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Hopeful

Asexual/Sexual relationship: How do you make it work?

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Hopeful

I have been with my husband for over 16 years and we have no come to realize he is asexual. Sex has always been an issue and we have never been able to find a solution that works for both of us. Although this has been going on for years the tension has now begun to really threaten our future together. Is there anyone out there making this work? If you have any advice I would really appreciate it. We love each other but both know we can’t continue to hurt each other like this for long.

Thanks in advance for you willingness to share.

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Hallucigenia

There are many sexual/asexual couples on AVEN, some of whom are indeed making it work. Unfortunately, a lot depends on your individual traits and needs; not all asexuals are the same about what they feel comfortable doing and not doing, just as not all sexuals are the same about that.

Other than that, there's not much I can say that you haven't probably already figured out in your 16 years of marriage; so I'll leave the specific advice to someone who's actually had experience here.

*scans the boards for hawke*

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sonofzeal

There are a few things I can suggest - you many have already tried many, but I'll put them down just in case.

First, many (not all) asexuals don't realise why sex is important to the rest of us. Explaining how it feels to you is important, as is explaining what it means to you. "When you touch me that way, I feel like you care about my needs and want to make me happy, I feel like we're connecting on a deeper level." That sort of thing.

Second, many (not all) asexuals are comfortable with some degree of sexuality. Even if sex itself is a problem for them, there may be other things they can do to "assist" in your own sexual life without violating their own boundaries and comfort zone - cuddling while naked comed to mind as something I've heard asexuals express interrest in. There's also a fair number of asexuals who enjoy BDSM activities, as long as they don't involve sex. Talk through any fetishes either of you has - there may be "games" the two of you can play that incoroporate your fetishes in a setting that works for both of you.

Third, let your partner contol if and when certain activities happen. Feeling pressured into things only makes it worse most of the time, and many asexuals on this forum have reported that they managed to go through with things they otherwise dread, when they had enough time to work themselves up to it. Apply the same principal to things that bother them less, and it should make it easier to satisfy both of you.

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MaraKarina

It's almost impossible to give advice or tell you about your chances based on the information you've given.

I understand in over 16 years you've tried almost everything - in its extreme one of you finding a way to have some sex live and the other one to avoid it altogether.

There's quite a lot of information from people in a situation like yours on:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sexuals_with_asexuals/

Feel free to join that group or give more information here so answers can be a little more specific.

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Androgyny

Not to be rude or blatantly obvious but..

If you love him enough why does sex matter? Why don't you respect his wishes to not preform sexual acts. Theres plenty of other things you can do to make you both happy.

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MaraKarina

Androgyny,

I take that as an "asexual" answer. If it were that easy, there wouldn't be problems between sexuals and asexuals as long as they loved each other enough. A sexual could just as well ask if he loves her enough why doesn't he have sex with her occasionally just to please her.

Both come from opposite worlds of feelings, and to say "wha does sex matter" would be like asking a person who can see to share a house with a blind person which doesn't have any windows. The blind person will not mind as it doesn't matter to him/her, but the person who can see will want to use that ability. Not the perfect comparision, but then there is none.

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inona
Not to be rude or blatantly obvious but..

If you love him enough why does sex matter? Why don't you respect his wishes to not preform sexual acts. Theres plenty of other things you can do to make you both happy.

Would you ask a gay person married to a straight individual, why does their gender matter? Because obviously it does, if the gay person who's realized his or her orientation while married is not happy.

If you're a person with a sexual drive, then yes, sex does matter.

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Androgyny
Not to be rude or blatantly obvious but..

If you love him enough why does sex matter? Why don't you respect his wishes to not preform sexual acts. Theres plenty of other things you can do to make you both happy.

Would you ask a gay person married to a straight individual, why does their gender matter? Because obviously it does, if the gay person who's realized his or her orientation while married is not happy.

If you're a person with a sexual drive, then yes, sex does matter.

I apologise, that is normally my frame of mind anyway(though my perception in this area is quite biased), but to add on it it I was in a bad mood. However..I do ask constantly why gender matters. And I would tell that gay person to find another gay person.

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inona
Third, let your [asexual] partner contol if and when certain activities happen.

Why?

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sonofzeal

Third, let your [asexual] partner contol if and when certain activities happen.

Why?

1) As I said, if they control it then they can psyche themselves up for it and be better prepared mentally and physically.

2) A lot of the problem that many asexuals have with sex is a feeling of their boundaries being invaded (metaphorically and literally). If they control it, there's no reason to feel invaded and they will likely feel safer and more secure about what happens, and hence not mind it as much and possibly even enjoy it.

3) If you control it, they could end up percieving you as forcing them to do those things, and that will almost certainly damage the relationship on many levels.

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MaraKarina

If you let the asexual partner control if and when certain activities happen, likelihood is that NOTHING happens. They don't miss anything and probably don't even notice nothing's happening. Like soccer - I may join a good friend to a match if he's got VIP tickets and even enjoy myself. If he doesn't remind me I'll probably never notice whether or not there is a game nor think about checking ...

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sonofzeal
If you let the asexual partner control if and when certain activities happen, likelihood is that NOTHING happens. They don't miss anything and probably don't even notice nothing's happening. Like soccer - I may join a good friend to a match if he's got VIP tickets and even enjoy myself. If he doesn't remind me I'll probably never notice whether or not there is a game nor think about checking ...

You're talking about something slightly different than I am. I'm not saying that they should totally destroy down communication on the subject. What I'm saying is that the two partners should, together, agree on making something happen inside a certain timeframe, and the asexual partner would control the specifics of which day, at which time, etc.

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MaraKarina

I hear a lot about sexual/asexual couples trying that - and problably mostly from where it does not work - and they agree on something and, the very last minute the asexual partner is tired, has to work late hours, suddenly disappears, etc. And it gives me the feeling that the asexual partners don't want sex at all but just don't know how to say that.

I guess sexuals in couples who manage to compromise well are doing pretty ok and are unlikely to search the internet until they land here or in the support group. And as someone in whatever thread, I forgot which one it was, mentioned 1 or 2 days ago, that many partners who act asexually may in fact have psychological problems which may be even a lot harder to take than asexual behaviour.

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inona

Third, let your [asexual] partner contol if and when certain activities happen.

Why?

1) As I said, if they control it then they can psyche themselves up for it and be better prepared mentally and physically.

To me, the key to a good, healthy relationship is balance. One person shouldn't have "control" over something like this. One might just as well say that the sexual person in the partnership 'should' be in control - after all, he or she is the one who is going to enjoy it. But I wouldn't think that would make for a good relationship either.

I can't see how sex can be something one person just tolerates for the sake of another. I also don't see how someone can have sex with someone, knowing for certain that the other person really doesn't want them, doesn't desire them, may even be repulsed by what they're doing.

2) A lot of the problem that many asexuals have with sex is a feeling of their boundaries being invaded (metaphorically and literally). If they control it, there's no reason to feel invaded and they will likely feel safer and more secure about what happens, and hence not mind it as much and possibly even enjoy it.

If they are enjoying sex with a partner, are they really asexual, then?

I appreciate the point about problems with boundaries. But what about the sexual person's feelings of rejection, lack of validation of their desirability? It seems to me that someone (or both) are going to lose. Because the sexual person in the partnership isn't going to have the incomparable feeling of being sexually wanted.

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oneofthesun

"I can't see how sex can be something one person just tolerates for the sake of another. I also don't see how someone can have sex with someone, knowing for certain that the other person really doesn't want them, doesn't desire them, may even be repulsed by what they're doing."

That's what rape is.

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Dixie
2) A lot of the problem that many asexuals have with sex is a feeling of their boundaries being invaded (metaphorically and literally). If they control it, there's no reason to feel invaded and they will likely feel safer and more secure about what happens, and hence not mind it as much and possibly even enjoy it.

If they are enjoying sex with a partner, are they really asexual, then?

If an asexual enjoys having sex with their sexual partner, it might be because they know that it's a bonding moment with their SO, and that it makes their SO happy, and that's all they might want.

They aren't sexually attracted to the sexual, but it doesn't mean they don't care about them and their well being, which would have to include the sex aspect.

It made sense in my head. Hope that came out right.

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starrysky
"I can't see how sex can be something one person just tolerates for the sake of another. I also don't see how someone can have sex with someone, knowing for certain that the other person really doesn't want them, doesn't desire them, may even be repulsed by what they're doing."

That's what rape is.

No it isn't. I don't like sex and I would prefer not to do it, but I choose to do it even if it repulses me. No one forces me. That is not rape and calling it that trivializes rape.

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