Real life: "I'm in a sexless relationship and I couldn't be happier"

I love you, but with one condition.

By As told to Take 5

Lauren, 21, Sydney, NSW shares her true life story:

I shuddered as my boyfriend drew me into his arms and started kissing me.
Not again.
Any minute now we'd be in the bedroom, the very place I didn't want to be.
It wasn't that I didn't love my boyfriend – I just had no interest in having sex with him.
My idea of romance was simply holding hands, kissing and cuddling, nothing more.
But finding a guy who wanted the same thing seemed impossible.
"I wanted to share my life with someone so I decided to give online dating a go." Images are exclusive property of Take 5.
Eventually, I realised I couldn't keep living like this.
"It's over," I told my boyfriend, breathing a sigh of relief that I'd no longer need to keep having sex.
At 19, I wondered if there was something wrong with me for feeling this way.
Too ashamed to confide in anyone, I took to the internet and came across a page for asexuals, also known as aces.
Asexuality was a term for people who don't experience any sexual attraction at all.
"It's me!" I gasped, feeling relieved that there was a word for how I felt.
It didn't matter that only one per cent of the population fell into this category, the most important thing was that I wasn't alone.
"It was so good to know I wasn't alone." Images are exclusive property of Take 5
But that didn't mean I wasn't lonely.
I wanted to share my life with someone so I decided to give online dating a go.
I'm looking for a long-term, committed relationship, I wrote on my profile.
But I don't want anything sexual.
My hopes weren't high, but at least I'd been honest and would no longer have to pretend.
To my surprise, I received a few messages.
You'll never find a man who doesn't want sex! one said.
Others sent me standard messages which made it clear they'd only looked at my profile picture and hadn't bothered to read a word I'd written.
But one message from a 24-year-old called Andrew who lived interstate made my heart leap.
I'm also looking for a relationship, he began, listing all his interests that were the same as mine.
I scanned the message to see if he'd mentioned sex.
It doesn't bother me that you don't want sex, he finished.
What a relief!
We started chatting over Skype regularly.
Even though he was in Sydney, a five-hour flight away from me in Perth, I felt closer to Andrew than anyone else.
Our conversations stretched into the early hours and when we couldn't talk, we'd send one another texts.
"Are you sure you don't mind that I'm asexual?" I fretted.
"Sure," he replied calmly.
I wanted to share my life with someone. Images are exclusive property of Take 5.
I couldn't imagine another guy wanting to be with someone like this, but Andrew reassured me time and time again that it wouldn't be an issue for him.
He even suggested flying across to visit me for the day.
"I'll book a hotel for myself so there's no pressure," he said. "If it works, it works."
I was jittery with nerves when he arrived, but he seemed just as shy.
After a few hours of awkward conversation, Andrew took me into a piano store and sat in front of an old honky-tonk.
"This is for you," he began, playing a tune he'd written himself.
The sweet song almost moved me to tears.
No-one had ever done anything like this for me before.
After that we talked as easily as we'd done on Skype.
Butterflies were racing through my tummy.
"Can I hug you?" Andrew asked. I nodded enthusiastically.
To my relief, our brief embrace was all he wanted.
We continued for a walk and later boarded a Ferris wheel beside the beach.
Andrew's hand brushed lightly against mine as we climbed into the carriage.
We sat close beside each other, but didn't dare hold hands.
We got off the Ferris wheel and continued walking along the beach, before sitting down to watch the sunset.
"Will you be my girlfriend?" he asked.
"Andrew respects me and that's all I need." Images are exclusive property of Take 5.
Most men would have run a mile by now.
Andrew's devotion made it clear that he cared a lot about me.
Days later, we both confessed our love for each other over Skype.
I felt exhilarated at being able to say the words and really mean them.
After four months of long-distance dating I flew to Sydney to live with him.
One day we were lying in bed when Andrew put his arm around me, drawing me in for a hug.
"Will you marry me?" he asked.
I agreed without hesitation.
Andrew blushed. "Sorry I don't have a ring to give you yet," he joked. "I promise I'll get one soon."
But a ring was the least of my concerns.
What mattered most was that he respected me for who I am.
Just to make sure, I asked Andrew a few more times if spending the rest of his life without sex would be a problem.
His answer has never changed.
There are some people who will never understand our relationship but as long as we're both happy, I don't care.
After all, lots of people have sex with someone they don't love.
So what's so strange about two people in love not having sex?
"We still enjoy tender moments." Images are exclusive property of Take 5.
Andrew says:
"It's not a problem for me to have a non-sexual relationship. I'm more interested in the emotional and intellectual side of things, and I value this much more. Most guys I know think sex is essential, but mine and Lauren's relationship is proof that it's not."
Pamela Supple from Sex Therapy Australia tells Take 5:
"There are many different aspects to a fulfilling relationship. Sex does not need to be the cherry on the cake. I've heard Lauren and Andrew's story and they seem quite happy. So if it works for them, it works!I'd suggest that they keep their communication open at all times in case one of them changes their mind and wants to explore sexually further down the track"
Want to hear what the Take 5 team have to say about this one? Check out Take 5's Ripper Real Life Podcast below!

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