Hello SI! Long time, no see.
I thought about putting this in the "I can relate" section, but decided that it's a rare enough topic to put here, and if a moderator wants to move it later, they can.
Those of you who know me from the before time...in the long long ago will remember that I am a two-time member of this site. Two marriages ruined by infidelity. I don't think I ever really healed from the first one before I walked down the aisle again, and after the second one, I was really thrown into a dark place.
I did what it is my nature to do...blame myself. If only I had done this or that, maybe I could have avoided the pain. Not healthy, and it took a lot of work on my part, talks with friends and talks with professionals to figure things out. Something I came to discover about myself is:
I'm asexual. For the most part. To define my sexuality in concrete terms, I am demi-sexual. I'm capable of sexual thoughts and feelings, but they are exceedingly rare.
In my marriages, and with every other relationship I've had that was physical, I was never the initiator of a sexual encounter, and my appetite for it, or for physical intimacy of any sort was about once a month. If I was set upon by a woman, I could go along with it, but it always kind of felt like something I had to do instead of something I wanted to do.
I've really wrestled with my feelings towards intimacy and sex since I was a teenager. I never had the same drive as my classmates, and I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I had to construct a facade in order to protect myself from the incessant teasing that is pervasive in school for those of us who were "different" from the rest. I learned how to tell a good dirty joke, how to go along with the locker-room talk, and even managed to rack up a respectable number of one-night stands over the years. It was all a big lie, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time. Something should have set off alarms in my head when I would feel guilt after sex. No warm feelings, no fuzzy afterglow, no "closeness". Guilt. Shame. As though I had done something wrong to somebody.
Not that my lack of sex drive was a valid reason for my partners to betray me, but given that knowledge of asexuality in the world is sparse, I suppose I can see how my actions were taken as cold or how it seemed as though I did not love my partners, even though I showed it in a million other ways. For people with a sex drive, the lack of physical intimacy in a relationship can be seen as a slap in the face.
It's taken me almost 20 years to finally figure out what's going on in my head and heart. I gotta tell you...it feels good...like a weight has been lifted. I don't need to beat myself up over something I did "wrong" because I didn't do anything wrong...I was just the wrong type of person for the relationships.
Sometimes, it's not just a "low sex drive". There are a lot of people like me; people who don't feel sexual attraction. We're still capable of love, of companionship, of a lot of different types of emotional and physical intimacy, but the act of sex for many of us is just something that feels wrong on some fundamental level. For many of us, we tried to force ourselves into a role we weren't comfortable with because of pressures from society or family to "settle down and have kids" or some other form of trying to "fake it until you make it".
It's not just black-and-white when it comes to human sexuality. There are a lot of grey areas.