Amazing relationship, no sex
November 3, 2008 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I love my SO but I'm no longer attracted to him.

I've been with my boyfriend 3 1/2 years, and we are both in our late twenties. He is intelligent, gentle and creative, and even after years together I still find myself thinking of him throughout the day, and looking forward to seeing him when I finish work. He is a remarkable person and I cannot imagine my life without him. We don't live together, but he has moved into my part of the city, so we see each other several times a week.

Over the last maybe eight months however, I have felt less and less like sex, which I originally attributed to various changes in my life - I haven't been stressed out, but I have been busier than ever before with my (new) day job and my own artistic pursuits. Being the wonderful man that he is, my boyfriend has accepted this, and we have continued to be happy together.

Unfortunately, I've slowly started to realise that my libido hasn't really changed that much - I still experience attraction to other people, still have sexual thoughts, and still masturbate about as often as I used to. The problem is that I no longer want to sleep with my boyfriend - when I look at him the love I feel is stronger than ever, but any sexual feelings are completely gone.

We had the usual whirlwind of being sex-mad when we first started seeing each other, before settling into something less intense but still very satisfying, so I know that at one point I was absolutely crazy for him in that sense. My last relationship lasted nearly 5 years but hit a similar decline at about the 3 year mark, and realising the pattern I have tried to be more adventurous in bed in order to avoid the heartache this same problem caused the first time around. I've cast the net pretty wide with the things I've tried to introduce, but I just can't seem to get the feeling back. Part of the reason my previous relationship went on so long after the sex was dead was because I thought it was a phase, and stayed expecting things to turn around, which they didn't.

To be honest, I have been tempted to cheat on him - I miss sex and part of me feels like I should be having lots of it. But I think about how much it would hurt him if he knew I even thought about doing something like that, and I know I couldn't live with myself afterwards. But how will I feel a few years down the line? The thought frightens me.
I've thought about breaking up with him too, but as much as this situation sucks for me, life without him would be so much worse. It seems so stupid to ruin an amazing relationship over sex. He is still the (both inwardly and outwardly) beautiful man I fell in love with, and while he has been nothing but supportive, I know that our diminshed sex life has been difficult for him too. This has become more and more of a big deal for me as the months have gone by, and I'm tired of feeling guilty, frustrated, deceitful.

This is not a problem I can discuss with him, so I'm hoping some wise Mefis will be able to give me some insight. Can I get that feeling back? Is there some way I can approach thinking about this that makes it easier for me to live with? How have other people dealt with this problem?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

This is not a problem I can discuss with him

if you can't have an honest talk about why your sex life is the way it is, your relationship problems run deeper than just falling out of lust. given that this has happened to you before, perhaps you should consider seeing a therapist?
posted by lia at 9:53 PM on November 3, 2008 [6 favorites]

i tend to agree with lia: one aspect of your relationship doesn't exist in a vacuum and if you aren't sexually interested there is definately a reason. i would also second the therapist suggestion. whether you stay with your SO or not, if you have a pattern in your life that is making you unhappy then you need to deal with that. depression can also make pretty short work of your libido. it sounds like you are not interested in being in a LTR - or atleast, not now - and you're looking for a way out. no sex will probably get that for you, but truly there are kinder ways to break up with someone.
posted by tamarack at 10:28 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is not a problem I can discuss with him

so you might as well break up with him. Seriously, if you can't have an honest conversation with the man you supposedly love about a natural and normal part of your relationship how can you expect to actually have a relationship? Right now there's no intimacy or emotional honesty in your dealings with him, it's no wonder you feel dissociated from him. So break up.

Or you could try actually talking with him. Maybe counseling would help or some other effort to work on your problems together and quite possibly this can be fixed. But until you stop looking for a magic fix from a bunch of strangers and start actually communicating with your partner there's no hope.
posted by shelleycat at 10:56 PM on November 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Whenever I've found sexual desire waning in a long term relationship (whether on my own part, or that of my partner - and I've been on both sides) it's always been symptomatic of some sort of underlying, unaddressed issue such as emotional withdrawal, hidden "pursuer-distancer" power struggles, habitual conflict avoidance, or a sustained breakdown in some fundamental aspect of communication.

I think it's possible for your attraction to return, but at this stage I'd say it's unlikely unless you two are able to recognize and successfully address the deeper issues between you that are smothering your desire. If you can't even discuss this with him, you aren't likely to get very far. So as others have recommended above, that's probably where you should concentrate your efforts. Talk to him.
posted by velvet winter at 11:24 PM on November 3, 2008 [6 favorites]

What velvet winter said:
Whenever I've found sexual desire waning in a long term relationship (whether on my own part, or that of my partner - and I've been on both sides) it's always been symptomatic of some sort of underlying, unaddressed issue such as emotional withdrawal, hidden "pursuer-distancer" power struggles, habitual conflict avoidance, or a sustained breakdown in some fundamental aspect of communication.

For me, lack of libido has several times been an early indicator that I was pulling away or closing off in the relationship (usually irreversibly, but I'm not married, so I haven't had to deal with this in that context yet). I have had it come back once when we started doing a bunch of talking, to start addressing reasons I'd somewhat "checked out" of the relationship.

It seems like you're really growing outside your relationship, which is great; can you do something to make sure you're also growing/deepening in your relationship together? Counseling, a workbook (Conscious Loving?), an effort to talk about things more?
posted by salvia at 1:01 AM on November 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

This is not a problem I can discuss with him

I think that's your ACTUAL problem, right there. So what if you don't feel like having sex? If you can't TELL him that, and have an honest discussion about what you've brought up here - your pattern of losing sexual attraction in l/t relationships - then how on earth do you think that you can keep a relationship going? If you keep hiding something like this, or just refusing to talk about it, it won't resolve and eventually the relationship WILL end.

Perhaps the two are connected somehow: you don't feel sexually attracted to him because you're afraid of talking to him out of some kind of fear of rejection. In any case, if you can't talk to him about this, your chances of actually fixing the problem are slim.

Talk to him. Or a therapist. Or both. I'd say, preferably both. You need to, for yourself, also figure out why this pattern emerges so that you can identify what your own relationship needs are.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:40 AM on November 4, 2008

I'm going to have to agree with everyone else. If you are (or already have) checking out sexually, it is because something emotionally or intellectually isn't working. Like many others who have commented, I have been in this situation before, and my losing my sexual desire for him was a symptom of other issues going on in the relationship. Sex had been a fairly substantial part of our relationship, so it was as though my psyche knew that if we took the sex out of it the underlying problems would be revealed.

As clichéd as it is saying this, there is a huge difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. It sounds to me like you still love him but aren't in love with him. You respect and care for him like a best friend, but have no passion or desire for him. Having thoughts as though you would like to or are tempted to cheat are a huge sign and a massive problem and show that you have definitely checked out. The fact that you can't talk to him about that or anything else that is bothering you in regards to the relationship is probably part of the problem and why you are checking out (because truly, this is something people in a healthy relationship should absolutely be able to talk about...).

To be fair to him and to yourself, I really think you should think long and hard whether this is a situation you should be in and whether breaking up is the right option. I would suspect that it may be time to break up and just be friends with him.
posted by gwenlister at 4:38 AM on November 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

Is it possible that sex, in your mind, isn't about sharing love, but it's about the pursuit and adventure? And as you get deep into these relationships, said pursuit and adventure is absolutely gone?
posted by gjc at 4:39 AM on November 4, 2008 [8 favorites]

I just got out of a relationship where a very similar situation was occurring. We did talk it over, and while things didn't improve, I felt much the same way as you did prior, and much better afterwards. I think gjc's comment has a lot of merit.
posted by arimathea at 5:00 AM on November 4, 2008

Well, is it because he's not a hottie anymore or doesn't bathe? Anything he can possibly change? If so, I'd talk to him about it.

If not, well, you have a tough decision on your hands. It's natural to want sex and I think denying that to yourself is going to make you both unhappy and a poor partner, but that's just me.
posted by sondrialiac at 5:15 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I also think gjc may have a valid alternative opinion. Sex is not the be-all end-all of everyone's loving relationships, and some people are more interested in the chase and the tension of new sexual relationship development than the continuance of an old sexual relationship.

This could very well be something that happens with every relationship you ever get into. Starts out okay, then gets old after a while, and although you still enjoy the company and companionship you have with your partner, you lust for something new and different. Are you okay with having that to deal with that three-year mark over and over again, and moving on to someone new? If so, that's an acceptable solution.

If not, I would think this may be somewhere where therapy could be a reasonable thing to look into. Maybe even couples therapy, to give you some sort of structured way to talk about this with your boyfriend. Having a different person available to have a conversation with about these things, to get it out there in the open and really thought about, can have a huge impact on the way you look at things and can open up a new way of dealing with it or getting over it.
posted by that girl at 5:32 AM on November 4, 2008 [4 favorites]

you're being incredibly unfair to him. Break up with him now and get it over with. Don't even bother with therapy. let him move on with his life and you move on with yours. staying in this relationship where you can't even talk to him about sex is completely unfair to him and is wasting time. i don't mean for this to come off as a flip answer. i've been in his shoes and looking back on it i wish she had just cut me loose when the troubles began. cut him loose.
posted by nomad73 at 6:01 AM on November 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

In case one more voice helps, the problem here is clearly deeper than the no-sex issue. I vote for a therapist -- you need a structured and supportive place to talk about what is underlying the sex ending at three years problem, and why you can't talk about such a basic thing with your partner.

In the end, you may realize you need to break up with him, but as has been mentioned, you will need to reflect on whether this is going to be a permanent pattern with you, or if you are someday going to find the skills to transition from a newer relationship to a mature and stable one. It's tricky and not easy; you aren't alone in finding it difficult. And I have friends who seem to be very happy with a serial monogamy situation much like yours, with every relationship lasting two or three years.
posted by Forktine at 6:16 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

So, he's intelligent, gentle and creative, but is it possible that you just don't see any passion or drive in him anymore? Is he happy at work? Does he have projects outside work that he's really committed to? Does he ever get really excited about anything apart from you? These things are as important for sexual attraction as physical appearance.

If a lack of motivation/ambition is the problem, then you'll need to consider if he's happy the way he is (if so, I doubt the relationship is fixable), and if not, what you can do to help him break out of it.
posted by tomcooke at 6:21 AM on November 4, 2008

follow-up from the OP
By saying that i 'can't talk about' my problem with my boyfriend, I seem to have created the impression that we have bad communication - I don't think we do, he is the person I trust most and this is the first time I've ever felt like there was something I couldn't discuss with him, which is part of what makes it so horrible. All of the advice i'm recieving leans toward talking to him about it, but honestly, how on earth do I have that conversation? He hasn't changed, it's me that's different. That's not to say that I think it's bad advice, or that I expected to get out of this situation in a pain-free fashion, but how can i tell him i'm not attracted to him any more? Even thinking about saying that to him makes me feel sick because of how much it would hurt to hear.
I really want to emphasise that in every other way he is a wonderful person who I feel blessed to have met. The problem is me, not him - I feel like if I can just get my head around this I can spare him a horrible conversation. Thank you for the suggestions of therapy and words from people who have experienced something similar - it's a good idea and it's reassuring, it is appreciated.
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 AM on November 4, 2008

I can appreciate how difficult it is to talk to someone you love so much about something that will obviously be uncomfortable to hear, but if you can't talk about a problem (no matter how horrible it is) how can you ever get on the other side of it?

Therapy sounds like a fantastic idea. Good luck. I know it can't be easy.
posted by Silvertree at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2008

honestly, how on earth do I have that conversation? He hasn't changed, it's me that's different

What, you only talk to him about his faults?

You're in a relationship. If you have a problem, it is by definition his problem too. You think he hasn't noticed you don't want to have sex with him anymore? You think it isn't bugging him? You think it would be easy for him to go to you and say "if I don't get some, and soon, I'm going to leave"? How exactly is he supposed to bring it up? He hasn't changed, it's you that's different. Any pointing of that out is going to sound like criticism! And shallow as hell to boot. Naturally he won't mention it.

Yeah, if you really can't imagine going to him and saying "as you have probably noticed, my libido seems to have taken a nosedive, let's see what can we do to spice things up," then you should break up with him.
posted by kindall at 7:24 AM on November 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Break up with him now and get it over with. Don't even bother with therapy.

This comment shows a lack of understanding of the complexities of human relationships, and in general, just makes me sad.

You should talk to him, but be careful. Nobody wants to hear that they're unattractive to the one they love. You're going to have to be creative about the way you approach this. Maybe say you miss the thrill and giddiness of having sex with someone new. That may be a deal-breaker for him, but if not, then you can broach the topic of therapy.

And before you even have this talk, you might want to go to a therapist alone.

There are a lot of different ways to have a fulfilling relationship. There are people who stay together and agree to have sex outside the marriage. I don't want to start a discussion about open marriages here, because that never seems to end well. Besides, you're not there yet. I'm just suggesting you keep an open mind.
posted by Evangeline at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2008

He hasn't changed, it's me that's different. ... but how can i tell him i'm not attracted to him any more? Even thinking about saying that to him makes me feel sick because of how much it would hurt to hear.

I think you can do this in two ways. One option (and probably the best, honestly) is you do it with the help and assistance of a couples' counselor. You say to your boyfriend "I am having trouble, and I need your support. I want this relationship to work, and I've made us an appointment with a counselor to see if that can help with some of the trouble I'm having." If he's a supportive guy, he'll work with you on this.

The other option is you just go straight to the boyfriend and say much the same thing. But make it about the actual issues, not the symptoms. The problem isn't that you aren't attracted to him -- the problem is that there is some underlying issue which is expressing itself in your not being attracted to him. Can you see the difference? So you are asking for his help and support in working towards solving those underlying issues, which might turn out to be in his backyard (that not showering problem, say) or in yours (a cliched fear of commitment, say).

You are right -- if you just go to him and say "Dude, I'm totally not attracted to you anymore, but I've been seriously considering having a hot and steamy affair with your best friend," it will be hurtful at best. But if you go to him saying "I need your help, this is being confusing and hurtful for me, please let's work on this," he will have the chance to prove he is as good a guy as you say he is.

The people who've said this are right -- when sex disappears in a relationship, it is usually a sign that there are other issues at play. Don't focus on the lack of sex (which is what you have been trying to do, when you've tried to spice things up in the bedroom) -- resolve the underlying problem and thereby create the space for sex to return to the relationship.
posted by Forktine at 7:39 AM on November 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

When the sex is good, it is a small part of the relationship. When the sex is bad, it is a huge issue. Don't let the frustration both of you are feeling about the sexual aspects destroy your caring for each other. Talk to him, even if you feel like you can't. It is much better to talk about the real issue rather than let the sexual problem be the unspoken of elephant in the room.
posted by hworth at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I have to disagree with just about everyone here. I'm not convinced there's an underlying problem. Loss of sex drive within a relationship is a well-known, well-studied, and well-established (neurochemically - related to oxytocin curbing androgen production) phenomenon, especially for women, and potentially for most women. Some women don't lose all attraction to their partners, but it's all on a spectrum. And I think many people here seem to underestimate how difficult and hurtful this sort of conversation can be. I wouldn't suggest quite so brusquely that she must talk to her boyfriend about it and if not, that's her real problem. Communication is good, information is good, yes, but this is extremely sensitive matter.

Sure, see a therapist for a few sessions to try to verify if there's anything underlying, but really, see a sex therapist who can work through what's ideal for you. This probably will become a problem in any relationship, so for everyone suggesting she do all parties a favor now and break it off, think about whether you'd recommend for her to continue this pattern indefinitely. There's no need to overpathologize - this sounds normal. It would be best to find ways to work with it. And yes, strong sexual attraction does at times return, but probably never to the extent of the rush from the beginning.
posted by namesarehard at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2008 [16 favorites]

It will hurt more three months from now. When he asks "how long has this been going on" and you tell him, it is going to destroy his trust in you if you didn't do everything you possibly could to tell him the TRUTH.

Believe me, the only thing worse than "I don't want to have sex with you anymore" is "I haven't wanted to have sex with you for the last year".

Woman up and do it already. He deserves the chance to decide who his romantic partners will be based on ALL the information.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:23 AM on November 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think tomcooke nailed it. You mention creativity a lot which infers that you're attracted to intensity. It may also mean that you are a bit idealistic (apologies if I'm way off).

So if there's a pattern it might help if you could work out what changed in terms of your attraction to him. When you first got together what what was it about him that turned you pink? Was it his ideas, his manner? His physicality? Or was it his drive to create, or his creative output? Was it that other people found him exciting?

Or was it that he was very attracted to you? Did you fall in love/lust with the idea of yourself that he reflected?

Or did he make you feel safe in a turbulent time, or energised in a dull one?

Whatever it was, what changed to make this quality of his less attractive to you? If you still love him you *can* move past this, but you have to be honest about what did and does attract you, what starts that spark moving. Love changes, desire deepens and if you let go of some of the novel stuff you may find something much more intense just below the surface which kicks starts your libido.

If you think however that you've genuinely moved on from whatever intially thrilled you about him you need to bite the bullet and leave him to find someone who wants *all* of him. It's not fair to keep him in limbo.
posted by freya_lamb at 9:28 AM on November 4, 2008 [4 favorites]

I'm a bit surprised that all posters seem to be saying there is something very unusual and wrong with the OP or OP's relationship, yet loss of sexual interest in that timeframe is very common. Maybe it's a matter of degree.

I posted the comment below on a 3.5 year itch to a thread on, which imho fits your situation:

I don't know how much credence to give to the "love is chemistry" theories or plausible-sounding rationalizations for evolutionary benefit, but the breakup after a 3.5 year long relationship seems to fall into the range given by anthropologists like the following (taken from an ABC 20/20 interview):

Is there anything to the belief that spouses are most likely to feel the urge to stray after seven years? Actually, according to evolutionary anthropologist Helen Fisher, it happens a lot sooner, and the reasons for this may go back to the dawn of humanity.

"As it turns out, the standard period of human birth spacing was originally four years. We were built to have our children four years apart and I think that this drive to pair up and stay together at least four years evolved millions of years ago so that a man and a woman would be drawn together and stay together, tolerate each other, at least long enough to rear a single child through infancy," said Fisher, author of "Why We Love."

Following the urge to find a new partner after that four-year period, she says, may have been a way that humans added more variation to the gene pool.

So there is an itch — it's just a four-year itch, according to Fisher.

"People around the world tend to divorce during and around the fourth year of marriage," she said.

posted by meijusa at 9:32 AM on November 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

It's funny. People think not having sex makes them want to have sex more. But the reality is that the more you have sex, the more you want to have sex.

Unlike everyone else (except one), I don't think this is as fatal as you think this is. I think that you did what everyone does. You got used to each other and the initial buzz dropped off. Now you have to work at it. Everyone thinks that unless sex is this magical mystical thing and exactly the way it was in the beginning, that it's no good. That's bullshit perpetuated by porn and the media.

It can be just as good, it's just going to be different. And it's going to require work and effort and sometimes talking yourself into doing it when you have a free minute and you're not tired. Or planning to stay home on a Saturday afternoon. or on a Friday night. It means stepping away from the computer and the television and the mess in the house and remembering how to boink each other again.

I'm not certain you're not attracted to him. I'm certain that the initial euphoria has worn off and no one is taught how to maintain a mature sexual relationship. You can be brave and talk to him about it, or you can just not, and end yet another relationship.

This will keep happening to you until you figure it out.

But if it's over, it's over, and you should go. Not stay with him and make him hope that it'll come back.
posted by micawber at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2008 [5 favorites]

The problem is you are looking at this as a problem.

This is normal human behavior. It is unnatural for people to be monogamous.

The problem is most people on this thread are trying to convince you that you need "help" or therapy because they are probably stuck in their own miserable relationships, clinging to the idea that "straying" is somehow wrong and mean.

Only one or two people had the right answer: both of you should see other people.

Maybe you will end up back together again. Maybe not. Either way, it will be better than the situation you are in right now.
posted by Zambrano at 11:07 AM on November 4, 2008 can i tell him i'm not attracted to him any more? Even thinking about saying that to him makes me feel sick because of how much it would hurt to hear.

He almost certainly knows something is up. How could he not know?

You have the choice. You can hurt him by continuing to deceive him and lying by omission. Or you can hurt him with the truth, told compassionately and lovingly.

The first hurts a lot, for a long time, festers and eventually destroys relationships. The other is a learning experience that can increase the respect and trust of both partners. It will be good for your relationship!

Tell him. You love him, so being compassionate won't be a problem. I can't put words in your mouth because I don't know either of you. But you know both of you really well. Do it with kindness and forethought and it'll be okay. Really.
posted by Ookseer at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've gone through this. Getting off birth control pills helped a ton for me - but it doesn't seem like that is your issue.

If you still love him, just put on something foxy, close your eyes, and just giv'er once a day for the next little while and see if that fixes it. Did for me.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 3:27 PM on November 4, 2008

I'm backing namesarehard. There is a substantial body of evidence that suggests that what you are experiencing is physiologically and psychologically normal.

It's horrifying to see that many people feel qualified to tell you that your only solutions are to tell your partner that you're not sexually attracted to him and/or to break up with him.

It's not clear to me whether you're male or female, but this sexual state of affairs seems to be more common in women than in men. That should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because there are a lot of socialization issues that affect which aspects of sexuality women or men are willing to admit to a neuropsychologist or sex therapist.

Bodies and minds are malleable to a certain degree. I can think of a lot of different options for you to explore, but none of them may be useful or attractive to you.
  1. The one everyone has hit: talk to a therapist. A sex therapist is preferable.
  2. Get your androgen levels tested. Talk to a physician about your decline in libido and ask if you might have detectable hormonal abnormalities.
  3. Try low-dose DHEA. Some people find that it boosts levels of the relevant hormones and hence their libidos or desire for a partner. This is not supposed to be a useful option if you're relatively young, but anecdotally I've heard of youngish people taking it with some success (placebo effect?). Be careful with this one, and if you choose it, ask to have your androgen levels tested after 3-6 weeks on daily low-dose DHEA. There are also reports out there of hair loss and worse, possibly permanent, side effects. (I am not a doctor.)
  4. Consider an open relationship. Many humans are serial monogamists by nature.
  5. Bite the bullet and engage in frequent sexual activity with your partner. Masturbate regularly to keep your bits in knowledgable and working order, but refrain for the day or two before sex if you find it helps to let some tension build. Skip telling your partner that you're not sexually attracted to him, because I don't think this offers any practical use unless you're planning to break up with him. Tell him instead that you've both been busy, that you feel that your sex life has slipped, and ask for his help in relearning how to be a sexual being again. Rephrase as necessary to remove corniness, but most guys will be eager to "reteach." You might find that if you can enjoy learning to just allow him to bring you to orgasm manually or orally or with other stimulation (it's okay to fantasize! let him be your masturbator!), you'll want to give a fair quid pro quo by choosing to initiate sex or whatever his preferred brand of fun is just to see him have a good time. It really is okay if you're not getting your rocks off from this; you might just enjoy the physical closeness, especially if you've already gotten yours. At first, it might work for you to think of this in the same way as giving him a backrub or doing something else that requires physical work but not necessarily sexual "work" and that makes him feel good in some way. Maybe this is as far as you'll get, and you'll settle into a routine that works for you: he gets you off, you get him off, you two end up dozing off comfortably together afterwards. But bodies and minds are malleable, bodies and minds are malleable, bodies and minds are malleable, so maybe all it will take for you is imprinting yours with this new pattern for long enough for your brain to associate it with sexy fun. It doesn't need to be as explosive as new-relationship sex is. It probably won't be. What it will be, if it takes, is a relaxing way for the two of you to recharge your batteries a few times a week.
Don't stress about this. You're not defective or abnormal. If you love your partner deeply and you do want to stick with him, step back from the emotional abyss for a little while. Detach for a moment, and just think about this as a problem for which you want to develop a relatively pleasant solution that will offer both of you some satisfaction. Sex doesn't have to be a spine-tingling mindmeld every time or even most of the time for an overall sex life to be satisfying. Treat it like a hobby for now — it's something that you two can have fun doing together.

Also: don't cheat. If you want sex with other people, either have the honest open relationship talk with your partner or leave the relationship. Period.
posted by jeeves at 8:16 AM on November 5, 2008 [5 favorites]

I can understand you not wanting to tell him that you cease to be sexually attracted to him. I do hope, however, that still talk about your sex life with him honestly. He probably realizes that you aren't enjoying it as much.

The underlying issue is what turns you on that your boyfriend doesn't possess? Of the guys that you want to cheat on your BF with....what do they have that he doesn't? It's possible you just like the chase, or he has become lax in doing whatever it is that turns you on. Maybe if you can figure out what it is, you can get him to do it.

Will Smith's wife once said "you don't find the perfect mate, you create them". Figure out what you want, and tell him. I'm not even talking so much about a new position or something - attraction happens outside the bedroom.
posted by scottschulthess at 1:40 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Here is something that has worked for me. YMMV in a major way.

My boyfriend and I have an open relationship. What has been said about the thrill of a new relationship leading to increased sex drive is true for me. I experience higher libido earlier in a relationship, and after awhile in the same relationship, I find myself attracted to people besides my partner. In the past, this has led me to cheat, or to break up with people I cared about because I missed that feeling of lust.

Given this inevitability, and given that we felt that jealousy was a major hindrance to a strong relationship, we decided to try having an open relationship.

Now a few years later, it is working really well for us. I can still pursue others that I am attracted to, and, as a bonus, I find that the lust I feel for others actually increases my lust for my partner (this may be a kind of positive-feedback affect). We have worked at getting through jealousy at times but on the whole it has been a successful experiment that has strengthened our bond.
posted by mai at 3:48 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

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