Asexual Married Couple Reacts to r/DeadBedrooms
Today, for the very first time, we’re diving into the deep, dark Reddit depths of r/deadbedrooms. Pray for us.
- They opinion of this sub on r/asexuality
- I'm almost 50 and I think my wife is asexual
- Letter to my husband. I hope you see this.
- “Letter to my husband. I hope you read this.” Update
- “Letter to my husband. I hope you see this.” Update 1 year later.
- Two asexuals
Courtney: Hello everyone and welcome back to The Ace Couple podcast. My name is Courtney, I am here with my spouse, Royce, and together you are– You are? You, listeners, today you are The Ace Couple!
Royce: I don’t think that’s how that works.
Courtney: They’re The Ace Couple now, just for today. Just for the day you’re listening to this, you are now The Ace Couple, congratulations.
Royce: Who are we?
Courtney: We’re the listeners. So we’re just gonna sit here for two hours in silence and I want you to ramble to us.
Royce: Somehow project those ramblings into the past through our computer speakers.
Royce: I don’t think this episode’s going to go over very well. [Courtney laughs] I think this is a bad idea for a podcast.
Courtney: I– But how bad would we feel if we released like two hours of silence and it actually ended up being like our highest performing episode? [laughs]
Royce: I wouldn’t feel bad at all. [Courtney laughs] But I guess that is a tactic for being overwhelmed and not having time to submit an episode. Submit an episode that’s 99% silence.
Courtney: Well, there’s actually– there is a way to do that as a cop out. And I want to say this was like– it might have even been pre-pandemic, I was almost thinking it was right before– It was way longer ago than that even. Something politically was driving everyone up the wall. It was one of those periods of times. Much like now, where everybody’s high stress, high alert, the news, media is just bumming everyone out 24-7. And I don’t even know what YouTube channel I was watching, because it’s not a channel I have watched in years, but there was some channel that would have like a new video out, either every day or every week, and it would be a different topic every time, just kind of a general education kind of a thing. And the host one day just sits down on camera and is like, “We’re gonna do something different today because times are hard and people are stressed, so we’re just gonna sit here in silent contemplation for the next 10 minutes.” And he’s like, “All right, everyone get your drink of choice, go make a nice cup of tea.” And he pulls out a cup of his own tea. And I’m just watching this confounded. But I was like, “Okay,” so I pause the video, I go to the kitchen, I brew a cup of tea, I put it in a nice little tea cup and I come back and start the video again and he just sits there quietly, occasionally sipping tea, for 10 minutes. And I did this with him and something about it worked. I felt great. At the end of that video I was like, “All right, it’s gonna be a good day!” So if we ever need a cop out, we’re just gonna do a silent meditation with the listeners, but not today! Because we have very important matters at hand today.
Courtney: Today we are delving into the deep, dark depths of r/DeadBedrooms. So, just so we all get our definitions out of the way– I’ve skimmed a few of these just so we could have some ready to talk about in depth. I haven’t read them all word for word. I haven’t been through every comment. Some I just pulled up in a tab because the word asexual was somewhere in the post. So I might be surprised where we’re headed here. But let’s get definitions straight, because you know I am of the ace variety, so the concept of a dead bedroom being a bad, horrible, awful thing doesn’t really make any sense to me.
Courtney: So I googled what is a dead bedroom, and I found something that I did not expect. Because I assumed, right, like, just from the name of it, that this is like you’re either married or in some kind of exclusive relationship and you’re not having sex. Right? That’s my impression of what it is. But all of the resources when you google it actually use language that kind of sounds like the way most people explain asexuality. Because the popular definition, or the shorthand definition, of asexuality is someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction. And at the time AVEN made that the official, like, AVEN definition change, there were some people in the community that were not happy about that at all.
Courtney: We’re not going to go into all of that today because most of the arguments are not good ones. But everything I’m seeing on google about what is a dead bedroom refers to sexual partners having little or no sex. So I already think this is a very vague definition, because I imagine that allosexual people in particular probably have varying opinions on what little sex is. Because people have different, you know, libidos, right? That’s true for aces as well as allos.
Courtney: But I also just found that interesting, and the reason why I wanted to call it out is because I know there are some people out there in the Ace community who do experience little sexual attraction, and sometimes that can lead to a type of, like, ace imposter syndrome where people are like, “Oh, am I ace enough?” And so I just want to use that parallel to validate any of the little sexual attraction aces out there. Because if allos complaining about having a dead bedroom means little to no sex, then that is already outside of what the allonormative norm is… I guess I should have said allosexual norm, but allonormative expectation is. So I found that interesting.
Courtney: The second thing, definitionally, that I want to make clear as we go through, on just a couple of posts that I pulled up, libido is a word that is used a lot on this subreddit. Like a lot, a lot. So we are going to just say once, at the very top of this, because I do not want to explain it every time it comes up and I think our regular listeners should know very well where we stand on this, but for anyone who’s brand new: we know that libido, like low libido in particular, is not mutually exclusive with asexuality. If someone in a post gets that wrong, I’m not going to yell at them every single time they get that wrong, because I’m going to assume that if they’re talking disparagingly about an asexual person, they’re probably talking disparagingly about a low libido asexual, given what I saw from the few posts I skimmed. Also a lot of things like using sex-positive and sex-negative asexual instead of sex-favorable and sex-averse.
Courtney: So, please, everyone, just let’s listen to what they mean, as opposed to what they say. Otherwise, a lot of this is just going to be us nitpicking the language they use, and I don’t think that’s actually productive at the end of the day. Because this isn’t the end all be all ace resource. This is one podcast in a sea of many that we do every single week, so we’ve talked about all of these things before already and likely will again. With all that said, let’s get to it.
Courtney: So this is one that I wanted to start with, because in the maybe half a dozen of these that I opened up to skim, I could tell that the average user of this subreddit is pretty acephobic. Even if they say they aren’t. They will say very acephobic things in the name of “sexual compatibility is important,” and it can get very, very ugly. But this post is just entitled: “The opinion of this sub on r/asexuality.” And the first comment is one that I want your opinion on, Royce, in particular. So general discussion. [reading] “I’m a high libido male, 41, married to a low libido woman, 35.” That’s another thing that I had to figure out. In the, like, half a dozen that I skimmed before this, I was like, why is everyone using HL and LL? And what does LL for you mean? And then I finally figured it out it’s libido.
Royce: Right. I’ve had that issue not just on Reddit, but any sort of inclusive forum, where there isn’t an easily available glossary of terms for the shorthand that everyone uses.
Courtney: Yes. And I just found it fascinating because they use high libido and low libido almost as like a gender.
Courtney: Like it is– Like these are the two options. You’re a high libido or you are low libido. It is a binary and everybody that we’re discussing here is going to get identified as one or the other. Because it’s pretty common across all subreddits to be like, “This is my gender, this is my age,” when talking about yourself and anyone else in this story, like that’s pretty normal. But all of these have the libido modifier on it and I just inherently hate that. [laughs]
Royce: It sounds like detail that is integral to the discussions on this subreddit, though.
Courtney: Yes, in some cases it can be. So this high libido 41 year old man married to a low libido 35 year old woman. [resumes reading] “Sex is almost non-existent and when it happens it’s boring, not allowed to kiss, etc. etc. All the cliches you find here, I live them like most of us here. It was a relief to have found this subreddit. When searching for answers I also found r/asexuality. I think when our sub here represents us, they represent our spouses.
Courtney: When I posted something there about high libido and low libido are incompatible, you guessed it, a lot of downvotes.” [breathy laugh] I can only imagine, op. [resumes reading] “Let me make sure I’m not bashing ace people or bashing their subreddit. I believe it’s a real condition, but the things I read on there are sometimes unbelievable. The exact opposite, as we are here. Where we think… – dot, dot, dot in all caps – KNOW… that a relationship/marriage without intimacy is a roommate and really mentally wrecks people, they think high libido and ace are actually compatible. Sex is just something which can be compensated with other things. So again, not flaming them or the r/asexuality subreddit, just wanted to point out how different perspectives can be. In my opinion, a relationship with an ace person is doomed to fail.”
Courtney: So I’m not bashing ace people. I think it’s a real condition. [laughs]
Royce: Now, I’m not a regular Reddit user. I find myself on Reddit often enough because google brings me here, but it is interesting to me that this is a post that doesn’t really phrase a question.
Courtney: Yeah, this one is a general question. On this subreddit I’ve noticed– and lots of different subreddits have their own different tags, but there are some that say like, “This is just a rant, I don’t want advice.” There are some that are saying, “I’m seeking advice.” But this one’s just, “Let’s just discuss a totally different community.”
Royce: Yeah, and you gave that little comment upfront of we’re going to see a lot of this, so we’re not going to talk around it every single time. But I think what does need to be called out, at least here in this first story– this first post, is that there is a fundamental lack of knowledge about asexuality and it’s not just terms being used or overloaded. They are saying, they explicitly said that, they believe that asexuality and a low libido person are one and the same thing.
Royce: And the use of condition makes it sound like asexuality in their mind is whatever the old thing in the DSM-5 is, like, hypo–
Courtney: Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or it’s been split into a couple of new things.
Royce: That’s– Yeah, that is what it sounds like their idea of asexuality is.
Courtney: The word condition is a very medicalized thing. You didn’t use orientation. You’re like, “I think this is a condition.” But it is fascinating because I can only imagine this non-ace person who’s clearly having an issue with having a low libido partner, because he even says, like, “I live all the cliches you find here. It’s boring and it was a relief to find other people–” like, I live all of these here. And like you will see people time and time again just basically complaining about not having enough sex. And if you get enough people in a room complaining about not having enough sex, there are going to be some really toxic undertones as to why they feel so entitled about sex.
Courtney: So like if a person upset about a low libido partner goes on an ace community forum and starts using phrases and essentially genders, these are genders, they’re two categories that someone is imposing on people. If they’re like the genders I’m using is high libido and low libido–
Courtney: To a group of aces. Of course everyone’s going to be like, “Get the hell out of here, are you lost?” [laughs]
Royce: To clarify for the listeners, generally in a lot of reddit threads – particularly, we’ve done things like r/AmITheAsshole – where you’ll commonly see, like, M32, F21 sort of things, and these are HLM41, which is all one word, no spaces, and LLW35. So it is one thing that is denoting this is who this person is.
Courtney: Yes, so, like the categories have been made. Of course the Ace community is going to be like, “Alright, like, it is your partner actually ace? And are you coming to us because you’re upset and you want to rant to us?” Or like– If you are an allosexual person with an ace partner, there is almost no acceptable reason to go onto an ace forum, unless it’s, “I’m a little out of my depth, my partner came out as asexual. How can I best support them?” Like that– That’s one of the only valid reasons for an allosexual partner of an ace person to come onto an ace subreddit. Unless you’re also, like, so, so attached to your partner and their broader community that you have become like an ally to the Ace community, and you are in community with other ace people than just your partner, then that’s fine, that’s different. But the thing is, though, and he’s like, “I’m not flaming them, but a relationship with an ace person is doomed to fail.” We know that is not true. Mixed orientation relationships can work, and there are a variety of ways that they can work, so. You can say you’re not flaming aces all you want, but you already have some bigoted understanding of asexuality, if that is what your understanding is. But now this is why, Royce, as our resident colorblind asexual, I want your opinion on this top comment.
Courtney: [reading] “I am colorblind. Because I am colorblind, I have connected with other people that are colorblind. I do see color. I’m very red-green colorblind, but other people I’ve met literally see in black and white and shades of gray. Why do I bring this up? I know that what I see is wrong a lot of the time. I also know that there are times that color is important to the context of what I’m looking at, and yet I don’t see it. I still appreciate art and the colors that I see in my everyday life. This is someone with a low libido. They understand that sex matters, but they just don’t think it is very important. They still enjoy sex when they want to or they are in the mood to do so. When I am talking to someone who is an artist, they think it is wild that I misunderstand or don’t fully get why color is so important to their composition. But I intellectually understand why they think it is so important.”
Courtney: [keeps reading] “People that I know that are black and white colorblind just don’t get it. Color is nothing to them. They know other people see color. They know that color can matter to other people. And while they can be taught that color is important to a composition, but they have no innate understanding. They literally do not understand when you say the sky is blue. If you ask them what color the sky is, they will say blue, but they do not understand why the sky is blue. They are told the sky is blue. Someone who is completely asexual doesn’t understand when you talk about the intimacy and connection and beauty that is sex. They literally do not understand when you say that sex is amazing. You can tell them sex is important to a relationship. When asked if sex is important to some people, they will tell you yes, but they do not understand how important it is to them. They are told it is important.” So, Royce, how was that metaphor?
Royce: Eh. [Courtney laughs] I think that comparisons like this, where you see someone who is completely misunderstanding a term or a concept taking something that they may be more familiar with and trying to frame something roughly analogous to help them work through it, can work. And I think that this example is fine. It’s not a one-to-one match. A lot of metaphors are not a one-to-one match. If you think too critically about some aspects of it, you can start to pick it apart. Like thinking of color blindness as a spectrum, when there are– yes, there are people who can only see in grayscale.
Royce: The other kinds of color blindness aren’t really like a sliding scale from lesser to more extreme on the same line. Red-green color blindness – either with less ability to identify red or ability to identify green – or color blindness that is based in blues and yellows, are all kind of their own separate thing. And you have varying severities within those. And so trying to line that concept up with libido, where asexuality is no libido, like at the end of that spectrum, again, that’s not one continual scale. So there’s a variety of things in here that don’t really explain things correctly, but I think that someone who is fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of asexuality maybe they could read this, and it could get them thinking about things a little bit differently.
Courtney: All right. I was super duper curious if I could find this person’s post on r/asexuality.
Royce: Did you? Because if it got downvoted too heavily, they may have just deleted it.
Courtney: I’m not seeing a post by this person, but it does seem like r/DeadBedrooms is their go-to community. There are definitely more posts and comments there than anywhere else. But I did find a couple of comments on r/asexuality. And, yeah, some of the comments are not great. There was someone else who made a post that was basically like, “Yeah, I have a high libido and I’m with someone who doesn’t have a libido and how, as an allosexual person, am I supposed to navigate this?” And they got downvoted a lot, and no comments, and then this poster commented and just basically said like, “Insane, we are downvoted into oblivion here. It’s okay to be ace, I have nothing against that, but my post is the truth. For most people, sex is a healthy part of a relationship and cannot exist without it.”
Courtney: But yeah, lots of coming into an ace community and using things like, “Without sex you’re just roommates or friends.” “Allos need to be with allos, aces need to be with aces.” And a lot of, also, like commenting and recommending r/DeadBedrooms in comments on the asexuality subreddit, which I also just don’t think is appropriate, because I saw a lot of acephobia just briefly skimming through it. So, not super cool, not super cool.
Royce: Okay, I was scrolling through comments and found letter combinations that I didn’t understand and, upon searching, I found a post that really should be sticked somehow, but it’s a breakdown of all of the various acronyms used on this subreddit. In particular, I was seeing DB and AP used.
Courtney: Well, I assume DB is Dead Bedroom, right? What’s the other one?
Royce: Affair partner.
Courtney: Oh…! So that’s a common enough thing to talk about in this subreddit. Which is wild to me because I saw so many people who were doing the same, like, “Let’s go down the laundry list of options if there’s something not working in your relationship. Have you tried open relationship? Have you tried polyamory?” But yeah, that’s part of– I mean, to your previous point, Royce, like I am also not a community member of Reddit. There are times where I will google something where I’m looking for information and a Reddit post on any random subreddit answers my question. So I will come to Reddit, I will get some information and resources and then I will leave Reddit. But I do not have, like, a subreddit that I have an account on that I’m consistently engaging with. So, like I imagine that – just like any forum – that each of these subreddits do have their own culture. They have their own regulars. Some of the most active members probably recognize each other, but it is not a culture I’m familiar with.
Courtney: But I also– [sighs] Like, this is obviously biased because I am a member of the ace community, but I don’t think I like posing this as just people viewing things differently. Because if you say a relationship with an ace is doomed to fail that is fundamentally wrong, and can be proven by the fact that there are thriving ace-allo relationships that are long-term and happy. And like, if it’s not gonna work for you, that might be another question, especially with the hangups that you seem to have, but that is an inaccurate statement. This is not a matter of two people looking at the same thing differently.
Royce: Yeah, my take on this whole post was ignorance. [Courtney hums in agreement] And that can mean a variety of different things, including a lack of self-awareness in some cases. I think that one thing that is common in this subreddit is to see– I mean, this poster made the comment of– I believe they used the word intimacy, but I think they meant sex.
Courtney: See, that’s the thing. Because you and I know, and the broader ace community knows, that intimacy and sex are not mutually exclusive, but there are an astonishing number of allos who do think they are mutually exclusive.
Royce: Right. And it’s the– Different people do have different ways that they express affection and different ways that feel good for them to receive affection, but I think in some cases people don’t realize how– like, they don’t realize the breadth of things that might work for them and they get very narrow focused on this is the only way this can be.
Courtney: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, and I mean, here’s the kicker too, this person claiming not to bash asexuals and yet is on both sides by bringing asexuality into dead bedrooms and by bringing dead bedrooms into the asexuality subreddit, you are, in some ways, kind of fanning the flames. You’re like, “These people are not talking about this thing the way we are, so let’s point that out,” which is kind of just a weird thing to do. But this person seems very, very unhappy in their current relationship. Because all these other posts on Dead Bedrooms are like, “Oh, am I the asshole for thinking about other women? Because – you know – I’m with someone low libido and I’m high libido.” And of course, everyone in the comments is like you are not an asshole, you’re just not getting what you need. And so, like, post after post after post, and comments commiserating with other people who just seem to be miserable in their relationships is also just a thing that I will never understand. Like, if I have an issue in a relationship, I’m probably gonna want to address it with my partner first, instead of just frequently using an online community to just complain and rant and ramble about it all the time.
Royce: Yeah, it does make me wonder if you could see a history of interaction in some of these relationships, what is the communication like?
Royce: If it exists. And I also wonder for some relationships that seem to be so heavily focused on sex what else is there to the relationship? Are they spending time together in other ways? Are they doing other things together? Do they have common interests, or is that– I think we’ve mentioned before, is that the only thing in your relationship where you’re actually coming together and doing things?
Royce: Is that a part of why you feel it’s so important?
Courtney: But yeah. And, like, speaking of people that are frequenters of this subreddit, I’m not even gonna read this whole post, I’ll link it in the show notes if you all want to, but it’s pretty standard. It’s entitled, “I’m almost 50 and I think my wife is asexual.” They’ve been together for a bit, they’re married, have a kid and all that. But I just found this comment to be so fascinating because someone went through this guy’s reddit history and said, “Looking at your history, one can tell this has been an issue for 13 years.” [emphatically] For 13 years! This man has been coming to Reddit to complain about the fact that he’s not having enough sex with his wife!
Royce: If you had asked me, I don’t know if I would have guessed that Reddit was around 13 years ago.
Courtney: [laughs] I mean, 13 years ago I didn’t have internet. [laughs] And like it’s wild too, because he even says in his post like, “The last time I had a lengthy conversation about this with her is in 2018.” And this was posted very, very recently, as of the time I’m reading this, like this was in 2023 that he posted it. So he’s like, “Last time we talked about this was in 2018.” But he’s doing the whole lamenting, like, divorce is hard, figuring out co-parenting is hard since we have a kid.
Courtney: But it’s also, like, you’ve been coming on to Reddit to vent to strangers for 13 years! Like at what point – for as much as I am never going to think as much as the average allo that sex is as important in a relationship as a lot of them believe – if you have an issue that is so consistent that you’re venting about it for 13 years… Like, some of this is on you, right? Like it’s either not that big of a deal and you’re just – I don’t know – have too much time on your hands, making it out to be a worse thing than it actually is by consistently bringing it up, or this is actually such a fundamental issue to you that you’ve got to leave. You’ve got to make that decision.
Courtney: I don’t know what to tell you, but I can’t imagine 13 years complaining about not having enough sex. And at what point– maybe this is unfair, because I’m sure there are some people on here who have very genuine concerns, who are looking for very genuine connection with other people, could be at a loss in their own relationships, looking for community. I can respect that, but if there are people who are complaining about their spouse for over a decade and consistently coming back to the subreddit about the same issue, is there a word for something in the realm of incel but for people who are in a monogamous relationship? Like, what do we call people like this? Who are married and aren’t getting as much sex as they want but are just fuming about it to other people who are not getting as much sex as they want?
Royce: I mean, people who are married and sexually active can still be a part of the whole red pill ideology, which is where incels come from. So it might not be that far off. Like the word celibate may not be 100% accurate, but the vibes might be there.
Courtney: I’m sure there are some vibes there, because I’m sure there are some people who are going to feel like if you are married to someone, you have an obligation to provide sex to your spouse. Like, I’m sure there are elements of that here.
Royce: Yeah, I actually was scrolling through some things recently and did just find a comment that was about following up on a post that just had a bulleted list of, basically, terms of engagement for this thread and it just flat out said red pills will be banned.
Courtney: Interesting! So it probably follows that that is, or was, a big problem in this community, but moderators are trying to circumvent it.
Royce: Now that I say that I don’t know if I had jumped to a different subreddit.
Courtney: Oh, that doesn’t help.
Royce: I’m not 100% sure. It may have been some crossovers where, like we said earlier, some people from Dead Bedrooms were jumping into r/asexuality. And I’ve seen a couple of other posts from the same people orbiting in some other subreddits. And it may be that some other areas have noticed people coming from DeadBedrooms with a lot of red pill ideology and are just banning them.
Royce: Not sure.
Royce: I would have to hit the back button a lot.
Courtney: Royce, but context is so important. Because I don’t know if I’m proud of this stance or angry about it.
Royce: Oh, I found it. It was on r/DeadBedrooms. It is a lengthy post here that has two follow-up updates on it. And on the original post someone has pinned to it, “This post has an update redpillers will be banned on sight.”
Courtney: Okay, yeah. I actually– I did want to talk about this. I was actually going to save this post for the end, but we can jump into it now, since it’s relevant.
Royce: We took so long discussing that first post that this might be a two thread episode.
Courtney: No, we’ve got to get at least three in! That’s ridiculous. So this “Letter to my husband.” It makes sense now because I see this comment, and yes it’s, “This is a month old. Here’s an update and redpillers will be banned on sight.” This is because this post got a lot bigger than this subreddit because there was an update. It ended up getting cross posted to BestofRedditorUpdates.
Royce: I see, so a lot of people from the actual Red Pill subreddits might have seen it.
Courtney: Yes. So, I wanted to read this one, not because it involves an actual ace person, but I think this gives us a very interesting indication of the way the word asexual is often thrown about when there are people complaining about their asexual partners, or their low libido partners. Because this account is called throwaway-hurt-wife and it’s just, “Letter to my husband. I hope you see this.”
Royce: Is it common to see throwaway accounts? Just say throwaway in the title.
Courtney: I– Yeah, I’ve seen that a lot on like r/AmItheAsshole posts.
Courtney: Like people who don’t want to use their main account because they– or they might be like confessing something embarrassing, or something.
Royce: I think it also helps to signal that to the community, so that other people don’t try to contact, well after the fact or something like that.
Royce: Like everyone can tell that this is a dump account.
Courtney: Yes. So, [reading] “Throwaway account for obvious reasons. You’ve posted several times in this sub complaining that I don’t fuck you enough. You post that I shrink away from your touch and you just don’t know what to do anymore. Instead of complaining to internet strangers and making me seem like a frigid bitch who – quote – “might have some childhood trauma regarding sex,” (which isn’t even true, what is wrong with you?!) maybe you should try to look inward.” So, right off the bat, I already don’t like the use of the word frigid, because that is a thing that is thrown derogatorily at ace people all the time. So I already don’t like the, like, throwing actual, quote, “frigid” people under the bus. But using the quotes, like these are things that this spouse has said to internet strangers, which is just awful, and like “might have childhood trauma,” that’s also something people say against aces. So even though this wife is not ace and she’s calling her husband out, there is still acephobia underlying every stage of what this husband has done. So the post continues.
Courtney: [resumes reading] “Do you think it’s maybe because you refuse to help me clean? Do you think it’s maybe because of the fact that whenever I ask for your help, you tell me, “well you do it better than me?” Or “maybe later”? Or the fact that at least once a month you yell at me for not making the food correctly? Do you think it’s due to the fact that you never once woke up at night for the babies and would yell at me when one of them woke you up crying? Or because of the fact that across three kids, you’ve changed maybe five diapers total? Do you think it’s because you refuse to spend any time at all with me and the kids? I can’t even remember the last time you took me on a date night. I stopped asking two years ago, when you didn’t even get me a card for my birthday. YOU actually woke ME up on my birthday to yell at me that our son had thrown up all over his bed and I didn’t clean it. If you were awake and I wasn’t, maybe just do it yourself! Do you think it’s because the only time you try to fuck me is after I’m already asleep? Do you think it’s because of the fact that over the last three years you haven’t even tried to make me–?”
Royce: That’s not a Courtney word.
Courtney: Okay, so actually I almost said this the first and only time I’ve ever said this on the podcast, but I didn’t because it was a very difficult conversation. This was back when we were talking about– it was probably our marriage consummation laws episode, because we were also talking about like refugees and migrants trying to seek asylum in other countries, or just otherwise immigrate to other countries, and how especially queer people, but really any married couple are subject to really invasive questions about your sex life. And there was a direct quote in there that said the word cum, because it was like an immigration officer asking this gay couple in this instance about their habits and use that word and was asking for specifics about that. And that, on microphone, during that episode was the only time in my life that I have ever said that word. So [breathy laugh] We’re gonna need– So, if you’re a regular listener, you know that we’re friends with Sharky and Satan over at Aces Playing at Attraction. They’ve both been podcast guest interviews, Sharky is famously our longest interview, our longest episode period, we’ve ever done, and Sharky doesn’t do swears. So when they’re streaming video games online, if Sharky’s character that he’s voicing ever swears, Satan has to jump in and say this swear for him. I feel like I need that just for this word. So, Satan, if you’re reading this transcript, I need you to record that word for me so I can have it on a little like– like a soundboard. [laughs] Please and thank you. So, um, anyway, the post goes on.
Courtney: [resumes reading] “Or that you threw away my vibrator because, I – quote – “shouldn’t have anything except my husband inside of me.” Or maybe because you keep asking me for certain sex acts you know make me extremely uncomfortable? Do you think maybe it’s the fact that after the last three times we had sex, you made rude comments about my – quote – “extra flab and stretch marks”? Or maybe was it the time that I bought lingerie and you laughed and said I should have gotten a larger size? Or maybe last year for Christmas, when I said it would be fun to go to a cabin in the snow, just us, for my birthday, and instead you got me a personal training session and told me this will help with my attraction? Do you think it’s because of the fact you constantly talk about how hot your new co-worker is? Or the fact that you go to a strip club almost every Friday after work instead of spending time with your wife and kids? Please explain to me why I would want to have sex with you. Why? When the only time we do have sex it lasts three minutes, and afterwards you just roll over and tell me to get myself off? How can I, when you throw away my vibrators? Maybe instead of coming to Reddit and making me seem like the bad guy, fix yourself first. Fuck you.”
Courtney: [keeps reading] “Words don’t describe the contempt I feel for you after finding your multiple posts across different subs about how I hate sex and am – quote – “possibly asexual.” I love sex. I used to have good sex. I miss it. I don’t miss you anymore. I hope you fucking read this. Don’t believe everything you read here, people, there’s always another side. And to the man complaining here that their wives don’t fuck them enough, maybe stop and consider the fact that you might be the issue. Rant over.” Oh, the drama is so delicious! [laughs]
Royce: See, you called out in the second paragraph here the mention of – and this was not in quotes – when she said, “making me seem like a frigid bitch,” but I felt like, even though that wasn’t a direct quote, that was the nature of her husband’s posts.
Royce: Or the commentary surrounding about it.
Royce: So I didn’t care about that at all. That didn’t bother me a bit.
Courtney: Possibly asexual is in quotes.
Royce: That is, that is a direct quote.
Courtney: So that’s a quote.
Royce: It’s always interesting when people, whether they’re partners or family members, know that the people that they know use Reddit and they find their accounts, and then we see both sides posting.
Royce: Because that happens sometimes on r/AmItheAsshole, or sometimes someone will post, there will be an update later where they go, “Oh shit, my family saw this. Now everything’s blowing up.”
Courtney: But yeah, the updates to this – I won’t read them verbatim – but there was an update that started with: “He read the post. He disagreed with everything I said, and we’ve been living apart since. He screenshot my post and asked if it was about him.” So here’s the thing, “he disagreed with everything,” but on an account with no subreddit history that’s just called throwaway-hurt-wife on the subreddit he frequents, he read this and was like, “Hey, wait, that’s about me.”
Royce: There were some very specific incidents mentioned too.
Courtney: But he disagreed with everything… So did it happen or did it not happen? But it does– I guess this is worth stating that [reading] “The gist of it was that he thinks that I don’t put enough effort into being physically attractive to him, so in his mind it’s okay to not put any effort into sex and want to cheat. – quote – “men are visual creatures.” He thinks that he should be able to experience everything he wants sexually, even if I don’t want it, because I’m his wife and it’s my obligation to keep him happy. That was shocking to hear. That is not the man I married.” So it sounds like there was some red pilling going on there. Sounds like he fell down the red pill… pipeline? Wormhole?
Courtney: But there was even a third update, that was like a year after, that said that they did get divorced. She’s seeing someone new and feeling sexy again. So, good for her. But like, yeah, that’s something that I just thought it was so interesting, to read that. Because I want to know so bad how often there are just like very angry, entitled men who are presenting things in a very specific fashion that’s revolving around them not getting enough sex. Because they know other men not getting enough sex are going to empathize with that and tell them what they want to hear. But also just the general vibe of like, “My wife is a frigid bitch, she doesn’t want sex with me anymore.” Me, poor, innocent man, who just wants to love my wife! And she’s possibly asexual. Maybe she has childhood trauma! Like there is so much acephobia ingrained in those posts and just the very nature of what this guy is doing, that it doesn’t even matter that there isn’t an actual ace person involved, because this is compulsory sexuality.
Royce: And going back to that first post, we speculated around a variety of things there that obviously we have no means of actually saying, but that person had been posting for, you said, 13 years [Courtney’s weary laugh] and not resolving anything. How many similar things were, like, to this relationship may have been going on in that one? Where the incompatibility starts well before the couple enters the bedroom.
Courtney: Right. Well, and then if you aren’t having the conversations with your partner and instead you’re going to internet communities, like– and you’re doing that across several years of time, there is a chance for radicalization to happen there. Whether it’s overtly red pill or some other fringe and potentially dangerous community, whatever it may be. Like, that is also how things like this can happen, where all of a sudden this woman is like, “Where is all this coming from? You’re not the man I married.” And also probably led to some of the things that she mentioned, like throwing out her vibrator. Like clearly she had a vibrator at one point. Clearly there was a change where he was like, “This is no longer allowed,” which wasn’t his right to say in the first place, but it seems like there was some radicalization happening online behind the wife’s back this whole time.
Royce: Yeah, it is very easy to find yourself in a bubble. And sometimes those bubbles can be nice and comforting and supportive, and sometimes they can be little extremist groups. Or– That’s– I mean, this is basically how cults work. There is a heavy overlap between how people get indoctrinated into cults and online extremist groups. We’ve also seen cases of– I forget what this was. It may have been like an Am I the Asshole post or something where a husband had a dramatic personality shift after a promotion, where he started interacting with a bunch of like upper level executive bros, and the culture in that environment was very different and all of a sudden that was reflecting in his behavior.
Royce: Okay, so this post here is just titled Two Asexuals. [reading] “My girlfriend (26) and I (23) are both asexual, but on opposite ends of the spectrum. I am sex positive/favorable and have a low libido (only crave sex every like 1-2 months?). I’ve been to kink parties and have been generally chill with sex in general. I see sex almost like a fun activity, like baking together or something. Even when I crave it, I don’t experience any sexual attraction. My girlfriend, on the other hand, is sex negative(?)” Question mark. I wonder if the question mark is if negative is the right term or if that is an assumption about the person, I don’t know yet. [resumes reading] “On top of not having any sexual attraction, she doesn’t really feel all that much physically,” as in like hyposensitive? I’m wondering. Is what the inclination is, there?
Courtney: I don’t know. It could mean that, it could be a broader arousal too.
Royce: Oh, yeah, yeah. Now that you say it–
Courtney: It’s hard to know, but it could be either, honestly
Royce: Now that you say that out loud, that makes sense. I was taking that very literally, as in sensation isn’t as prominent.
Courtney: Yeah, well, this is one of those situations where the vocabulary probably isn’t perfect, but I don’t think we need to know exactly what in order to get to the heart of what’s being conveyed.
Royce: Right, right. I was like, “Oh, a post that is actually going into some detail by starting out by saying two asexuals on opposite ends of the spectrum,” and then I went in a little too far on specifics. [Courtney laughs] But they continue, [reading] “No trauma or anything like that, just not into sex. We’ve tried out different kinks/fantasies, toys, different positions, etc. It’s a two steps forward, one step back sort of deal with us. It’s not that our sex life is completely dead, but I don’t want to force anything out of her if it makes her so comfortable/annoyed. She also isn’t as physically affectionate as I am. Hugging/cuddling is pretty normal with us, but kissing isn’t really initiated much and it’s usually pretty quick.
Royce: We have an amazing relationship otherwise. Very communicative and understanding. We talk about this quite a bit, but it’s hard and I can tell it hurts her to discuss. Any idea on where we can go from here? We talked about seeing a therapist, but I worry that they’ll say much of what we’ve already discussed. Do we just accept that we’re not sexually compatible? What do I do with my own desires, then (besides taking care of it myself)? We are very monogamous and I’ve brought up how, if I went to sleep with people, it would just feel like cheating (I know that’s not everyone, just how I feel about my relationship.) I will try to answer any questions.”
Courtney: And then it got not a single comment from anybody.
Royce: It got a single upvote and no comments.
Courtney: I think– Don’t Reddit posts default to one upvote?
Royce: I have no idea.
Courtney: Like, when it posts, I think they all have one upvote. I think if you see something zero. It has been downvoted once.
Royce: Well, that– I guess to a certain extent, with a small sample size, answers the question I was about to ask, which– how many asexual people actually post to this subreddit themselves.
Courtney: Yeah, and we probably won’t have time to get into it today because I have a million tabs open right now, so we’ve only scratched the surface. But I definitely saw one where there was a demisexual woman who was talking about her now possibly discovering asexual boyfriend or something, and I was like that was an interesting one. But this is exactly the kind of thing where it’s like you are not on the right subreddit, my friend. Well, maybe you’ll do better in r/asexuality, or one of the other ace specific subreddits, because this community, I think, broadly does not understand you or your experience.
Royce: That was my first thought with the question of, “Should we go see, like, a couples therapist or a sex therapist?” Unless you are very selective, there is a decent chance that that person, that professional, is not going to understand the situation at hand.
Courtney: Right! Also that! And that could potentially do harm. But I think this is just a really good illustration of the fact that orientation and sexual compatibility in relationships is not as clear cut as “allos must be with allos, and aces must be with aces.” Which is something I have seen repeatedly from allosexual people on r/DeadBedrooms. So now here is literally an ace-ace relationship saying we still have issues of sexual compatibility. And that’s not going to be the case for every ace-ace relationship. And even on different ends of the spectrum you might be in compatible enough areas of the spectrum. But I also just find it– I find it a little interesting that this is also the only post that – well, aside from the wife rant – that didn’t use the like shorthand for low libido and high libido. But we don’t have a high libido person here. And almost all of the other concerns in, not even the ace ones, but just in general on this subreddit, so many of the issues boiled down to, “I have high libido and my partner doesn’t, and it’s a problem for me.”
Royce: This post also stands out in that it didn’t have really any identifiers about the two people, aside from the use of the word girlfriend for the other person here. Other than that, op doesn’t mention gender at all, it’s just ages.
Courtney: Which does check out for the ace community.
Courtney: A lot of us reject gender. [laughs] But yeah, OP does have low libido.
Royce: There are some aspects of this that I find interesting, not bad, but I’m trying to work through understanding craving sex intermittently, but also just seeing it as an activity, but also seeing it as an activity that can only be done strictly with one person, but also being okay with being around group activities like kink parties.
Royce: It’s just a very–
Courtney: It’s a very specific boundary.
Royce: It is a very specific boundary, and it’s a specific combination of boundaries that I don’t think I’ve heard many other people articulate in that way.
Courtney: I actually am not surprised to see this coming from a monogamous ace. Because I know a lot of aces who are fully supportive of open relationships, polyamory, have a lot of friends and a lot of just communal crossover between the polyamory community, but it’s just– it’s not that way for them. I mean, I’d consider myself that. I think I’m pretty naturally hardwired to be monogamous, and I think there are some people that are pretty naturally wired to not be monogamous. But I also– I guess my only question, if I were to interact with OP here, which I won’t, I’ll just talk about them on a podcast. [laughs] Sounds kind of mean now that I think about it.
Courtney: My question here is what actually is it that you need out of this relationship? Because I don’t think I have a very solid understanding. Because it does say, “She isn’t as physically affectionate as I am.” So is the issue actually the fact that she doesn’t want to have sex like once every one or two months? Or is the issue that you want more cuddling and hand-holding and things like that? Because it just says, “We have an amazing relationship otherwise, very communicative and understanding.”
Royce: Yeah, the term physically affectionate can mean a lot of things. They do call out that kissing isn’t done very often. They don’t really specify as often as they would want it, if they would want that to be different. But that was kind of what I was getting at, because OP describes this as almost like a fun activity, like baking together or something, but also says that they crave sex specifically. And that’s the part where they kind of lose me from personal experience, because–
Courtney: You don’t crave anything, like ever.
Courtney: Under any circumstances.
Royce: I don’t crave foods. [Courtney laughs] Like that’s just not something that I experience as a general rule. So I was trying to figure out that whole combination of things that OP described basically resolves down to: I have this one explicit thing that I need and I need my partner to do this with me for me to be happy in a relationship. And is it actually that rigid, or is there a bit more to this? Is this a part of a broader, like, I need to be seen or shown affection in some way, and that sex is the way that I’m used to feeling that affection, or something of that nature.
Courtney: Yeah, which is interesting because I guess I could possibly relate a little more so than you could to – I don’t like the word craving, but I’ll use it since OP did – but like craving an activity. Because there are times, or at least pre-pandemic there would be times, where it’s like, “Oh, I’m just– I’m itching to go to karaoke, like I’ve got to go to karaoke this weekend.” And so, like, I would have to go do something to get it out of my system because I just really wanted to do it very intently in that situation. So if sex is analogous to any other fun activity here for this person, then I can kind of get that. But where it’s different for me, in– in our ace-ace monogamous relationship, I don’t need you to come with me to do other activities. Like I am happy going to karaoke alone or I’m happy going to karaoke with one of my karaoke friends.
Courtney: Like I’d– I’d regularly go down to like our Hamburger Mary’s or, uh, or Woody’s – which is another gay bar that’s right down the road from Hamburger Mary’s – and like, I’d– I would meet all these friends who were regulars at karaoke night in these places. So we’d all get to know each other. So sometimes it would be– call one of them up and be, like, “Hey, you going to karaoke this weekend?” Or I’d just show up and some friends I already know are already there, and that was great. Because I live with you, I love you, we do so many things together, we do have a lot of shared interests, I don’t need you to do absolutely every fun activity with me.
Royce: That’s what I was trying to get at, because it was these four or five different things that seemed to all need to line up for OP to feel fulfilled. And is that actually the case, or are there maybe some other ways for you to attempt to go about it? They already said explicitly that they are monogamous, so that is off the table. But are there other things? And again, I can’t relate to the craving or– with the way you described it, that sounds to me more like a type of fixation, which is something that I also don’t really have.
Courtney: Well, for me it definitely is a fixation, because I very much do have OCD. And sometimes it’s like I am not going to be capable of doing anything until the thing that I’m fixating on is taken care of.
Royce: Right. In my case, I don’t need to do that or I don’t experience that, and there are times when I will feel like I need to do something. I will need to focus on something. I will need to– I have some creative energy or something like that, or– and I may have an idea for what that could be, but that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that one thing. I could substitute something else in for that activity.
Courtney: Mm-mm. Yeah, so overall very interesting, also because we also don’t know theoretically what this person’s – you know – sexual habits would look like in a mixed orientation relationship if they were with an allo person. Saying that they are sex positive/favorable– Which makes it seem like they’re using those two words interchangeable, which a lot of people do use those words interchangeably, much to the dismay of most of the community that are like, “No, sex positive is feminist and social justice! And it– it means people are allowed to be however they want to be. And sex favorable means whether or not you like having sex.”
Royce: I actually read that, that combined with the, “My girlfriend, on the other hand, is sex negative(?)” Question mark, may just be that they may have stumbled over that before and are like, “I don’t know what the right term is. So I’m going to put multiple terms.”
Courtney: They could be using what most of the community would say is sex, like, averse, or like, or sex repulsed.
Royce: Different people would say I am one of these two things, take your pick.
Courtney: Yes. So with that OP saying like, “I only need sex every one or two months,” but if they were with an allosexual person and an HL, if they were with an HL, they could be totally willing and happy to have sex a lot more than that. So–
Royce: That is something they don’t specify.
Courtney: They don’t specify, but I do think that that’s really interesting. Because that’s another thing to think about within the spectrum of asexuality, is that it’s never as reductive as being like, if your ace go find another ace. Because compatibility can mean so many different things. And this I’ll just leave off on this too, because for as much as I don’t think this was posted in the right subreddit, given the zero comments, and I’d honestly be a little afraid of what the comments were, to an ace person, given some of the other ones I’ve seen. We didn’t get into anything super, super, duper toxic this time, but maybe we’ll do a follow-up episode with even more another time. But I also kind of would be afraid to tell this person to put this post on an ace forum. Also because I have seen people absolutely slammed and immediately driven out of the community for making what is actually a very, very minor, if not inconsequential mistake of like using the word sex negative instead of sex averse or using sex positive instead of sex favorable. So I would be terrified that they would get the wrong first few commenters on an ace forum by posting this exact thing there. So I would say to anybody who is a frequenter of not only Reddit, but AVEN, even just other social media sites, Twitter, wherever people engage publicly in forums: please just try to remember that people have a different set of circumstances.
Courtney: People are in different communities, people have different understandings of what words mean. And the ace community, we have words that work for us, and we have phrases that work for us, that we try to establish and use. But people outside of our community, or brand new to our community, there is a learning curve. And I think we forget that we weren’t all just born with this information and we haven’t just known it all of our lives. It’s easy to forget a time when you didn’t know the things you know now. So just try to be a little mindful and kind when people slip up over vocabulary in particular, because if you read things generously and if you give the posters the benefit of the doubt, you can tell if they’re coming from a genuine place. Like, you can tell the difference between this person saying, “I’m ace and my partner is ace, and here’s a thing that is concerning me about our relationship. Does anyone have any advice?” You can tell that’s coming from a sincere place, as opposed to someone who’s like, “I have high libido and my wife has low libido, and it makes me mad, and I’m posting this in an ace subreddit for some reason.” Like there’s a difference. There is a difference. So– so, I guess on that note we’ll end here for today. As I said, we have so many others, so we could absolutely do this again if you all like this subreddit. I feel like, just with some of the things I skimmed before we sat down, I feel like we didn’t even get into some of the, like, worst posts that I just even skimmed through, so.
Royce: We did spend a bit of time talking around a couple of longer ones, or ones that just had some poster history stuff.
Royce: As an introduction to the subreddit, at least.
Courtney: So I suppose, if you like pain and want more, let us know and we can dive back into this subreddit again in the future. Because there is– Ooh there is a lot to unpack here! But in the meantime, you can follow us on our brand new social media platforms. We set up, get this, a Bluesky account and a Tumblr account. I make no promises that we are going to stay there or be as active as we once were on Twitter, but we’ll see what happens. Maybe lots of cool people follow us and we have generally positive interactions on there. Maybe– maybe it’ll turn into something beautiful, I don’t know. I’ll reserve judgment.
Courtney: In the meantime, we are @theacecouple on both of those. No underscores between those words. Because of course, we are @The_Ace_Couple on the social media platform formally known as Twitter, and we are going nowhere else, so don’t even ask. Three is already too many. I am dying inside. Too much. Too– Too much. Too much internet, too much. So follow us on the things, like and share and follow the podcast, you all know what to do. And we will see you all next time.