Minimally sexual people—particularly minimally sexual het men—need to own up about who they are. To the right person, being minimally sexual is an asset. But to the rest of us, it's a nightmare. I think het men are especially reluctant to accept and not be ashamed of their minimally sexual desires because of stereotypes about men wanting it all time. I was personally stuck with this type of a guy—a minimal who refused to acknowledge his lower sex drive—for two years. Thank God I took the advice you give to all couples who are sexually incomparable and finally dumped the motherfucker! He had a history of a low sex drive, and I think if he had shared that information in the first place he could have save us both a lot of time and heartache. I hope "Not Sexual, Not Asexual" takes your advice!
J In Portland
My response after the jump...
Thanks for sharing, JIP, but I don't advise all couples who are sexually incompatible—those sexually incomparable couples typically don't seek my advice—to split up.
If a minimally-sexual person is partnered with a normally-to-maximally sexual person and the couple has an otherwise rewarding relationship—they love each other and everything works except sex (the minimal feels pressured and guilted, the maximal feels deprived and resentful)—I first encourage the couple to consider crafting a realistic and workable compromise. If they can agree on a mutually acceptable degree of openness, the normal-to-maximally-sexual partner will be able to live in hope of getting his/her needs met elsewhere and the asexual-to-minimally-sexual partner will feel less pressure and less guilt.
But if a compromise can't be crafted—if the minimal isn't interested in sex but is outraged at the thought of his/her partner doing this uninteresting thing with someone else; if the maximal doesn't want to be in an open relationship; if sex outside the relationship, even if allowed, would be very nearly impossible—then, yes, best to DTMFA.
And now, for balance, a minimal's perspective:
Oh, Dan, I'm so sorry to call you out on this one. Having my own "minimal" tendencies, I was eagerly reading the column and waiting for your helpful response, but instead you act as if NSNA is actually a closeted, manipulative minimally sexual person passing himself off a "normal," or a man who hasn't figured out how to enjoy sex yet, and furthermore, just might enjoy depriving others of sex. I've noticed this in your other responses to people who feel normal in their minimal/asexualism—your words subtly imply that there is a big, wonderful, world of sex out there if one could only figure out how to enjoy it. I feel a bit this way around a friend of mine who doesn't eat meat because she just never enjoyed the taste. Not even bacon, for heaven's sake! But if she goes to her grave without ever salivating over a nice, crispy piece of bacon (and I do think she's nuts, but whatever) it's no business of mine. So I keep my mouth shut. If this is the best response you can give to people like NSNA, then I'd thank you to keep your mouth shut as well, Dan.—K.
Shut up? Sorry, K, but I'm minimally capable of that. And I was maximally hard on NSNA because, frankly, his letter annoyed me. Like all the bisexuals who write in to complain about how badly they're treated by straights and gays but never seem to entertain the possibility of dating other bisexuals (which would spare them the grief of dating all those awful, terrible, no good monosexuals), this self-identified minimal hadn't entertained the possibility of dating other people like him, i.e. other minimals, which would spare him the grief of dating a normal and spare normals the grief of dating him. He said he was a regular reader of my column—and, well, the problems of mix-matched libidos come up in my column all the time. So NSNA's failure to realize that he could avoid the normal problem entirely by dating someone like him seemed like a bit a willful obtuseness that required slapping out.
And, finally, an asexual offers his perspective on my response to NSNA here. Grab a tissue before you click through.