BraveMind

Miserable and Frustrated

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QueenOfTheRats

hmmmm, as your therapist said, lavender relationships are not ideal, but I understand caring about your partner and wanting to make things work. Are there any fetishes you think you could engage in that might not include penetration? Some asexuals might be more willing to engage in things like rope bondage, spanking if they know penetration isn't involved. You might also develop a deal, for example sex once a month=taking her out to a theme park (or some other event she likes) Regrettably sex will probably not occur as much as you want it to, but if you guys are both invested in the relationship I don't see why you can't form some sort of deal/situation that works for both of you. Also, it might be good to have a talk about what about sex repulses her most, many asexuals (including myself) find certain things about sex more off putting than others. For example, take semen out of the picture, and I'm down for a lot more things. Take needing reciprocal pleasure out of the picture and I feel more relaxed and open to sexual things. Bottom line: you guys need to talk specifics.

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QueenOfTheRats

Also, keep in mind there are a lot of different flavors of asexuality. Educate yourself (as it seems you are from being on this website)! There are asexuals, greysexuals, demisexuals, aromantics, trans people that are asexual due to dysphoria, etc. The more you learn, the more you can become empowered in your decision making process. Best of luck!

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Sally
1 hour ago, QueenOfTheRats said:

 Regrettably sex will probably not occur as much as you want it to, but if you guys are both invested in the relationship I don't see why you can't form some sort of deal/situation that works for both of you. 

I've seen many discussions on AVEN where both partners are very invested in the relationship, but whatever compromise they figure out just doesn't please either of them.  If one partner wants sex regularly and often (i.e., more than once a month), with a partner who at least appears to find pleasure in it, and the other partner doesn't ever want to have sex, then it's not going to work.  

 

I say this because too often "communication" and "compromise" are presented as something that will be the key to ending frustration (on the part of both partners).   Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't.  

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anisotrophic

Communication is a prerequisite, but partners also have to be able to adjust to be happy within the reality that exists.

 

Wanting an ace partner to turn sexual, to be (or act) attracted / desiring: not going to happen.

 

Wanting a sexual partner to turn ace, to cease to experience sexual desire/need: also not going to happen.

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Telecaster68
6 hours ago, BraveMind said:

Thanks for sharing this. 

 

Tonight a couple we're friends with popped in on short notice. It was a nice visit, glad they came. What struck me though was how much effort the wife put into the visit. She ran to the store, bought some cakes and wine, got dressed up, and spent three hours entertaining them.

 

I realized she has the time, energy, and willingness to do that but can't find 15 minutes and the effort to give me satisfying sex. Am I over analyzing?

 

I know entertaining guests is something she enjoys, whereas sex with me (comparable to me having sex with my good male friend) is something she doesn't. 

 

Our therapy started in August and we're approaching December with no change on her part. I'm worried.

All too recognisable for me, as well. And there was no question my wife knew what was going on. 

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Telecaster68

From what I've read about this particular situation, OP's wife just isn't sufficiently engaged that whatever is holding her back will be overcome by wanting to fix the relationship. Her good intentions never seem to come to fruition. 

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uhtred
19 hours ago, ryn2 said:

If you fell out of love for some other reason, wouldn’t you fall out of wanting sex and romance too?

Yes - but if any of those go, the others tend to follow.    Somehow to me they are more central than other things. 

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Telecaster68

For sexuals, I think that providing the relationship is basically okay, even if it's slightly under pressure, sex can short circuit a lot of stresses and tensions, because of its physicality, in a way that those other things can't get round the absence of sex because they're not physical. Mind and body feel better after sex and it affects your whole feeling about life. 

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ryn2
14 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

For sexuals, I think that providing the relationship is basically okay, even if it's slightly under pressure, sex can short circuit a lot of stresses and tensions, because of its physicality, in a way that those other things can't get round the absence of sex because they're not physical. Mind and body feel better after sex and it affects your whole feeling about life. 

Isn’t that more likely to be true for people who find physicality (in general) relaxing and uplifting than for those who don’t?

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ryn2
11 hours ago, BraveMind said:

Our therapy started in August and we're approaching December with no change on her part. I'm worried.

Sorry to keep harping on this but if I’m understanding your posts correctly you’re seeing a sexologist (sex therapy).

 

Right now you have a more basic communication problem (as a couple) that sex therapy is likely to worsen (think of how you would feel in therapy to “learn to have better sex” with your male friend).

 

A relationship/couples counselor who is LGBT+ friendly and familiar with asexuality could help you tackle the larger issue(s), which may help you decide if the sexual mismatch is worth addressing.

 

tl;dr if your partner is actually ace, or even just not interested in sex with you, counseling with a sexologist who does not believe mixed marriages can work is going to worsen the relationship rather than improve it because your partner will feel unheard.

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Serran
10 hours ago, BraveMind said:

Thanks for sharing this. 

 

Tonight a couple we're friends with popped in on short notice. It was a nice visit, glad they came. What struck me though was how much effort the wife put into the visit. She ran to the store, bought some cakes and wine, got dressed up, and spent three hours entertaining them.

 

I realized she has the time, energy, and willingness to do that but can't find 15 minutes and the effort to give me satisfying sex. Am I over analyzing?

 

I know entertaining guests is something she enjoys, whereas sex with me (comparable to me having sex with my good male friend) is something she doesn't. 

 

Our therapy started in August and we're approaching December with no change on her part. I'm worried.

Doing something you enjoy for hours is easy. Even if tired. Doing something draining and exhausting you get nothing out of solely to make someone else happy... not as easy. At times I needed hours of preparation just to mentally be able to handle it. Then I needed hours after to recover. Plus at least 15 minutes in the bathroom to go through various mental exercises and breathing to be able to relax enough to just do it (since if not relaxed it hurts pretty bad since muscles down there tense and tighten). 

 

Sex with desire can be a quick, wonderful thing that doesnt take long, no prep needed and you just go with it and feel great after. Sex without desire can be so so draining, it takes a special kind of energy that is very hard to come up with while things arent great. 

 

Granted, I can see why it seems like no big deal to someone with desire. A quickie with my current spouse is fine, even when im not completely in the mood I still dont mind. It is nothing at all like doing it with someone I didnt desire. 

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Telecaster68
14 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

Isn’t that more likely to be true for people who find physicality (in general) relaxing and uplifting than for those who don’t?

I'm not in general a particularly physical person, in the sense of generally enjoying the physical over the cerebral. I'm definitely more cerebral, and that might've added to the uniqueness of sex as one of the few physical things I did enjoy for itself. 

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

I'm not in general a particularly physical person, in the sense of generally enjoying the physical over the cerebral. I'm definitely more cerebral, and that might've added to the uniqueness of sex as one of the few physical things I did enjoy for itself. 

Could be.  It probably also depends on what about being physical (in any sense) does and doesn’t appeal.

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Telecaster68
2 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

Could be.  It probably also depends on what about being physical (in any sense) does and doesn’t appeal.

I think it's just that sex fires off a flood of pleasure and bonding hormones for most people, effectively a brain hack which over rides normal brain activity. 

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ryn2
7 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think it's just that sex fires off a flood of pleasure and bonding hormones for most people, effectively a brain hack which over rides normal brain activity. 

Maybe I was too vague.  For people (like me) with longstanding body image issues, being in settings (not just sex) where your body is the focus of the activity isn’t conducive to “just letting go” and enjoying whatever is going on.  Instead it’s conducive to increased anxiety, made worse by the fact that whoever else is there may catch on.

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Telecaster68

Well yes. If you basically don't like having sex, it's not going make you feel better. 

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ryn2
17 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Well yes. If you basically don't like having sex, it's not going make you feel better. 

I was more thinking “if you don’t like having your body be the center of attention, you’re not going to find sex as relaxing and uplifting as someone who isn’t bothered by their body will.”

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Telecaster68
38 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

I was more thinking “if you don’t like having your body be the center of attention, you’re not going to find sex as relaxing and uplifting as someone who isn’t bothered by their body will.”

Could someone who was that uncomfortable with attention being paid to their body enjoy sex anyway? 

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anisotrophic
7 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

even if it's slightly under pressure, sex can short circuit a lot of stresses and tensions

Oh wow my partner just made this observation a day or so ago. He'd been in a vague bad mood for several days and it was getting me down. He said something like, "oh, for other couples, you could still bond with sex, and feel close, but we don't have that path".[*]

 

(Or the effectiveness is less, or the directionality of it? I can't bond or cheer him up with a nuzzle and suggestive caress.)

 

Re @ryn2's note on feeling uncomfortable... I used to prefer in the dark, or under covers?

 

But now, not feeling bad about my body (because there is no version that would be attractive) has been a big weird bonus, haha. It became weirdly easier to lose weight (maybe because I was no longer experiencing negative feedback on the "why isn't this making me more attractive??" aspect).

 

[*] Communication/empathy doesn't solve everything, but it does seem to help with so many aspects of how the asymmetry of desire can impact a relationship...

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

Could someone who was that uncomfortable with attention being paid to their body enjoy sex anyway? 

Sometimes?

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Serran
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

Could someone who was that uncomfortable with attention being paid to their body enjoy sex anyway? 

Yeah. People who are dysphoric and literally hate their bodies and anything that reminds them its wrong can still find ways to enjoy sex. A lot more effort goes into it though. 

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Telecaster68

I think we're getting on to the territory where it turns out those people are putting in what looks to me like an inordinate amount of work for very little reward and if I was them I probably wouldn't be very bothered about sex either. 

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ryn2
34 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think we're getting on to the territory where it turns out those people are putting in what looks to me like an inordinate amount of work for very little reward and if I was them I probably wouldn't be very bothered about sex either. 

It’s more that it raises the bar for “is it worth it?”  It doesn’t necessarily raise it impossibly high, but it does raise it.  I imagine that’s similarly true for sexual people with physical medical conditions that make sex difficult or uncomfortable.

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Serran
5 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think we're getting on to the territory where it turns out those people are putting in what looks to me like an inordinate amount of work for very little reward and if I was them I probably wouldn't be very bothered about sex either. 

But the ones I know get a lot out of sex emotionally and physically. It is just harder to do, because its so easy to trigger a very negative reaction. So takes a lot more effort. For someone that didnt get anything out of it, yeah far too much effort. 

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Serran said:

But the ones I know get a lot out of sex emotionally and physically. It is just harder to do, because its so easy to trigger a very negative reaction. So takes a lot more effort. For someone that didnt get anything out of it, yeah far too much effort. 

Yes, it’s different than not wanting sex at all.

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BraveMind

Yesterday the wife got my hint earlier in the evening and willingly came to bed. We cuddled each other. She offered sex but I could just not get in the mood. I'm starting to worry I may have developed an aversion to her as I have accepted her as asexual. We had a nice long chat in bed where we agreed to have sex during the week.

 

I remembered the therapist suggested that we watch some adult films together. While alone in bed the past few nights I screened a few softcore films to watch with her -- mostly amateur-type footage, husband and wife (so it says in the titles) having regular vanilla sex and enjoying. I made sure all my favourite positions and acts were included. I'm very curious how she'll respond. Has anyone else tried this?

 

I'm not expecting her to start doing anything from the films but hope she'll realize what I'm missing out on as a sexual in our mixed relationship.

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ryn2

Have you talked with your partner about selecting the videos and watching them together?  What was her take on the idea?

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anisotrophic

I didn't try any porn. I'm not sure but I think it might've made my partner uncomfortable? He doesn't have anything against me looking at it. But when I complain "it's stupid and contrived" he gives me a very funny and unsympathetic look, hah!

So... I'm skeptical that this is going to help her see what you're missing. I think it would just make my partner really uncomfortable.

Also I'm really unsure about this particular therapist – taking advice from someone that thinks you're very unlikely to work things out seems like a bad idea. Honestly – think about it, it's like – they probably have a pile of bad advice, and it's never worked?! Maybe it's that their advice that is the problem.

 

You really might be better off getting a new therapist, maybe not a sex therapist but some other type.

Yeah, you might be going through aversion, too. I had multiple sessions which were just me pushing through that – talking through the emotions the asymmetry in desire was making me feel, and working through those.

I'm no therapist but...
 

Spoiler

I'd start with simple stuff like asking a partner to masturbate you. See if you can receive that and feel happy. Whether you can or can't, it becomes a starting point for talking to your partner about how it felt for each of you. And if it doesn't work, you might not understand why it doesn't work – and maybe that's where a (new) therapist might help you figure it out.

I say this appreciating that both of you may be capable of "full sex". My partner and I were completely capable of various sexual things. But in my experience realizing asexuality changed everything, it became a bit of a "reset" – for me as well as I learned a new pattern of experiencing sex (with the awareness of my partner's orientation). So I'd encourage you to learn to walk before running again.

 

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ryn2

Very basic question, @BraveMind:  at this point, is your hope still that therapy/discussion/compromise can save the relationship?  Or is it more that you’ll reach a point where the relationship clearly - ideally, to both of you - needs to end?

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BraveMind
38 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

Have you talked with your partner about selecting the videos and watching them together?  What was her take on the idea?

I'd be worried about kicking on something hardcore and completely putting her off. Safer for me to pick the first batch. :) They're all very lovely clips I've found. All stuff we could be doing.

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