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Sarhara

Is this it? Married to an Asexual

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Sarhara

Hi all, I am new here and wanted to open up about what is incredibly painful for me. 

 

I have been married for over ten years to one of the most wonderful men I have ever met. He is the most generous souls, has so much integrity, and I love him very, very much.

He is of course not perfect, and we tussle sometimes, but it’s often about things outside the relationship. We are emotionally educated have very successful jobs and very loving family life. 

 

Our sex life started to diminish 8 years ago and I can pinpoint several stressors but it always seemed to me that he was (for lack of a better word) confused by what to do sexually. It was all very formulaic after the honeymoon period. He had to be tipsy to perform and often was unable to get erections. We do know that he has low testosterone but this was a secondary issue. He seems to be embarrassed by things like nudity, sexual references, sex toys, anything of that nature and especially my sexuality. Yet, he is extremely affectionate.  

 

Recently, we have been talking in terms of how frustrating it is for me and I joked that maybe he was just Asexual. The conversation went very very quiet, as pennies seemed to crash down. We researched it and indeed this seems to be the case. His whole approach to sex and sexual relationships has been marred by this confusion. It makes it very difficult that he emotes this truly Alpha energy that people are very drawn to. He is relieved and upset. 

 

I am so sad. I am a relatively young woman, I have always been sexual and active. I love the whole process of seduction, sex, and desire. Some days I feel like I could just burst out of my skin with dread that the next 30 years of my life will be this barren sexual wasteland. I hate it. 

 

I'm not willing to divorce him, I find the idea of having sex outside the marriage so shame making and I cannot begin to contemplate the damage that it would do. The guilt alone would be unbearable. I can't make him be sexual, it seems cruel and without any empathy. I don't want him to "learn" to be sexual as surely that's like conversion therapy. 

 

I just do not know what to do.

 

Is this all there is? 
 

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Back to Avalon

Hello and welcome, @Sarhara. I'm sorry you're going through this difficulty, and I hope you find help or at least empathy here at AVEN.

 

A couple of things in your post jump out to me, and I'm sure other members will offer different ideas:

 

1. You say that your husband has low testosterone. Have you and he and his doctor talked about hormone therapy? Has this been ruled out for some reason? Many asexuals do not like the idea of being told they need medication to "cure" their asexuality, so you might be gentle in broaching the topic. However, if your husband wants to try it and is medically cleared to do so, it might increase his sex drive and his ability to get erections.

 

2. You say that sex outside the marriage would be damaging and guilt-inducing. I assume you're referring to cheating on him. However, have you thought of having an open marriage? Have you discussed this? If he is truly okay with your finding sex with other people, it isn't cheating, nor should it hurt your marriage (again, if he is completely, unreservedly okay with it). For some sexual/asexual relationships, this turns out to be a workable solution.

 

I hope this helps, and I'm sorry I can't offer you more. 

 

It's a tradition to welcome new members with virtual cakes, and here's a seashell cake:

 

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uhtred

@Sahara

I'm very sorry you are in this situation.  Was he enthusiastic (not just vaguely interested) about sex in the past?  If there was a dramatic change, it could be that there is an underlying medical or external cause.  Even if that is the case though, he needs to *want* things to change for there to be any hope of change. 

 

If he never was very enthusiastic about sex, then it is likely he is asexual.  Most sexual people *are* enthusiastic about sex early in their relationships.

 

I've been married to a woman with a very low interest in sex / near asexuality for >30 years now.  From that perspective, if it does seem he is asexual, then my rather depressing advice is:

 

1) You can consider an open marriage, but if he is shy about sex, he may also not understand why you want it and the conversation could go very badly.  It also may not at all work for you - if love and sex are closely tied in your mind, ONS will just not work. 

 

2). Stop hoping. If he is asexual, things will never "improve". If you hope every time there is a brief improvement, you will just feel crushed / betrayed when the improvement stops. This sounds easy, but I swear that it still happens to me every time we have sex two weeks in a row. 

 

3). Don't expose yourself to romance stories / movies, or go to romantic destinations.  They won't dull the pain, they will just continue to remind you of what you *want* your relationship to be like. Watching sexually affectionate couples is like a stab in the heart. 

 

4).  Decide in advance what you will do when the opportunity to cheat arises. It will. It will be so easy to tell yourself "why not, since he is rejecting me". What you decide is up to you, but after a couple of drinks and talking to a hot guy at the bar on a lonely business trip is not the time to think about it. 

 

5). The longer you wait, the harder it gets to leave. Eventually it is impossible.  If you have kids together it is basically impossible. 

 

Should you stay?  There is no one who can answer that but you. My advice is to think carefully and be completely honest with *yourself*.  Can you be happy without a sex life?  If the answer is no, then you are setting yourself up for long term misery and resentment toward a man that you love. 

 

They only good news is that at least you are aware of this early.  I didn't know asexuality even existed for the first >20 years of my marriage and spent most of that wondering why the woman who claimed to love me couldn't stand to have sex with me.  Its a miserable situation for you to be in - all you can do is make the best choice you can out of some very wretched options.

 

Leave, Cheat. Live like a Nun. 

 

 

 

 

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Sarhara

You're incredibly kind. Thank you, I love the cake.

 

He is fine with taking meds to help and we will look into it with more attention.

 

I just feel like it would be a disaster for our marriage to be open. I can't see myself as a person that would risk so much for a very temporary outcome. These things often end in one party being seriously wounded. It's all so delicate. 

 

You have offered me a cake, so maybe that's a start :)

 

 

 

 

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Sarhara

Oh uhtred that is terrible and humbling and good advice. 

 

No, I don't hope, I think that adds to the shame and disappointment he feels. And I fully understand how demeaning it is to think something is wrong with *you* rather than your beloved is Asexual. It's so hard. 

 

I have a lot to think about. But.. I cannot imagine not being romantic. That is way too grim. 

 

-S

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anisotrophic

Hey @Sarhara, welcome, you're navigating this together, that puts you ahead of many others. I think it makes all the difference!

 

My experience was as with so many things: it got worse (I was devastated), and then better -- still hurts, but less and less.

 

The course you navigate will be unique to you. I tend to agree that open/poly deserves caution -- you might come back to it someday, but I'd say, for now... you're trying to discover a new equilibrium. You'll look into testosterone. Maybe his feelings will change around sexuality, as he comes to recognize his experience was so different. You might try one approach and then another -- but if you're doing this together, you're moving forward. That's key.

 

We both had LGBTQIA+ therapists we talked to, mostly me, in the first months. I recommend that. It helps to have a neutral source of insight, and nice to have a different person supporting each partner.

 

Good luck! Please update us. 🙏

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QueenOfTheRats
Quote

We do know that he has low testosterone

 Yeah. I would start there. See if you can fix that problem first before doing something as drastic as opening up your marriage.

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Shandy

Thank you @Sarhara for sharing your struggles so openly. I am also searching for answers and direction in my relationship and reading your post makes me feel a little less alone. 

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henshin

Hey, this is a bit sexually explicit so apologies if you're not comfortable with this.

 

Sex is not just one thing, and while it may not be the same as sex with a sexual person, it is still perfectly possible for your husband to perform sexual acts such as cunnilingus, fingering, and using sex toys. I would recommend approaching a conversation with him about sexual acts he might feel comfortable and even enthusiastic about performing.

 

He loves you and I imagine he things you're an attractive person with a body he loves. He probably loves making you happy, and may well even enjoy the intimacy of this kind of thing. You could talk to him about ways he likes his body to be touched to make it reciprocal (e.g. massage).

 

I imagine it's a scary time, but with love and patience you can hopefully find a suitable arrangement.

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Kyriee

Following, as I've a somewhat similar situation (my lifemate is the most wonderful person, so I'm not willing to leave Them just because we're not having sex, but the lack of sex does suck. And sleeping with anyone other than Them is NOT an option)...

 

Hang in there! It's awesome that you are so supportive of him!

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MrDane

It is not cheating, if it is an agreement between two adults. It is only cheating, if you say that you dont and then do it. 

...but there is still a risk involved, as you migth fall head over heels for the new exciting partner, who loves to see you naked, touch you and really enjoys wha you do to him.

 

i have a really warm and loving wife. She is okay with some scheduled sex, but mostly only fun for me. Sometimes she can enjoy what I give to her, but often I have a feeling that I enjoy giving more than she does getting, generally it is best for us to treat it as my project and her giving me an assistance. Best not to think of it as sexy sex.

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anisotrophic
37 minutes ago, MrDane said:

It is not cheating, if it is an agreement between two adults. It is only cheating, if you say that you dont and then do it.

yup. it's not shameful or wrong -- but still dangerous because you can fall in love...

 

On 6/23/2019 at 11:53 AM, Sarhara said:

Some days I feel like I could just burst out of my skin with dread that the next 30 years of my life will be this barren sexual wasteland.

knowing I have permission for the hypothetical really helps me handle this fear a lot better.

Now it only feels like something I haven't prioritized. If I really care, I can do more about it.

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Traveler40
On 7/1/2019 at 2:59 PM, MrDane said:

...but there is still a risk involved, as you migth fall head over heels for the new exciting partner, who loves to see you naked, touch you and really enjoys wha you do to him.

Yes, there is, and it can definitely be complicated.  However, is that worse than the neglect and pain of years in a sexless union?  I tend to think not (as a high libido sexual woman) having been there. Couple that with the despair of an aromantic partner, and it can feel like a dark and a hopeless situation.  

 

Neither state is ideal or carefree, but I’m far happier now than at many points along the almost decade spent physically neglected. I am a sexual woman who found themselves married to an asexual/aromantic man.  It is what it is for both of us which is less than ideal.  We are finding our compromise as we go.  

 

Each person has to decide how to forge forward as best they can for their circumstances as it’s not a “one shoe fits all” situation.  Our mixed relationship options are slim: compromise, celibacy, open the relationship or divorce.  Yes, it’s tough all the way around.

 

I love my husband and we’ve built an incredible family. I am also in love with my lover and have built an incredible relationship and found peace.  Balancing it all is the challenge, but energy spent there is preferable to the emotional turmoil of the sexless box.

 

Edit: As I type, I’m in the car with the family on our way to dinner. My husband and kids are wonderful. The toughest part is the desire to not hurt anyone and the risk of that ultimately happening despite best efforts to the contrary. Yes, it can be heart breaking depending on the moment and perspective.

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TimeDelay
Just now, uhtred said:

@Sahara

I'm very sorry you are in this situation.  Was he enthusiastic (not just vaguely interested) about sex in the past?  If there was a dramatic change, it could be that there is an underlying medical or external cause.  Even if that is the case though, he needs to *want* things to change for there to be any hope of change. 

 

If he never was very enthusiastic about sex, then it is likely he is asexual.  Most sexual people *are* enthusiastic about sex early in their relationships.

 

I've been married to a woman with a very low interest in sex / near asexuality for >30 years now.  From that perspective, if it does seem he is asexual, then my rather depressing advice is:

 

1) You can consider an open marriage, but if he is shy about sex, he may also not understand why you want it and the conversation could go very badly.  It also may not at all work for you - if love and sex are closely tied in your mind, ONS will just not work. 

 

2). Stop hoping. If he is asexual, things will never "improve". If you hope every time there is a brief improvement, you will just feel crushed / betrayed when the improvement stops. This sounds easy, but I swear that it still happens to me every time we have sex two weeks in a row. 

 

3). Don't expose yourself to romance stories / movies, or go to romantic destinations.  They won't dull the pain, they will just continue to remind you of what you *want* your relationship to be like. Watching sexually affectionate couples is like a stab in the heart. 

 

4).  Decide in advance what you will do when the opportunity to cheat arises. It will. It will be so easy to tell yourself "why not, since he is rejecting me". What you decide is up to you, but after a couple of drinks and talking to a hot guy at the bar on a lonely business trip is not the time to think about it. 

 

5). The longer you wait, the harder it gets to leave. Eventually it is impossible.  If you have kids together it is basically impossible. 

 

Should you stay?  There is no one who can answer that but you. My advice is to think carefully and be completely honest with *yourself*.  Can you be happy without a sex life?  If the answer is no, then you are setting yourself up for long term misery and resentment toward a man that you love. 

 

They only good news is that at least you are aware of this early.  I didn't know asexuality even existed for the first >20 years of my marriage and spent most of that wondering why the woman who claimed to love me couldn't stand to have sex with me.  Its a miserable situation for you to be in - all you can do is make the best choice you can out of some very wretched options.

 

Leave, Cheat. Live like a Nun. 

 

 

 

 

Apologies for jumping into your thread @Sarhara as all I can really do is empathise. I am new to this forum but have been in a sexless relationship for almost 30yrs. I cannot recommend you continue in "this barren sexual wasteland", as you put it. That's an accurate description.  I'm grateful to uhtred for laying this all out so bluntly. I needed to 'hear' it too. Only you will know what is worth trying for you to find the life YOU need. Personally, I am realising that I am a very loving person and will be exploring the 'open marriage' option if my husband agrees. I don't see it as cheating at all but then, this many years living in a fog of despair has taught me to reassess so many things; sexuality and marriage being top of the list. I've noticed some discussions on low testosterone so I'm going to ask my husband to get tested now as well but I won't expect the result to have much impact on our relationship. #2 above is almost like my mantra and has been for some years. If you feel chatting with someone might help please don't hesitate to send me a private message. I wish I had talked to someone about my marriage years ago. I still haven't in real life but recently finding forums like AVEN (and another one called ILIASM) has already helped ease the incredible loneliness I've been carrying. I feel your pain and hope you find a way through it.

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anisotrophic
10 minutes ago, TimeDelay said:

Personally, I am realising that I am a very loving person and will be exploring the 'open marriage' option if my husband agrees.

Go for it. It's not cheating if you tell your partner. I hope he is understanding; when my partner realized his absence of sexuality was unusual -- and how much I experienced that he didn't -- he was a lot more supportive of opening the relationship. (And yeah his testosterone was super duper normal, but doesn't hurt to check.) I haven't exercised the option, but it's *so* good to know it's available in years to come.

 

Often I'll caution folks in the forum "careful, slow down, you'll likely fall in love, it will be complicated" but it's because they are often operating on a short timescale "panic solution" with unrealistic expectations (eg "it's just sex, I won't get attached to those people"). Nothing in what you've written gives me that impression. I'm sorry it must feel like you've waited so long.

 

It *is* extremely likely that you'll fall in love with someone new, that does need to be an outcome you're prepared for, but maybe also think of it as a joy you deserve to have -- I think people should all have the chance to feel loved and affirmed in the sexuality they have.

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