When my ace partner becomes sexually aroused, I feel like the most special kiddo who gets to blow on some lit birthday candles-- except nowadays it’s a penis. This is the pilot of a sitcom and I stare into the camera, mid-handjob, frozen in a moment of my late 20’s.
It takes a whole TV series to explain how I went from an extremely popular hoe to the humbled partner of a bonafide romantic asexual. How does a freak in the sheets like me survive a long-term relationship with non-existent sexy time from my number one?
Step Zero: Mind Control
In the beginning, a cache of my Internet searches would demonstrate how impossible it was to accept romantic love without the sex I expected. Plenty of desperate people seek answers online as to why their significant others won’t have sex with them. BELIEVE that I scraped for enlightenment on Yahoo answers, Quora, every Internet forum, when I noticed a glaring similarity: these people’s significant others don’t have sex simply because they don’t have to.
The consenting terms and conditions for each relationship differs, but I cannot obligate my sweetie pie to sleep with me, and nor can you. I was also faced with the horrific entitlement of my sexual desires.
We must unwire the “pissed off” feeling of not having sexual attention reciprocated. It’s completely natural, but if you’ve ever felt it, it sucks. We suffer a gut-scrambling indignance when the ones we desperately wanna freak with aren’t into it.
I learned coping mechanisms that do NOT include any type of coercion because convincing someone to have sex with me feels as wrong as it sounds. At one point, I believed a whole sexual experience required at least one other person. The attention! The bodies! I had come to depend too much on someone else’s presence for stimulation, much like some people are hopelessly dependent on pornography.
This is how I freed myself from needing sex from my partner.
This is how making it work with an ace made my life a sexual theme park.
Step One: Make Love To Your Own Damn Self
For many of you, this portion is elementary advice because you have a Ph.D and several gold Olympic medals in jerking off. I, however, was held captive by a false truth that moaning and sound of balls or titties slapping about legitimized a “real” sexual experience.
Might I add that I had an extremely conservative religious upbringing where pornography and masturbation were forbidden, and my ankle-length church dresses combusted when I lost my virginity in the sin of premarital sex.
SO MUCH SEX was to be had, and I dutifully fucked away, much like the good Lord created bunny rabbits to do. Nobody had ever taught me I was a god-like, fingerblasting entity, capable of pleasuring myself straight into the 9th circle of hedonistic hell.
What the hell was masturbation? You meant when I felt good alone? Doing the same damn thing I did as a toddler? Humping random household items? That was it. Hump, cum, repeat-- for a long time. Exploration beyond the most basic, guaranteed routes to orgasm did not occur until this sexless partnership.
Maybe partner penetration made me throw away my whole imagination, but being in love without sex recontextualized masturbation: it was kind of like that experiment with the rat, repeatedly smacking the same lever for cocaine. The conditions were different, and I had to masturbate more than ever and make masturbation way more interesting.
Blame it on being an avocado-chugging Millennial narcissist, but it turns out my favorite fantasy of all is imagining to fuck myself in third person. I fingerblast myself into oblivion.
Step Two: Whack-A-Moles and Hungry Hungry Hippos
And then I turned to toys. Adult toys. Although any object or vegetable can somehow be used to get off, I really wanted to make my sex toy collection chic. I took meticulous care to somehow make my sexless relationship not only valid but desirable to other people.
Call me insecure, but it remains difficult to explain self-satisfaction in a sexless relationship to other sexual people.
The sex-having people pitied me.
They questioned my choices.
They told me I deserved better.
So I told myself I deserved more remarkable toys than any other grown-up kid on the sex-having people playground. If I could become expertly experimental, I could transcend their criticisms and maximize my pleasure.
The first thing I did in toyland was clone my partner’s penis. His penis is impressive, and the fact that I discovered such an option was by sheer luck. “Exact Same Penis Toy” is the Google search it took stumble upon this brilliant Clone-A-Willy Kit. Cloning anything felt like I had finally arrived at the Official Age of 3D Printers or Whatever, except that the process was really quite simple, almost elementary (no petri dish required).
The clone had no more intuition nor autonomy than its organic origins. In fact, this neon-pink Frankenpenis had no autonomy at all! I could grip that silicone weiner in my fist and shake it out the car window in the heat of a road rage argument, and it would still be doomed to deliver me orgasms late into the evening. I can violently masturbate with it until it disintegrates, but I gladly inform you today that it has not fallen apart and is surprisingly durable for something I made in my kitchen.
The rest is sex toy history. Hunting and collecting toys gave me the satisfaction of a hobbyist, and the moment a fountain of what was definitely not pee splashed out of some part of me, I beamed with pride and joy (look what I did, mom!). I was halfway to Nirvana, finally capable of making myself squirt. I had finally transcended... human dick!
Step Three: Open Wide
Driven by my very willful sexual nature, my partner and I opened up our relationship to having sex with other people.
I have not mentioned that, up to that point, my partner was sometimes sexual, but only very rarely, and lacked the vocabulary to self-identify as an asexual.
Please also note: I had only ever unethically cheated on a partner up to that point, so ethical non-monogamy was some really new, progressive stuff.
We set our boundaries: take care of ourselves, tell each other everything, and trust that our love and mutual respect was enough to save us from calamity--that was it. There were not that many rules in the beginning because we did not know what to expect.
I imagined: my partner and I sleep with a lot of new people. He finally discovers his kink. I get answers. Answers turn me on. We host orgies. I send out invites. We are total freak gods. I discover my fetish, and it makes somehow me money. S E X, baby!
In reality, none of the above ever happened. A few one night stands later, he lost interest in all of the possibilities. The fact that he expended any sexual energy on someone other than myself when our own sexual encounters were so scarce was confusing and caused incredible insecurity, raising more questions than an offshore government torture camp.
Don’t get me wrong: this is not a polyamorous horror story.
Opening our relationship was one of the best decisions we had ever made. It revealed our sexual natures, and as he became solidified in his asexuality, it became painfully clear how prolonged sexual relationships caused me the delusion of love.
What did I do? Well, I ethically jogged into entire secondary and tertiary relationships that started and ended within the length of my primary relationship. He watched me leave for days with a packed overnight bag and waited for me to come home, again and again for years. The incredible sex I was missing was finally had.
I slept with my friends!
I participated in orgies!
I slept with a lot of my friends!
I responsibly told him as much as he wanted to know, and when things ever ran sour, I always came home to the comfort of my primary partner. The only times I witnessed his jealousy were over emotional connections that could possibly surmount ours-- but it never happened.
What may very well be the ultimate test of jealousy ran its course and has not won. The constant principle of our open relationship was that the other sexual relationships were meant to satisfy us individually and preserve our bond. It occured to me that I don’t hold my primary partner up to the standard that he was simply to make me happy. Instead, prioritizing each other’s wellness and satisfaction defined this incredible, steadfast sexless romance.
As I transformed the indignance of sexual rejection into different energies besides resentment and coercion, he let all of my (many times self-defeating) sexual behaviors and explorations play out with nothing but compassion.
I found his acceptance of me profoundly, well, hot.
This story is about radical tolerance between two preferences that seem impossible. I feel incredibly lucky, because no sexual or asexual person is exactly the same as the characters in our romance.
To all the desperate people out here who want to know why their significant others don’t have sex with them: I really don’t know.
It is complicated, and it takes work, but somehow an asexual angel loves me anyway.
We serve as mirrors for each other and muddle through this vast sexual gray area-- a place some people like to think of as a beautiful rainbow.