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Lady Girl

Sexual Compromise & Support

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Aice

@anamikanon Thanks for the information, that's very thoughtful! But I have already been down the medical/physical route to solving my 'problem', and for my specific issue (not wishing to go into details) there isn't any treatment with any good quality supporting evidence, so I eventually came to the realisation that trying to pursue a solution that doesn't exist was actually the cause of my unhappiness, rather than the pain/lack of interest in sex itself. Now that I have accepted my body and mind for how they are I'm much much happier. Not only do I not have to deal with medical professionals who don't listen any more (very distressing), but I can also appreciate that being different is not bad - e.g. I'm not in chronic pain in my day to day life. There are many women with my problem in a much much worse situation than me who struggle with severe incapacitating pain every day, not to mention the victims of FGM, or people who are paralysed from the waist down - for all these groups pleasurable sex is no longer part of their lives either - I'm actually incredicbly lucky in the grand scheme of things.

It's interesing to think that while quite a few doctors were trying to push me to do a course of mindfulness to try to change my libido, none of them ever managed to think of the idea of just accepting it as it was - quite ironic given the core ideas mindfulness is based on!

It was only this website that really finally helped me get over it actually. That and the psychosexual therapy with my partner - that helped with figuring out other things we like, other ways to connect, and also with our compromise which was a big part of realising I could be happy as I am.

I used to think I would be alone forever, which is why hearing about other non-standard intimate relationships is so nice, just to know there are actually loads of people out there figuing out different ways to love.

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Aice

In terms of the idea of noticing/not noticing that the person you are having sex with is uninterested, the very depressing thing is that there are some people who simply don't care - there are plenty out there who are very aware of another person's lack of interest but will happily ignore this for their own ends.

I think sex education needs to improve on a number of aspects. The message I got growing up was that you should wait until you 'feel ready' to have sex. Unfortunately the implication was 'emotionally ready' with no regard to actually thinking about sexual desire. I thought I should have sex because I loved my partner and I felt mature enough, but whether I physically desired it in the moment or not never carried any weight in my mind! Quite shocking if you think about it... I think even sexuals fall into this trap because of the pressure to fit in - losing their viginity either at a time when they aren't in the mood or with a person they are aren't attracted to, just for the sake of ticking that particular box.

Education on consent / 'enthusiastic' consent is the other thing that needs to be improved, and I think it is connected. If someone doesn't stop to ask themselves if they really desire an activity, their partner should at least be engaged in checking this through good communication (verbal or non).

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uhtred
23 hours ago, Aice said:

In terms of the idea of noticing/not noticing that the person you are having sex with is uninterested, the very depressing thing is that there are some people who simply don't care - there are plenty out there who are very aware of another person's lack of interest but will happily ignore this for their own ends.

I think sex education needs to improve on a number of aspects. The message I got growing up was that you should wait until you 'feel ready' to have sex. Unfortunately the implication was 'emotionally ready' with no regard to actually thinking about sexual desire. I thought I should have sex because I loved my partner and I felt mature enough, but whether I physically desired it in the moment or not never carried any weight in my mind! Quite shocking if you think about it... I think even sexuals fall into this trap because of the pressure to fit in - losing their viginity either at a time when they aren't in the mood or with a person they are aren't attracted to, just for the sake of ticking that particular box.

Education on consent / 'enthusiastic' consent is the other thing that needs to be improved, and I think it is connected. If someone doesn't stop to ask themselves if they really desire an activity, their partner should at least be engaged in checking this through good communication (verbal or non).

Unfortunately sex is complicated for many people, and sometimes language doesn't seem to be very good at describing people's feelings.   There are some people who in general have no interest in sex, but if they do have sex they physically enjoy it while it happens,  but then afterwards don't enjoy the experience in retrospect. 

 

Others think that they want sex "in the future" but never "now".  Some see sex as a way to scratch an itch - something to get over with as quickly as possible. 

 

All sorts of variation.   That can make the question of whether ones partner "enjoys'" sex very confusing in some situations. 

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tkelizabeth

I understand that coming into my sexuality at 28 has a lot of weight. I've been lingering on the idea of being ace for my entire life (post puberty, but pre-puberty thoughts had confirmed my status). I have been with my cis-male boyfriend for 4.5 years by now. As I reduced my alcohol use, I've realized I had previously abused alcohol to "make up" for my lack of a sexual desire/attraction/libido. I was becoming an addict to cope with the standards of society. I realized, it's not fair to abuse and hurt myself in order to fit into a sexually obsessed society. I have a hard time because I have enjoyed sex in the past, but I cannot remember a time when I was the sexual pursuer. I understand that sex is powerful and can be used as leverage in a human relationship, and I have learned how to wield my sexuality. To profit off of my sexuality. My fake sexuality. I learned that modern men don't care if I reciprocate the feelings truly, and I learned how to fake the feelings. I am annoyed by friends that talk about or think about sex all the time. Why are they obsessed with something that isn't necessary? This lead me here and I finally feel understood, sort of. 

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anisotrophic

Welcome @tkelizabeth! Have some cake: :cake:

My partner never pursues sex either. Sex can be a loving thing – my partner provides it as an act of love, even if he has no intrinsic desire for it. But sometimes people don't realize that others aren't having a positive experience, and I understand how that can make it all feel oppressive and fake. Communication and openness is a good thing. ❤️ 

 

@Aice as someone with an asexual partner, the phrase "enthusiastic consent" really sets me on edge. I can never have his enthusiasm, and that sensibility would make me out to be a monster (maybe I should enjoy in that monstrosity). To want my partner to desire sex with me is to want him to change his orientation – I won't do that to him. Instead I'll accept that he's willing, it's not a huge chore, and he wants me to be happy. I won't look for "enthusiasm", I aim for clear and continuous.

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Aice

@anisotropic

I know what you mean! That's why I used a slash (/) to mean 'or' . I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable about using the word 'enthusiastic' about my consent either!

The point I was making is that I think there needs to be either non-verbal 'enthusiasm', or a conversation had at some point, whether it be at the time or previously.

I can think of a few examples in which the consent wouldn't necessarily be 'enthusiastic':

1) Consent as part of a compromise in a relationship between a sexual and an ace.
2) Consent between a prostitute and their client.
3) Consent in a relationship between two sexuals, in which there is a general culture of give and take and both partners communicate with and respect the other.

I certainly can't imagine a situation in which someone has just met someone else and are engaging in sexual activity in which that person looks disinterested or unhappy, and they wouldn't feel it necessary to check they are OK verbally.

The amazing thing is that the only place I see these subtleties being discussed is on a forum about asexuality! It's amazing how exploring a lack of interest in sex can lead to so much interesting thought on sex itself and the different ways in which a person can want to engage in it.

I really think this stuff should definitely be discussed through the education system.




 

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A Lover

I am a little scared thinking of how my future relationship will be like. I would have sex (for him), but it is a little overwhelming thinking of having it all the time. It seems to me that I I would need to have sex to keep him from leaving. An open relationship is also a little scary because of trust issues I may develop. It is kind of tough thinking of why a guy would choose me over a girl who has a sex drive. I still really want a relationship as I get older, and these are just thoughts that I have. 

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uhtred
On 12/23/2018 at 3:41 PM, A Lover said:

I am a little scared thinking of how my future relationship will be like. I would have sex (for him), but it is a little overwhelming thinking of having it all the time. It seems to me that I I would need to have sex to keep him from leaving. An open relationship is also a little scary because of trust issues I may develop. It is kind of tough thinking of why a guy would choose me over a girl who has a sex drive. I still really want a relationship as I get older, and these are just thoughts that I have. 

Best if you find someone who's level of sexual interest is similar to yours - because I think what you list are real problems. 

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Allurianna

Phew it's been a while since I came on here. I'm grateful to have gotten a few replies to my topic. @anamikanon Just so you know, your careful responses mean the world to me. If there's one thing I can never appreciate it's circumventing hard truths. I thrive on honesty, and sometimes it can seem harsh, as you've said, but at the end of the day, it's with the best intentions. That said, somehow we're still together. Although we did have a long talk about what our relationship was and whether there was any hope in its survival. Apart from my own beliefs/desires/behaviours, we're both struggling with a major financial stressor. I like to think that's part of what put me in such a questioning position. But if so, that just makes me question even more whether or not I have "feelings". I spend too much time trying to define what "feelings" even are, and if I can bring them to life. Did I ever even have them? Is what I want just friendship? What does it mean to love a friend? It's hard trying to separate the sexual from the not having seen it and learned it for so long. That's probably the hardest part - not knowing any other way, but having to deal with these thoughts, "feelings", and expectations. Some months ago my sister asked me if I wanted to get married. I told her I just want to be able to pay my bills. Companionship is nice, but it's never been important to me, even from a young age. But nevertheless, I yearn to yearn. I just want to be more like the majority, I guess. I don't know anymore. 

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Sally
On 12/23/2018 at 3:41 PM, A Lover said:

I am a little scared thinking of how my future relationship will be like. I would have sex (for him), but it is a little overwhelming thinking of having it all the time. 

And it would not just be a one-time thing, but part of the ongoing relationship.  

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Apostle

Being a sexual with an asexual partner in a relationship for the past 24 years, it's not the fact that my asexual partner doesn't want to talk about it or even the fact that I have made the compromise in not pestering her for sex.........................it's the fact that my children, now in their twenties may never know the truth.

I hope one day they will, just so they don't make the same mistake as I did. Best for them not to have a relationship and not suffer the consequences of mental anguish for the rest of their lives.

I'm speaking from personal experience as a sexual. The same may apply for an asexual but in a different way.

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ryn2
36 minutes ago, Apostle said:

I hope one day they will, just so they don't make the same mistake as I did.

If you aren’t comfortable disclosing the truth about their parents’ relationship to them, but are worried they could repeat the same mistake, can you talk to them about it more generally (something a friend went through, e.g.)?

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Apostle
16 hours ago, ryn2 said:

If you aren’t comfortable disclosing the truth about their parents’ relationship to them, but are worried they could repeat the same mistake, can you talk to them about it more generally (something a friend went through, e.g.)?

I'm not hopeful for two reasons. The first is that I have a son who is not comfortable in his own skin, is autistic and has few but caring male friends (no females) and the second is that my other able son (I have a third son who is severely mentally and physically disabled) shows and has shown in the past absolutely no interest in any relationship, male or female.

We don't push this subject on our son as my M in L used to public admonish her son ( my wife's bachelor brother ) for not getting a partner. He tried it once but it all fell through as we think he was asexual and didn't fit into his then partners aspirations of having children. They weren't married.

 

So there you have it, I don't see any movement n the horizon but my SO is always worried about it. I did mention once that he was possibly asexual or at least on that spectrum.

She didn't respond. 

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ryn2

I suppose if they have no interest in relationships at all they may be fine, in that they won’t end up in one to start with...

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Telecaster68

@Apostle

 

Have you ever wondered if your wife is on the autistic spectrum too? 

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Serran

You could work with your wife on just a general introduction to the various orientations that exist for your kids. In todays society, that is useful anyway. If they know asexual is an option and they are ace, it is more likely they will notice the difference between themselves and their peers. Its the not knowing people can even be uninterested that pulls people to assume they will just be OK. Knowing the option is there just leaves it open to confusion same as gay people may confuse their orientation to start and cant prevent that. 

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skullery
20 hours ago, Apostle said:

it's the fact that my children, now in their twenties may never know the truth.

I hope one day they will, just so they don't make the same mistake as I did. Best for them not to have a relationship and not suffer the consequences of mental anguish for the rest of their lives.

 

Whoa. Please consult a therapist before telling your children all about your sex life in an attempt to terrify them into perpetual singledom. In no way, shape or form is it acceptable for a parent to shame their children out of healthy experimentation and exploration just because they didn't enjoy their own sex life. 

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InquisitivePhilosopher
21 minutes ago, Skullery Maid said:

Whoa. Please consult a therapist before telling your children all about your sex life in an attempt to terrify them into perpetual singledom. In no way, shape or form is it acceptable for a parent to shame their children out of healthy experimentation and exploration just because they didn't enjoy their own sex life. 

Yes. Therapists don't advise parents do that, either (using their child as their therapist, telling them everything about their stressful lives, relationships, etc.), as it puts stress and worry onto the child, causing anxiety. This was done to me, since I was very young--my parents always had arguments and told me and my sibling that we shouldn't get married or else we'd end up as miserable they were.

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ryn2
37 minutes ago, Skullery Maid said:

Whoa. Please consult a therapist before telling your children all about your sex life in an attempt to terrify them into perpetual singledom. In no way, shape or form is it acceptable for a parent to shame their children out of healthy experimentation and exploration just because they didn't enjoy their own sex life. 

Yeah, I have to agree with this too...  my mom unloaded a bunch of things on me when I was in college that ultimately led me to make some really bad decisions “to make her happy” (which was of course impossible to begin with).

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Apostle
22 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

@Apostle

 

Have you ever wondered if your wife is on the autistic spectrum too? 

No, I haven't. Our first son was adopted so he is not biologically related to either of us.

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Apostle
20 hours ago, Skullery Maid said:

Whoa. Please consult a therapist before telling your children all about your sex life in an attempt to terrify them into perpetual singledom. In no way, shape or form is it acceptable for a parent to shame their children out of healthy experimentation and exploration just because they didn't enjoy their own sex life. 

Ha! I think you misinterpreted my sentence there! I was talking about her being asexual and the repercussions on a partnership with a sexual person. No way would I mention our sex life (not that I've got one anyway).

All I'm stating is that both of them have never shown any interest in a partner. They are in their mid twenties now.

Most sexuals show some form of interest in their teens hence my concern.

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Apostle
20 hours ago, InquisitivePhilosopher said:

This was done to me, since I was very young--my parents always had arguments and told me and my sibling that we shouldn't get married or else we'd end up as miserable they were.

And has it? You state that you are asexual. Is that a possible reason why your parents were miserable, in that one of them was asexual?

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Apostle said:

Ha! I think you misinterpreted my sentence there! I was talking about her being asexual and the repercussions on a partnership with a sexual person. No way would I mention our sex life (not that I've got one anyway).

It’s not talking about sex/sex lives specifically that’s problematic... it’s telling/showing kids too much of what you might confide to an adult friend about how there are problems in your relationship, you are unhappy because of it, etc.

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SusannaC

I have two sons- one almost 20 and the other 24.  I think an honest discussion about the importance of understanding ones sexuality and the NEEDS of your potential life mate are essential, before committing.  Especially if there is a possibility that asexuality is a familial trait ( my situation).  Apostle probably feels like me- anything we can do to avoid watching our grown children have relationship pain and failure is worth considering.

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Apostle
2 hours ago, ryn2 said:

It’s not talking about sex/sex lives specifically that’s problematic... it’s telling/showing kids too much of what you might confide to an adult friend about how there are problems in your relationship, you are unhappy because of it, etc.

Again, I would never do that, sharing personal experiences with my children. It's common sense for most people of course.

I would present the facts of sexual and asexual partnerships and how devastating they can be for one or both partners. Giving them this information would make them more careful when choosing a partner.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Apostle said:

Again, I would never do that, sharing personal experiences with my children. It's common sense for most people of course.

I would present the facts of sexual and asexual partnerships and how devastating they can be for one or both partners. Giving them this information would make them more careful when choosing a partner.

Agreed, that makes sense.

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Peppy
On 12/8/2012 at 1:09 PM, Lady Girl said:

One thing I've noticed that might give me the most difficulty, is a monthly lapse in composure. It seems to be hormone related...I do a lot of crying and for some reason focus on the relationship and the lack of sexual intimacy in it. I know it makes my husband feel bad, and I often say things that I don't even believe are true myself (like, "you just don't care"). Anyway, I always regret having been so vocal, and think to myself "that is the last time I'm going to do that". I really wish I could break away from that, it feels so pointless and detrimental overall.

I constantly do the same and why the hell shouldn't we voice how we feel to them. They have absolutely no idea what it's like to have sexual urges that need satisfying and how that makes us feel.  The same as we don't understand what it like to have none so why do we always have to compose ourselves and not say what we feel. They just carry on regardless. Sometimes I think asexual people who have become involved in a relationship with a sexual person are incredibly selfish and self centered and the only person they are really interested in is themselves. 

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Peppy
On 12/10/2012 at 3:44 PM, PlayfulSadism said:

Some of this is going to sound entitled and whiny. Forcing my emotions to act in accordance to my reason isn't always fast or easy.

The lack of sex isn't the most uncomfortable part of my mixed relationship. I do feel hurt when the thought of my partner not desiring me crosses my mind, but my main issue arises mostly from my self-esteem issues. I worry that the lack of sexual intimacy in our relationship will make some of my less appealing qualities carry that much more weight in determining whether we stay together. Furthermore, while we're attempting to find a good middle ground on sexual activity, she invariably loses interest and disengages before I can find release. It means the world to me that she's trying, and I'm afraid to ask for more because she's already doing more than she'd care to (i.e. zero), and putting more pressure on her doesn't seem fair.

I know that compromise isn't always an equivalent exchange, but in some of my less charitable moments, I feel like I'm getting a raw deal. I know that isn't true, but it's hard to feel that my needs are equally considered when one partner has all the power considering sex.

To clarify, I mean that I don't have any bargaining chips. Changing my normal behavior to try and "earn" sex is dishonest, and I can't use the appeal of sex itself to try and elicit a response. Everything we do hinges on how generous she's feeling, and while she has been thus far, I still feel like I've been reduced to a tame animal who's begging for table scraps.

OMG at last someone who totally gets how I feel about asexuals. Why should we (the sexual part of the party) have to constantly demene ourselves and like you said try and earn sex! I've done this for 40 years now and by god I've become the most hateful bitter and twisted person on the planet I think. They do not realise how much they hurt us playing constantly with our emotions. Sometimes I just feel they use it as a tool to manipulate and get exactly what they want.

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Peppy
On 12/19/2012 at 7:38 PM, kisabunnie said:

Compromise is important but it is definitely hard. I am not asexual, but dated someone who is. This was my first relationship romantically and physically, I think that's important to note because at the time I didn't have much to go on or compare my relationship to. Although we were friends before the relationship, and remained friends after, the time spent in between being in a relationship with each other was difficult, especially once he came out to me as asexual.

At first it was just a decrease in sex, but once I confronted him about going from a lot of sex to none for months, he said that he just didn't like sex, that it made him uncomfortable. As a sexual person, this was difficult for me to accept. I had the typical thoughts that it was something about me that was sexually unappealing, or that I had been doing something wrong.

I did not want to lose our relationship over sex. People say sex isn't important, ideally. But if you're sexual, it is. My first question to him was if he was not sexually interested in me, did he still want to continue dating. He told me he did, but did not see how it would work for me in the long run because he knew he would be disappointing me on some level. I told him that worst case scenario we give a sexless relationship a try and it does not work out.

So we did, and it didn't work out. He broke it off with the reasoning he only saw us as friends.

It is important to draw the line in the sand, and find out what sexual act does or does not cross it. Once my friend came out, anything beyond kissing and cuddling was unacceptable. Although that provided me with some of what I was looking for, I still wanted more. At the time it seemed unfair to me that I had to suppress my desires for him. Gradually our relationship got to the point where I did not feel the romance, nor did he; it was like we were friends who liked to hold hands and occasionally kiss.

I do not have much understanding of asexuality and what it is to be asexual but I do know sex is a hard thing to compromise on, especially once you have experienced a sexual relationship with your partner. To me it seems there will always be someone getting the short end of the stick, and that is not a compromise. I do not know if it is possible for a compromise to exist between a sexual and an asexual person, at least it didn't between me and my friend. Best of luck to those who are trying to find that compromise.

-Kisa

So wish I'd had the sense to get out of the relationship 40 years ago!

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