butterflydreams

Navigating a sexual relationship

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Serran

There are checklists online that have a wide range of things and me and my partner went through those and worked out what activities we wanted and didnt. They have comment sections and all so you can add in details of how you like or want. They can be really useful for people who are shy or unable to express their interests without an aid. 

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anisotropic

Aside: jeez folks, assuming pronouns...

 

11 hours ago, butterflydreams said:

To that end, they’ve declared that they aren’t going to have sex with me for a whole week, just to prove it. It’s all unnecessary, but I’m happy to support that goal if it’ll help them feel better.

Ahaha a *whole week*. That sounds like the sort of aspirations I've made and failed at.

FWIW you sound a lot like my partner. He'll agree to it, finds the experience good in the moment, almost zero specific desires... his desire doesn't seem to rise to the level of "responsive desire". I mean, we got Nagasaki's book. AFAICT for responsive desire the "stimulation" meant flirting, dropping hints... not, uh, literal genital/physical stimulation. More like, responding with desire when a partner expresses desire. It didn't match our experience, but you're welcome to think about it.

 

7 hours ago, Serran said:

There are checklists online that have a wide range of things and me and my partner went through those and worked out what activities we wanted and didnt. They have comment sections and all so you can add in details of how you like or want. They can be really useful for people who are shy or unable to express their interests without an aid. 

I second this! I did it verbally, but it was very helpful to get explicit on this checklist.

 

It might feel silly, but it really helped describe where my partner was happy/comfortable with me going and not going (it's hard to navigate when he has so little preference!). Heck, it ended up feeling like I had a shopping list at the end, and I wasn't particularly upset that the store didn't stock everything I hoped for.

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butterflydreams
20 hours ago, Serran said:

If you want to do some about them and some about you, tell them. Sexual encounters dont always have to be about both at all times. My partner and I switch off, mostly. It is all about them, then, if I want something later I can get it. But most the time it is about them. And some days it is just about me, but I have the lower libido so lots of times we just skip me. I enjoy giving so its not compromise, but I dont have to deal with pressure to perform if I am not feeling it at the minute. 

 

So I would just talk to them and let them know you want to not always have to be getting off if you are not feeling it, sometimes you just want to do them. And sometimes it would be nice if the focus could be you til you at least finish, without switching up. 

 

You can ask for what you want and work out what works for both of you. It is about both of you, after all. Just be open with them about your needs. They are coming at it from a typical sexual relationship viewpoint, but you want something a little different, is all. 

We talked about it a little bit last night. It sounds like we’ll be able to try some things and work through my inhibitions. Though it still came out that I don’t say what kinds of things I want. I genuinely don’t know though. I don’t know what I want. I feel that sometimes what I can articulate that I want is brushed off a bit as “well we’ve done that”. I have more of a vision in my head of how I want the whole package to be, not just one specific act or something like that, which I think is more what they’re looking for. But I like foreplay, and a bit of teasing, and not just “going for it” straight away. It’s that jet engine analogy. It takes work to get it started, and that’s part of the fun, for both of us. We’ve talked about maybe trying more of an erotic massage, which I guess might be a good pathway to get to where I want to be.

 

19 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Maybe one way past the inhibitions is to write it down and give them what you've written? 

 

And on the one-sided thing: many, many people get almost as much pleasure giving oral as receiving (some really don't, on the other hand). And honestly - reciprocation is a Thing and pretty much vital in all aspects of a relationship. If you're happy to make it all about them, it's only fair they make it all about you sometimes.

Yeah, I could try that. I don’t know if I even know what my inhibitions are specifically. I’ve been able to get the really big no-nos out of the way verbally, like, “don’t ever touch me here, in this way”. I think a lot of my inhibitions revolve around dysphoria, but there’s only so much that can be done regarding that. At least right now. Fortunately my partner is trans as well, so I feel they at least “get it” without a lot of explanation.

 

I’m definitely happy to give, I just need to get over my fears of receiving. I think it’s about being vulnerable and emotionally naked with someone.  Not gonna lie, the first time they brought me to climax...the first time I’d ever had someone else do that to me...was scary as fuck. I was processing it for over a week afterwards. Just thinking about it and trying to calm myself down about it. I did suggest a time of just making it all about me, so we’ll see what happens.

 

19 hours ago, Serran said:

There are checklists online that have a wide range of things and me and my partner went through those and worked out what activities we wanted and didnt. They have comment sections and all so you can add in details of how you like or want. They can be really useful for people who are shy or unable to express their interests without an aid. 

Like will want won’t lists? We talked about that a while ago. I filled one out, I think they did too, but we never got around to sharing them. I think because I was slowly divulging things that I might like, so we were at least getting somewhere. Maybe I should bring them back up. Though I think we have a pretty good understanding of what each other will do, wants to do, and won’t do at this point.

 

11 hours ago, anisotropic said:

FWIW you sound a lot like my partner. He'll agree to it, finds the experience good in the moment, almost zero specific desires... his desire doesn't seem to rise to the level of "responsive desire". I mean, we got Nagasaki's book. AFAICT for responsive desire the "stimulation" meant flirting, dropping hints... not, uh, literal genital/physical stimulation. More like, responding with desire when a partner expresses desire. It didn't match our experience, but you're welcome to think about i

Yes! Exactly! My desire seems to be piqued by kissing and cuddling. I’ll slowly warm up and get into it from there, if I’m allowed to go at my own pace. If I’m pushed faster than that (as happens a lot), I will go with it, but my desire won’t be there with me. Sometimes I think my partner totally misreads my responses and assumes if they just push the right buttons I’ll get into it, but it’s more complicated than that.

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anisotropic
2 hours ago, butterflydreams said:

I think a lot of my inhibitions revolve around dysphoria, but there’s only so much that can be done regarding that. At least right now. Fortunately my partner is trans as well, so I feel they at least “get it” without a lot of explanation.

FWIW, I meant to mention earlier -- there's a phenomenon of orientation identity shifts around transition. (This paper uses "analloerotic" instead of ace.) 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192544/

 

Some of it may have to do with physical dysphorias, or social dysphorias around gender roles? I've found it personally fascinating, wondering if I'll become more gynephilic. So far I'm not feeling it, but neither am I feeling very trans, patiently waiting for when I can take T.

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Philip027
44 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

(This paper uses "analloerotic" instead of ace.) 

Quite possibly even worse than "assexual"

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Philip027 said:

Quite possibly even worse than "assexual"

*snorts*

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MrDane

@butterflydreamsIf sex doesnt give you that much, really isnt on your mind as a thing for your sake and you would be okay with never having it again (as long as you get other ways of feeling together/intimate) then you are asexual. The label fits, but doesnt necessary help you or your surroundings.

 

...but it is probably easier if you say stuff like: ‘I love you, but I am not that interested in sex. Dont expect too much. In fact, expect me to decline every so often. There is a risk, that someday compromising will feel too difficult. I know you will respect me and respect that sex with me will be off limits. Rigth now, I am willing to do and try stuff.”

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Serran
On 7/12/2018 at 7:57 AM, butterflydreams said:

 

 

Like will want won’t lists? We talked about that a while ago. I filled one out, I think they did too, but we never got around to sharing them. I think because I was slowly divulging things that I might like, so we were at least getting somewhere. Maybe I should bring them back up. Though I think we have a pretty good understanding of what each other will do, wants to do, and won’t do at this point.

 

 

Those, but the detailed ones with comment sections and ratings. That way you can go "PiV 4 - caveat I need to be feeling non-dysphoric and OK with it, I would rather initiate or signal its OK to do, it can be a 1 in some circumstances" or something (example, I obviously dont know your likes and dislikes or preferences).

 

Basically a way of explaining how much and how you like things, maybe they would get it better. I am awful at explaining how or why I like some things and not others. And I am very limited on what I will do. But, I do honestly enjoy and want a few things so I found it easier to scenario explain in those. 

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butterflydreams
18 minutes ago, Serran said:

Those, but the detailed ones with comment sections and ratings. That way you can go "PiV 4 - caveat I need to be feeling non-dysphoric and OK with it, I would rather initiate or signal its OK to do, it can be a 1 in some circumstances" or something (example, I obviously dont know your likes and dislikes or preferences).

 

Basically a way of explaining how much and how you like things, maybe they would get it better. I am awful at explaining how or why I like some things and not others. And I am very limited on what I will do. But, I do honestly enjoy and want a few things so I found it easier to scenario explain in those. 

Oh I never saw those. Maybe I’ll look for one.

 

I know it’s wrong, but a big reason I do anything I do with them is because I’m afraid if I don’t they’ll leave me for someone who will. I’m like 99% sure that’s not the case, but I can’t help it from being an influencer of my decisions. I tried PiV initially just to see what it was like, but I get nothing out of it and find it to be really hard on my dysphoria. For a while it became a staple of our time together, but then it came out that my partner had reasons for not liking it either. So hopefully we’ll shift away from it a bit. We have a little bit so far.

 

I also feel so limited in what I want to do. Not so much in what I will do, because I’m afraid they’ll leave me if I don’t. But I think it’s already set a bad precedent where if I’m pushed enough, I’ll agree to try pretty much anything. That precedent has already been set. Not good, I know. I wish I wanted to do more. I wish my answer to everything wasn’t always no.

 

I guess I just enjoy the act of being together and intimate in non sexual or only mildly sexual ways. That’s what I enjoy. I understand there’s an element of compromise, but I worry I’m compromising entirely too much. 

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Serran

Yeah that isnt healthy. My spouse and I have a hard rule: if it isnt for both of us, it isnt happening. Because we both have done things we didnt want to in the past for other people and it is a bad thing to do. That means sexually, we do very little. Mostly hand stuff, a few toys. But the freedom to be ourselves and not be pressured and the trust is great. You dont want to push yourself to do things just cause you are afraid they wont want you if you dont. That will become very hard long term.

 

Its ok to only be into some stuff and not others. Just be honest with them that you were inexperienced and wanted to see what you liked and have found that what you are comfortable with is only a few things, but you are OK giving more than receiving. 

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butterflydreams
10 minutes ago, Serran said:

My spouse and I have a hard rule: if it isnt for both of us, it isnt happening.

Obviously it’ll be different for every couple, but what if the intersection of stuff is minimal? Or nothing? You said sexually you do very little. I guess that could work if both of you are satisfied by what you are doing together. If you don’t mind me asking, are you both somewhere on asexual spectrum? My partner is a very sexual person, so I feel like having only a minimal list of things to do would be hard on them. They really seem to like variety and frequency.

 

Although, this week of no sex thing, I feel, could basically be them trying to show me that they’ll still love me even without sex on the table at all. Maybe that’s good. Maybe I do need to be convinced of that.

 

 

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Serran said:

Those, but the detailed ones with comment sections and ratings.

Do you have one you like that you could link to?  I know I’d find it helpful as well.

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anisotropic
7 hours ago, butterflydreams said:

I think it’s already set a bad precedent where if I’m pushed enough, I’ll agree to try pretty much anything. That precedent has already been set. Not good, I know.

Despite the "week of abstinence", I get the feeling that they may not have absorbed that you really aren't experiencing much sexual desire? 😕

 

I remember feeling sick when I learned about asexuality and realized how much I'd been pressuring my partner. Almost like I thought I could change him, if only we did enough. Your situation is very different, in several dimensions... so I don't know, maybe this doesn't apply.
 

7 hours ago, butterflydreams said:

what if the intersection of stuff is minimal? Or nothing?

Ah, well, I'm guessing it won't be that bad, but if it is, you should know!

It could help reveal the difference between things you're more amenable to (if not particularly interested) vs. things you'd really rather not do. That might not be so clear right now.

 

7 hours ago, ryn2 said:

Do you have one you like that you could link to?  I know I’d find it helpful as well.

+1! I'd like to try this thing again, we weren't very thorough.

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Serran
23 hours ago, butterflydreams said:

Obviously it’ll be different for every couple, but what if the intersection of stuff is minimal? Or nothing? You said sexually you do very little. I guess that could work if both of you are satisfied by what you are doing together. If you don’t mind me asking, are you both somewhere on asexual spectrum? My partner is a very sexual person, so I feel like having only a minimal list of things to do would be hard on them. They really seem to like variety and frequency.

 

Although, this week of no sex thing, I feel, could basically be them trying to show me that they’ll still love me even without sex on the table at all. Maybe that’s good. Maybe I do need to be convinced of that.

 

 

We met on AVEN but neither of us IDs as asexual. We both very much find the other attractive (though we both dislike traditional sexual relationships). And I think there is more she wants to do than I am willing to, but she wouldnt even entertain the idea of me doing it if I am not 100% into it as well. We both had relationships where we did things we didnt want to make partners happy and we both know how miserable it was long term to try to keep it up, which is why we have that rule. Neither of us wants to make the other feel that way, since we both know how bad it is on a person to try to keep it up. 

 

The reason what we do is minimal is because the what we both want list isnt huge. We are sexually compatible enough though that neither of us likes penetrative sex, it just doesnt appeal. And oral is blah. But, things she wants that I dont she would not even allow me to do, because to her, that would break the trust between us and make her feel like I was being forced into something I dont want. She would rather share a mutually enjoyable experience of something for both of us than get something from me and me not enjoy it. 

 

Though frequency my partner wants more than I do, but she doesnt push at all and if I am not up for it then we just do non-sexual stuff til I am. And the times she isnt up for it, we just go OK lets go play games then or watch TV. I do feel guilty sometimes cause I can forget about sexual stuff for a week or so and then realize it has been a while since I offered (she is submissive so I have to initiate most times). But, she just says there isnt a point til I am wanting it as well. 

 

I do think some compromise can be OK ... so doing some things you might not be totally into but are OK with (even though that isnt in our relationship) but it sounds more like you are sacrificing comfort for their pleasure. Which approaches unhealthy. And I doubt your partner wants you doing things you dont like or is making you feel bad afterwards. Sounds like they want a mutually enjoyable experience and just dont understand you enjoy a limited amount. Which, they may have to adjust their expectations. 

 

As for the lists I will try to find one again. They are basically consent lists. BDSM communities use them so a lot are kink focused. But not all. 

 

Which... that is something you could look into as well maybe. Some kink play can be non-sexual but arousingly good for a sexual, if your partner is looking for freaky. And it can make the focus on just them bit part of play if you have them tied up or something so they cant do anything to you. 

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butterflydreams
On 7/14/2018 at 12:23 PM, Serran said:

Though frequency my partner wants more than I do, but she doesnt push at all and if I am not up for it then we just do non-sexual stuff til I am. And the times she isnt up for it, we just go OK lets go play games then or watch TV. I do feel guilty sometimes cause I can forget about sexual stuff for a week or so and then realize it has been a while since I offered (she is submissive so I have to initiate most times). But, she just says there isnt a point til I am wanting it as well. 

I definitely struggle with the frequency issue as well. If our schedules allowed it, I think we might have sex every single day, which to be totally honest, I just can't do long term. I wish alternate activities were as easy to slide in as you're describing, but they don't seem to be for us. I think the fact that kissing and cuddling leads so quickly to sex with us is something I've struggled with since the very beginning. Sometimes I just want kissing and cuddling to be kissing and cuddling.

 

On 7/14/2018 at 12:23 PM, Serran said:

I do think some compromise can be OK ... so doing some things you might not be totally into but are OK with (even though that isnt in our relationship) but it sounds more like you are sacrificing comfort for their pleasure. Which approaches unhealthy. And I doubt your partner wants you doing things you dont like or is making you feel bad afterwards. Sounds like they want a mutually enjoyable experience and just dont understand you enjoy a limited amount. Which, they may have to adjust their expectations. 

I don't think they want me to be doing things I don't want to do either, but this is my first relationship, and I'm afraid if I don't do just about everything, I'll lose it. I know that's not healthy and I know my partner would say it isn't true, but I'm coming from a whole lifetime of not being loved by someone like that. It's hard to erase. 

 

On 7/14/2018 at 12:23 PM, Serran said:

Which... that is something you could look into as well maybe. Some kink play can be non-sexual but arousingly good for a sexual, if your partner is looking for freaky. And it can make the focus on just them bit part of play if you have them tied up or something so they cant do anything to you. 

I just might. As long as it's reasonably tame. My partner likes stuff like slapping and biting. I had a really hard time doing it at first because I didn't want to hurt them. I do ok with it now, but I'm still pretty reserved about it.

 

Our "week of no sex" lasted a grand total of two and a half days. One day of which we weren't even together at all. They said they wanted to retry, which I guess is nice. I know they love me for me, and not just the sex, but I was really kind of hoping we'd make it through the week. I guess it's nice to feel so irresistible to someone. I just wish I knew how to say no. Obviously I don't want to say no all the time, I want to compromise and be fair to my partner as well. I want them to get sex sometimes. I just want to get what I want out of it too.

 

I'm really starting to think I am asexual. My therapist encouraged me not to box myself in. Not to say that I'm always going to be asexual. Not to say that I'm always going to have only "responsive desire". I think she thinks that I'm adjusting to a very new situation, which I am. 

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Serran

Honestly, kissing and cuddling leading to sex stuff all the time would kill a relationship for me... it's stressful and blah. Sometimes it should just be kissing and cuddling.

 

On the bright side, the frequency tends to decline after it's not a "new" relationship for them, the first year or so tends to be the highest. But, still.. they need to take into account your needs too. Which is a lower frequency sometimes, non-sexual intimacy sometimes. I'd say trying again might be a good idea. I know for me, even being asked too often can make sex too annoying to do long-term, I need the ability to be non-sexual a lot of the time, even if I love the times we are sexual together. I'm just not that high on the libido meter. And I adore being affectionate with my partner. 

 

You could be asexual, or greysexual, or just a lower sex drive sexual - any works. But, even sexuals with lower interest in sex get frustrated with a high libido partner that wants it all the time. So, it's something you'll have to figure out how to work out together, if you want to make it work. You can't sacrifice all your needs for theirs. No should be a thing you're comfortable and supported in saying, same as they have that right. And the sexual stuff should be give and take, not always just their desires against your own. 

 

Could your therapist help you with setting boundaries and expressing needs? Not so much boxing yourself in, but setting a clear "this is too often for me, I need to be able to express I need to not today"? Boundaries are so important in a sexual relationship. And at the beginning you have to be able to state them, cause a partner tends to not realize if they overstep if you can't express that. 

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