In a recent advice column Savage Love, there was a positive response to a seemingly asexual couple. This is a column that is in syndication to weekly newspapers across the country with a heavy following, so it’s good exposure. Asexuality has been mentioned before in this column, but because this is recent, the latest as of “press time” in fact. I feel the responsibility to do a cut and paste job here, along with doing commentary because I don’t feel that nonsexual people would come across the column, even though I have been for a long time. So by isolating the one particular Q&A, those who don’t want to read the entire column are free from that . Anyway here is the situation that a reader wanted advice about from the columnist, Dan Savage about.
In a recent column you wrote, “If you’re not having sex with your boyfriend, or anyone else, and there’s no sex in your foreseeable future, ANB, that’s not monogamy—that’s celibacy.” I have been with my girlfriend for nine years, living together for seven. We have never had sex. At the beginning we fooled around a lot, but never went far. Now, like many couples who have been together for a while, the frequency has decreased. We go beyond kissing a few times a year, and never all that far. I am mostly okay with this: I take care of myself as necessary. We never talk about sex at all. We’ve moved back and forth across the country together and are otherwise committed. Is it ridiculous to leave sex out of the relationship?
Sexless And Seemingly Content
The couple seems asexual to me, though they obviously don’t know that there are others like them out there and that there is a lifestyle called Asexuality. The man that is asking for advice probably wouldn’t have written Savage had he known of Asexuality. While many of us experience an amazing liberation when we discover Asexuality, we also find difficulty finding an asexual partner. This situation is inverted with Asexuality as a lifestyle being unknown, while they have already both found an asexual partner in each other. I wonder how they would feel to learn of Asexuality together. Not only would they both feel the liberation asexuals like myself have felt, they would have someone to share it with that they already have a deep emotional bond with. Let’s see what Dan has to say and hopefully I didn’t outshine him…
If you’re happy and your girlfriend’s happy, SASC, then I’m happy. Two people in a bad relationship can have plenty of great sex; two people in a great relationship can have little sex or no sex. Sex is a metric for assessing the health of a relationship, but it’s not the only one. When two people come together who love each other and are compatible sexually—which can mean a shared interest in sex or a shared disinterest in sex—the angels sing, SASC. All that matters, again, is that you’re both happy.
This is well put and reassuring, although it would have been helpful for it to be mentioned that there is an asexual community as the columnist definitely is aware of it as he’s covered it before had even had at least one guest columnist who identified as asexual. Dan Savage continues…
But are you happy, SASC? You say that you are, and I’ll take your word for it, but there’s a lot of wiggle room in the “mostly” in this sentence: “I am mostly okay with this.” You owe it to yourself to determine if you are really and truly okay with living without sex—and if the girlfriend is too.
While this isn’t bad advice as it is crucial to value and understand the other person in a relationship as much as possible, I sense a little doubt from Dan that a couple could be happy living this way, but I really can’t get upset for someone giving advice that he was solicited for in an advice column that I may or may not choose to read. I believe that SASC was simply looking for validation of his lifestyle with his girlfriend, and instead of steering them and anyone else reading in the direction of the asexual community, he choose not to even mention Asexuality at all. I’m simply disappointed at the route the columnist chose to take, although I am thankful for the question making it to print and the reaction being “mostly” positive.