12/21/2011 4:22 PM
Relationships aren’t easy. This much is pretty common regardless of sexual orientation or preference, but there are definitely situations that take complicated to the next level. I’ve been delving deep into what it is to be asexual lately, and sure a relationship between two asexual people seems pretty cut and dry: no sex. But, what if you were a sexually active person who happened to fall head over heels for an asexual?
Then I met Jennifer, who is living proof that a relationship like this can work. Here’s her story.
Jennifer is a sexually active lesbian. She met her girlfriend years ago through a mutual friend and neither of them had any idea that she was asexual. They got along great, talked for hours on end and started dating. Everything seemed pretty standard in comparison to any other new relationship. The realization that her girlfriend was asexual was something they were able to come to terms with together.
“It was something that was eventually discovered after a lot of talks and tears. She had previously dated people who were very uncomfortable with themselves physically, either because they were transgendered or had body image issues, so sex really hadn’t come up that much for her in the past,” Jennifer said. “With me, it was clear that our libidos weren’t matching up, and we spent about one and a half years trying various things, such as me initiating, then me waiting for her to initiate, and then making a sex schedule, and then trying to be spontaneous, etc. Nothing worked.”
When you really care about someone or love someone, sex is a big way to express those feelings. It pulls the emotional connection into a physical connection, and really allows two people to accept each other for all their imperfections. The absence of that interaction, or complete lack of interest in that interaction, can’t possibly be easy to handle. I’d imagine it to be similar to being rejected, which is hard enough to take from someone you aren’t in love with. But, being turned away by someone you love has to hurt in a terrible way.
“Not feeling sexually desired by your partner is hard, even once you know what’s truly going on. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with passion and love for her that I can’t imagine expressing it any way than sexually, but I now I can’t, and that’s hurtful,” Jennifer explained. “I’ve had my fair share of late night crying, and I don’t expect that to stop. The thing is, even if our brains understand something, our bodies don’t necessarily follow suit. I can say to myself, ‘she loves you, she just doesn’t love sex,’ but that doesn’t mean that my body doesn’t still get all hot and bothered. When there’s no outlet for those feelings, they turn heavy and dark very quickly.”
This doesn’t mean that Jennifer is miserable in her relationship. It just means she had to get creative, finding ways to deal with the feelings of rejection and find a way to comprehend the mutual love that her and her partner have for each other.
“We love each other very much,” she said. “To some extent, a sexual and an asexual who are in a relationship have to accept that there’s going to be a certain amount of hurt feelings, but as I said, the longer you live with it, the better you get at recognizing those feelings and properly managing them.”
Part of the way that the couple handles their relationship is by occasionally having sex. This is not a weekly routine and it’s not the same kind of sex that two sexually driven individuals would have. It’s not as simple as her partner just not having the desire to have sex. She gets stomach aches and panic attacks when sex is initiated.
“We don’t have it often and it’s not as passionate and exciting as sex with a sexual partner is, but we do have sex,” Jennifer explained. “I would not be personally comfortable in a completely sexless relationship. That being said, the frequency with which we have sex is largely up to her, and has been pretty consistently once every 3-4 weeks.”
Having sex with someone who feels no sexual attraction is kind of tough to imagine, but Jennifer explained it pretty well. She said it’s like dating someone with a kink that you don’t have in common. For instance, if you were dating a man or woman who was into spanking, but you had absolutely no interest or desire to be spanked; pretending would get exhausting and old really quick. So, the act of having sex being a non-interest for her partner means that the whole process is faked. There’s no way that’s easy.
Being faithful in a relationship that barely has sex in it would be tough for anyone. Right now, Jennifer is hanging in there but she doesn’t know for sure if it will become an issue down the road.
“I don’t know yet if staying faithful is going to be an issue. I imagine it will be. I’ve certainly thought about cheating, but when I think about actually doing it, it makes me feel sad,” she said. “I love my life. I love my partner. I love our home. I love our pets, and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything else. Would I prefer that we had a different sex life than we do? Of course. But, I accept her for who she is, and I love her and everything about her, which includes her sexuality.”
Jennifer is happy with her life and all aspects of it, including the challenges she faces in her relationship. She’s made it through some pretty serious bumps in the road and remains positive. I’m sure some days are more difficult than others, but it’s a fight that has meaning for her.
“If I could tell sexuals just one thing about dating asexuals, its that for them , love, passion and excitement really aren’t tied to sex, and they really do not feel the same way about sex as we do,” said Jennifer. “The keys (hopefully!) to a successful asexual/sexual pairing? Tons of communication, patience, and keeping pressure off of both parties.”
Photo Source: SXC