11870375_sHere’s a thing we don’t talk about enough: non-sexual relationships

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5:40 Poly in the News

7:50 Topic: Non-sexual relationships

Your sex positive educator for the 21st century, Koe Creation, shares her thoughts on non-sexual relationships in polyamory and in life.

29:00 Thanks!

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30:00 Wrap up

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  1. Shirley Anderson March 28, 2016 at 11:56 am · ·

    I currently live in a non-sexual Anchor/primary relationship poly lifestyle. When we were younger we had an open relationship more like swingers. It was a thing I was into because the folks we knew who had open relationships had better communication and transparent activities. For my husband, it was cool that I’d bring a girl home occasionally and since his ex was a cheater my full disclosure mentality was a boon.
    In 2006 my husband got spinal meningitis and almost died. I had to put my big girl panties on and become the sole breadwinner until my husband started receiving his social security disability benefits. Our romantic relationship died. Between 2009 and 2013 I lived in a celibate marriage. During the course of those years I went through all the stages of mourning my lover like he really was gone. I’d wake up every morning and cuddle with him occasionally but my role as wife had truly been traded out for caregiver and breadwinner. By 2011 I had had it and started demanding some intimacy. He was cruel to me. He said some of the most sexist, meanest things about my sexuality and about my body that cut me to the core. Later in 2012 he would admit that he said these things to get me to leave him alone because he had ED and was afraid of my reaction to it. I was so enormously hurt and betrayed by the fact that he would not trust me with the truth and instead cause me to feel insecure about my own body and sexuality.
    This is when we agreed that I would be allowed to “get it elsewhere.” In 2013 my boyfriend entered the picture. I used Fetlife because I knew someone from the kink community would understand that I don’t want to dishonor my original commitment to my spouse and that my needs are special and I knew someone from the Dominant class would feel responsible for this little piece of me that had been neglected for half a decade.
    My boyfriend has been a miracle for me. Having my secondary partner and polycule (through him) to rely on for emotional support and to socialize with has dramatically changed me! He took me to the Dr at UCLA and helped me get my driver’s licence back. (I am an epileptic and lived through this whole experience without a driver’s Lic.)
    Funny enough, once there was some competition for affection my spouse started to do better healthwise. He lost about 70 lbs (he was over 300 from laying in bed for years). He got off of a lot of his medications for diabetes and pain. He started being more interested in life! Having poly support definately changed my life. I am still married to my spouse and we care for each other very deeply but we are not sexual anymore. It is medically impossible almost. However, he is still my road dog and my best friend and a life great partner. I love both my men. I enjoy being apart of a tribe that celebrates my efforts to live my own life while at the same time loving someone who just can’t be a sexual person for me anymore.

    • Shirley–

      What a heartbreaking story; thank you for sharing. And kudos on your strength in addressing both your needs and your husband’s. This just goes to show, yet again, that one relationship structure doesn’t fit all. You customized to suit your needs. Well done.

  2. Love this episode!I have had several non-sexual partnerships. I am a very sexual person, but my sexual desires don’t always coincide with my romantic interest or my want to partner. While sex often leads to romantic emotions, there have been many times when romantic feelings have occured without any sexual desires, and the feelings are not any lesser.

    I am perfectly fine with having this kind of romantic identity, but what is problematic for me is how non-sexual relationships are viewed and treated in my society. We never seem to get the same recognition as partners if people know that we don’t fuck, and I even feel that my non-sexual partners themselves may treat me as having a lower priority in their life because they don’t want me sexually. It makes me very insecure, and it’s hard to trust in my partner that they are committed to me. It’s very sad.

    • León–

      So true! It’s so odd that we are at once simultaneously obsessed with sex and critical of those who take joy in it. I often feel embarrassed about my low sex drive (in comparison to my partner’s, anyway), and I’ve learned that I need to ask for reassurance when I need it. Fortunately, LustyGuy is always happy to give it.

  3. Hi Minx,

    I listened to your podcast (#469) with Koe Creation about non-sexual relationships. The follow-up letter from M regarding having a non-sexual anchor relationship has prompted me to share my story.

    I am a 58 year old, married woman. I have a serious, committed relationship of three years with my boyfriend. I have another male partner whom I’d describe as a comet and I’ve known him for over three years.

    I have been in a relationship with my husband for 41 years, married for 36 of those years. Throughout most of our relationship, his desire for sex was far greater than mine. Almost 20 years ago, we saw a therapist because the disparity in our desire for sex had led to resentment and sadness. We worked hard together and did a lot of healing through therapy. My desire for sex increased as my resentment disappeared. About five years ago, my husband suggested that we explore opening our marriage to swinging. Over a couple of years, we continued this exploration and it ignited our sex life. I was craving sex as often as he was. In fact, I eventually began to enjoy all aspects of swinging more than he did.

    Three years ago, we met a couple at a swing club. There was instant strong chemistry between the other man (my current boyfriend) and me and between my husband and the other woman. What I didn’t know that night was that my husband had met a game changer. Within a month, I realized that he was falling in love with this woman. He told me that he no longer wanted to play with other couples. I felt a severe threat to our marriage due to his strong emotional attachment to her, but I trusted that, based on all we had experienced and overcome in our relationship, we could manage the addition of emotional involvement with others. I made the choice to continue our relationship with this couple. My feelings for the other man grew quickly, and we became exclusive with them. At that time, we never used the word “polyamory,” or made an intentional decision to enter into a polyamorous relationship. Less than a year into the relationship, I brought up the term polyamory. It was clear we were no longer swingers, so the term polyamorous seemed to fit.

    There was a lot of turmoil as I struggled with jealousy, hurt and fear of abandonment. In retrospect, my husband agrees that his primary motivation in the first year or so of the relationship was pleasing his other partner. Many of his actions were designed to maximize time and enjoyment with his other partner, even when those choices caused hurt feelings for me. The four of us stumbled along without outside resources and support, talked out issues as they came up and strove to be compassionate and supportive of each other.

    We had not been in this polyfidelitous foursome very long when I began to notice that my husband’s interest in having sex with me had waned. As the four of us were spending weekends together, I knew that his desire for sex with his girlfriend had not diminished at all. I found this very hurtful. I tried everything I could think of to recapture our sex life: initiating sex, complaining, crying, anger, and calm conversations. We would have sex, but it wasn’t the same quality or frequency as it had been. I felt rejected and angry.

    Sex became less frequent and more perfunctory. A little over a year ago, I asked him if we were ever going to have sex again. He avoided answering me, and the conversation went around and around until he finally said, “I wouldn’t say we are never going to have sex again.”

    A year and a half ago I made the decision that I no longer wanted to spend time as a foursome, and so we began spending all our time with our partners as separate couples, swapping houses for weekends and overnights. I sought to find ways to “do polyamory” better. I began reading books and listening to your podcasts. I joined polyamory Meetups in order to have a community in which I could find support. I sought a poly-friendly therapist to help me deal with my anger and resentment. This transitioned into marriage therapy. My husband told me that he didn’t want to have sex with someone who seemed angry at him so much of the time. This was easy for me to understand. My outlook and general demeanor became more positive and happy. I hoped that since I was no longer acting hostile and hurt, my husband’s interest in me would return. Still, our sex life continued to dwindle. Months would pass with no sex with him.

    A few months ago, I realized that years of feeling rejected had impacted me. I knew that I no longer wanted to have sex with my husband. I decided to give him a gift. I told him that I wanted to take sex off the table. I told him that I no longer wanted to have sex with him. It has been very difficult for him to say how he feels about this, even when the topic was raised in therapy. I asked him to think about it. Finally, he was able to say that he had lots of feelings that ranged from relief to sadness.

    So, I am now in an anchor relationship that is non-sexual. For months, I had not even wanted to be affectionate toward him. For me, it seemed less hurtful to see him as a buddy, or a housemate, but he expressed that he would like us to be more affectionate. Recently, I have been able to be more affectionate. It was something I chose to do for the sake of our marriage; however, I am finding that it does feel good. I am working on seeing the positive things that are left in our relationship. Neither of us wants to walk away from this marriage.

    I’m not sure that I would describe my story as one of a successful non-sexual, anchor relationship, since I continue to struggle with feelings of rejection and sadness; however, a month ago, I was honestly able to say that I want my husband to be free and happy, just as I want that for myself and my boyfriend. It felt good to say that, so I guess I am growing. I am so thankful for the support I get from the other two men in my life, especially from my boyfriend. My relationship with my boyfriend continues to flourish and deepen in every way.

    Thank you so much for your book and your podcast. They’ve contributed to my growth as I’ve striven to be the best partner I can be in all my relationships and to feel emotionally and mentally healthy. I’ve also purchased “Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass.” Writing my User Manual helped me to see that I have a fear of abandonment, and being aware of that has been very helpful in understanding and managing my reactions. I introduced my boyfriend to your podcasts. He is now an avid listener. It’s been great to listen to them together or separately and then talk about them.


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