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Am I asexual?

(20 Posts)
BlackBetha Thu 25-Oct-12 22:21:29

I'm a regular but name-changed for this as it's kind of personal. Prompted by another thread today which got me thinking, because other people said similar things.

Basically I just can't see the point in sex with a partner. Have been with DH for 10 years (lived together for 5, were long-distance for a few years before that), and we've never had a lot of sex, mostly because I haven't wanted it. I try to be 'available' once a week but...and I feel horrible for saying feels like a chore or a duty rather than something I want to do. DH does not pressure me, but I know he'd like more. He'd be happy to do it every day if I was up for it. We're in our 30s, good health, no kids.

I do find penetrative sex quite uncomfortable most of the time. Early in our relationship I could rarely manage it at all as it was so painful (I think the cause is vaginismus, having read about it, maybe related to the sexual abuse that happened when I was a small child). So getting to the stage of just 'uncomfortable' is good, I guess. But even if it wasn't for that, and even if we just do other kinds of sex/foreplay, I struggle to see the point. I can give myself an orgasm on my own when I feel the physical urge for one, it takes a couple of minutes then it's done and I'm satisfied. I am a bit baffled as to why I'd need another person involved in the process.

Have had relationships with other men (and one woman, I consider myself bisexual, but only in the sense that I'm equally uninterested in sex with women as with men) and it's been the same really. I do feel attracted to people sometimes, but I find I like the fantasy better than the reality of it IYSWIM?

Not sure what I want to ask really, I guess wondering if other people feel the same way, is it something you can fix or change, and is it terribly unfair of me to expect DH to stay married to me? (I would actually not mind at all if he wanted to have a fling or visit a 'professional' as long as it was done safely etc.) Sometimes I feel like a horrible person and I worry about the future of our marriage and DH's happiness sad

BlackBetha Thu 25-Oct-12 22:22:00

(sorry it's so long. Thanks to anyone for reading smile)

Offred Thu 25-Oct-12 22:25:08

Think it is more likely you have unresolved issues to do with sex because of the abuse than you are asexual tbh. Have you worked through the abuse you suffered at all?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Oct-12 10:12:17

I don't think you're asexual so much as still suffering from the trauma of abuse which is manifesting itself in the form of severe sexual repression. I would say it is akin to a phobia - an irrational fear that may have a rational but long-buried origin - and can therefore be treated.

The common thread linking fantasy and masturbation is that they are safe and you can be 100% in control. By contrast, being sexually open to others and being relaxed in sexual situations requires making yourself a little vulnerable and relinquishing control. That's the block.

recall Fri 26-Oct-12 10:17:06

I feel exactly the same, just don't "get it" It feels like a chore. I'm sick of feeling guilty about it. I feel upset for my husband, we made a vow not to sleep with anyone else when we got married. I am not interested in sex, and he has to remain faithful to me, so can not go elsewhere for sex. I realise that sex is a very important part of his life. sad

BloodRedAlienReflux Fri 26-Oct-12 10:21:17

If it matters to you, and your DH, go and see someone about it love. Start with your GP. I feel for you, and I feel it's a chore sometimes, and sorry for my OH when I can't be arsed night after night, but I'm just really knackered, lazy and would rather read a book smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Oct-12 10:22:17

Do you have a similar past sexual trauma recall? Have you always felt this way or have you had good sexual experiences with other partners in the past?

carolinecordery Fri 26-Oct-12 10:51:00

You might be interested to read this book ''Women, Celibacy and Passion' by Sally Cline.

Offred Fri 26-Oct-12 11:03:49

Hmm, I also often wonder if the quality of the sexual experience/relationship is sometimes to blame for things like this. Given that sexual culture is largely about male pleasure and sex is commonly about male orgasm/men's "needs" I think a lot of the time if sex of that kind is what's on offer often women never really find sex pleasurable and may not realise that they might find a different kind of sex pleasurable even without a history of being abused. Also I think men's lives in our society do not ever require the level of sacrifice of bodily autonomy as women's do, some things like pregnancy and breastfeeding are not really avoidable but there are ways male partners can help by helping take some of the burden of housework and childcare which can make women feel trapped, over touched, lost, desensitised and tired etc. I think I'd be exploring those avenues first like cog says too. It may be a control issue and part of healing. I found a period of total abstinence (18 months) after a baby with my husband and being on my own for 2 years after xp left very helpful. I do however still find my pleasure in sex with a partner a really difficult issue and if I didn't actually like penetrative sex pleasurable I would feel the same as you.

BlackBetha Fri 26-Oct-12 11:05:38

Thanks all for the replies.

Yes maybe it is all related to the past abuse. I was hoping not, because it's not something I'm keen to drag up and talk about, it was a long time ago and I prefer to think of it as belonging in the past. Probably it is related though, when I think about it.

Cogito what you say about control makes sense. I definitely have issues with control, not just sexually but with any uninvited touching, medical procedures where I feel not 100% in control. I have a huge fear of childbirth too, to the extent we've had to put off/stop ttc, which is probably not unrelated either.

dequoisagitil Fri 26-Oct-12 11:09:37

I think you should try to address your issues through therapy and see where it brings you. It may be that you are asexual, but there's a lot in your past that might be keeping you from having a good sex life. I think you ought to try to resolve this for your husband's sake.

If it turns out you are asexual, then maybe you could agree an open relationship with him? I do think it's unfair to expect him to live with little to no sex for the rest of his life, but don't see that it has to be the end of the marriage.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Oct-12 11:14:41

Then you could work on ways of - if this doesn't sound contradictory - relinquishing control but in a controlled way. I've just been listening to a piece on today's Womans Hour where the problem some women have with smear tests was discussed. One who had a history of sexual abuse almost fell victim to cervical cancer because she feared the test more than the disease.

I don't think it's fair, to answer your earlier question, to expect a man you love and intend to have children with to accept a marriage with no physical content. Worse, I would have thought, is to make yourself 'available' when he knows you have a fundamental objection. That puts him in an extremely difficult position morally as well as emotionally.

What happened almost certainly does belong in the past but if repressing it is causing you serious problems then it's time to find some courage and deal with it.

fuzzpig Fri 26-Oct-12 11:15:04

I don't think your asexual, I think you understandably have problems because of the abuse.

It affects everyone in different ways and the way you feel is not your fault at all, it is nothing to be ashamed of. You are really brave wanting to confront this.

I think therapy would be a good plan, if you had a safe person to talk to.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if your DH would be open to 'taking PIV sex off the table' for a while. Since that is physically uncomfortable. Maybe if you just went right back to nothing, just reconnect on a 'safer' level - just give each other massages etc to start with? I'm sure your DH will understand, as you clearly want to have a more intimate sex life for him as well as you. You need to feel safe and relaxed again and I think you need to build up to that.

Odd and very personal question but have you tried using lube? Durex do some great ones, there is one called 'play' which you can use as a massage oil as well. It is helpful if your body is tense. Not that I would ever condone having sex when you don't want to obviously! But if you want to be more relaxed, but your muscles refuse (hence the pain) it might be worth a try?

Offred Fri 26-Oct-12 11:21:22

I think trying to think of it as being in the past is perhaps what can keep things a problem in the present. All experiences shape us I think, the way to stop things that happened in the past having too bad an effect in the present isn't to deny them but to confront and deal with them, become self aware and in control rather than trying to make them go away/ignore them. I have come to this conclusion anyway...

Think many people don't even identify the harm for a long time, then once they have they don't want to/know how to deal with it but ultimately the negative consequences of carrying that harm come back to bite them like a boil that needs lancing and you just have to start that process of dealing with it before you can really move forward.

fuzzpig Fri 26-Oct-12 11:33:47

I agree offred. I admitted my own abuse in my early teens having repressed it for most of my childhood - but it still took until my mid 20s - earlier this year - to finally accept just how much my views on sex have been messed up by my bastard uncle angry

I had spent years thinking that because I was able to have sex, I must be fine. Not so simple.

tb Fri 26-Oct-12 21:46:05

There is a book called "The sexual healing journey" by Wendy Maltz that you might find helpful.

Don't push yourself to 'do' anything at first, just read it and see if the ideas seem acceptable to you.

nellyjelly Fri 26-Oct-12 21:51:30

I am with Recall. Am not interested at all.

OP has some issues related to abuse which may be her reason for disliking sex. I haven't got anything traumatic likethat to consider. Is it not just possible some of us are assexual?

fuzzpig Fri 26-Oct-12 21:54:28

Yes, plenty of people (well, I have no idea of statistics!) are just asexual, presumably just as some people naturally have very high sex drives. It could just be the way you are - I don't think everyone has to have a reason behind it.

Offred Fri 26-Oct-12 22:53:26

I think it is about 1%. Although if you have a history of abuse it would surely be better to explore that avenue before giving yourself such a drastic label. I think also as cog says this op doesn't have no interest but what may be a fear of PIV and an inability to enjoy anything that she isn't entirely in control of.

mrkidd85 Sat 27-Oct-12 11:35:16

In relation to your husband - you're not a bad person for not liking sex, but you have to tell him about it so he can make up his own mind.

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