Hullo there. Im in a polycule with two ace boys who generally do not like or require touching. Recently I have been a, how do you say, touch starved maniac. I don’t want to ask them to touch me or show me affection because I know that they both need space and no touching. But I’m big craving affection. I’m also the only one who isn’t ace and sometimes it makes me feel like a shithead to want so much that they can't give me. Any advice?
We in the polyamorous community are very fond of saying that polyamory will not solve relationship problems and is not a cure-all for unmet needs. I do think, however, that in your unique case, it’s a pretty good solution. You say you’re in a polycule, which would imply that the relationship is polyamorous. You’re right that it’s not super nice to demand something of someone when they’ve made it clear that they can’t or don’t want to provide that. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job honoring your partners’ boundaries. But it’s also not nice to yourself to demand that you ignore or repress your own desires, or feel shame for having them!
Talk to your two partners about these desires, and your intention to start pursuing physical and sexual affection elsewhere. Hopefully they’re chill and supportive, and you three can discuss the terms of your polycule such that everyone gets what they want and no one feels judged or repressed for their specific set of preferences and needs. If they want to keep things as a closed polycule and insist that you simply stop bringing up, or stop feeling, these desires for physical touch, then this probably isn’t the right relationship for you!
It is okay, and not acephobic, to decide that you need or want new terms for this relationship. You are not pressuring them or shaming them for who they are, but you also shouldn’t pressure or shame yourself. I am not saying that all ace people should be okay with their partners seeking sexual attention elsewhere in a polyamorous arrangement, or that no relationship with different levels of sexual interest can work. But for you specifically, letter-writer, it sounds like this is a situation where this conversation is warranted, and some next steps are called for (whether it means opening the relationship, or leaving it.) Being sexually incompatible is a real and common reason for relationships to end or change terms - it’s not a referendum on whose sexuality or preferences are “valid” or worthy of respect.