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salchaste

I am married to a wonderful woman who recently (2 months) came out as being asexual.  This was done 5 years after I told I believed she was asexual and she insisted she wasn't.  Anyway, our marriage is great except for the intimacy and sex part.  I am very accepting of her sexuality and had a chance to go through an acceptance process with my son over the last 5 years when he came out to us as being gay.  I've learned so much about sexuality and how it works and how to accept the person for who they are.  This is the great part.

 

The not so great part is, I am not an asexual and have needs too. So what now?  I have search the net, the library, the scholarly articles and everything else I can think of to locate information on how to make an asexual (repulsed by the thought of any kind of sex) / sexual (high libido, sexual submissive who enjoys giving pleasure to my partner) marriage work.

I've read countless articles about how asexuals get along in a relationship successfully but nothing for sexuals to use as a tool kit so we don't go insane.  I'm not good with talking to my spouse about my needs and wants without a list and when I create one I have no idea where to start.

 I'm even triggered when typing this post and it's not so much anger or resentment, I feel betrayed or cheat on. Mostly I'm depressed because I can't see my life without my wonderful wife but the idea of going the next 30 or 40 years without sex makes me want to just give up.  I can't do an open marriage, she suggested it and I nix'ed it because I would likely become emotionally attached and that's not what I want. I hate masturbating just to get off, yeah it's release but it doesn't have any passion or love, 

A list of resources I can use that explains ideas of how an asexual/sexual marriage can work would be nice.  I feel like I've been painted into a corner where the fumes are getting stronger and I'm suffocating.

 

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Lichley
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First option I can think is to try swinging (though males without a partner present aren't always welcome in the swinging world) or open relationships. That does NOT mean cheating! It means considering for yourself whether having different relationships with different people will work for you, and then talking to your wife about if it works for HER. It may not...many people are stuck on the idea of monogamy, whether that be a natural inclination or a learned societal stigma. The thing to consider is, would having a person who isn't your wife who you could hook up with just for mutual physical gratification put stress on your relationship with your wife? If so, not an option, but if both of you are open to the idea, and can find a third who's also open, its something to consider.

 

Another option is toys...there are SO many sex toys that have been created for men's satisfaction, and many can be used both alone and as a couple...another thing to discuss with your wife, maybe she would be interested in engaging in intimacy that didn't require her sexual bits to get involved. I've talked to some aces who enjoy the intimacy and the interaction, and are happy knowing they can cause such pleasure for their partners, so long as they don't have to engage in penetrative intercourse. This isn't an attempt at compromise, its not 'oh come on honey, you don't even have to feel anything, just do this for me!', its asking your partner if this is something she might be interested in. If not, it can easily be dropped and you can use the toys on yourself for the physical gratification at least. There are some fantastic reviews on toys for men at www.ohjoysextoy.com , just to give you a place to start looking.

 

If there's also general emotional intimacy your feeling a craving for, there's so many ways to look into that...planning romantic date nights, or buying her little surprise gifts you know she'd enjoy but that aren't too expensive, just making more time to spend together talking about stuff. The people renting my house (who I also act as a nanny for), often take an extra hour driving home from work together just to have the time to chat without the young kids around. Pick up a hobby you can work on together - my parents were both into motorcycles - or do something silly and sweet, like write a love poem. All this, of course, dependent on what you know your wife likes...don't write poems if you know she thinks they're an awful way to show affection. Talk things out with her and ask if she has any ideas that would make her feel special, that can strengthen and bring to mind that bond of love you share. Does she enjoy cuddling and watching a movie? Or maybe camping is more her style. Anything you two can both enjoy together.

 

Relationships ARE about compromise, if one person is sacrificing everything all the time for the other one, that's not healthy, and that's what leads to the bitterness and resentment that makes people wish they'd just left while they still had good memories. But compromise doesn't have to mean 'making my loved one a little uncomfortable to get a little of what I want'. It can mean looking for options that suit both of you and leave both of you feeling content and close. Best of luck in your endeavors!

 

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 you're not keen on it. 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.
  4. 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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AceMissBehaving

You mention being a sexual submissive, is that in a “prefer your partner takes the lead in the bedroom” kinda way, or a “you’re a sub, she’s a Dom BDSM” kinda way? 

 

You say you’re not interested in an open relationship, but might there be some kind of mutual power play between the two of you and the possible local kink or swingers scene that might be solution somewhere in the middle? 

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uhtred

Situations in mixed relationships vary a lot because people vary a lot. 

 

Some asexuals are happy to have sex with the person that they love, even though they don't get anything out of it - sort of like giving a backrub. Others are sex repulsed and find sex a deeply unpleasant experience.

 

Some sexuals enjoy sex, but its not really all that important to them. For others it is directly tied to feelings of love and romance and they cannot be happy in a relationship without it.

 

My advice is to try to understand each others feelings / needs - completely without judgement, people can't change the way that they feel about things. Then see if you can both be  happy together. If not, then separate -no point maintaining a relationship that doesn't make you happy. 

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TimeDelay

@salchaste you are not alone. This is a depressing place to find yourself when you're married to someone you love and with whom you crave physical intimacy. Telecaster and Uhtred give sound advice and if you're struggling to take it all on board, that's normal. Sit with what they have told you for a few days. Some of the asexuals here also are helpful for gaining insight but be aware there is much that will trigger you at times. I too believe talking to your spouse is crucial, continuously, even when you don't feel like it and she is fed up with it. Tell your wife what's going on every step of your onward journey because she just won't understand how important this is unless you say it out loud, repeatedly. I'm not saying go on and on about it every minute of the day but do not let a lot of time slip by between talks either. Honest communication is hard but the alternative is worse. I wish there was a formula for 'success' too. Most of us are just struggling to survive but I have come across a few stories of couples making it work reasonably well for both. I'm so sorry you're hurting. 

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salchaste

Everyone who answered my call... thank you! Thank you for giving me exactly what I didn’t want to hear.  My wife and I spoke at great lengths last night and I as such I have been given the most information I have ever received in 23 years of marriage about the needs or lack of needs that is my wife has when it comes to sex.  So here is the laundry list of things I need to sort through:

 

1. She is repulsed by the idea of any kind of sex.

2. Physical touching of any kind is hard for her to do for me because she’s always believed doing so would lead to sex.

3. Touching or rather no touching is a habit now for protection, even though she can do it for our children.  She has gotten better with this.

4. She isn’t interested in BSDM, chastity play, etc...

5. We both fear an open marriage of any kind because it could break the marriage because she fears I would become attached. I too fear this outcome.

6. We tried couples counseling a few times before she came out to me or even herself and it was disastrous to say the least.  The therapists seen always placed blame on her doorstep.

7. I fear speaking to her about any of this because it create a pain cycle neither of us like to deal with.  She sees me hurting or that I have a need, she can’t meet it and feels guilt / pain, I see she is hurt and  her sense of worth failing so I feel bad.... so the cycle continues over and over and over....and over.....  we already deal with so many more issues in our life that are too painful, this is just one more to pile up on the mountain.  The pain I reference, 7 family deaths is 5 years, my wife’s health, my medical needs children, the pending death of my wife’s mother due to terminal cancer, the list goes on and on...

8. Basically the situation comes down to me having to sacrifice for the good of the relationship and to do so I have to accept the sacrifice decide to be okay or don’t accept and live a miserable existence.  The best way to view this situation as a married couple is to see my asexual spouse no different than a spouse who had an accident / illness that can never have sex again.

 

So back to last night’s conversation.  My wife expressed so many feelings that I was completely unaware of with how the idea of sex and what it does to her inside when she thinks about it.  She also shared with me how she feels with how I feel and the pain cycle.  I believe this candid conversation was vital to me coming to terms with my wife having zero desire for sex of any kind.  I will make this work because when I think of my life without my wife - I see nothing but a painful existence and darkness....

Again thank you...

 

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anisotrophic

@salchaste I think it's good you're worried about "open" & feelings, it's true that's likely to happen.

 

But I think as long as you set the option as "impossible" you're going to be miserable, and there's an unavoidable sense of guilt and pressure.

 

And that's awful because you've lost physical intimacy and touch because of the fear and that's pretty bad, I think.

 

I'd suggest you try deciding you'll do open "someday" (eg maybe in a year try dating others). This gives your relationship time to stabilize, takes away the pressure by removing the sense of being trapped indefinitely. Hopefully you'll be able to recover physical intimacy if you remove any sense of sexual expectation.

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TimeDelay
4 hours ago, salchaste said:

Everyone who answered my call... thank you! Thank you for giving me exactly what I didn’t want to hear.  My wife and I spoke at great lengths last night and I as such I have been given the most information I have ever received in 23 years of marriage about the needs or lack of needs that is my wife has when it comes to sex.  So here is the laundry list of things I need to sort through:

 

1. She is repulsed by the idea of any kind of sex.

2. Physical touching of any kind is hard for her to do for me because she’s always believed doing so would lead to sex.

3. Touching or rather no touching is a habit now for protection, even though she can do it for our children.  She has gotten better with this.

4. She isn’t interested in BSDM, chastity play, etc...

5. We both fear an open marriage of any kind because it could break the marriage because she fears I would become attached. I too fear this outcome.

6. We tried couples counseling a few times before she came out to me or even herself and it was disastrous to say the least.  The therapists seen always placed blame on her doorstep.

7. I fear speaking to her about any of this because it create a pain cycle neither of us like to deal with.  She sees me hurting or that I have a need, she can’t meet it and feels guilt / pain, I see she is hurt and  her sense of worth failing so I feel bad.... so the cycle continues over and over and over....and over.....  we already deal with so many more issues in our life that are too painful, this is just one more to pile up on the mountain.  The pain I reference, 7 family deaths is 5 years, my wife’s health, my medical needs children, the pending death of my wife’s mother due to terminal cancer, the list goes on and on...

8. Basically the situation comes down to me having to sacrifice for the good of the relationship and to do so I have to accept the sacrifice decide to be okay or don’t accept and live a miserable existence.  The best way to view this situation as a married couple is to see my asexual spouse no different than a spouse who had an accident / illness that can never have sex again.

 

So back to last night’s conversation.  My wife expressed so many feelings that I was completely unaware of with how the idea of sex and what it does to her inside when she thinks about it.  She also shared with me how she feels with how I feel and the pain cycle.  I believe this candid conversation was vital to me coming to terms with my wife having zero desire for sex of any kind.  I will make this work because when I think of my life without my wife - I see nothing but a painful existence and darkness....

Again thank you...

 

I have no idea what to say because this is my situation too, even #7. It breaks my heart that after being through so much together, reaching this stage in our lives that when we need the solace of physical closeness with our spouse, we cannot have it. You will be exhausted from the intensity of talking honestly after so long but I have to repeat, when you feel the need to speak to her again, don't ignore that need. No matter what else is going on around you.  Take breaks but always return to talking. You may need to clarify specific things as times goes on. Don't feel guilty about this; it's very important for your own mental health as well as hers. Is there anyone in real life you can confide in, now that you understand more clearly? Is there any chance your wife might join this forum and discuss some approaches with other aces? You both might benefit from ideas on how to foster some level of non sexual intimacy. If she can bear to do that?  Don't forget to mind yourself and reach out for support when you need it. Hug your children. A lot.

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