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henryd

Is it fair for an asexual person married to a sexual person to insist on a monogamous relationship?

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henryd

Discovering this site has been a mind-blowing experience.

I'm been with my asexual wife for 12 years. Up until finding this site I've always thought our sex life might improve one day. (maybe if she got good therapy, took anti-depressants, worked through her issues, etc).

After reading the posts on this site, I now see she is probably asexual and there's a good chance things will never improve sexually.

I've been thinking a lot about divorce and cheating in recent years. Truth is I love my wife. We have a great partnership and young kids who mean everything to us. I don't want a divorce.

But I do desperately want to have a sexual relationship with another sexual person. It's not just the physical gratification, it's also the stuff that comes with a sexual relationship -- intimacy, the connection, and feeling desirable.

In my dream scenario my wife would understand that I have needs she can't fulfill and would allow an open marriage. But I can't see this happening. My wife is very jealous by nature and very conservative about these things. If I even brought it up I fear it would be the end of things.

My question is really a philosophical one. Is it fair for an asexual person married to a sexual person to insist on a monogamous relationship with that person?

How do other asexuals feel about this, in particular asexual women who are in long-term relationships and have kids with sexual men?

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Lintu

I'm on your wife's side here; I am just like her. I'm asexual and I find it very difficult to have sex with my (sexual) husband (And we have 3.5 year old twins as well). I don't think I could ever let him be with someone else because of the things you mentioned - it's not "just sex", it's the whole shabang. I can't know he wouldn't fall for whoever that is.

I feel bad about it. I want my husband to be happy and have his needs fulfilled and all that, but I just don't see myself allowing that sort of thing. I feel bad that I'm making a 22 year old man avoid sex while obviously that's what he wants and needs, but what can I do? I'm scared.

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MadRat

I´m asexual but very jealous (bad combination). I have low self-esteem and I would constantly await my partner will leave me for his sex-buddy one day. I wouldn´t allow him to have someone for sex, not even for one-night stand.

But I don´t think it´s fair. It´s only my stupid feeling which I can´t ignore.

I don´t date sexuals. I´m almost aromantic, so it´s not a problem for me.

I don´t think you are a bad person because of your sexual desire and thoughts about cheating. I get it. It´s just sad situation. *hugs* :cake:

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Sockstealingnome

My opinion is going to be very unpopular but here goes. No, I don't think it's fair to keep someone in a relationship without compromising. Yes, there's a risk that by letting the spouse sleep with others they might choose that person over you. However, at the rate things are going, they might just leave anyway. As my Human Sexuality teacher has said: 90% of a good marriage gone bad is because of sex. Both parties either have to meet somewhere halfway or split.

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The Great WTF

The simple answer is: it's never that simple.

I'm asexual and perfectly content to have an open relationship. Sex is nothing but a physical act to me and jealousy has never been much of an issue, nor has my self-esteem (the two seem to be inexorably tied for many people for some reason). I'm open to polyamory if that's what he wants as well, though I'd probably be extremely picky about who he brought into the relationship.

Ideally, any asexual would be happy to compromise on sex or let their partner seek sex elsewhere, but unfortunately that is rarely the case. We're plagued by insecurities, a society that frowns on anything other than the "traditional" one mother, one father, 2.5 kids family, and an inability to understand the needs of our partners if we ourselves do not experience them. It makes a situation like yours extremely difficult. It's not really fair to insist on monogamy, but at the same time, because of the way we're brought up and taught to think, it manages to be fair at the same time. Personally, I think it's childish to try to cling to a monogamous relationship when it's so clear that it's not working, but I'm a very different person from your wife and feel things differently than she (or anyone else for that matter) does.

I will say one thing, though, if the two of you can't find a way to make things work, I beg you, don't stay together because you think it's best for your kids. Children know when there's something wrong between their parents and it seriously affects their emotions and, especially in young kids, their perception of what relationships are like.

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Iuveth

I don't think it's fair at all. I'd never start anything with a sexual without clearing sexual issues first.

I think it's really bad that knowledge about asexuality was not widespread 10 years ago, it would have helped a lot of people.

I guess it's not anybody's fault, but it's your life. You decide - do you want to stay married and have issues with sex with your wife?

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henryd

I will say one thing, though, if the two of you can't find a way to make things work, I beg you, don't stay together because you think it's best for your kids. Children know when there's something wrong between their parents and it seriously affects their emotions and, especially in young kids, their perception of what relationships are like.

I agree that a bad relationship would be bad for the kids, but the thing is we have a great relationship. It's just an asexual one (and I'm not asexual.)

I think a divorce would be far more damaging to my kids. Not that I think I should stay because of the kids, though it's definitely a big consideration.

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The Great WTF

I will say one thing, though, if the two of you can't find a way to make things work, I beg you, don't stay together because you think it's best for your kids. Children know when there's something wrong between their parents and it seriously affects their emotions and, especially in young kids, their perception of what relationships are like.

I agree that a bad relationship would be bad for the kids, but the thing is we have a great relationship. It's just an asexual one (and I'm not asexual.)

I think a divorce would be far more damaging to my kids. Not that I think I should stay because of the kids, though it's definitely a big consideration.

As long as the two of you can coexist well, then it's fine, but if your sexual needs start affecting the rest of your relationship please keep that in mind. The kindest thing my parents could have done for me was split up when things stared going south. They still cared of each other, but they'd lost the ability to coexist and it was a huge strain on me as well as them because I could sense the tension and hurt feelings between them.

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henryd

I'm on your wife's side here; I am just like her. I'm asexual and I find it very difficult to have sex with my (sexual) husband (And we have 3.5 year old twins as well). I don't think I could ever let him be with someone else because of the things you mentioned - it's not "just sex", it's the whole shabang. I can't know he wouldn't fall for whoever that is.

I feel bad about it. I want my husband to be happy and have his needs fulfilled and all that, but I just don't see myself allowing that sort of thing. I feel bad that I'm making a 22 year old man avoid sex while obviously that's what he wants and needs, but what can I do? I'm scared.

Sorry, if this sounds really ignorant. I'm new to this, but if you are ok with a non-sexual relationship with him, why should his falling for someone else necessarily threaten that? What if he said that anyone I date will learn about you upfront and would have to accept that. Wouldn't that type of arrangement be better than losing him altogether?

I don't know much about asexuality, but I know that if I was single, I would be ok dating someone who had a gay ex-husband that she was extremely close with, even roomed with. Because he is gay, I wouldn't feel threatened by him and I imagine he would be ok with me. It seems that asexuality is very similar in some ways ???

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InMyKrysalis

But I do desperately want to have a sexual relationship with another sexual person. It's not just the physical gratification, it's also the stuff that comes with a sexual relationship -- intimacy, the connection, and feeling desirable.

A great relationship has all of these things. A great asexual relationship has all of these things, just without the sex. If you feel that you need to have a sexual relationship with someone else to get these things, then I don't think it's the sex you're missing. There may be emotional components missing (or just not as overt as you would like them to be) from your existing relationship as well. One of the easiest ways for sexual people to regain these components is to engage in a new sexual relationship with the intention that the "intimacy, connection, and feeling desirable" would come along with the package. Do you think this could be the case?

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Kitty Spoon Train

But I do desperately want to have a sexual relationship with another sexual person. It's not just the physical gratification, it's also the stuff that comes with a sexual relationship -- intimacy, the connection, and feeling desirable.

A great relationship has all of these things. A great asexual relationship has all of these things, just without the sex. If you feel that you need to have a sexual relationship with someone else to get these things, then I don't think it's the sex you're missing. There may be emotional components missing (or just not as overt as you would like them to be) from your existing relationship as well. One of the easiest ways for sexual people to regain these components is to engage in a new sexual relationship with the intention that the "intimacy, connection, and feeling desirable" would come along with the package. Do you think this could be the case?

This is basically why I don't really buy into the idea that it's possible to completely separate sex from any kind of emotional/intimacy baggage...

Being extremely demisexual probably makes me sound very biased in saying this, but I think this passage betrays what I'm saying:

But I do desperately want to have a sexual relationship with another sexual person. It's not just the physical gratification, it's also the stuff that comes with a sexual relationship -- intimacy, the connection, and feeling desirable.

It seems to me like a lot of sexuals think they can totally separate sex from emotion, but in reality things have a way of being/getting more complicated. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. OP even states explicitly that "sex isn't 'just' sex" - that it has other, more abstract and emotionally charged components for him.

My thinking is basically this: if mainstream sexuals really could so easily separate sex from love, then open marriages where casual sex in allowed on the side would be a normal and condoned mainstream practice. ie If we're virtually certain that we can keep it simple and that nothing emotionally complicated would happen, then why not do it? Obviously, the answer is that we're aware that for most humans it's far more than just a totally separate physical act by itself. Or even if we can enjoy it as a totally meaningless physical act under certain circumstances, there are no guarantees that things will stay so simple.

As for specific advice for OP, I don't really have any. :(

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henryd

A great relationship has all of these things. A great asexual relationship has all of these things, just without the sex. If you feel that you need to have a sexual relationship with someone else to get these things, then I don't think it's the sex you're missing. There may be emotional components missing (or just not as overt as you would like them to be) from your existing relationship as well. One of the easiest ways for sexual people to regain these components is to engage in a new sexual relationship with the intention that the "intimacy, connection, and feeling desirable" would come along with the package. Do you think this could be the case?

It's a great question.

I think there are emotional components that I am missing, but I think these emotional components are missing due to the lack of sex.

I'm not saying non-sexual relationships can't have intimacy -- ours does. It's just not the same thing. I'm not even sure intimacy is the right word. It's that amazing feeling of being really attracted to someone, them being really attracted to you, and having great sex. While it is a physical act it's much more of an emotional act.

Of course, I'm only speaking from my own experience. Perhaps the same type of emotional connection is possible in a non-sexual relationship, I just don't see how.

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

I'm kind of regretting my last post, as it seems highly disrespectful for me to claim that asexuals can't experience something that I can experience. I apologize for that. This whole thing is very confusing.

I'm puzzled by so much of it. For example, a lot of people talk about making relationships work through compromise. But I don't see how that works. If my asexual wife agrees, as a compromise, to have sex more often, that's not that much help. What's missing for me as much as the act, is her enjoying it. Unless she's going to pretend to enjoy it in a way that convinces me that she really is enjoying, I don't see how a compromise helps. And if she does pretend in order to please me, assuming that's even possible, I don't see how she can feel good about herself.

If asexuality is just the way you are, then it seems like there is little hope for mixed marriages. I guess it can work for the asexual partner, if the sexual partner is ok living a sexless life or if the sexual partner loses their libido.

But I guess I just don't see how a mixed marriage works for the sexual partner short of going outside the marriage for sex.

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Mr. Smith

Of course it's not fair. It's not fair that your wife denies you sex and it wouldn't be fair for you to insist that your wife has sex if she does not desire it. It's never fair when someone is forced to give up choice. However, that is why compromise is necessary in all types of relationships. If one of you is unwilling to compromise to make the other one happy then your relationship is what I would call imbalanced or one sided. An imbalanced relationship always results in resentment or hurt feelings or both. I believe that asexual-sexual relationships require compromise from both partners not just one. If your wife refuses sex to you then she is getting what she wants but you are not. Just as she has a right to her sexual orientation, so do you. She should have an interest in allowing you to be you, somehow, someway. Good luck.

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Skullery Maid

Monogamy and sexuality have nothing to do with each other. Whether or not monogamy is desired in a relationship depends upon whether the people in the relationship value monogamy, not whether or not someone is getting laid enough.

I'm sexual and my partner is asexual, and neither of us want an open relationship. I'm not jealous and I'm not insecure, and I find it insulting when people suggest the only reason one would value monogamy is because of negative traits like that. I like monogamy because I like monogamy... because I love my partner more than anything and I want to share, and build, a life with her and only her. We are each other's best friends and we feel like home to each other. We have a partnership that wouldn't be the same if we had an open relationship.

And before you say "how would you know"... because I've had open relationships in the past. I don't think there's anything wrong with them at all if that's what both people want, but that's not what I want anymore. To be honest, a lot of the AVENites who favor open relationships are young. Not being into commitment and marriage is healthy at 21.

To answer your specific question: yes, of course it's fair! She has every right to insist on the type of relationship she wants. You have every right to leave the relationship if it doesn't make you happy. What you don't have a right to do is bully her into something that she doesn't want by making her feel guilty.

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Mr. Smith

I'm kind of regretting my last post, as it seems highly disrespectful for me to claim that asexuals can't experience something that I can experience. I apologize for that. This whole thing is very confusing.

I'm puzzled by so much of it. For example, a lot of people talk about making relationships work through compromise. But I don't see how that works. If my asexual wife agrees, as a compromise, to have sex more often, that's not that much help. What's missing for me as much as the act, is her enjoying it. Unless she's going to pretend to enjoy it in a way that convinces me that she really is enjoying, I don't see how a compromise helps. And if she does pretend in order to please me, assuming that's even possible, I don't see how she can feel good about herself.

If asexuality is just the way you are, then it seems like there is little hope for mixed marriages. I guess it can work for the asexual partner, if the sexual partner is ok living a sexless life or if the sexual partner loses their libido.

But I guess I just don't see how a mixed marriage works for the sexual partner short of going outside the marriage for sex.

I've been in a mixed marriage for over 25 years now and it is difficult to say the least. I am still unsure if we should have stayed together. I sometimes feel that I have been denied my rights or freedom to be happy but othertimes I feel like I would never want to miss out on the emotional connection and friendship that we have. It is a sad situation for mixed couples. I have never been unfaithful and we have not had an open relationship because my wife has made compromises to help with my desires. Even so, what you say about the satisfaction of seeing your partner enjoy or desire sex is what has been the hardest part. I still have a difficult time dealing with it but like all aspects of marriage sometimes it's bad and sometimes it's not so bad. When it gets me down, I just look forward to the better times. No marriage is perfect. If you have a great sex life with a new wife, then there will be something else that will be difficult. I am also lucky or unlucky to travel alot for my job, which really lets me know how much I would miss my wife if we were to split. I caution you not to under estimate how much you truly would miss her if you were to separate.

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Sally

Henryd, from your posts, it sounds like you're wanting us to say that it's not fair for the asexual partner to not allow the sexual partner to look outside for sex.

But fairness isn't the point. The point is what works for both of you. What doesn't work for you isn't going to work for the marriage. What doesn't work for your wife isn't going to work for your marriage. Just because the sexual partner is going outside the marriage for sex doesn't mean the asexual partner will be happy. The lack of expectation to have sex doesn't = automatic happiness.

As far as your comment that the asexual partner should be fine with the sexual partner having a real relationship with someone else, why? Marriage doesn't just mean sex; it's a combination of all sorts of emotions, including loyalty. If you were to develop complex feelings for another person, that would certainly affect your wife. (And it would affect you, if you were the asexual and she was the sexual and having the outside relationship.)

You have to be the one to decide what's possible for you, and she has to decide for herself. Then hopefully talking with each other, you will come to some decision. Asking outside parties to give permission, or asking them about fairness, won't help.

As others have said, don't use the kids as a reason to stay together. They won't appreciate that when they get older.

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Maiandra HW

Asexual here! I think it's something both parties need to discuss. Theoretically, in general, no, I don't think it's unfair for an asexual person married to a sexual person to insist on a monogamous relationship, any more than it is unfair for a sexual person married to a sexual person to insist on one. I understand that a sexual person has needs/desires that perhaps an asexual person might not be able or willing to fulfill, but just because someone is asexual doesn't mean that he or she should automatically get his or her desire for fidelity in a relationship with a sexual person waived where fidelity would be expected otherwise. But again, this is something asexual-sexual couples should discuss together so there's an understanding of what's allowed/expected in a relationship.

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Ninny

To answer your specific question: yes, of course it's fair! She has every right to insist on the type of relationship she wants. You have every right to leave the relationship if it doesn't make you happy. What you don't have a right to do is bully her into something that she doesn't want by making her feel guilty.

Exactly.

Both partners need to compromise. Both. A situation becomes unfair when it favors one partners wants and needs over the other.

You need to learn to understand and respect each others wants, desires and limits. She needs to understand and respect your need for sex, but you also need to do the same with her need not to have it, but also her feelings behind you seeking sex outside the relationship.

Will it be easy? No. Will it be ideal? Most likely not. Relationships take work and we don't always get what we want from them, we can't always have the "ideal relationship", namely because such a thing does't exist. Every relationship requires some sort of compromise and work. Even if your wife wasn't ace doesn't necessarily mean you'd be sexually compatible, and your sex life still would require compromise.

It's not fair to say an asexual partner should be automatically okay with their partner going elsewhere for sex, because as others have said, it's so much more than sex. It's the fear that the partner will fall for their sexual partner, because for sexuals love and sex are so closely connected. But then again it's not fair for the asexual to flat out deny their partner's sexual needs.

That's why I refuse to get into relationships with sexuals (or anyone who expects sexual activity on a regular basis), because I know I can't compromise.

If you really love your wife, and if she really loves you, you'll reach a compromise. But that's it, it's a compromise. It can't benefit one partner more than the other.

So, if you're not willing to compromise and understand that your relationship will most likely not be your "ideal", then i'd think about what that means for your relationship.

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Lintu

I'm on your wife's side here; I am just like her. I'm asexual and I find it very difficult to have sex with my (sexual) husband (And we have 3.5 year old twins as well). I don't think I could ever let him be with someone else because of the things you mentioned - it's not "just sex", it's the whole shabang. I can't know he wouldn't fall for whoever that is.

I feel bad about it. I want my husband to be happy and have his needs fulfilled and all that, but I just don't see myself allowing that sort of thing. I feel bad that I'm making a 22 year old man avoid sex while obviously that's what he wants and needs, but what can I do? I'm scared.

Sorry, if this sounds really ignorant. I'm new to this, but if you are ok with a non-sexual relationship with him, why should his falling for someone else necessarily threaten that? What if he said that anyone I date will learn about you upfront and would have to accept that. Wouldn't that type of arrangement be better than losing him altogether?

I don't know much about asexuality, but I know that if I was single, I would be ok dating someone who had a gay ex-husband that she was extremely close with, even roomed with. Because he is gay, I wouldn't feel threatened by him and I imagine he would be ok with me. It seems that asexuality is very similar in some ways ???

Well, no. It's not about the other person he'd be seeing, it's about HIM. He is my husband, and he shouldn't be falling for anyone else which could definitely happen if he'd go sleeping with someone. I know it sounds selfish, but sex, as you already know, is very intimate and draws you closer to the person you do it with and I'm not going to take the risk of losing him to someone who's supposedly "just for sex".

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sonofzeal

It's a low blow for the asexual partner to say "no sex, take it or leave it."

It's also a low blow for the sexual partner to say "sex, or I'm shagging someone else".

The problem is, sometimes these things just aren't negotiable while staying honest with yourself. Ideally the two partners can talk to eachother in love and mutual respect, and find something that works for them - nonpenetrative intercourse, or assisted masturbation, or just naked cuddling. Each asexual has their own limits, and each sexual has their own requirements. There may be a middle ground short of penetrative sex that's adequate for both.

If there isn't, then some form of polyamorous relationship might be the only solution short of divorce. The Poly community has all sorts of guidelines on how to manage these sorts of things, including letting the primary partner have the choice over their spouse's secondaries. You could try checking in there to get advice on how to proceed while maintaining trust and respect within the primary relationship.

But that sort of arrangement isn't for everyone. If compromise doesn't work, and polyamory is out... well, that might be that. But do try compromise first - too many couples think about it only in terms of penetrative sex, when there's a whole host of other options that might fill the need without being too upsetting for the asexual partner. I've even heard of sexual/asexual couples that would use phone sex as a standin. There's a whole wealth of options, and that's always your best bet.

But polyamory might work for some. Not all, but some. Worth mentioning, at least.

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henryd

To answer your specific question: yes, of course it's fair! She has every right to insist on the type of relationship she wants. You have every right to leave the relationship if it doesn't make you happy. What you don't have a right to do is bully her into something that she doesn't want by making her feel guilty.

I'm definitely not trying to bully anyone. But I am trying to get my head around all this. I also want to be clear that I haven't even discussed any of this with my wife yet, who doesn't even know there is such thing as an asexual orientation.

Here's what doesn't seem fair to me. If my wife discovered she was a lesbian, I think most would acknowledge that it wouldn't be fair of her to deny me being with someone of the same orientation (heterosexual) as I am. Nor would it be fair of me to not allow her to be herself and be with another woman. Yes, we might stay married or together, as housemates or partners in child-rearing, because we love each other and the kids, but we would both acknowledge it wouldn't be fair to deny the other the right to be with someone of the same orientation. And it definitely wouldn't be fair if she had a relationship with a woman while preventing me from having a relationship with someone else.

In some ways it seems that discovering you are asexual should lead to the same conclusion. An asexual person, perhaps, should realize it's not fair to deny their loved one the happiness they can find with being with someone of the same orientation.

But it seems that because the asexual person can get what they want from the sexual person (a non-sexual relationship)it doesn't lead to that conclusion. There's a lot of talk of compromise, but I don't see how the sexual person can really get what they want from the asexual person, because what they want is not just the physical gratification, but the emotional connection that comes with a sexually compatible relationship.

And perhaps the asexual person is really doing themselves an injustice too. Because maybe they can never get the level of connection that they could find in a relationship with another asexual person, with someone who doesn't see their relationship as missing something really important.

This is why it seems to unfair to me that an asexual person would insist on a monogamous relationship with their sexual partner. It's like a partner who discovered he/she is gay insisting that she should be able to date someone of the same sex, while their heterosexual partner must be satisfied with just them.

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henryd

But fairness isn't the point. The point is what works for both of you.

I understand and agree with this. It's all about what works for both of us. However, there are societal norms that influence us.

As an example look at homosexuality. When it was thought of as abnormal, the societal norms were very different from what they are today.

It seems that if asexuality is something normal, that you are born with, rather than a medical or psychological condition, then this would also change the societal norms around mixed marriages.

If I think my wife's reticence about sex is due to psychological or medical issues, I'm far more willing to suffer as a result, just as I would be with any medical or psychological issue -- for better or for worse.

But I'm still processing what it means that this is just the way she is.

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test account

My question is really a philosophical one. Is it fair for an asexual person married to a sexual person to insist on a monogamous relationship with that person?

Well, what was in the contract when you signed it? What do people commonly understand marriage to entail? Did both parties sign on for monogamy? In most cultures, yes. Did both parties sign on for sex? In most cultures, almost definitely. How much sex, and what kind? That's more debatable.

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PiF

Some do not know they are Asexual and of those who do feel they are a small fraction will be not but antisexual,low libido,depressed etc.

If both parties know one is Asexual then they have either to find a workable halfway point or accept a relationship is unlikely to be long term.

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henryd

Some do not know they are Asexual and of those who do feel they are a small fraction will be not but antisexual,low libido,depressed etc.

If both parties know one is Asexual then they have either to find a workable halfway point or accept a relationship is unlikely to be long term.

Is there a way, a test of some sort, that someone can use to determine if they are asexual or if they are suffering from psychological or medical issues that prevent them from enjoying or wanting sex?

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abea

I don't really see the asexual component in this. I'm not angry and I'm trying to make sure this doesn't sound nasty, because that's not my intention...but it kind of bugs me when people start trying to find excuses to get out of their relationship, or excuse cheating by saying 'but my partner is asexual, so....'. If you don't want to be in that relationship, don't be in it. If you can't find a compromise on sex and that's a deal breaker, so be it. Just because your wife is asexual doesn't mean that you are entitled to something. Just because someone is asexual doesn't mean that they don't have the same feelings towards a relationship as anyone else.

And the lesbian comparison isn't fair. You basically are trying to set up a situation so that you're justified in wanting to leave your wife to have a sexual relationship (which is FINE by the way!).

The thing is, I think that of COURSE it's fucking fair that an asexual wants a monogamous relationship. Most people in the world want a monogamous relationship. That's a different issue than the sex issue. You want to have great sex with someone who's into it, and it seems like she's really not that person. That's your issue. Not monogamy. I think it's unfair to go to your possibly asexual wife and say 'hey honey, I don't feel like I'm getting enough sex, so instead of actually talking to you about this or coming up with a compromise, I'd just like to propose I can shag other people and have other relationships. Ta!' That's not how relationships work - you have to talk to each other and meet in the middle . And if it's not working, you end it. You have every right to want sex in your relationship, and your wife has the right to not want sex - but you have to work out how you can compromise. As long as the relationship isn't entirely the way that one party wants it, yes, you have the right to a monogamous relationship. Seriously...and to go back to your weird lesbian thing, it doesn't matter the party's sexual orientation - the lack of sex is the issue. NOT the orientation. If your monogamous wife was a lesbian, she probably wouldn't want an open marriage - she'd want to get out of her current hetero relationship and get into a lesbian one. That has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with total relationship happiness and monogamy. You have the right to a monogamous relationship if that's what you want.

And I think I'd be pretty damn offended if my husband wanted an open marriage so he could get sex. Because how can you NOT be offended? When you say things like 'it's not just physical, it's all about the emotional connection and the desire and attraction and intimacy', that sounds like a relationship to me, not a random shag. You're equating sex with being close to someone - and what monogamous partner WOULD want that? Sure, just go off and have a deep, meaningful, intimate relationship with someone else. The thing is, I'm willing to compromise and have sex, and I hope that I'd never get to the point of having someone propose open marriage. And I'd rather someone just dump me over sex than use me for emotional support and then spend half their time shagging someone and building that deep meaningful intimacy with them. You can't have it both ways. If I'm in a relationship with someone, it's ME in that relationship - they eat breakfast with me, talk with me, have sex with me, whatever...I wouldn't want to be in a relationship where someone picks and chooses what part of a relationship they want from whom - I'll have breakfast with A, talk to B and have sex with C.

Ok. I'm done. I'm sorry if this sounded angry. But please be honest with yourself - there is no shame in wanting to leave a relationship over sex. There really isn't. And please be honest with your wife and TALK TO HER.

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henryd

But please be honest with yourself - there is no shame in wanting to leave a relationship over sex. There really isn't.

I appreciate your honesty, but I think you have made a ton of assumptions about me.

If I wanted to leave the relationship over sex, I would do so. I don't need an excuse to leave and I'm not being dishonest with myself, as you accuse me of multiple times.

The problem I have is I don't want to leave. I love my wife and our relationship. Because of her asexuality, we are like the closest of friends, but not lovers.

I don't want to lose that friend, that partner, but I do want to have a normal sexual relationship with someone who is capable of doing so.

I don't think that makes me such a bad person.

I think the disagreement we have here stems in part from this assumption that if an asexual agrees to have sex now and then, it's constitutes a compromise. But that requires thinking about sex as purely a physical act. If that were true, masturbation would be enough, or even prostitutes. What a sexual needs is for their partner to enjoy and want sex, not just to do it for the partners sake.

To me, a real compromise isn't the asexual person agreeing to mechanical sex now and then. It's the asexual person realizing that he/she can never give their partner what they need, and to basically agree to share their partner with someone who can. And I do believe you can love more than one person at a time, so I don't see it as impossible.

Yes, I understand that must be terrible for an asexual to hear, but it's also terrible to deprive your sexual partner of something so integral to his/her life.

Being you hate my lesbian analogy, how about music. Imagine my passion in life is playing and making music. My wife, not only doesn't enjoy music, she insists I never make music or play it for anyone else. To me, that's what it seems like an asexual is doing when they say, hey, I will never enjoy sex with you, and as a result, you will never really enjoy it with me, and you can never enjoy it with anyone else. And a compromise isn't that she listens now and then and pretends to like it.

BTW -- I would have a very different attitude if I went into the relationship knowing this about her, but let's just say in the beginning she pretended to like my music.

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sockattack

Sorry, if this sounds really ignorant. I'm new to this, but if you are ok with a non-sexual relationship with him, why should his falling for someone else necessarily threaten that? What if he said that anyone I date will learn about you upfront and would have to accept that. Wouldn't that type of arrangement be better than losing him altogether?

I don't know much about asexuality, but I know that if I was single, I would be ok dating someone who had a gay ex-husband that she was extremely close with, even roomed with. Because he is gay, I wouldn't feel threatened by him and I imagine he would be ok with me. It seems that asexuality is very similar in some ways ???

Honestly, from this comment here, it seems like you equate having sex directly to having a relationship, and that might be as much of the problem as anything else. The relationship between exs really isn't the same thing as a relationship between two people who are still married. It being a non-sexual relationship, doesn't change the fact it's a romantic relationship - which means their spouse starting a relationship with someone else [if they're in a monogamous relationship] means that them 'falling for someone else' *would* threaten their relationship. With your example, the two people are no longer together, so there isn't a romantic relationship to threaten. Cheating would have the same impact it would if your wife was a sexual, and asking a bunch of strangers on the internet won't change what impact it would, or wouldn't have.

What you really need to do is *talk* to her, see what, if anything, you can work out. Maybe she'd be open to having an open marriage, or maybe you could find another way to compromise. If you can, great! But if you can't, then that's that. There's not much you can do at that point, and if it ends in divorce, then that may be the best for all involved. But you need to talk to *her* about this, either way.

I'm sorry if what I said seems harsh, I don't mean it that way.

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henryd

I'm sorry if what I said seems harsh, I don't mean it that way.

Doesn't seem harsh at all. And of course, I plan to talk this through with her. Actually, we've been talking it through for years. Only difference now is this thing called asexuality, and how it would impact the situation, which is what I'm trying to figure out here. (and we have been "compromising" for years too.)

When it was just that she had "issues," which is how we both saw the situation, I always felt it was my obligation to be patient with her. I may have thought about cheating and divorce, but I never did the former or suggested the latter.

But knowing this might not be a physical or psychological problem, but just the way she is, is causing me to rethink everything. And I'm also trying to understand what asexuality is.

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orangeuglad

Yes, it is fair. It would obviously hurt her if you had a sexual relationship with someone else even if she's not interested in it. If you find yourself resenting for it, maybe divorce is the best route to prevent you from cheating and ruining any chance for friendship. If you love her so much, then you should figure out a way to deal with it. Maybe find a way to be intimate with her that doesn't involve sexual intercourse.

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