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Prismatangle

Lady Girl's Story

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Prismatangle

Lady Girl recently wrote an awesome guest post for me for the Carnival of Aces, telling the story of her marriage to an asexual man before discovering AVEN and asexuality. She's asked me to repost it here so that you all can read/discuss it on AVEN directly. :)

You can read the original post and the comments to it here.

Here's the full text (bolded text is what I wrote):

The following is a guest post by Laura for the Carnival of Aces. She is 44 and identifies as a heterosexual female, and her husband Tom is 48 and identifies as a hetero-asexual male. I think their story is an important one, which I have only seen being told previously on AVEN, where it tends to get lost in the shuffle. I'm glad to have her perspective posted here—judging by some of the searches that lead to this blog, people are interested in hearing it!

The post has been edited for typos, and I helped her to organize her thoughts and format the post. She and her husband chose the title together.

---------------------

Our story starts in college, not unlike a lot of young couples. We met in a night class and hit it off right away... it felt like we were just drawn to one another. I was 18 and Tom was 21. The year was 1986 and we were both starting our second semester. We didn't finish. After three or four weeks of spending most of our time "hanging out" in my car, we decided to drop out, and on February 7th drove four states away to stay with Tom's brother and make a go of it. Working for a temporary employment agency kept us busy for three months, at which time Tom said he thought we should get married, and even though this wasn't the marriage proposal I had dreamed of, I agreed. We drove to my parents where we proceeded to make arrangements for a wedding in the backyard. Six days later on Mother's Day May 11th, 1986 we were married.

Flash ahead almost 25 years later... it's now April 11th 2011. I'm having a really bad day, and our anniversary is only a month away. The years have been filled with a fair amount of conflict, all of it seeming to center around one thing. I always felt Tom was uneasy with all things sexual, although I was not savvy enough to read the signs during our "whirlwind romance," and would I have wanted to know? I can't really say. Tom announced early on that there would be no children, but I thought I would change his mind. I eventually changed mine and that was fine... but where was the physical affection??? And the sex... why was I practically begging for it? And why did I always suspect that he preferred to be alone? I don't know why I only typed in the one word, but I did... asexual. I had never heard it in reference to an orientation, but I really felt he was different and there had to be other people like him. I came to AVEN and found that there indeed were other people like him. I cried...

So much was going through my mind as I read the definition of asexuality. I felt in my heart that it explained the 25 years of wondering why he loved me but didn't really want to have sex. In all those years I cheated, I left him, I fought with him, I acted out in many ways. I cried because in a way, the deepest need in my life had been met, the need to know why. I had no chance at understanding him without that piece of vital information. I had no chance at overcoming my anger at the prospect of going on endlessly wondering why we couldn't connect through the act of sex like I thought we should and by no means as frequently as I thought we should.

The AVEN FAQ's had advice for having a "talk" which I followed to the letter. I went to work that day feeling scared and wondering how Tom would react when I tried to have this "talk" with him. Following the advice was the best thing I ever did; the approach made him feel loved and even though he resisted listening at first, the truth of what I was saying made sense to him and he was willing to look at the front page of AVEN a little. Years of strain washed away from his face as he realized his own very real sexual orientation at age 48.

That night, we sort of saw each other differently. I saw him for who he really is, and he could feel me seeing that, and somehow we knew we could try to accommodate each other in a more loving way.

A really great thing that has happened is that now, on occasion mind you, we can talk about it and how we're going to make a compromise work. For example, Tom really didn't want to ever cuddle much because he was afraid I would take it as a precursor to sex. I can honestly tell him that I don't take it that way because I know he is going to initiate and will tell me. Our compromise consists basically of this:

  • sex twice a month. we started with once, and just recently changed it to twice
  • Tom does the initiating and chooses when
  • making out only on occasion

Sometimes talking about all of this goes well, sometimes it doesn't. For the most part, we realize that we don't want to be in conflict so we continue to try and work on ourselves and the relationship.

A really big part of being sensitive to how an asexual feels about compromising seems to be realizing they've always felt pressured. So I try to be calm when we do talk about it and realize that everything I want from him I'm not going to get, but I'm going to get what I need, and in order for me to get that I can't apply pressure... I have to relax. And on Tom's part he realizes that he would prefer to never do this but since he's capable, he will. I might add that when I let him lead, and I allow myself to be passive as opposed to aggressive during our encounters he seems less bored or uneasy even. Basically what it seems to come to, whether it involves talking about sex or having sex, is that I can't be demanding or insistent, I sort of have to squash my sexual urges to be passionate and intense so to say, and he has to put himself out there when he would just as soon not. It's the pressure and expectations that the sexual partner has that cripple their relationship with an asexual.

He's my best friend and he has been for 25 years. I enjoy being with him more than anybody else. He tells me he loves me several times a day and hugs me most every morning. We both try to grow intellectually and spiritually together, and we share a lot of interests... this helps us love each other in many ways.

We both feel strongly about monogamy, I think we both prefer and want that from our partner. We tend to feel that someone would end up hurt if we had an open relationship.

We still have work to do (25 years of bad habits don't break easy), but we're doing it. Sometimes, love is work... but I guarantee you won't ever find a better boss in the whole world.

Thanks again to Lady Girl for this fantastic post! It has actually been the #1 most viewed post for the past couple of days. :)

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zoidberger

I think this is a great story. It's important from both sides of a mixed relationship to show one way that compromise and understanding after finding AVEN has worked for them. It's obvious that it involves communication and working together and will continually involve these.

:cake:

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goodyears

Wow! Lady Girl, what a powerful story of hope. I did a copy/paste of this post and e-mailed to my husband this morning. :)

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Beachwalker

Yeh awesome story, thanks for sharing ladies :)

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Lady Girl

Thank you Zoids, Goody, and Beach! Thank you Gray Lady!!! And thank you AVEN!!! :cake::cake::cake: I couldn't have written the story without you, all of you. :wub:

I especially want to thank my husband for loving me so much. :wub:

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Percivel

Lady,

You have great passion!...and are a model to us all!!! In fact, you could say you are a "super model." Hmm. Now that's a keeper!

I suppose we should give that man of yours some credit, too. But only just a bit! :lol:

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Lady Girl

Aw, Percivel you are far too kind! I couldn't have done any of it without everyone here. :blush:

I'd really like to thank Sally, Lucinda, and PiF. They have contributed to my understanding of love in extraordinary ways. :wub:

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Skullery Maid

Aw, yay!

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Mimi-le-Roux

This is such an inspirational story. :wub: It's so nice to hear that a mixed relationship can work and that honesty about your sexuality is a good thing! You guys seem like such a fab couple!

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Elnae

LG, I've already told you this, but I'm gonna repeat myself anyway...

Your story is awesome!!

As Mimi said, it's inspirational, and so are you!

:wub:

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Lady Girl

Thanks for all the nice comments!

Elnae and Mimi...I just want to say I'm so glad I met both of you. You both make AVEN a better place to be. :wub:

And Skulls, you with all your blasted definition busting have created the perfect catalyst for meaningful conversations about sex with my husband. :lol:

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sketcher

I really have a very naive question, something I might call a "noob" question in gaming forums: How does a compromise work? Sex twice a month... I would never be able to do it. And how can a guy even start having sex if he doesn't even like it.

I am so, so confused!

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Skullery Maid

I really have a very naive question, something I might call a "noob" question in gaming forums: How does a compromise work? Sex twice a month... I would never be able to do it. And how can a guy even start having sex if he doesn't even like it.

I am so, so confused!

Not everyone can. Not all asexuals have the same relationship with sex... some are repulsed, some find it kind of amusing or fun, and most seem to be in between. Whether or not you personally can compromise on sex is something only you can answer. For those of us who do compromise, (and keep in mind this is coming from the sexual perspective), we try to eek out the amount of sexual activity our partners can participate in without drastically increasing their anxiety or resentment about it. The amount varies by person.

As for how guys do if if they don't like it? No idea... male sexual response is something I know very little about.

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Lady Girl

He wouldn't if it wasn't for me he says. Also as Skulls said, he's not repulsed, more neutral.

Twenty five years ago we hadn't heard of asexual, he knew he wasn't gay, only that he wasn't so good at sex. He probably figured we would be fine since I was totally inexperienced.

To be perfectly honest, I think he somehow taught himself how to perform.

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Percivel

Another view from a sexual (male).....

I think my wife is neutral as well. There are some things that she finds revolting but the basics she is willing to tolerate as long as it doesn't take too much time and effort. She often (%25 of the time?) gets stimulated as well but she usually needs to focus pretty hard (I don't know what on). When she does get stimulated, however, it's all about her. Mostly, though, its about me and mostly they are "quickies." Never is there really emotion/passion involved. Sex seems to be dropping off a bit. This could be partially because the pressure is off her, but also because I've lost some interest.

We don't yet have a formal compromise, yet. We both just know we need to reciprocate. The compromise discussion will likely come soon enough.

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sketcher

Thanks for the responses. I still have to understand how to "learn to perform" I have tried in the past, but it hasn't worked. I don't know which direction is my marriage headed yet. But as Lady Girl has shown, it doesn't necessarily have to be a crash-n-burn ending.

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Lady Girl

Hope no one minds me bumping this back to the first page...angry sexuals make me feel bad for all of AVEN.

I realize it may feel justified, however it does seem a tad negative and disrespectful at times.

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Faelights

Well, LGirl, your bumping it allowed me to see it, so :cake:

Thank you for the story, I hadn't heard it in detail previously, and I think it's awesome and wonderful and a;dfnahg.slf kittehs!

Sorry for the fankitteh incoherence. XD

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henryd

Our compromise consists basically of this:

  • sex twice a month. we started with once, and just recently changed it to twice
  • Tom does the initiating and chooses when
  • making out only on occasion

(I'm back)

I don't like this implication that sexuals in mixed relationships should be satisfied because their partners agree to get them off now and then.

Getting your partners off now an then is the least asexuals should be doing to compensate for depriving their partner of something so essential to human happiness.

This "compromise" seems highly unbalanced.

The asexual just has to put in a couple of hours work a month doing something they don't want to do be doing. And what do sexuals get out of this "compromise?" A little bit of physical relief now and then, but what they don't get is any of the emotional-sexual-joy that only comes from a healthy sexual relationship with someone you care deeply about.

I've been living this compromise for many years and while it's better than nothing at all, it's far from a solution to the problem.

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The Great WTF

Our compromise consists basically of this:

  • sex twice a month. we started with once, and just recently changed it to twice
  • Tom does the initiating and chooses when
  • making out only on occasion

(I'm back)

I don't like this implication that sexuals in mixed relationships should be satisfied because their partners agree to get them off now and then.

Getting your partners off now an then is the least asexuals should be doing to compensate for depriving their partner of something so essential to human happiness.

This "compromise" seems highly unbalanced.

The asexual just has to put in a couple of hours work a month doing something they don't want to do be doing. And what do sexuals get out of this "compromise?" A little bit of physical relief now and then, but what they don't get is any of the emotional-sexual-joy that only comes from a healthy sexual relationship with someone you care deeply about.

I've been living this compromise for many years and while it's better than nothing at all, it's far from a solution to the problem.

That's your opinion and a very unfair one at that. I've known sexuals that are perfectly happy with such an arrangement and don't see it as unbalanced at all. Just because it might not work for you doesn't mean that it's not going to work for anyone else.

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Skullery Maid

I'm not sure that his opinion is unfair. It's generally assumed that it's harder for an asexual to have sex than it is for sexuals to not have sex, which is why a compromise works. For some sexuals, however, that's not an adequate compromise.

I don't know. I think I'm with Olivier and Sexualwithanasexual in that I have both positive and negative things to discuss. I hate feeling like a bad sexual when I complain, because if there's anywhere we should be allowed to discuss our difficulties, it's here. At the same time, reading too much negativity makes it really hard to stay positive in our relationships, for those of us who want to remain positive. There's a certain amount of damned if you do, damned if you don't on the sexual forum.

We are all different people, and our partners are all different people. What works for me may not work for Henry, because I'm not Henry and my partner isn't Henry's partner. And while I think that everyone could learn to be happyish in a nonsexual relationship, I really don't see why anyone should have to. All asexuals could be conditioned to have sexual relationships, but I don't see why they should all have to either. We're all free to pursue our own happiness, and it just may be a fact of life that most sexuals aren't going to be happy married to an asexual. I don't see any reason why that's a problem. Personally, I think those of us who are happy in our relationships are the minority... and I know for me, I get laid fairly frequently compared to others on here, so it makes sense that I'm more content. I certainly don't want anyone else to feel like failure for choosing to leave their relationship just because I have no intention of leaving mine.

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henryd

That's your opinion and a very unfair one at that. I've known sexuals that are perfectly happy with such an arrangement and don't see it as unbalanced at all. Just because it might not work for you doesn't mean that it's not going to work for anyone else.

Obviously it's my opinion. And no, I can't speak for every sexual, but I do speak for many. It may not be what you or others want to hear, but that doesn't make it unfair.

As for sexuals who are "perfectly happy" with such an arrangement. Really? Perfectly happy. Maybe you meant imperfectly happy. If they are perfectly happy, I would wonder if they are maybe a little asexual themselves.

It's more likely they are making a virtue of a necessity. Or maybe, it's just better than all the possible alternatives, such as leaving their partner or getting nothing at all.

But I see little reason to believe that too many sexuals would be perfectly happy with such a situation.

It's generally assumed that it's harder for an asexual to have sex than it is for sexuals to not have sex, which is why a compromise works.

What is that assumption based on? It seems to me that it is the opposite and that assumption comes with a big asexual bias.

Asexuals might not want to have sex, but people do things all the time they don't want to do. I don't see why having sex for an asexual should be that much more difficult than, say, giving your partner a massage. All asexuals have to do is be a little uncomfortable now and then. The rest of their time is spent sex-free, just the way they want it.

It's the opposite for sexuals. They have to go all the time without real sexual fulfillment. Now and then they may get a little relief, but "relief" isn't what they are really missing, they are missing having sex with someone who wants to have it with them.

Seems to me, in a mixed relationship it's much harder to be the sexual not having sex than the asexual having it.

I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

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Prismatangle

As it turns out, I still had email notification about this topic turned on...

The asexual just has to put in a couple of hours work a month doing something they don't want to do be doing.

All asexuals could be conditioned to have sexual relationships, but I don't see why they should all have to either.

These two quotes piss me off. No, I don't think all asexuals can be "conditioned to have sexual relationships," and the idea of doing such a thing is incredibly creepy. Nobody should ever have to be "conditioned to" have sexual relationships. If that's the attitude you go into your sexual relationships with? Then whether you're asexual or not, there's something seriously wrong here.

And the idea that an asexual person "just" has to do something they don't want to be doing? As someone who is deeply familiar with sexual assault, oh my god, dude. That is such a ludicrously privileged, not-getting-it opinion that it makes me want to cry while laughing bitterly. It's not a matter of "just doing something you don't want to do." It's not like eating a food you don't like, or doing a chore. It's POTENTIALLY TRAUMATIZING. There is a very, VERY good reason why you do not EVER pressure someone into having sex when they don't want to.

Having sex you don't want to have is NOT AT ALL COMPARABLE TO GIVING A MASSAGE. Sex you don't want and didn't consent to is deeply invasive--it is in fact a form of psychological torture. And PTSD can fuck you up for years. Seriously. It is NOT an issue to take lightly.

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Naosuu

If there was a like, I would like the post above me. Since I can't, I'll just deliver an insurmountable amount of eCakes to Gray Lady's screen.

:cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake:

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Skullery Maid

It's generally assumed that it's harder for an asexual to have sex than it is for sexuals to not have sex, which is why a compromise works.

What is that assumption based on? It seems to me that it is the opposite and that assumption comes with a big asexual bias.

Asexuals might not want to have sex, but people do things all the time they don't want to do. I don't see why having sex for an asexual should be that much more difficult than, say, giving your partner a massage. All asexuals have to do is be a little uncomfortable now and then. The rest of their time is spent sex-free, just the way they want it.

It's the opposite for sexuals. They have to go all the time without real sexual fulfillment. Now and then they may get a little relief, but "relief" isn't what they are really missing, they are missing having sex with someone who wants to have it with them.

Seems to me, in a mixed relationship it's much harder to be the sexual not having sex than the asexual having it.

I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

As for what it's based on... no idea. I got in a huge fight with Phil about it once. There seems to be the idea that not doing something is easier than doing something. I just tried for like 30 minutes to find the thread, to no avail.

Anyway, any statements about it's harder for this group or it's harder for that group are bound to be wrong. Not all sexuals are the same and not all asexuals are the same. It's obviously easier for WTF to have sex than it would be for a different asexual. And it's obviously harder for you to live without fulfilling sex than it is for Lady Girl.

No one group has it harder than the other, which is why there's no one-size-fits-all advice. We're all different.

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Lady Girl

Our compromise consists basically of this:

  • sex twice a month. we started with once, and just recently changed it to twice
  • Tom does the initiating and chooses when
  • making out only on occasion

(I'm back)

I don't like this implication that sexuals in mixed relationships should be satisfied because their partners agree to get them off now and then.

Getting your partners off now an then is the least asexuals should be doing to compensate for depriving their partner of something so essential to human happiness.

This "compromise" seems highly unbalanced.

The asexual just has to put in a couple of hours work a month doing something they don't want to do be doing. And what do sexuals get out of this "compromise?" A little bit of physical relief now and then, but what they don't get is any of the emotional-sexual-joy that only comes from a healthy sexual relationship with someone you care deeply about.

I've been living this compromise for many years and while it's better than nothing at all, it's far from a solution to the problem.

You can think it's unbalanced if you want, that's fine. It's not a getting me off issue, and because sex isn't essential to MY human happiness doesn't make me asexual.

As far as I'm concerned, and since this is our compromise not yours, I don't even ever consider it a little bit of physical relief now and then. It does happen to be the healthy sexual relationship I have with someone I deeply care about.

Thanks for your comments. It's a solution for us, no one said it had to be for you.

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Skullery Maid

If there was a like, I would like the post above me. Since I can't, I'll just deliver an insurmountable amount of eCakes to Gray Lady's screen.

:cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake: :cake:

Why does Gray Lady get cake for intentionally misunderstanding my post? That hardly seems fair. My entire point is that no asexual should have to have sex if they don't want to...

but no, you should totally be mad at me as if I said the exact opposite. God some days I hate AVEN.

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Olivier

It's more likely they are making a virtue of a necessity. Or maybe, it's just better than all the possible alternatives, such as leaving their partner or getting nothing at all.

That's how it is for us - better than all the possible alternatives.

Much better than all the possible alternatives, in fact.

It would be pretty shitty to have something as good as we have and spend all day bitching about the one thing that's not perfect, or at least it would be pretty large sense of perspective failure. Others may not have it as good in other departments, or may not have common compromise grounds, so their mileage may vary, naturally.

Edit: The Grey Lady posted while I was writing this, and I totally agree (although I think SkulleryMaid will agree also, as her point seemed rhetorical and even included her disapproval of what The Grey Lady objected to).

Second edit: And in the while I was adding that, it turns out to be the case. I feel like I'm in slow motion, with my internet connection a bit shitty today and three kids constantly saying "Dad, could you just..." every two seconds ;)

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Prismatangle

Why does Gray Lady get cake for intentionally misunderstanding my post? That hardly seems fair. My entire point is that no asexual should have to have sex if they don't want to...

but no, you should totally be mad at me as if I said the exact opposite. God some days I hate AVEN.

I understand that was the point you were trying to make. I don't take issue with the rest of the post. But the comment that all of us could be "conditioned to" have sexual relationships? That part was creepy, and I couldn't let it pass by without pointing that out. Even though your point was that people shouldn't have to, the idea that we could all be conditioned to it? Creepy.

Primarily, though, I am directing my ire at henryd.

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Skullery Maid

All asexuals could be conditioned to have sexual relationships, but I don't see why they should all have to either.

No, I don't think all asexuals can be "conditioned to have sexual relationships," and the idea of doing such a thing is incredibly creepy. Nobody should ever have to be "conditioned to" have sexual relationships.

Of course they can. Anyone can be conditioned to do anything. How is it creepy? Here, let's play the game with me. I could be conditioned to eat nothing but dirt, I could be conditioned to stick carrots up my butt every day, I could be conditioned to sleep all day and wake all night... that's not creepy. That's just life.

And the idea that an asexual person "just" has to do something they don't want to be doing? As someone who is deeply familiar with sexual assault, oh my god, dude. That is such a ludicrously privileged, not-getting-it opinion that it makes me want to cry while laughing bitterly. It's not a matter of "just doing something you don't want to do." It's not like eating a food you don't like, or doing a chore. It's POTENTIALLY TRAUMATIZING.

But it's not tramatizing for everyone! Jesus! Would everyone stop assuming that their feelings are exactly the same as everyone else's??? If I KNOW my partner isn't traumatized by sex, then how exactly does it differ from doing something like eating food she doesn't want to eat? What if that's exactly how she describes it?

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