Sex-repulsed, worried about changes to partner's sex drive on HRT

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vambrace
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Sex-repulsed, worried about changes to partner's sex drive on HRT

Unread post by vambrace »

Hi! So, I'm ace and sex-repulsed, and I'm in a wonderful relationship with my girlfriend of four years, who considers himself roughly/technically ace but doesn't really identify with it as a label. He doesn't have a sex drive/desire for sex, although I think he does feel a degree of attraction. He had a much stronger sex drive in high school, before we were dating (we've recently graduated college). Our relationship is non-sexual, and that is incredibly important to me.

My girlfriend is nonbinary and planning to go on testosterone in the near future. Several of my friends, and their friends, have started T also. One of my friends has been talking about how he, and many of his friends, have experienced changes to sex drives as a result, often to significant degrees, including physical discomfort. My friend said he was sex-repulsed and T is starting to mitigate that a little.

This is... really, really scaring me, because I'm afraid when my girlfriend goes on T, his sex drive might change and he might want sex. I have absolutely no interest in a sexual relationship of any type, and I also wouldn't be comfortable with an open relationship. (I'd like to quickly add that I'm also really uncomfortable with the idea that ace/sex-repulsed/sex-averse people should inherently be comfortable with their partners sleeping with other people to make up for the fact that they're not interested, so please do not recommend I work on this. Polyamory and open relationships are phenomenal but they are not for everyone and that's okay.)

Which means... I don't know, in the case that T has this effect on him, either he can't have the sex he wants, or we break up. I am really, really upset at the idea of breaking up and it's honestly scaring me a lot to think about. But if it comes to that, I'll do it. His friendship is definitely the most important thing to me, so if our needs as a partnership diverge, I can work with it, as much as it will hurt.

I'm coming with two requests. The first is that if anyone has any personal anecdotes about T either *not* making you extra horny/interested in sex, or dying down after a little while, I would love to hear it, because it's literally the only narrative I'm hearing from my friends and it's terrifying me that it's inevitable. My friend has tried to tell me that's not the case when the topic comes up, but since he can't give me examples of people he knows who that hasn't been the case, I'm finding it really hard to internalize.

The second is that if anyone has advice about how to bring this up with my girlfriend ahead of time so he knows this is something I'm worried about, but doesn't feel guilty or like he has to repress his sexuality or something if it does happen, I would really appreciate advice. As an ace person myself I know it would really sting to have someone assume I'm going to change my mind about this, so I also don't want to come across that way. I just want to have a dialogue open for if this does end up happening, especially because I think being in a relationship with someone whose actually interested in sex would make me really insecure and I would need to ask for reassurance more often.

Sorry this is so long and rambling, and thank you for reading or any potential advice <3
Siân
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Re: Sex-repulsed, worried about changes to partner's sex drive on HRT

Unread post by Siân »

Hi there vambrace!

I want to start out by saying it's okay to feel nervous about how big changes in your partners life are going to affect you and your relationship with them, even as we want what's best for them and to see them happy. Have you looked for resources for partners of trans people? You may find some additional support and validation there, would you like help looking?

When it comes to speaking to your girlfriend about how starting T might impact him, how about starting with an open question - I'm hearing a lot of stories about how T impacts on the desire for sex, what do you think about them? You're right not to assume that his sexuality will change in any particular way, or that he would want it to, but it is important that you have that open channel for talking about the possibility. Does your girlfriend think that he might experience some changes here? Is that exciting, worrying, something else? Does he have thoughts about how that might play out in your relationship? It's okay to share your concerns too and come up with a plan together for how you might handle a change in his sexual interest. Does that sound doable?

Ultimately, people's wants and needs from relationships change all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the relationship evolves and sometimes people part ways and both of those are scary but I promise that there are all kinds of new, unexpected and pretty amazing things on the other side of a breakup too. Do you want to talk any more about that possibility?

I don't have personal experiences with T, but the Trans Bodies, Trans Selves reference book does have some advice for folks worried about libido changes with T. It starts with your girlfriend talking to his healthcare provider if this is something he is also concerned about, and they may suggest a different dose or delivery method, or even other medications to decrease this side effect. All of those are your girlfriend's decision though, all you can do is talk to him about how he feels and share some of your fears without using them to block him from making decisions about his body. What do you think?
vambrace
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Re: Sex-repulsed, worried about changes to partner's sex drive on HRT

Unread post by vambrace »

Hi Sian! Thanks for the reply - sorry it took me a while to check back in, I've been busy, and also I wasn't sure how best to articulate some of my thoughts on this.

I wouldn't mind help looking for resources! I've never looked before because I'm also nonbinary, albeit in a different way (my girlfriend has Many gender feelings, and I have none; he wants a social and medical transition, I intend to stay closeted) and I guess I kind of assumed they would all be geared towards cis people? But that might not be true, and even if it was, it doesn't mean it would all be like, things I already know. It'd still be helpful. But I'm not really sure where to start looking for this specific sort of thing and would definitely appreciate some direction!

That does sound doable! I feel like it would be really awkward for me to bring up, haha, but I can manage. Relationships are inevitably going to have some awkward elements and I should be prepared for one in mine.

This is the part of the message that made me stop and kind of think about it for a couple days before I replied. Ultimately I don't think I need to talk about that much. I feel pretty confident about how I'd manage in a breakup, but that honestly, uh, makes me feel bad? Like I'm not devoted or dedicated enough that I have no doubts I could be happy either way and work things out. So it's not something I particularly need or want to focus on.

I think this sounds absolutely great! I'll check out the book and maybe suggest it to him if when I talk about this with him I find out he hasn't put a ton of thought into this component yet. On the other hand, it's possible he could be 150% ready for it, but it will have been good for me to check out!

Thanks again!
Urna
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Re: Sex-repulsed, worried about changes to partner's sex drive on HRT

Unread post by Urna »

Hello vambrace,

Jumping in here to send you a couple of general resources for partners of trans people looking to medically transition. A lot of this might be stuff you're already aware of, but maybe you'll find some useful stuff in there.

And yeah, while there may be some awkward patches during the conversations you have with your girlfriend about possible sexual changes and how he feels about them, it'll all be for the best. It's important to have a plan in place before he gets the hormones and (possibly) starts experiencing those changes. No real way of knowing exactly how it'll go beforehand, but still.

I don't think that your confidence that you'll manage after the breakup is something to feel bad about, because you're fully cherishing your girlfriend during the relationship. And as you said, your friendship with your girlfriend is super important to you, and something that you'd work to keep, even if a breakup is what you two decide on.

Sounds good, I'm sure that that will be a very useful conversation for the both of you! Please let us know if you'd like clarifications, or if you have different questions.
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