eris1212 (eris1212) wrote in dcpolykink,

a little help?

I'm in a somewhat unique position, and trying to sort some things (of the queer/kink variety) out, and I was hoping to get some advice/help/whatever you got on how to deal.

I'm gonna start at the beginning, bear with me please. 

I came out as bi/poly in hs.  Was in relationships that were queer/poly/kinky.  Went to college, fell in love with a transmasculine non-op bio-female.  We're perfect in every way...except the sex/desire stuff.  Because of trans body issues, she (we use female pronouns, the long explanation i won't bore you with) hasn't dated before and was pretty skittish about sex etc.  We started slow, but she had said something at some point about thinking she was a top, and i thought that she'd sortof... get more comfortable.  She hasn't.  In fact, that whole "so now we're married" thing has settled in (got married 2 years ago now) and we NEVER have sex.  She swears she's attracted to me still, but... I suspect she's not sure herself... or is genuinely asexual --which was roughly where she identified before we met--.  I've tried to spice things back up, but she's gone from shy but curious to uninterested.  I've tried to talk to her about it, but she freaks out.  She even freaked out when I just asked if we could buy a dildo.  She finally said that we could get one, if I really wanted, but that she wasn't really interested and I'd have to get her really drunk and it would be terribly awkward.  So... that wasn't encouraging at all.  I'm not looking to make our sex life MORE awkward than it already is, nor am I interested in making her do things she doesn't want to.

So now not only are we not having fun kinky sex, we aren't having any sex.  I'm so frustrated I can't see straight.  But on the other hand, we're still the perfect match in every other way, and there's no way I would leave her.

It's really beginning to get to me, particularly because after living in sex-positive atmospheres for so long, I'm beginning to feel like there's something wrong with me, which REALLY bothers me.  I'm a sub (occasional switch, but mostly I'm a strong person who needs to be dominated, and I don't always put up with being dominated if I think I can get away with rebelling), which makes the occasional sex we do have -- necessarily initiated by me -- weird for me, since it's not what i'm looking for.  Nevermind being dominated, I don't even feel like she wants me, which takes all the fun out of it.  I've told her as much, but she just cries, and then it's more awkward next time.  My short-term solution has been to masturbate a lot, but that's...not enough.

Most of my connection to the poly/kink scene has been through the goth community, but recently she hasn't wanted to go to the club either... a little unclear why, although i think it's got to do with the fact that she doesn't dance, and so she sits by herself all night while I dance (if i sit with her, she doesn't try and talk over the music either, nor does she want to meet other people, so i tend to just dance so i don't end up sitting there staring at her forehead all night).  Last time I asked her if she wanted to just stay home she got all upset that I was going to go by myself.  So I'm just slowly being cut off from anyone who'd understand(she's not doing it purposefully, but still).  She's very private about sex, and so talking to local friends would violate her trust, and i've sent a couple angsty emails to old friends, but none of them really get it -- either they dismiss our relationship because they don't understand why i'm in a monogamous vanilla partnership, or they can't see beyond the trans/queer thing, or they just continue blindly telling me to talk to her about it.  I realize that probably seems like the best advice, but i've been trying for years now, and it's only getting worse.<p>

I'm a little at my wits' end, and I don't know what else I can do.  Any help?

(Note to troll-hunters: Yes, it's a puppet account. No, I don't want to be identified, for reasons that should be obvious after reading the above.  I am a real person having a real problem, not a troll.)
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I'm sorry things are so difficult for you! It sounds you are a wonderful person who has done everything right on your end. Patient, willing to talk and take as long as she needs - but she needs to figure stuff out. You can't figure out what she needs if she doesn't know herself!

What sort of sexual interaction would be comfortable for her? Manual, oral, toys, none, focused on you, focused on her (not that it needs to be the same every time)?

She's drifting away from your primary community - is there a community that she is comfortable with, or is interested in if she got past the shyness? A trans-focused group, queer, kink, generic alt-culture, museum lovers? Your partner doesn't seem to be growing as a person anymore, she needs to figure out a direction that does feel safe and natural to grow in, just to feel more comfortable in her own skin (such as that is).

I know you've talked, and I don't really know what else to suggest other than her talking with someone else, just to clear her own mind to figure out what it is she DOES want. Or talking with her working with what she does want and knows about what she wants, and working from there. You know what YOU want. I'm not sure what SHE wants.
Yeah -- I guess part of the question is how to help her figure out what she wants, but I've not been particularly successful there.

She's really only comfortable with manual -- sometimes she can disassociate enough to be ok with oral, but it's a struggle. Basically, she's got issues with the female bits, but she doesn't want male bits, just... nothing, like a doll. Every sexual interaction requires... distracting her. If she thinks about it, she becomes really uncomfortable. She's more comfortable focusing on me, but it's not that she doesn't want the orgasm, she just... isn't comfortable with the process of getting there.

Her community has become her coworkers (14 hour workdays will do that to you) and a bunch of aging anglophiles (I kid you not). Which I suppose is part of the problem -- none of her social circles are at all comfortable for discussing sex in any way shape or form. British nannies and the three piece suiters... So not only is there no way of starting to work herself out there, but it reinforces her perception that sex is this alien unspeakable thing. She likes her old biddies, and I encourage her to do that by herself so that we don't become the lesbian borg and she can have some friends that are just hers, but they're not exactly up for going out on a friday night.

I don't know who to refer her to. As much as I feel cut-off, it's only by comparison with my past. She's never had anyone to talk to about this. She's a military brat, and her family is very formal, as were all her friends' families. I think she would have a breakdown if I tried to get her to go to a counselor about this. It seems like talking about this stuff to me is too stressful, but she doesn't really have anybody else.
As a fellow transmasculine non-op genderqueer, I have a few questions:

1. I don't really want to know why you use feminine pronouns or refer to your partner's genitals as "girlbits", but this could be more of an issue than your partner is letting on. I have a hard time being turned on during sex if any femininely-gendered terminology is used. Is this something you might want to explore with them to see if using non-gendered, or masculinely gendered terms might help them feel more comfortable?

2. There are strap ons available that a partner can wear, and actually feel the sensations of getting a blow job. Other transmen can only enjoy stimulation if it's through underwear or other clothing, so that they don't immediately dissassociate with their genitals. I mean, I think it's easy to see it's difficult for someone who wants to distance themselves from their genitalia to enjoy the process of having them manipulated and focused on. Frotteurism - what most people call "dry humping" - may be a way to get your partner to orgasm without any real focus on their gentials. Have you experimented with, or found, ways that allow your partner to experience sex from a masculinely gendered or completely ungendered experience?

3. I'm hoping you or your partner are familiar with the term "stone". I've dated stone transmen before, and it's a valid sexuality. (For those following along, the short definition of "stone" is a person whose sexual enjoyment is completely focused on giving pleasure to their partner; mixed with a general dislike of being touched - sometimes just in the genitals, sometimes at all - by their partner, in the process.) It may just be that your partner is stone, and if that's a mismatch in your plans for life, you may not be as perfectly matched as you state.

4. Have you discussed polyamory? I do not prescribe that the poly lifestyle is for everyone, at all, but it seems like you yearn for not only sexual contact with other lovers, but lovers who share a sense of community with you, without seriously altering your current relationship agreement. Both of you can work together to create a poly situation that suits your mutual needs and desires, and there is no "standard" or "normal" poly relationship.

5. Many people who engage in kink do not mix it with sex. Have you thought about discussing this with your partner to see if going out to have kinky adventures, as long as sex wasn't a component, would be comfortable for them?

I have more I could ask, or offer help with, but I think this is a good starter. If you want to correspond off of LJ, you can reach me at awesome.del at gmail. One of my day jobs is a counselor to outsider communities, such as poly, kinky, queer, and alternative spiritual communities.
hey wylddelirium, thank for your comments, I'll try to answer your questions as best i can:

1) this was part of my initial reaction, but her preference is for feminine pronouns. (if there were a more natural-feeling neutral pronoun, she might go for it, but she decidedly does NOT want to use masculine pronouns. she doesn't like any of the androgynous terms that are out there though, and doesn't want to make up her own) "girlbits" is probably disrespectful (admittedly inappropriate, but despite that, it's how she feels about her anatomy, that they're gendered where she is not)-- sorry, i'm trying to talk about this in a way that's clear, while also respecting who she is. she would like to just ignore her anatomy, but when it comes to sex that's a bit difficult. the part i have trouble with is reconciling her discomfort with her genitals with her lack of desire to change them. (academically -- no problem, but in bed? problem) so what do i do with them? pretend they don't exist? (tried it, doesn't help with the us never having sex thing) i don't know if there are other gq folks like her out there who feel the same way, nor do i know how to improve our sex life or encourage her to get help without talking about/acknowledging her body.

2. i thought that she might want to find a strap-on, as a non-op solution, but she's totally uninterested. we've experimented with frotteurism but with little success. she's not really open to experimenting very much, and when it doesn't go particularly smoothly, it only becomes more awkward. if i push her to try something (anything) new, she has a tendency to have a break down. but she won't ever try anything new on her own. when we have sex, her clothes always stay on, but the problem is that she wants a fair bit of foreplay, but if i touch her (anywhere, neck, back, etc) she just gets all twitchy and then slowly psychs herself out. she wants me to do something that she doesn't really want me to do... which as you can imagine is a bit confusing from my end.

3. yeah, it's possible. it's not that she doesn't enjoy orgasm though, it's just hard to get through everything to get there. nor is she particularly interested in having sex that just focuses on me, and i find it confusing as hell to try and figure out how to reciprocate without touching her. honestly, if she were to come to the conclusion that she was stone or asexual, or whatever, it would be a relief. but she denies that she is, affirms that she wants to have sex, and can't really explain how she wants to go about doing that. my comment about us being well matched is referring to everything else -- i readily admit that we have a problem when it comes to sex. my question is, so now what?

4. so this is a possible "so now what" answer. she knows that i was poly for a long time, and she's ok with that, but in a "that was then" sort of way. i've thought about raising it with her, but she even gets upset if i masturbate, so i've not addressed it directly. i guess i've been hoping that we could work ourselves out -- i don't identify as poly in the way that i identify as bi/pansexual, i'm comfortable in either mono or poly relationships, so it's mostly my partner's preference that's determined our relationship status on that front. complications here are that we will be traveling a fair bit (together) in the future, and attaching myself elsewhere would create distance relationships. (i stick to polyfi relationships, rather than open, etc.) but the bottom line is that i don't think she'd be ok with that right now, and i think asking right at the moment would really upset her. she realizes that i want more, but she doesn't know what to do about it, and she's sensitive on the issue. i think that she also doesn't think about sex much, and so it doesn't occur to her that it's as big of an issue for me. i am happy to work with her through any of this stuff, but it doesn't appear to me that she's actually trying to work through anything.

5. i'm not really sure what you mean by kinky adventures.
5. I tried to use language that would be open for YOU to interpret.

However, I think the real issue being presented is that conversation about your issues is being shot down because it causes your partner to feel uncomfortable. It's important to note that it's okay to feel uncomfortable - in fact, it happens quite often in life - and if you're having so much issue with the relationship that you're creating phantom lj accounts to post anonymously to a community that heretofore has mostly been used to post events, rather than ask for advice, I'm thinking you've reached a point that your active avoidance of causing them the discomfort of addressing your sexual needs may be outweighed a bit. Follow?

You have a right to sexual fulfillment. If you decide of your own accord that your love for your partner, or your lack of desire to create discomfort or discord in your relationship, in order to address your issues, is not something your partner needs to see a therapist for.

As a pagan who's worked with Eris, you should know that she's all about asking questions that make people feel uncomfortable. That's one of the main ways She causes "chaos" - not the sort of "Endless Universe" sort of chaos, but the messes presented when we actively question ourselves and how we interact with each other and the Universe.

It's okay for things to be rocky for a while if you're both committed to a positive outcome. If you're in a relationship where discussion of your sexual desires is verboten, there's a deeper problem than anyone on LJ can help you with.
what i guess isn't clear is that i've been at this a while. i've been pushing and making uncomfortable situations... chaos... for years now. i'm frustrated with pushing us both into these situations that seem to just make everything worse. i'm frustrated with NOT doing that and watching months go by without any sex.

i'm ok with rocky as long as we're getting somewhere. but i'm losing steam to keep pushing, which means we're settling into this non-sexual relationship. i'm hesitant to keep causing tension when there doesn't seem to be any positive outcome. i was hoping somebody here would have some new perspective or idea.

i'm reaching out to a community that seems like it's largely my demographic (read: working adults) because I thought the feedback might be more relevant. i'm trying to respect her by remaining anonymous. if this was an inappropriate community to post in, i apologize.