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anisotrophic

Shame about seeking & receiving sex

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anisotrophic

I've got a very best-case scenario, my partner is affectionate and wants me to be happy. He's fine with having sex, and the sex is good -- not epic or exciting, but no cause at all for complaint! But...

 

I (still) sometimes struggle with shame about my own need/desire. (Sometimes I still push away the fantasy of someone wanting me. But...) pragmatically, I start to get into a bad cycle: I want to avoid needing it, I try to suppress libido and attraction. I get sad and withdrawn, my partner notices and... sort of initiates for me.

 

(I say "sort of" because at this point I'm giving off some obvious "I want it" signals while trying not to. Generally in bed, as we're being physically affectionate.)

 

Once I have sex, I feel happy! and... I then get determined to not need it again. I'm perversely optimistic, almost certainly bouyed by the fact I just had it.😕

 

I'm sure I should just accept that I "need" sex, emotionally, to connect. I feel stupid and irrational for it, especially stupid about needing it emotionally, as a "connection" with someone who doesn't have a reciprocal desire and need. And I feel like I should need it less often, but this hits every weekend, and I'm usually laid by the end if it bc my partner doesn't like my moodiness.

 

(He got me to accept it this time around by telling me, "you being unhappy isn't helping anyone. I need you to be happy, the family needs you to be happy".)

 

I feel like an idiot. I feel ashamed that I am so crap at doing without, and that I seem to need it so often.

 

Any thoughts on me getting away from my sense of shame/guilt?

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Telecaster68

That moment you mention where your therapist asked you why you need to be desired, which resulted in you deciding that you didn't, and you should (and could) lose it, has always bothered me, and maybe this is related: you're trying to bury that need, and feeling ashamed and guilty about having it in the first place.

 

I don't think you need to, and I don't think it's helpful to try.

 

You're a sexual person, and it's just part of our make up. It's no more shameful than feeling you want your partner to be interested in your day, or care about why you're sad. I fundamentally don't buy this 'we should all be immune to other people's attitudes' stuff; we're social animals, it's hard wired. You know the Romanian babies stuff. One of the benefits of being in a relationship is that we have (hopefully) an ongoing deep, intimate connection with another person that can be relied on, and for most people, part of that connection is sex. All you're asking, in wanting to be desired, is that an important part of that connection is present.

 

What can you do about its absence? Not much beyond mourn it and be aware that sometimes it'll really bother you, and sometimes it won't, and the times when it does bother you will pass. That way, you're owning it but not trying to suppress it.

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anisotrophic

Oh, @Telecaster68 that's fair about accepting the desire to be desired. But I fell in love with someone inappropriate and have found suppression the best way to manage that. The alternative is to be haunted with thoughts of someone I shouldn't think about in that way. My therapist suggested this Buddhist acceptance thing and I was totally messed up for two weeks.

 

Besides, I think I have permission to date others -- to the point that he thinks he may need to push me out the door someday. It's just not practically feasible these days, but it's not like he expects me to lose that either.

 

In the meantime, even if I'm not actually desired, intimacy still seems to quell the pangs for that, while also making me feel loved & connected with him.

 

... on reflection, I think part of why I feel guilty, is that I think I wouldn't need it so often if I hadn't fallen in love with someone else I shouldn't have. (And that also blindsided me, I didn't think I was capable of feeling this for more than one person.)

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Telecaster68
3 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

But I fell in love with someone inappropriate and have found suppression the best way to manage that. The alternative is to be haunted with thoughts of someone I shouldn't think about in that way. My therapist suggested this Buddhist acceptance thing and I was totally messed up for two weeks.

Fair enough. I wouldn't call my version of acceptance Buddhist (it's nowhere near as highminded as that) but I just realised that suppression - not so much of relationship things, but childhood issues - was taking up so much energy it was stopping me functioning in other ways. I couldn't have - didn't - do it for relationship/sex. I guess I might have been able to in your situation, but that was nowhere near what was on offer for me. I suspect I'd have responded exactly as you have: basically okay, in aggregate, but sometimes very much not.

 

Now I'm not in a relationship but doing the whole dating thing (in a very British, non codified, pragmatic way) it's easier to deal with the absence of intimacy as there's simply no-one in my life from whom I'd expect it. There will be, sooner or later, I'm sure, and I definitely want there to be, but in the meantime I have no alternative but to accept it. Having the possibility dangled in front of you all the time makes it so, so much harder.

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ryn2

Not that I have any advice on how to break the cycle but in a way you may be “teaching” yourself to do this because it ends in a nice reward.  While you don’t actually have to do it in order to get the reward, deep down you may have connected the two.

 

Also, your partner initiating may be more important to you at some level than you thought it was... and this is a way to achieve that.

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Serran

If you need it every weekend, why not make a scheduled agreement to have sex on the weekend then ? He knows its coming, you know its coming, he seems willing and happy to do for you and if you dont initiate he already has it scheduled so will know its expected and maybe agree he asks if you dont ?

 

Seems odd to try to supress it if he isn't bothered by giving. 

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Telecaster68

I don't think anis meant suppressing her need for sex, but suppressing her need to feel desired, shown in him initiating.

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Serran
4 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I don't think anis meant suppressing her need for sex, but suppressing her need to feel desired, shown in him initiating.

Well.. they are saying they fight asking, supress libido and attraction and end up in a bad mood where he offers sex. Which seems like a bad plan, given a willing partner. And they also state sex makes them feel better. 

 

Schedule would kind of remove the one sided initiation ritual that is avoided, since its a given weekend activity. There wont be a need to try to supress libido or attraction. And if anis doesn't ask about it, they can agree he will. 

 

Never going to get mutual desire, but if sex helps, why not just make it a thing that is going to happen and help them survive another week ? 

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Telecaster68

Well, maybe. I just think it's a deeper issue than just availability of sex or not, and scheduled sex is still not being sexually desired.

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Serran
9 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Well, maybe. I just think it's a deeper issue than just availability of sex or not, and scheduled sex is still not being sexually desired.

Could be. But, sexually desired atm isnt possible, unless they take the open option. So, can at least try to make things more tolerable if not ideal. 

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Tasha the demi squirrel

Have you explained your feelings of shame and guilt to your partner?  If not then it may help as by helping your partner fully understand your mood may give your partner the chance to reassure you that you have no need to feel ashamed guilty or suppress how you feel therefore taking the pressure off you and hopefully helping you both 

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anisotrophic

I'm sorry I was unclear! Setting aside the background wish to be desired, I seem to be pretty happy with the intimacy I do have. *And* my partner is fine with it.

 

But I feel like an addict, and I hate that. I feel self conscious about the need and try to resist it, I keep unsuccessfully trying to prove I don't really need it. And it keeps not working, and I feel guilt/shame that I seem to be so dependent on it.

 

Per @ryn2 I'm self aware that this might be a bad habit I'm getting into.

 

Something I hadn't confronted is that I think some of my "need" is coming from trying to get away from thoughts of someone else. (Whether or not that's true, what matters is that I think it might be.) I should probably talk to him about that, it's a tough subject, so I'll want to wait for a moment when we're not exhausted and/or dealing with kids. :)

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Serran

Its no more shameful than needing time together, cuddling or hugs to feel close. 

 

And doesn't sound like he minds you being with someone else, so hopefully the talk about your feelings around that goes well. 

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ryn2
59 minutes ago, Serran said:

Its no more shameful than needing time together, cuddling or hugs to feel close. 

...this.  Or sunshine or exercise to feel happy/good.  We don’t get to choose a lot of what our minds and bodies need to be at their best, and everyone’s a little different.

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xstatic ☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

I completely understand your desire to be wanted.  Being wanted is huge for me and in my current relationship that just doesn't really happen and I have to accept that or the relationship between us couldn't work.  

 

Another thing that I find interesting is that in my previous relationships where receiving sex wasn't ever an issue, I had no problem going without for large periods of time.  But in this relationship, I start to become flustered and needy sometimes.  So it's not so much the frequency of when things are happening but truly the lack of desire that becomes the point of frustration.  

 

I also feel guilty sometimes when I feel like I'm being too needy sexually and emotionally. But we are just different beings with different needs and that's okay. We shouldn't have to feel guilty for needing things (or not needing things in their case) in a different way. I feel like if we can understand our partners lack of desire then surely they can understand the opposite.

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Lara Black
15 hours ago, anisotropic said:

But I feel like an addict, and I hate that. I feel self conscious about the need and try to resist it, I keep unsuccessfully trying to prove I don't really need it. And it keeps not working, and I feel guilt/shame that I seem to be so dependent on it.

 

14 hours ago, Serran said:

Its no more shameful than needing time together, cuddling or hugs to feel close. 

I agree with Serran here. Could your shame be stemming from the whole “shameful” aura around sex? It’s usually much harder for a person to say “I want sex” and discuss their wants openly than, say, to talk about the kind of weather or food they enjoy.  

Being desired is one of our basic needs since we’re social animals with a biological program of reproduction. And yes, in this relationship one of your basic needs will not be satisfied. That’s the harsh truth of living even in the best relationship with an asexual, but you certainly don’t have to feel bad about registering that need.

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anisotrophic

I'm not sure about the shameful aura as an explanation in itself -- as an explanation, it's a bit too simple given that I've been as forward as I am about asking in the past! It's complicated, what isn't...

I think the combination (of (1) not experiencing "being desired", and (2) falling in love with someone inappropriate) has led to more difficulty than either issue would be alone. I spend more time pushing aside thoughts related to that person, and they are "stickier" because I'm not desired by my partner, and those efforts lead me to be more needy. And I hadn't confronted that #2 was driving neediness, that I might feel guilty because of that, until thinking it through here.
 

I told him I was sorry about it -- falling in love, that I think some of my neediness is fallout from that, and I feel guilty about that.

I said, "if I was going to fall in love with someone, at least I could've chosen someone that might be able to reciprocate!" He said something nice: "It's okay, you didn't know you were looking." That's true. I was blindsided by falling in love with the wrong person (I didn't realize this could happen to me), and that event preceded understanding asexuality.

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ryn2
23 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

falling in love with someone inappropriate)

How are you definining “inappropriate” here?  Not questioning or disagreeing with your post; just want to be sure I am understanding you correctly.

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anisotrophic

(as follow-up: I answered via a message, it's a fairly reasonable reason I think)

 

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ryn2
5 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

(as follow-up: I answered via a message, it's a fairly reasonable reason I think)

 

Yep, I saw it earlier this morning and replied.  Agreed.

 

Life can be exceedingly inconvenient sometimes.  Your partner’s reaction was very nice.

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sexoholic

You should stop feeling shame or guild, cuz it's an natural desire - there is nothing to share if you wants to fvck someone or deliver a pleasure through the sex with someone. It's not a crime, right? :D or something forbidden between peoples.

 

Try to convince yourself in this way and may be you can start thinking differently and change your attitude to such a situation.

All in all, we only live once and you should live freely - do what you like and with someone who you like and love, not with who denies you...

Why don't you trying to find someone who loves to enjoy the sex in the same way that you?

Edited by sexoholic
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anisotrophic

@sexoholic I don't think you read this very carefully. My partner doesn't deny me, he's wonderful, and my current opinion was that my guilt was a little more complicated than a tempting simple narrative.

 

I don't have time to look for someone new these days. Nor do I have the emotional energy for it, having fallen in love recently and needing more time after that.

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anamikanon

There is plenty of time for sex and intentions for the future. If you wanted sex and got it, perhaps it is time to shut up (inside your head) for a bit and smile and enjoy how you feel. Being in the moment, recognizing that your partner loves you, will make the sex more precious and less shameful and also easier to seek for the loving gift it is. And you can always plan to never be horny again at leisure. Seems we sexuals do a lot of that anyway 😛 

 

Perhaps you are overthinking this and missing what is really going well?

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anisotrophic

@anamikanon thanks! I think the guilt is about seeking intimacy from my partner to make up for another attraction I'm denying.

But I guess that's... a pretty normal thing to do. He tells me to stop overthinking it too. "No wait," I say, "I have a new theory about why I have this emotional neediness for sex." "Another one?" he sighs.

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Telecaster68

When your therapist asked you that question, weren't they just trying to get you to examine your feelings rather than query whether it was normative or justifiable?

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anamikanon
20 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

@anamikanon thanks! I think the guilt is about seeking intimacy from my partner to make up for another attraction I'm denying.

But I guess that's... a pretty normal thing to do. He tells me to stop overthinking it too. "No wait," I say, "I have a new theory about why I have this emotional neediness for sex." "Another one?" he sighs.

I submit that just like why an asexual consents to sex can be for reasons of their own, why a sexual wants sex can be for reasons of their own. As long as the sex is consensual and mutually agreeable, I fail to see the calamity.

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anisotrophic
19 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

When your therapist asked you that question, weren't they just trying to get you to examine your feelings rather than query whether it was normative or justifiable?

I think you're right that I do need it, it's just unmet and probably will be for a while, and I think that's okay. To me it makes an enormous difference just knowing the door is open if I want to try dating again someday, putting me much more in the "I'm choosing this" territory (what with having kids together and all). If I didn't have that, I think I'd have a lot of resentment.

I think the exact question was "why do you need him to be attracted to you" (not the general need to have someone attracted to me & noting that she works with kink/queer/poly folks).

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Telecaster68

Did you take it at face value rather than implying you shouldn't have that need?

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anamikanon

My ace too encourages me to find someone I vibe with sexually. My problem is that sex is an emotional thing with me and my ace has set the bar pretty high for me falling in love. So I am not horny for the people I've met so far. I blame him and stay right where I am and evade yet another date 😛 

 

There is this chap I've been chatting with on WhatsApp who seems promising, though I feel no sexual attraction for him yet. He too finds me attractive and interesting, but is in no sexual hurry as he recently got into a serious relationship and has been investing considerable time and attention with her. We are both in a nice, comfortable spot with easy conversations and camaraderie that could go somewhere eventually, but is meandering its way along. I get a sense that both of us would be fine if it never goes beyond this or becomes a lifelong thing and are willing to see it unfold without forcing it anywhere.

 

But apart from these occasional chats, my husband is more interested in my dating than I am. lol

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anisotrophic
3 hours ago, anamikanon said:

sex is an emotional thing with me and my ace has set the bar pretty high for me falling in love

yeah, I made an adult friend finder account in a panic last year and assured myself that it's not exactly difficult, but blah. No thanks.

I want someone I love, and now I've got two people who are setting the bar too high. Besides, falling in love is exhausting! I need a break!

 

3 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Did you take it at face value rather than implying you shouldn't have that need?

Hm. I think I took it as an encouragement to understand my need and where it was coming from? So I could think about other ways to meet them.

But look, I also wonder: did I actually want him to want me?

In the last year, one of the things I wonder a lot about is whether I was on some level more comfortable with someone that wasn't attracted to me -- because I wasn't comfortable being female. I don't feel dysphoria, but... maybe I was unlikely to settle down with a heterosexual man? Maybe someone being attracted to my female-ness felt like pressure to be ... female?

am certain that I have a pattern of being attracted to gay and bi men. I didn't admit that to myself, but it was always there. In looking ahead to potential physical transition, I chew a lot over the chicken/egg question, did his orientation affect my gender, or did my gender issues make me more likely to pair up with someone that wasn't attracted to me sexually?

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