Relationship issues with intimacy (possibly 18+)

I don’t really know how and where to start…

I’ve been with my partner for a few years now. One of our problems is that I don’t really crave intimacy, which means I don’t even think about it, I don’t miss it and if I were not constantly reminded of it by my partner I would just forget about it. My partner on the other hand is an extremely physical person who especially connects through intimacy. You can imagine this causes quite a lot of problems. My partner often feels rejected, unwanted or unloved, which is understandable, even though I don’t mean it that way. This also causes lots of tension, frustration and stress in our relationship and everyday life.

I don’t deal very well with arguments or fights, confrontation in general is difficult for me. I crave harmony. So when my partner voices unhappiness about this situation and we discuss, talk about how we feel and how we could solve this, it makes me incredible nervous because I don’t know what to do. I usually end up crying, apologising a lot and promising that I will try to do better. I don’t even know what that means. And I am aware that this is not the most productive way to handle it. But I don’t know any other way. I am very sensitive to people being in a bad mood or upset/angry. I would do anything to prevent that. That also causes me to sometimes allow intimacy even though I don’t feel like it.

I’ve been contemplating for quite a while now if I might be asexual. I don’t really need a label or category for myself to fit in, but it would be very pleasant not having to explain, excuse or defend myself all the time for who I am, if I could just say: this is how it is. Is there a certain threshold you have to fulfil to be able to call yourself by that term? :see_no_evil:
I know that around 1% of the population are asexual. And I know this behaviour is like a pattern for me, in the beginning of a new relationship I am interested in physical intimacy, but after a few weeks or months it just disappears. I assumed the only reason I’m interested in physical contact is the hormones/pheromones in the beginning when you’re freshly fallen in love.

Later other things become more important to me. Long and deep conversations about life and the world and everything else, philosophising or analysing random things, connecting on an emotional level. For me for example telling each other our darkest secrets or our deepest fears is much more intimate than just sharing our bodies. It’s not that it gets boring and I need variation, I just completely lose the urge to do anything in that regard. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I honestly never understood what the fuss was all about, what is supposed to be so great about it.

I’ve always “blamed” my long-term depressions I’ve been suffering from since I was 18 years old. But maybe that’s not it, I don’t know. One reason could also be that my experiences in the past were often negative so maybe that influenced my picture or opinion of intimacy. (I got pregnant and had an abortion when I was 19 years old and still in school, because my boyfriend back then “confessed” after almost two years of being together that he was sterile and I trusted him. Obviously that was a lie, I believe he made it up because he got fed up with condoms. He never accused me of cheating, and he didn’t seem surprised at all that he might not be sterile. After that, sex had been physically hurtful for me for many years, so I always tried to avoid it. Later I also often felt pressured by another partner.) That could also be one reason why it’s not my favourite way to pass time. For the rest of the world it is, I’m always told. My (current) partner tells me it’s biologically natural, healthy, necessary for a happy life and that me not having sex might be the reason, or one of the reasons, why I am so unhappy.

My partner has asked me multiple times if I wanted to get my hormone levels checked, or take viagra for women, or try anything in that direction. I am wondering, just because I don’t want to have sex, does that mean something has to be wrong with me? Could that not just be the way I am, especially since I’ve always been that way? If people suspect they are asexual, do they usually get checked out by a doctor first to see if there may be a medical reason for this? :thinking: I don’t know what the proper procedure/approach is here. I believe what hurts my partner the most is not the fact that I’m never in the mood, but more the fact that I have no motivation to change that, because I don’t seem to need it.

But I am also told that if I really loved my partner I would care more about their sexual satisfaction and do something about it. I even suggested an open relationship where they could go out and meet other people, if I cannot give them what they want and need. You can guess this wasn’t well received. Rather the opposite, it was taken even more like a rejection, although I only wanted to be open minded, tolerant and helpful. My partner also doesn’t care about sex with other people, it’s about being intimate with me, which I can understand in a way. Now I want to point out that I am never forced or trying to be convinced to do something I don’t want to.

I have never mislead my partner. Long before the relationship even began I was open and honest about this and explained that I might not want to be intimate for many months or even years in a row (since it has happened before). It was actually a reason which made me reluctant to start this relationship in the first place because I knew my partner was the opposite of me in that regard. But my partner assured me that it would be okay, that we would be able to handle it and even if that were to happen, I would still be an amazing partner. But I know my partner suffers so much due to this. And the constant discussions and arguments just leave me completely drained, desperate and feeling helpless.

Am I expecting too much, wanting to be accepted for who I am; do I need to get “fixed”? My partner has always been a part of the LGBTQ community, so I would have hoped to be a bit more easily accepted with my… whatever it is. But maybe this is also different. Sometimes I’m being told, I could so easily fix and change the situation, I just don’t want to.
I know there is probably no real solution here. This is a topic where you cannot really compromise without intruding on anyone’s boundaries. I cannot take away human contact, closeness and intimacy from my partner forever. But I also cannot force myself to do things I don’t want to do.

I have never really talked to anybody about this before. And I feel incredibly guilty for posting this here, if it was just about myself I wouldn’t mind. But since it also concerns my partner I fear this is a violation of trust, almost like a betrayal of privacy. I hope it is not.

Phew, I’ve been writing and editing this post now for many days before actually sending it.


Oh, friend… I want to start by saying that I’m so very proud of you for being so brave and telling your story here. It takes a massive amount of courage to be so vulnerable.
It’s always difficult to talk about things like this for a few reasons. One of those being societal pressure and expectations. And another being pressure and expectations from a partner.
Let’s talk about expectations first. I think expectations to be a certain way when it comes to sexuality is one of the most uncomfortable and unfair things. We’re always being asked and expected to give more of our bodies than we’re comfortable with. It’s almost like it becomes transactional. “You want to keep them happy, right?” “Aren’t you afraid they’ll cheat?” “If you don’t do it, someone else will.”. Those are things I’ve heard before. It’s weird and it’s incredibly uncomfortable.
Now let’s talk about pressure from society and partners. When people pressure you to do things you don’t want to do, they’re showing you that they don’t have respect for your decisions, opinions, rights, body, etc. Putting pressure on someone when it comes to their body is absolutely a way of crossing a boundary. We don’t have to have spoken that boundary out loud for it to be crossed. You don’t owe people an explanation of why you have these boundaries either. It’s up to you to share what you want. But it’s up to the other person to show respect.
I can really relate to you when you say that you’re sensitive to people being upset. I’m the same way. It’s uncomfortable. Of course we want others to be happy, especially those we love and care for. However, keeping others comfortable at the expense of your own mental health, needs and boundaries isn’t really a good thing. I know when I started speaking up for myself and demanding the same respect that I show others, I was met with a lot of questions and ugly behavior. “But you’ve always done it before.” “Why are you changing now?”, etc. Communication is so important now. Draw your lines clearly and communicate them clearly. A lack of understanding and respect from anyone isn’t a “you” problem. That’s a “them” problem.
As far as the whole “maybe it’s a hormone problem” thing. Again, it’s up to you to explore that if you want to. It’s your body. If you’re noticing things that may be affecting your physical or mental health and are worried hormones may have something to do with it, asking a doctor about it isn’t a bad thing. And I don’t say that at all to side with people who think this is all just an “imbalance”. I say that as someone who had a hormone related issue that effected my life in many ways. However, it didn’t change who I was at my core. I hope this makes sense.
When it comes to being Asexual, there’s no check list that you have to meet 100% of in order to call yourself Asexual. It takes a lot of self exploration and soul searching and reading and learning. But when you know, you know. Trust yourself.
You know where to find me if you want to talk about anything. I’m always here for you, friend.


Hi my friend,
thank you so much for sharing, for posting here.
i have never been more proud of you. for reaching out here and showing yourself vulnerable is so strong, so brave
and another big step you are doing. like i mentioned in our group, you are growing and your journey ist becoming
more and more beautiful like you deserve it to be.
i think that i can’t really add much to what @JennaLouise has said before. these words are very well spoken.
you decisions matter most. your boundries has to be accepted. when you love someone, you respect that person
more then anything else in the world, when you open your heart to them, show them your feelings and your truly
self, that is real beauty and real trust. it is your decision and your body. like what you have experienced before, i
am really sorry to hear that, that is broken trust, that was false what you had to go through.
you are not expecting too much. what you expect is respect and acceptance. and you deserve that. if you don’t
want something, then don’t do it. never force you to do something.
to find a solution is truly difficult. but how you said, you are communicating with your partner openly about everything and that is the most important thing about a relationship.
take one step a time. one after another. all you have to do is breathe. and you have come a long way so far, you
have overcome so many obstacles, so many things.
how you grown over the last months, how active you are lately here, on the discord and also in our focus group.
that is the reason why we wanted to do that all here, and now we can say that with what we do, that we have
helped each other.
you have shown your heart today. you have shown
you are to be held, and not to be missed. i am proud calling you a friend. we all are proud having you here in
this community. thank you for that.
now close your eyes, and dream you home. you matter most, to us, to me. you are loved :purple_heart:
feel hugged and be proud of yourself


Thank you so much for the bravery of sharing this with us. I hope you feel safe and heard.

When it comes to intimacy, I feel you so strong that sharing those deep connections and conversations means so much more. It’s something that builds trust.
I know i find it harder to share my body with someone who doesn’t share anything else about themselves or doesn’t want to know anything else about me.

Maybe you are asexual, maybe there’s something else going on for you, I know we can’t fully just give you that answer, but what I do know is that you’re not broken.
some people crave that human physical interaction, others just don’t and others are all the varying degrees in between.
It doesn’t make you wrong. It doesn’t mean you require “fixing”. It means that those are your boundaries and needs and they deserve to be respected just as much as anyone else’s.

We aren’t here to judge your partner either, so don’t feel guilty. You haven’t spoken badly of them from my perspective.
Their needs are just different from yours and they might have trouble understanding your side of things. It could be worth exploring this together. Exploring what makes you feel connected and close. Maybe by doing so you’ll both feel more intimate with each other.

This could be a very fun bonding journey for you both. And I do hope that it’ll help them understand what you need and also help you feel closer to them so they are getting what they need.

Thank you again for sharing this with us. We love you x


Thank you so much for your kind words. It really means a lot to me to be finally understood. It feels great to know that I’m not “wrong”.

Thankfully I don’t receive pressure by society or from my environment. Nobody knows about this because I don’t talk about it to others except my partner. It’s not really anybody else’s business. (Yes, I recognise the irony saying that while opening up on a public forum on the internet. :upside_down_face:)

Implying your partner might cheat on you if you don’t “provide” them with regular intercourse is a horrible thing to say. It’s really strange that people who have no insight into a relationship (and frankly no business in there either) try to decide what’s best for you. There’s so much more to happiness than just physical attraction. And such claims also don’t shine a very positive light on the partner. It’s patronising as well. It’s the same with people getting pressured by their family to get married or “give them grandchildren”, just no.

You said “We don’t have to have spoken that boundary out loud for it to be crossed.” Isn’t the expectation that such a boundary doesn’t exist, or at least is on a different level? Because why would you not be like everyone else? It’s such a weird feeling hearing you say that I don’t have to explain my boundaries. Because the feeling of guilt always urges me to explain, give a legitimate reason, apologise, because the expected behaviour would be a different one. Instead standing up for yourself and demanding respect is a huge step. I will work on that.

As far as I know human nature is a tricky thing with change. People cannot deal very well with it and expect an explanation as to where the change in behaviour is coming from, probably also because they have to adjust their own behaviour (for example respecting boundaries that were always there before, but we’re not enforced).

I don’t really believe that it is an imbalance and can be “treated”, instead it is most likely a preference paired with past bad experiences that shaped me. But to be sure I could ask my doctor about it.

I hope you can forgive my rambling. I just wanted to say how grateful I am and how much I appreciate you and your insight. :hrtlegolove:

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Andi, thank you so much for your uplifting words. I don’t see my progress as much as you do because I’m always “in the middle of it”. Somebody from the outside will recognise progress much earlier and it is great to be reminded of that. Thank you.

Honestly this was incredibly difficult to write. Usually I am very open about my mental health, I am not ashamed and I don’t hide anything if it is relevant to be said. I don’t know why this was so hard but I was terrified and shivering. Silly me, this is a safe space for me.

You are right, I deserve the same respect as everybody else. It is just a learning process to enforce boundaries, but I can do it. The same goes for not doing things I don’t want to do.

I feel so safe here in the HeartSupport community, it gives me so much even if I haven’t shared much about myself yet. Thank you so much for making the Focus Group a possibility. You are such a pillar and show compassion and care for everybody here. If the HeartSupport community hadn’t felt so welcoming and safe as it does I would never have the courage to post here. My mental health journey is far from over and I hope for much more encouraging progress.

Thank you for sharing. This is a really sensitive issue with a lot of guilt and shame attached to it, but it’s a discussion that I think could benefit a lot of people.

Until I met my wife, I was the lower sex drive partner in any relationship I was in. She followed a pattern similar to what you’ve described. It caused me a lot of conflict. I wanted to respect her, and I didn’t want to impose myself on her, especially because she had had so much of that in her life before. Our emotional intimacy was great, and our values were really well aligned, but for a long time the physical piece wasn’t great. We talked about it. I told her things similar to what your partner is telling you, that I felt undesirable and pushed away. I knew that wasn’t going to get her in the mood, and I hated bringing it up for fear of being pushy, but I wanted to have an honest conversation about how I felt so it wouldn’t turn to resentment. She insisted that she was attracted to me, and that it wasn’t anything personal, it just wasn’t a high priority for her. In those early years, as much as I tried to be understanding, I was more interested in my needs than hers.

Our sex life has improved over the last couple years. Part of it was open communication about needs, desires, and even boundaries. It’s so counterproductive that we bring the taboo around sex into our relationships. If we can’t be open and honest about the most intimate physical activity a couple can engage in, that just leaves us to guess at each other’s needs. It sounds ridiculous saying it, but taboo within relationships is a real thing, and it’s really counterproductive. Part of it was she changed up her antidepressants from one that killed her sex drive. Part of it was more effort for both of us. A good relationship shouldn’t be give and take, but give and give reciprocally. I started working to make her feel desirable outside the bedroom, just in how we conducted our lives. It was a hard transition to make since my previous experiences were driven by the enthusiasm of youth and only seeing each other a couple times a week, but it’s been really fulfilling. For her part, she tried to become more receptive to intimacy. When she noticed that I was trying to honor her for the better part of a day, or even when I said early in the day that I’d like to connect later on, she had time to warm up to the idea and come around to wanting it. Part of it is just doing it. The more often we have sex, the more we want to. Not to say you should give in when you don’t want to, because that’s miserable and borderline criminal, but if you can warm yourself up to being intimate with your partner and enjoying yourself, see if you can keep that momentum up for another day. Part of it was her digging deep to try to figure out what she wanted–what made her feel sexy, what felt good, and what she might want to try–and then communicating that. Finally, part of it was learning to manage expectations. I had to shift my mindset and recognize that just because we might go several weeks without sex doesn’t mean she doesn’t love me or find me attractive, and I started making a conscious effort to enjoy the intimacy of cuddling, kissing, and hand-holding. For her part, she shifted her expectations to understanding that I want to enjoy intimacy with her, so she tries to stay open to the idea and communicates her needs with me.

Physical intimacy should be an act of mutual enjoyment, not a transaction. It should just be one part of overall intimacy, not its own separate category, and as such needs to be mutual. Your partner’s needs and concerns are valid, but so are yours. Him trying to pressure you into sex, even by “trying to be understanding,” will only make you feel pressured and shut down. The best foreplay he can give you is to try to honor you throughout the day or week or however long it takes. As for you, know that you absolutely do not owe him anything, even if he is being the gentleman of the year, but maybe allow yourself to feel loved and desirable when he’s trying to take care of you, and maybe let those feelings grow until you want to demonstrate them with him.

Lastly, couple’s counseling and sex therapy are always options. I know that, even though the taboo of personal counseling is being shattered, there’s still a lot of taboo around couple’s counseling. First off, no one has to know you’re going. Second off, remember that it doesn’t mean your relationship is on the ropes. Like personal counseling, it can just be a way to check in and to have a neutral third party make observations the two of you might have missed. It’s a good way to draw out needs and the reasoning behind them, and that helps foster communication in ways you might not have known before.

Thank you again for sharing in this uncomfortable area. I hope you can find yourself while respecting yourself. Hold fast :hrtlegolove:

EDIT: Just got done with a therapy session around intimacy etc. My therapist said, biologically speaking, sex can deplete intimacy, especially when one party is less interested than the other. To build physical intimacy, he said maximize nonsexual skin-to-skin contact. Whether handholding, shoulder rubs, or just letting arms touch while sitting on the couch, skin-to-skin contact builds bonding chemicals. Ideally, sex should be preceded by 15 hours of nonsexual skin-to-skin contact for maximum intimacy. It’s certainly something to think about, and something I’ll try to keep in mind and incorporate going forward.


This makes me feel so validated and understood. Thank you for assuring me that I’m not “wrong” and don’t need to be “fixed”. It is sometimes difficult to believe when everybody else around me is different and I feel like I go against nature.

Intimacy also doesn’t necessarily make me feel closer to somebody. Maybe I’m just not a physical person.
I live more in my head than anywhere else. :sweat_smile:

I might do more soul searching and will try to defend my rightful boundaries more.

Thank you. :hrtlegolove:


Thank you very much for the long and thorough answer and opening up yourself, and I am so sorry for the late reply.

I know there might not be a solution around the corner, but maybe I can find a way to remove some tension from this stressful situation which makes living together difficult sometimes. Your insight is really helpful.

My partner also doesn’t like to bring up the topic for fear of sounding complaining or “forceful”, but if one is unhappy with something in a relationship it’s incredibly important to talk about it, even if those conversations make me feel uncomfortable sometimes. Unresolved issues can lead to more problems. And I can fully understand, some forms of medication can have a huge impact on our drive. For me it’s often the case that when my partner asks me if I would be open to intimacy later in the day, it actually makes me feel a bit nervous and uneasy for the rest of the day, although I know there’s no reason to. What you said also made me realise that lately I don’t feel very comfortable with myself so it makes sense that this makes me extra reluctant about opening up physically. I actually enjoy other elements of closeness a lot, like hugging, cuddling, hand holding, although I also have other times when I need lots of space and don’t welcome physical contact very much at all, it’s weird. Your EDIT also is an eye opener. I’ve never thought about it like that. Thank you for that insight! Couple’s therapy might be a difficult since here it’s not covered by the normal health insurance and probably quite expensive. I can do some research.

I apologise for taking so long to answer. Thank you again.

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you’ve gotten loads of great repsonses.

Just wanted to ask/throw it out there if the timing is significant. Your exbf who lied about being sterile, and you got pregnant after two years. Do you think that in your mind, there is the initial bloom of intimacy feelings with a new relationship, but when the years start to go by, a part of you becomes afraid of being hurt/betrayed like that again? So subconsciously, you withdraw the part of yourself that can be used to hurt you, to see whether the relationship continues intact without the physical bits?

Just an idea. Our brains are so weird and amazing. But maybe this is a pattern it’s decided is a way to protect yourself?
And as to whether you have to get medically checked out or not, that is your choice. Like Bimini said, maybe you’re asexual, maybe something is going on. You’re not broken either way. That choice is yours if you think that avenue can provide you some insight/comfort or answers/treatments.

Are your needs being met? Physical desires are easily pointed out, by the last date it occurred, but you have a great need for the other forms of bonding and intimacy. Have those been respected and met by your partner?

Sometimes it’s “easy” to say “we haven’t had sex for x weeks or months or years” but a lot harder to say “i haven’t felt loved or listened to, or felt supported for x weeks or months”


Wow, what a theory! I’ve never thought about it like that. I am not sure if that is the case, but it would make a lot of sense. That’s a real eye opener, I need to ponder. It is possible…

As to the question about my needs… this is a bit difficult to answer. In almost every aspect we are opposites like day and night. It can be very fulfilling in certain situations, but also very draining in others. As an extrovert and an introvert we have very different needs, but we try to meet in the middle, if that makes sense.

Thank you so much for your caring answer, I really appreciate it. And I will think about what you said. :hrtlegolove: