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Help me keep my anxiety about sex from destroying my relationship, or: Want sex now help.
November 14, 2011 5:26 PM   Subscribe

How can I have a more sexual relationship with my boyfriend, and stop freaking out all the time? Or, how can I accept that this is the relationship we have and it's not going to change? Warning: this is going to be both long and stupid.

This is going to sound impossibly whiny and self-indulgent, but I'm worrying myself sick about this and I need someone to either help me find a solution or tell me to stfu. I'm starting therapy in December for my crazy, but believe it or not this is just one facet of it and I'd love to have someone yell at me for being dumb until then.

I (24f) am madly in love with my boyfriend (29m). I love his body, and I love his cock, and I absolutely love having sex with him. We've been dating 9 months, and live together. We average around 2-3 times a week. A lot of those times are after he's rejected me (too tired, has to work in the morning, etc) and I lose it and cry/freak out and we talk and then we end up doing it. I hate this cycle. We both hate it. It's miserable. He now feels pressured to have sex, which makes him never want it, and I feel ugly and crazy.

I'm trying to figure out how to summarize this question but my neuroticism has managed to turn something that should be simple and fun into a huge drama-filled cloud of ugh.

It's not even that I need to be having sex every day, but I don't ever feel like he wants me. It feels like he's forcing himself just to have what sex we do, which he probably is considering the mess I've made of things.

Here are some complicating factors:
1. I was raised really religiously and although I've overcome a lot of the weirdness this caused me to associate with sex, I can still be pretty awkward trying to act sexy and then I get anxious about being awkward and then I feel bad about being anxious....sigh. This and the fact that I'm pretty submissive means I'm mostly terrible at initiating, which also isn't helped by what I consider to be near-constant rejection.
2. I'm super physically affectionate and talky and extraverted, and he's more the stoic quiet "But I just said 'I love you' last week, do I have to say it again already?" introverted type. We have made (I think) incredible strides in learning to adjust our natures to each other, but it's an uphill battle.
3. Related to 1, I've had a decent number of sex partners by now, but I definitely feel that I missed out on the high school- and college-ish discovering-sex-and-each-other's-bodies-and-doing-it-everywhere-and-we-can't-get-enough-of-each-other early relationships that I seem to hear and read about oh EVERYWHERE. I want him to not be able to keep his hands off me. I want to be irresistible. I want him to joke back or even accept when I light-heartedly suggest we have sex in a dressing room instead of scoffing and closing the door in my face.
4. He works a physically demanding restaurant job, probably 50 hours a week, and always over the weekends, so his tiredness complaint is mostly legitimate, but this is not a new issue and I would have thought by now that he'd figure out some way of NOT being exhausted all.the.time.

I'm worried about what this means for the future. It seems more than likely that our frequency will only dwindle from here. I would do very nearly anything for this man, but I LOVE my sex drive and I don't want it to go away or ignore it or stomp it into the ground. I just want to fuck all the time while I'm young and hot and don't have any real responsibilities. We talk about this all the time. He seems to want to help fix it, but every time we come up with an idea (scheduling sex, buy toys, etc) it works for a few days and then he doesn't seem to care anymore. But he insists that he does care. Fwiw, we've had a few rough patches but agree that this relationship is overall Awesome and that we want to stay together for the foreseeable future.

Basically, I need you lovely mefites (hi, I'm a long-time lurker but only recently worked up the courage to make an account and start commenting) to choose any one or a combination of the following:

A. slap some sense into me, tell me to appreciate an awesome thing, give the poor man a break, and stop FREAKING OUT ALL THE TIME BECAUSE IT'S FINE; my super-sexual relationship fantasy is a fantasy and stop obsessing over it

B. tell me to back.the.fuck.off. for, say, a month, give him time to not feel so pressured and ick about having sex with me, start initiating more and see if that works (not entirely sure I'm capable of any of this)

C. give me ways to calmly hold him accountable for the things he says he'll do (sex on X days, X day rolls around and he's too tired)

D. [insert solution I haven't come up with yet here]

E. tell me we're probably just fundamentally incompatible and unless I can see myself living with the sex life we have now forever, GTFO and find someone who wants to bang my brains out. Bonus points for anecdotes about this did or did not work out for you.



I am so, so sorry for this mess of an askme. Please forgive me. And thank you in advance for wasting your time on this.
posted by krakenattack to Human Relations (47 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can't "hold someone accountable" for not wanting to have sex at a given moment in time. You can, perhaps, hold them accountable for not being attracted to you or not compatible with you or having changed from when the relationship started, in the sense that you can leave the relationship. But not wanting to have sex at the particular moment you had an "agreement" to fuck is not something that you get to hold another person accountable for, at all. It's not a household chore or a favor he'd agreed to do you. It's not even date night or "couple time", where you can hold them accountable for not being available. Sex doesn't work like that. Even leaving aside the weird issues of consent, do you really want to have sex be a chore for your boyfriend? You might want to think about what that phrasing says about how you view this guy, and what that itself says about what you are like in a relationship.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 5:42 PM on November 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's not a mess. This sounds like an issue that needs to be resolved and hopefully, considering your affections for this man, can be resolved.

So I'm going to suggest something that many others might quite rightly say is a bad idea. I welcome them to do so, but I just know that it worked out well for me.

I'm a guy. When I was around your age (a little younger, actually, 22-23) I had a GF who was somehow even more sexually driven than I am/was. Our sleep schedules were off (I tend to keep late nights) but she needed to fuck in the mornings. So at some point she just started fucking me in the mornings. Most guys are naturally erect during that time and she just took advantage. And I'd be hard pressed to say that waking up in the middle of sex was ever a bad way to start the day. Ever.

Now, obviously you'd want to discuss this with him before hand. (My ex never did with me but in our case it was fine. Your case may well be different.) You've said you have trouble initiating, but learning to do so is, actually, part of the whole high-school-college-can't-get-my-hands-off-you bit. SO I'd say that you should see if you can try it.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:44 PM on November 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


You're not wrong to want sexual fulfillment, but your reactions when it's not forthcoming sound over the top. Option E might be merciful for you both. But I'd go with D--back off until you're in therapy, work on your ability to take ordinary requests as something other than rejection, encourage your boyfriend to work fewer hours, and see what happens then.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:45 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh Christ. Stop apologizing. This sucks.

Do B. for 2 months.
If that doesn't work then do D. [fantastic, sexy sex opportunity which is within your comfort zone and at the edge of his sense of the possible].
If that doesn't do it, then E. As quickly as is feasible without looking like an asshole.

You have a right to be satisfied in a relationship and liking somebody a lot is not a reasonable substitute for that. You have a high libido. Which is awesome. Some hot, randy bastard is going to have the time of his life with you. If it isn't this guy, wouldn't you prefer to meet him sooner rather than later?
posted by R. Schlock at 5:47 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


First, don't pressure him *verbally* to have sex. You need to learn to seduce him.

Second: 4. He works a physically demanding restaurant job, probably 50 hours a week, and always over the weekends, so his tiredness complaint is mostly legitimate, but this is not a new issue and I would have thought by now that he'd figure out some way of NOT being exhausted all.the.time.

OMG yes he is exhausted all.the.time. If you haven't worked at a full-time restaurant job, you can't imagine how tiring it is. Back off when he's tired. Save it for the days he's had a chance to rest up -- then the sex will be good and satisfying. I'm about your age, and I've found it's much better to have less, but good quality sex. Even if you have a lot of sex, if it isn't satisfying, you always want more, and he can't give it to you right now. Don't pressure the poor guy. It just makes everything worse.

Okay, now the point of learning to seduce him. I've had the best responses from guys when I seduce them. One bf said the sexiest thing was when a girl tried to be sexy (but I'm sure it would be a turn off if it wasn't also sexy). The sexiness you need to use when you want to seduce him needs to be very subtle, though, because you need to be able to back off if he isn't responding. You need to look into non-verbal clues. Like, wearing red apparently is the best one to turn a guy on. Tease him a little -- maybe you guys are cuddled up while watching TV or a movie, sneak in a kiss on the neck and then back off. If you cook for him, try spices like curry or cinnamon -- exotic food and foods that warm the body are supposed aphrodisiacs. When he gets home, give him a hug and run a hand down his chest, then let go. Subtle clues will get him interested in sex. Just asking for sex is not going to turn him on.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:48 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh honey.

I know where you're coming from. It's tough. It's not that he doesn't love you or want to be with you - he's just tired. And you're not going to understand that because you're not, and you're horny, and youjustwantsomerightnow. But think back to when you were sick, or really hangdog tired, or just really really stressed out, and how there's no way in hell you would have wanted to have sex. He feels like that most of the time, and it's got nothing to do with you.

There are times where this situation will be relatively easy for you; other times you will want to pull your hair out, cry, and stomp out of the room.

The thing is, the more you want it, the less he will, because it's just natural that we don't desire those that push themselves onto us; lack of access can create desire, if you know what I'm saying.

In terms of an action plan, I think the first resolution you can make is that you will stop crying and causing a scene when he says no thank you to your advances. You're allowed to be in a bad mood and withdraw, but a tantrum is possibly the least sexy thing ever. It also paints you in a bad light. So learn to take your lumps; you'll be better person for it, and he might find your new, mature way of dealing with rejection very sexy!

Secondly, you need to stop pressuring him so much and give him some time to breathe. Maybe his sexuality is feeling crushed and constrained because he has to always meet your needs. You can't really hold him accountable for this stuff, it's not a contract, and legalese is not sexy to most people. One thing you can do is make sex dates, so you and he both know that you'll be doing it Thursday night, so he'll know to conserve some of his energy and you won't be freaking out on Wednesday evening because you know you'll be getting some sugar the next night.

But above everything, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is a very difficult situation to be in, and that you are very normal. There's nothing pathological about the way you're behaving or how your feeling. This is tough for everyone. And, unfortunately, this problem is not going to go away, especially if he wants to stay in his line of work. That being said, it's not going to be all downhill either, there will be lean times and fat - right now sounds especially lean for you. It will get easier for you in the long term, because you will adapt and grow and mature, and dealing with this will get easier for you.

This will remain an issue in your relationship, however, and you do have to question how important it is for you to be getting as much sex as you need. As wonderful as this fellow is, perhaps it would be better for both of you to be with people who are a better match sexually.

Hang in there. You, me, and many others are in the same situation, in relationships with wonderful people who can't always meet our needs sexually through no fault of their own. You can talk about the issue, adopt some coping strategies, try reading some of the innumerable books out there about the subject, go to therapy, etc, etc, but ultimately this issue will not go away and you will just need to learn to deal with it in your own way.
posted by lemur at 5:48 PM on November 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


A thirty year old man is just not going to be as constantly horny as a fifteen year old. 2-3 times a week isn't bad, but if you want it more you're going to need to figure out a system. I'm not a fan of scheduling sex, but i think if you're going to do that you need to go all the way and ONLY allow sex when its scheduled.

Seconding "do it in the morning."
posted by modernserf at 5:48 PM on November 14, 2011


I think you're onto something with B. Especially if you can have a sense of humor about it. "OK, sweetums, I realize I'm being a dork about the sex thing. So for the next month I'm step back and take the pressure off. And if I break down and resort to any of these behaviors, I'll jump on one foot and sing the sorry caterpillar song while you mock me with a phoney British accent." (You may have to write the sorry caterpillar song).

Also, get yourself a vibrator. A few vibrators, and maybe some erotica. Meet your sexual needs for yourself (discreetly - don't hide it from him but don't be a jerk about it). Do things that make you feel sensual and happy and have nothing to do with him (not advocating cheating here - wearing fun boots, light flirting, eating chocolate while watching decadent movies, take a dance class - whatever works for you). Not as revenge, but to take care of yourself.

Ultimately, it might be that you're not compatible. But it sounds like insecurity is driving your sense of urgency to some degree. I think it's worthwhile to try to address before ditching the relationship.
posted by bunderful at 6:01 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you guys talk about his (and your) sexual fantasies? You mentioned you're submissive and we already know that you like to fuck, so I bet you have a pretty open attitude toward kinky stuff. It might be that he's got something going on in his fantasy world that you can incorporate into your seductions. It takes tons of guts to pull off a full fledged roleplay, but it's pretty easy to add a little fantasy specific dirty talk. These kind of conversations have to happen more than once because our fantasy lives grow and change.

Also, you probably need some coping skills. You already know that you should lay off him after he declines but you cry and freak out anyway because you aren't dealing with your distress. Rejection sucks, not getting some sucks, having a tired boyfriend sucks. It's okay to feel bad, you've just got to deal with the bad feelings somehow that doesn't drive your boyfriend (and you) crazy. When I get really upset, I take a hot bath and read. My boyfriend knows not to bother me or ask me what's wrong while I'm in the bathroom and when I get out, I feel better.

What are some things that distract or comfort you? A couple more of my coping skills to give you an idea of where to start: Metafilter, macaroni and cheese, Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network, rereading a favorite childhood novel.

You're not crazy though. I totally relate to becoming anxious and then feeling guilty for being anxious and then getting anxious about feeling guilty for being anxious. This totally happens to me, too. Meds help. So do hot baths and distraction.
posted by dchrssyr at 6:31 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was about your fellow's age I had a really sexy GF. After a little while I didn't want to have sex with her anymore. It was horrifying and we tried to talk through it, but I didn't have the words. Turns out I have major abandonment issues and a big ol' fear of intimacy. I think if I had got into therapy a lot sooner, I might have gotten around to being able to deal with it, but it took me losing her to snap into action and realize not wanting to sleep with my GF, no matter how sexy she was or how beautiful I knew she was or how much I loved her, was a problem that I needed to take care of with therapy.
posted by miles1972 at 6:36 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some guys (I'm one) really don't like a woman to be aggressive in pursuit of sex. Lemur is exactly right, someone pushing herself on me can be a huge turn-off. It's as if, in some primitive part of our brains, there's an algorithm that says "if woman is begging you for sex or constantly wanting sex, she's not worth fucking -- you don't want to propagate her genes" and a countervailing algorithm that says "if woman doesn't want to fuck you she's very much worth fucking." So, a bit of resistance and coyness can go a long way with guys like me. I don't know if this is what's going on but it's worth considering.
posted by jayder at 6:40 PM on November 14, 2011


Maybe this is fucked up advice to give, but whatever. Just break up. This is making me sad just to read. You're really, really young, and sure, your boyfriend probably is tired and there are different types of people and relationships at every age and life stage, etc etc, but to me it's just not worth forcing it and resorting to the stuff folks with a mortgage and several kids do to maintain a sex life when you don't have that kind of glue and shared responsibility.

I just can't see this getting better, and I can see you really resenting it in a few years time. I had several crazy passionate relationships in my early 20's that I moved on from for other reasons but still think of very fondly and that helped me gain a lot of sexual confidence. If you want that I think you can find it, and I think you should.
posted by crabintheocean at 6:40 PM on November 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


Another thing ... I think living with someone can be a huge damper on your sex life with them. A certain distance (physical, emotional, sexual) can kindle sexual desire. Being constantly around each other in a tedious day to day existence can remove any mystery, any sense of the need to chase someone, any sense of intrigue that might be conducive to sex.
posted by jayder at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seconding crabintheocean. Just break up already. Sorry if this reads as harsh.

Frankly, you seem very unhappy, period. You also seem hyperfocused on sex to a slightly concerning degree. I think of the many ways this question could have been phrased, but you're incredibly graphic and clearly very passionate, and it reads as...I don't know...a little manic...more of an obsessive behavior on your part than this really being about sex frequency.

You two just seem incompatible, unfortunately. And it's more than sex, and it's great that you're planning on getting psychological help. But for now, with this man, move on and get yourself together.
posted by kinetic at 6:49 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, I'm reading this as not just "We aren't having enough sex!" but more "I feel my bf doesn't find me desirable!" (And wow, this turned into a huge answer, so I added headings.)

1. Affection.
Is he physically affectionate outside of sex? I know you said you are, and that he's not very verbal, but how does he respond when you touch him non-sexually (light kisses, bum pats, hugs, couch cuddles, etc)?

I'm not someone who can easily verbalize just how freakin' hot I find my partner (and quite frankly am uncomfortable/embarrased when well-intentioned partners describe exactly why they find me desirable). Instead, physical affection is how I'd show my partner that I was attracted to them. Does he do these things? If not, have you asked him (gently) to?

I think it might help allay your fears about his attraction to you, and it's an "easy" investment for him. (Can do it while tired, not an "effusive" or overtly-sexual kind of action.)


2. Reducing pressure.
The key is to NOT associate these affectionate touches as a request or segue to sex, but rather to have him demonstrate his desire for you in some other way that isn't as emotionally-loaded as having sex currently is for you guys.

This might take the pressure off some, so that it's easier for him to just say "I'm too tired for sex tonight" and you'll hear "I'm too tired for sex tonight" rather than "I don't find you attractive and can you please leave me alone already".

And if he IS too tired for sex, can you do something else instead? Have him stroke your back/hair? Have naked-snuggles-reading time before bed? Have him kiss you or grab your boobs or whatever while you masturbate? This way your needs are (at least partially) met and he gets to feel good about helping you get there.


3. Playfulness about sex.
When he scoffs you when you joke about sex, I'm guessing that's part personality and part a reaction to the pressure he's feeling. Next time it happens, maybe smile, give him a little hug and a peck, and laugh "Oh sweetie, I didn't mean actually. You just look so good in that shirt today is all. Hey, can we head over to the food court in a bit? I feel like a smoothie." (The goal here being to get playful sex-talk back to playful, without him or you feeling chastised.)


4. Frequency and Keeping Up With The Jones.

2-3 times a week for a couple in their mid-late 20's doesn't seem abnormal to me at all. I mean, the variance is so huge -- many couples have more, and many couples have less. Those stories you keep hearing about everyone doing it everywhere all the time are exaggerations. I'm not saying this to make light of your needs -- if YOU want sex every day, then that's what you want. But if part of your rationale is driven by what you think everyone else is doing... please let that go, because it's simply not true that all or even most young people are fucking like rabbits.


This sounds so frustrating, and I feel for you. It doesn't sound unsalvageable to me, but only you can decide whether your relationship is worth the amount of work it'll take to get over this. Good luck, I hope things get easier for you one way or another.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 6:53 PM on November 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I want him to joke back or even accept when I light-heartedly suggest we have sex in a dressing room instead of scoffing and closing the door in my face.

This is sad. The whole thing is sad, really. I'm with crabintheocean on this. For whatever reason (jobs, ages, issues, whatevers) you two are sexually incompatible. Can you find some kind of compromise in which you will both understand and appreciate the other's attitudes and feelings and have some sort of mutually satisfying sex life? Sure, with therapy and hard work and negotiations and backsliding, maybe.

Or you could find a dude who likes to have sex. You may have heard that there are many of them.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:53 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. I've been on both sides. Just some commiseration/advice. I am often horny, but I could use a couple of nights off per week. My dear SO wants it every night or all but.

Sometimes, I repeat sometimes, once a week or so, I "take one for the team" and screw him even though I am not particularly horny. I do this because to me that's fair play, and besides, I love him and want to satisfy him.

BUT BUT BUT I do not presently work a physically demanding job. At those times in my life when I have, I have really resented, I do mean resented, "taking one for the team" in this fashion. Sleep is so, so precious when you have to make a living doing physical work. And I am a horny bastard. Surely he is, too, at 29. Even so, even horny as I am, I resented it.

So. I'm saying you can't know the horny-killing power of physical exhaustion till you've been there. What does that mean for YOU? Maybe he can hug you while you use the vibrator or masturbate. He could very well get more interested as the process unfolds.

But no, taking one for the team, however advisable it may be ordinarily, isn't fair when there's physical work involved. It's just my opinion. Others may have a different view.

If you see this as a long haul relationship, then his restaurant gig won't last forever. But if it's more of a casual dating thing, then maybe there will come a point when you have some choices to make.
posted by skbw at 6:55 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This definitely sucks... well, I say this but I have huge bias 'cause for me, not being wanted is a deal-breaker, recipe for severe emotional trauma, and so on. It also sucks 'cause I empathize with being attracted to stoic/non-expressive types who aren't likely to be the type to be all over you, but nevertheless generally one gets into a relationship thinking 'but I'll change him! but he loves me! but I'm special', and so on. And it works out in books and movies, right... the tight-assed guy is always all over the girl to the point where he wonders if he's gone insane. That's how it works, right.


Ok, so you have to figure out-- you for yourself, not us for you-- whether this is a deal-breaker for you, if things remain as they stand. And then let him know-- in no uncertain terms-- that this is an issue you've tied emotional as well as physical stock by. Not being wanted isn't like scratching an itch, which you could do alone with a toy. Not being wanted when you're in an otherwise successful relationship is basically a mind-fuck. It could be that this is an issue with his sex-drive, if he's young. Basically, no matter how tired, if he had a medium-to-high sex-drive, he'd be banging you anyway. But that's neither here nor there; the real cycle to break is the one where you cry/beg and then you do it. That's just poisoning the well. So whatever it takes-- make him come to you. Literally bite your lips, leave the house, anything it takes to not even bring this up, for like a month. See what his reaction is. Not because I'm saying he'll 'snap' (and even if he does, it's not like this would be a solution long-term), but because you'll find out his real stance on sexual frequency, his natural balance, what he wants from you.

But basically there's no easy way out of sex-drive inequality. For me, that's a deal-breaker; it's extremely rare to have people change this happily and long-term even if they volunteer to try. It's a really a weed-out thing, especially if you have a medium-high sex-drive. No matter how awesome the guy, if you need physical affection, there is no substitute. It's like starving you otherwise. One thing that may be relevant is if he was ever more grabby-- if this really is stress at least 90-95%-- in which case, you need to plan for him getting a different job somehow, or taking a weekend vacation. Scheduling works better if you go places that are not your house, where there are always 'falling into bed' or 'on the couch' associations. Once you're on the couch, you get sleepy and want to watch TV. Granted, a 'regular' guy would be more motivated by his penis than the TV, but the idea holds. If you can at all afford it, go camping once/twice a month, or do it in a car while going for a drive on Fridays, or make out on the beach or something. It may help to make out with no sex on the menu-- if he likes making out, you could get him hot and bothered and then have to stop (at least you won't be the only one suffering). If he's against hot kisses out of nowhere, you're in trouble; otherwise, you could kiss-attack him (with no sex-- just a hot steamy kiss and go do some cooking or run a bath afterwards). Seduction doesn't really have to be a production involving cheesy music and lingerie-- it's just about teasing, wetting the appetite. So take that breather of 3-4 weeks and then tease him with intimate trips, the kiss-and-run strategy; if you want to go further, it'd need to be subtle, like wearing a skirt and no panties but having a regular dinner or talk or whatever (if he doesn't notice, just try again later).

Mostly, though, you need to really face what your deal-breakers are here.
posted by reenka at 7:03 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna just say, it seems a 29 year old guy who doesn't get the urge to grab his woman and fuck her brains out once in a while, even pretty often, is not the guy you want to be with.

Not that there's anything wrong with him. At all. Just that you want to be with a guy that does. And it seems that simple to me, not knowing "the rest of the story."
posted by ctmf at 7:03 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm honestly not sure if he is sexually attracted to you enough or not under the circumstances. I have a few questions:

(a) Has he been in the restaurant job for the entire relationship? (i.e. is there any way you know what he's like sexually when he's not permanently exhausted?)
(b) Is this a temporary job or his lifelong career?
(c) Is there any hope that he might quit within oh, the next year?

I'm going to assume for purposes of my answer that (a) he's been in it for the entire relationship and (b) this is his lifelong career. If that is the case, frankly, it might not be worth it to stick with him. Incompatible sex drives really suck, and when you add permanent exhaustion from the restaurant business in there...I don't really see any way that part is going to get better under the circumstances. If he is 100% exhausted all of the time and not wanting to get laid, the only way you can figure out if the circumstances are the job or just his normal is if he's not working for more than a day off at a time. And if he's a stoic sort and you're not, you may just always be banging your head against the wall dying for affection/sex that he's not as inclined to give.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:11 PM on November 14, 2011


Crying/freaking out until he has sex with you is manipulative to the point of abusive. Switch the genders and imagine a dude freaking out until his girlfriend has sex with him...yeah. It's bad and creepy.

Sometimes good people get into abusive patterns with certain people and have a hard time breaking those patterns. They then go on to different relationships that don't have the same problems and voila, no abusive behavior.

The ethical thing to do here is try with all your might to stop pressuring him for sex by crying and freaking out. If you can't stop, then you need to end the relationship.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:22 PM on November 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


Well ok, given that I didn't get jumped all over, I'll share some more.

When I was about 20 I had a boyfriend (and we lived together for a while) who I'll call Seth. I was a 20 year old who was figuring myself out sexually and liked to feel attractive and have lots of sex. I liked to dress up, I was interested in some mild bondage and bisexual fantasies, I was really just looking for sex to be fun and an adventure.

Seth was quite a bit older than me, and he had a relatively stressful job, and some minor but annoying health issues, and I'm sure some other mitigating factors that I could or should have been more understanding of. But for whatever reason, he really just wasn't that into having sex with me, or being playful around it short of actual sex, or, now that you mention it, into being verbal or talkative in our relationship at all. We had sex pretty rarely, I felt gross and like a weirdo for initiating it, and lots of the things I suggested (oral sex, toys) he would make a face at and be basically like "why would you want to do that". Once, we went for a fancy anniversary dinner, and I told him I wasn't wearing panties, and he was like "Ewww, that's gross".

He was sweet to me in most other ways, and he wasn't a bad person, and maybe I was - I was totally needy and attention seeking, and maybe I should have backed off, or gotten counseling or being more understanding, but what I actually did was cheat on him with a coworker and then break up with him to date the coworker and have constant awesome sex with someone who I was really attracted to and who was insanely into me (thanks Chris, you were super cool!). We dated for about a year and then broke up amicably and we had a huge amount of incredible, conspiratorial, confidence building fun in the meantime. Sure I was not a perfect, evolved, self-sufficient being, I was still kind of attention seeking and immature, but I mostly grew out of it and I had a great time anyway. FWIW though, I still am not comfortable receiving oral, which was a big part of my sex life before I dated Seth, and every partner since has wanted to do - that makes me sad.

I don't suggest you cheat (and I have never cheated since and I'm not proud of it). But I am suggesting that it's ok to write this one off, and that you don't have to just endlessly work on yourself to fit into the situation you're in. It's ok to say "screw it" and move on.
posted by crabintheocean at 7:35 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've been there. I had to break up with the guy because of it, lost a lot of sexual confidence for a while, and then went on to some incredibly passionate, kinky, fucking out brains out relationships. I still, after like, 5 years, love and miss the sexless guy, and haven't found anyone who I quite feel the same about. It's sad and I still worry I won't find the perfect mix of friend and sex-machine, but can't imagine going back to a sexless relationship.
posted by whalebreath at 7:36 PM on November 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the responses, seriously; I was a bit manic when I wrote this, I'll try to clarify a few things:

-The restaurant industry will be (as far as he is currently concerned) his permanent career, and although I think he could negotiate working fewer hours that's not a battle I feel like engaging in unless I'm sure it's that or breaking up. I don't think his lifestyle is helping his general exhaustion, but even when he agrees wholeheartedly that he should smoke less/eat better/go to the gym, nothing changes.

-When we have sex, it's usually great, and we have pretty compatible kinks that we've been exploring together. I try to be super peppy and excited about hey let's buy a vibrator or lingerie or a leash and collar, and he'll seem into it or even suggest things and then an hour later or the next day it's like it never happened. I think one thing that's making me more crazy is my brain is just constantly going OH MY GOD THIS IS AWFUL WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO I'M LOSING MY MIND but it's just not hardly something he thinks about. And then the fact that he doesn't think about it makes me freak out and...it's a horrible, vicious cycle, and I just can't seem to talk or logic my way out of it.

-Initiating morning sex is definitely something I should get better about, along with developing coping skills to deal with rejection.

A certain distance (physical, emotional, sexual) can kindle sexual desire
I've been thinking about this lately, actually, and I think it's a really good point, and something I'll try to figure out.

All of the people advocating breaking up, I hear you, and I've thought about it, but I guess I can't decide if I'm being childish and stomping my feet and I need to just deal or if this isn't something where I can just wait for my libido's eventual waning making the point moot...

I still, after like, 5 years, love and miss the sexless guy, and haven't found anyone who I quite feel the same about.
This terrifies me. I've dated enough people to know that he is very, very good for me in a lot of ways, and although I'm still young I don't want to throw away something great because I didn't feel like compromising just a bit more. I know I know "he's not the only one, you'll be sad for a while and then move on" but I want him and I just don't want to give up yet.


You've given me a lot to think about; more tips for initiating/seducing him, or even mantras for working up the courage to do so would be excellent!
posted by krakenattack at 8:11 PM on November 14, 2011


Not only do people's sex drives vary, but so too does the place sex plays in their life. For me, sex is rejuvenating; there is nothing better after a long and stressful day for me than getting it on. But many, maybe most, people don't work that way. Being tired and stressed turns them off, and there's no way you can magically seduce them into wanting to hump like a rabbit.

So yeah, if sex matters to you and you want a partner to desire you and want to fuck twice a day, you're going to need to break up and move on. No one can tell you what is the right thing for you to do. But I am pretty sure you aren't going to get what you say you want from this guy.
posted by Forktine at 8:19 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


B, then A.
posted by lollusc at 8:32 PM on November 14, 2011


A lot of women I know (and know of) do not have an inevitable waning of their sex drive, unless they have a kid and even then there's no guarantee (and much of it comes from you both being...more tired). So I would not count on that.

I think you are being a bit childish (sorry) but I do not think you need to "just deal". Wanting sex isn't the childish part. It is totally valid to want to have lots and lots of kinky sex! It is also totally valid to feel bad about being rejected. The way that you're acting in response to those feelings isn't sustainable or okay, though.

No one has mentioned opening your relationship up, so I will. Have you considered it? Would you be okay with it? If so, might be time to talk to the boyfriend, but only if you can do so without tears and extreme emotions.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:28 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have been the other person in a relationship like this and I just want to emphasize that him not wanting sex as often as you is not be an appraisal of you as woman. I was in a relationship with a smoking hot woman that wanted sex about two out of three days while I was an every-other-day guy. Somehow she couldn't believe that it had more to do with my feelings (I was stressed and tired) than how I felt about her.
posted by lamp at 10:03 PM on November 14, 2011


Thanks for the reply, I really do wish you both all the best with this, and I don't mean to argue (it's your life and your relationship) but I feel compelled to respond to a couple of things...

"...along with developing coping skills to deal with rejection."

You don't have to do that, or at least so deliberately so that you can deal with this. Hard things to do are not automatically good for you, morally better, or growing experiences.

A certain distance (physical, emotional, sexual) can kindle sexual desire

Sure, with the right person, but it can also be a red herring (witness lots of the LDR questions on here where the distance just masks issues or drags out the inevitable. It seems pretty ass-backwards to me to be trying to inject something like that into a situation like this.

"I need to just deal or if this isn't something where I can just wait for my libido's eventual waning making the point moot..."


I can't decide if that's more funny or more sad to me (ok, it's more sad). Totally agree with the point above that this is not a natural experience for many women at least until menopause and often not even then. Loss of libido before then tends to come from big deal life stress like kids, work, and money. I also don't trust a relationship that doesn't start out with a great sex bond to withstand that kind of stuff, and then you might be left wondering what you sacrificed for in the first place. And what will happen if you meet someone you can't resist or otherwise decide you just can't stand compromising on this anymore once you have kids or other big commitments together?

I so strongly believe that sex isn't something to be undervalued or deliberately shoved aside, it's a creative and fun part of who you are, and it's clearly good for your physical and mental health to have a sex life you find fulfilling. My parents are coming up on 60, have been together since their teens, and they still have that going on. I strongly believe it's not something to discount or wish away if you have any hope of having it.

"I still, after like, 5 years, love and miss the sexless guy, and haven't found anyone who I quite feel the same about."

That can happen, there are never any guarantees. On the other hand, I dated a couple of other people after Seth and had a lot of fun, then I got married when I was 23 and we've been super happy ever since (I'm about to turn 31). The sex has come and gone in my marriage, depending on hormones and stress and all the usual stuff, but we have always been on the same page, always flirted and shared fantasies, and always appreciated each other in that way even if we were too tired/stressed/pregnant/full of tacos to act on it.

Good luck.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:33 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mentioned compatible kinks in your last update. This got me thinking. The kinks you're talking about seem to involve props (or could, at least) and seem to involve you being more on the submissive side. I actually think, after giving your man a 3-4 week cooling off period (during this period, masturbate a bunch when hes not around, and FANTASIZE), that you could use your submissive tendencies to help with the seduction.

For instance, you could go buy the collar yourself and send him a text or leave a note or email him a pic, that makes it clear what it is you've bought...then start wearing it around, maybe to places with him where sex isn't even an option (like to the movies). Don't make moves, and don't mention sex. Just be flirty with him, and affectionate.

You could do different versions of this sort of playing with other things, too, like buying yourself a vibrator, but giving it to him. Tie a note to it that says something like "I'll only use this when you give me permission." or "Tell me what you want me to do with this...", and then don't mention it. You can even just leave it for him. You'd never have to actually SAY a word to him about it.

Things like this allow you to be coy and somewhat passive, and you don't risk immediate to-your-face rejection. They also put certain images into him head, without the pressure of being up for it that instant.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 11:38 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything in your ordered list sounds eerily familiar. Your therapy will help you. I was never religious, but I am the exact same way about feeling sexy, even though I'm always down for sex. Toke up beforehand?

.. accept when I light-heartedly suggest we have sex in a dressing room ..

This would weird me out, too, to be honest. Much like we are about feeling/maintaining the sexy, I also feel that way about PDA/sex in public, even jokes, because I'm a prude ass like that. I'd also get all paranoid that someone heard you and then oh my god it's probably someone I work with that has leverage over my employ; fuu-!

I don't really know what the best course of action is for you. It seems, though, that if you've discussed this with him at length and he's not really willing or able to make a compromise you might just need to walk away. Is his job his passion? Is it just something he does just to pay the bills? Is it worth losing a girlfriend that loves you over?

This isn't about 'time for sex', this is about time for you in the form of sex, which is a completely valid and important part of your relationship. If he doesn't have time for you, you know what you must do.

There's a lot of cock to love out there, honey.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:41 PM on November 14, 2011


Oops, missed your update re: his profession as his career choice.
That can be tough, but even if you are passionate about your career, you need to balance it out with a healthy social/sex life. This is something I am learning the hard way right now -- I burnt myself out being irrational about a job that's never going to change, and I'm making my SO miserable while he tries to force me to realize there's more to life than being consumed by your work. Value your youth while you have it, money can't buy happiness, et al.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:53 PM on November 14, 2011


Thinking further...just some observations from my (other) incarnation as the hornier one.

The young rope-rider has an idea; have you talked about opening things up? 9 months is not so far into things that everything has to be set in stone. Believe me, I had no idea what monogamy was about, or else, as old-fashioned as I am in many ways, I'd have discussed, early on, at least the POSSIBILITY of a safety valve.

Once you do back off for a while to assess...don't just hop back in (on?) at the first sign of interest. I mean, do start having sex once he's interested again, but on another level, just let things slide, let things unfold. Of the many mistakes I made when younger (and I'm not so old--34), many of them centered around wanting to resolve x problem RIGHT NOW. Let it go and see what happens.

You have needs and you have a right to get them met. By him, by yourself, or--unfortunately for this relationship--by someone else, eventually. But. Here's another small aspect that has NOTHING, I repeat nothing, to do with blaming you for the situation. This is just sort of a mechanic taking a look under the hood. What is he into? I mean really, really into? Because if one is only horny a couple of times a week, it could be the little things that make HIS decision to screw a lot easier.

For example: I love sex in all its forms, and I love what he and I do together, but I particularly like one position that my SO, for whatever reason, can take or leave. Have I talked to him about it? Of course. He will do it if I ask him to. But it's not an imperative for him the way it is for me.

So. I'm tired/worried/otherwise not turned on and he approaches me for sex. OK. I may or may not get into it; I may or may not do it even though I'm not into it. But if I knew he was going to do it my particular way, without, you know, being asked in the best egalitarian, progressive fashion, then heck, yeah, it might be a lot easier for me to get into it.

So. You're obviously coping with a huge unmet need here. But also try to figure out--NOT by confronting him right now, which will only add to the drama--what he is asking for, what he really, really needs.
posted by skbw at 4:22 AM on November 15, 2011


I guess I can't decide if I'm being childish and stomping my feet and I need to just deal or if this isn't something where I can just wait for my libido's eventual waning making the point moot...

It definitely sounds like you have issues you need to work on with anxiety self-esteem, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect to lose interest in sex. Obviously everyone is different but for many women sex drive actually increases through their late 20s and into their 30s. Right now at least, the two of you are incompatible sexually. There are probably things both of you can do about it to help things as others have suggested, but it's very possible that no matter how hard you work at it, you still won't have a healthy sexual relationship because you are too different. And if you do end up deciding that you are incompatible on that level, it's not at all childish or immature to end things based on that, because the sexual part of a relationship is one of the most important things to get right. There's no guarantee in life that you will find the perfect person for you that is compatible in every way, but at 24 if you are in a relationship that isn't fulfilling your needs you definitely have a lot of time to look for people you are more compatible with.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:10 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Three strategies I would use in your situation (besides lots of open and honest communication with my partner):

1) replacement therapy. Before you approach him, have a specific solo activity lined up for the times when you want sex but he's not up for it. Maybe it's chaste (baking cookies, learning how to crochet, building a birdhouse), or maybe it's not (masturbating, writing erotic stories/fanfic) Or maybe it's a bit of both-- get off to take off the edge and help you focus, then get to work. But know ahead of time what your plan B for the evening is, and that it's something you can look forward to. The best replacement activities are ones that will require you to focus on what you're doing and will have a productive result. ("Maybe I didn't get laid, but I added 1000 words to my novel!")

2) If your relationship is stable enough to handle it (trust, open and honest communication), and it fits your kink style, change "Not tonight, honey, I'm too tired" to "No, little slave, you haven't been good enough to deserve my cock" (or similar dominance script). If you can separate the layers right in your mind, you can make the denial of sex into part of a larger fantasy instead of lumping it with the mundane exhaustion. It works best if your boyfriend knows about the strategy and is complicit in the fantasy, of course.

3) as mentioned upthread - initiate/seduction/take what you want. I'm naturally submissive, but my boyfriend's reactions are very good positive reinforcement for my dominant side when I take over. But even this doesn't always end up with sex. I have to be alert and recognize when the signs tip from "the way you're touching me is turning me on" to "the way you're touching me is relaxing me so much I'm falling asleep" and in those cases console myself with "awww, he loves me and I make him feel good". Often the physical contact and partner-focus of these episodes take the edge off my sexual frustration--ymmv.
posted by itesser at 8:17 AM on November 15, 2011


Oh, no.

You sound wonderful and this is damaging your self-esteem.

You and he may be lovely, but you are not compatible enough to be living together. This situation is shredding your psyche! How much more can you take?

Choose you and your sanity over trying to cram yourself into a box that you will never ever fit into.

Move on.

----
Also. I kinda disagree with you about how great for you this guy is. I believe you like him, but I know that for longterm happiness, you NEED your partner to freely and frequently express affection. Full stop. Honey, of course you cry and freak out! You aren't getting what you need to feel fulfilled (in this case emotion/physical are the same thing) yet he's right there! This must be maddening!

If he makes you feel like shit emotionally when he rejects you physically, then you should end it before it fucks your head up even further. He could EASILY pass on the sex AND not make you feel like shit, but that's not how it goes down, is it?

The whole thing sounds psychologically debilitating. You don't have to put yourself through this. Choose to put yourself first here and walk. Choose to put yourself first.

Best.
posted by jbenben at 8:49 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding opening the relationship: It's something we've talked about, and I know it's something he's interested in. I worry that it's part of why our sex life is lacking, because he just fundamentally needs outside stimulation, but at this point my self-esteem and insecurity can't handle it. Definitely something I think I'd consider in the future, and something I would absolutely try out before ending things with him.

He does express affection, he just does it in his own ways, which I'm learning to read (five love languages blahblahblah). We've talked about this, although I'm sure we have more to cover, and I'm learning to do things for him to show my love, and he's learning to touch me/say things to show his.

We talked last night about his career vs our relationship, but didn't finish the conversation. I think he is just so so focused on working and getting experience and making money so he can eventually open his own restaurant that it just doesn't even cross his mind a lot of the time that he needs to also focus on me and us and him and his friends and family and maintaining a healthy life outside of his job.

I realize I've made it sound as though I'm alone in wanting our relationship to be more sexual, but I think I put too much emphasis on his perceived shortcomings. I know he's been more sexual in the past, and that he'd like us to flirt/touch/sex each other more, and I think my insecurity and lack of confidence are doing just as much harm as his working and tiredness. I know he wants this to work.

Anyway, I guess this is one of those threads in which multiple people advise me to move on which may indeed be the wisest course of action but in all my infinite worldly wisdom I grind my heels into the ground and am if anything even more determined to FORCE MY RELATIONSHIP TO WORK

In all seriousness though, I'm going to give B a shot and try to just calm down and lay off the freaky-outy, therapy my brain to catatonia (joke), and see how that goes.

Thanks again for all of your responses, some of them may not be what I want to hear but they've all been helpful.
posted by krakenattack at 10:24 AM on November 15, 2011


Regarding opening the relationship: It's something we've talked about, and I know it's something he's interested in. I worry that it's part of why our sex life is lacking, because he just fundamentally needs outside stimulation, but at this point my self-esteem and insecurity can't handle it.

Um, I think people are talking about opening up your relationship for your benefit, so you can get your freak on while he is deboning his chicken, so to speak. If he's too exhausted after work to get with you, how do you expect him to have enough energy for a side piece?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:05 PM on November 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


You are too young to be dealing with seriously mismatched libidos. Dump him, find someone who wants to have crazy monkey sex all the time like you do, and enjoy it until you get older and the idea of having sex three times a week sounds like a lot.

I'm glad that you're going to start therapy, I have a feeling that that this is not the only issue in your life that is causing you anxiety. Learning how to cope with rejection will be a big help for you.
posted by crankylex at 12:45 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been that 29-year-old guy. For me, it was a phase. A phase called depression. Lack of self-confidence and self-worth was made up for by pouring all my energy in to my job and school.

Stop talking about sex. Ask him if he's happy.
posted by bhayes82 at 1:07 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


This:

I know he's been more sexual in the past

is giving me pause - you don't mean your common past, do you? Right now, it could be that he is all stressed about working towards and planning his own venture, but then you also say this:

It's something we've talked about, and I know it's something he's interested in. I worry that it's part of why our sex life is lacking, because he just fundamentally needs outside stimulation,

which sounds slightly odd, given what you have told us so far. He is too tired to sleep with you, but not too tired to sleep with other people? Something doesn't add up here.

You also mention that he is all consummed by his job - doesn't even cross his mind a lot of the time that he needs to also focus on me and us and him and his friends and family and maintaining a healthy life outside of his job. What I read here is that his absenteeism in the relationship is not restricted to sex. Is it possible that the lack of sex is a sign of something greater? Maybe you two got together at a time when he was, to some extent at least, unavailble, wanting to concentrate on his career and keep relationships light, but then fell in love with you and is now torn between two different sets of imperatives and mindsets? Seems like he cannot quite give to you, but cannot give you up, either.

I think the advice on keeping a bit of distance is very good, make your life (including your sex life) more independent of him as people have advised - might help him clear his head re. any potential inner conflicts. But I also think you need a clear head, too - you seem entirely too subservient to him and his needs and desires for your own emotional health. Particularly if you are suffering from depression and self-esteem related issues. You cannot even half-jokingly consider self-sacrificing at every twist and turn in order to "keep" him - this is practically inviting emotional abuse down the line unless he is some monument of integrity. And things like this:

It's flattering that I'm the only person he can stand being around for significant lengths of time,

whilst heart-warming, can be a red herring - what matters if you can treat each other with love, consideration and respect, and if you can fulfill those needs for each other that can only be fulfilled by a partner.
posted by miorita at 1:33 PM on November 15, 2011


We're the same age and I've been in almost exactly the same situation (except I'm the one in the restaurant industry). Feel free to memail me for more details, but all I can say is that for me at least, nothing, no amount of coping strategies, or grace in the face of rejection, or cute little flirtatious ball's-in-your-court kind of gestures at all filled the void of my partner just not being all that hot for me.

Something I'm wondering though from reading your question is, was he more ardent in his passions before you moved in together? A number of posters have mentioned that limited access is in its own way sexy, so I'm wondering if living together has made sex too accessible and therefore not something to be sought out that often.
posted by Aubergine at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2011


I think our frequency has remained mostly the same. I'm also the only relationship he's had since starting his job (worked in an office before) so I can't compare our sex life exactly to any of his previous relationships. Also, this: Maybe you two got together at a time when he was, to some extent at least, unavailable, wanting to concentrate on his career and keep relationships light, but then fell in love with you and is now torn between two different sets of imperatives and mindsets? really hit home. We were both kind of dumbstruck and unprepared to fall for each other so quickly, and I think he's just been kind of trying to get by at this point without really sitting down and figuring out how to divide his time/energies.

Although I haven't asked about the exact frequency with his last serious gf, I'm led to believe it was more sexual and that they were "open"/involved others (threesomes etc) which he's mentioned (briefly, only once) could be why he's less ardent with me and our monogamous relationship. I don't know if he's avoided bringing it up again because I've made it clear I'm uncomfortable with the idea or because he doesn't think that's the fix, and I haven't mentioned it since then because, well, I'm terrified that could be the case and I really, really want to be enough for him. But maybe I'm being irrational.

Oh and I get that the open thing was suggested for my benefit, but I pretty much just want sex with him, to the point where I THINK I'd prefer just accepting that this (still really awesome, mostly satisfying) sex life is what we have rather than resorting to having sex with other dudes just to feel fulfilled or whatever.

I think my being a crazy person probably has a bigger impact than a lot of you are taking into account (you don't know me, so that's not surprising), and than I had accounted for prior to asking this question. Obviously it'd be super neat if he wanted to do it to me all the time despite my brain, but lacking that I don't think I've tried to get myself under control nearly enough at this point to justify a break up.

Thanks again again for all the thoughtful answers, and I'd appreciate more if you have maybe a different perspective to add, but please, I'm not ready to give up on this yet.
posted by krakenattack at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2011


Ok, so putting aside the breaking-up possibility, because it's clear you're not ready to do that. You keep saying over and over that you're "crazy" or "freaking out" or "manic". And I know those are just (maybe flippant) words, but I think you really need to re-frame your feelings and reactions. Please please please accept that you are not "crazy" for feeling this way. You want to feel wanted by the one you want. THAT IS TOTALLY NORMAL. When he rejects you, you feel hurt and frustrated. This is also totally normal. Your actions (losing it, crying) may not be especially productive, but they are not, like, pathological, or even especially rare.

Can you get to a mental space where you recognize that you feel "crazy" because you're interpreting his actions as threatening to you? Not in like an abuse way, but you interpret his rejection as a threat your perception of yourself as sexy and desired, and as a threat to the stablility of a relationship you value. This is why you get choked up, and this is why the blood starts boiling.

What works to calm me down is to try to break down the source of the crazy-making. Are you upset because you think he doesn't desire you? Because you think he's not really listening to what you're saying? Because he promised to try to work on something and you feel that he totally hasn't? Because you've been trying so hard for so long and it's damn difficult and he doesn't seem to appreciate or care?

Once the main "triggers" are identified, go through and really cooly and clinically look at each trigger. Do you know for a fact that it's true? Has he given any indication to the contrary? Is this tied to some other past issue (from prior relationships) or past argument (in the current relationship) you haven't gotten over? Is your reaction being exacerbated by tiredness/hunger/whatever? Have you stated calmly and without accusation what the thing is that is bothering you?

I'm not saying this works for everyone, but it's sometimes helpful to me. Kind of like backwards Inception -- distill the source of the frustration/anger into the simplest element(s). Then assess whether it's fair to actually be upset about those things. If not, blow off steam somewhere else or just try to talk myself out of it. If it is a legitimate issue, state that to the person making me upset (because I can't expect them to be mind readers), and then deal with it from there.

Actually, even if it's not a fair reason, it's often good to state it out loud anyway, while making it explicit that you know it might not be fair. The point is to get out of the rejection-freakout-guilt-guilt-misery-guilt-frustration cycle that seems to be going on, and calm honest discussion with both people on the same page can't hurt.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 9:36 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am not saying this to be mean to you, I'm saying this because I've been there. Not about sex, but with the same crazy behavior in response to a normal relationship "rejection".

So the frequency has been the same but you're freaking out at him and feeling rejected?

The number one best thing he (and by extension you) need to STOP doing is reinforcing this behavior by having it lead to sex. He is doing you no favors by giving in on this point.

Putting it into a D/s context, he is rewarding you for being inappropriate and manipulative. You are ignoring his stated wishes to get what you want. This leads nowhere good and it certainly will not encourage him to dominate you (rather the opposite--over the long term, feeling forced into it kills the desire to be dominant).

Should this relationship end (and most do), if you are still in the habit of doing this, you will be crippled in future relationships by your inability to respond appropriately to a partner's perfectly acceptable sexual boundaries. Most normal and healthy people, when faced with your reaction, will respond by saying to themselves "wow, this person is crazy". And they will not want to be in a relationship with you. They might give you another chance, but they might just walk away and never come back. I don't want that for you. Please find a way to short circuit this unhealthy cycle, whether your SO sleeps with you more or not.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


People are talking like you should break up because there's a dearth of sex in your relationship, and meanwhile you're fucking each other 2–3 times a week??

Let's back up.

When I started dating my partner, we had a similar situation. I (a woman) had grown up religious and came to sex relatively late, had less experience, and my sex drive was sky-high. His sex drive was less than mine, so we were having sex 3–5 times a week and I was feeling barely sated and he was feeling incredibly pressured.

One night we were hanging out on our balcony with a bottle of wine watching the sunset, and we were asking each other ridiculous questions like "What would you do if you won the lottery?" So I asked him, "In an ideal world, how often would you have sex?"

His answer floored me: "About every 3 days."

See, I was raised religious and that came with a string of warnings about boys who want to fuck all the time and who will pressure and pressure and pressure, and here I was with a guy who wasn't pressuring nearly as much as I was. I thought it was because of something I was doing wrong. But no. It was because his ideal world was one where he would have sex 2–3 times a week.

It turned out that we're very different creatures. When I have sex, it gets me thinking about sex and wanting more. And more! When he has sex, it sates him and it takes him a few days to build up to that most urgent desire again.

You want him to want to rip your clothes off with his teeth. I get that. It sounds like he does, just not every 10 minutes! Find out what his rhythm is, and work with it.

Love and cherish your sex drive and his, get a vibrator and don't be shy to use it without him, and respect his rhythm.

Oh, and 8 years later we're still having sex just as often, so don't be so sure that sex will inevitably dwindle with time! This isn't a now-or-never type of thing.
posted by sadmadglad at 5:07 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just to tell you, I have been in this same exact type of relationship. I had to convince my boyfriend to have sex with me (which made me feel horrible). Usually even though he said no, and in the end it was good for him once I got him horny enough, but that was never satisfying.


In the end we separated and now I have a boyfriend who is way more compatible on this front and I have never been happier. I always thought I had too much of a sex drive, but now I feel just perfect.
posted by Jaelma24 at 9:51 PM on November 17, 2011


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