My groin wants what my brain doesn't!
May 5, 2008 7:12 AM   Subscribe

The type of guy I like to spend time with isn't the type I like to have sex with. What now? Probably NSFW!

I'm a good-looking, intelligent woman in my mid-20s and I've been with my boyfriend for over 5 years. We're pretty much blissfully happy. He's gorgeous, I love him, he loves me, we're simpatico, we want to grow old together, we've weathered some rough stuff (rainclouds, not typhoons) and come out stronger, and neither of us has been unfaithful.

However, although I'm extremely turned on by his looks, I'm not sexually attracted to his personality. The type of guy I enjoy being with (sweet, funny, kind, gentle, cute, boyish) isn't the type that turns me on (rough, rude, cruel, bossy, arrogant, dominant, older ... basically Martin Amis). I *loathe* the people I find sexy.

I've never reached orgasm with my bf; I can only orgasm when I masturbate to fantasies of being dragged around and degraded by the Type A douchebags of the world.

At first I thought I could be okay with having a mediocre sexual relationship with a guy I'm crazy about, but well ... now I'm here typing this.

I've already tried coaching my bf to be more sexually aggressive, but it's clear by now that it's just not in him. Is the relationship doomed? When I'm old, am I likely to feel like I wasted my 20s? Or should I just get over the whole sex thing? :-/
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do not "just get over the whole sex thing." It's not possible. If your BF isn't willing or able to help you out then you need to look other places. You need to tell him what you're going to do, and you need to do it in a way that puts both of you at the absolute least risk for std's. Also, aside from std safety, you need take into account personal safety. Tell someone (possibly BF, but he might not want to know anything about your rendezvous) where you're going and who you're going to be with.

I also think it's worth mentioning that you are not married and presumably do not have kids with BF. It is quite possible that you, "a good-looking, intelligent woman" can find a guy, who, is boyfriend material by day and rough, cruel, domineering etc. by night. At the very least you can probably find someone who is more willing and able to try.

My final advice is to write to Dan Savage. He's the best.
posted by brevator at 7:45 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is the relationship doomed?

Depends on how high this is on your list of things you need in a relationship. If it's vital for long term happiness, then ultimately, yeah, this relationship may not be as fulfilling as you want, leading to its end. That doesn't mean the relationship is "doomed" though. Not all our relationships are meant to last forever, but what the happiness they give us in the shorter term can still be important and memorable.


When I'm old, am I likely to feel like I wasted my 20s?

Probably. Feed the beast now rather wrecking a marriage and your kids lives just 'cause you want to do the pool boy when you're 45 and damn the consequences.

Or should I just get over the whole sex thing?

Never.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


If your boyfriend is 95% what you want otherwise, get a vibrator and start encouraging him more strongly to be sexually aggressive. Maybe have an extremely discrete fling with someone on Craig's List to get your rocks off every now and then.
posted by k8t at 7:55 AM on May 5, 2008


If we're going by the Savage checklist here, you're not obligated to stay with him by children, marriage, or any other extenuating circumstance. So communicate with him. Tell him you want something from him that he seems unable to give. I'm sure you can split up amicably.

Please don't cheat on him.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 8:08 AM on May 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


anon: I've already tried coaching my bf to be more sexually aggressive, but it's clear by now that it's just not in him.

I don't think 'coaching' is going to do it. That's not really what you want to be doing, and it's not what you should do.

Sounds like you're a little desperate right now, but you know that (a) you have a good partner in almost every respect, and (b) you wouldn't want a partner who was like your sexual fantasy.

You need to talk to him. Not "could you maybe say x" or "try doing y instead," but "I don't want you to be hurt by this, and I love you very much, but I've never had an orgasm with you, and I want to try. I'm into sexual aggressiveness. I need you to do certain things for me. It might seem odd, and I can guarantee you I wouldn't want a man who was really like this all the time-- that's why I'm with you, because I need someone who'll be good to me-- but, though I can't explain it, I need this from you."

See, it sounds like you've tried saying, "um, could you..." while you two are in the sack. That won't cut it. Guys can be kind of dense with these things. You need to talk to him seriously about this, and you need to make it clear that these are sexual needs, not just some spur-of-the-moment fantasy. I'd wager that he doesn't quite know the urgency of the problem.

I also have a feeling that he does have it in him. You'd be surprised how sexually versatile some people can be. You can talk with him about how to do this. It's not as though you're asking him to let you poop on him; this shouldn't be hard for him to get into, I think, so long as he knows that it's really important to you.

And in the odd event that he shakes his head and tells you that that's just not something he'll ever do, even though your sexual happiness and health depends on it, well, you can either tell him that he's clearly not willing to put much effort or care into this relationship and leave or take a little bit of consolation in the fact that at least he's a type A douchebag of some kind, even if he's not the kind you'd like.
posted by Viomeda at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2008 [12 favorites]


One more thing: every long-term relationship goes through stretches of trying to figure out the sexual thing. My feeling is that womens' bodies and sexualities are less straightforward and blunt in things like this; men often don't understand that women have certain needs that they can't quite explain in simple or easy terms.

You say you've never had orgasm with him. You should be trying, and he should be helping. Again, every relationship has to deal with these kinds of issues from time to time if it's going to survive. A little role-playing in the bedroom sounds like exactly what you're wanting; tell him. He's your partner, after all.
posted by Viomeda at 8:28 AM on May 5, 2008


Maybe have an extremely discrete fling with someone on Craig's List to get your rocks off every now and then.

Wow, what awful advice. AskMe's worst, I'm sure.

Definitely don't try to get over the sex thing. Is he aware of the extent to which you're feeling unsatisfied/unfulfilled? If the discussion only comes up during sex (or before) and only in the form of coaching, is it possible he thinks you just want a little extra pizazz that you can ultimately live without if he can't supply it versus understanding that you are very unfulfilled by your sex life and approaching desperation?

If it's possible that he isn't fully aware of what you need and where your thinking is on this, I'd bring it up with him. Perhaps if he understood this he would be more motivated to do what you want him to do in bed or, better yet, problem solve with you.

You can also look into buying some books or watching movies. For dykes such as myself, there's The Whole Lesbian Sex Book which has fun, sexy, erotic, and kinky suggestions, stories and testimonials to either spice things up or help couples achieve sexual compatibility. There must be something for boy-girl couples.

Another option is couples sex therapy. From what I've heard, this can be really helpful, particularly if you're squeamish (or he is) about bringing this stuff up and discussing it openly.

From what you write and how you describe your feelings for your boyfriend and your relationship, it doesn't sound (to me, anyway) that you're at the bail or cheat point. Don't give up yet.

Good luck.
posted by sneakin at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2008


If he's a really nice guy, he might genuinely not know how to act like the guy who turns you on. I totally agree with Viomeda, but you need to expose your bf to "the type" so he can get into the play-acting. Rent some movies with the bad-dudes, buy him some new outfits that are just for role-playing. Help him make up a character he can play. Read Martin Amis books in bed at night. You like this guy and you don't want a REAL asshole, so send your man to "acting school." If he loves you, he'd rather play than lose you.
posted by rikschell at 8:33 AM on May 5, 2008


It just occurred to me that I think you should probably show him this thread and talk about it with him. I think you've expressed yourself very well.
posted by Viomeda at 8:36 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a boy of the first type who definitly likes being the second type in bed... we exist. In fact I have met a few guys like this. Problem is that the others like me find ourselves in realtionships with women who want the first guy in the bedroom as well. So out there are men of this type, we exist, and are lookig for women who will let them be their bedroom selves.
posted by elationfoundation at 8:45 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


follow-up from someone who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Please, please, please sign up for a throwaway gmail account when you
write sex-related AskMes.

My gf and I have a similar problem. We're compatible in most ways, but
I'm too submissive for her. Since we are great communicators, it's
something we can discuss. One of our solutions was to go to a BDSM
club together. She got off on being spanked. I didn't get turned on,
but it was a cool experience. And I loved seeing her get turned on
(which, in the end, did sort of turn me on). I'm not saying you should
do exactly this, but you might want to consider finding some way to
satisfy your needs. Your boyfriend doesn't necessarily have to be
involved in the act. But he should be involved. He should be told
about it, consulted about it, and invited to watch. And if he has some
kinks that you can't fulfill, maybe you can give him the same
latitude. I know my solution isn't for everyone, but I wish more
people would consider it. It sucks to find someone who is perfect
except for one nagging thing. If my gf was a horrible cook, I wouldn't
leaver her. But I would eat out every now and then. And I'd tell her
that I was going to eat out. And I'd invite her to come along.
posted by jessamyn at 8:45 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please try harder with your boyfriend. You may have to find an audiovisual example to show him. (it's not like there's a lack of porn featuring domineering and degrading situations).

It may be something like this (projecting my own experience). He's been brought up to view women as equals with vaginas, who just want the same thing you want, and need to be treated with the utmost respect at all times. The quintessential "nice guy".

Even after seeing the way the world works, even after seeing countless girls end up with douchebags, he can't wrap his head around the fact that you need to be dominated in the bedroom. You can't possibly be one of those girls, you want to be equals in everything, right?

It may be that he has a hard time separating your roles in the bedroom from your roles in the rest of your relationship. It is for me. It may be that he isn't sure what level of abuse and language is "appropriate". Tell him. If he's sensitive, he's going to have a hard time at first reconciling the fact that he just told you to "suck it, bitch", and now you're deciding who's going to clean up after dinner, or whatever.

It may also be that you WANT him to be just a little more dominant/aggressive/confident outside the bedroom, stuff as simple as saying, "here's where we're going for dinner tonight, no discussion". He can get there (I did), but it takes time and training. A lot of it is just breaking through that disbelief that any woman of quality would really want and crave this kind of treatment. (I am NOT commenting on your quality - this is something that I went through with my wife, and I think she's pretty high quality. :)

Good luck!
posted by rhys at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


Is there some nuance I'm missing here?

I *loathe* the people I find sexy.

We're pretty much blissfully happy. He's gorgeous, I love him, he loves me, we're simpatico, we want to grow old together...
posted by grumblebee at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2008


... the type that turns me on (rough, rude, cruel, bossy, arrogant, dominant, older ... basically Martin Amis). I *loathe* the people I find sexy. I've never reached orgasm with my bf; I can only orgasm when I masturbate to fantasies of being dragged around and degraded by the Type A douchebags of the world.

I think the average sweet, gentle, loving guy can adapt to being asked for more forceful sex at least part of the time. You can probably go back and forth between sweet, cuddly sex and harder pounding, with a little restraint or spanking thrown in.

But when you use words like "douchebags" and "degraded", that suggests a more extreme scenario that may make some genuinely nice guys who don't naturally share that kink pretty uncomfortable. There was a question here some weeks ago from some guy who was really uncomfortable with his girlfriend's request that he call her what he considered really degrading names. If you add on some significantly rough behavior, that discomfort may get extremely high.

We don't know your guy like you do. When he didn't successfully get more aggressive with you, was it because he sincerely tried, thought he was doing OK, even if he didn't? Or did he back out without even trying? If you make it clear that this is a make or break situation for you, he may try harder. He may be able to make it to more forceful sex, but not necessarily degrading sex. Maybe forceful sex is enough for you, if he can get that far.

But if he can't do the full scenario, even for your happiness, I don't agree that he would be a douchebag, as some else has suggested. You certainly wouldn't be a horrible bitch for, say, not playing into some guy's rough domination fantasies if that deeply bothered you. If his gentleness goes all the way through him, that's just who he is. I'm sure someone else would love to have him just as he is if he really can't make you happy. But do what you can to make it work with him before you move on.
posted by wexford_arts at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Uh, people, if she tells him to be aggressive, and he does it, he's just being passive and instructable! You think Martin Amis would take that shit? She's not attracted to guys who listen to their partners and pay attention to their needs.

anonymous: aren't you really just asking us for permission to be selfish? Your questions are:

Is the relationship doomed? Yes, no, maybe!

When I'm old, am I likely to feel like I wasted my 20s? Yes, no, maybe!

Or should I just get over the whole sex thing? Yes, no, easy, impossible..

You know what you want to do - cheat - you just don't know how guilty you'll feel afterward. We can't help you with that.
posted by nicwolff at 8:56 AM on May 5, 2008


[a few comments removed, helpful replies appreciated]
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2008


But if he can't do the full scenario, even for your happiness, I don't agree that he would be a douchebag, as some else has suggested. You certainly wouldn't be a horrible bitch for, say, not playing into some guy's rough domination fantasies if that deeply bothered you. If his gentleness goes all the way through him, that's just who he is.

Um...this is what I'm trying to say. However awkwardly. Thanks, w_a.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2008


Along the lines of what rhys said, there's a self-help book and online community for quintessential "nice guys" that you and your boyfriend might find useful. Good luck!
posted by kimota at 9:12 AM on May 5, 2008


nicwolff: Uh, people, if she tells him to be aggressive, and he does it, he's just being passive and instructable! You think Martin Amis would take that shit? She's not attracted to guys who listen to their partners and pay attention to their needs.

Thank god sexuality isn't that simple. People aren't just hard-wired with desires for one thing or another; it shifts and changes, and what long-term relationships require is openness: openness to using a little imagination to get your rocks off with the person you love, and openness to helping them do the same.

Might be there's a domineering sex master inside this guy just waiting to come out. Might be even he doesn't know it. But anon is rational enough to look around and see that she's with the guy she should be with; she's going to be open to a solution, I think.

Otherwise, people who are into S&M would never be able to have functional relationships; the aggros would never be thinking about their partners' well-being, and passives would never ask for it.
posted by Viomeda at 10:32 AM on May 5, 2008


Previously on Ask:

Pull my hair
Guy's perspective
posted by rhys at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2008


Anon, "cheating" isn't the only way to go beyond where you are now and to keep your current situation intact. Consider discussing with your partner the possibility of some kind of external sexual play to meet your stated wants/needs/desires.

You may even find that he has wants/needs/desires that you are unaware of that you are unwilling/unable to satiate. He may not even realize this (or be able to articulate it) until he is given the greenlight to cop to these feelings in a non-judgmental way with no negative consequences.

Even if he is not up for outside play for himself, he may be cool with you indulging now and then...with or without him.

Non-monogamy ≠ cheating

Outside play ≠ broken relationship

Variety can = Spice (that your crave)

(more direct answers:

Is the relationship doomed? Yes, if neither of you changes your personality in a substantial way.

When I'm old, am I likely to feel like I wasted my 20s?
Possibly, but, if so, will also involve other factors: family, career, etc. Not likely for this sex issue only.

Or should I just get over the whole sex thing? Can't be done without you becoming not you.)
posted by Exchequer at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2008


Uh, people, if she tells him to be aggressive, and he does it, he's just being passive and instructable! You think Martin Amis would take that shit? She's not attracted to guys who listen to their partners and pay attention to their needs.

I'm actually going to agree with this, although I don't agree that the OP is looking for "permission" to cheat. If she basically wants for a predatory man to have his way with her, hearing her sweet, loving boyfriend say "Sure, sweetheart, we can try that! Anything to make you happy!" is pretty much the opposite of what will turn her on. Touching from an emotional standpoint, cringe-worthy from a sexual one.

Anonymous: There is at least one guy out there who will be enjoyable to spend time with, but who will also be just enough of an asshole to fulfill your sexual needs. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that a loving relationship and a satisfying sex life are mutually exclusive for you. You're young, and it sounds like you already feel like you're wasting your twenties, to a certain extent.

Would it be selfish to seek out someone who turns you on? Yes, but trying to find what makes you happy is almost always selfish.
posted by arianell at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that none of the comments so far have touched on the idea of the op trying to root out the cause of this sexual predilection, and possibly trying to change it. The tacit assumtion here seems to be that all sexual "kinks" are on the same level as, say, homosexuality: naturally-occuring traits that you can't (and shouldn't) attempt to modify.

I'm not sure that's true, though: as a previous poster pointed out, sexuality is a lot more malleable than we usually give it credit for. Surely some kinks have environmental or historical roots, right? And perhaps, depending on the depth of that root, the right counseling could make it fade?

Don't misunderstand me: obviously, not all sexual preferences work this way, and I certainly don't mean to evoke the days of electro-shock therapy as a "cure" for homosexuality or anything like that. But some sexual behavior does seem to be related to past experiences, so maybe the right therapy could help align your in-bed and out-of-bed preferences.

Obviously, if your kinks can be satisfied by your partner, then more power to you. But it sounds like you're risking losing an otherwise great relationship due to this sexual incompatibility, in which case it might make sense to spend as much effort looking at yourself as looking at your partner.
posted by molybdenum at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


You sound like a textbook masochist or perhaps a submissive. I agree with the anonymous advice posted by jessamyn. Get thee to a BDSM club and take boyfriend along. Find a sadist. Enjoy.
posted by desjardins at 1:51 PM on May 5, 2008


Can you fantasize about these rough, dirty, degrading senarios during sex with your boyfriend? Just, you know, close your eyes and think of the same things you do when you're on your own and do manage to orgasm? As long as he's ok with you seeming a little distant for the ten minutes or whatever, then maybe you can work it out and both of you can be fufilled.
Of course, it would be nice if he could switch off his good guy and be the asshole you need in bed, but if that's not possible, bringing your fantasy life into your partner sex might be something to try. Most relationship problems can be solved with really open communication and hard work on both sides. Hopefully he wants you to be satisfied, and will be willing to do what it takes to make you both happy.
posted by zoey08 at 2:43 PM on May 5, 2008


I think you're all focusing on the sexual mechanics more than the question warrants. anonymous said "I'm not sexually attracted to his personality" and the attributes she listed - rough, rude, cruel, bossy, arrogant, dominant, older - are personality attributes not specifically in-bed sexual behaviors.

She isn't sexually turned on by the person she's otherwise in love with - it's not just what he does in bed that leaves her cold but who he is. And she'll still know that, even if she talks him into pulling her hair or choking her or whatever.
posted by nicwolff at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2008


nicwolff, if what you say is the case? What would be your recommendation to the poster?
posted by The1andonly at 5:29 PM on May 5, 2008


I think nicwolff is onto something, but it's worth mentioning that I was attracted to the same type of arrogant asshole when I was in my 20s, and I grew out of it in my 30s after actually dating some of them. Now I've got a sweet, kind, sensitive, generous guy. Oh, and he's hot. Yes, there is some trade-off in passion, but I'd take that any day over some jerk who doesn't return phone calls and cheats on me. I think the OP has to experience some assholes before she will fully recognize the worth (and attractiveness) of the Nice Guy.
posted by desjardins at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


The advice telling you to cheat is appalling and unnecessarily hurtful to your boyfriend. If you decide you need to have sex with other people, end the relationship first unless he's okay with having an open relationship. Don't keep it some secret that will emotionally destroy him later on down the line.

Chances are the OP already knows this, but ugh, I feel compelled to say so just in case. I can't believe anyone even suggested that. If she needs to end the relationship to be happy, then so be it, but lying to her boyfriend about their relationship is a horrible thing to do. Other people don't exist to fulfill our every whim, my god.

Anyway, moving past the bad advice: I agree with Viomeda and desjardins. First, I would make sure that you've done everything you can to make sure he understands the situation is serious. I think there could be a lot of progress to be made there.

Then, my experience is similar to desjardin's; there was a type of person that I was really attracted to that I came to realize I also loathe, basically an emotionally distant tease that could be quite cruel. Once I dated a Nice Guy for years that went from being merely an intellectual realization to truly sinking in; the desire for that kind of person abated when that happened. I can conjure the feeling up from memory if I really want to, but in practice that kind of person fills me with disgust because now I truly get that they're terrible for me. I am very grateful for my Nice Guy.

Hopefully something might happen like that for you. Something that was helpful was I would compare my Nice Guy to that other type of person in my head and really think about how crappy a relationship that would be, regardless of the sparks. I'd think about how dysfunctional the brushes I had with such relationships had been. There is a trade-off in passion, but I would take that any day.

I even couldn't have an orgasm with him at first; technically he's very skilled and generous, but my sexual arousal has almost nothing to do with what's going on physically. Part of the issue, at least for me, is this aspect of it: tension creates excitement/passion. When you're with someone who you're comfortable with, especially if they're a Nice Guy who's honest and open about everything, there's not as much tension. If you're like me, one of the arousing aspects of being with someone who is inconsiderate is the roiling, conflicting emotions, even the shame that makes things exciting.

You can find other ways to have an orgasm, though, if you guys talk through things. Like me, you might learn not to fixate on wanting one thing in particular and instead get into what's actually present. That's not the only solution, though. You might still be able to have him act more aggressively, for example. You might find some secondary kind of arousal -- not the arrogant type you describe, but also not what you're currently doing -- that's good enough for you to have an orgasm. Things like that. I think if you both make it a priority you'll be surprised at all the solutions you might find.

You might need to go a step further and embrace some sort of S&M, you might not. You might need an open relationship, you might not. I would exhaust other options before suggesting the open relationship because it can be an emotional sore point for plenty of people. Depending on how important it is to you that you keep your boyfriend -- and he sounds worth keeping if possible -- you don't want to wedge this between you unless it's something you feel you want badly enough to risk the relationship ending.

You will need to carefully weigh your priorities if it comes down to it, i.e. if he just can't act differently in bed, or you can't find any workable solution, or he won't have an open relationship, or whatever you decide you need. Before I thought I could get over things, I reached a point where I realized I would rather stay with my Nice Guy than never have an orgasm with him. Other things are much more important to me and masturbation is adequate, and you might find that you ultimately feel the same way. If the no orgasm thing is a deal-breaker, though, do NOT feel like you're a terrible person or something; everyone has different needs. I guess your options then would be to find someone who's a nice guy but can be different in bed, or someone who would be willing to have an open relationship, both of which are entirely plausible.

Don't take the decision lightly, though. I don't think you would, but sometimes Ask MeFi advice seems detached from any emotional context, especially when people tell someone to end a relationship. The kind of relationship you described in your first paragraph is well-worth preserving if at all possible, so give it your best shot. Don't hold on to it if it becomes obvious you'll be miserable, but I don't think it's as simple as, "No orgasms, game over." There's a lot more to weigh and more things to try.
posted by Nattie at 3:49 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Blissfully happy? Don't break up. The cheating advice is rotten, too. If you really see yourself growing old with him happily, I think the tough-guy fantasy (that he'll turn into one) is worth throwing overboard. I am SURE you can make your "mediocre" sex life better, and no, not by cheating. You will figure something out.
posted by Penelope at 9:34 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe see a shrink and examine why you find assholes to be hot?

I can't help but think that dating a few of these assholes will make you miss the nice guy, though. Only in crappy romance novels* does asshole guy kind of mellow out into a nicer partner that's tolerable outside of the bedroom.

* not to diss romance novels in general, but you know exactly the sort I mean when I say this. The ones with titles involving foreign rich men, "mistress", "baby," etc.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:29 PM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


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