Sexless Marriage & Intimacy
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Dedicated Citizen
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Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:50 am
I recently came across an article that looks into relationships and how sex is viewed within a marriage. The expectation is that sexual relationships are to stay within a marriage. With consent being fundamental to a sexual relationship to express an obligation to have sex with a partner is also considered inappropriate. The article questions if a refusal of sex is a betrayal like infidelity.
Sex seems to be the one thing used to express true intimacy and commitment to a partner.
This discussion is about the feelings connecting individuals with a sexual relationship. In no way should the physical acts of a sexual relationship be mentioned. Please refrain from comment about sexual acts.

I've read the comments in reply to this article and a common theme seems to be that even if a person is not always in the mood for such an act an individual needs to remember that their partner has needs. One individual expressed that she doesn't always like going to the store to buy food but that is something she will do to keep her family happy and views sex in the same light. I can understand this point of view. A sexual person will not always align their interest perfectly with their partner at all times but there is a mutual benefit long term. Just like with going to the store the person will benefit from having food for their self. So, when the person does feel like engaging in sex their partner will be there for them, at least ideally.

This is of course a simplistic answer to a complicated situation. I would question what answers can be found for those who would have no mutual benefit such as those in the asexual community or those with past sexual trauma. Yes these are relatively small number of individuals but looking at these from a different stand point can bring about sounder relationships.

If there is a relationship without sex what intimate acts can be expressed that separate the relationship from those of friendship and family?

What reasons would you give for sexual acts being the most restrictive expectation of a relationship?

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:04 pm
OK, I'm going with the assumption that when we are talking about a "sexless marriage", that it wasn't always sexless, but became that way over time, and that both parties involved are of an age where that wouldn't be considered "normal".

Now, there's not being in the mood, and there's not being in the mood for reasons. I get annoyed by this sort of topic because it seems that reasons are rarely addressed. For example: She has put on a few pounds after having kids, and he complains about it a lot. This makes her feel hurt,not sexy, and not like having sex. If he wants her to lose weight, he should take her dancing, or for walks, or for a bike ride. These things not only get her to exercise, but are quality time. Hold hands while walking, talk about your day. So much better than endless complaints. Look for alternatives to negative behavior.

Sometimes there are no alternatives. My mother knew a woman who divorced her husband because he wanted to keep having sex after they had the number of children they wanted. I think most of us would agree that his desire was not unreasonable. But her feelings were that sex was for procreation. Period. I didn't know her, so I can't say for sure, but I can only assume that he didn't want to take his desire outside of the marriage, thus making a divorce necessary, since their expectations were so entirely incompatible.

With cases like this, a lot of time and frustration could have been avoided had they discussed it. I think that if you have needs that are considered at all outside of the norm, you need to tell your potential partner. It seems unfair to spring it on them months or even years into a relationship.

I think that in an ideal world, asexual people would find each other, and be able to have satisfying relationships, giving each other companionship and love in ways they are comfortable with.

I think the reasons that sexual acts are the most restrictive expectation of a relationship have a lot to do with culture and socialization. Different cultures have different attitudes about this. There is also the fact that monogamy halts the onward march of STDs, and guarantees knowledge of paternity. (Thus avoiding awkward appearances on Maury Povich.) In matriarchal societies, paternity isn't such a big deal, since you always know who your mother is.

I might add more when the discussion continues.
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:57 am
Disclaimer: I am the last person to claim expertise on any of this, all of this is basically just my random thoughts on the subject.

The article itself is concerned with the question of whether infidelity can be justified by a sexless marriage. You seem to be more concerned with the subject of emotional intimacy, so I'll keep my focus there, and off of discussions of infidelity for the moment.

...I have some difficulty in the idea of one partner using the other simply to satisfy their 'needs.' I would like to think that, if they were married, they would care enough about each other to talk things out when it became uncomfortable.

True, sometimes there is no answer to a problem like that. But, again, I'm probably the last person to ask.

In more direct response to the questions you asked:

1.) In a relationship without sex (for whatever reason), I believe there are many intimate activities that may serve to distinguish the relationship from a "cohabiting friendship."

Pagan mentioned dancing, walks, etc. Just the simple time alone together is important--regardless of whether you're 'intimate' in other areas of your relationship or not. The biggest key, in my view, would seem to be communication between both partners.

There is physical contact without sex--cuddling, for example. Composing music as a pair, sitting together, taking the time to meet each other's day-to-day needs, not just satisfying 'urges.'

2.) Restrictive expectation... I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. *pokes Pagan's answer* I'll agree with this when it comes to limitations from a sociocultural standpoint. If you were asking about any sense of obligation, then I'll just put that up to our oversexed culture in general.

I'm not entirely sure all of that made sense, but it's what I have.
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Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:53 pm
I've been contemplating a post on this thread for awhile, and I'm still thinking but I'll post what I have.

I like the analogy of food shopping and sex. Often times, my husband and I are not aligned in that regard, but that doesn't stop us from trying to entice the other. We have discovered that most of the time, one can re-align the other, so to speak. And if not, we snuggle and share intimacy with touch. And on that note, touch is an intimate act that can be expressed differently in intimacy, friendship or family. And I'm not just talking about "where" the touching is occurring. I hug my husband differently than I do my friends and family. I'll give him back and shoulder massages that would be different if I were to give my sister a massage.

I'm not sure how to answer the most restrictive expectation question....

I'm interested to see how the discussion progresses.
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Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:48 am
I've been with my husband for 8 years. Due to my health issues, we often cannot be sexually active. We have gone as long as 3 months without that level of intamacy, but we both understand that health is more important. Often my husband's health is preventing this intimacy too. But we love each other dearly and show our affection in many ways besides sex.
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