So no, that's bullshit. Not every romantic thinks that romantic feelings are about putting your partner above everything.

There's a lot of ways friendships can be preferable to a romantic relationship but that doesn't mean friendships have priority.

Here's an example. A really close, old friend moves abroad for work for a few years. Do you go with them?

What about if it was your partner?

First example, almost certainly not. Second example, almost certainly yes. And how would you expect your partner to react if you said 'great news on the job, but I'm staying here because my friends are here. See you in five years'?

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Tarfeather

Uhh.. again, no. It's perfectly possible to have a short-lived or non-committed romantic relationship that you'd never consider something like leaving your friends for. commitment != romance

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Telecaster68
It's perfectly possible to have a short-lived or non-committed romantic relationship that you'd never consider something like leaving your friends for. commitment != romance

By definition, yes, if it's shortlived or non-committed. I'm saying that's the difference - an exclusive, long term, committed relationship (which QPRs aside will be what AVEN brackets as romantic) does take precedence over friends. Otherwise it makes no sense to say there's any commitment beyond other relationships such as friends.

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Tarfeather

By definition, yes, if it's shortlived or non-committed. I'm saying that's the difference - an exclusive, long term, committed relationship (which QPRs aside will be what AVEN brackets as romantic) does take precedence over friends. Otherwise it makes no sense to say there's any commitment beyond other relationships such as friends.

Wait.. so you think an aromantic is someone who doesn't want committed relationships?!

hahahahah

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Telecaster68

From the wiki:

Romantic attraction is a very difficult thing to pin down. Put as simply as possible, it is a distinct fondness or affection toward someone that differs from what you would feel toward friends, family or people you admire.

and then:

An aromantic person is defined as "someone who does not experience romantic attraction."

So by definition, whatever commitment aromantics have, it's no different to friends and family, and the key element I can see there is exclusivity. They can be committed, but no more committed than they are to other people in their lives so they would have no inclination to put their partner before those people. I'd honestly be delighted to see a definition that clarifies how being in a relationship with an aromantic would be different to being in a friendship with them.

AVEN's aromantic definitions on the wiki are terrible and entirely circular.

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OutsideObserver

I disagree. If someone clearly doesn't enjoy sex, they shouldn't have it. Whatever compromise should be something both can enjoy to some extent.

.

And if that kind of compromise can't be found? The fabled non-sexual compromise that keeps sexual people satisfied seems to still be eluding this community as a whole...

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levelskid

It's sad to say that some incompatibilities will be too large. For asexuals not wanting sex and sexuals who do this is more apparent. The relationship then turns instead of mutual love for one another to a power struggle. That's when it gets toxic.

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Telecaster68

Well it can do that. It's not inevitable though.

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Tarfeather

I disagree. If someone clearly doesn't enjoy sex, they shouldn't have it. Whatever compromise should be something both can enjoy to some extent.

.

And if that kind of compromise can't be found? The fabled non-sexual compromise that keeps sexual people satisfied seems to still be eluding this community as a whole...

I dunno. Re-evaluate your life choices? The heck kind of relationship is it anyway that you can only get something good out of if there's sex involved?

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Mysticus Insanus

Re-evaluate your life choices?

You deserved a "like" simply for using that phrase non-ironically. :D

(I agree with the post, in general, too.... so that "like" counts double. :p)

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Homer

I'm capable of more than just being completely controlled by feelings and urges.

You can think your way out of hunger? Loneliness?

And it's not being completely controlled, just understanding that sex is extremely powerful in a relationship.

To me it's a question of importance. You can't think your way out of hunger because if you tried to long enough, you'd starve. There's no way to get around eating, drinking and sleeping to stay alive, but not having sex won't literally kill you. So I don't count sex as a "basic need" in the first place, a thought that is only creating the space needed to really evaluate the importance of sex.

It's powerful because you let it be powerful.

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Telecaster68
It's powerful because you let it be powerful.

Well, yes, physically you wouldn't die. Just like infants who don't get any maternal affection don't die, people in solitary confinement for years don't die, old people who have no human contact for weeks at a time don't of it. But humans are sociable animals and we suffer physically and mentally without human contact - family, friendships, marriage-style partnerships.

On any other basis than 'not dying', sex is pretty generally recognised as a very basic need, and not one the overwhelming majority of people are just 'letting' be powerful.

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Avistew

I'm allo and poly. I've almost only had allo partners, but now one of my partners happens to be an ace, and I can tell you for sure, he is not less important than my other partners. No way! The relationship is a romantic relationship, he is my boyfriend, we have a strong connection and we share intimacy. Sex isn't everything. Sure, I'm allo, and I wish he was sexually attracted to me, but that's just one way in which we aren't perfectly compatible, and we're compatible in tons of other ways. Same silly humour, same tastes, we have awesome conversations, we have a great time together... In every relationship I've had there were some things we didn't see eye to eye on. With him, sex is one of them. I have an ex who didn't share my tastes in food at all. It didn't make him #2. Now I have a boyfriend who doesn't share my tastes in sex at all. Doesn't make him #2.

This being said, the sex I have with other partners isn't a "replacement". I don't crave sex as a general thing I could do with anyone. It's an activity I want to do with specific people, and the sex I don't have with my ace boyfriend is sex I don't have at all, I don't "make up for it" with someone else, they're very distinct. So being poly may not help at all in some cases.

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Homer

Well, yes, physically you wouldn't die. (...)

I totally get your point :)

Just checked Maslow's hierarchy of needs and sex would belong to the third tier ("love and belonging"); to me that third tier is not really "basic" anymore. Yes, of course, my life would suck without friends, but it would still _go on_. Maybe this is the point where you can start to distinguish the term "living" from "surviving". This is where it's getting rather cultural and individual.

I guess not getting the importance of sex (besides reproduction) in the first place is a big part of asexuality.

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Telecaster68

Avi

I guess the parallel here would be if you had to choose a single partner - all else being equal, would you choose your asexual partner (and no sex) or one where sex was part of the equation?

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OutsideObserver
I dunno. Re-evaluate your life choices? The heck kind of relationship is it anyway that you can only get something good out of if there's sex involved?

So your stance is that the sexual's needs are less important than the asexual's? Why do you hold that stance?

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

I'm allo and poly. I've almost only had allo partners, but now one of my partners happens to be an ace, and I can tell you for sure, he is not less important than my other partners. No way! The relationship is a romantic relationship, he is my boyfriend, we have a strong connection and we share intimacy. Sex isn't everything. Sure, I'm allo, and I wish he was sexually attracted to me, but that's just one way in which we aren't perfectly compatible, and we're compatible in tons of other ways. Same silly humour, same tastes, we have awesome conversations, we have a great time together... In every relationship I've had there were some things we didn't see eye to eye on. With him, sex is one of them. I have an ex who didn't share my tastes in food at all. It didn't make him #2. Now I have a boyfriend who doesn't share my tastes in sex at all. Doesn't make him #2.

This being said, the sex I have with other partners isn't a "replacement". I don't crave sex as a general thing I could do with anyone. It's an activity I want to do with specific people, and the sex I don't have with my ace boyfriend is sex I don't have at all, I don't "make up for it" with someone else, they're very distinct. So being poly may not help at all in some cases.

I have no idea how you guys can do the ''more than one partner'' thing, just having one partner is exhausting enough for me, and I practically have no friends either and I still get drained, despite loving that emotionally intimate contact with someone special to me. Seriously I'd drop dead if I tried to have one more than one partner aaha (not that I could anyway I'm mono, can only experience love for one person at a time :P) ..anyway, I think your attitude about your asexual partner is awesome!

I dunno. Re-evaluate your life choices? The heck kind of relationship is it anyway that you can only get something good out of if there's sex involved?

So your stance is that the sexual's needs are less important than the asexual's? Why do you hold that stance?

Both peoples needs are equally important but you.. literally can't have sex with someone who feels sex is so hard for them that they just can't have it. It doesn't matter how important the sexual persons needs are, you cannot have sex with someone who sex is so bad for that they can't/won't have it (I mean, it's not physically possible unless you force them against their will).

If they feel that badly about sex, and someone were still able to force themselves into letting you have it with them, out of love for you, how could you enjoy it anyway? knowing they are gritting their teeth, hating every second of it, and suffering emotionally because of it?

Sex obviously isn't like that for all asexuals (many can come to some level of compromise) but if sex affects someone badly enough that they literally can't bring themselves to give it to you, despite loving you, or would have to force themselves with every iota of their being and hate every second of it... Are the sexual persons needs that important that they have a right to put someone through that?

And yes, the sexual person suffers without sex, of course.. but when two people are suffering that much (the sexual is in complete, inescapable misery due to the lack of sex, to the extent that they could somehow enjoy having sex with someone forcing themselves to give it to the sexual and hating every second of it) then.. maybe a re-evaluation of some things (like whether or not the relationship should be continued) is in order. Is it fair on either person to be in that relationship if they are both suffering that much? wouldn't it be better if they can remain friends, but both find someone else who will fill their emotional needs (ie, sexual person finds someone who wants sex with them, asexual finds someone who doesn't want sex with them or is happy to go without sex) .. Seems that would be better for everyone.

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OutsideObserver

I'm allo and poly. I've almost only had allo partners, but now one of my partners happens to be an ace, and I can tell you for sure, he is not less important than my other partners. No way! The relationship is a romantic relationship, he is my boyfriend, we have a strong connection and we share intimacy. Sex isn't everything. Sure, I'm allo, and I wish he was sexually attracted to me, but that's just one way in which we aren't perfectly compatible, and we're compatible in tons of other ways. Same silly humour, same tastes, we have awesome conversations, we have a great time together... In every relationship I've had there were some things we didn't see eye to eye on. With him, sex is one of them. I have an ex who didn't share my tastes in food at all. It didn't make him #2. Now I have a boyfriend who doesn't share my tastes in sex at all. Doesn't make him #2.

This being said, the sex I have with other partners isn't a "replacement". I don't crave sex as a general thing I could do with anyone. It's an activity I want to do with specific people, and the sex I don't have with my ace boyfriend is sex I don't have at all, I don't "make up for it" with someone else, they're very distinct. So being poly may not help at all in some cases.

I have no idea how you guys can do the ''more than one partner'' thing, just having one partner is exhausting enough for me, and I practically have no friends either and I still get drained, despite loving that emotionally intimate contact with someone special to me. Seriously I'd drop dead if I tried to have one more than one partner aaha (not that I could anyway I'm mono, can only experience love for one person at a time :P) ..anyway, I think your attitude about your asexual partner is awesome!

I dunno. Re-evaluate your life choices? The heck kind of relationship is it anyway that you can only get something good out of if there's sex involved?

So your stance is that the sexual's needs are less important than the asexual's? Why do you hold that stance?

Both peoples needs are equally important but you.. literally can't have sex with someone who feels sex is so hard for them that they just can't have it. It doesn't matter how important the sexual persons needs are, you cannot have sex with someone who sex is so bad for that they can't/won't have it (I mean, it's not physically possible unless you force them against their will).

If they feel that badly about sex, and someone were still able to force themselves into letting you have it with them, out of love for you, how could you enjoy it anyway? knowing they are gritting their teeth, hating every second of it, and suffering emotionally because of it?

Sex obviously isn't like that for all asexuals (many can come to some level of compromise) but if sex affects someone badly enough that they literally can't bring themselves to give it to you, despite loving you, or would have to force themselves with every iota of their being and hate every second of it... Are the sexual persons needs that important that they have a right to put someone through that?

And yes, the sexual person suffers without sex, of course.. but when two people are suffering that much (the sexual is in complete, inescapable misery due to the lack of sex, to the extent that they could somehow enjoy having sex with someone forcing themselves to give it to the sexual and hating every second of it) then.. maybe a re-evaluation of some things (like whether or not the relationship should be continued) is in order. Is it fair on either person to be in that relationship if they are both suffering that much? wouldn't it be better if they can remain friends, but both find someone else who will fill their emotional needs (ie, sexual person finds someone who wants sex with them, asexual finds someone who doesn't want sex with them or is happy to go without sex) .. Seems that would be better for everyone.

Oh, I get that. I basically agree with everything you said, and feel that a romantic relationship where both needs can't be met is not a relationship that can't exist at that state indefinitely.

I was mostly looking for clarification on the sentiment that, if compromise isn't possible, the sexual should just learn to live without sex rather than try to find a way to have their needs met. It sounds neither realistic or fair.

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