Just from this paragraph alone, it sounds like you have an INCREDIBLE dynamic and loving relationship going for you. It makes me so happy to hear that! Happy cries are some of the best ones. Everything you just described to me is filled with emotional intimacy, closeness, and care that I think most people strive for in relationships. You don't need to feel bad about focusing on what is causing you stress because that is natural. I'm only suggesting you take the time to focus on all the good because it will lessen the stress and fill your life with more joy.sandpiper wrote: This particular part of your post really spoke to me: "This could be a different kind of arousal; one that is based off of knowing your partner knows how to love you. It doesn't need to be sexual for it to be profoundly impactful." It's kind of a weird experiment, but this year I've been logging every time I cry with the date and some notes on what I was feeling. And there's a dozen times in there where I just burst into happy tears from feeling so loved and appreciated and so loving and happy. These weren't moments of ecstasy or grand romantic gestures; one was just when we were sitting in a public place at night sharing a protein bar and talking. Two were in "sexual" settings, although the second didn't involve any genital sex at all that night- he just so gently and lovingly, slowly and deliberately kissed my legs that I burst into tears. And I'm not usually a crier! So those moments have exemplified a really really special feeling, of knowing one loves and is loved, and that we know so much about each other and (over years of friendship plus our current relationship) have shared so much. In those moments I know I don't need some particular feeling other people are having; I'm just so full of this feeling of being close with someone. That's something really special, and something I should spend more time appreciating instead of wishing I had something I just don't have right now.
I'm glad that resonated with you. I do talk about asexuality as a spectrum for a reason. It does not inherently mean you have no sexual desire. I'm quoting from our asexuality primer article, "The asexual community is diverse and asexual people have a wide variety of experiences, but what most have in common is prioritizing other types of attraction and relationships over sexual ones."I feel like the bolded part of that definition is extremely important in understand motivations and experiences. Its not a matter of "sex or no sex" but rather more a matter of what is prioritized in a relationship. So for you, if you feel like being able to provide your partner sexual pleasure brings YOU joy and is something that YOU want to do, that's awesome and still fits under that definition (though it's important to note words are just words and we can define our experience beyond a popular definition). My only concern ever in that situation is if you feel pressured to do so. Remember, this is about you and exploring your feelings and emotion. It might be hard to focus on these issues that stress you out if you aren't centering your experience. Helping finding your positive experience with intimacy starts with centering what you want and like to do and not what anyone else wants.sandpiper wrote: I also find it really validating that you bring this up because I find that a lot of ace spaces are really uncompromising on not taking part in sex because one doesn't have a traditional urge for it, and while it's great that that works for those people, I just don't really hear a lot of talk about the asexual experience in people who DO want to continue to engage in sex for other reasons and how they feel about it. This makes it kind of scary to talk about sometimes, because the way, say, a friend assumes when I confide in them about this, that I'm going to stop having sex entirely because I don't feel a certain way, feels like people spelling doom for a relationship that I really want to work on all fronts, including sexually.
This is AWESOME. it sounds like your experience actually facilitates consent and exploration of what pleasure might look like in a way your peers might not experience. You've created a healthy and crucial dialogue between you and your partner and that is NO easy feat. Celebrate yourself for that and recognize how uniquly powerful you are in that regard. That is a form of intimacy the media fails to cover. You've overcome something society often ignores because of your own experience. That's really cool. I hope you continue to think about this question and explore it in your life!sandpiper wrote:
The first thing that comes to mind that makes me a better lover through my experiences is that I'm better at avoiding a lot of the ruts some other people might get stuck in with sex, because I'm used to things feeling weird and different from a particular cultural narrative. It's easier for me to have regular conversations about sex, what isn't working, and some really vulnerable feelings about it, because I've had so much practice communicating about it in all this time, from the very beginning, that nothing has gone the way it's "supposed" to. As a couple, it's made us both introspect and work on erasing certain pressures and assumptions and ways we think about sex (like talking about other feelings besides sexual pleasure being equally important and valid things to explore!). It's given me more practice in communicating and negotiating and compromising around sex, in making myself more open to things I wouldn't crave or seek out on my own, and in analyzing ways we can potentially improve things. I'm honestly having a hard time coming up with others besides this main point for now, but it's still something!
I could not agree with you more. I'm sorry your GYN misdirected you. Again, very few doctors, including OBGYNs (a reminder: that's a surgical speciality, and it's not about sex, it's mostly about reproduction more than anything) have any actual training or education in sex and sexuality. Most medical schools don't even include it, and those that do usually have a week or two of that education, tops. Unless you have an OBGYN who actually has some additional training/background/education in sex and sexuality, they're not who I'd ask for help with those things, just for future reference. That's not a failing of theirs (unless they are suggesting they are experts when they are not!), it's just not what they are actually educated in and what kind of care they provide. I'm sorry that this doctor derailed you, but I AM glad that you feel solid enough in knowing yourself and what sounds like you figuring out your own actual, authentic sexuality enough to know that this wasn't right for you. THAT is actually really fucking great, you know? So, in that way, it's kind of awesome you had the opportunity, even though it sure would have been nice to have it not be "tested" like that.Intellectually, I feel like I'm doing really great inner work and making really great progress with my partner, with both of us expanding our understanding of sex and sexuality and all of the good things that can be involved besides the "particular type of physical pleasure, culminated in orgasm" framework. But the "just practice more and everyone can enjoy this particular feeling" pressure really sets me back. It accumulates in the idea that, on top of all the other kinds of pressure, I "should" be having sex so I can "figure it out", and the more time I put in the more I'll get out, which absolutely hasn't happened over months and years.
I think this is all important stuff to recognize, and no matter what, I think acknowledging that your personal space hasn't been respected, and that your boundaries are probably extra important to you as a result is great! I'd let your partner (and maybe your family, if you ever feel able and want to) and any future partners know about that, just so you can have that for yourself.The Ultimate Guide book raised an interesting idea about some pre-orgasmic women subconsciously feeling unable to "let go" to experience orgasm because they feel so much pressure and that everything else is so out of their control, that the one thing they can control and cling onto is not letting themselves feel good. Engaging in so much solo or partnered "okay, let's figure this out" sex probably isn't helping from that perspective. Obviously I'm saying yes to any solo or partnered activity that happens, but if I've never done it out of any genuine desire to do so, maybe that's fueling self-resentment and powerlessness that aren't helpful. I also don't come from a very consent-respecting family (just the typical stuff: lots of hugging/kissing/poking/tickling/touching/grabbing and emotional prying which doesn't ever respect me saying no several times) so that probably makes me used to relenting to things on the surface that I never genuinely want.