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Polyamory / Relationships / Sex

I Like My Love Without Sex – and My Sex Without Love

Growing up, I didn’t quite understand that sex is not required for romantic relationships, and neither is love for a sexual encounter.

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Written by Maya Grimm.

Art by Megan Louise Taylor.

I have to start with the fact that I am not literate when it comes to queer* linguistics—never was. All I knew from the age of 12 was that I am not straight; I love who I love.

Growing up, I didn’t quite understand that sex is not required for romantic relationships, and neither is love for a sexual encounter. To be quite honest, I didn’t know that until three years ago, when I opened up my long-term relationship. My partner introduced this concept to me and, since I tended to be sexually passive in our relationship, I was grateful because it took a lot of pressure off me—I can laugh about this statement now, even though it is actually quite sad.

Two months into this open relationship, I met her. I felt like she was everything I wasn’t, and so much more. For the first time, I was in lust with someone. Yes, I had sex with my partners in my other relationships, but mostly because I knew that it meant something to them. I figured it was easier for me to play along than for them to abstain from sex because of me. So, back to her: I wanted to touch and to be touched. I wanted her to want me…and she did. That night changed my life. For the first time I felt seen, didn’t shy away from saying what I wanted, and had real and fulfilling sex. We met up two times after that and then decided that we’d go our separate ways.

You can buy all the toys, gels and movies you like, but when you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood.

And my relationship? I was never happier! I wanted to cuddle, I was energetic, I wanted to go out and do stuff, see stuff, eat stuff. My partner, irritated at first, quickly came to appreciate my changed attitude. Of course, we tried being sexual, and—you guessed it; here comes the big BUT—I couldn’t do it anymore. I was devastated. Why did I feel so liberated with her but unable to enjoy the same physical intimacy within my relationship? We almost broke up due to the pressure I put on both me and the relationship. You can buy all the toys, gels and movies you like, but when you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood. I couldn’t pretend to enjoy it anymore.

What happened next? Well, my partner sat me down and said, “This is the first time you’ve been honest with me and most importantly with yourself.“ Ouch. But 100 percent true. We talked, cried, talked some more, and considered breaking up, but ultimately we both came to realize that we love each other very much. And, yes, in a romantic way. So, we decided to stay together and communicate the shit out of this situation.

…because of growing up with the heteronormative relationship code I felt that a ‘normal’ relationship had to check certain boxes, without taking in consideration that 1. I am not hetero, and 2. I don’t give a shit about societal norms.

We’ve now reached a new level in our relationship—my partner and I stopped having sex altogether. Yes, sometimes I still feel that sex is the very thing that defines romantic relationships, and therefore something is missing. But we didn’t miss anything, so why did I think that I have to miss something? Well, most likely, because of growing up with the heteronormative relationship code I felt that a “normal” relationship had to check certain boxes, without taking in consideration that 1. I am not hetero, and 2. I don’t give a shit about societal norms.

When I started talking to my therapist about this scenario she told me that my behavior was most likely linked to my abusive past. I cried and felt broken again, the way I felt for most of my life. I thought she meant that I developed a coping mechanism and was acting out of fear. When I wanted her to elaborate, she asked me if I felt liberated and satisfied. When I answered, “Yes,” she told me to be safe and that we have to monitor my feelings for a bit. I understood her reaction and, although I don’t want to need validation, I sometimes still need it.

It still fascinates me how someone who seemed so bad at communicating could please and accept pleasure like I do now. I didn’t want to lose my loving partner, so I made myself have  sex! Unbelievable. What an insult to the both of us. And now? It’s not perfect, because relationships never are, but it does not feel like work. It just feels like constant progress. I love this person so much and I am very loved. And though I don’t know if we will be together for one, two, or 10 more years, I can make sure that I am honest and will love them without compromising myself.

As long as it is consensual and safe, I will fuck away. I learned to love myself and my fat body through fucking strangers, it liberated me in ways I never thought of and it strengthened my relationship in the process. I have a lot of sex with a lot of people and my sex life is filled with tender and erotic moments, but I don’t feel romantically linked to the people I sleep with. And I don’t want to.


About the Author

Maya is 31 years old and lives in Germany with her partner of 7 years and a ginger cat. She is fat and proud and her favorite food is white rice with soy sauce and Bubblegum flavored ice cream. She has never been to the States and is not planning on it. She is constantly reading books or writing shitty poetry. This is her first attempt at writing an article and she procrastinated so hard that she almost missed the deadline. English is her third language.


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