GGG, DTMFA, FUBAR?
January 4, 2011 8:35 AM Subscribe
Sexually incompatible, or do we just need to....get over the hump? [Probably NSFW]
posted by anonymous to human relations (41 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
In his most recent column, Dan Savage restates one of his favorite ideas:
There would be fewer divorces and less heartbreak if people were encouraged to view sexual incompatibility as the deal breaker it inevitably becomes over time.
I'm a 31-year-old man in a fourteen-month old relationship that, like the person Savage is responding to, seems delightful save for the sex. We're talking about moving in together. We spent Christmas together. She makes me laugh like nobody else. We've both had some career drama since we started dating, and we've been really good supports for each other. We have very similar interests. I love the heck out of her. I think she's beautiful. In theory, our levels of kink are very similar and very compatible. But I just don't enjoy sex with her.
Sex has been perpetually problematic, though. I was unable to reach orgasm the first time we had sex, and blamed it on my antidepressants. We both are strong believers in therapy, and spent quite a few months doing sex therapy with a therapist we both like. This was certainly good for getting communication about sex better between us. But I'm just not that interested in sex. One method I've tried (as suggest by the therapist) was to go about it utterly mechanically -- treat my brain like a pit boss telling my hands and mouth and other body parts where to go and what to do almost like a robot until my mind eventually got into the swing of things. I've had these problems in relationships before, but this is the first time that a girlfriend and I have worked so hard and so honestly to overcome them.
But the fact of the matter is that I don't look forward to sex. It's hard for me to initiate with any sort of believability. And I think about sex constantly -- I fantasize about other people I have been with, other people I haven't been with. I'm not supposed to ever masturbate without her knowing, or to ever look at pornography -- not that there's anything wrong with either of these things inherently, except that they can undo intimacy when I do them by myself. Sometimes I'm good about this and sometimes I'm not. Also note that, despite the daily 20 mg of Lexapro, orgasm through masturbation is quite easy.
It's worth saying that she has some pretty tough body issues herself -- eating disorder stuff.
She can tell when I'm checked out during sex. She always asks me if there's something we're not doing in bed that I want her to do, and I say no. And in one sense that's true -- there's not some secret kinky fantasy that I'm scared to talk about acting out. And I don't know how to broach the issues discussed above -- my general pessimism about our sex life, the fact that in my head I'm sexually voracious, the fact that during those moments I'm "checked out" during sex I'm usually fantasizing about someone else.
Have there been a couple of times when the sex between us was decent? Yes. But I've never been interested in it. I'm missing the other relationships I've had where the sex was fantastic, something I always looked forward to -- of course, in those relationships, other important emotional stuff was totally lousy.
My therapist continually returns to the idea that it's a self-esteem thing -- that on some level I've not yet decided to believe that I'm worthy of a relationship that is satisfying on all levels: emotional, sexual, intellectual, etc. I certainly have self esteem issues, and maybe my therapist is right about this.
I generally want to keep communication open and intimate, and I have (until now) only really discussed these sexual issues either with my girlfriend or our therapist or both. But I don't know how to broach these topics any more. Can I prove Dan Savage wrong? Is it possible to work past these sorts of sexual problems? How can I talk about it with my girlfriend when it, ultimately, is very hurtful territory? Am I just trying to sabotage a great relationship? How do I get over this?