Conversation: Channeling Iliasm

Thursday night, a long day at the office, and an evening meeting. But in between I decide to get a beer and a burger at a place on the harbor. The bar was quiet, and I thought I'd eat quietly alone and read. But my waitress was chatty and bored, and after placing my order, sat down with me. Uninvited, but not unwelcome.  She noticed the ring on my finger and asked how long I'd been married. More than 30 years.  These conversations might go in several directions, but this one I knew by heart, as her story began to come out.  

She was 20, engaged to a guy she'd been with for three years. I was in my mid-fifties, a married guy in a suit, a "safe" person to talk to. The predictable questions for the long married: how does this happen? What pearls of wisdom can I offer someone just about to embark on this journey of marriage and love and sex and hope and ideals? 

Not much I'm afraid, I thought, but at least for once, with this stranger at least, can we speak the truth? So I said, "the most important thing, and the hardest thing to figure out when you're in love, is whether you are sexually compatible."  There, I said it.  My girlfriend and I have often lamented, why didn't our mothers and fathers and friends tell us that if we are sexual people, then finding another truly sexual person is actually really important? Or if we are asexual, you'd better find another asexual to marry, please  don’t **** up a sexual person by marrying them? That sexual compatibility might actually be in the top 10, top 5, maybe top 2 reasons to marry someone?  Oh well, no one told us, but I thought maybe I would tell this young woman.

She was surprised by my answer, but quickly opened up and asked many questions.  Some I could answer from my own experience, but for many, I tried to channel the wisdom of my ILIASM brothers and sisters.

She knew that the feelings of "love" were intense but she understood that that may fade, so what do people do then?  How do you sustain a relationship? The she asked "When do people "lose it" when it comes to sex and love?" 

I had to laugh at this one -- the assumption that all people "lose it." No, I said, some lose it, some do not.  For some sex and intimacy are as important as eating and breathing. For others, it may have never really been there, or maybe it left them.  I told her that her assumption that people "lose it" as they get older isn't right.  I told her I was having the best sex of my life in my 50's, and I wouldn't trade my 20's for it. (I wasn't fully forthright here, and I'm sure she assumed that that sex was with my wife, who I didn't reveal as sexless).

She was surprised that sex in middle and older age still exists, but then I really shocked her I'm afraid.

I told her that sexlessness happens to both men and women.  She was amazed -- in her experience men were always horny, always wanting sex.  I assured her that I have heard from many women on good authority that in fact, men may be or become sexless, and that their women find that very frustrating.  Working in a bar, and I'm sure being the object of desirous male patrons, it had never occurred to her that men could be sexless. I told her that many men were bullshit -- that we have been raised to always portray ourselves as virulent and sexual and desiring women, but in fact, some or many men are posturing.  They don't want or can't handle sex with a real women, and are living on **** and fantasies or are just not interested anymore. (Thank you sisters on ILIASM and my oft-disappointed girlfriend for enlightening me on that point).

She hasn't seen or experienced that yet in life. And why should she? At 20, did anyone on ILIASM really know what we were getting into? Could any of us have truly seen and understood that we were entering into sexless marriages? 

But she asked, as we all do, why would someone not want to have sex with their husband/wife?  That I don't know, I said, and from talking to others, that's the big question no one can seem to answer, not even the people who lose it themselves. At this point I was silenced. I don't know why, I can't tell her why, all I can say, I said, is to try to be honest with yourself and your husband. You may grow together, you may grow apart, you both may continue to love sex together, you may not. if you grow apart sexually, can you adapt your marriage to accommodate your different needs, or do you need to split?

At that point, I think we both felt a little too much information had been exchanged. She got up and brought my check. I paid, tipped her well,  and left. I was a little sad: she was young and just beginning this journey. But I did feel I had struck a small blow for the Sexless Liberation Front, if at least one person might have some consciousness about what may be happening in her life.  I hope she doesn't join the ranks of the ILIASM at some point, but if she does, I think she'll have had a brief introduction. And we'll welcome her if it happens.

RobbWarren RobbWarren
56-60, M
12 Responses Jan 10, 2013

You said it like it is
If we only knew at the time of marriage

years later, we change, but we don't change together

and then we seem to grow apart

after 50, sex is amazing
sure wish my wife could experience that with me

Rob Warren's advice to be sure you get a compatible partner is vital. I married one into S/M and that's not for me. and was taught to never get a divorce. I stayed 25 years and kept him happy because I was supposed to. Man, it was hell. I'd like to publish Rob Warren's remarks around the world.

Thank you...
from the bottom of my heart...
i cannot believe i have
never quite seen this persapective...
and so agree...
it is important
all premarital counseling from pastors...etc..
should include this very stand by itself

Bravo, Lieutenant RobbWarren! Excellent story and I am certain that you provided that young woman with food for thought!

I am amazed at how pervasive the notion of "desire and sex fade as you get older" is. I, too, am having oustanding sex at 51.

For young people, so much sex education is focused on pregnancy and STD prevention...we shouldn't be afraid to speak of the benefits of sex as well.

Great point. It would be very nice to say some good things about it, including that it continues and is great - if you continue to put each other at high priority, and do not go down the autonomy extremism line. But then, who likes the notion of responsibility?

Imagine the howls of anguish though if you channelled what are actually unexceptional statements from ILIASM in sex ed classes for teens. There would be apoplexy from the politically correct "I-only-have-sex-if-I-desire-it-you-can-go-hang" brigade.

"Sex people need to be with sex people" and "The sexless genie ain't going back in the bottle"

New curriculum...indeed! ROTFL!!!

Rated up! I think education is the surest way to prevent the agony that is SM.

Agony is right. It's been easily one of the worst avoidable pains in my life.

I fully intend to (and have already started to prepare the ground) share the sex-people message with my kids, and to make sure they understand that they'll get grief from me if they turn out refusers.

I think a good way to ensure they wont' be refusers is if you let them know that they should be honest and accepting of who THEY are. I mean, if they turn out to be asexual, they should NOT try to cover it up with "bearded" marriages... and that you won't be judged either way might be a start...

good point...
the concept there is
or wrong
"way to be"
just different...

Very nice. I never in a million years would have pegged my bride as headed for SM. And, at the same time I look back and see signs that make sense, now that it happened.

Best sex of your life at 50 is awesome. I assume your wife would not be happy for you. But really shouldn't that bring her great joy that your banging away and she doesn't have to lift a finger?

Thank you for bearing witness. I think because she approached you, and you were obviously candid without picking her up, that might cause her to think a bit before the plunge.

What a great conversation! Good for you. And you're right -- at 20, hell no, sexlessness never crossed my mind! Never! I'm really glad you gave her some valuable info.

lucky me...
my husband of 36 years
is the ONLY male
in my entire dating...sensual life...
could keep from wanting me all the time...
so nope...
at 22, furthest thing from my reality...
not wanting to touch, kiss, taste, smell, enjoy, ravish...
oh sorry, you get the point
each others body...
be naked and not ashamed...
not possible....

MissLee said at 20 a sexless marriage never crosses her mind. Most likely, it never crossed the mind of the current refusers either at that point. I was way attracted with plenty of desire for my husband going into our marriage. I don't know where the heck things went so wrong. I admit I did not have the desire my husband did, but I didn't realize that at the beginning of our marriage. Neither did he or he would have DUMPPPPED ME fast and run like ****. (Idk though he did love me) I would jump his bones anytime we got the chance before we were married I had desire. We were so young too, not experienced and just learning about life together.

I think it is important to share this information and educate before marriage. To teach your kids as they grow up not to feel like sex is bad, that it is a good, normal, and a loving thing that everyone should enjoyed designed at the hands of God for both men and women. How vital and important it is to a relationship. As I've gone through this journey of enlightenment with the hardest path I've ever Tread (Baz I'm treading -lol I hope it's ok for a refuser to joke with ya :-) I asked myself why were we created with all of these intricate pleasure spots if not to have pleasure? WHERE WAS MY ROBBWARREN when I was 20 and marrying. I think there should be serious pre-marriage counseling with a huge part of it about the sexual intimacy and importance of it and what can happen if you let it fade. Also I think it should be common place, a society norm to re-evaluate your marriage every 3 years or so and anytime there is a major event or a new phase in your lives.

My kids grew up so much more aware of sex and more comfortable with talking about the subject than I ever was. We as a family would talk about the subject, but of course, me being the "low desire", screwed up in the mind about sex, would be shy and let my husband go further and take the reins when I would get squeamish. We have daughters and I see now why their Dad wanted to be open and talk about it so it wouldn't be taboo. He was wise. He didn't want them to be like me. ;-( I don't either! It worked too because they are not shy or backward about sex and intimacy. My oldest said, "Mom don't worry about us we don't have issues with sex. You all raised us different." The girls were not aware of our suffering sex life thats just not something you share with your kids as they grow up. So they were taken back and unaware of any problems because we were always happy other than with the bedroom issues. They really got a front roll seat to this problem ( sadly) but they are very aware of what sexlessness can do to an otherwise happy marriage. So I think that this is just one of the good things that came out of this bad situation. I explained all of my issues and gave them as much advice as I possibly could about marriage and how it should be. I told them I do not want them making my mistakes.

You know, I know there are no desire, less desire, medium and high desire and then there is the Super charged desire people. If I had been educated and aware of all I know now or even just half what I know now I would had made a better effort to find a solution and change early on because I truly love my husband. I think if there is love and a true understanding of how very vital this need is to your spouse and your marriage then you can change. This is my humble opinion. I know some will not want to change and therefore cannot change. If they have the will and want they can.

I think you did the right thing RW - from a reforming refuser.

****! OMG. I've done it again I thought I was just going to write a quick short reply and dang it if I didn't do it again. I'm sorry! :-(

Sexless Liberation Front...I like that!
You were honest with her. Yes, it affects both sexes. Sigh....

I didn't invent Sexless Liberation Front, there's an EP group by that name! Check it out!

Not to denigrate either Brothers Robb or Filtering evangelical work, but I am casting my mind back to when I was 20.

I'd have been like Sister Esjeys friend.

None the less, lets say that 19 out of 20 persons of this demographic would likewise not believe what you said, if you struck the 1 in 20 who did have a habit of challenging their thinking, you'd have potentially done something valuable.

Tread your own path.

Good show!
Same happened with my sister. She had started dating a man, and he hadn't tried anything yet, after a few dates. I mean, no kiss, hug, touch, nothing. I told her I was a member of ILIASM, she wasn't shocked! (dammit, who else has this figured out? Four years of drama in school down the tubes!)

Then, I told her to dump him, right now, because I know she's a sex person.....

And she did. I coulda cried. It was so beautiful. :-)

Rated UP!!!!!!!

I've been doing my own work in this arena as well, educating a few mid-20 somethings I am currently surrounded by. They are shocked, blown away, and I'm not even sure they believe me.