A post over at Sciatrix’s blog called out for more asexual writing, and specifically mentioned the topic of discussing asexual/sexual relationships. Given that I am in one of these seemingly rare oddities, I feel obliged to expound on this matter.
Actions Do Not Speak Louder than Words
Despite the veil of anonymity I maintain here, I’m still quite shy when it comes to discussing certain private matters. Yet disclosing my sex life is not necessary at all to enlighten you in the dynamics of an asexual/sexual relationship. Think about an asexual/sexual couple that has a lot of sex, or no sex at all. What does that tell you about the couple? Absolutely nothing. Are they happy? Satisfied? Working it out, or fighting? Which partner is happier? We can’t tell, because the actions don’t really mean anything here.
In fact, “the sex” can be problematic in any type of pairing. Think about a man who wants more sex than the woman, or a woman who isn’t pleased by the man’s sex, or a transman who feels de-masculinized during sex, or two gay men who are both tops – these are all sexual/sexual pairings, yet they all have their glitches. So, how do all these couples navigate sex?
The trick, in my view, is to have attitude.
It’s the attitude one has as an individual and as a couple that really matters. My girlfriend and I agree on pretty much everything, and on those points where we don’t, we at least understand each other. By understand I don’t mean tolerate, I mean complete comprehension behind the reasons and emotions for this alternative viewpoint.
So while my girlfriend and I may have differing sexual orientations, our attitudes towards sex are the same. To us, sex is not the ultimate or necessary expression of romantic love. As other expressions of love go, we are very fortunately on the same page. For us, physical intimacy is important. We are compulsive huggers, raging cuddle monsters, addicted spooners, and not above the occasional spork. It is crucial that we have an outlet for our feelings that communicates to both of us equally.
Try to Understand
Now, while my girlfriend claims sex is definitely important to her, this still remains somewhat incomprehensible to me. Yet we both feel it’s not essential for our relationship. It is beyond us how sex can become the deal breaker in an established couple. Some manage to work it out, and some (I know a few) break up over this, even after a long marriage.
But, in a different light, I can begin to understand. To me, hugging and cuddling are essential in expressing my love, in receiving love, and in just regular day to day interactions with my girlfriend. If she had said to me that she is adamantly against any sort of physical intimacy, our relationship could not succeed. (In fact, our relationship would not have even achieved lift-off, but that’s another story.) I cannot imagine how I could make concessions on this issue and maintain the same perfect and healthy relationship that we’re in. Now keep in mind that for the vast majority of the population, substituting “sex” in the last statement would be more than normal, it would be mandatory. Or, if you’re not asexual, do the reverse, and you might also being to understand.
It’s Not For Everyone
Given all this, I don’t see an asexual/sexual pairing as any different from a sexual/sexual pairing with conflicting degrees of sexuality. (And I suspect these are more common than we think, since ironically it is the asexuals who are often the most vocal about sexual matters.) That said, sometimes people are not compatible with each other. Regardless of the reason for this incompatibility, be it a difference in sexual orientation, or political attitudes, or food preferences, sometimes two people are just not a good fit. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to work it out, or try to understand your partner. But in my view, it is impossible to understand the differences if you don’t have plenty of similarities.