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QueerTO

In a Sexless Lesbian Relationship

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QueerTO

Hi Everyone,

I'm hear mostly looking for support and advice from other partners in relationships with an asexual. It feels like so much to get into in order to create context, but essentially I am in a now five year relationship with an amazing person who I do very much love. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the last time we had sex and I've grown angry, resentful, and quite frankly, this is killing me inside. I am falling out of love without the intimacy. We have constructed, what I feel, is a very wonderful platonic relationship. I feel like I am losing a sense of who I am.

Recently, I suggested to her that she may identify as asexual and that it might be something worthwhile investigating. Of course, the stigma associated with this (alongside an already stigmatized identity as a lesbian woman) meant that she brushed this idea up. She constantly chalks up the lack of interest to being tired, too stressed, there isn't enough time. I feel like a predator anytime I approach her. We used to have intimacy and I feel duped.

Also recently, I have been motivated to get myself back in shape (I've fallen apart in a relationship that really has no expectations of me in a physical sense). My motivation for this, of course, it to realize what it used to feel like to be admired and appreciated in a physical sense.

I respect all sexual and non-sexual identities. I am not here looking for advice on how to best understand what my partner is going through. I get a pretty reasonable sense that this is painful for her as well. Sadly, I am ready to end the relationship and it's the most painful experience I have ever faced. I have been willing to compromise on the types of sexual activities and the frequency (not my pushing the matter). I have been willing to compromise because she doesn't want to end the relationship. She has thought about counselling together, but I quite honestly feel like she needs to come to terms with her asexual orientation. And that compromise isn't defined by one person becoming a non-sexual being for the sake of a relationship. Out of fear and desperation, she has committed to making all sorts of attempts to change the dynamic, but I know in my heart she doesn't want to sleep with me. Ever.

I am going to lose the love of my life. But I am so wildly unhappy like this. Have any others on here been concluding that there relationships simply will not work like this? I would love to hear from you.

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Skullery Maid

Hi Everyone,

I'm hear mostly looking for support and advice from other partners in relationships with an asexual. It feels like so much to get into in order to create context, but essentially I am in a now five year relationship with an amazing person who I do very much love. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the last time we had sex and I've grown angry, resentful, and quite frankly, this is killing me inside. I am falling out of love without the intimacy. We have constructed, what I feel, is a very wonderful platonic relationship. I feel like I am losing a sense of who I am.

Recently, I suggested to her that she may identify as asexual and that it might be something worthwhile investigating. Of course, the stigma associated with this (alongside an already stigmatized identity as a lesbian woman) meant that she brushed this idea up. She constantly chalks up the lack of interest to being tired, too stressed, there isn't enough time. I feel like a predator anytime I approach her. We used to have intimacy and I feel duped.

Also recently, I have been motivated to get myself back in shape (I've fallen apart in a relationship that really has no expectations of me in a physical sense). My motivation for this, of course, it to realize what it used to feel like to be admired and appreciated in a physical sense.

I respect all sexual and non-sexual identities. I am not here looking for advice on how to best understand what my partner is going through. I get a pretty reasonable sense that this is painful for her as well. Sadly, I am ready to end the relationship and it's the most painful experience I have ever faced. I have been willing to compromise on the types of sexual activities and the frequency (not my pushing the matter). I have been willing to compromise because she doesn't want to end the relationship. She has thought about counselling together, but I quite honestly feel like she needs to come to terms with her asexual orientation. And that compromise isn't defined by one person becoming a non-sexual being for the sake of a relationship. Out of fear and desperation, she has committed to making all sorts of attempts to change the dynamic, but I know in my heart she doesn't want to sleep with me. Ever.

I am going to lose the love of my life. But I am so wildly unhappy like this. Have any others on here been concluding that there relationships simply will not work like this? I would love to hear from you.

Wow. I could have written this last year.

I gave my partner an ultimatum... on Valentine's Day last year, no less! In my defense, I don't celebrate v-day so it was a coincidence. We've just started talking recently about what the ultimatum meant for her. She said at first she was really angry with me and felt like I had no right to... well, essentially bring sex problems into our relationship... because she had been 100% happy and didn't even realize that I already had one foot out the door. I even had a meeting with my friends beforehand and told them I was leaving my partner.

In our case, compromise has worked out and so I stayed. By that summer i had found AVEN and things started getting significantly better after that. However, our sex life has changed. Our sex is... it's more relaxed now, but it's also kind of... worse now. I'm not particularly interested in having sex with her anymore because it doesn't feel significantly different than mutual masturbation. But that's an issue for another thread.

But, had a compromise not been reached, I would have left. I still think about it and wonder if I was a fool for giving an ultimatum. Perhaps I should have just broken up with her and gotten it over with, because now we're going to be stuck in this back-and-forth forever. Of course now I'm no longer in the break-up mindset so I can't fathom it... but I had gotten myself all emotionally prepared for it then and maybe, just maybe, that would have been the right answer.

Sorry, OP, I have no advice for you. If you feel like you're ready to leave, if you feel like no compromise is going to come of this, if you just feel... done, well maybe it is best to break it off. As for accepting asexuality... my partner has gone back and forth on the issue. Right now she's in the "I'm not asexual" mindset. I think it's hard because, like you said, she's already a lesbian, and I think maybe it seems confusing/ scary/ identity erasing to consider additional labels.

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QueerTO

This was super helpful and validating. Thanks very much for replying. I couldn't seem to find very much LGBTQ specific sites that discuss this issue. Any suggestions?

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Skullery Maid

I don't, unfortunately, but I also haven't looked. There are resources associated with lesbian bed death and some of those (books are what I'm thinking of in particular) do give options for accepting it... but really, most lesbian bed death discussions center around how to change it, not how to live with it as is.

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sexualwithasexual

This all so painfully familiar.

My partner and I have tried over and over to break up. We agree it's our likely path. Yet once we accept it, we start to feel so much remorse, sadness, appreciation for each other, that we come back together. We're failures at being able to leave each other. And it's not out of co-dependency, it's out of a deep realization that we are really super partners for each other.

But I still battle with this. I'm not really feeling sexual towards her. (If she were to become sexual overnight, I do know that I'd immediately be turned on by her again.) But the problem is, I will start to feel attraction to other women. I don't ever see them as a life-mate the way my partner is, so it never goes anywhere. It's a total catch 22. We've been together over 16 years, and I doubt we'll break up soon, but I think we both realize it may happen at some point when our lives can adjust that way. Sometimes I think we are simply prolonging the inevitable and that will make it all the more painful when it happens, but another part of me thinks that if we just take it one day at a time, we'll break up when we the relationship has found a way to end for us both. That's what we tell each other actually. That we need to find the right time. I do feel guilty, and I feel like we should try to break up when we both feel the most independent and happy and strong!

When I'm away from her on trips, I miss her so much I feel like I just must stay living with her. We are way more than platonically attached, yet I'll dream of being sensual with some other person, and wake up wondering.. It's very hard. It can almost make me wish I weren't sexual. My sex drive has diminished. But I think if we split, it would surge forth again.

These are some of the reasons I NEED Aven in my life!

(Skulls - what was the ultimatum?)

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Bensin

Wow, girls, it amazes me how totally non-unique I am. I can so identify with the feelings you describe here, it is scary. Discovering Aven has helped tremendously, in making me feel less angry, resentful and hurt, but still has made things worse in the sense that I understand my asexual wife's feelings much better so compromise-sex with her just feels ridiculous, like watching a french unsubtitled movie about cheesemaking with someone who doesnt understand french at all and is not interested in cheese but is still willing to try to watch the stupid thing. I love my wife, why should I put her through that? (a horrible analogy, I admit it)

Dont have any answers, if I had any I would know what to do myself ;) but I understand and feel for you QueerTO.

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Skullery Maid

This all so painfully familiar.

My partner and I have tried over and over to break up. We agree it's our likely path. Yet once we accept it, we start to feel so much remorse, sadness, appreciation for each other, that we come back together. We're failures at being able to leave each other. And it's not out of co-dependency, it's out of a deep realization that we are really super partners for each other.

But I still battle with this. I'm not really feeling sexual towards her. (If she were to become sexual overnight, I do know that I'd immediately be turned on by her again.) But the problem is, I will start to feel attraction to other women. I don't ever see them as a life-mate the way my partner is, so it never goes anywhere. It's a total catch 22. We've been together over 16 years, and I doubt we'll break up soon, but I think we both realize it may happen at some point when our lives can adjust that way. Sometimes I think we are simply prolonging the inevitable and that will make it all the more painful when it happens, but another part of me thinks that if we just take it one day at a time, we'll break up when we the relationship has found a way to end for us both. That's what we tell each other actually. That we need to find the right time. I do feel guilty, and I feel like we should try to break up when we both feel the most independent and happy and strong!

When I'm away from her on trips, I miss her so much I feel like I just must stay living with her. We are way more than platonically attached, yet I'll dream of being sensual with some other person, and wake up wondering.. It's very hard. It can almost make me wish I weren't sexual. My sex drive has diminished. But I think if we split, it would surge forth again.

These are some of the reasons I NEED Aven in my life!

(Skulls - what was the ultimatum?)

Oh, wow, this is exactly how I feel too. I'm pretty sure my relationship will end when I someday meet someone who is tenacious enough to continue to pursue me even though I'm partnered... and if I fall in love with someone else that'll be it.

The ultimatum was that we either start having sex at least once or twice a week or we're breaking up. I said I'd give it a few weeks but that those three weeks we weren't really together... it was a "we're broken up but seeing how it will go"... but she was soooo sad, and i was firm for awhile but then I got soooo sad, and the sex picked up briefly... and i just realized that no matter what I did or said nothing was really going to change. I felt like, ok, I gave an ultimatum a month earlier and I'm still here... it's like I failed at leaving without even realizing I had failed. I looked around and was like "oh, we're just back in the exact same place again". I felt resigned to the situation.

Re: sex drive decreasing. I don't have any strong sexual desire for my partner... I love her and I find her crazy attractive... I just stare at her sometimes... but it no longer translates to actual sexual desire because I know it's going to be unsatisfying. I do fancy other people, but eventually it starts feeling like more trouble than its worth. It's like my sexuality is depressed, if that makes any sense.

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SSRIs Fail

To me it sounds like there are two major problems in this relationship.

1. The difference between the two of you regarding sex.

2. Your girlfriend's inability to be honest with you about her sexual situation.

Disinterest in sex is not always an issue of asexuality. Sometimes survivors of sexual trauma will avoid sex (and be rather closed off about it) as well. Have you ruled out the possibility of anything like that being in her past? For some survivors, the request for sex can be incredibly triggering and upsetting. It doesn't feel like being asked to share intimacy or love. It feels like being asked to do something shameful, painful, humiliating, and altogether unpleasant in order to essentially "earn" the other person's love. Sometimes these issues can be worked through in therapy, but I find that whenever it's an issue of "heal quickly or it's over," the healing doesn't really happen. I've been there and it wasn't nice. Obviously I have no idea if your partner is dealing with trauma or not, but it sounds like she is not interested in sex on any level. Some asexuals can enjoy sex, but those asexuals are generally the kinds who find the act itself enjoyable despite not having a *drive* to seek it out with others. I know for me, the idea of sex is one of the least pleasant ideas out there. I'm saying this both as a survivor and someone who's someplace on the gray-asexual spectrum. Being asked to compromise (for me) would be like hearing "you have to eat spiders but we can work something out where it only has to happen sometimes." It wouldn't fix anything, because the thing I find unpleasant would still be happening no matter what. My rejection of that wouldn't have anything to do with thinking the person offering was unpleasant, it's just that I have a strongly negative visceral reaction to the suggestion.

My question is, are you actually unable to be with a non-sexual partner, or are you unable to be with a partner who isn't being honest with you and isn't communicating with you? It seems like the lack of intimacy in your relationship isn't 100% about sex. Some of it may be, but I imagine that hearing excuses rather than an actual explanation of how she feels and what she wants in the relationship isn't helping either. If this really is the love of your life, I might recommend seeking that counseling just to figure out if there's any possible way for the two of you to be happy together.

Personally, I think that a breakup is better than an ultimatum. Sex that is given on a "you either do X or it's over" basis is going to leave you feeling predatory and her feeling resentful and maybe even used. It's not going to be the healthy intimacy you crave.

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QueerTO

I should have visited this site a long time ago. Long before I have managed to allow myself to sink into an unrecognisable state. There is no history of trauma. In fact, as a clinical social worker who works from a trauma-informed framework, I have beat this one to death in my mind as well as in discussions. We have talked subsequent to my original post. She feels that the asexual identity makes sense and the lack of honesty around it has been, as I suspected, related to stigma. There have been no "ultimatums". I have been without sexual intimacy for approximately two years, never pressuring her. And I cannot live like this. She should find someone who is satisfied with this kind of arrangement and I need to grieve this and know in my heart that I will find someone that wants sexual intimacy. Nobody is perfect. I can't continue saying this is the perfect person; my soul mate, when in fact it's lacking a very fundamental part of what I desire. And the next person may not be perfect in many non-sexual respects, but it's about compromise. It's about a balance. And much as I can't compromise my sexual orientation as a lesbian, I can't ask her to compromise her lack of sexual inclination.

I think the thing that resonates the most for me is this line from Skully" I'm pretty sure my relationship will end when I someday meet someone who is tenacious enough to continue to pursue me even though I'm partnered... and if I fall in love with someone else that'll be it."

It's going to be a long time before I'm healthy enough to love another person in a way that could result in a positive relationship. But I'm fairly confident that not breaking up will render me the sexless, depressed, physically and psychologically unhealthy being that I have become. And for every day that goes by where I avoid this, it's another day that I am robbed off with someone who reciprocates.

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QueerTO

And just to inject a tiny but of humour, I am VERY tenacious. Like you have no idea how tenacious I can be. I wish someone would throw themselves at me so I can feel alive again. :)

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sexualwithasexual

I'm pretty sure my relationship will end when I someday meet someone who is tenacious enough to continue to pursue me even though I'm partnered... and if I fall in love with someone else that'll be it.

Thanks for admitting to this! That's secretly how I feel too. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I think it's a very human thing to think..

It's like my sexuality is depressed, if that makes any sense.

That TOTALLY makes sense. Really completely. I'm in the same boat. It sometimes spills over into my regular mental health and makes me actually depressed. But at this point, I can usually intellectually remind myself what's going on and come here on AVEN for some perspective.

I know that "ultimatums" are not the best, but I think that explaining what you really desire and what you really think would make you happy to stay in a relationship, is important. Obviously it could make it clearer to the asexual partner that the relationship's days are numbered.. My partner did go through some very sad times around this.. but I'm still here. I still am madly in love with her. I also just stare at her, and not feel anything sexual. It's strange and kind of amazing too. It's almost like being asexual in a way. But my sneaky sexuality is DYING to get a move on!

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Bye Bye Birdy

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sexualwithasexual

Oh no! This is pretty discouraging to read. :( It sounds like you all want the best for both your partner and yourselves, but now you have me terribly worried that I'll end up like the asexual partners you mentioned!

I'm pretty sure my relationship will end when I someday meet someone who is tenacious enough to continue to pursue me even though I'm partnered... and if I fall in love with someone else that'll be it.

Now, I think I have healthy sense of self-esteem, but if I knew a partner thought about me this way...it's painful just to imagine the utter depression I'd feel. I'd feel burdensome, replaceable, just a stand-in until something better comes along. But this type of situation seems absolutely brutal on the sexual partner in a way I'm sure I don't understand. It's like...I love theatre, and attending and discussing shows with people is one of the most intellectually fulfilling and emotionally bonding activities for me. If someone went with me just a chore, though, I'd be so lonely...it's the sharing and engagement that I love, and if the other person was totally bored and disinterested, I might as well go by myself and that's not nearly as enjoyable. So maybe I understand a little bit? Yeah. That just sucks. The last thing I want to be is a thorn in the side of someone I love.

Sorry this is a depressing thread for asexuals. I think it's equally depressing for sexuals. Please get that the LAST thing in the world I actually want is to break up with my partner. I really don't. She really doesn't. Yet we really aren't compatible sexually. What should we do? How can I not begin to fantasize about others? If you had no one to attend the theatre with you, wouldn't start fantasizing a theatre mate? The theatre analogy doesn't really work for me anyway. I think if you could substitute talking for theatre that'd be closer. Physical intimacy is like having a conversation. If my partner didn't want to have conversations with me, but also didn't want me to have conversations with other people, ever, or even to fantasize having them, that gets closer to what I'm experiencing...

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bookcase

QueerTO,

I'm sorry for what you're going through. Some people find that learning about asexuality and joining this website helps them to work out solutions for their mixed relationships, at least for a time. It seems this may not be the case with you - from what you've said, I think you have already decided to move on. But I do hope that finding Aven will at least help you to end your relationship with less hurt and resentment than you might otherwise feel - on both sides. It's not your fault. It's not your partner's fault. You've tried, but you are incompatible in a very important respect that you can't change.

:cake:

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Skullery Maid

Oh no! This is pretty discouraging to read. :( It sounds like you all want the best for both your partner and yourselves, but now you have me terribly worried that I'll end up like the asexual partners you mentioned!

I'm pretty sure my relationship will end when I someday meet someone who is tenacious enough to continue to pursue me even though I'm partnered... and if I fall in love with someone else that'll be it.

Now, I think I have healthy sense of self-esteem, but if I knew a partner thought about me this way...it's painful just to imagine the utter depression I'd feel. I'd feel burdensome, replaceable, just a stand-in until something better comes along.

Some of the difference is that I'm a very logical and open person, so I have no problem admitting to statistical realities. I'm not hoping for that to happen... I'm hoping my partner and I will be happy together forever. But I also recognize that if we were to end, that's how it would happen. My partner and I talk about it and we're aware that if there's one major roadblock, that's what it will be.

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Bye Bye Birdy

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QueerTO

Is it completely wrong that for most of the day, I have been utterly consumed with the idea of crossing paths with someone who might be "tenacious" enough to pursue me. In fact, I think this sad, depressing fact has been the only thing that has managed to motivate me to function today. I actually refrained from suggesting today that the solution to this problem is me going on a solo Olivia Cruise once a year. Man, that's super funny. In a not so funny, sort of serious way....a random Saturday night thought as I sit upstairs while she takes a bath.

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Skullery Maid

If only a cruise once a year would take care of it! Have you ever been on an Olivia cruise, btw? I'm curious about them.

How are you doing today?

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QueerTO

You're absolutely right. This would definitely not solve the problem long or short-term, but in my mind it's somehow comforting to know that my life is not going to be resigned to a life without any kind of sexual intimacy. I've not been on an Olivia Cruise, though I do know many single friends who have indulged and have reported it to be a pretty good vacation. I'm really not sure how I feel about being trapped on a cruise ship with thousands of other women. I doubt it's as spectacular in reality as it is in my mind :)

I'm doing much better today. I went and bought some healthy, delicious groceries, took a nice long walk, and am not about to download some ridiculously peppy music for my iPhone so I can begin burning off my sexual frustration with exercise.

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sexualwithasexual

Well, this has been amusing.

I have not gone on an Olivia cruise either, and wouldn't do it, as I don't like cruises, (or cruising, for that matter! Ha!) I do like cruising in fantasy, but not in reality, ... yet.

But I did go to a show this weekend with lesbian headliners and it was very difficult not to feel like I wanted to sleep with nearly everyone I laid eyes on. I thought to myself, "This is a very bad sign."

Somehow my tension must have been felt by my partner, and the weekend was pretty yucky. Activities that are usually so easy and smooth were a foreign rough ride.

I feel for you QueerTo.. I feel it all!

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Rain Girl

QueerTO,

I have recently joined, found the courage to post as all your stories resonate with me in some way, and there are so many things I have thought about in my own which would be good to share.  This is my first time venturing into an online community.  I have read a few forums prior to joining and I am impressed by the openness, warmth and respect shared. 

 Not used to posting but I have been taught good manners  - so hi from me and a little intro ;

I am also a lesbian & in a 12 year relationships with woman who to this day totally impresses and amuses me. I feel we have had a charmed life together so far. We have built a lovely home, supported each other through some external challenges/family dramas,  had  some fancy trips overseas and some equally stunning simple camping adventures in nature, have a good circle of genuine friends who have been there for us, and we have started a family together. We have 2 infant children and a cat. We value similar things in life and she knows me probably more than anyone, including myself sometimes. 

Sex faded from our relationship early on and it has taken me  years to accept that it might not change.  Loosing this connection has felt like some type of separation from her and I still grieve it. Asexuality is a new concept for me. And whilst it has been very helpful as a way of understanding my partner, it is not a label she is sure described her.  

The term is new but our experience of not having a sexual relationship and her not feeling sexual attraction is not.  That is not to say that she does not think i am attractive, may not want to have sex a few times a year, is very affectionate, and she is interested and most comfortable talking about sex. We are also close in other ways & she is also really sexy in my eyes, which has made it all confusing and hard. 

We have good communication and have spent years talking about this part of our lives. It has been a tender issue for both of us for different reasons. I have come to realized that it doesn't have to be a 'problem ' for us. It is a problem because of social expectations about what a primary romantic relationship includes, and also what I feel for her and desire. 

I think being a lesbian I have questioned these social expectations anyway, but it doesn't make my desire for her fade. I would still notice how I feel about seeing her breast floating in the bath, or how gorgeous she looks when we go to another Mardi GRAS party, and I notice how much more I want when we cuddle. So I do relate to other comments about becoming less sexual, cutting yourself off from those feeling before they arrive, and placing a new frame around the experience. Now i may feel sexy mixed with sad and anger at times. I have found holidays, dance parties, special occasions a trigger and difficult because I realized later they were part of those experiences for me, much like some people who like a glass of wine if they are having a festive dinner.  

Letting go of sexual attraction towards her was something I thought would  be a relief, but in a way it is also sad. 

And we have come to have different understandings over time...is it hormonal?working too hard?somc family of origin issue? am I not that tempting, a dud lover?I think we both thought it could change and have tried many things. For me it is missing..a constant craving, like kd laing would sing. I have not liked that it feels like a secret and that I also have taken so long to talk about it with friends, and the impact it has had on my feelings about my body and in my heart as well. I  know for her it is equally sad and she has felt inadequate, something not normal about her, and wanting to have this pleasure people go on about. 

And at different times we have both worried what would happen if we didn't find a way to be happier in this small part of our relationship. We have tried many things...counseling, buying sex toys, ultimatums, getting sexy clothes, i lost weight, and briefly having an agreed open relationship last year ( maybe a topic for another post sometime. I didn't need to do a cruise to meet her and it was positive and significant for me). 

We have read endless books,cried and still talk about it. Less so now as we have probably covered every angle and both tired of it being an issue. We have also decided to mostly 'park it' for this year. It is different now thinking of this as something that won't change, and my experience with another woman last year did bring us closer together in trust and intimacy, and positive for me but it didn't solve this grief and loss or desire for my girlfriend. Not so long ago she came home from a party looking sparkly and hot...and I realized that I still miss and long for her. So even if my head feels clear, somehow my feelings haven't totally caught up.

Some books we found helpful ( and led the way to trying being open) Ethical Slut ( funny as I may be sexual but hardly consider myself to be a slut & my reality at the time of reading was  closer to being a nun -  but very good book), and Lesbian Polyamory. We also read Open Relationship which was given to us by a counsellor we saw together. 

So here I am hoping to learn some more, find some support, maybe validation at finding some shared experience, and tempting my girlfriend to this site to see if it fits for her.  

I have shared more here than I have with most of my friend and will post it before I change my mind.  I value you all sharing your story and I am curious about your journey.

Rain Girl 

 

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QueerTO

Hi Rain Girl,

This has been my first time venturing into an online community as well. I couldn't find anywhere else LGBTQ specific online, though this has been sufficient. Your manners are very apparent :) My Canadian sense appreciates that. Thanks very, very much for sharing your story. It has resonated with me so much this morning that I have re-read it multiple times.

My partner and I have been in the process of exploring home ownership, and though we aren't necessarily interested in children, we have two lovely cats. My family adores her and in the last several months, my partner's mother passed away out of province and we have even discussed marriage; something that neither one of us have been eager to involve ourselves in. We're not exactly cheer-leaders for heteronormative informed culture. :)

In fact, both of us work in the LGBTQ/Queer community in clinical and academic ways. Last night, I re-framed from discussing compensatory behaviours in relationships lacking sexual intimacy as a research question. We're both huge geeks and I'm sure somehow it will weave it's way into conversation when she reads my post. I say all of this because in so, so many ways we compliment each other. And I recognize the importance of having these arguably more important aspects of our relationship. We both agree that they are the foundation. In fact, it's these things that make me feel attracted to her.

From my own personal perspective, it's agonizing without any sexual relationship. Yes, it's those moments when she comes home and she looks beautiful. Or vacations that we take together. Or seeing her undress before bed. I feel sexually attracted to her. What kills me the most is the impact is has on my self-esteem, my body image, etc. What also kills me is that I see sexual intimacy as incredibly trans formative in a relationship. It creates a sense of vulnerability and closeness with another person. Lately, I feel as though I have to defend the merit of sex in a relationship. I don't think that's necessary. To me, the two (sexual and non sexual aspects of a relationship) are complimentary. And I can intellectualize until I'm blue in the face that it's not that she doesn't love me; that she shows affection differently. That doesn't make this hurt any less and it doesn't mean that I don't love all of those things about her and about us. I do. But presently, for the last two years, zero sexual relationship. In many ways, I'm feeling awkward myself. I can't talk to anyone about this because I'm humiliated. I feel humiliated because I'm falling apart on the inside and yet I'm unable to attribute this to our relationship publicly. As well, she feels inadequate, not normal, as you mentioned in your post about your partner. She also doesn't identify with the asexual label.

If I let go of my sexual attraction towards her, which is almost not my choice anymore, I am doing so for the sense of relief it will bring me. This devastates me. For what it's worth, I would love to hear about the open relationship story. Without sounding completely obnoxious, I'm not terribly unattractive to other women. Actually, I think the awkwardness that I now feel I embody without sexuality has been charming to someone I have met recently in my workplace. I worry about what could happen if I met someone else who reciprocated. And I worry about planning a future with someone that creates so much hurt in me, however unintentional. Impact versus intent is where I'm at with this.

I feel like so many other things would have been easier to deal with. From a queer perspective, I think the struggles we face with coming to terms with our own sexuality in an often times hostile climate make this kind of situation even more triggering. In my professional experience, I work with a number of individuals around chronic substance use in the community who don't attribute their use to sexual identity (despite astronomical high rates of substance use in the queer population). When we explore how sex is inextricably linked to their substance use (i.e. they are always intoxicated when engaging in sex) it sometimes opens up a floodgate of discussion. The shit that people have to unpack sometimes is mind blowing. This is of course not to say that asexuality is linked to internalized oppression. It was my partner who suggested that she doesn't feel as though asexuality explains her position/feelings about sex.

I am very comfortable discussing sex as I do it almost daily with others. I know that it can be problematic, both broadly and on an individualized level. I think my empathy and respect for this sometimes is why I have stayed in this relationship without any sexual intimacy for so long.

But what I really want is that balance for myself. I don't want to fulfil my sexual desire with someone other than her. Eventually, I fear that will change. I know in my heart this will end. And it will be horribly painful. But I feel like I deserve more. And she doesn't deserve the mess of a person that I'm becoming because of this.

QueerTO

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Skullery Maid

Can I just say I love this lesbian partners thread? I echo everyone's comments.

QueerTO, Rain, and ASexual... mind if I ask you guys how often you do have sex, and what it consists of?

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Rain Girl

I am also finding this thread helpful and though provoking. so much I can relate to and would like to have a conversation about.

QueerTo, I appreciate your reply. It has made me think about lots of things, and I would like to share a considered response to some of the common themes when I have more time. I am curious about your comments about the impact on your sense of being desirale,what you call "Feeling alive", your feelings and compatibility with your partner, and your honest realistic thinking about what you want and deserve. I am thinking about your comment regarding intent and impact.

About my sexual adventure with a woman last year, I wonder what part you are interested in? How I came to consider this option? How I met her (not that easy in lesbian land and as scullery maid noted in the comment about finding a tenacious woman when we look like sexy monogamous couple on the outside)?What my Gf and I agreed on? How it felt to be desired? The impact it has had on our relationship, and why I recommend it as a way of 'feeling alive' even though i discovered, outsourcing my sex life is not the answer. It also made both of us realize how miserable I have been and how important part it is. I could tell a very long story about this experience and it would be therapeutic for me, but maybe too much carry on for you all. So let me know what part is helpful.

Skullery Maid : about sex frequency

We don't have sex anymore. That has been my decision in part - so may need to explain how it came about.

Naturally sex faded from once a month, to every other, to once a year. I noticed it's absence from holidays, special occasions and every Sunday night for some reason. In the past i used to count how many times/ keep a tab as a way to validate my feelings, and also to highlight my point. like QueerTo i found myself explaining the merits of sexual connection.

I thought different things about our issue. I thought I just had to be a patient and a respectful partner. Before i learnt about asexuality i contemplated different theories and tried to address them all. I came out not in the party scene, but in the context of social activism and with the support of older wiser feminist lesbians. That has influenced me too. The idea that no one owes me sex has made me be extra patient.. I still believe that, but now I feel i deserve to have this in my life - from someone who also wants that with me. I thought there was some 'barrier' or wall standing in the way of our intimacy - if only we could find it. I also have had times when i thought it was not right to give sex such an important place, specially in the context of the harmony and compatibility we share in other areas.. And i have never wanted to pathologise or problematise her and still don't. But now i know sex on the other side of any real or non existing barrier just doesn't rate that highly for her. I noticed she preferred to watch nycsi reruns than come to bed with me on a Sunday night. Other times I initiated sex wanting her to say no, so that I could hear her acknowledge it. I also noticed this unspoken shrinking boundary about the type of sexual activity we could share. It began to feel less like a free physical conservation between us and more like talking from a limited text menu.

Prior to the birth of our first child I asked my Gf to think about seeking help with the issue ( I thought counseling may help), and I also told her that i started to feel like we were awkward strangers sexually. And i felt like I spent endless time waiting and waiting, trying to read and predict when she would want to share intimacy with me. A bit like waiting for a flight that keeps being delayed and then you are in the plane and it starts up but doesn't fly. I told her that I did not want to feel like our sex life had become an awkward one night stand. She shared a lot of my feelings and thought that it could change, but it didn't.

Then prior to my 40th birthday I found myself needing to acknowledge how much this had come to consume me, how miserable I had become,, and how I still desired her even though I tried to change, and how lonely I felt with this issue. We talked a lot but it didn't change ..we just got closer emotionally. So I made a decision . I told her I wanted to accept the way things were, that it didn't have to be a problem and feel so bad about it, and that we should stop having sex. At that time we were probably having sex twice a year. I just didn't want to feel that waiting, longing, putting away, questioning my desirability, closing my own sexuality from myself, being disappointed and slowly becoming angry and resentful. I thought that changing my thinking ..ie the problem is not lack of sex but my expectation and the waiting - then I could be liberated from the hard parts of this. I also decided this included stopping that cycle and just letting it go. Gosh, here I was making this decision about something that I did not want. I felt I needed to face things and step into my agency, be a big girl, look at the evidence and decide if I wanted to be with her despite this issue. I chose to continue my relationship, and I also chose to end the waiting and miserable longing ( easier said than done). That's how I came to say not more sex/ waiting longing. it helped me then. I also hoped it would be a relief for her, which it was in part. Then she went to counseling, and later I joined her.

So that was a long answer.

To all of you: i understand your partners don't identify as asexual, so how do they understand or explain the absence of sexual attraction?

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Skullery Maid

Rain Girl... amazing post! :wub:

I'm curious about why you decided outsourcing your sex life wasn't the answer. I feel that way myself, but I have to admit to never trying it. However, I do have sex about twice a month. Like you, before I found AVEN I settled into a life without the sex frequency or variety I wanted. I decided that the only thing I had control over was my own disappointment and the cycle of desire, wanting, hurt, depression, and then finally elation when sex occurred. So I cut that cycle out of my life... it was hard, but I was fairly successful. i still feel desire, hurt, and sadness, but it comes with an intellectual understanding, as well as enough history for me to know that it's going to be OK in the end.

re: asexual... my partner acknowledges that she shares the traits of asexuality as identified thru AVEN, and she's realistically probably grey-a more than actual asexual, but she just doesn't like the whole dichotomy. It bugs her. She feels like everyone should just be left alone to be who they want to be without labels. She also feels like asexuality as a movement isn't something she's at all interested in participating in. So, for her, it's more of a socio-political position than anything else.

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QueerTO

Hi Rain Girl,

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to privately message someone on this thing. Each time I try, it states that I am unable to do so. I have written a very lengthy and involved response to your original post, but after much thought today I've decided that this forum is not the best place for me to be. The positive news is that we're both going to begin couples therapy with a queer positive therapist next month. I would very much be interested in engaging in conversation with you (and anyone else on this particular thread), though I understand that the anonymity aspect and sense of community is why people visit AVEN.

If you or anyone else did feel like continuing discussions further, I can be reached at queerto34@gmail.com

QueerTO

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sexualwithasexual

Rain Girl. I could have written pretty much this entire post. (no kids or counseling, however.)

My partner is okay identifying as "asexual". But it took her a while.

I would really like to learn the answers to all the questions you formed around your sexual adventure experience. I'm patient and curious and would love to hear the whole story top to bottom.

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Rain Girl

Scullerymaid I am new to this so hoping I have kept the right bits of your text...and how do you add a picture to your profile? Still working all this out.

I'm curious about why you decided outsourcing your sex life wasn't the answer.

1. It's hard to set up and find the right person - someone you fancy and self aware and good at communicating, someone who is totally cool with your relationship status and someone who in the longer term sis satisfied with the arrangement.

2. How do you keep feelings out of it - I had a very nice connection with her and this became threatening to my girlfriend at times

3. The thing about separateness - I didn't like having this secret life. My Gf knew of course but no one else. I found it hard to have the excitement of my sexy dates be so separate from my own domestic life. sex felt like a bad secret and probably triggering my feelings about my situation.

4. I ended up wanting more - which is not bad just tricky.

There were lots if posited though...

1. Feeling sexy, desired and in my body again - just small things like touching her and hearing her loose her thought and breath stop a second ...had been something I had to had for a long time. And having no script but hours of exploration and delight...

2. It probably sorted a wish I had not to feel sexy for my girlfriend as that had been an anxious attachment for me. I find her attractive but I am more desexualised / platonic in our physical connection. We are very effectionate, have always been, and this is less difficult for me now.

3. We got closer, I got to feel unconditional love from her and a desire to see me happy. I do think we understand each other better. I shared everything with her ( that was our agreement) so that was good but it also meant that she has become more a friend in the process. Here she is giving me advice about what to wear on a date.

Maybe it could work for me if it o uld be more a poly arrangemtn but that is not something that my Gf is open to at this time. I also can't see how I would meet anyone who would be interested in that.

Sexualwithasexual, I hope that's a good start to the story. I have little time this weekend , hence the teacher style points.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Rain girl

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Rain Girl

Sorry about the spelling mistakes or just weird words. Is. On the iPad in bed with my son playing cars all around me.

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henshin

Hey, so I feel a bit of an imposter on this thread being asexual, but I'm a lesbian and I feel like you guys might better understand this than a bunch of hetero aces, maybe not though.

So my gf and I have been together for about 8 months, I told her I was asexual the night we met and she's been great about it, like very respectful. And I'm happy doing sexual things to her, it makes me really happy, but as I'm not responsive to sex moves I feel really bad cus she really loves it when she arouses me sexually but it never really goes anywhere, like my sexual arousal, physically, doesn't equate to emotional feelings about sex, and I don't care about having sex done to me, but I love fucking her and making her come and stuff.

My question really is about how important is it to have that reciprocal element? I don't think I'm capable of feeling what she feels in our sexual encounters and I don't want to stop making her feel amazing but I worry that she will want to stop because it feels unequal to her, like I'm giving all the time and she isn't.

Any advice?

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