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Ron Ben-Israel
flamingtoilet wrote in asexuality
So, hello there.

Let me give you a little background on myself here. I'm 38 years old, male, and I've been happily married for almost 11 years, and with my wife for 12. I've never had much interest in sex, but my wife and I had sex fairly regularly early on in our marriage (although lately it hasn't been nearly as much). I'll be honest, I never got what the big deal was about it. Even early on, as a teenager, the whole sex thing kind of made me feel really oogy. I didn't even masturbate until I was in my 20s, and was a virgin until I was 26 and my relationship with the woman who would become my wife and thought that's what you kind of did when it got serious. She loved it, and we did it quite frequently because she wanted more. I went along with it, because every now and then I did have a good experience with it.

If it was up to my wife, of course, we'd have it at least weekly.

For the past several years I've self-identified as bisexual, just because I like looking at pretty boys as much as I do pretty girls. But as far as actual sex goes? I'd rather take matters into my own hands to deal with that need. And even that is more out of habit than anything, really. It helps me go to sleep.

I'm finally realizing through various readings and such that I am, in fact, biromantic but asexual. While it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who deals with this, it still makes for teh awkward with my wife. She likes to try to get me interested and initiate sex. While a lot of times I'll go along with it just to make her happy, because I like to make her happy, there are some times that she does it that I just really don't want to, but at the same time, I don't want to hurt her feelings. Which is when I pray for some sort of distraction to kill her mood.

I feel awful, because I know how much she wants it. I've told her on numerous occasions that I'm perfectly okay with her getting a boyfriend or girlfriend/friend with benefits, although I don't have any interest in that. Although a new cuddlebuddy might be fine now and then. Just for variety. I want to talk to her about what I'm discovering about myself, but I worry about hurting her feelings. How do I tell her that I've pretty much been faking my interest in the whole sex thing for 11+ years? And that sometimes when she tries to initiate, I not only don't want to play along, but it kind of makes me feel not good inside when she does it?

This is a new thing to me and I still don't quite know how to handle it. In every other aspect of our relationship, we're in great shape. But this has honestly been a sticking point for years that I've just dealt with in silence. And I don't want to anymore.

The funny thing is, she's a counselor, and I think if a client came to her with a situation like this, she'd have no problems discussing it. But from previous experiences, she's not so good about it when dealing with me in similar situations.

I'm not even sure I'm making sense here. I've been sitting on this entry for a while now, editing, rewriting, thinking about deleting it altogether. I haven't been this confused and, to be honest, frightened, in years.

Hi there! :)

Personally, I'm aromantic and I have no experience in dealing with relationships, so I don't have much to offer in form of advice, but I think you should try talking with your wife. Calmly and perhaps not all at once? I mean, for one, definitely don't start y telling her that you've been faking your interest through your whole marriage. ;) And as you said you did have some positive experience with sex. I think maybe you should start with feeling surer about the subject yourself? I mean like try to figure out how much you want to change in your relationship? Do you want to stop having sex with your wife completely? Or perhaps just do it less often and make her aware you're not as into it as she believes? Neither of this options is better or worse, of course, I'm just saying I think figuring out, where exactly you stand on the issue might help talking to your wife as it would perhaps bring you some specific propositions on how to change your relationship so it would be good for both of you.

You mentioned you've done some reading that made you realize you're in fact asexual, perhaps it would be a good idea to share some of this reading material with your wife? Perhaps start the conversation with her and then suggest she could read those things that made you realize that this label fits you. I just think that while talking is obviously great, sometimes in conversations, especially those important to us, we have a hard time explaining all we want to explain. Also, while the conversation might get heated and emotions might get in a way, reading something in relative calmness might help understand the issue without the feelings clouding the vision, so to speak. :)

I definitely think you should talk with your wife and not just continue dealing with this in silence. I think if I were in a relationship I would appreciate my partner telling me that they're seriously not okay with some aspect of said relationship. That's all. Obviously it's not going to be a short and easy conversation. (To be fair, I doubt it will be one conversation.) But communication is once again the key here, I think. And since you say your relationship is really good, besides the sexual aspect of it and you're clearly open to trying new ways to make it work even better, I have high hopes that you will succeed :)

And I think it's great that you've decided to post here, in my experience, talking to people who deal with simmiliar problems can help a lot. Not even in a form of specific advice, but making you feel better and surer in your situation. And I'm sure some aces in relationships will be way more of help in this case than I am, but I wish you the best of luck and I hope everything will end up great for you :)))

I'll be honest, if we never had sex again, I don't think I'd miss it. But I know she would. She gets incredibly frustrated if I put her off too long. And then she gets a little more touchy than I'd like.

I have offered some advice but it contained a couple links so it was marked as spam when I posted it. Hopefully a moderator will un-spam it soon!

I got them in my email notification! So, thanks, looks like some good stuff!

Welcome. :)

It's scary, realizing big stuff about yourself and then trying to figure out how to talk to important people in your life about it. I am poly, and when I realized my own asexuality, 2 of my 3 relationships went away (though one of them on the downswing already for unrelated reasons). For some people, frequent sex is a dealbreaker, or maybe it is enthusiastic participation in frequent sex. I got lucky - some years after those relationships ended, a long time friend of mine returned my romantic interest, and then discovered that he, too, is asexual. We got married last month, and are perfectly happy having sexual interaction about once every 6 months, except when trying to make babies (then it's very specifically timed and obviously for a purpose, not for the 'joy of sex' in and of itself).

Despite the fact that I lost relationships with I realized my lack of interest in sex and my general lack of sexual attraction, I fully and strongly recommend talking about your sexuality with your wife. As you say, everything else is in great shape - that puts things on probably the best footing they can be for a discussion of this kind. Even if you're willing to continue having sex with her because it makes her happy and you want her to be happy, she should know what's going on in your head on the subject.

I'm sure swankivy has some good links for you in her comment (once it is un-moderated), so definitely check those out. This is just my advice, based on my own experience. I really hope you have a good result here - there's no reason at all that realizing your asexuality should prevent you from continuing a loving relationship with your wife. :)

I'm totally willing to do it on occasiona, because, yeah, it makes her happy. I just want her to understand that it's not a thing for me, like, at all, and a lot of times when she tries to initiate it I don't feel so good.

I think you've gotten some great advice above. I've never been in a long-term relationship, and it was scary enough realizing I was asexual without being in one, and your fear is palpable in your writing. It was very brave of you to post here, and I wish you the best.

This is pretty much the ONLY romantic relationship I've ever had that lasted more than a few days. So I guess we're doing something right. :) But this is scary, no question. I honestly think it'd be easier if I was to tell her I was gay. At least she'd be able to wrap her head around that better, even if she didn't like it. But the idea of not having any interest in it at all? It's cute when it's Sheldon Cooper, but she can't quite get that anyone would be like that IRL.

I don't have any advice for you, I just wanted to say that I admire your bravery and courage in typing all of this up. Andrea_dear, Swankivy and ladypoetess all have good advice (I'm assuming about swankivy because of the spam filters, but she is one of the most active, most compassionate, and most tireless campaigners for asexual visibility that I know of, if anyone can help you she can), and I really hope that everything goes well and that your wife understands and learns to acknowledge and appreciate this newly-revealed side of you just as much as the rest of you.

If you've heard of AVEN (asexuality dot org), there's lots of great advice and tips for friends and family of asexual people, once you've had the initial discussion you might want to direct your wife to some of them.

Edited at 2013-06-19 01:22 pm (UTC)

I've looked at that, and I'll definitely dig for things I can give her to read. Thanks.

This was a great post and kind of my life at the moment...good to see others in the same place. I have not yet figured out what to do but this advice is fabulous. Thanks guys!

You're making a lot of sense. My answer to your question is: openly and honestly, giving her plenty of time and space to process the idea, and pointing her to some good information sources that will help her understand that asexuality is a real thing and not a personal attack on her. Show her in non-sexual ways how much you still love her, and once she is ready to, find an agreement between you on how to proceed.

My last relationship ended after my partner couldn't understand my lack of interest in sex, and thought it was lack of interest in him. I think this came down to us both being poorly informed about asexuality, his insecurity, and my building resentment about being pressured. Now I'm in touch with the asexual community, I know there is enough support for both of you to learn, discuss, and come out of this positively. Many asexual people maintain relationships with sexual people with a full understanding of each partner's needs, and appropriate agreements about sex. By being here, you're already doing better than I did ;-).

AVEN is a good place for further info.

I like to think I show her how much I love her, and I'd really really hope that she'd understand. I just worry too much.

I hope she can understand too. You're justified in worrying lots, it's challenging stuff, even harder than discussing sexuality, because asexuality is still so invisible in our society. Good luck mate.

Wow, that's a difficult situation, and a complicated one...

Just so you know - the reason she may not be taking to your offer for her to seek sex outside your relationship, aside from the fact that she might just be monogamous, is that sex is a better experience with someone you care about/are in love with (from what I'v heard). Maybe there are other things you would be comfortable with - if you two could invest in toys, etc. that you could use with her, so that you wouldn't have to be aroused yourself but you would still be participating? I don't know if you would be any more comfortable with that, but it's a possibility.

Either way, I'd advise you talk to her about it as soon as you can...it's going to be a painful conversation for both of you, yeah, but if you just let it sit, it's a possibility that you'll start to resent her, and at that point the relationship might not be salvageable. And the longer you wait, the more it will hurt her, as well.

And as a side note - since this entry was very coherent - if you're nervous of not being able to explain yourself well once you get to the actual conversation, you could start by writing everything down for her and asking her to read it while you sit with her, and take the conversation from there.

We've dabbled in polyamory before, and she's even had a boyfriend (although that ended... poorly. Not because of her but because he was doing it behind his wife's back, which was against their contract.) We've got toys, but even those don't do just a lot for me.

And I don't think it would be a total relationship killer, but I know that this is one of the major sticking points between us. And I need to make my thoughts really known while at the same time feeling like I'm meeting at least some of her needs.

How do you tell her? Well, I wouldn't focus on the past (the 11 years). Seriously, that kind of fraudulence on your part could inflict some major damage on your wife. How about talking about the present .... you want to live authentically, you want to be open with her, explain your understanding of your sexual and romantic orientation, etc. If she asks about the past, why not give a version of what you've written here? The sex made her happy and you like to make her happy. And you don't regret it. But what sex is to her and other people, that's not how it is for you. Your asexuality has nothing to do with her, she shouldn't take it personally.

In my opinion, focus on the present and what you love about her and what you two have. Talk about how you want the relationship to be from hereon.

I didn't read the other comments - sorry if this is redundant. Good luck.

Thanks. This isn't a conversation I'm particularly looking forward to. I've never been good at anything that even slightly resembles confrontation.

This is brilliant. I definitely second the approach of stressing the importance of your wife's happiness, and moving forward rather than dwelling on the past. This is maybe the best tactic, politically speaking - nobody feels insulted or slighted, your wife get a deeper understanding of your respect and devotion to her emotional happiness, and you get to move directly into discussing how things are going to work in the future. Taken this way, your wife might be more accepting of it and more supportive of your emotional needs going forward. The way e_d_young has worded it is perfect.

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