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wife just came out pls help

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fresh

ive deleted this and rewrote it a million times but my wife just came out as asexual, and im confused and upset. i had always expected sex as part of our marriage, but she never said she was asexual. we dated for 5 years and she always had issues having sex, but she always said theyd get better. im extremely frustrated but i love my wife and i need to chill out for her sake. any tips on how i can calm down. my self esteem has been in the shitter over our sexless relationship for years, and ive always felt so lonely. i dont experience intimacy the same way as her. i dont like cuddling much, mostly because my body temperature gets really high and i need to be in a fan, and she likes the heat so it just doesnt work. i gotta play it cool for a minute tho guys pls send tips

also i did ask about opening the marriage so i can get out my sexual frustration, shes pretty opposed to it and i dont wanna press her. is it wrong to just sleep with someone else anyway? i dont wanna feel robbed of my youth, ive spent all of my early 20s with an extremely high sex drive and ive never gotten to use it and im scared that if i die tomorrow i would regret wasting my time 



 

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fresh

if anyones wondering why i type like an idiot im pretty young sad n high

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fresh

where all the 6:51 in the morning baddies at i really need help guys ive been up all night and she'll be awake soon im nervous

 

 

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Telecaster68

There are a bunch of sexual partners in the 'Partners, Friends and Allies' section of this forum who'll understand your position, but briefly, here are your options.

 

  • No change - which means you stay in this position for the rest of your life and you find a way of getting used to it. Some people find masturbation, exercise, meditation, intense hobbies take the edge off. You'll also have to perform some mental gymnastics to separate your ideas about intimacy and attractiveness from sex. This is hard work, and mostly only seems to work partially and not all the time.
  • Compromise - you and your wife have to talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. Always, not just a one off thing, and find a level of you having more sex than you want, and her having more sex than she wants, and seeing if you can both sustain this. Frequently, one or both partners think they can deal with this indefinitely but sooner or later it turns out that one or both can't - it gets wearing. One thing to get your head round: she'll never desire you sexually, not once, ever. You'll remain sexually undesired for the rest of your life, but some people can cope with this in the context of a relationship which is great in every other way. It also only works if she's not repulsed by sex and gets some kind of pleasure from sex on the level of giving you a massage.
  • Opening the relationship - again, lots of communication and she agrees, with whatever conditions, to let you have sex with other people. Sounds like you've discussed this already, and she's not keen on it. It may seem unfair, but from her perspective, she probably feels like she's failing you as a wife and this will just rub it in. She's also probably aware that sexual people almost inevitably develop some kind of feelings for long term sexual partners, and this could threaten your marriage. There are plenty on here who'll say that sleeping with someone else without her knowledge - ie cheating - is just blanket always wrong, but if there are other elements (like kids, finances etc) that mean the damage from ending the relationship will be huge, and she just refuses to talk about it or countenance any kind of compromise, I think it's a pretty grey area, if risky.
  • Splitting up - if none of this seems sustainable to you, then in the end you two are probably going to make yourselves miserable by continuing in the relationship. Contrary to Hollywood, love doesn't conquer all, and wanting a relationship which includes sex as a dealbreaking way of sharing intimacy isn't at all unreasonable. You're not the bad guy here, and there's no more onus on you to suppress your emotional needs than for her to suppress hers. In that case, it may be better in the longer run for both of you if you split up.

 

It's not an easy or happy situation, and I'm deliberately not sugar coating it. 

 

Nobody owes another person sex, but two people in a relationship do owe each other communication and their best efforts to look out for each other's interests. It may be that counselling (individually or together) might help you find a way ahead together - and that's the way to frame it, not that she has to be 'healed' in some way.

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Nowhere Girl
9 minutes ago, fresh said:

ive deleted this and rewrote it a million times but my wife just came out as asexual, and im confused and upset. i had always expected sex as part of our marriage, but she never said she was asexual. we dated for 5 years and she always had issues having sex, but she always said theyd get better.

A lot of asexual people - at least those who aren't outright sex-averse - don't realise that they are asexual. Even being clearly untypical may be hard to notice for the simple reason that we have no direct insight into other people's thoughtfeeling ("thoughtfeeling" is my own word for inner experience, sprung out of my rejection of the idea that "thoughts" and "feelings" are supposedly separate or even opposite phenomena). We can only see their expression through people's words, behaviour, in texts of culture etc. - and it may take time for an asexual person to realise that most other people really desire sex for the sake of sex.

And when an asexual realises that they deviate from what is considered the norm, the possible internal struggle is far from being over. Asexuality is not often mentioned and some twenty years ago it was pretty much not mentioned at all. So an asexual person can't learn easily that there is a word for it and that there are more people who feel like this. Not wanting to have sex is usually shown as pathological in our culture. Sex is so glorified that even if someone already learns that asexuality exists, they may hope that they aren't really asexual because missing out on sex and desire is portrayed as a great loss. And if an asexual person enters a sex-including relationship because of it being considered default or even unavoidable - if they seek advice about their sexual issues (just like you have mentioned), they are much more likely to find something in the vein of "Don't get discouraged, great sex is something to be learned!" rather then "Have you considered that you might simply be asexual?". A lot of asexual people spend years trying to "learn to enjoy sex" only to have it never happen. They may finally realise that they are asexual after several years of being married or otherwise in a serious relationship.

Have you ever heard of the concept of epistemological injustice? What I have described above is a perfect example. People who are in a minority, whose thoughtfeeling on certain issues differs from what is typical, may find it much harder to find accurate advice and support, to simply have their feelings validated.

I, fortunately, have at least avoided the route described above. I have never been in a relationship (which I regret), have never had sex (which I'm definitely happy about) and even without having heard of the term "asexuality", I still decided early: "If I don't want to have sex, then I won't have sex; why should I force myself to do things which seem so distressing to me?". But still, I was so fortunate due to circumstances which are neither my merit nor my fault. I'm quite socially anxious, which contributed to me never having been in a relationship. I'm intensely sex-averse, so I couldn't even pretend to myself, with all likelihood couldn't go through with sex and would most likely find attempts at forcing myself to do it a deeply traumatic experience. But I have seen a lot of asexuals who were less fortunate and have spent years trying in vain to have a "normal sex life".

Altoghether, asexuals very rarely consciously deceive and "trap" allosexual partners - by knowing about their asexuality, but withholding this information and pretending for a time to enjoy sex. Sociocultural factors are simply not in our favour. Asexuals who have sex are less likely to find accurate resources and this often further delays realising their orientation. As a probably not really comforting consolation, asexuals who have never had sex may also have difficulties realising their orientation, may think that they cannot decide whether they desire and like sex if they have never tried it - even if their instinct screams "No, I don't want to have sex and can't imagine being able to enjoy something like that!".

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fresh

i wasnt accusing her of doing it intentionally, i just feel wasted because we both knew thats what i was interested in. she always tried her best

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misswinchester

As someone who always thought there was something wrong with herself, I am really happy to hear that you don't think she did it intentionally. It must be difficult to understand, I know because I don't understand how it is possible to just not know something so "obvious" about yourself. It's like when you hear about gay people in straight marriages and you go, how the hell did you not know you were gay before? I knew I didn't want to have sex and so, never have. And yet it took me 25 bloody years and someone basically telling me to figure out I'm asexual. It really is possible to just not know. You keep trying to enjoy yourself because literally everyone is telling you that you just need to try harder. You obviously love having sex, so why wouldn't she?

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Serran

She probably honestly thought it would get better. Now you both know it wont. 

 

If she isnt OK with open then yes it would be wrong to cheat. Break up with her, or tell her your intentions at least, dont lie and hide it. 

 

Its OK to need more than she can give. You can find someone else you love who will want sex as well, if that is what you want. You two are incompatible and it sucks figuring it out after marriage but happens. Doesnt sound like you can be happy long term without being desired. 

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Custard Cream

I'm sorry Fresh. It can be really hard for someone to identify that they don't feel sexual attraction.  I am sure she really did believe things would improve. 

 

I'm afraid this is something you are both going to have to face together, as a couple, and communication will be key.

 

From an asexual point of view, It is hard to understand someone that you love deeply feeling the need to seek sex from someone else when you personally have never felt any desire for sex.  She simply may find it hard to grasp how important this is to you.  You will need to explain clearly  that going without sex is simply not a realistic long term option for you. 

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fresh

thank you guys she is really great and im talkiin to her and showed her this thread and this website and we'll be talkin and seeing if theres anything we can do 

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AcornCarvings

Also it's probably wort discussing where her lines are with sex and other contact, and what you do and don't find fulfilling. You said you don't like cuddling because of the heat, but are there ways you can make it less warm but keep some things about it that you both like (by standing, less full-body, etc)? How do you both feel about things like kissing (lips or elsewhere), or about things like mutual masturbation, or one-sided sexual acts? Role-playing? Some kink like stuff? Handholding or touching each-other's bodies apart from genitals?

There's a whole bunch of other ways to be intimate out there that you could experiment with if you are both ok with it, that might be satisfying for you and maybe your sex drive, and might be satisfying for her in ways that are not sexual.

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anisotrophic

Hi @fresh, I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

 

I'm sexual & historically female, my cismale partner has identified as asexual starting a bit over a year ago; we've been together for around 15 years, have kids.

 

@Telecaster68 boiled it down excellently. This is something to navigate together, and continuously.

 

There are a lot of emotions a sexual partner will have. My experience is that things get worse before they get better, but I'm happier now than I was before knowing, because my inability to be attractive to my partner ate at my self esteem & made me feel unloved (even though every other sign was that I'm loved).

 

Understanding yourselves. I second a recommendation for therapy, and communicating a lot going forward. It took time to understand myself and my own sexuality (what I needed, what I really wanted). One big thing I learned was that my sexual needs were real, they were social needs not physical ones, it was entangled with how I experience and express love -- over the last 15 months I've not been able to escape that truth. Because we're communicating, my partner learned how intimacy made me feel validated and loved, and that's something he wants to give me.

 

For us, compromise seems to be working. It might be working because my partner and I never stopped being intimate... I was never very rejected, but I had to learn to experience sex with him in a very different way, a minor chore for him, a gift I receive & express gratitude for.

 

Sex might mean something different to you. And you'll need to learn about how your partner experiences it.

 

I think both partners should feel loved and respected for who they are, and their (a)sexuality is part of that

 

On opening a marriage. There's another thing to consider: "open someday". My partner says he'd like me to experience sex with someone that actually desires me, that maybe I could try dating other people someday (eg in a year or two). I'm actually unsure whether I could even try without his support! It's not something we've tried yet -- it meant a lot for me to know that it could happen, because the idea that I would never be able to experience sexuality with someone who desired me was terrible -- but the idea that it's "on hold" while I focus on this relationship is much easier.

 

From what I've observed, "opening as solution" often ends up being more complicated than expected, adds to stress in an already-stressed situation. I think a partner that's neglected has a right to say "I'm going to do this" without permission. But such an act may be the beginning of the end of a relationship.

 

I'll put it another way: I'm ok with my partner having sex with someone else. I don't think it's likely, I don't think it would go very well, but I'm ok with him agreeing to it. And if he did manage to feel desire... I'd feel happy for him, to be able to experience that.

 

Some people will never feel comfortable with non-monogamy. Others -- like me and my partner -- are more willing. But even if one *might* be ok with it, I think there's also a lot good reasons to be cautious about it as an immediate reaction to a partner newly identifying as asexual.

 

Good luck to both of you! It's best to go through this together. 🤞

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Nowhere Girl
15 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

For us, compromise seems to be working. It might be working because my partner and I never stopped being intimate...

What do you mean by "intimate"?

I'm not attacking you personally, I just felt an intense urge to remind that intimacy doesn't require sex. A couple can be very intimate and never have sex. I'm not telling you to stop having sex, since you do have a desire for it, but people who don't have this desire shouldn't be told that their life is supposedly devoid of intimacy.

15 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

Understanding yourselves. I second a recommendation for therapy, and communicating a lot going forward.

Still, this should be a step to take carefully. For one simple reason: a lot of therapists are unfriendly to asexuals, don't believe that asexuality is genuine and are likely to pressure an asexual partner to "learn to enjoy sex". :angry: In this case, the wife has already attempted it and it didn't work.

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Telecaster68
7 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

intimacy doesn't require sex. A couple can be very intimate and never have sex. I'm not telling you to stop having sex, since you do have a desire for it, but people who don't have this desire shouldn't be told that their life is supposedly devoid of intimacy.

I agree - 'intimacy' can get used as a horribly coy euphemism for sex sometimes.

 

Sex is one particular type of intimacy, and for many sexuals, the absence of that particular type of intimacy is a dealbreaker. So let's not jump from that to asserting sex doesn't equal intimacy, to all types of intimacy becoming interchangeable, so sexuals ought to be able to swap out sex for gazing at sunsets together, or something. I'd argue the same thing if 'intimacy' was being used for a particular kind of open, authentic, vulnerable conversation; for many people, they couldn't be replaced by sex either. Types of intimacy might be equally important, but they don't have the same quality of intimacy.

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anisotrophic
5 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

intimacy doesn't require sex

Yes, I was using the shorthand for sex, and I understand that intimacy doesn't require sex.

 

But for many people approaching the issue of sexual desires and lack thereof, there's a misconception that sex is about physiological needs, a lack of insight into how much it is affecting people on the "love" sense.

 

A lot of people are socialized to think of sexuality as aggressive or physical, not loving and bonding. It may be hard to realize and admit that the pain of sexual rejection is the pain of rejecting intimacy.

 

Using the word "intimacy" is intended to encourage thinking about sex in this way, not to imply other forms of intimacy don't exist. I'm starting to think that's a bit of a straw man, honestly. I've never seen someone think other types of intimacy don't exist. I have seen people think sex isn't about emotional intimacy.

 

I appreciate that the shorthand seems avoidant, but I find in conversation outside of AVEN, using the word "sex" itself triggers a lot of non-loving non-intimate associations with sexuality. So I'm less inclined to be "precise" when advising people that haven't been so ruthlessly inured to the vocabulary of (a)sexuality.

 

17 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

a lot of therapists are unfriendly to asexuals,

Usually I state LGBTQIA+ savvy.

 

The OP side their partner has kept saying they would do better, not that they'd had therapy.

 

Relationship counseling/therapy for each partner to better understand their own needs (vs what they didn't really need) and communicate them and meet each other's needs, can be very helpful.

 

I think my post emphasized learning more about oneselves & made no indication that I expected therapy would be intended to increase sexual desire. Understanding and communication with each other are very tough in this situation, and therapy/counseling can help a lot.

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Nowhere Girl
21 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Sex is one particular type of intimacy, and for many sexuals, the absence of that particular type of intimacy is a dealbreaker. So let's not jump from that to asserting sex doesn't equal intimacy, to all types of intimacy becoming interchangeable, so sexuals ought to be able to swap out sex for gazing at sunsets together, or something. I'd argue the same thing if 'intimacy' was being used for a particular kind of open, authentic, vulnerable conversation; for many people, they couldn't be replaced by sex either. Types of intimacy might be equally important, but they don't have the same quality of intimacy. 

I don't suggest that. I respect the fact that some people feel a need for sex. I just intensely hate the use of the word "intimacy" to mean "sex" because it implies that asexuals don't have or don't need intimacy. Some people just don't like the kind of intimacy which is sexual in nature, and there's nothing wrong with that.

7 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

The OP side their partner has kept saying they would do better, not that they'd had therapy.

Yes, but this is what I meant: that she already had kept trying, without a therapist's advice, to "do better", only to reach the conclusion that she is indeed asexual. This is a very famliar route, even when I, fortunately, have never been down this road - but I have seen too many asexuals who kept "trying to learn to enjoy sex" because 99% of sexual difficulties advice is some variant of that and only about 1% suggests "Maybe you are asexual", "Not all people like having sex", "There's nothing wrong with not enjoying sex".

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Telecaster68
6 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

I have seen too many asexuals who kept "trying to learn to enjoy sex" because 99% of sexual difficulties advice is some variant of that and only about 1% suggests "Maybe you are asexual", "Not all people like having sex", "There's nothing wrong with not enjoying sex".

I know you're being rhetorical with your percentages, but 99% of people aren't asexual, so would, in principle be able to want and enjoy sex, and only 1% of responses suggesting asexuality would be about right....

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anisotrophic
2 hours ago, Nowhere Girl said:

Yes, but this is what I meant: that she already had kept trying, without a therapist's advice

Neither the OP said they did therapy nor did I say anything about therapy "fixing" a lack of desire. And I hope I never suggested asexuality would be changed by therapy.

 

I understand your point but I think you need to be careful about coming off as entirely, generally anti-therapy. It helped my partner and I a lot to understand ourselves better -- relationship & individual therapy isn't just about "fixing sex lives".

 

Besides, if the "trying to be something one isn't" is without a therapist, it would even seem backwards to blame therapy for those efforts. Furthermore, if the partner says they're asexual (also true here) they already know it's a possibility, they aren't in danger of ignorance of the possibility of asexuality in a therapy effort.

 

2 hours ago, Nowhere Girl said:

I just intensely hate the use of the word "intimacy" to mean "sex" because it implies that asexuals don't have or don't need intimacy

I think you're reading a bit too much into it.

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Nowhere Girl
49 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

I understand your point but I think you need to be careful about coming off as entirely, generally anti-therapy. It helped my partner and I a lot to understand ourselves better -- relationship & individual therapy isn't just about "fixing sex lives".

I'm not "entirely anti-therapy". I simply doubt whether most therapists who deal with sex issues are prepared to work with asexual clients in a fully professional and respectful way. But definitely the solution to this is to educate therapists, to keep telling them that asexuality is real and that sex-free lifestyle is a valid choice.

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anisotrophic
48 minutes ago, Nowhere Girl said:

sex-free lifestyle is a valid choice.

Yes, but it's not a valid choice to expect a sexual partner's commitment to the relationship means they should be able to change midstream and accept a sexless relationship, sacrificing their own sexuality permanently.

 

They're in that mess now. Nobody intended it. Relationship therapy is about more than sex, and sex is part of the conversation, but what to do going forward depends on the couple... All choices are imperfect, and therapy helps people figure out and communicate needs, to navigate it together.

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