Guy's GF Comes Out As Asexual--Seeks Advice For How To Broach The Topic Of Intimacy
Sexuality is a difficult conversation, and when you're dealing with a topic you don't fully understand, sometimes it's best to turn outside your comfort zone for help.
My (21M) girlfriend (21F) came out to me as asexual. Not sure where to go from here.[new]
Throwaway because I use my Reddit handle across different social media accounts.
My girlfriend and I had started dating last year after being friends for a year prior. A few months into the relationship she made it clear that she was not comfortable having sex until we had dated for at least a year. I was okay with that, and respected her boundaries. A year of us being together had come and gone, and she did not address the topic of having sex. Of course, I was not going to bring it up to her knowing her sensitivities about sex, so I decided to let her bring it up or initiate when she felt she was ready.
However, 3 months went by and nothing happened, so I decided to bring it up to her. At that point, she came out to me as asexual. She told me she does not feel any sexual attraction toward me or anyone, but she does have strong romantic feelings towards me and reassured me that she loves me. She also made it clear that she thought I was cute/handsome/attractive, but just had no desire to have sex at all.
This has put me in a rough spot. This is my first actual relationship and I do want to have sex for the first time with the girl I love. At the same time I also understand that trying to get her to do something like that when she is asexual would be horrible for the both of us, but especially horrible for her. I'm also a little upset that she was not up front with me from the beginning, but she was probably too afraid to come forward with that information right away. I just don't know what to do, I love her very much but at the same time I don't think I could do a relationship without sex long term.
tl;dr My girlfriend is asexual and I am not. I love her but I am not sure if we can work without having a sexual relationship.
Here was some of the advice he got.
When I was in my early 20's I didn't know asexuality was a thing. Didn't know it until pretty close to hitting 30. By then I had been in and out of relationships where people said I was broken and where I was used for other sexual acts because I wasn't comfortable with the idea of sex - while thinking at the time that I was broken and I had to fix myself so I could have a relationship.
I highly doubt she knew she was ace going into the relationship. She knew she was uncomfortable with the idea of sex but probably hadn't heard of being asexual at that time and has needed time to process it more recently. This sh*t is tough, even moreso when you have to not only accept it yourself but tell someone else about it, and I can absolutely see how terrifying it would be to have to come forward with it when you thought you'd be ready for sexual activity by then.
Asexual is lacking in sexual attraction, which means they aren't attracted to people on the basis of sexual partnership. Not all asexual people are sex repulsed. There are asexual people who enjoy the act of sex when they're doing it, but just don't crave it the way an allosexual person does.
Think of it like a food craving; maybe you never crave pistachios, you'd never go out and buy them, but if there's a bowl of them at a party you'll eat some and enjoy them. Some asexual people have that kind of approach to sex. But some asexual people do actually hate pistachios and will never ever eat one.
The point is, you can have a more nuanced conversation with her about her feelings on sex without pressuring her to do something she's not comfortable with. If you understand more clearly her views on sex, you'll be able to make a more informed decision about whether to stay in the relationship.
If she asks you how you feel about sex, you can tell her truthfully that making love is an important part of romantic relationships for you, and because you love her it's an experience you'd like to share with her.
If she doesn't ever foresee herself having sex, it's ok for that to be a dealbreaker for you.
Neither of you should have to be in a relationship where your needs are incompatible, but you won't know whether this is a resolvable issue until you have a more constructive conversation about it.
As someone who's been tossing asexuality back and forth for a while as an identity, and has no desire for sex, I'd sit down with her and talk over it. No pressuring, completely free zone to discuss some stuff. Basically, many asexual people /do/ have sex even if they have no interest in it for the sake of their partners because it does not actively repulse them--it just does nothing for them. Did she emphasize that she did not want to have sex ever, or just explain her lack of interest? Don't neg her, but this is definitely a discussion you two should have. Would she be interested in different kinds of sex? Positions? Strap ons? Certain methods could provide some "distance" from the situation, with your girlfriend not having to do any real sex and still getting to pleasure you. Then there'd of course be cuddling and such after to fulfill her needs. Of course if that's a no-go for you, that wouldn't work very well. But handjobs are also more distant, as are other things. There's lots of options.
As for not being up-front about it, unfortunately I understand why she would be scared. It's very easy for someone to rationalize that they must have sex with an asexual person in order to "turn" them sexual, even against that asexual person's wishes. She might also not have known if she was asexual until recently.
Regardless, have a calm discussion with her and discuss things to figure out if you guys are fundamentally incompatible and should break up or if you guys can make it work for you. It's not shameful to want or not want sex--no one is in the wrong here.
That's a full stop. You are sexually incompatible. You tell her it's real and it's been fun and you wish her the best of luck.
She made you wait a period of time she knew would build attachment only to tell you she wasn't going to participate in one of the more important parts of the relationship. I feel for you man but it's time to move on.
Personally I don't know how anyone can tell such a big lie to a person they claim to love.
If it makes you feel any better, I recently broke up with my SO of 2 years for similar sexual incompatabilies. It sucks, for sure, but I know that I can find someone who loves me for who I am (asexuality/low libido/idk sex makes me so anxious), not despite it or as a compromise or hoping I'll change. And at the same time, hoping also that my ex can find some who is more physically intimate with him. The short term sucks, but the future will be better.
Asexual Here: I don't know whether she knew she was asexual or not but regardless, it's not cool. If she didn't know, and she just figured it out, she really should have told you. You guys are sexually incompatible. You need sex to enjoy a relationship and she does not. That just doesn't work. I hope she wasn't leading you on but I can see why you feel frustrated. If she did know, and she didn't say anything, she's a jerk.
Your feelings are valid. I am going to go ahead and suggest breaking up. She won't be happy if you nag her for sex and you won't be happy if you don't get your needs met.
I'm asexual and have a partner who is not.
Talk to her about her limits and what she is comfortable with. Is she okay with sex if it's in very intense times of emotion? How far is she comfortable going physically? Is she actually repulsed by sex or is she simply not interested?
If she doesn't want any sort of sexual relationship and you do, talk to her about other options. Would she be comfortable opening your relationship to a certain degree? Is she comfortable with you using toys/other methods to fulfill your sexual urges? Are you willing to sacrifice a typical sex life for a greater romantic one?
Honestly, it is not easy. My husband and I have been together four years and my sexuality is still a struggle. But we are very open with each other and we both make compromises we are comfortable with and feel are necessary for the success of our relationship.
I have some personal experience with this. I'm in a long-term relationship (14 years and counting) with an ace partner- we were together for maybe a decade or so before she realized and came out to me (although our situation was further complicated by physical and mental illness and gender transition, so ymmv).
That was a few years ago now, and we're still together and happy. It hasn't been easy, but it's not necessarily a deal-breaker. It requires a lot of communication and understanding from both parties, but good relationships do. There are a bunch of facets to every relationship, and sex is just one of them. It's a big one, sure, but it's not the be-all and end-all, as I'm sure you know.
You have a couple of options. You can break up, as a lot of people here are suggesting. You can open up your relationship (which is what we did, but it's definitely not for everyone). Or you can stick with your partner, and get yourself off in your own time. It's not an easy position to be in, and it can be painful and invalidating for both parties, and I totally sympathize.
Just remember that asexual people do cop a lot of sh*t, and that she's put a lot of trust in you by coming out. It sounds like you appreciate that, and you're being a good guy by respecting her, and not trying to 'fix' her or change her mind or anything. Whatever you choose, I wish you and your girlfriend the best of luck.
If she lied about the whole "waiting a year to have sex" angle from jump street, I'd break up and never look back. That's just her trying to emotionally entrap you.
If this was a revelation she came to over the last few months, I'd have an open discussion with her. When did she start feeling this way? Why didn't she discuss it with you? Would she be open to allowing you sexual fulfillment from other sources?
Honestly, you've shown her a willingness to deal with her Asexuality for well over a year. At this point, she needs to start showing empathy for your side of the situation or things aren't going to work out.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.