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Jrae01

Asexual/sexual marriage

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Jrae01

I (40f) sexual am trying to come to terms with my husband (48) being asexual. We have had this incompatibility the duration of our relationship (17yrs) and never understood why. We've tried therapy, horomone therapy, ed meds, etc and nothing worked.  We recently discovered asexuality and have been educating ourselves. He feels relieved that he finally has answers. He truly feels like he is asexual. I can't help but feel devastated. We are having major difficulty finding a compromise. He has been very clear that now that he is comfortable with himself and understands why he's this way and says I will be lucky to have sexual intimacy with him once a year.  While I'm happy for him that he feels relieved, I am extremely frustrated at the lack of compromise on his part.  Not even once a year?? I'd be happy with 1/mo or every 2 mos but he said that's way too much. 

 

Even though sex has bee practically non existent throughout our marriage, I always had hope that it would change with the right therapy, meds or diet/exercise, etc. Finding this out now and seeing the lack of compromise on his part has taken away my hope.

 

I dont know what to do. He's my best friend and our marriage is great apart from this. However, this issue has put a dark cloud over the whole relationship. However, I really want to make this work but how do we find a compromise that works for both of us? Any suggestions from anyone who's been through this?

 

Also, I've caught him looking at porn on occasion which he always tries to hide/deny. I understand that an asexual may do this and just doesn't want partnered sex. However, I cannot help but be annoyed by this. He can look at porn, take care of his need and to  hell with me? Is this acceptable? I don't know what to think. 

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Sinking_In

@Jrae01 I get what you're going through (sexual male, asexual wife). All of us in mixed relationships can sympathize (on both sides of it). First, you should also feel relieved, because now you know it was never about you, and it can't be "fixed". You've been validated, however disappointing it may seem to you now. Second, you have informed choices to make. He's made it clear sex is, for all intents and purposes, off the table. Can you both share intimacy in other ways? Kissing, cuddling, petting, etc? Would he be willing to let you find sexual gratification elsewhere, with another lover, should you desire it? That may be something to discuss. There are many here on Aven who share their stories of success and failure in mixed relationships. Click on my username for some of mine. I went from compromise to open relationship, and so far, so good. There is also @Traveler40, who was/ is in your shoes, and has very positive experiences. There are those who simply accept celibacy, but it seems that is not something you are happy with, so I suggest communicating with your husband, find if there is any intimacy that can work for you both, or if open marriage is a possible solution. Not in a threatening way, mind you, but rather a reality of the situation and the needs you have. Of course, therapy with a good counselor who is familiar with asexuality and polyamory would be beneficial as well. I wish you the best, and take heart, knowing what you are up against puts you way ahead of those still struggling in the dark. I hope you can start to heal, now.

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Sithgroundhog

I would talk with him and try and lay it all out. Explain what his lack of compromise makes you feel. Explain what him watching porn feels like to you and get his side of the story. For some people, their partner watching porn is off limits, so it wouldn't be unusual for you to feel hurt by this. It's important to talk about it, whether with a therapist or by yourselves.

 

Sharing other forms of affection, like Sinking_In mentioned is super important. My partner is very into cuddling, for example. Find ways to feel intimate with your partner that don't involve sex so you can still feel loved and important to him.

 

It seems like he's unwilling to compromise on sex, so have you considered an open relationship? Whether you find a lover or just have one-night stands on the side, there are several options for open or poly relationships. Not all of them work for everyone, but sex can be very important to a person's mental health and relationships can crumble because of them. I believe @Sinking_In has books on open relationships and he might be able to recommend a couple. 

 

Also, I want to say that not all sexual/asexual relationships work. When either side is too unwilling to compromise, they're unable to find a workable middle ground, the differences are just too great to overcome, or other problems, the relationship just ends. It's unfortunately not always enough to love the person, and it's no one's fault if it falls apart. 

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Sinking_In
1 minute ago, SithGrinch said:

I believe @Sinking_In has books on open relationships and he might be able to recommend a couple. 

To be clear, I didn't write any books, I just bought them ;) The two I'm reading now are "Opening Up" by Tristan Taormino, and "More Than Two" by Franklin Veaux & Eve Rickert. There are many others that people here could recommend on the subject. I've heard "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman is good, as well as "The Ethical Slut" (bad name, good book) by Janet W. Hardy. I have yet to get to those, though. I'm still working on "More Than Two".

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anisotrophic

Is he not remorseful about the situation? Does he feel empathy and value your own experience of sexuality? I think our sexuality (and asexuality) is part of ourselves: even when there's a mismatch, we should still want to be loved for who we are.

That can mean a partner wanting to compromise to make a sexual partner feel loved, and/or being supportive of an open relationship. (I know not all people want either of these, but...) At least, expressing remorse for the mismatch and wanting you to be happy despite it – somehow?

But... in the absence of that support… I know some people still stay, but it sounds very unhappy to me. (And personally, I would be very hurt by porn combined with sexual rejection.)

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Traveler40

@Jrae01 welcome to AVEN. It can be devastating and the only thing you can do to work toward some resolution is communicate with him. Define your base needs and options and know they may change in time and consideration. It’s been often stated here that your spouse does not owe you sex, but they do owe you communication.

 

He’s defined once per year, but that doesn’t work for you.  Given those parameters, what other options are there? Figure that out and start to hammer out a plan together.  What can you live with? What’s your breaking point?

 

The porn thing - yep, I can totally relate.  The only way I got through that one was eventual apathy which was born from his lack of empathy I suppose. That’s all I’ve got on that one. 
 

Anyhow, the short answer to your question

7 hours ago, Jrae01 said:

how do we find a compromise that works for both of us? 

Define wants, needs and limits then communicate towards agreements you can both live with. Failing that, your options are celibacy or divorce.  It’s bleak on the face of it, but that’s the reality. If you ignore it, it won’t get better or go away.  Have the courage to tackle it in honesty if you hope to make your life happier longer term.

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Traveler40

One more thing: the comments on alternate intimacy are really important. My husband also happens to be aromantic so alternate options weren’t possible for us.
 

Anyhow, I bring it up because I was in my lover’s arms yesterday, and he cradled me for hours. We were plastered together and wrapped around each other so tightly, a crowbar couldn’t pull us apart. We slept. That holding is so deeply nourishing that sex becomes secondary at times.  Alternate forms of intimacy can supplement and lessen the sexual need - if only to reduce quantity to levels where you two might meet. Just a thought.

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uhtred

@Jrae01 I'm sorry you are in this situation. It is unfortunately somewhat common  - and makes we wonder if 1% asexuality claims are actually very low.

 

I think someone who is asexual is unlikely to change. Sometimes compromise works, but often it doesn't work well -what is supposed to be a loving action becomes a chore for one and a sort of demand for the other. For many sexual people, being sexually *desired* is important as is a mutual enjoyment.  Compromise can feel too much like using your partner's body for your own enjoyment 

 

Nothing wrong with him never wanting sex.  Nothing wrong wit you wanting it.  You are just incompatible.  

 

I'm the sexual in a sexual / asexual relationship and "dark cloud" is a perfect description.  What should be a near perfect relationship leaves me feeling depressed, and lonely much of the time - and my wife is not even completely asexual ,she is willing to do some things some times.  Your situation sounds much worse.

 

So, sadly you have to make a choice - and it is a choice only you can make, because people's feelings are different on this.  Your likely choice are:

 

1) Live near celibate for the rest of your life. 

2) Cheat in order to get sex.

3)  get him to agree to an open marriage where you can have sex with other people with permission

4) Leave. 

 

Can you be happy with any of 1-3?   You need to be honest with yourself.  If you can't, then you really are not doing either of you a favor by staying - you will be miserable and almost inevitably become resentful that he has take this part of your life from you. 

 

I've been n a mixed marriage for 30 years and it never gets better. 

 

Feel free to PM.  

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MrDane

OP could hope, that “once a year” is just a requirement now, as he adapts to his new identity. What should definately be done, is to discuss how the future looks. Is ‘once a year’ a full-blown sex adventure, which he will also look forward to? 

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