In many relationships one partner will have desires that the other partner doesn’t share, maybe because they don’t know about them or maybe just because it isn’t their thing. Both of these are valid reasons not to share a desire and I’m sure there are plenty of others. What happens though when you take two people, one of whom is part of the asexual spectrum and the other is not? How does that couple reconcile their desires?
Step one: COMMUNICATE. I simply cannot stress this enough. If you’re not talking to your partner then that can only make things worse for your relationship, no matter what the topic is. So in that case, you may as well put sex on the table as a topic. I would hazard a guess that there are some asexual people out there who are willing to have “normal” PIV sex with their partners simply to make them happy. Perhaps other engage in more atypical sex acts that are pleasurable or enjoyable. And that is their prerogative and maybe that is where their communication levels have led them. If they are both happy and everything works for them, great! So now, we address the couple who, for whatever reason doesn’t want to do that.
Step two: Keep communicating to find what is right for you and your partner. Maybe they are OK with oral sex but not PIV sex. Perhaps they prefer to have sex on a limited basis and express themselves in other ways. They might not want to have sex at all and then you, as the more sexual partner, have to evaluate what that means for you. Maybe they don’t mind giving you pleasure, but don’t want you to do anything to them really; maybe kissing and cuddles are all they want. There are all kinds of permutations on how an asexual person might interact with their partner and I won’t try to list them here. Just work together to figure out what works best for the two of you. Eventually you’re pretty likely to come to a compromise that you both can live with.
These rules also apply to any couple who has trouble with matching desires or libidos and it takes work to figure out what you both want out of your sexual relationship. But if you can’t reach an agreement in bed, there’s no shame in splitting up because of sexual incompatibility. Sometimes love alone isn’t enough and that’s when it requires so major self evaluation to decide what is right for you and your partner should ideally be doing the same. You might conclude that you need to keep talking and working to figure these things out or you may decide that you should part ways. There isn’t anything wrong with that.
And even if you just have unmatched libidos in general, this same advice holds true. Perhaps you like to be flogged and your partner is leery to do so. Talk it out, give them time to consider if they are willing to try it, and then negotiate just how it is going to work out so that everyone involved has clear expectations of what will and won’t happen. Maybe you’ll discover something new about yourselves and it will enrich your sex life that much more. But none of this is possible if you don’t have conversations about sex with your partner (preferably not in the heat of the moment) and try to learn what each other wants and needs. Keep an open line of communication and go from there. You never know what might be fun that you’d never have discovered without having that little chat about fisting or bondage or even simple blindfolding for some light sensory deprivation.