For most of my life I have been vehemently repressing my sexuality to the point where me being asexual was a matter of principle and part of my moral character. A month ago, a good friend of mine asked me out on a date after weeks, if not months, of flirting with me to which I was completely oblivious and clueless. She has been unimaginably patient with me as I go through the teenage panics and anxieties of a first relationship (at the age of 25) and she supports me dearly in my struggle with my identity and gender dysphoria. She describes me as a beacon of kindness and having a strong aura of asexuality, a description which succinctly puts a lot into perspective.
I appreciate her dearly and I want to support her in her own sexuality as well, but this is where there is overlap with my personal failings. She is into a variety of kinks but I can't physically hurt another person, even at their own request and even for their own pleasure.
I live for others, I exist to help and to nurture, and my entire personal philosophy, my entire being, is devoted to making the world a better place for others. This is why I am a teacher, to make the lives of others better. I am not accustomed to this sort of failure. I can't do what she wants of me, I can't hurt her, I can try to please her in other ways but ultimately I cannot satisfy her kinks. To add complexity to this situation, our relationship is not an exclusive one and she is seeing other people, which I have no issue with. Her sexuality is her right and I want to continue supporting her in that, but I can't ignore a hollow feeling of inadequacy inside of me.
I've trained myself for my entire adult life not to be the male I was born as, to reject masculinity, patriarchy and any concept of male sexuality; to now have a sexuality emerging from underneath all that repression and for that sexuality to be inadequate, is more than a little crushing. What upsets me most is not that she is seeing others, but the fact that I have any feelings at all on this issue. I am used to being a selfless paragon and what upsets me most of all is the fact that my emerging sexuality has disturbed that selfless being.
It's like the tide though, it comes and goes. Those feelings will return, and you will experience them with many different people you meet in the future. There's a big difference between two people having different sexual or relationship needs, and your entire sexuality being inadequate. Her desires are her own, and your desires are yours, and they are equally as important.
I don't know if what I'm about to say matches with you, it's from my own experience. That inadequacy you're feeling comes from being different and not fitting in. It can make you so desperate to be loved and be intimate that when you meet someone who's interested in you, you throw all your own needs out the window and only focus on theirs. You describe yourself as 'selfless' so it sounds like this is already part of your personality.
Boundaries are so important, and it sounds like you have a great relationship with this person, but maybe it might be better as a friend? You'll need good friends alongside you as you carry on this voyage of discovery. It's an exciting time, even though those crushing weights can dangle overhead as you go. 🙂
Thank you Maxine, all of your points are very insightful. I'm not used to giving attention to my own problems, I take on the problems of others and believe that this gives me purpose, but I realise now that that wasn't going to last forever.
I agree, boundaries are important and I used to have walls around me which I thought were pretty strong until an unstoppable human being charged through them. This person inspires me and I feel safe with them to take the risk of exploring myself and my feelings, but I also echo your concerns, I don't want whatever this is to spoil a lovely friendship.