originally published on Offbeat Home
cw: sex and kink
Update to this post: My partner now uses they/them pronouns.
What is sexual compatibility? Identical sex drives? What if you start out perfectly matched, and one partner’s drive drops away due to time, hormones, or health? What if they’re no longer able to have sex because of a disability? What if you fall in love, and you’re on the same page about sexuality, but don’t ‘match’?
My partner Damien (a feminine-nonbinary who uses she/her pronouns) considers herself largely asexual. For a quick refresher, asexuality exists on a spectrum, from people who consensually engage in sex for a partner’s enjoyment to people who want nothing to do with any of it. Experts currently think that about 1% of the population is asexual, though that may be low. In Damien’s case, while she enjoys masturbation and mental fantasies, it boils down to the fact that she isn’t interested in anything genital-related while someone else is in the room, and her sex drive is very low.
I’m an allosexual cis-woman. I’ve had a ridiculously high sex drive since puberty. It’s occasionally been dampened by physical and mental health issues, but it always springs back stronger than ever, like the disconcertingly phallic heads of a pornographic hydra. I’d happily engage in all manner of perverse activities with a variety of humans (and maybe a few non-humans if I find myself in the Star Trek universe), given the right circumstances. However, the heart wants what it wants, and what mine wanted was Damien, in all of her asexual glory.
Insecurity made life a little rocky early on. I worried that her asexuality was simply disinterest in me, while she worried that I might prefer someone else. But after nearly seven years together, we’ve ironed that out—and, in the process, built a sex life that we both find satisfying, exploring a non-traditional definition of sex.
Here are the tools that we use to help us to define sex for ourselves.
As humans, language is the most powerful tool we have in relating to one another, in understanding others’ experiences and expressing our own desires. In our case, it has been vital in building an intimate connection. We spend a lot of time discussing and even analyzing our fantasies and sexual interests, and when we flirt we use a lot of sly references to one another’s kinks. She knows what makes me blush and giggle uncontrollably, and what not to reference under any circumstances.
When Damien and I first met on an old blogging platform that’s no longer used very often, we became friendly enough to start chatting with each other over online messengers, which soon turned into doing online roleplaying. When we began a relationship, that didn’t mean we suddenly stopped enjoying our old pastime, except now we had a few additions. We regularly roleplay sexy scenarios, often informed by the fantasies that we’ve discussed. Not only is this a fun way to connect sexually without doing anything that makes Damien uncomfortable, but we can expand our sexual experiences past what’s plausible in reality. Our sexual partners can be any gender or sex, any build, can even be a sexy alien, because we’re both nerds. (Did you know Klingons canonically have two penises?) It’s also a safe way to explore kinks that are scary to us, without any physical risk.
We also write erotica, both for ourselves and for one another. We’re both creative and enjoy the process of writing, and it’s a fun, sexy surprise that also happens to make a great Christmas or birthday gift.
Sex toys are fun, the industry is interesting, and they’re often works of art. We’ve both spent a lot of time reading and researching, learning about safe sex toy materials, admiring inventive designs, and enjoying the writing of many entertaining and informative reviewers.
We’ll bond at the same computer, scrolling through our favorite sex toy sites, building lists and, sometimes, buying. Like bespoke erotica, sex toys make great gifts. “Here, you’ve been wanting to try this one!” Maybe we both just have a fetish for gift-giving holidays. We have by now built a decent collection, one which we both take pleasure in.
We started out vanilla. But after a lot of discussion and self-exploration from both of us (as well as exploring things safely through erotic fiction and roleplay), we entered into a 24/7 kink dynamic, in which I’m submissive to her. Kink is complicated, in ways I don’t have space to discuss here, but ultimately, it has been a way to build intimacy and trust. In my vulnerability, I show her that I trust her completely, enough to give control, and she shows me the same as she looks after me. I am my most authentic self, I feel empowered and safe, and so does she.
And while our kink is not strictly sexual, it has a sexual element to it. We both enjoy impact play, which is inherently sexually charged. She can order me to masturbate and tell me which toys to use, or she can deny me the opportunity. Sometimes she’ll tell me precisely which fantasy of mine I should use. And after I’m done, she usually has a snack set out for when I emerge from the bedroom. She’s thoughtful like that.
Here’s the twist here: Damien is the one with another partner, not me. This is primarily because I find dating and, uh, human interaction to be exhausting. However, the fact that we aren’t monogamous means that, if I do ever meet another person (or hot alien!) that I want to see naked, I don’t have to choose “do I want to pursue that?” and “do I want to stay with my girlfriend?” This also takes pressure off of Damien. She doesn’t have to try to force herself to be sexual to try to “keep” me or her other partner. We’re with her because we love her, and she’s with us because she loves us.
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