Sex: you're doing it wrong.
February 20, 2014 4:03 PM   Subscribe

I really could use advice on how to improve our sex life (NSFW and snowflakes)

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. He is 41 and I am 36 and we've been living together for the past year with full intentions of getting married eventually. We love each other and I honestly believe he is an impeccable match for me and me for him. We are close friends, share interests and social groups, but also do our own thing. There is so much love in our relationship - we do little things for each other, try our best to listen to each other (we have extremely different communication styles - I am a talker and he tends to go into a shell sometimes) and really appreciate each other. It's a good relationship.

Except sex.

When we first started dating and had sex initially it was great. Sure, it was a bit vanilla for me (I like getting bossed around a little, am definitely submissive) but it did it for both of us and that's what counts. This continued on until about the last 6 months. I'm looking for advice on what to do.

The sex has ground to a halt because of me. I just don't want to have it anymore because before he can even get me feeling aroused with foreplay he's close to orgasm, and in the first 30 seconds of PIV sex, he's done and I'm just getting warmed up. Then it's over. This sucks. Every time for the past 6 months this has happened and I'm feeling extremely frustrated.

He claims that he needs me to help him relax during foreplay, but honestly, I'm afraid to touch him for fear of speeding all of this up. I've tried encouraging more foreplay to try to get me on the same page, but it doesn't work and he seems to completely ignore my "help" in showing him where to touch me and how to get things moving. After he's orgasmed I've tried to encourage him to keep touching me, etc. to try to get me to orgasm, but he always says he needs a minute and by then I've lost it and lost interest.

It's getting depressing: he says that the only way he thinks we can fix this "get back on track" (his words) is to have sex every day. I've point blank asked him how he thinks that makes me feel and all he has to say is that he feels badly that he can't satisfy me. Meanwhile I'm dreading more crappy sex where he gets all the pleasure and I'm left with nothing. I'm all for simply enjoying making my partner feel good, but feel like it's just not mutual in a way that feels like he is sincere when he says he feels bad. I cannot do this day in and day out. This makes me feel awful and he has nothing to say about that. Besides, what if one of us is sick or simply exhausted and don't feel like it that night? Am I being unrealistic!? It's not like I don't have any sex drive - I've taken to masturbating more because it's the only way I can get pleasure anymore (and I don't want to do this in front of him, I'm uncomfortable with that. I'm really turned off by me being the dominant one and I just don't want him watching me). I have thought about suggesting that he use my vibrator on me, but don't know how...I don't think he would be perceptive to this and he would feel uncomfortable.

I have (gently and kindly) suggested that he may want to consult with a doctor about ED but he refuses. He has ADD, but refuses medication and therapy. I am in therapy on my own (for anxiety mostly related to work - it's helping soooooo much). What else should I do!? I try to think of sexy things that turn me on when we are in foreplay and be in the moment instead of stressing about the situation; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I also like to take my time and his rushing through everything stinks. I've told him all of this and honestly don't know what to do. What would you do? Do I have it all wrong!? :(. I'd love to hear some suggestions, sure fire tips to work, or what else I can say to express this so he gets it. Or maybe I'm the problem? Help?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
You know, a toy can be awesome for foreplay. You make it a fun thing that happens before the PIV stuff. If vibrators make him squicky, try rolling it out with a few other kinds of toys.

Honestly, the dude should have switched gears and took care of you first each time when you guys noticed the pattern. That's not really cool of him to just unilaterally decide that in order to fix this, you need to do more of the thing you don't like.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:18 PM on February 20 [19 favorites]


Timing in sex is hard. I think it's an issue that most couples face to some degree because everyone is different.

I have (gently and kindly) suggested that he may want to consult with a doctor about ED but he refuses

Do you mean PE (premature ejaculation)? Which is more or less the opposite sort of problem from ED. It is something he can talk to his doctor about.

I feel like there are basically two ways to go about this. The first is that the foreplay and all the initial sexy times is focused on you, and he comes close to the end/after you do. What sort of foreplay are you doing? If he's coming before things even get going, see if he's amenable to being a bit ignored for the first bit of sex. Absolutely suggest he use your vibrator on you.

The other possibility is can he maybe masturbate more frequently? I feel like that's what he's getting at with the 'sex everyday' thing, that he comes too quickly if there's too much build up in between so to speak, and some more frequent masturbation on his part might help alleviate this to some degree.

You don't have it wrong and you're not the problem. He needs to be open and reasonable and willing to make sure you're having your needs met as well. I understand it can be a touchy topic, because there's a lot of shame that goes with coming very quickly, and this may be an insecurity for him. Understand that, talk about it, and try some new methods.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:21 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


Have you tried masturbating alone till you're almost there, then calling him in? That doesn't fix the underlying problem, but maybe get you at least a little satisfaction. And maybe if he masturbates a bit before sex, he could last longer the second time? I don't know, it's a tough situation, and I think it'll only change if you guys can really talk about it and he gets on board with really trying to change. One thing I think you should tell him explicitly that you feel like he's not listening when you try to tell him what you'd like.
posted by catatethebird at 4:22 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


So he has a problem, it impacts your significantly, and he refuses to address it? Then frankly I would refuse to have crappy sex I didn't want to have until he sought the help that is available to him. That is, by the way, no more or less selfish than what he's doing and it's far less grody.

You probably won't actually do that, but what you can do and what may actually help is taking PIV intercourse off the table completely.

I have thought about suggesting that he use my vibrator on me, but don't know how...I don't think he would be perceptive to this and he would feel uncomfortable.

How uncomfortable are you on a scale of 1 - 10 having crappy selfish sex? How uncomfortable do you think getting you off with a vibrator will make him on a scale of 1 - 10? Why is his comfort more important than yours?

I have (gently and kindly) suggested that he may want to consult with a doctor about ED but he refuses

This isn't ED. It's premature ejaculation. Therapy and medication are available.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:24 PM on February 20 [24 favorites]


Have you tried having him orgasm by masturbation shortly before you two have sex? For some men it can help with stamina.

This: he seems to completely ignore my "help" in showing him where to touch me and how to get things moving is also a concern. Is he just not listening because he's focused on something else (like himself) or is he not listening because he's insulted or takes it as criticism, or doesn't really care when he's in the moment? Frankly, if he's not inclined to listen to your telling him what feels good to you or is not willing to introduce a vibrator so that you can get off, that's not ok.

And, no, having sex every day is not the only way to solve this. Under no circumstances should the solution to fixing your sex life feel coercive to you in any way. He needs to refocus some of his attention onto making sure that you're having a very pleasurable experience.
posted by quince at 4:25 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


The sex has ground to a halt because of me.

The way I read your question, it sounds a hell of a lot more like the sex has ground to a halt because of him, not you. I'm not saying you couldn't benefit from perhaps couples therapy, but he needs to ask his physician about his PE. He needs to get it treated one way or another, and he needs to seek therapy or something to get him in the mindset to be a loving, caring partner to you in and out of the bedroom.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:30 PM on February 20 [20 favorites]


Other people have some good advice, but frankly I'd skip all that and DTMFA.

It sounds like he just doesn't care enough about your pleasure, and that currently you're basically being used as a masturbatory device for him. That sucks, you shouldn't tolerate it. I don't have patience for this sort of shit anymore, myself.

Find a guy (there are MANY) who cares about your pleasure and who will take it seriously and participate with you in fixing any issues that come up.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:40 PM on February 20 [13 favorites]


Why is the story over after he comes? That's rude.

It's also rude that he doesn't want to help you out in any way that doesn't involve direct pleasure for him.
posted by Sara C. at 4:47 PM on February 20 [27 favorites]


I like getting bossed around a little, am definitely submissive

Queuing in on this statement, I wonder if you might suggest that he read a John Norman novel.

It might be more submissive than you have in mind, but the suggested sex in those novels is all about female submissiveness, and maybe your guy might get a clue to your interests while being entertained by the bad writing.

Hell, read one together and laugh at the ludicrous bits while getting turned on by the domination/submission. "That's funny, but, um, I'd like it if you did that to me!"

True confessions, I met my SO via a Gorean on-line role play game. Neither of us have the slightest interest in Gor seven years later, but it did spice up our sex play while we found more substantial reasons for being together.
posted by Puppetperson at 4:55 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


As other have suggested, how about having the sex be all about you, without his penis involved, until you come at least once? As someone who doesn't normally get off on intercourse, that's been standard sex for me my whole life.

I get that he WANTS to chillax after he comes, but in this case, it's disturbingly selfish of him not to power through.
posted by metasarah at 5:00 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


What this boils down to is that your boyfriend is finishing before you've done more than get started. If this is really a psychological or physiological issue then there are medical treatments (therapy, drugs) but I think that most likely it's a matter of technique on his part.

Except for one thing: you said this started about six months ago, but you don't give any indication as to why it started then. You just say that things were fine and now they're not. Did this happen gradually? Suddenly? Was there an obvious trigger? Have you asked him if he thinks there was a particular cause? Knowing the cause of a problem like this is really important to finding the solution, and without any hints on that front it's impossible to know if we're on the right track.

Anyway, if it's a matter of technique then the first obvious issue is that he needs to get less stimulation and you need to get more. You need to focus on foreplay that gets you off. Y'all know that there are other ways to get a lady off besides putting a penis in her and thrusting it in and out, right? If you can get in an orgasm or three before the PIV starts, then you might be a lot happier about a shorter PIV session. If even that is too much for him, maybe he should keep his pants on (literally his pants, I'm just talking about covering up his most sensitive bits here) until it's fuckin' time.

The second obvious thing is that sex shouldn't be over just because he came. What is this, 1955? The refractory period is a thing, sure, but that doesn't mean that sex stops as soon as he goes into it. It just means that things slow down for a bit while he gets his mojo back. As a bonus, he'll probably last longer the second time around; I've never known a guy who didn't have a harder time getting off the second time than the first. If he wants to use sex as a sleep aid, he can masturbate.

Now, something only slightly less obvious is the fact that your obvious dissatisfaction with his performance has definitely been giving him serious performance anxiety. You do need to help him relax! That doesn't mean foreplay, or at least not the kind of foreplay that gets him "to the edge of cumming". You need to let him know that sex is not a trial or a test of his worthiness, that you're there because it's fun and because you want to be there. Help him relax by doing things that are sexy but not hyperstimulating; things like back rubs, kisses, playing with his hands and feet, petting him in places that feel nice but aren't going to make him blow his top. Save the blowjobs and ball-fondling for bringing him back up during the refractory period.

Good luck!
posted by Scientist at 5:12 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


Dude is selfish. If this doesn't do the trick...

> > > how about having the sex be all about you, without his penis involved, until you come at least once?

...I say cut him off and let him find the motivation to include your needs in the mix.
posted by ravioli at 5:30 PM on February 20


The more I think about this, the more I suspect he sees your sex life as really based primarily on his pleasure. He gets what he wants and he needs a min and he isn't interested in medicine... He's advocating for his own pleasure pretty strongly, and that doesn't actually have to mean he's doing it on purpose.

It might be time for some hard line advocacy for your own pleasure. "Tonight this is what's going to happen because I need it. We won't do what you want/need until I get what I need"

If you need more foreplay, and he's not slowing down, end the encounter. He's goddamned 41.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:43 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


You obviously like this guy, but I don't see how. He comes across as so selfish and uncompromising. If he's normally not a total jerk, is some portion of the problem perhaps a miscommunication or hesitation to ask on your part?*

If you lean subordinate, that makes it harder to ask. There have been 1-2 questions specifically on that topic (how do I ask for things as a sub when I'm so shy / without totally turning myself off) that you might dig up.

If you do think your anxiety is influencing things, you could test the hypothesis with a glass of wine or two, assuming you have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Obviously not a long term solution...

(* I'm not convinced the problem is largely your responsibility, but DTMFA has been pretty well explored at this point.)

Either way, you really need to get this figured out if you do think you'd like to get married.
posted by salvia at 5:52 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I have a different view. You are treating this situation as him not caring about you. But a different way you could think about it is he has a problem (PE) that he can't control any more than you can control catching a cold. See if he wants to try to acknowledge it and treat it.
posted by Dansaman at 6:35 PM on February 20


Tell him that it's imperative that both of you just. stop. moving. whenever he feels anywhere near orgasm. His control should eventually improve and as it does, he'll gain more confidence. This sort of sex practice is one of the main benefits of LTLs.

If he's not up for the effort, then you have a real problem.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:41 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


A big part of the appeal for people on the submissive end of the pool is the fantasy of objectification, of being the center of their lover's attention, of their lover just magically knowing exactly which buttons to push to get the submissive off. Dominants do most of the heavy lifting in D/s relationships, believe it.

Your hair-trigger dude isn't doing it for you. Interestingly I think *part* of the classic D/s dynamic is at play, in that he obviously gets SO turned on by you that he's ready to cum as soon as he starts fucking you. That is not turning you on, I mean the experience of being so clearly regarded as a sexual object. So I think that what's going on is that your submissive fantasy is really about hoping that he'll just read your mind and make you the center of attention and ravish you without you having to do anything about it.

That's a great fantasy and all, but it isn't real life.

I think you need to abandon the idea that being straightforward about what you need to get off somehow "makes you the dominant one". Being straightforward about what you need to get off is being the adult one. That's the way it goes. He's not going to read your mind. Sorry.

He's sounds like he's being a pretty lousy and selfish lover, but with this dynamic I also kind of wonder what you're doing that you regard as encouragement and showing him how to touch you? Are you really being forthright, or are you hinting and hoping that he picks up the clue in order to spare you the discomfort of having to ask explicitly?

If you're berating him for being bad in bed but aren't willing to let him inside your head enough to know what to do to be better, and are pulling back on giving him sexual attention the bargain (not touching him for fear of speeding things up) then no wonder it's going from bad to worse.

Tell him what you want! Do it outside of bed in some low-pressure environment. Do you need a lot of oral sex? Do you need him to make you cum with his hands before his dick gets inside you? Do you need for him to wear a condom so he can last longer when you're fucking? Tell him in the spirit of loving experimentation.
posted by Lola Xaviera Boom-Boom McPuppet at 6:43 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


I just searched this page for the word "cunnilingus" and it somehow doesn't appear? That seems... very odd!

But Lord, no one has taught this man how to have sex and now it is your burden. That sucks. Does he show that he understands how your body works at all?

I know men are sensitive and get all bothered and concerned when you confront them with things, but he is making no effort, he is not following direction, and he is not trying new things. Why? I mean that sincerely: I think the answer to your problem here is him finding out why. (Best case scenario: he goes away and figures out the "why" on his own. Second-best: he figures it out with you.)

And yeah he doesn't get to put his penis in anything until he learns how to TRY to make everyone have a good time.

Just show him this thread. Honestly, do it. It'll be really hard on him, but we can tell you really do love him and he sounds wonderful in other respects. He is probably somewhere between shy, anxious, upset, and freaked out. And he'll get over it.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:17 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Why don't you just have sex again? He should be able to last longer the second time.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:23 PM on February 20


Do you like head? That seems like the most obvious solution. "What I'd like is for you to order me to lie back, and you make me come with your mouth. Or you could make me come with a vibrator. Then I'm yours." If you can't come that way, then it's more complicated, but if you can, that's a simple enough request to make and a simple instruction for him to follow.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:32 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Having dealt with this exact issue, it is part ADD for sure, but also about half selfishness, with a dollop of sexism thrown in for good measure.

I had to flip out (screaming, crying, the works) out of hurt and frustration, like, three times before it was even acknowledged in any serious way. Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:27 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Does he have adequate skills?, is he willing to make sure you're satisfied?, is he generous in bed (and, really, elsewhere)? Read the Shamu article and apply it to sexyfuntimes. Be a generous loving partner to him and expect him to be the same for you. Try not to let it become a task for either if you.

If he's not willing to put in the time and effort, and there's no reason(illness, stress), then he's probably showing his real self, and, yeccchhhh.
posted by theora55 at 9:32 AM on February 21


[This is a response from an anonymous commenter.]
Make sure your terms are right; PE (premature ejaculation) is entirely different from ED (erectile disfunction). Refractory time is also entirely different from ED.

As a male in his late 30's who would look at 30 seconds of PIV sex as beating my standard duration, I feel safe in saying that it's *he* who is totally doing it wrong. With all the women I've been with, unless we're aiming for a quickie, they'll have come multiple times before we're moving to PIV. If you're multi-orgasmic, you shouldn't let insertion occur until you've had a few. If you're not multi orgasmic, timing might be tricky, but you have every right to say, "No, not yet." if he hasn't given you what you feel is the right amount of foreplay.

And really, if he's in his late 30's and still that quick on the draw, even moving to daily sex likely isn't going to change that. Perhaps if he's masturbated 30-120 minutes before (depending on his refractory time) that would be more likely to help than sex daily. Regardless of regular sex or pre-sex masturbation, you clearly need more play time before things move to penetration.

Have a talk during non-sexy times letting him know that you're fine with his 30 seconds of hang time, but he needs to step up his pre-game show, and you will be holding him to it. Specfify what your requirements are (whether its "I come at least 3x" or "I'll tell you to fuck me when the time is right.") And hold him to it.

Sadly, I don't have high hopes for you if he's over 25 and not being more proactive in your pleasure.
posted by cortex at 10:04 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Buy the Hitachi Magic Wand. Show Billy Chapel how to throw a knuckleball.
posted by meadowlark lime at 11:25 AM on February 21


He's failing on the Outkast rules. Specifically the, "No, after you."

Toys, oral, whatever — the point is for both of you to feel good, and much as the "Oh, sure, every day!" gambit is ambitious, it's also pretty oblivious — a cattier girlfriend would respond, "I already don't come every day. Why would I need to have sex with you to keep that going?"
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


For the record, that ex and I broke up for other reasons, but he did eventually put in much more of an effort after much pushing. But pushing was necessary.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:16 PM on February 21


It sounds to me like he doesn't care much about your pleasure. I love givers- men who get off on giving a woman pleasure. There's no way I'd marry a man who wasn't concerned about my orgasms. Unfortunately you can't force a non-giver into wanting to be one. They're either really into watching their handy work produce magical reactions or they aren't. What you can do, however, is make sure you climax first by bringing a vibrator into the bedroom, or having him go down before he gets anything. If he whines about the toys, tell him point blank that he's not doing the job so you're improvising. If a man in my life was this blasé about my pleasure he would be gone so fast his head would spin, but that's me.
posted by OneHermit at 2:53 PM on February 21


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