uhtred

What is typical and does it matter

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uhtred

Just got back from another "romantic" but sexless vacation with my wife. During the trip she noticed that I seemed sort of withdrawn and I brought up that we hadn't had sex in \a couple of months, and that it was sort of frustrating / painful to be in a romantic setting seeing lots of affectionate couples but not able to have sex.    

 

That lead to a discussion where she indicated that she didn't think people normally had sex on vacation.  Sort of supporting her view that sex is something couples do occasionally, not as a regular thing. That the sex in romance movies / stories is wildly exaggerated. She understood that I was depressed / withdrawn, but though it was my strange focus on sex as something I wanted all the time (eg, more than once a week).   She also didn't understand why kissing her wasn't enough. 

 

As far as I know, sex is actually quite common for couples on romantic vacations, and that for example not having sex on a week-long anniversary trip is unusual.   But - does it matter?  Is there any reason to try to convince her of this, or is all that matters our basic incompatibility: that my and her levels of sexual desire are wildly different?

 

Should I object to being made to feel like a perv because I want sex with my wife, or if the alternative is to make her feel unusual, is that in any way a win?

 

I think there is no point trying to change her world view of sex, since it won't change her interest in sex, but was interested in other opinions. 

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GoneForGood

When I was in relationships with sexuals it was always a compromise. It took counseling with a professional to work out the compromise in the case of the one relationship where it seemed to work for us. Communication was the key (though both of us were dissatisfied)

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nanogretchen4

uhtred, if your wife were single there would be a point in trying to make her understand how much sexuals differ from asexuals so she would maybe consider dating within her orientation. As long as she is in a stable longterm mixed relationship, I'm not sure what purpose would be served. You could certainly tell her that you want her to have sex with you on romantic vacations if sexual compromise is something you do in your relationship. But she doesn't want sex, so I would assume the pressure to have unwanted sex would make the vacation a lot less romantic for her. And personally I don't think having sex with someone who does not want it would be a romantic experience for me.

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Telecaster68

I don't think what's typical matters, just what works (or doesn't work) for your specific relationship.

 

Having said that, it's incredibly annoying when your other half insists you're wrong about something when you're demonstrably not, and it's an important issue rather than something for general or abstract, and it's based on nothing except their ignorance and what's convenient for them to believe.

 

You could give her a link to the Kinsey stats, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kinsey has some stats about holiday sex too. But it won't change your basic incompatability.

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anisotropic

Gosh I'm able to feel happy and satisfied because my partner is aware -- and I hope I am for his experiences too -- seems like a prerequisite for showing empathy for each other.

 

I guess... it's fair to say, whatever works for a given relationship...

 

It's romantic for me as a gift I can receive, not if it's grudging, stressed, and/or unhappy!

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ryn2

Agreed with others that what really matters is not so much what’s typical as it is what works (or doesn’t) for the two of you and for you personally.

 

In terms of finding out who’s most correct, though, that’s likely going to take a neutral third party (like many other issues).  Any time one party sees the other - fairly or not - as biased/overconfident/etc., any proof that second party might offer up is going to be cast off as biased too.

 

My former partner is very much an “experts outweight hands-on experience” person (about everything, not sex in particular) so I totally get how frustrating those conversations can be.  There is no way out of them without a neutral expert from what I’ve seen.  It’s crazy-making.

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Telecaster68

It's more the 'people generally don't have sex on holiday' claim I was thinking of. In principle, that can be shown to be objectively right or wrong. It just won't change whether Mrs Uhtred wants it.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, uhtred said:

...it was sort of frustrating / painful to be in a romantic setting seeing lots of affectionate couples but not able to have sex.    

The other things to keep in mind, though, are 1) how happy people  look is not necessarily representative of how happy they are, and 2) the (truly) happy, affectionate couples you see may have very different standards for their own happiness than you do for yours.  They may have had sex just before you saw them.  They may be planning to have it as soon as they get back to their room.  They also may not have had it in days, weeks, months, or years.  What - assuming they’re actually happy - they have that you don’t is a life situation they’re comfortable with and pleased to be in.

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ryn2
1 minute ago, Telecaster68 said:

It's more the 'people generally don't have sex on holiday' claim I was thinking of. In principle, that can be shown to be objectively right or wrong. It just won't change whether Mrs Uhtred wants it.

True, but getting an answer somewhere at least stops the annoying discussions where he comes away feeling like he’s being called a perv.

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Telecaster68
Just now, ryn2 said:

True, but getting an answer somewhere at least stops the annoying discussions where he comes away feeling like he’s being called a perv.

I suspect Uhtred will always feel vaguely pervy because of his situation. It's really difficult not to, in my experience, when your sexuality is dismissed by your partner.

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ryn2
3 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I suspect Uhtred will always feel vaguely pervy because of his situation. It's really difficult not to, in my experience, when your sexuality is dismissed by your partner.

There’s a difference between feeling vaguely pervy on your own and being told you have a problem/are being unreasonable/are wrong without justification by someone who just will not hear the truth from you.

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Telecaster68

There is, but just as some asexuals will feel inadequate however genuinely accepting their sexual partners are, it can work the other way round. Anyhow I suspect Mrs Uhtred isn't likely to concede she's the non-normative one in the relationship. 

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nanogretchen4

A lot of people in mixed relationships seem to think that if they can just find the right metaphor or the right expert to back them up, they can use logic to persuade their partner that they should/should not want to have sex with them. Nobody's sexual orientation is going to change. The incompatibility is real and permanent. 

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anisotropic

This isn't about wanting a partner to change? It's about having awareness and empathy for each other's experience.

 

... part of why I hang out on AVEN forums.

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Telecaster68

It depends on the tone of the conversation, which isn't really clear from the post. It could've been fractious and tense, or empathetic and understanding.

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Alejandrogynous
6 minutes ago, nanogretchen4 said:

A lot of people in mixed relationships seem to think that if they can just find the right metaphor or the right expert to back them up, they can use logic to persuade their partner that they should/should not want to have sex with them. Nobody's sexual orientation is going to change. The incompatibility is real and permanent. 

I don't think it's so much trying to logic them into wanting to have sex as it is just wanting their feelings to be acknowledged as valid. Accepting that your asexual partner will never desire you that way is one thing, but being made to feel like you're the 'weird one' in the scenario when you're factually not, is another.

 

It's typical for couples to have sex on vacation, especially for romantic trips and special occasions like anniversaries. In your shoes, I wouldn't be able to stand being cast as the perv, but I get why it might feel pointless (and potentially hurtful) to make a big deal about it. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around her perspective though, it should be obvious that people have sex. 

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nanogretchen4

What if your partner were to say, "Wow, you're right, sexual couples do like to have sex on special occasions. You're in a relationship with an asexual, though. I don't want sex, and having sex with you on special occasions would ruin all the special occasions for me, so it's not going to happen."

 

Would that really make anything better?

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Telecaster68

Some asexuals have some very weird ideas, and I have no clue how they sustain them. 

 

My wife was convinced only men had any emotional connection through sex, for example.

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Telecaster68
3 minutes ago, nanogretchen4 said:

What if your partner were to say, "Wow, you're right, sexual couples do like to have sex on special occasions. You're in a relationship with an asexual, though. I don't want sex, and having sex with you on special occasions would ruin all the special occasions for me, so it's not going to happen."

 

Would that really make anything better?

For me, adding '.... so I can understand why you must find it painful' would make a huge difference. 

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IronHamster
3 minutes ago, nanogretchen4 said:

What if your partner were to say, "Wow, you're right, sexual couples do like to have sex on special occasions. You're in a relationship with an asexual, though. I don't want sex, and having sex with you on special occasions would ruin all the special occasions for me, so it's not going to happen."

 

Would that really make anything better?

In my case, it would have been so much better than what I got, which was a litany of excuses.  The clarity of the truth is something anyone you claim to love deserves.  

 

Intentionally gaslighting someone is cruel.  Unintentionally lying to get your way is a sign of narcissism and other mental illnesses.  Neither is conducive to a healthy relationship regardless of the amount of sex.  

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ryn2
7 minutes ago, nanogretchen4 said:

What if your partner were to say, "Wow, you're right, sexual couples do like to have sex on special occasions. You're in a relationship with an asexual, though. I don't want sex, and having sex with you on special occasions would ruin all the special occasions for me, so it's not going to happen."

 

Would that really make anything better?

It at least removes the “salt in the wound” of being told “no one is like this but you!”

 

It could also pave the way towards a more empathetic relationship/compromise.

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IronHamster
9 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Some asexuals have some very weird ideas, and I have no clue how they sustain them. 

 

My wife was convinced only men had any emotional connection through sex, for example.

Mine believed that anyone that wanted sex three times a week or more had mental problems.  As a trained counselor, she was strangely unable to back up this belief with her DSM book, yet clung to it adamantly. 

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ryn2

To me, it’s a two-part problem.  First, the Uhtreds have a sexual incompatibility.  Nothing will change that.

 

Second, Mr. Uhtred is feeling at minimum unheard (and perhaps something a bit meaner).  Mrs. Uhtred may be feeling that way as well; we don’t have her here to ask.

 

Solving the second part doesn’t solve the first, but it makes life in general more pleasant.

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Traveler40
3 hours ago, uhtred said:

That lead to a discussion where she indicated that she didn't think people normally had sex on vacation.

I suppose what strikes me as interesting is that after over 30 years together, this conversation hadn’t been had many times over.  The “mixed relationship loop” if you will....

 

Misery can only be compounded if combining surface communication alongside a lack of regular sex.

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nanogretchen4

A lot of mixed orientation couples have had sex many times without revealing that they have never wanted sex/realizing that their partner has never wanted sex. And yet many of these couples claim to have good communication.

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ryn2
Just now, nanogretchen4 said:

A lot of mixed orientation couples have had sex many times without revealing that they have never wanted sex/realizing that their partner has never wanted sex. And yet many of these couples claim to have good communication.

That’s another place a counselor can come in handy.  If neither partner grew up in a setting where discussions about sex were comfortable and natural (or existed at all, for that matter) they may need someone to suggest discussing it (and then to help guide initially discussions to be productive rather than damaging).

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anisotropic
1 hour ago, nanogretchen4 said:

A lot of mixed orientation couples have had sex many times without revealing that they have never wanted sex/realizing that their partner has never wanted sex. And yet many of these couples claim to have good communication.

Oh come on. Did I sense something off? Sure. Did I know it was a universal and permanent absence? No. Neither of us did.

 

How does someone recognize it without knowing about it first? There's plenty of folks wandering in to these forums, wondering: "am I ace?" And there's plenty that say, "Oh wow, that's me!", not having heard of asexuality before.

Once we were aware, we talked about it just fine.

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uhtred
2 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

I suppose what strikes me as interesting is that after over 30 years together, this conversation hadn’t been had many times over.  The “mixed relationship loop” if you will....

 

Misery can only be compounded if combining surface communication alongside a lack of regular sex.

It has been had many times over, but she has an amazing ability to interpret conversations differently.  A while back I had a very clear, very specific discussion with her about our sex life and how the lack of sex made me feel.   It upset her quite a lot because this time, after many "softer" conversations I was very specific. 

 

Now on this last vacation when I told her why I was sort of down and withdrawn, she seemed surprised - even though it was *exactly* what I had described in a long conversation earlier. 

 

 

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uhtred
4 hours ago, nanogretchen4 said:

What if your partner were to say, "Wow, you're right, sexual couples do like to have sex on special occasions. You're in a relationship with an asexual, though. I don't want sex, and having sex with you on special occasions would ruin all the special occasions for me, so it's not going to happen."

 

Would that really make anything better?

I don't know. 

 

Maybe I'm just looking for her to acknowledge what I've given up. That living without sex is not like giving up desert (an analogy she uses), it is missing an important part of my life, and to me greatly weakens my feelings of love.  I don't think it is a typical way to live - it is a sacrifice I have made.

 

I'm willing to try to understand the sacrifices she has made if she will tell me - but she wont.  I can't get a clear read on how she feels about sex.  Sometimes it seems she greatly dislikes it - in which case we should stop. Other times it seems like its not a big deal to her.   On this recent occasion, after the discussion she basically said "if you had told me, we could have had sex on the trip - I didn't realize it mattered that much".   

 

So sometimes it feels like she is sex repulsed and we really should not do things she doesn't like.

 

Other times it feels like she is sex neutral, but doesn't feel I "deserve" more than a limited amount of sex because that wouldn't be normal.  Maybe she thinks "normal" is some sexual activity every month or so, and thinks its not right for her to provide more than that. 

 

Its extremely confusing, and she makes it almost impossible to have a calm discussion. 

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James121
8 hours ago, uhtred said:

Just got back from another "romantic" but sexless vacation with my wife. During the trip she noticed that I seemed sort of withdrawn and I brought up that we hadn't had sex in \a couple of months, and that it was sort of frustrating / painful to be in a romantic setting seeing lots of affectionate couples but not able to have sex.    

 

That lead to a discussion where she indicated that she didn't think people normally had sex on vacation.  Sort of supporting her view that sex is something couples do occasionally, not as a regular thing. That the sex in romance movies / stories is wildly exaggerated. She understood that I was depressed / withdrawn, but though it was my strange focus on sex as something I wanted all the time (eg, more than once a week).   She also didn't understand why kissing her wasn't enough. 

 

As far as I know, sex is actually quite common for couples on romantic vacations, and that for example not having sex on a week-long anniversary trip is unusual.   But - does it matter?  Is there any reason to try to convince her of this, or is all that matters our basic incompatibility: that my and her levels of sexual desire are wildly different?

 

Should I object to being made to feel like a perv because I want sex with my wife, or if the alternative is to make her feel unusual, is that in any way a win?

 

I think there is no point trying to change her world view of sex, since it won't change her interest in sex, but was interested in other opinions. 

Your wife’s opinions on sex centre around her desire or lack of and what is important to her. Quite clearly she has no regard for how significant sex is to you. 

Often enough, when someone is not interested in sex or has little interest, be them asexual or low libido, they will find any way they can to demonise sex and demonise you for wanting it.

 

What is important to your wife in the marriage? What really makes her feel special? What is it that if it was taken away, she would suffer deeply?

Find it, take it away, make her suffer and if she objects and says she is upset by its removal, tell her romantic movies are an over exaggeration. Then find a way to demonise what she wants and her for wanting it.

 

If you do this guess what will happen? The marriage falls apart. Why? Because you took away what was important to them but it’s ok that she did it to you right?

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