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New and trying to understand my asexual husband

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Xenobot
36 minutes ago, Lara Black said:

But sex/money/kids isn't everything. Meaning that if sex is good and everything else sucks, relationships will not work.  Sex alone can't make us happy. Its absence, however, can make us miserable.

 

I think it can be really difficult for asexual and allosexual people to truly empathize with one another in regard to sex since our feelings about it are so subjectively different. The absense of sex can make many allosexual partners miserable, while the presence of it can make the asexual partners equally miserable. 

 

Does compromise sex actually, truly make anyone happy? I’d think if I were the allosexual partner I’d feel guilt about wanting an asexual partner to have sex to meet my needs. Like, it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent, is it? (No one had better put words in my mouth and imply that I’m saying compromise sex is rape, because I’m not. Lacking enthusiasm doesn’t equal rape, but if I were allosexual with an asexual partner that lack of enthusiasm on their part would make me feel guilty all the same.)

 

Alternately, as an asexual person, if I were partnered with an allosexual person and had compromise sex to make them happy, I think I would become resentful because the idea that sex is some kind of wonderful, intimate bonding experience feels like a lie from my perspective. I would be frustrated that my way of expressing intimacy “isn’t good enough” for them. The idea that bumping or rubbing two organs together is somehow one of the best ways two people (or more, if you’re into that) can be emotionally intimate feels like a bit of a joke.

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uhtred
2 hours ago, Philip027 said:

Yep.  I see this all the time even here, and it just sounds lame after a while because of how dishonest it is.

 

Like, I get you aren't happy and you have every right to feel that way, but at least be fuckin straight about why.  Don't try to say shit like "sex/money/kids/etc isn't everything to me" and then back out of the relationship only because that one thing isn't going as well as you'd like.

But it is absolutely true.  I don't know why so many people find this confusing, but they do.   You can call it "necessary but not sufficient".  You can call them "links in a chain".    It takes a number of things to make a relationship happy and if ANY of those things is missing the relationship will be unhappy.  If there is only one thing missing, that is the one that people will focus on. 

 

What is the most important part of a car?  The tires? The engine? the brakes?    There is no way to answer that because if any of those parts is missing / broken, the care us useless. 

 

In your list, yes many people would leave over sex.  Also many people would leave over serious money issues - if a spouse was unwilling to work and the family was destitute.  Many would leave over a disagreement on whether to have kids.     In some relationships more than one thing is broken, but often there is just one problem - so that problem gets all the attention.

 

In my marriage everything is good except sex, so that is what I worry about.  If the sex were great, but were were living on the streets, then money would be my biggest concern.  

 

 

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Philip027
1 minute ago, uhtred said:

What is the most important part of a car?  The tires? The engine? the brakes?    There is no way to answer that because if any of those parts is missing / broken, the care us useless. 

Exactly, which is why it is dishonest to pretend that any one of those things aren't vital.  When you say "X isn't everything", you're conveying it isn't vital.  Even if that isn't what you mean, you should know that it is how it will be read, and an adjustment of your statement is probably in order.

 

If you would leave over a sex issue when everything else is fine, it's simply dishonest to claim that it isn't everything to you, because it very obviously is.

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uhtred
51 minutes ago, Philip027 said:

Exactly, which is why it is dishonest to pretend that any one of those things aren't vital.  When you say "X isn't everything", you're conveying it isn't vital.  Even if that isn't what you mean, you should know that it is how it will be read, and an adjustment of your statement is probably in order.

 

If you would leave over a sex issue when everything else is fine, it's simply dishonest to claim that it isn't everything to you, because it very obviously is.

I've lost track of who I've had this discussion with, it seems familiar.    To me, when someone says "X is everything", they mean that X is the *only* important thing, not that X is one of many important things.  

 

I don't know how to look up the standard usage of the phrase.

 

If someone says "money is everything to me", does that give the impression that they are also into art and music, that they do charity work, and have a good life / work balance?  If I heard that phrase I would assume that they dedicate their lives to collecting / earning as much money as possible and that money dominates all of their decisions. 

 

Does it make sense for me to say  " Money, sex, travel, love, work, friends, family, sleep, food, respect, health are all everything to me?"

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ryn2

I think this why the last time around a couple of us suggested “show-stopper” in lieu of “everything.”  Any given person can have many (or few) show-stoppers, and they aren’t really prioritized.

 

Of course, people can still argue over whether or not it’s shallow/unfair/misguided/etc. to consider any specific thing a show-stopper, but at least the measage itself is clear.

 

To me personally, calling something “everything” implies the person prioritizes it above all other factors.

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Serran

I just say deal breaker for things that matter but arent the only thing 

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max9701
2 hours ago, Philip027 said:

When you say "X isn't everything", you're conveying it isn't vital.  Even if that isn't what you mean, you should know that it is how it will be read, and an adjustment of your statement is probably in order.

What it conveys depends on context and the backgrounds of the people talking. "Baseball isn't everything." "Oxygen isn't everything." Both are true, but obviously oxygen is vital to everyone while baseball is less important.

 

One of the difficulties in understanding between sexuals and asexuals is differing in fundamental assumptions. With the phrase "sex isn't everything", an asexual is likely to think of sex as more like baseball, while for a sexual it's closer to oxygen. 

 

2 hours ago, Philip027 said:

If you would leave over a sex issue when everything else is fine, it's simply dishonest to claim that it isn't everything to you, because it very obviously is.

That's like saying "if you'd leave a very nice and cozy room because there's no oxygen in it, that means oxygen is everything to you." A person may well appreciate the furniture and decor in the abstract, but if there's no oxygen in the room, it's uninhabitable regardless of those things. By analogy, no matter how many things are right in a relationship, if one person needs sexual fulfillment and can't get it, the relationship is probably unsustainable. 

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MrDane

Sometimes it can help the asexual, if you remove “sex” from the equation and try to focus on touching or giving a massage. To be clear and certain about what to expect from both sides. 

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anisotrophic
9 hours ago, Xenobot said:

Does compromise sex actually, truly make anyone happy? I’d think if I were the allosexual partner I’d feel guilt about wanting an asexual partner to have sex to meet my needs. Like, it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent, is it? (No one had better put words in my mouth and imply that I’m saying compromise sex is rape, because I’m not. Lacking enthusiasm doesn’t equal rape, but if I were allosexual with an asexual partner that lack of enthusiasm on their part would make me feel guilty all the same.)

 

Alternately, as an asexual person, if I were partnered with an allosexual person and had compromise sex to make them happy, I think I would become resentful because the idea that sex is some kind of wonderful, intimate bonding experience feels like a lie from my perspective. I would be frustrated that my way of expressing intimacy “isn’t good enough” for them. The idea that bumping or rubbing two organs together is somehow one of the best ways two people (or more, if you’re into that) can be emotionally intimate feels like a bit of a joke.

Yes, I feel guilt. I mean, speak of the devil, I wasted an hour of our morning feeling guilty. He was, by far, more annoyed at how much time I was wasting with guilt.

 

I don't expect it to be meaningful to him and presume it is mildly annoying. I also express a lot of vulnerability and thankfulness, so maybe he sees how meaningful it is to me.

 

I think that's how it works? He doesn't mind, because it matters to me ... and I'm grateful, because it doesn't matter to him.

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Xenobot
1 minute ago, anisotropic said:

Yes, I feel guilt. I mean, speak of the devil, I wasted an hour of our morning feeling guilty. He was, by far, more annoyed at how much time I was wasting with guilt.

 

I don't expect it to be meaningful to him and presume it is mildly annoying. I also express a lot of vulnerability and thankfulness, so maybe he sees how meaningful it is to me.

 

I think that's how it works? He doesn't mind, because it matters to me ... and I'm grateful, because it doesn't matter to him.

That’s rough. I’m sorry you struggle with feeling guilt about it, but I’m glad he sounds really sex-neutral. See, I’m overall sex-averse, so that definitely alters my perspective on mixed allo/asexual relationships. I tend to forget that some asexual people are really sex-neutral, perhaps because so many of us are sex-averse or sex-repulsed. For us, I don’t think there’s very much hope for a mixed relationship, but for a truly sex-neutral asexual, I can see how that could be worked out in a healthy way.

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anisotrophic
1 hour ago, Xenobot said:

That’s rough. I’m sorry you struggle with feeling guilt about it, but I’m glad he sounds really sex-neutral. See, I’m overall sex-averse, so that definitely alters my perspective on mixed allo/asexual relationships. I tend to forget that some asexual people are really sex-neutral, perhaps because so many of us are sex-averse or sex-repulsed. For us, I don’t think there’s very much hope for a mixed relationship, but for a truly sex-neutral asexual, I can see how that could be worked out in a healthy way.

Agreed, it's really hard for me to imagine it feeling happy if one is sex averse!

 

I bet our relationship wouldn't have gotten this far if he had been, I probably would've noticed before we got married. (It's also likely that I was somewhat comfortable with the lack of attraction, given my own gender issues.)

Also I want to say... I think it's simply "averse to having sex with someone one isn't attracted to". That's something allos feel too. :)

Which is to say... even if some people (allo or ace) are OK with sex without attraction, many aren't. Probably most? I think it's very normal for anyone (allo or ace) to be uncomfortable/unhappy/reluctant/repulsed (to varying degrees) to having sex unless they're feeling attraction.

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Xenobot
3 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

Agreed, it's really hard for me to imagine it feeling happy if one is sex averse!

 

I bet our relationship wouldn't have gotten this far if he had been, I probably would've noticed before we got married. (It's also likely that I was somewhat comfortable with the lack of attraction, given my own gender issues.)

Also I want to say... I think it's simply "averse to having sex with someone one isn't attracted to". That's something allos feel too. :)

Which is to say... even if some people (allo or ace) are OK with sex without attraction, many aren't. Probably most? I think it's very normal for anyone (allo or ace) to be uncomfortable/unhappy/reluctant/repulsed (to varying degrees) to having sex unless they're feeling attraction.

I think that’s a great point. I do think you’re right, the majority of allosexuals are probably sex-averse, sex-repulsed, etc. towards the idea of having sex with someone they feel no sexual attraction to. I can understand it must be very hard for a lot of allosexuals in mixed relationships to find out their partner doesn’t find them sexually attractive, not only because the lack of reciprocity of feeling could be hurtful, but because they can appreciate how they might feel about being in a sexual relationship with someone they aren’t sexually attracted to.

 

I think it would be fairly easy to tell if one’s partner was repulsed by sex with them, but sex averse people can sometimes be pretty good at hiding it. It would, if it were not so awkward, actually be interesting to contact my exes back from way back when I used to try to experiment sexually (in the hopes I’d figure out what I liked) and ask them if they’d be surprised to know I was asexual. 

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Lara Black
17 hours ago, Xenobot said:

The idea that bumping or rubbing two organs together is somehow one of the best ways two people (or more, if you’re into that) can be emotionally intimate feels like a bit of a joke.

I loved the image.) Thank you for that one.))

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MrDane
17 hours ago, Xenobot said:

 

I think it can be really difficult for asexual and allosexual people to truly empathize with one another in regard to sex since our feelings about it are so subjectively different. The absense of sex can make many allosexual partners miserable, while the presence of it can make the asexual partners equally miserable. 

 

Does compromise sex actually, truly make anyone happy? I’d think if I were the allosexual partner I’d feel guilt about wanting an asexual partner to have sex to meet my needs. Like, it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent, is it? (No one had better put words in my mouth and imply that I’m saying compromise sex is rape, because I’m not. Lacking enthusiasm doesn’t equal rape, but if I were allosexual with an asexual partner that lack of enthusiasm on their part would make me feel guilty all the same.)

 

Alternately, as an asexual person, if I were partnered with an allosexual person and had compromise sex to make them happy, I think I would become resentful because the idea that sex is some kind of wonderful, intimate bonding experience feels like a lie from my perspective. I would be frustrated that my way of expressing intimacy “isn’t good enough” for them. The idea that bumping or rubbing two organs together is somehow one of the best ways two people (or more, if you’re into that) can be emotionally intimate feels like a bit of a joke.

I dont know if ‘compromise and guilt’ are what I feel. ‘Mutual agreement that on the bottomline gives the relationship something good. For her, it ranges from giving me an aid with masturbating to enjoying or at least getting a release, but nothing that she actually needs or look forward to next time. AND. Popping up in my head. Constantly. If it tips over and she no longer wants to participate in this activity, then what!? Is this last time? Is she okay? “ That is what I feel. We love each other. No doubt there. But she is not that open about feelings, and therefore she could ‘secretly’ deal with this more than she shares with me. 

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InariYana
18 hours ago, Xenobot said:

The idea that bumping or rubbing two organs together is somehow one of the best ways two people (or more, if you’re into that) can be emotionally intimate feels like a bit of a joke.

Exactly :D ... I don't mind a bit of that, but to put such a massive FOCUS on sex is baffling to me. I just don't get it, although I experienced sexual attraction - it just wasn't important to me.

I'd say playing Scrabble together and sharing good food is more of a bonding experience ;) Looking after each other when one of you is ill. Talking about childhood and sharing secrets. Comforting when someone's sad. Cuddling someone at night after they woke up from a horrible nightmare. 

I honestly could write a book about bonding experiences that are not sex.  

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Traveler40
4 hours ago, InariYana said:

Exactly :D ... I don't mind a bit of that, but to put such a massive FOCUS on sex is baffling to me. I just don't get it, although I experienced sexual attraction - it just wasn't important to me.

I'd say playing Scrabble together and sharing good food is more of a bonding experience ;) Looking after each other when one of you is ill. Talking about childhood and sharing secrets. Comforting when someone's sad. Cuddling someone at night after they woke up from a horrible nightmare. 

I honestly could write a book about bonding experiences that are not sex.  

And sexuals are equally baffled as to how this deep seeded, fundamental bond we require is seen as possibly equal somehow to sharing secrets, playing scrabble and cuddling after a nightmare.  It simply isn’t so.  

 

In addition to all those things is what makes up the relationship picture, but lacking the critical element of sexual bond leaves us lamenting what could be and looking for an answer that will never come.

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Xenobot
1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

And sexuals are equally baffled as to how this deep seeded, fundamental bond we require is seen as possibly equal somehow to sharing secrets, playing scrabble and cuddling after a nightmare.  It simply isn’t so.  

 

In addition to all those things is what makes up the relationship picture, but lacking the critical element of sexual bond leaves us lamenting what could be and looking for an answer that will never come.

But it is so, because it’s all based on subjective feeling. Opening up and being vulnerable, sharing fun activities, comforting one another, those are all valid ways to bond with a partner. And in fact, the act of sex can be a vulnerable experience, a fun experience, or a comforting experience. Neither allosexual nor asexual people can objectively state one set of behaviors is more or less valid than the other, because it’s our emotional experience of those activities that make all the difference.

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Traveler40
31 minutes ago, Xenobot said:

...those are all valid ways to bond with a partner

No one said otherwise.

 

At the end of the day, there is a clear problem (and why many of us are here) between what sexuals feel as “deep bonding” and what asexuals feel is “deep enough bonding”. 

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Xenobot
7 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

No one said otherwise.

 

At the end of the day, there is a clear problem (and why many of us are here) between what sexuals feel as “deep bonding” and what asexuals feel is “deep enough bonding”. 

What exactly do you mean be “deep enough bonding”?

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ryn2

I always wonder if some people experience things like sharing childhood memories/significant secrets, visiting meaningful places together, helping one another through dark times, etc., more deeply than others do.  I get the sense from some sexuals’ comments that they experience these things at a much more trivial level than they do sex, with the implication sometimes being that asexuals don’t experience comparably deep bonds at all.

 

Is that actually true, or do different people perhaps bond equally deeply but in different ways?

 

I.e., when someone says their own experience of the above is nowhere near as deep as sex, is their experience also universal?

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Xenobot
3 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

I always wonder if some people experience things like sharing childhood memories/significant secrets, visiting meaningful places together, helping one another through dark times, etc., more deeply than others do.  I get the sense from some sexuals’ comments that they experience these things at a much more trivial level than they do sex, with the implication sometimes being that asexuals don’t experience comparably deep bonds at all.

 

Is that actually true, or do different people perhaps bond equally deeply but in different ways?

To me personally, opening up my heart and mind to someone is infinitely more intimate than opening up my body to them. I’d say asexuals do bond just as deeply but sex is not their avenue of choice. And I’m right there with you with feeling like a little of the commentary here implies that the way asexuals bond is “lesser” as opposed to just “different”, but I hope that’s not the intention. Overall though, I think allosexual partners of asexuals do their best to be understanding.

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Traveler40
1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

I always wonder if some people experience things like sharing childhood memories/significant secrets, visiting meaningful places together, helping one another through dark times, etc., more deeply than others do.  I get the sense from some sexuals’ comments that they experience these things at a much more trivial level than they do sex, with the implication sometimes being that asexuals don’t experience comparably deep bonds at all.

 

Is that actually true, or do different people perhaps bond equally deeply but in different ways?

 

I.e., when someone says their own experience of the above is nowhere near as deep as sex, is their experience also universal?

It’s impossible to know, but I can say that clearly there is a divide.  Trying to dissect how or why will never glean an answer to how deep is deep. 

 

-> Scrabble, shared secrets and cuddling after a nightmare generally don’t cut it as “enough” to the sexual.  Thus we are here, right?

 

Sure, the companionship is wonderful, the closeness is rewarding and the tenderness welcome, but my friends can do that well enough for me...

 

My life partner is more/deeper/beyond as they generally should be my lover in the traditional sense.  The sexual looks to sex - in addition to - all of the other deep stuff. Just having platonic types of bonding without sex is usually not “enough” (deep, soul blending, emotional connection) to a sexual.  Seeing as this isn’t part of your knowledge base, it’s hard to argue I would presume.

 

Sharing a belief and perspective should not immediately be seen as invalidating another’s....It’s simply sharing another experience.

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Xenobot
3 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

Sharing a belief and perspective should not immediately be seen as invalidating another’s....It’s simply sharing another experience.

To be frank, it was more about some of the specific phrasing you used that made it difficult to tell what your intention was. This kind of thing can be even trickier in a text-only format because people can’t hear tone of voice or see facial expressions. Which is why I didn’t get angry but instead asked you to clarify your statement about “deep enough bonding”. I’m glad to know it wan’t your intention but asexuals not being “enough” for allosexuals is, I guess, a common sticking point, so it can start to feel like we’re somehow “lesser” for something outside of our control.

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ryn2
4 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

My life partner is more/deeper/beyond as they generally should be my lover in the traditional sense.

I feel this way too, though, and the other types of deep connection I experience with a partner do not feel the same to me as the same experiences do when shared with a platonic friend.

 

The reason I said what I did about what others feel is that I do get the sense from some folks that what asexuals feel is not deep enough.  That’s a completely different thing than “for many sexuals, nothing takes the place of sex in terms of building and sustaining a deep connection.”

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Traveler40
14 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

That’s a completely different thing than “for many sexuals, nothing takes the place of sex in terms of building and sustaining a deep connection.”

Agreed and understood!  👍🏻

 

I also think we already know this, no?  Spending so much time here on AVEN has some of these basics fairly well covered I would think...

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Serran

Personally, I find the sexual stuff nice but the talks and cuddling and stuff are so much more bonding. So, I dont get the sex being the difference in friends or romance. 

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uhtred
14 hours ago, ryn2 said:

I always wonder if some people experience things like sharing childhood memories/significant secrets, visiting meaningful places together, helping one another through dark times, etc., more deeply than others do.  I get the sense from some sexuals’ comments that they experience these things at a much more trivial level than they do sex, with the implication sometimes being that asexuals don’t experience comparably deep bonds at all.

 

Is that actually true, or do different people perhaps bond equally deeply but in different ways?

 

I.e., when someone says their own experience of the above is nowhere near as deep as sex, is their experience also universal?

Its one of those unknowable things I think.  The only way would be if someone changed from sexual to assexual or vice versa in their lives.  

 

Even then, it may be different. Words like "bonding" are really crude instruments for expressing feelings / emotions. 

 

How do you feel when your child smiles - can a non-parent ever understand? How does a mountain climber feel when they reach the top - can someone who doesn't like heights understand? How can a set of tones bring some people to tears?  How can a person with a perfect life be unhappy / depressed? 

 

Its easy to dismiss sexual attraction as all chemicals, hormones and primitive brain functions  - but that is behind most of what makes people happy or unhappy. 

 

 

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ryn2

Agreed that it’s unknowable. We should probably all keep in mind that it’s unknowable (in both directions), though.

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