Content: Open communication. Discussions of my spouse’s grey asexuality (with Mr. Crispy’s permission). Discussion of chronic illness and sex drive.
Sheltering in place has inspired introspection and open communication in my house. The last six months have taught Mr. Crispy and I a lot about ourselves and how we interact with each other and the world.
Now that I’m isolated even further (awaiting my COVID 19 results), I have some time on my hands to reflect on what we’ve learned about our relationship and how we’ve grown. The emotional intimacy in our marriage has leveled. Which is saying a lot, because we have a fantastic relationship.
Indulge me while I brag a bit.
Mr. Crispy and I have been together for 15 years and married for 14 years. Neither of us is perfect, and we have disagreements. Occasionally a storm blows through, but we always find each other after it’s passed.
We’ve built our relationship on open communication, laughter, and respect. Our engagement was a conversation over lunch on a beautiful August day. We sat on the patio of a pub, eating fish and chips in the shade, overlooking a rushing creek.
Mr. Crispy said, “I’d like us to talk about what getting married means.” We began a new journey on that day. It is a conversation that started 14 years ago and hasn’t ended yet. It wasn’t the production most folks expect from a proposal, but it was 100% us.
Romantic. Sweet. Honest.
The commitment we make to each other is one we live every day. We’re still talking. In the before times (pre-global pandemic), we set aside at least 30 minutes each day to just connect. It was called a family meeting. We’d go to our bedroom, shut the door, snuggle, and talk.
Family meetings have changed a little, now that Mr. Crispy works from home. Now, we talk in the morning, after I wake up, and am ready to meet the day.
The space we make for communication is intentional.
Both of us know how fast things can go sideways when the talking stops, and the taking for granted begins. We’ve seen it happen to our friends and family. Asking to talk about what’s going on in our relationship isn’t new or cause for concern. This is why I knew there was no cause for worry when Mr. Crispy asked if we could talk about sex a few months ago.
That morning I’d mentioned I was feeling well enough for some naked sexy time. Having SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) impacts fucking in every way you can imagine, and probably some ways you can’t. Severe arthritis pain and tremors affect the way we have sex. But most folks don’t think of the emotional/mental toll being disabled takes on a person. It’s exhausting.
My body is disabled, but my sex drive is not.
We curled up on our bed and started to chat. My honey was nervous, which was odd. As I said, communication is the norm, even when the subjects are challenging.
Mr. Crispy spent a lot of time explaining how much he loved me, my body, and my mind. Telling me, I was beautiful. Nothing strange about that, but I could tell he was winding up to something significant. I wondered if he wasn’t in the mood for sex and didn’t want to disappoint me.
I told him it was okay, he could tell me anything.
And that’s when he heaved a deep sigh and explained that he was rarely in the mood for partnered sex. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the intimacy we shared or was unfulfilled. He talked about how any kind of sex (oral, vaginal, anal) was something he rarely craved. It wasn’t his preferred way of sharing emotional and physical intimacy.
One of the benefits of open communication is believing your partner when they tell you something. Both of us know the other isn’t harboring ulterior motives or lying. I asked questions about his experiences. How often did he masturbate? What did he enjoy about intimacy? Was this a new revelation or the realization of a pattern? What gave him the pleasure of closeness that he desired?
Most importantly, I asked him if this was something he wanted to change?
It was stunning watching him be honest with himself and with me. The fella I’ve grown to know and love is a spectacular person. He’s authentic, silly, and deeply caring. Thinking in silence for several minutes, he took his time considering an answer.
And I knew that when he said, “no, I feel like this is just who I am,” that he was telling me the truth. Then we explored different ways people express their sexuality. It took us a little time to land on a definition that made sense to him. He’s hetero romantic/grey asexual (greysexual, grey-ace).
It was a phenomenal talk. Of course, we had questions for each other. Not too long ago, I came out to Mr. Crispy as genderqueer femme. I remembered how nervewracking it was, even when I knew there was no need to question the foundation of our relationship.
Being honest allowed us to find a new level of honesty and connection.
Watching me experience sexual pleasure, fulfills his desires. There are times when he feels sexual attraction/desire, but the urge to fuck isn’t there.
He loves being held and kissed and has no desire to go further. Being close beside me while I masturbate with toys or my hands is what feeds his need for intimacy. Every so often, he likes to drive the vibrator (he’s an excellent pilot).
It was such a meaningful conversation.
We were pretty tired after we talked and didn’t end up taking advantage of a good sex energy day. But a few days later, I poked my head in our home office while he was working, and asked if he’d like to watch me get off when he was done. He was so excited.
The pressure he’d been putting on himself and the stress I was unknowingly putting on him was gone. His presence was electric. He lay beside me, his breath warm on my bare shoulder. Petting my hair and touching my breasts, he told me I was beautiful while I thrust and ground against my favorite vibrator (the Khali by Bellesa.co).
The orgasm I had was a thigh-shaking, breathless revelation.
Being present for him in the way he needed fueled my own arousal. I felt cherished in a way I hadn’t before because we saw each other with more clarity.
Since then, our relationship feels different. Open communication has led to a deeper intimate connection. And it was pretty spectacular before this happened. But now, we know each other better. That may sound strange for a couple of fifteen years, but people change and learn about themselves as time passes.
If long-term commitment is something you want, then talk about and celebrate those changes. Keep growing together with honesty and compassion. Honor your partner or partners and your relationship with authenticity.
Because open communication is spectacularly sexy.
Be well, be wonderful, and above all, be you.