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anisotrophic

Sexual experimentation - is charity sex better than celibacy?

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anisotrophic

The title is partly a joke, but only partly. 😄

 

I'm currently unsure whether I'm better off (a) pursuing charity sex or (b) chilling out with celibacy.

 

I got into celibacy lately and I feel like I could be doing either -- which is to say, I'm not sure if charity sex is better for me, it could actually be worse. (And while I could pursue sex with others, I really don't have time for it.) So: it's an open question, which is better?

 

I get moody sometimes trying to decide which I should be doing. There isn't any universal "right answer", but which one is right for me? So...

 

I'm thinking I'll do an ongoing experiment on myself: switch between the two options (according to some algorithm) and track outcomes.

 

(At the very least, this promises to take away the ongoing "should I?" worries that are bothering me.)

 

I wonder what outcomes to track.

 

Mood? Relationship satisfaction?

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MissMidnight

Could also have a what works and where and what doesnt. I found that interesting. If i do X what noise or sound or reaction is recieved etc. It made it a game for me.

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anisotrophic

@MissMidnight I don't think you read beyond the topic of this post (which I've now edited to be more clear and less joking).

 

The goal is to find the best strategy for me living with an asexual partner: ask for sex... or don't. Which is best for me?

 

I'm not interested in learning his sexual responses (or mine). We've had a decade and a half together, I think that topic is done.

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MissMidnight

My apologies I must of read it wrong or taken it the wrong way so my apologies.

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SusannaC

Anisotropic,

In what ways are charity sex, as you call it, “ bad” for you?  If you don’t ask for sex you won’t ever have it with your partner, correct?  Is it the concept of “charity sex” that bothers you and makes sex with him a turn off at this time?  If not- then how could sex with him be bad for you or worse than the prospect of NO sex at all?

 

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anisotrophic

@SusannaC I'm not entirely sure I understand myself... hence the wish to experiment... but... why charity sex might be worse...

I know I'm not sexually desired. That's super duper clear now, a very frank reality for us. That's going to be something I'm aware of, no matter what I do.

 

With pursuing charity sex: knowing my partner has no desire for intimacy with me, it's felt like I'm left with two "modes". (1) sexual entitlement, "taking" sex from someone without worrying about what they want -- this makes me feel "in control" but it also feels bad later (even if he says it's OK), I feel ugly inside. (2) seeking charity, expressing neediness -- this makes me feel vulnerable, and I think I end up being very conscious of the asymmetry and lack of desire for me, and this might make the sex feel like an affirmation of rejection.

It might be possible for me to somehow do both at once, mix them together, but ... tricky? They're very different attitudes. I think both of them are plausibly leaving me feeling worse than if I were skipping it entirely.

On the other hand, celibacy might be leaving me feeling more disconnected and unloved. Although if celibacy is chosen rather than forced, that's almost certainly a lot less painful.

Either way, I know I'm not desired -- I'm getting the same sort of "rejection", both ways. But maybe I'm going to feel it more painfully in one approach... or maybe in the other.

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xstatic ☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

I was thinking about this the other day actually.  I was feeling guilty about it. But then I started to think about it a little differently. For me, when I'm in a relationship, I give my whole self.  I constantly try to please the person I'm with, and try to understand them and their needs and their wants and adjust myself accordingly. So I really shouldn't feel bad when someone does something similar for me. It's okay for me to accept gestures someone is directing at me that are purely for me.  

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uhtred

Charity sex seems undesirable.   Gift sex - a favor done for a loved one seems OK.  Often in relationships people do things for each other. If sex is just one of those things , I think its OK.

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anisotrophic

@☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ yeah... I've been there. I mean, I think he could likely be better at sex than many sexual men. (I mean, I think he's reasonable, but it's been a while... my comparison is to memories of heterosexual men who were in their early 20s ... which might mean the bar is a bit low, haha.)

 

But sex is a social activity. Why am I doing it with someone that doesn't want to do it, that's merely doing it in the hopes that it makes me happy? What do I get out of that? Why would I want to keep asking for it?
 

@uhtred I guess I don't see the difference between a gift or favor vs. the word "charity". I think charity sex is very normal in relationships, but I think the trick is that the recipient isn't very aware of it.

 

I think I felt loved and cared for, by the charity/gift/favor/whatever, but ... maybe that's worn off. Or maybe I've forgotten that it can feel good and I need a reminder. Which is it?

I'll flip a coin Wednesday morning and go with that for the next three weeks. I just have to figure out what to track. (Maybe a small survey for myself, scoring a couple questions.)

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ryn2
2 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I don't see the difference between a gift or favor vs. the word "charity".

For some people the word “charity” implies not just any gift, but specifically one from someone who is more fortunate (at least in one aspect) to someone who is less fortunate.  So, a gift you might give/receive in celebration or even one you might give/receive in thanks can have a little different feel.  

 

“Charity sex” is almost “pity sex” from that viewpoint... something you do because your partner is less fortunate.  “Gift sex” (again, from that viewpoint) is more positive and equal - it’s something you give because your partner will enjoy it, not because your partner is less fortunate than you.

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anisotrophic
2 hours ago, ryn2 said:

 “Gift sex” (again, from that viewpoint) is more positive and equal

It sounds like a "gift" seems to imply a more egalitarian context: a gift can be reciprocated with a gift in return, while charity is cannot. There isn't such symmetry.

 

That would make charity the more honest term, I think. If it's less positive, that might just more accurately reflect a less positive reality.

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ryn2
28 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

It sounds like a "gift" seems to imply a more egalitarian context: a gift can be reciprocated with a gift in return, while charity is cannot. There isn't such symmetry.

*nods*

 

29 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

That would make charity the more honest term, I think. If it's less positive, that might just more accurately reflect a less positive reality.

That probably depends on how you and your partner view sex, relationships, and gifts.  You can’t give back to your ace partner in kind, but (depending on the situation) you may be able to give back in equal value.

 

If not, and/or if you feel like sex with your partner is always unequal ground in such a way that your partner is “above” you/has greater privilege/etc., then “charity” would indeed be the more accurate term.

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anisotrophic
23 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

you may be able to give back in equal value

Yeah, I've thought about it. I think I was more comfortable asking for sex when I was pregnant, and I was engaged in a corporeal sacrifice of my own. That's past, I don't see that I have anything I'm giving in return. 😕

 

I might ask if he sees anything, depending on the results of my coin toss.

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ryn2

There’s nothing you do just for the pleasure of seeing him happy, or to lighten his workload/stress/etc., that you wouldn’t do if it was just for you?

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anisotrophic

Making a favorite food hardly feels equivalent. 😕

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ryn2

He’d have to weigh in on that, as he’s the only one who can really value the cost (to him) of his gift to you.

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ryn2
20 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

Making a favorite food hardly feels equivalent.

I’m guessing that’s going to vary... if his favorite food is baked tater tots, and making it just means tossing a bag of frozen tots in oil, spreading them on foil, sticking them in the oven, and setting the timer, that’s different than making fresh-baked bread (hours of fussy work) or going shopping for and then cooking a meal that’s time-consuming and complicated.

 

Or doing all the housework/taking over his morning childcare duties when he’s extra-exhausted from work (even though you are too) so he can sleep in.

 

And so forth.

 

But he’s the only one who really knows if sex is watching a boring TV show, taking out the garbage, running a load of laundry, or prepping/priming/painting the entire house interior.

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anisotrophic

I don't think I want it if it's a cost. I don't see how that's going to make me feel happier, I can't see how to enjoy a "gift" that isn't fueled by intrinsic desire. Why bother doing it at all, then? He's never approached it like something where he's eager to see me happy, I have to ask and all, I'm just a chore. I'd rather he just do laundry.

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ryn2
2 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I don't think I want it if it's a cost. I don't see how that's going to make me feel happier, I can't see how to enjoy a "gift" that isn't fueled by intrinsic desire. Why bother doing it at all, then? He's never approached it like something where he's eager to see me happy, I have to ask and all, I'm just a chore. I'd rather he just do laundry.

That’s certainly fair.  If you don’t perceive a difference between things done out of love and things done out of obligation (or if with him there isn’t a difference), or if “done out of love” is not sufficient for sex, then you probably have your answer.

 

In all your discussions about it, have you asked him why he bothers to do it?  Or is it better not to know?

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anisotrophic

@ryn2 the whole point of this thread is that I'm unsure, and I don't think we're going to reach a conclusion based on discussion; I'm going to test it.

 

I do ask. He's not very clear on it, and might have a mix of reasons. "To make me happy" is there, but it's unclear what that means exactly (ie to satisfy a request, to avoid me being unhappy, to see my positive reactions during sex, to see my mood better later, etc etc.).

 

Even if he or I self-report a sentiment or belief about ourselves, that doesn't mean it's true. We might not understand ourselves.

 

Ultimately what matters is if we're better off doing it, or not, and those are things we can test by doing and tracking how we feel / mood / arguments / etc. (ie. How do we track "better off"?) I'll work out what to track today, I guess.

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anisotrophic

The whole idea of scheduling sex felt awful, but... scheduling sex vs celibacy for research purposes is really exciting now.

 

I'm such a nerd. 🤓

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Telecaster68

'Tell me again how you made SPSS do a proper chi-squared darling.... oh .... oh.... oh....'

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uhtred
7 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I don't think I want it if it's a cost. I don't see how that's going to make me feel happier, I can't see how to enjoy a "gift" that isn't fueled by intrinsic desire. Why bother doing it at all, then? He's never approached it like something where he's eager to see me happy, I have to ask and all, I'm just a chore. I'd rather he just do laundry.

Being desired is much much better.  OTOH, if it is a favor done in a relationship where both do favors for each other, it seems OK.  Not great, but OK. 

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anisotrophic
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

'Tell me again how you made SPSS do a proper chi-squared darling.... oh .... oh.... oh....'

Yup I'm going to include at least 20 things to track to help me achieve p<0.05 on something 😄

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ryn2
8 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

 

I don't think I want it if it's a cost.

 

I think this is what I misunderstood earlier - I thought you were saying you didn’t want sex at all if this applied, which then implies you’ve already decided  that charity sex is worse than celibacy (without need for further experimentation).

 

Evidently you meant something different, so my answer wouldn’t apply.

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anisotrophic
4 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

Evidently you meant something different, so my answer wouldn’t apply.

To be more precise: currently I think "I don't want it, if it's a cost" (hence my recent celibacy) but I also think "I am skeptical that I understand myself and think I should test this".

 

Whatever I believe right now is a testable thing. It's definitely how I'm feeling, but that doesn't mean I'm right, I'm not going to "decide" based on it.

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ryn2

Thanks, that makes more sense to me.  :)

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anisotrophic

Okay, round one: celibacy for the next three weeks!

 

(Decided to do coin toss on Thursday mornings.) He said "aww". I've been avoiding / giving up on sex lately and I think he thinks I'd be happier with it.

 

I've got a mood tracker app now, and I'll plan to give myself a daily survey. Maybe a standard measure of relationship satisfaction plus some specific Qs on things I think might be affected.

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xstatic ☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Good luck on your scientific endeavor!  I'm curious to see what you learn from it.  I know that by week three my libido is humming like a hot kettle.  😂

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ryn2
2 hours ago, ☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ said:

I know that by week three my libido is humming like a hot kettle.

That makes me curious...  @anisotrophic are you testing abstinence from partnered sex and abstinence from all sex (i.e., no masturbation) separately?

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