We All Think About This...

...I know I certainly do...

Those of you who have found a new love...   a new intimate partner, whether nearby, or long distance....   what would you do if you found out that sex between you was not going to be possible after all?  Due to illness or injury...

Loving them, or caring deeply for them as you now do...   what would your response be?

I know that some I have talked to don't plan to have a monogomous relationship..   they plan to have several relationships of various forms on the burner at the same time.   Some are keeping it secret from the various parties, and some are open about it, some very open about it.   I'm not going to get into my feelings on this, but I do understand the premise...   if one becomes unable or unwilling or less interesting for some reason, there are others to fill the void immediately.

This, of course, carries its own thorns...   what we all crave is not just sex, but intimacy...   and to have intimacy, there has to be some feelings between you....   and so very often, one gets more deeply involved than the other...   and regardless which side of this one finds oneself, it is pretty miserable.  To have to hurt someone, or to be being hurt...   nasty...

....and some we all know are totally committed to one another... 

So, being committed, or less so...  what would you do if you found out that the sex was not going to last?  I suppose in the case of those who are both on EP, I'm not likely to get an open forum response that is in any way negative....   and it's asking a lot that you trust me enough to even give me that in PM...

You see, I've been there and done that before...   several times.   I have just left a sexless marriage....   a relationship which started out with incredible sex...   and before that a short term relationship in which sex was used to control, and which by definition was sexless....   and my first marriage was one of mismatched libidos...   He was happy with once a month, and I would have been very happy with 3 times a day...



...and more recently a long distance relationship which followed the path from enthusiasm to excuses to refusal... 

Leads you to beleive it's me..   well, it leads me to believe it too, quite frankly....  and I am searching in myself, and in the experiences and thoughts of others to attempt to stop the cycle.

...and the men in these relationships all came from varying types of sexless marriages or relationships as well...   A couple of them took sadistic pleasure in having the opportunity to pass it on. 

So, back to the question....   if you knew that sex was going to fairly quickly dwindle away, not for negative reasons, but for reasons beyond the contol of either of you...   what would you do?

...this question is simply a point to ponder in the exploration of sexlessness....   not anything to do with anyone in my life.

 

FriendofPromise FriendofPromise
51-55, F
21 Responses Mar 6, 2010

Lots of conversation, but no easy answers here. Lots of physical and psychological options to explore. Short version love is not sex. You can have one without the other no matter how you slice it.

Sorry I lost a bit of the thread here with my last post. I was thinking about what a member commented to me in a PM and got off the topic. Apologies,D.

I believe that it takes a great level of emotional maturity and soul searching for us to know what situations would be acceptable for us. My mother was a very sexual woman. Quite stunning and a real flirt. When my father died, I was twelve and my mother did not handle his death well. Went on a series of sexual searches that affected my thoughts about my emerging sexuality in a very negative way. I became very confused about the differences between have sex and making love and looking for love in a healthy way. As a result I made some bad decisions in picking life partners. I take responsibility for my mistakes. My mother was just trying to find some meaning in her life in a way that I understand as a mature woman and I love her dearly and miss her terribly.<br />
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I know that I emotionally matured in a sexual way later in life than many people. I always yearned to be part of a true loving relationship however I had to be in the right place emotionally and mentally for this to happen for me. For us now. The lessons that I learned from past mistakes were taken to heart. I have taken a lot of time over the past years to finally recognize exactly the kind of man I wanted as a partner and exactly who I am as a woman. <br />
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Both of us have the same levels of emotional and sexual knowledge and maturity. We both learned lessons through a lot of pain and disappointment. In many ways we are mirror images and in a few we are different. He is logical and I am a typical artistic type but we both have elements of the logical and artistic and this works quite well. It is a good balance and mix that works. <br />
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We are both givers so the idea that sex or the lack of physically being able to have intercourse holds no fears for us. Another thing we have talked about many times is that we hope the story of our love, of how we found one another, can be an inspiration for others in some way. That as long as there is life, there is always hope for a better happier existence and that, with determination and self belief and self respect, life can have a happy ending. Peace,D.

This is actually where I am. I fell deeply in love with my mate. I knew there were issues regarding actual physical intercourse but was assured my needs would be met. Unfortunately now I am invested in the relationship heart and soul. <br />
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Had I known the depth of the problem I probably would have walked away before letting myself get in this deeply. Sadly I think he knew which is why the big show for the first several months.

Perhaps the one great ADVANTAGE of our sexless unions is that we learn so much about ourselves in the process of dealing with them. Whilst we may hold firmly to the fact that the sexlessness is NOT our fault (and I totally agree with the mantra "It's not you!"), we nevertheless gain a deep understanding of what we can and cannot live with.<br />
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In the process we develop a deeper understanding of how others may respond to us . . . All this "food for thought" results in some indepth contemplation.<br />
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As FoP says, it really is about "communication" and as VB says, it is also about "honesty". Whilst ever we cling to some vision of ourselves that does not include ALL our real self, we do ourselves a serious mis-service. We deny aspects of ourselves and in doing so, we don't allow for how these will affect our lives and our futures.<br />
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It is a cliche "love yourself" - but it remains a truism. If we suppress parts of ourselves for fear they are unlovable (read: you cannot love yourself), then these very parts have power over you in ways that can be incredibly destructive. <br />
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If you can accept and value yourself "warts and all", then you are truly offering "the whole package" in any new relationship. If your new partner can do the same thing, then chances are the relationship has a better than average chance of being the relationship you yearn for.<br />
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Those of us with fellow ILIASM partners are probably extra-fortunate in that we come from very similar situations so empathy is a given.

Thank you for sharing your comments. My husband and I have not been able to have sexual relations in years due to illness on his part. I was 33 when we stopped. OMG it was so difficult. I cried ( I know it seems so dumb now, as I should just be thankful that he's alive), but we shared an incredible intimate relationship and we had a passionate sexual life. To think that we couldn't share that any longer was devastating. We almost divorced. He had issues with it and I was certainly having issues. Thankfully after about 2 yrs of just absolute misery we went to see a therapist. THANK GOD we did. We have learned to share intimacy in so many different ways other than intercourse. My husband can please me in ways I've never imagined. He feels better because he knows that I am still satisfied by him and doesn't feel I will run off with someone else. I am thankful to have my husband still in my life and to know that we still share a very intimate and satisfying love life.

FoP, I will try to just answer the difficult question you pose.<br />
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Honestly, it would truly depend upon how committed I was to the relationship. There is someone that I have loved for many years and most likely always will, regardless of what the future holds for us. But we are not in a fully developed, committed relationship together. So if I were to know NOW that sex would be impossible, I would probably try to let it go and find someone else.<br />
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If I were in a committed relationship, then we would deal with it. As TV says, there are many hot things that we could do if "penetration" were impossible. If he could do absolutely nothing, then he could watch me! It is the desire and intimate sharing that is the most important. That trumps all.

I think there is a difference between can't and won't. I could live with can't cause there is to much love here and frankly there are a lot of toys, but won't plays hell on your self-esteem

I guess, although the answer is very clear, and unlikely to change... what I was asking was... what if you found out right now, today, not some time in the future...<br />
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I thank you all for the carefully thought out, very open, answers you have given...<br />
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Is this a trick? No. I asked the question I did, to find some insite into another question, which to me is equally important... but would, perhaps, not have seemed so, or, more likely while obviously important to me, would have left most without a field of reference. I will explain it in a future post...<br />
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What I didn't expect, in part because I was looking for something else, was the depth of the responses, or the unasked question within myself, that I wasn't even aware of.<br />
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I won't individually respond here to each comment, but there are a couple of responses that I want to share...<br />
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FY... you aren't necessarily looking at it from the other side... I have experienced infirmity... and my recent accident brought home to me my own mortality, and the fact that all can change in a split second.<br />
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dartist... I appreciate your candor, and I understand and have felt within myself the kind of love that can span great distance, and wait with endless patience... you are so lucky to have it reciprocated so completely...<br />
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Aging Thinker... you are right on both counts... I do fear that some flaw in myself has caused the "rinse and repeat" to become and endless loop, and each new variable returns the same result... I don't always think in words... it takes time for me to translate the concepts that snap into place in my mind into language... and sometimes, its true... once they are translated, I am reluctant to share them anywhere, even here...<br />
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V... your openness here is appreciated beyond words... your emotional courage is inspiring. I too, was hurt badly by a couple of friends from whom I expected support when my world went to hell in a hand basket, and received the opposite. Kick em when they're down, I have learned, is something reserved for the very strong... it's safe then... or so they apparently believe.<br />
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As for the **** tacos... every time I order Mexican food I have gotten a **** taco.... and I am beginning to realize that perhaps, inadvertently, that's what I've been ordering... and THAT is the great dilemma... to first recognize that, then to find out how to order more effectively to get one of those great tacos that some of you are enjoying so very much...<br />
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I really appreciate all the comments here... they are all helping me to answer both my related question, and the one I didn't realize I needed an answer to so badly. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart for taking the time and thought to answer my question with such care and understanding.<br />
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FoP

Is this a trick ?

FoP, you imply, ever so gently, that we carry our own misfortune with us. If we have characteristics which contributed to past relationships going cold, then the same ones could affect any future relationship as well. <br />
I also share another feeling you alluded to - if I can't say on EP what bothers me, then I'm in real trouble, and I must have a long look at myself. -:)

FoP - sometimes it is the lack of effort on our SO side that hurts the most. If my H had a medical reason for denying me but still tried to find ways to satisfy me I would not be looking to divorce him. As so many of us know it is not just the lack of the actual act of insert a into b that hurts us so much, it is the whole picture we are lacking

FoP, You bring up a good point here to talk about. Advancing years can bring up health issues and my love and I realize that there are more ways to show love and intimacy and desire than the act of penetration. We will never refuse one another if our physical capacity for the sexual act diminishes. There are other ways to satisfy a loved partner. We have always been quite open in sharing anything between us and talking about this possibility with respect and understanding draws us closer. <br />
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We did physically meet last year for the only time so far in a year and a half of knowing each other. I had not had any sex for sixteen years and had apprehensions about my ability to respond fully with him. Had the years of being celibate affected my body? My former partner had hurt me physically many times because he did not believe in foreplay. It was the typical "Wam bam thank you mam". Before marriage he was tender and considerate but that changed after we were married. Lots of other problems that I will not elaborate on now. <br />
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My lover was so wonderful to me and we had discussed before we met, that if I was not ready for sex, we would just enjoy being together. I felt no pressure to perform at all. To our mutual joy, I found myself responding in a huge way and we had a wonderful three weeks together. <br />
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We live thousands of miles apart so physical intimacy is not possible for months at a time but we love and share passion long distance until we can be together again. We may not be able to have sex but we are not sexless. It is a matter of mutual commitment. We share other experiences and laugh until the tears flow. Spend hours talking everyday. Keep the bonds that we have built strong. Both know that we will share a permanent life as soon as possible. <br />
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It is sadistic to offer any person an intimacy and then use it as an agenda. Some people take great satisfaction giving pain. I feel that the most important element of any relationship is respect. Respect means that both people are open and communicate well over time. Gradually build trust. Are always supportive and not controlling and give the other person the right to make decisions for their own life. <br />
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Sex is just a part of the total relationship and it is important. Being open to a partners wants and needs is important. Tender caresses and warm cuddles lead to intimacy on a deeper level. If my lover ever had problems with the sexual act I know that he would find other ways to satisfy my passions as I would do the same for him always. The possibility of living a sexless life together is foreign to our way of thinking. <br />
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It is an individuals decision as to what would satisfy their sexual drives. My lover and I have chosen to be together though apart because the love that we share is the best part of our lives. We have total trust in each other. This might not work for others but it works for us. We talked about mutual concerns at having to be separated for extended periods of time. The simple fact for us is that we are worth waiting for. There are times that being apart is hard. No pun intended. We both know that this time of separation will finally end and are working towards our final goal. I hope this helps answer your question FoP. Blessings,D.

I've learned something here today... which I suppose should have been obvious... but perhaps I'm much more obtuse than I thought...<br />
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Since joining EP I have learned a lot about myself, and not all of it things that I am particularly proud of... but, that's for later.<br />
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What I learned here, after saying that I didn't expect the people whose new love was here on EP to want to give a "negative" answer ... and I most humbly apologize to all of you who have responded... openly and honestly... and having obviously conversed with your new loves at length on just this topic... as well as a world of others. You have faced it fearlessly and decided between you exactly how it would be handled and you have no fear what so ever of being open about it here.<br />
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Communication... deep, serious, honest and heartfelt communication is the thread throughout. How could that not be obvious to me... <br />
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I'm not completely sure yet, but I think it has to do with fear... of being hurt, and fear of true vulnerability. I am learning to communicate more openly, both with myself, and others. <br />
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But, right here, I'm stalling out... the feelings and ideas are there available in my head... and I'm pretty articulate... but I can't seem to put them into words. <br />
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Do I fear censure... not really... not here. I'm really not sure...

If there were a reason beyond our control that sex was impossible, I could accept that. There are so many ways to have intimacy without sex. If there is a disability that makes intercourse impossible, most will find other ways to satisfy themselves and their partners.<br />
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What kills a sexless marriage is the lack of caring. That our partners know we're suffering, our self-esteem is suffering, we're slowly drowning and they won't do anything about it. Not can't: WON'T. <br />
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So what would I do? I would make sure to keep the intimacy there, make sure my partner understood that I need to feel loved, cared for and make sure that they are on the same page with finding other ways to fulfill that.

I don't talk to my partner about not having sex or making love. When we do he hurry's up and you know. I feel like i can be replaced with a plastic doll. So i have absolutely no motivation to do it. He is one sided and i can't stand it. My past boyfriends would look at my face and make sure i was into the moment and enjoying it. Not this one. I feel reluctant to talk about this because you know everybody has access to everything in our lives. But i don't desire sex anymore. couple of years ago i would be ready everyday more than a few times a day. but now i feel empty and alone. We have never talked about these kinds of things. I did mention to him last week that i have needs and I would like to make love once in awhile not just when he's ready. No remark no answer no solution. Oh well what do you do. I won't go looking for it anywhere else i had enough of that when i was younger.

Morph: Thank you... I understand.

Sex.<br />
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How much importance do I put on ****** in a relationship? Actually, remarkably little. What I craved in my marriage was intimacy, not genital rubbing or the exchange of bodily fluids. In fact, the very last time I asked for sex in my bloody awful marriage, she said "okay, but hurry up", and I turned her down. <br />
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Not that I don't like sex. It is the ultimate ex<x>pression of love; not "icky" or too messy so that you need to scrape yourself out with a spoon when you are finished. Something that is wonderful; human; exqusiste. Something that you want to share with your partner because they want it too.<br />
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My relationship with my love will never become sexless because of one of us being unable to "perform". We both understand what makes a relationship strong; what gives us validation for being together. The old saying "sex is 5% of a relationship when you are getting it but 95% when you aren't" is pretty close. But a relationship is built on much more than just sex. It is built on love, respect, shared interests... the list goes on... <br />
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Would I stop loving my darling if she couldn't have sex? No. Would she refuse to give me release? No. Would I? Absolutely not. We are meant to be together. Sex is an ex<x>pression of this, but not the reason we love each other. Gosh; we live a continent apart; never have "sex"!!! But I love her with all my heart, as she loves me. <br />
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I joined this group because I thought my problem was lack of sex. It wasn't. My problem was lack of respect; lack of intimacy; lack of love. If it was lack of ******, I would have just kept on ************ and lived with it. But it was deeper than that; I needed to find the person I found here, and love with all my soul.

V: I like your equation for your current relationship, and recognize that a lot of communication was involved there as well...<br />
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As for the meat... well, I have a reason for withholding the "meat" for the moment... and it has to do with some cross references in my mind.... I know, if anything, that is even less explanatory.<br />
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I will explain what, beyond a mental exercise, I am talking about, in another post. <br />
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....and I'm wondering how many of us are caught in the "rinse and repeat" cycle.... and that great question, as easy to answer as "what is the length and depth of the universe?".... why?

Enna: I fully agree with the givng 100%... I've believed for a long time, that it takes at least that much giving for the other partner to "feel" 50%... and I'm sorry, I know it's a very difficult question, and I know that nothing is ever set in stone.... few better than me... The great value in your answer lies in the exceptional amount of communication you two have obviously invested in the topic, and in your relationship in general... thank you for your time, and your candor. FoP

What a challenging question FoP!! My simple answer? I don't know . . .<br />
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Baz and I have spent hours and hours discussing our relationship and exploring how we want it to work. We've both focussed on what we each WANT, as well as what we don't want. We've talked at length about how we will tackle the inevitable issues / problems that will arise. We've given each other "heads up" on how we prefer things to be dealt with.<br />
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We are both committed 100% to the relationship - as I read just recently "giving 50/50 is not enough - each partner needs to give 100%". As Baz says, when both partners put the relationship first, both partners are likely to benefit.<br />
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We've been scrupulously and searingly honest about ourselves - each to the other. Knowing ourselves and sharing this knowledge with each other is essential, in our opinion, if we are to avoid some of the pitfalls of our previous relationships.<br />
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I'd like to believe that enforced sexlessness would not result in the breakdown of the relationship. I'd like to believe that the relationship would survive because we have so many ways of being intimate and passionate with each other.<br />
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But can I say this would happen "for sure" . . . ? Nothing in life is set in stone.