I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about myself and my sexuality and my romantic self. I can log into Grindr or Sniffies and find someone to fuck easily. I'm a bear built top guy. There are ladies in my life that choose to share their beds with me. I can find subs to tie up and torture. What I can't find is a long-term partner.

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The problem, I've found, is that after I fuck/sleep with/torture someone, my brain stops seeing them as sexual and moves them into a friend category. I have friends that I used to fuck regularly, that now it's a chore to get it up for. Sure, the sex still feels good, but it's not passionate and when it's all said and done, they're still in the "friend" category in my brain. Some of them have suggested being more, trying to become partners, but I recoiled from the suggestion. There's nothing wrong with them, but they're friends... not potential partners.

I'm 32, and my siblings are married and having kids. The people I grew up with are married and having kids. And here I am not able to find a long term significant other. Am I broken? Should I just accept that for me, sexual partners and domestic/romantic partners will always be separate?

Always Alone?

What if this is just how your sexuality works? What if you're not like most everyone else? What if you’re wired—emotionally, romantically, sexually—for intense but brief sexual connections that blossom into wonderful friendships? And what if you've been tricked into thinking you’re broken because the kind of successful long-term relationships your siblings and friends have are celebrated and the kind of successful short-term relationships you have are stigmatized?

If your siblings and friends want to have the kinds of relationships they're having—and some may not—they will feel no inner conflict about their choices while also getting showered with praise for their choices. But what are they really doing? They're doing what they want, AA, they're doing what makes them happy, they're doing what works for them romantically, emotionally, and sexually. And what are you doing? Maybe you’re doing what you want, AA, maybe you're doing what could make you happy but doesn't. And why doesn't it make you happy? Maybe your choices don't make you happy because you've been made to feel broken by a culture that holds one relationship model up—the partnered and preferably monogamous pair—and insists that this model is the only healthy and whole option.

It's possible that are broken—but anyone could be broken, I could be broken, your siblings and friends who've gotten married and had kids might be broken. (Not everyone who marries and has kids wanted marriage and kids.) But I think you should at least try to accept that, for you, sexual partners and domestic/romantic partners might always be separate. If that self-acceptance makes you feel whole, AA, then you have your answer.

P.S. Another option if you do want to get married someday: a companionate marriage to one of your closest and most intimate friends—someone like you, AA, someone wired to see potential life partners and potential sex partners as two distinct categories with no overlap—and all the Grindr hookups and BDSM sessions you like with one-offs who become good friends.

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