[cw: sex talk (somewhat explicit), resentment/compromise talk, + brief CSA mention]
Jane wrote in:
My partner of almost two years thinks he might be asexual. Obviously this is only according to any research I’VE done. I think he’s just hoping I’ll stop talking about it and we can carry on the relationship as it is. We’ve had sex one in the last year. Every month, as my hormones go crazy, and I try to contain my anger and resentment, the situation compounds and gets worse. He isn’t willing to make any compromise and normally just lands up getting very angry when we talk about it. For the first two months of us dating, his sexual appetite was insatiable. He was an amazing and adventurous lover who spent hours making love. We initially thought it was a problem with delayed ejaculation, which in itself made me feel like crap, but hey…we were trying. He eventually managed to orgasm inside of me and I thought “yeah, we’ve hit a mile stone!” And then it all stopped.
Being asexual is fine, but being unwilling to compromise, when you’re in a relationship with a sexual, is not ok. We discussed his delayed ejaculation issue before the relationship became serious, but his history of loosing desire for sex after 3/4 months never came up.
He’s had relationships in the past where his partners have left, and then he seemed to spiral into depression. I love him and I want to be with him. I don’t want to hurt him and I want to show him that some woman will stick around through the tough stuff. But I feel like he’s being selfish.
I was sexually molested as a young child and i don’t want to feel like a predator by initiating sex with someone who obviously doesn’t want it. This in itself is a massive problem between us.
We’ve tried couples counselling. But it didn’t really get into the nitty gritty of working out this issue.
I’ve suggested he go for CBT on his own to discuss his thoughts in private and then maybe try some exercises at home and see if we can resolve this.
He also wants children and seems to think IVF is a pretty normal way to conceive. I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE CHILDREN LIKE THIS.
Before I wrote this message, I contemplated activating tinder on my phone. Maybe if I could just have sex with someone, the need will go away. But then I cried and imagined myself crying with a weird naked stranger and that made me feel even worse.
He told me once, long ago, that having sex without being able to orgasm, gave him blue ball pain. Well I’ve had ‘blue balls’ for a year.
I’m trying not to be a callous bitch…and I’m trying to be very adult about all of this, but it’s making me feel sad and depressed.
You know, I don’t know how I keep attracting requests for relationship advice, having written very little before on mixed relationships like these. Incidentally, I wish I knew how to indicate that just because I write about some aspects of relationships doesn’t mean I’m cool with hearing the sexually explicit details. Generally wouldn’t assume that kind of thing myself. Still, I wish I knew of someone better suited to this question to direct you to.
Here’s what I’m hearing: you’re unhappy with the relationship. You’re stressed. You’re disappointed. You’re unsatisfied.
Here’s my suggestion: you don’t need to feel obligated to stay in a relationship that does that to you. Maybe you two were compatible before, but it sounds like you’re not anymore. I don’t want to sound like I’m telling you what to do, mind you. It’s always your choice. I’m not claiming to know what’s best. I just don’t want you to harbor any illusions of him changing.
I’m not sure recommending CBT is a good idea for him. That practice can be good for some situations and harmful for others, and in this case, I worry that most therapists wouldn’t be very ethical about sexual conflict of this kind, viewing sex in romantic relationships as necessarily more “healthy” (i.e., laying on that pressure you said you wanted to avoid).
About IVF: I don’t think it’s all that abnormal, but what matters there is that it’s not something you want. Obviously you deserve the final say in that.
Anyway, it’s unclear what you mean when you mention “compromise.” If he doesn’t want sex, he doesn’t want sex. You say you want to show him that someone will stick with him through the tough stuff, and also that you feel he’s being selfish (by… not having sex with you). Those two feelings are at odds with each other. First of all, he doesn’t owe you sex, just like you don’t owe it to him to continue the relationship, but second of all: it sounds like the former desire is more about proving you can overcome a challenge than anything else — and that you don’t actually want to live your life this way. Maybe you’re not the woman who will prove this can be done, and that’s okay. It’s not up to you alone. It’s not your responsibility. You wouldn’t be a lesser person for deciding this is a dealbreaker. The only thing that would be wrong is deciding he’s a lesser person for not having sex with you.