Friday, July 01, 2011

Email from a guy who wants a relationship without sex

About four weeks ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

First of all, let me say that your blog is really great. It's good to see such advice in one place without all the regular nonsense mixed in. I have been reading through all of your posts, they have helped me a bit, but I have a question I was wondering if you would know more about.

My question to you would be: Is there a way of finding out if a person is interested in a long term relationship without sex?

I'm 20 and I identify as Asexual. I am one of the homoromantic types; I like other guys but not on a sexual attraction, if that makes sense? I like the look of some, and I would like to be in a relationship with one, but I just don't do sex. Masturbation is my limit I guess. My problem is that I meet a guy that I like, but then pretty much every time it ends in a messy way when they find out I do not want to have sex. I have tried so many approaches: I have just gone with the flow (which ends with the person normally getting bored with me), I have told them I am asexual during the initial meetings (most don't know what that is, or just say that I am in denial), I have also tried stating that I do not want sex early on, which never works as it either scares the other person away as it sounds like I think they just want sex when they are not, or they do just want sex and a fling.

I have read through your posts but have seen nothing that helps me in this situation. I have read the post "Is it really possible to be an asexual human being?". Although I'm happy that most that you know have ended up away from asexuality, for me I am living in the present and was wandering if you have any advice for me? Like is there a good way of having the no sex conversation and at what stage? Are there any signs to look out for that show that a person is just after casual sex when seeing them in person? My experience of the gay scene is limited. I have had no good experiences of it unfortunately. I'm also pretty rubbish at spotting a gay person or making it known that I like the look of someone; although what you have written about body language and eye contact has helped! Online attempts at finding someone also do not work for me. I guess I just sound too boring!

I really hope you can offer some advice!

I found this email fascinating because I've never thought about asexuality properly before. The point of the post about asexuality that the reader mentions was that all the people that I knew who seemed asexual were in reality just gay guys who hadn't yet come out. However, this reader doesn't seem to have a problem being gay because he's clearly tried dating other guys, so he's in a different category to the 'asexual' guys that I knew. Furthermore, the way that the email is written leaves me in no doubt that the reader is being sincere.

Unfortunately, I don't have much idea how to help this reader. All the guys that I've ever known who go on dates with other guys have wanted sex to be part of any resulting relationship, and often the sex is all they want! I certainly don't think there's any way of finding out if someone would be happy to be in a relationship without sex without a discussion on the subject, not unless they've said so in e.g. their online profile somewhere. The problem is that for every guy that I've ever known, apart from this reader, sex in a relationship is like breathing and eating. It's a natural part of life, and completely mandatory. My best guess is that there are very few guys in the world who are like this reader :-(.

I asked boyfriend T what he thought, although he wasn't very helpful:

"I've had a reader write to me and ask how he can find a gay relationship that doesn't involve sex," I ask, "do you think that's possible?"

"I've never heard of such a thing," answers boyfriend T, sounding quite surprised, "sex is a basic human need."

"But this reader is sure that he's asexual, apart from wanking on his own. He really does want a relationship without sex."

"If you ask me," replies boyfriend T, "he just hasn't met the right guy yet!"

I can't help wondering whether the reader's asexuality is just some kind of irrational fear, because if so, overcoming it would another solution for the reader. I've had a few irrational fears in my time, the biggest of which was fear of water and drowning, which for many years prevented me from learning how to swim. However, recently with boyfriend T's help I did learn how to swim, although I'm still not particularly comfortable in the water.

My only thought that might help the reader directly would be for him to advertise for an asexual relationship. So if he's looking for guys to date online then he should specify his preference on his profile. He could do the same if he ever uses personal ads in magazines. However, I don't think it's much of a solution for him because most guys want sex, so the most likely result of that strategy is that no one ever contacts him.

Does anyone else have any constructive thoughts that might really help this reader?

Update 3-Jul-2011: At the London gay pride event yesterday, I picked up a leaflet with the following two links that are relevant to Asexuality:
International Asexual Awareness week (facebook page)


Underground Dude said...

If he is willing to be in an open relaitonship. Meaning, there are some dudes that can go for qutie some time without sex with the right guy, but every now and then the itch needs to be scratched. If he is willing to allow his partner to have a fling when the need arises and the fling is purely physical with no emotional attachment; this might help widen the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite surprised to read this particular post because I'm selling in the same boat. I'm 24 yo gay, maybe not the best looking gay with 6 pack but I'm presentable and fuckable, hahaha!

I had several anal intercourses but I didn't really enjoy them, let alone BJ!! So far, I'm being one passive lazy bottom lying in the bed. I can get turn on but I find sex is complicated, and I just prefer wanking! As you said, maybe we need the right guy but let me put this, last year I had sex 3 times for the sake of dating someone for the whole year, and none for this year. The catch is, I'm really OKAY about having little sex in my life!! I found this situation a bit abnormal especially being a gay at this age.

I do know for sure that I want a platonic relationship with a guy but not really into sex. Maybe I'll do it because that guy has needs, but as Underground Dude above said, I think I'll be okay if he's playing outside. I'm just afraid that he will get so much fun outside that what he gets at home will be insipid...

My friends said that I need to get comfortable with my body, think less and just milk it yada yada but I just can't! I'm not really into it! I embrace myself as a gay person obviously I'm comfortable with myself and my body.

Is being asexual equals to no hope for gay relationship?


Daniel Jason Binks said...

You'd think there would be a few asexuals out there on dating websites.

Phunk Factor said...

Ur not alone...i'm very much like you as well!

Sex isn't necessary in any relationship, intimacy is! Also no two couples would define 'sex' in the same way, it all depends on what they enjoy and are comfortable with at the same time.

Ur clearly not 'asexual', u just haven't found the right guy yet. Even I haven't...or perhaps I did and lost him cuz I was a complete dick to him!

But I do understand cuz even when I meet a guy I like and I want to be in a relationship with them, I am hesitant to bring up this topic...but there is no way to tip toe across this minefield!

U gotta say clear and let them know so that if they are not cool with it, they can back off now before things get way too complicated!

One thing I would suggest is that don't label urslf as Homoromantic just least not until u have tried sex abit with someone u are comfortable with could be just scared!

Take care!

P.S. Brilliant post, GB!

Paul Brownsey said...

"I've never heard of such a thing," answers boyfriend T, sounding quite surprised, "sex is a basic human need."

How dogmatic. On what grounds does he refuse to recognise the possibility that someone may not want sex at all?

"If you ask me," replies boyfriend T, "he just hasn't met the right guy yet!"

How distressingly similar that is to, "He calls himself gay, but if you ask me, he just hasn't met the right girl yet!"

Anonymous said...

try these:


Jamie said...

Hi this is Jamie from Melbourne.

It is not possible. end of sentence.

Akira said...

I have just lost 15 minutes worth of typing. I am devastated.

param said...

To all those who mock at asexuality ,
please leave the topic to people who understand asexuality
and do not simply be rude to him.

He is also a gay human being who does not have sex, that's all,does sex become the only way of life???

Don' we have more chambers in our biggest mammalian brains???

Please use it before it is to late

Can't we be more imaginative???..................for heaven's sake!

BTW Thanks GB for being bold enough to come to his rescue while most rant about sex.
love u ,great help and write up.

Greg said...

Commenting on an old post, but whatev...

I am a 25yo male, biromantic asexual, meaning I enjoy the intamacy and closeness of relationships with men and women, but not the sex. YES, I have tried it before with either sex to be sure that my lack of desire was not just a lack of experience or capability, however they were not pleasant endeavours.

As much as BoyfriendT may think that sex is a human need, it is actually a desire that some different people do not have. Many asexuals do indeed have sex, especially as part of a relationship with a sexual person but this does not detract from their true lack of desire. For most, fear of sex is not a cause of asexuality, much like a person's lack of desire to eat certain foods is rarely a fear of that food. Personally, I could eat Brussels sprouts, but find it very unpleasant to do so, no matter how great you say your Aunt's recipe is.

Each person is unique, an has different tolerances to doing an unwanted activity. If the reader is willing to make a compromise with his partner, he can satisfy their sexual desire by engaging in a minimum amount of sex or allowing an open relationship. If he is unable to do so, my best advice for the reader is to locate others who feel the same way via asexual groups like AVEN. I am not strongly involved in that community, but I have gone to some meets and met many wonderful people, several of whom are homoromantic. Best of luck to him.

Michael said...

Clearly it's possible. There are already a few people on this thread alone saying that they feel the same. You may have a much smaller pool of people, but I think it's certainly possible to find someone similar. Anyone who disagrees is either very narrow-minded or very illogical.