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  #11  
Old 02-14-2013, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post

If a marriage becomes non-sexual, are the spouses still in a relationship? Would they be so even in the absence of the legal contact that binds them? I think that, in most cases, people would agree that they are.
I appreciated this point.

I don't have a clear cut response-I don't think there one.
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2013, 06:25 PM
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My husband has a lady friend, who I have labeled his "non-sexual partner". The two of them have labeled her his "sister". It's not romantic in any sense (probably more by her choice than my husbands), but there is a relationship there and an emotional attachment. Many people mistake them for husband and wife (until I show up ).

She takes my kids to the doctor, school activities, etc and when I can't make it to one of the kid's sporting events, she shows up with my husband (has the baseball and football mom's scratching their heads, especially when I look confused when they call her my sister in-law). She and her family are basically part of our family now. It took me a while to be comfortable around her, but I can now call her a friend.

I would say that a "non-sexual" partner goes beyond even close friendship.
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  #13  
Old 02-15-2013, 01:00 AM
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I found this cartoon relevant to our conversation (worksafe, unless your boss is reading the words and is a bit prudish): http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...74223622_n.jpg
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  #14  
Old 02-15-2013, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
I have been pondering this for a while. People here sometimes talk about having non-sexual partners, boyfriends and girlfriends.

I have to confess that I don't understand what is meant.

I suppose that what I'm asking is - what's different between a close friend and a non-sexual partner?
Short answer: Roughly the opposite of the difference between a partner and a friend with benefits...

Sex does not a romance make. I love my best friend. I love my husband. I don't love them in the same way, and the critical difference is not that I have sex with my husband. Poets have been trying to pen it down for centuries. There's just that magical "something" in romantic love that you do not feel in platonic love, and it's not just that your genitals get engorged with blood when you think about them.

I understand how it can be confusing. Just like an orgasm, you can't imagine it until you experience it.

Actually, from a scientific point of view, there's probably a very specific set of biochemicals responsible for that lovey feeling. I know oxytocin is one of them, but that's involved in any human bonding (including parent-child) so that can't be the only one... *roots around Google for a minute* *there* But I doubt that list is complete. Biochemistry is incredibly complex and humans understand a minuscule part of it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:05 AM
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Yeah it makes sense to me. I don't have any non sexual partners & I don't know if it would be right for me...I picture it as either being lustless romantic love (nice) or a real frustrating situation where one of us wants sex and the other doesn't or maybe there's romance and low level lust but it doesn't go beyond that. I don't consider two adults who have romantic feelings AND want to have sex but cant, to be non sexual partners

There are close friends I used to have both sexual and romantic feelings for, now I don't, it is a clear difference for me, I did not hang on to romantic love, so they are close friends, period. I can see it possible that if things had gone differently I would've kept feeling romantic love but not be sexual with them, and then I would classify them as non sexual partners.
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  #16  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Of course, when talking about Gia and I having a sexual versus a non-sexual relationship, it helps to understand what those terms mean! And when you're kinky, that can be a lot fuzzier, as this blogger points out -- http://theladygarden.org/2011/10/18/everything-is-sex/. While she and I haven't had conventional sex (not that there's much "conventional" about the sex we have, but you know what I mean) in a month a half, we HAVE had a number of erotically charged moments and encounters, some subtle and fleeting, some blatant and lingering, having to do with, say, me kneeling to rub her feet or her asking me to fetch her something and then ruffling my hair. Food for thought.
Something I just posted on my blog related to this topic.
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  #17  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:44 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Thanks for the discussion. Very thought provoking. Really interesting to read everybody's responses and takes on the subject.

Quote:
I think it's a good point, that partnership means different things to different people. To me, a "partner" is someone with whom I am consciously cultivating a relationship with the intention of continuing to know each other more and more deeply, supporting each other's goals and development, and finding meaningful ways to include one another in our lives. Very similar to friendship, and yet more charged, more deliberate. It comes down to a combination of intimacy and commitment that's mutual and acknowledged.
AnnabelMore - thank you. That's a fabulous way of describing why partnership is different from friendship (it's a distinction I struggle with). Plus good cartoon.

SchrodingersCat - thanks for the link. I have to share that with some of my friends. I think a ton of them would appreciate it.

I suppose that my own take is that to consider something a partnership, I'd need there to be the things that AnnabelMore describes above and a sexual element to the relationship. If the sex has stopped for good, I would stop thinking of it as a partnership.

If it stopped due to a permanent illness I'd consider myself to be my former partner's carer. I wouldn't necessarily leave them to fend for themselves but I would not consider such a relationship to be a partnership any more. I might even marry a former partner suffering from a long term illness (especially if it was degenerative) - just so as to be their next of kin and be more easily able to deal with medical professionals.

If it stopped due to an emotional problem which isn't being addressed, I'd be sad but would end the partnership and seek to remain friends.

I know it's different for everybody but I think that for me, that's how I see it.

I'm not fixed on the notion of there needing to be a partner in my life. There wasn't for years and years. During that time, I built a life that revolves around around non sexual friendships of varying degrees of closeness. C, living companion and I intend to stay together, his needs are considered in all of my decisions, both he and I regularly adjust our wants so that we can help each other achieve what we want. We regularly hug each other and often spend long periods gazing into each others eyes. We do things just the two of us that nobody else is invited to. As C is not a human being (he's a dog) we will never have a sexual relationship and I would never call him a partner - even though my relationship with him is hugely important to both of us.

I have a close friend, though, who when I first met her, introduced her very beautiful dog as her partner. Over the years, I've known her have a few FWBs but I've never heard her refer to a human being as a partner.

I have some human friends who I will hold hands with, hug, ruffle hair, go on dates with etc - I suspect that anybody seeing us would think that we were sexual with each other. I describe those people as friends. If the physical affection goes along with a lot of emotional intimacy too, I'd call them close friends.

I've experienced the stages of falling in love with friends before. One in particular it was very intense with. We used to meet several times a week and talk for hours. Quickly progressed our relationship until we were spending 4 nights a week together. Nothing sexual has ever happened between us - I'd describe us as being like sisters. Things are more settled now. We're older, have jobs. My friend is married. I have my friends, lots of interests, C, my SO in my life. We don't spend so much time together and the intensity isn't as strong but we are close and share our emotions, hopes and needs with each other. We are very committed to staying close to each other and we both work at it.

Starting a friendship with a new dog can be as emotionally intense as well.

I reckon I can go through all the stages of falling in love with individuals that I'd never call a partner.

Maybe that's just my own issues with the word, maybe other people would describe these relationships as non-sexual partnerships?

IP
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
If a marriage becomes non-sexual, are the spouses still in a relationship?
My ex and I did not have sex for the last three years of our marriage and it totally sucked. I won't go into anymore details about it, but suffice it to say that I was very unhappy about it. It was a major issue between us and one of the reasons why the marriage ended. There is no way I could live with that kind of frustration again, not even if I am in poly situations. I want to express myself physically with people I am romantically involved with. I know I definitely could not get involved with an asexual person, nor someone whose life situation or other relationships would prevent me from getting laid.
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  #19  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by StudentofLife View Post
My experience has been that relationship can be defined differently, even between the two people theoretically having it. With my last relationship before Pidge, after 5 years of involuntary celibacy on my part, I thought of myself as his former girlfriend/current health aide. He was still thinking of, and describing us to others as a romantic couple. If he had been the type of man for whom a poly relationship might have worked, perhaps things would be different. But in my book, one person calling it a relationship doesn't make it so, if the other person defines it differently.
Oh, definitely! Remember my definition of partnership above? Everyone involved calling "the thing they have" by that name pretty much is the one and only criterion for something being a partnership, IMO. If only one calls it such, you don't have a partner, you have a problem... possibly even a stalker.

(as an aside to @InfinitePossibility: that's why I would not refer to a human and a dog as partners - the dog, obviously, has not agreed to the use of that word. )

That's not what I meant when I mentioned "charity sex" and involuntary celibacy, though. I was talking about a partnership (agreed upon to be one, by both peeps involved) between an asexual and a sexual person. By definition, the asexual will never feel "the hots" for their partner - so if they plan to keep it closed/monogamous, some form of compromise is needed: either the ace offering sex as a favor of love without being into it much (which I've heard many sexual partners of aces refer to as "charity sex", with a definite undertone of frustration; however, there also are a bunch of cases where compromise like this can work fine for everyone involved!), or the sexual saying goodbye to their sex life completely for the time of their partnership.

I'm really glad that there's a third option once you let go of the monogamy model... the sexual's sex life being a part of them they can share with someone else. Works for R. and me in a way that keeps both of us happy without any feelings of sacrifice or guilt trips. Neither of the two previous options would work for me - I couldn't stomach the thought of having sex with anyone, including her; neither could I live with the guilt of having sentenced her to an end of her sex life as the price of being my partner.


ETA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I want to express myself physically with people I am romantically involved with. I know I definitely could not get involved with an asexual person, nor someone whose life situation or other relationships would prevent me from getting laid.
Just to keep any possible misunderstandings nipped in the bud: There's nothing at all wrong with that decision of yours that "no sex" will be a dealbreaker for you; if anything, I applaud you for having that clarity.

If you know what does and what does not work for you, a definite hard limit right from the start is, IMO, much preferrable to trying messing around with an unworkable compromise that's going to end up hurting everyone involved.

Last edited by InsaneMystic; 02-15-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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  #20  
Old 02-15-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I want to express myself physically with people I am romantically involved with. I know I definitely could not get involved with an asexual person, nor someone whose life situation or other relationships would prevent me from getting laid.
Just to keep any possible misunderstandings nipped in the bud: There's nothing at all wrong with that decision of yours that "no sex" will be a dealbreaker for you . . .
Of course not. Why would there be anything wrong with it? What misunderstandings could come out of my saying I want sex? I would never have thought there is something wrong with that.

However, I must correct you - I didn't make a decision. I just know that's what I've always wanted. I view sex as a form of communication and I want to be able to express myself sexually. I didn't sit around and think about it, and decide that "no sex is a deal-breaker." No sex doesn't work for me in a love relationship, not only because I have a high libido, but because I honor my need for that kind of connection. I can have casual sex with people I am not in love with but I can't be happy without sex in a relationship with people I do love as more than friends. It would just make me too sad not to be able to completely express who I am with them. My ex and I drifted apart because we were no longer having sex and I became extremely depressed to be laying next to him at night and without being physically intimate.
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Last edited by nycindie; 02-15-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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