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LuSo

confused about my husbands orientation

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LuSo

Hi there, 

 

I'm sure there have been tons of threads like this but I don't know where to turn right now. I also know that no one here can tell me for sure what is going on with him, but I'd like some opinions.

 

My husband has never had much of a sex drive. He, in fact, had never had a girlfriend before me (he was 26) and had only had sex a handful of times before we began dating. It was better when we met and things were still new, but it quickly waned over the years down to almost nothing. We have sex *maybe* once a month now and I feel like it's always me initiating it. Weirdly, he seems the most interested if he is half asleep in the middle of the night. Even when we have sex he will not touch me very much, he seems to be semi grossed out by vaginas. He has never performed oral sex although he will occasionally touch me with his fingers for a minute or two. Frequently it takes so long that it becomes uncomfortable and he has to finish with his hand or asks me to do it with mine. He has actually asked me to stop in the middle of sex and used his hand or mine. I do believe he watches porn and masturbates, but I'm not sure how often and he seems embarrassed talking about it.

 

I guess I never thought much of it because I was on antidepressants at the time and my sex drive was lower as well, but nowhere near as low as his. We talked about it many, many, many times even then and I just kept trying to express how hurt I was and how much it was effecting my self esteem. He will usually tell me he's sorry and blame work stress, being too tired, or us having different sleep schedules but none of the excuses add up to what's actually going on. Sometimes nothing changes and sometimes he will try to be interested for a few weeks but I can tell he is just forcing it.  At this point I don't even know if it could be fixed. He is just not interested and I know that any effort he makes isn't because he wants me, it's because he wants to do what I need. I realize that's an admirable thing on his part but it's just not fulfilling. My self esteem is now almost non existent. I've gotten so used to feeling unwanted and unattractive that I'm just disgusted with myself all the time.
 

Recently a male friend of mine confessed that he's always been attracted to me and tried to kiss me, (I know, crappy thing to do) I stopped it but I didn't want to at all. It was an absolute shock to my system that anyone in the world wanted anything to do with me. In fact it just made me start thinking things over and realize that this has not been a sexual relationship like any I've had before. I feel resentful and part of me keeps thinking that I should've just done it since it's not like I'd be taking something from our relationship to give to someone else, it'd just be fulfilling a need I have that my husband doesn't seem to want to be part of. I've even briefly brought up an idea of doing something like that but he doesn't want to and it's like he doesn't even get it. He doesn't understand why I'm not fine with the way things are and tells me that sex isn't that big of a deal. It ends up with me feeling like I'm obsessed with sex (I'm not, as I said my personal desire is on the lower side of normal, as every other boyfriend I've ever had has complained about). 

 

I don't know what to do. I am absolutely in love with him and our relationship is completely solid in every other aspect. I don't want our marriage to fail and he seems completely confused as to why this is even a big deal and doesn't seem to take it seriously.  When I talk to him about it he seems to think I'm suggesting he's gay (he's not, and he's not cheating) or that there's something wrong with him even when I try to be very sensitive and understanding, that's when the excuses start coming. I don't want to lose this relationship because we have a very happy life together and I love him very much, but the situation is getting desperate and I don't know what to think or do any more.

 

Any advice appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

Oh and I should add that there is also very little affection in general. I knew that he wasn't a super romantic person when I met him but he really only seems to want to touch me when he's been drinking and even then it's just putting his arms around me or kissing me, it's always a peck kiss though, nothing passionate.

 

 

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Ashes to Ashes

Hi! You've come to the right place, because what you described sounds to me like your husband might be asexual. You'll probably want to look up a lot of things about asexual people, and if you have any questions there's tons of people on AVEN who can help.

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LuSo
1 minute ago, Ashes to Ashes said:

Hi! You've come to the right place, because what you described sounds to me like your husband might be asexual. You'll probably want to look up a lot of things about asexual people, and if you have any questions there's tons of people on AVEN who can help.

 

Thanks! Can you tell me why it sounds like that? I worry sometimes that it's just something about me. Is this typical asexual behavior? Even though he watches porn and masturbates and is VERY occasionally into sex?

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MichaelTannock

Welcome to AVEN!

 

By what you're describing, I think your husband is almost definitely Asexual and doesn't know.
Unfortunately, this means he's likely to reject the idea that he's Asexual unless he reads what other Asexuals have written, and assume that Heterosexual couples have little to no sex as well.

 

I recommend this book, http://www.asexualityarchive.com/book/
And suggest looking for statistics on how much sex the average couple has, to show him.

Or ask him to join these forums himself and talk to other Asexuals.

Because otherwise, he'll think that your need for sex is what's out of the ordinary, and not take it seriously enough to compromise on.

 

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TheAPparition

Moved from Questions about Asexuality to For Sexual Partners, Friends and Allies.

 

TheAP

Questions about Asexuality mod

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ryn2

He certainly could be asexual, or perhaps greysexual.  Some asexuals do masturbate and/or view porn.

 

Ultimately, though, he’s the only one who will know for sure.  Just about 100% of the below parts of your original post apply to my partner as well, and he’s (sexual, and) considering ending our relationship over my asexuality.

 

18 minutes ago, LuSo said:

He, in fact, had never had a girlfriend before me (he was 26) and had only had sex a handful of times before we began dating. It was better when we met and things were still new, but it quickly waned over the years down to almost nothing. We have sex *maybe* once a month now and I feel like it's always me initiating it. Weirdly, he seems the most interested if he is half asleep in the middle of the night.

 

19 minutes ago, LuSo said:

Frequently it takes so long that it becomes uncomfortable and he has to finish with his hand or asks me to do it with mine. He has actually asked me to stop in the middle of sex and used his hand or mine. I do believe he watches porn and masturbates, but I'm not sure how often and he seems embarrassed talking about it.

 

19 minutes ago, LuSo said:

He will usually tell me he's sorry and blame work stress, being too tired, or us having different sleep schedules but none of the excuses add up to what's actually going on.

 

21 minutes ago, LuSo said:

he really only seems to want to touch me when he's been drinking and even then it's just putting his arms around me or kissing me, it's always a peck kiss though, nothing passionate.

 

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LuSo
7 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

He certainly could be asexual, or perhaps greysexual.  Some asexuals do masturbate and/or view porn.

  

Ultimately, though, he’s the only one who will know for sure.  Just about 100% of the below parts of your original post apply to my partner as well, and he’s (sexual, and) considering ending our relationship over my asexuality.

 

do you mean that this is how your partner feels about you, or this is how your sexual partner is about sex?

 

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Grimalkin

So, you've talked with him a lot already about this. Communication isn't the issue. You could try bringing up asexuality with him and see where that goes, but if he is asexual, then... that's it. He's asexual for life, just like you are allosexual for life. There's no changing it.

 

We know it's not his fault that he's asexual, but he's doing a disservice to you and to himself with these half-hearted attempts to keep things going. He undoubtedly loves you and enjoys the life he has now, but it sounds like the sexual aspect has never been something he has been interested in. It's not a reflection on you as a person. The trouble with relationships like this is that you can't directly blame him for being asexual, but in a sense he has failed as a good partner because he has staunchly denied that anything is wrong, and made no real effort to change anything. Which leads into:

 

25 minutes ago, LuSo said:

He doesn't understand why I'm not fine with the way things are and tells me that sex isn't that big of a deal. It ends up with me feeling like I'm obsessed with sex (I'm not, as I said my personal desire is on the lower side of normal, as every other boyfriend I've ever had has complained about). 

Asexual people often truly do not understand "what the big deal is" about sex... but they have to be willfully dense not to realize it's important to other people, especially after this long in a relationship with a wife who is desperately attempting to communicate. He's "trying" in the sense that he occasionally musters up the energy to have begrudging sex with you, but that's not helping anybody, him or you.

 

And here's the thing, sex is important. I say that so often, but it's true. Sexual compatibility is the cornerstone of all good relationships. He shouldn't be dismissing your feelings like this, nor trying to guilt you into thinking you're somehow "wrong" for wanting sex. Because you aren't. If sex is important to you, then you don't have to try and justify it. Women, and especially American women, have this idea that we shouldn't want sex that much and that we're shallow if we're focused on it. That's not true. You're not undesirable and you deserve someone who will want you in the same way you want them.

 

I know you want this relationship to work. I know you love him. But could you continue like this for the rest of your life? Because that's what it will be. If he's asexual, he won't change. Your sex drive won't suddenly die. It will be this way for the rest of your life. Sexual compatibility is not some minor aspect of a relationship, it is huge and people very frequently separate over it.

 

I'm sorry you have to go through this. Whatever happens, he needs to own up to how he feels, because if you can't have sex and you can't be honest with each other, what do you have?

 

 

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ryn2
10 minutes ago, LuSo said:

 

do you mean that this is how your partner feels about you, or this is how your sexual partner is about sex?

 

This (the sections I quoted, except sex once a month currently) is how my sexual partner is about sex.

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LuSo
4 minutes ago, Grimalkin said:

I know you want this relationship to work. I know you love him. But could you continue like this for the rest of your life? Because that's what it will be. If he's asexual, he won't change. Your sex drive won't suddenly die. It will be this way for the rest of your life. Sexual compatibility is not some minor aspect of a relationship, it is huge and people very frequently separate over it.

  

 

That idea just makes me so sad. Does it EVER work for the sexual partner to engage in outside sexual relationships? I know he's the one I want to be with and I'd not fall in love with someone else. I'm not looking for excuses to cheat, honestly, I just can't think of any other way to make this work.

And of course I don't blame him if that's his orientation, I just wish we could have more honest discussions about it, at least things would make sense if that was the problem.

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MichaelTannock
2 minutes ago, LuSo said:

And of course I don't blame him if that's his orientation, I just wish we could have more honest discussions about it, at least things would make sense if that was the problem.

My recommendation and suggestion should help.

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anisotrophic

Asexuality is heterogeneous! It's hard for someone other than the person themselves to determine it, as @ryn2's counterpoint emphasizes. It's hard for the ace themselves! I mean, how can you be sure you haven't experienced something if ... you have never experienced it?

If you think this is a possibility, I recommend this starting point (at least, this is where I started, and I think it helped me navigate the beginning of conversation): https://theacetheist.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/what-to-do-if-you-think-your-partner-might-be-asexual/

 

My partner has come to identify as "mostly ace", but that took a while. He spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I guess it's hard to be 100% sure.

Agreed it was really painful to confront that I was never going to be attractive (to him, but I'm going with a universal attitude, for my own peace of mind), but can also be a relief (it wasn't me)?

And maybe it became clearer to him how important it was to me. Because, with this understanding, he was/is clear that it's okay for me to ask for it (we've reviewed what stuff he's OK with), and I've adapted to become OK with always asking, initiating, and leading. (He says I can no more change my orientation than he can his – it's very kind?) Communication & acceptance are vital starting points...

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The Angel of Eternity

@LuSo Hi! Welcome to heAVEN! There's an infinite amount of :cake: here, so feel free to take as much as you want!

 

It sounds like this guy may be ace or grey-ace and might be neutral to repulsed by sex (or at least averse).I would definitely recommend this site to him to read other posts here, like @MichaelTannock said.

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Grimalkin
8 minutes ago, LuSo said:

That idea just makes me so sad. Does it EVER work for the sexual partner to engage in outside sexual relationships? I know he's the one I want to be with and I'd not fall in love with someone else. I'm not looking for excuses to cheat, honestly, I just can't think of any other way to make this work.

And of course I don't blame him if that's his orientation, I just wish we could have more honest discussions about it, at least things would make sense if that was the problem.

Opening the relationship works wonderfully for some people, and terribly for others. I think he would first have to be honest with himself and you about his desires before talk of an open relationship comes along. But it would certainly be worth a try before anything else!

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anisotrophic

On open – I have been given permission but I have not attempted to pursue... (To be fair, I didn't have someone hitting on me, as you did!)

But, my own experience and opinion, I would say,

 

18 minutes ago, Grimalkin said:

it would certainly be worth a try before anything else!

I disagree with this.

I think you should first try to see if you can become more happy with the sex life you have with your partner – given the new knowledge you may both have or learn. If a partner realizes asexuality, that is a transition in itself. There's a lot of communication you could be doing, about each other's experiences and needs (which may be a lot more different than you both realized).

IMHO, I think attempting to achieve a new equilibrium and happiness internally should be a first goal. (I'm not saying it's easy, either.)

Because even if a partner is OK with it, "open" is liable to disrupt things in a whole new way. I agree it's really valuable to have (less bleak future, thank god), but maybe also valuable to not actually do it just yet – not to use it as the solution for this relationship, not to risk it until you feel stable and happy with a new normal – or at least try your best to achieve it first.

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Grimalkin

Oh I totally agree with the above. I was in a hurry and should have said "worth a try before any potential separation" rather than "before anything else." Definitely talk first.

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LuSo
3 minutes ago, Grimalkin said:

Oh I totally agree with the above. I was in a hurry and should have said "worth a try before any potential separation" rather than "before anything else." Definitely talk first.

 

37 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

On open – I have been given permission but I have not attempted to pursue... (To be fair, I didn't have someone hitting on me, as you did!)

But, my own experience and opinion, I would say,

 

I disagree with this.

I think you should first try to see if you can become more happy with the sex life you have with your partner – given the new knowledge you may both have or learn. If a partner realizes asexuality, that is a transition in itself. There's a lot of communication you could be doing, about each other's experiences and needs (which may be a lot more different than you both realized).

IMHO, I think attempting to achieve a new equilibrium and happiness internally should be a first goal. (I'm not saying it's easy, either.)

Because even if a partner is OK with it, "open" is liable to disrupt things in a whole new way. I agree it's really valuable to have (less bleak future, thank god), but maybe also valuable to not actually do it just yet – not to use it as the solution for this relationship, not to risk it until you feel stable and happy with a new normal – or at least try your best to achieve it first.

 

 

I totally agree and understand. I know that could be a potential landmine but I've also just talked until I'm blue in the face. I've cried, I've tried to tell him it's okay if he just doesn't like sex, I even did once ask him if he might be attracted to men and told him if he is that's okay. I'm just not sure what to do here. I'm 7 years in and now that this medication is gone it's just all coming back and I'm frustrated with this situation and hurt.

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Grimalkin
3 minutes ago, LuSo said:

 

 

 

I totally agree and understand. I know that could be a potential landmine but I've also just talked until I'm blue in the face. I've cried, I've tried to tell him it's okay if he just doesn't like sex, I even did once ask him if he might be attracted to men and told him if he is that's okay. I'm just not sure what to do here. I'm 7 years in and now that this medication is gone it's just all coming back and I'm frustrated with this situation and hurt.

Look, I just want to say, take care of yourself. Only you can decide what's right for you. Keep up a net of friends and family for emotional support if you can.

 

You sound like you've really tried your hardest at this. Remember that you shouldn't be doing all the work in this relationship. If he's not meeting you halfway- and halfway would be trying to solve this, not having grudging sex- then he needs to step up.

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LuSo
2 minutes ago, Grimalkin said:

 Look, I just want to say, take care of yourself. Only you can decide what's right for you. Keep up a net of friends and family for emotional support if you can.

  

You sound like you've really tried your hardest at this. Remember that you shouldn't be doing all the work in this relationship. If he's not meeting you halfway- and halfway would be trying to solve this, not having grudging sex- then he needs to step up.

Thank you. I'm trying so hard to be understanding but I feel like he's not. It's just so weird because he is so understanding about everything else, he just cant seem to wrap his head around what a big deal this is.

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MichaelTannock

I hope you can see my suggestion.

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LuSo
1 minute ago, MichaelTannock said:

I hope you can see my suggestion.

 

I can and will definitely look into that book. Thank you

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anisotrophic
2 minutes ago, LuSo said:

I totally agree and understand. I know that could be a potential landmine but I've also just talked until I'm blue in the face. I've cried, I've tried to tell him it's okay if he just doesn't like sex, I even did once ask him if he might be attracted to men and told him if he is that's okay.

I hear you. I didn't mean to make it sound easy. :( My partner had given reasonings of one thing or another, for over a decade. A lot depends on him – on both people – to be communicating & accepting.

I can't know all of what's transpired. But with the concept of asexuality of an orientation – permanent and profoundly different – it's possible you'll find a whole new conversation and starting point. Maybe he just didn't get how big a difference it is. We can hope. As @Grimalkin says, a partner owes it to be a partner – to meet halfway, to help meet your needs, as you meet theirs....

And if some major shift in understanding occurs, finding a new equilibrium will probably take a long time. If not, I'm afraid there's many here that could commiserate with you on not being able to communicate with their partner.

 

Also think about coming back here if you need support or community. I couldn't feel supported by family or friends. (Family I wasn't allowed to talk to, others just did not get it.) I found it here, in part just by reading other people's stories. ❤️

And... I agree it's good to learn a lot. @MichaelTannock's suggestion, my link, other books.

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MichaelTannock

I'm a little paranoid about that because on another forum (not AVEN) my posts were invisible to other users for years.

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fiѕh

I really, REALLY think what he actually needs to understand isn't asexuality or that sex is a big deal. It's that he doesn't need to understand why it is a problem. For now. Understanding your partner is great, but if you need to make yourself understood before you're even listened to, that puts you in this really hurtful position of having to defend yourself for your feelings. Maybe he can wrap his head around that. 

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ryn2

I’m sorry if I missed it above, but have you tried joint therapy/counseling for this?  Sometimes that helps with talking past each other, not feeling heard, etc.

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Thea2

 

Quote

... My self esteem is now almost non existent. I've gotten so used to feeling unwanted and unattractive that I'm just disgusted with myself all the time.

 

Recently a male friend of mine confessed that he's always been attracted to me and tried to kiss me ... I stopped it but I didn't want to at all ... 

I recommend starting a sexual relationship with your friend, without telling your husband about it. 

Best of luck to you in any case, whatever you decide to do.  And welcome to Aven, I hope it will be a great support to you. 🍰🍰🍰 

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Grimalkin
9 minutes ago, Thea2 said:

 

I recommend starting a sexual relationship with your friend, without telling your husband about it. 

Best of luck to you in any case, whatever you decide to do.  And welcome to Aven, I hope it will be a great support to you. 🍰🍰🍰 

...What?

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Thea2
1 minute ago, Grimalkin said:

...What?

Which bit is unclear to you?

 

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LuSo
2 hours ago, ryn2 said:

I’m sorry if I missed it above, but have you tried joint therapy/counseling for this?  Sometimes that helps with talking past each other, not feeling heard, etc.

I have brought this idea up over and over and he has shut it down. He just doesn't seem to get that this is actually a big deal, it's extremely frustrating. 

 

1 hour ago, Thea2 said:

 

I recommend starting a sexual relationship with your friend, without telling your husband about it. 

 Best of luck to you in any case, whatever you decide to do.  And welcome to Aven, I hope it will be a great support to you. 🍰🍰🍰 

Believe me.. I definitely thought about it. I realize that it might sound horrid to a lot of people on this forum but I can also see the potential benefits. The friend is in a committed but open relationship so he would keep it to himself. My husband would likely never find out, not have to feel hurt, and it would take some major stress off the marriage. I just can't do the lying. Our relationship is so solid that I just couldn't bring myself to do something behind his back.

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Lucinda

Have you brought up the topic of committed but open relationships, in general?

 

Lucinda

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