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Old 11-28-2013, 10:32 PM
Poddle Poddle is offline
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Default Non-sexual primary partnership?

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has experiences to share about having a primary partnership that isn't sexual.

My wife is mono. I was poly when we met, I consider myself poly by nature but we have spent the majority of our 12 years together monogamously. Due to the distractions of raising children and building a home/family I've been mostly happy with that. About a year ago we opened things up so I could have kink relationships with others, but they were not to include sex. That has gone well. I now have two 'friends with benefits' with whom my wife feels very comfortable (she has no interest in BDSM).

My wife is not a very sexual person. We are emotionally and physically close but it is rare that that develops into sex, usually less than once a month. I am much more sexual, am often interested when she isn't and we have been discussing this issue for years. We both now accept that our pattern is simply not an overly sexual one. I have, since we started being more 'open' been thinking more about wanting to have sexual relationships with others again. We've been talking about this possibility for a number of months now.

We keep hitting a wall though and that is that my wife feels so deeply hurt that I might want to be sexually intimate with others - something that doesn't happen when I engage in BDSM play with others. She completely understands and has no issues intellectually with it, but her emotional response remains very strong and difficult. She has recently had the realisation that if she were to choose to cut off our sexual contact then she would feel a lot less upset and vulnerable if I were to be sexual with other people. So we are now considering continuing with our partnership - as my primary partnership - in all ways except sex.

I find myself having some very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand - the horny me end - I'm not losing a lot of sex (quantity/frequency-wise) in that and can envisage a future in which I am much more sexually satisfied by one or several lovers and in which we manage to retain most of the rest of partnership - and my wife is feeling much less hurt. On the other hand I would be losing the deepest and most profound sexual partnership I have, we as a partnership would be losing our most intimate way of connecting and my wife would ultimately be signing up for celibacy.

Does anyone else have a non-sexual primary partnership? Can this work? We're still at the discussion/setting boundaries stage so anyone else's experiences would be useful in helping us consider all the permutations of this possibility.

I look forward to hearing any and all responses. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:32 PM
Dana Dana is offline
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I have a non-sexual marriage. It's not truly functional. The sex stopped years ago and due to some significant trust issues (he was "poly" for years before telling me ie: cheating.) It has changed every dimension of our interaction in negative ways. The thing is, once you take sex out of the mix - if it was a part of the relationship in the past - then other things seem to start to fade. Touch becomes more intermittent and then intimacy fades...well, this was my experience, anyway. I think if a relationship started out non-sexual, then it would be a more likely possibility.
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:56 AM
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StudentofLife StudentofLife is offline
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I am in a non-sexual primary relationship, due to the chronic illness of my girlfriend. Things went downhill sexually when she was at her most ill, and although she now has periods of remission where it would be theoretically possible, it just doesn't happen.

I think that although we consider ourselves best friends/housemates/partners there is very little intimacy left. We function quite well doing day to day things, managing her illness, etc...but I no longer feel the desire to touch her, or tell her my deepest feelings as I would/did when we were still lovers.

I wonder what your wife thinks about being celibate for the rest of her life? I mean, there are some people who view it as a relief. I just struggle with the flip side--those of us who are celibate because we have no other choice, since our partners aren't available. In my specific case, I struggle with having all the restrictions of an illness, when I am perfectly healthy.

Do I think a sexless relationship can work? Yes, because so many things we rely on our domestic partners for have nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with feeding the dog, mowing the lawn, and doing the laundry. Do I think it's healthy and fulfilling? I'd have to say no, at this point.

Interesting post! Thank you for starting this.
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:39 AM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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Yes, it can work. Works pretty fine between R. and me (I'm asexual, she's not); there has never been a sexual component to our 'ship - going five and a half years now, and around a year and a half into it we've both come to accept that there appears to simply be no workable common ground sexually between us at all, but that we want to stay together nonetheless. She can and does share that part of her life with others, and considers our ship the emotional core of whatever structure she ends up with. From my side, I'm just glad to be a part of her life - I don't feel any need for hierarchical structures anyway.

The real question is can it work for you, and that's a highly individual/subjective question only the two of you can answer. (And there's neither shame nor failure in it if your answer turns out to be no, no matter if it can and does work for others. It just means you'll have to look for other solutions that work for you.)

Wishing you the best either way.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:44 AM
london london is offline
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So, does your wife miss having sex with you? I think I'd feel better about it if she didn't but I would find it hard to deal with this if we both missed sex with each other but she was "punishing" me for needing more sex than her. This may just be a preference thing but I think it's more likely that she is uncomfortable with non monogamy and on some level, judges you negatively for needing more sex than her.
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Old 11-29-2013, 12:08 PM
wildflowers wildflowers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post

The real question is can it work for you, and that's a highly individual/subjective question only the two of you can answer.
Totally agree here. You each need to assess what it takes for you to feel connected to a partner. Sex is one route to that, but is it the only that works for you?

Also worth talking about how you envision the new scenario. How much touch/non-sexual contact do you want/need? How much would you each feel comfortable with? For me anyway, touch that is non-sexual can be really helpful in maintaining an emotional bond.

Finally, remember that any choice you make can be changed. You could try it, find it doesn't work, and so try something else.
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Old 11-29-2013, 01:28 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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It's great you are talking openly. It's great that she can at least intellectually understand that your sexualities don't match and she shouldn't expect you to curb your nature and be nearly celibate and deprived of something that is important to you, while she could hardly care less.

Sometimes emotions take a while to catch up to the mind's understanding. Very odd she's fine with BDSM, which is isn't interested in, while the sex thing, which for her is once a month, or less, does matter.

Did she used to be sexual? How old are your children? Is she sleep deprived, overworked? Do you two date, go away on romantic weekends ever? My point is, perhaps her libido is only temporarily dampened, and you two could revive you sex life. We can get caught up in home building, lawn mowing, jobs, kids' schooling and sports, etc., and forget about our sexy sides.

Have you considered couples' counseling? If she's making up ultimatums like, "You have sex with others? Then you'll never touch me again!" sounds like a recipe for even more bad feelings. It's not a good idea to add other partners if your primary relationship is not stable.

Do you have to hide your sexuality from her? Go jerk off in the shower after she's asleep? Can anything be done to become more sexually intimate? Can she at least hold you, nuzzle your neck a little, while you jerk off in bed, for example?

I've talked to men whose wives ended up off sex for whatever reason (illness, hormone fluctuations) and still didn't want their guy having sex with others. This can go 2 ways. Either the wife revives her libido somehow, or she becomes OK with her man getting that kind of loving elsewhere. Contemplating no more sex for you, other than once a season, for the rest of your life, masturbation only, no pussy! That seems like such a daunting, soul killing prospect.

My libido was extremely low when our 3 children were babies and toddlers. It totally exploded again once the youngest became more independent around age 4. Any chance this could be your wife's problem?
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2013, 01:50 PM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
Totally agree here. You each need to assess what it takes for you to feel connected to a partner. Sex is one route to that, but is it the only that works for you?

Also worth talking about how you envision the new scenario. How much touch/non-sexual contact do you want/need? How much would you each feel comfortable with? For me anyway, touch that is non-sexual can be really helpful in maintaining an emotional bond.

Finally, remember that any choice you make can be changed. You could try it, find it doesn't work, and so try something else.
Every choice you make has consequences. Yes, you can change. .... but you might find you can't go back... or that it's permanantly affected your relationship.
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:57 PM
bofish bofish is offline
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Default I can relate

I can absolutely relate to this. It sounds like my husband wrote it!

We have been married about 15 years and had sexual issues the entire time. We have a very close relationship. We opened up in part because he wanted to do S/M without intercourse. I had no problem with that. Then he switched to wanting a girlfriend. I didn't have too too much trouble with that, but it was an adjustment. Now, we don't have sex at all and sleep in separate beds. This is hard for me because I do feel like there is a piece missing...but I don't know how to make that "piece" work.

It sounds like you might have discussed this: But are you sure your wife wants to be celibate? Is it really low libido? Does she want to explore her sexuality with others? Is her low libido from trauma or medication?

In my case, I did NOT have a low libido. My husband just has not been working as a sexual partner for me and I was able to sort through a lot by sleeping with others. But, yes, I find a no-sex marriage frustrating and lonely at times..BUT from what I hear from my married guys who cheat - all marriage seems a little like that.
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:57 PM
wildflowers wildflowers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyinPractice View Post
Every choice you make has consequences. Yes, you can change. .... but you might find you can't go back... or that it's permanantly affected your relationship.
True, of course. If either of you feels a particular step would have irrevocable consequences that you are worried about, it would be good to make that clear, and to talk about what routes would still be open. Still, I think it's worth keeping in mind that you don't have to get things perfect right off the bat.
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