Untangling Emotions

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On 9/15/2018 at 5:25 AM, NoCakePlease said:

He says he's not, and that he is romantically attracted to me, but I'm not real clear on what he, personally, means by that. He has increased the amount of physical contact with me a little, but it seems kind of forced and stilted. I don't know, though, if that is on his side or mine. One of my fears is that he will suddenly realize he's not okay with that either. When he first told me he is asexual he said he was indifferent to sex, but could and had enjoyed it when we did it. Within a couple of days he said he was "kind of uncomfortable with a couple of things." Then a few days after that, upon greater reflection, he basically said he is sex-repulsed by everything (he didn't use the word 'repulsed' because he says he doesn't like it, but that's clearly what he meant). So now I fear that I will get used to the non-sexual closeness and then it will get yanked away from me, too. So it very well may be that I am freezing when he holds me, rather than the other way around.

I think, most asexuals go through a process of finding out, who they are sexually. Many will try a lot to fit into the category of being ‘normal’ and do as expected. What you @NoCakePlease describe above, is that you will not be let into the process while it is going on. You will just be told ‘how things have turned out!’. Ideally, relationship troubles should be handled by both partners. In this case the “asexual” can tend to overrule the sexual and not invite them in and share where the process is going to end.


But it is a complex matter. I am not asking for an evaluation or status update every time we have been intimate. “That kiss was a four on the kiss scale. If you had used lib balm, you could easily have reached a five!”

I just want openness, sharing, honesty as well. Occasionally, a ‘white lie’ is okay. She does not have to put a grade on every sexual performance and say I flunked. But when I used to lie in bed, after a sexual session, feeling exhausted, happy, loved and bonded, and said “wow! That was fantastic! Was it nice for you too?” In the situation, the white innocent lie about the niceness of the sexual session, is no problem. But multiply with X-times, and it starts to look more like not being open and honest, rather than just to not spoil the moment. 


I believe, that important things have to be shared in a serious relationship. Even if it means to put a risk on ending the relationship. Keyword here is important. The asexual has to accept, that your need for intimacy and sex is important, and therefore needs to be dealt with. (Please note, dear asexuals! That I do not say that there has to be sex or intimacy between the two. But they have to both deal with it and work on mature decisions. )

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4 hours ago, MrDane said:

What you @NoCakePlease describe above, is that you will not be let into the process while it is going on. You will just be told ‘how things have turned out!’. Ideally, relationship troubles should be handled by both partners.

The catch in this case is that it’s a (often painful and frightening) process of self-discovery that results in relationship troubles.  It’s difficult - and can be counterproductive - to include others along the path to self-discovery, because you’re in a fragile place and don’t have the mental “bandwidth” available to handle someone else’s pain or support someone else’s grieving at the time.  Also, the price for prematurely, incorrectly coming out is high.

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20 hours ago, NoCakePlease said:

One of the things that seems so unfair right now is that X is one of the only people I have felt comfortable talking openly to about "personal matters." As he is my very best friend and confidant, as well as husband and former lover, I always shared everything with him. So a part of me wants to turn to him and say "I have to figure out how I'm going to take care of this but blah, blah, blah is is problem for that. What do you think I can do to manage this?" But I can't. Cause the thought of talking to him about it seems almost sick and perverted at this point. So I've not only lost a lover, I've lost my go-to person for many of the things I can't say to anyone else.

This stands out to me as the most important thing to focus on right now.


It sounds like a rift has formed, and it's new. You're reluctant to be open with each other -- the fear of hurting each other, shame about what you're thinking and feeling.

For example: if he's reluctant to discuss why he dislikes sex -- you're left filling in the blanks. (Is it because he's stressed about disappointing you? The physical sensations are uncomfortable? He's grossed out by stuff -- and by what? Whatever he's feeling is probably scary to confess to you.) I'm going to guess whatever you've guessed here is unlikely to be perfectly accurate about how he's feeling. And on your end, you're feeling unable to share your own sexual feelings, thoughts, and desires with him.

Maybe the place to start is talking about not being able to talk -- "I'm feeling things, and I'm ashamed of them." or "I'm afraid to tell you things because I'll disappoint you."

(And FWIW @uhtred consistently misses a fourth path in that "three options". Some mixed relationships do continue to have sex, or some form of sexual interaction. I don't want to dwell on it because your partner is reluctant, but it's another path -- one which involves a lot of understand, acceptance, and communication. But I guess just about any path is probably better with those things? And I was happy when you shifted to discuss "open" -- not "cheat". It's possible your own relationship has a stronger history of communication than @uhtred's inclined to assume, and that's an asset you can be cultivating right now.)

20 hours ago, NoCakePlease said:

Needless to say it did not work. At all. So I gave that up as a lost cause. I was nice enough to not let on to the couple that I was just using them to slut myself up to try and make X horny for me - LOL.

What stands out for me is this: you had sexual intimacy with someone you weren't attracted to. (I think it's not very surprising that you weren't attracted to them; for many people, attraction requires some personal connection and emotional intimacy.)

"Without attraction" is the only way an asexual can experience sex.

You don't describe it as painful or repulsive or coerced. You describe having a positive motive for it (in this case: inspiring desire in your partner). That positive motive didn't succeed -- but if it had, it sounds like it was something you were willing to do.

This is "as good as it gets" for someone that is asexual.

When coming to understanding my partner, I drew upon my own experience of "sex without attraction" -- for me, it was a friend I cared about, but wasn't attracted to. (Like you, I did not tell that person I wasn't attracted to them! We know that's not something people want to hear. ;)) It was a revelation that was simultaneously painful and reassuring.


It was painful to realize this is how it always is and was for my partner. But then, I realized I never regretted that time I decided to have sex with someone I wasn't attracted to. If I had a do-over, I'd do it again. I'm happy to have made him happy. This helped me re-establish sexual intimacy with my partner (but how we go about it now is transformed by our much clearer understanding of each other).

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