don't you want me, baby?
November 11, 2012 3:23 PM   Subscribe

How do I deal with my new boyfriend's low sex drive?

I just started dating a man, we've been together for about a month and (almost) everything has been Cloud 9. We discussed commitment early and I feel very secure with the relationship, in general. Sort of. But he doesn't want sex as often as I do! This is perplexing to me.

In the VERY beginning, I didn't observe a problem but now it's gotten to the point where I see him once, maybe twice a week and we have sex ONCE per date. To me this is bizarre! When we do have sex it is great, really passionate and connected and he tells me how amazing I am, etc. We both admitted that we are falling for each other/crazy about each other. But...if that's true, why doesn't he want to be inside of me, like, all the time? My response to falling in love is wanting sex constantly and I don't understand how he can feel similarly to me without a libido surge, especially since he is a man.

I brought this up with him recently, and said I feel like the balance is off and I am beginning to feel undesirable. He said that it's not a personal thing, that I am on hyperdrive and need to be able to live somewhere between his drive and my own. I just don't know if I can compromise that without constantly doubting the relationship. Here's the thing though - everything else is wonderful. I honestly mean that. I love spending time with him, we enjoy each other's company and have a smooth general rapport and intellectually engaging conversations. I am not sure if this is a fundamental incompatibility, or even if it is an incompatibility or a result of the fact that he is an investment banker and works crazy hours.

There is another aspect of this - he assures that the difference is not a result of him feeling differently about me than I do for him, but my intuition just tells me that it must be. How can he be lying next to me and not want me? I have literally BEGGED him for sex and he refuses because he's tired. We've been dating for only a month, not married for ten years! Am I crazy, or are there men out there (or do you know men) who can be falling in love with a woman and not want to have sex with her like 7+ times a week / night? Am I too focused on the sex? How do I make myself feel less insecure about this?? I don't want this to be a dealbreaker, but is this difference in needs for frequency of sex basically a death knoll for this budding romance?
posted by bengalibelle to Human Relations (46 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

You may not be "too focused on the sex", but your perception of typical frequency of intercourse might be a bit off.

Recent studies indicate: "The average person has sex 103 times per year."

That works out to, yep, about twice a week....
posted by HuronBob at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think you just have an extremely high sex drive, for a man or a woman. I know plenty of men who can fall in love with a woman without wanting to have sex with her 7+ times a week/night, including my own boyfriend. We have sex about 2-3 times a week, since when we started the relationship about a year and a half ago. If you have a higher sex drive and want more sex than he is willing to give you that is of course a perfectly valid reason to end the relationship. But you have no reason to feel insecure about his not wanting to have sex 7+ times/night (seriously?) -- the media's depiction of men as sex-crazed horn dogs is messing with your head.
posted by peacheater at 3:34 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Here's some stats about average sex frequency. No more than 10% of partnered men in the 18-24 age bracket have sex more than four times a week.

So, you can rest easy and start the process of disassociating your difference in sex drive with his interest in you.
posted by ignignokt at 3:37 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Uh, I have a pretty high sex drive but definitely have NEVER had sex seven times a night. And most men just can't more than once a day, especially if it's passionate. For reference, we do 5-6 times a week, and we are both the partner with highest sex drive that the other's dated.

If you really want more/longer sex, ask him if he's interested in receiving a blow job (where you do all the work) or if he might learn orgasming without ejaculating so he lasts longer.

But yeah, you are unusual in feeling that something is wrong when you "only" have sex once a night, once or twice a week.
posted by ethidda at 3:37 PM on November 11, 2012

It sounds likely that he ca't physically get it up more than once a day, especially since he is working a lot in a stressful field and it sounds like he is not, you know, a teenager. That would not be abnormal for a man.

My question would be, why are you only seeing each other once or twice a week?
posted by J. Wilson at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't think that he has a low sex drive. If I'm reading your question correctly, you have sex every time you see each other, which is about twice a week. I think that you just have an extremely high sex drive. He's not suddenly going to go from once a night to 7 (!!!) times a night, so if that's where your bar is set, perhaps you need to find another partner that is more amenable.

I agree with J. Wilson, perhaps if you saw each other more you would feel less insecure.
posted by crankylex at 3:42 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay 7 times per night was an overstatement. But at least three times in one overnight session. In the BEGINNING of a relationship ( I know it wanes, but when you're just discovering / crazy about each other??).

For reference, I am 25 and he is 26. And yes, I do wonder why we don't see each other more often. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he gets out of work on average between 11pm - 2 am. But then I expect that when he does have free time, wouldn't he want to see me? For example, today was a lazy Sunday and ...well, I wanted to see him. And also have sex. And he told me I would have to "take care of myself". What?!

I am now afraid of initiating sex because the rejection is kind of painful. But I suppose I should take his advice and not take it personally.
posted by bengalibelle at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

It may not be physically possible for him to have sex more than once per night: Refractory period
posted by unknowncommand at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just don't know if I can compromise that without constantly doubting the relationship.

How often someone wants to put their penis in you indicates absolutely nothing about the relationship. You can have hot sexy sexy sex 10 minutes before getting dumped.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2012 [21 favorites]

bengalibelle: "I expect that when he does have free time, wouldn't he want to see me? For example, today was a lazy Sunday and ...well, I wanted to see him. And also have sex. And he told me I would have to "take care of myself". What?!

I am now afraid of initiating sex because the rejection is kind of painful. But I suppose I should take his advice and not take it personally.

If he works that much, I suspect he just needs some alone time to decompress. If you're seeing each other regularly, that's not at all abnormal.

About attempting to initiate sex and getting shot down, yeah, that sucks. Over time you'll learn to read his mood better and not have to go through that as much.
posted by wierdo at 3:51 PM on November 11, 2012

His sex drive has nothing to do with your attractiveness. He's obviously attracted to you, since he really enjoys having sex with you; when he doesn't want to have sex, he's not rejecting you, he's rejecting sex.

People have different sex drives, and there doesn't seem to be anything abnormal about his. Nor is there anything abnormal about yours! What's not working out is that your sex drives are different -- you'll need to talk about it and see how you can work around that.
posted by Pwoink at 3:56 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

You should consider having an open relationship. There's no reason for you to be tied to his sex drive instead of your own. If he's open to the idea, having sex with other people on the side will make you way happier and will also take the pressure off him to perform when he doesn't want to.
posted by drethelin at 3:58 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

He sounds really busy with work and needs time to rest. If you feel like he's not giving you enough of his attention, you should know that he's only going to get busier and more tired in his line of work, which can negatively affect his libido and how much time he can spend with you. Also, some people just need some time alone to recharge so they can be more present when they are with you. I think you need to give this guy a break and consider that you may not be compatible.
posted by smartypantz at 3:58 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Few people have the level of energy and interest to have sex every night. And fewer still as they hit their mid-20s.
posted by zippy at 4:00 PM on November 11, 2012

There's always the chance something might change, like he starts getting more sleep or working out or something, and all of a sudden he will want to hump like a rabbit all day. I strongly doubt it, but I suppose it isn't impossible.

But chances are that this is the most sex you guys will ever be having, and with time it will drift down somewhat from this peak. If you can live with that, then great. If that's a deal-breaker for you, this is the time to think about it.

Some people (many people, if you look at those averages) just don't have such strong sex drives. Other people do, and those mismatches are incredibly frustrating. I'm more in your camp, and I don't think I'd be down for signing up for a long-term relationship of infrequent sex. Someone else might find your current level of sexual activity way too much -- people are super different and come in all kinds of flavors and varieties.

I don't think you are right to see this as him not being into you -- he's into you, but he's just not a guy who wants to or is able to have a lot of frequent sex. To me, you don't sound totally compatible, but people make all kinds of compromises and accommodations, and the rest of the relationship might be so good as to make this part not such a big deal when you put it in perspective.
posted by Forktine at 4:00 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Three times in an overnight stay is exeptional, as in the exception not the rule. I would start to think my partner had some hang ups that I didn't want to deal with if their feelings were hurt if I "only" fucked them once a day. If their self worth was tied up in doing it multiple times a day with me, rather than our sublime conversations or's just shallow honestly and that's from someone who loves sex more than just about anyone else I know.
posted by stormygrey at 4:13 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: ouch, stormygrey, haha but thanks for the feedback! i would hope that he would want to deal with my hangups to some extent, if he cares for me.

Thanks, everyone, for putting this into perspective. I honestly think the main thing is that I don't know the norm for men; in the past I have dated men with, I suppose, very high sex drives (but very low ability to make me happy in other ways) where 2-3 times per date was normal, at times more in the beginning "infatuation" time.

I think I'll stick it out for now because everything else makes me happy. I do need to learn to dissociate sex from interest/care/love/etc., perhaps that will make this compatibility issue less momentous. And an open relationship is definitely off the table but a good suggestion!
posted by bengalibelle at 4:23 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Um. I'm with the OP on one part:

I would say in the first weeks or days of a relationship that having sex once or twice a week is not very much.

Regardless of gender. We are one month in people! That is losing-all-the-sleep-walking-funny-the-next-day time.

I've been with my wife for most of a decade and while we have sex less than we did at the beginning, we still are having 2 or 3 times more sex than the OP. And we are tired out of shape folks, with a 1 year old baby.

Now where I disagree:

The quantity someone is willing to have sex with you has nothing to do with if they love you.

But you will be having sex less in the future. So if this is too little sex for you than please get out now. This will not go uphill.
posted by French Fry at 4:33 PM on November 11, 2012 [12 favorites]

...we've been together for about a month... I see him once, maybe twice a week... I do wonder why we don't see each other more often... I expect that when he does have free time, wouldn't he want to see me? For example, today was a lazy Sunday and ...well, I wanted to see him. And also have sex. And he told me I would have to "take care of myself". What?!

When I first fall in love, I want to spend lots of time with the other person, and I want to have lots of sex with the other person, and I want them to want to spend lots of time and have lots of sex with me. If they don't feel the same, we're not compatible no matter how nice they are, because this is pretty fundamental to how I relate to lovers and I just don't relate comfortably to or feel secure with someone who doesn't approach it as I do - it makes me feel like the whole equation of the relationship is off-kilter. Feeling secure and desired is part of the bedrock of a great relationship to me.

So this sounds like a big incompatibility to me: you've only been together a month and you're not spending more time together - clearly you have different ideas about the pace of the relationship, and you're not content with the state of things. I don't think he's going to change, given what you've said here.

My response to falling in love is wanting sex constantly and I don't understand how he can feel similarly to me without a libido surge, especially since he is a man... I brought this up with him recently, and said I feel like the balance is off and I am beginning to feel undesirable... I have literally BEGGED him for sex and he refuses because he's tired... I am now afraid of initiating sex because the rejection is kind of painful.

I'm sorry to say that, in my experience, this is unlikely to improve. The first months you're together are usually a high point of limerence, romance, and sexytimes. This doesn't sound solid to me because here it's only the first month and you are feeling something that will cause insecurity and resentment.

It's also, in my experience, harder to negotiate a relationship when the man has a lower sex drive than the woman, than the other way around: the other way around is considered a societal norm, for one, and all the stereotypes of how men relate to women (want sex a lot, reject sex with a woman only when she is undesirable, etc.) do affect things even when you logically know they are not true like that. Women aren't, in general, used to being in that position and don't really have models for how to handle it. It doesn't matter if you rationally know you shouldn't "take it personally" - it still affects you emotionally, and you have to be able to negotiate a lot and communicate a lot - that's a good deal of work for something only just begun.
posted by flex at 4:34 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Having a stressful job with long hours can kill sex anyone's sex drive, just absolutely kill it. Add in sleep deprivation and it can feel physically painful to do anything but sleep once you hit the sack. With those kinds of hours it's also normal for him to want some time to himself, especially since you're in a new relationship.

Your language makes it sound like you are putting a lot of expectations and "shoulds" on this guy's behavior. He should want this much sex, he should want to spend this much time with me . . . You're taking his personal preferences (how much sex he wants, how much alone time he needs) and using it as proof of whether or not he loves you. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on someone. You're not asking how to find a compromise between two different sex drives--you're demanding he meet your expectations as part of a large need for validation from him.

i would hope that he would want to deal with my hangups to some extent, if he cares for me.

This is a really dangerous path to go down. "Unconditional love" does not mean "I get to unload all my neuroses on my partner and they deal with it." Love is not taking all the neuroses your partner unloads on you. Love is when you do your very best to not unload your neuroses on your partner. Love is recognizing one's own neuroses, and dealing with them, and asking your partner for acceptance for the times when you deal with them badly.

If you approach new relationships with the idea if your partner does not meet every expectation it means they don't love you, then you will find it difficult to form happy, stable relationships.

Using the amount of time and sex someone has with you as the be-all, end-all of how much they care is not a great metric. However, if you're a person whose personal preference is to spend more time with a partner and have more sex with them on a regular basis, then you are best off finding someone more compatible.
posted by schroedinger at 4:41 PM on November 11, 2012 [25 favorites]

if you are the kind of person who needs a lot of sex and this is all the sex you're getting at the beginning of your relationship, you need to decide if that's enough sex because chances are, the frequency is not going to increase, and will most likely decrease as your relationship progresses—and you'll end up back on the green asking us how you can accommodate yourself to having sex only once or twice a month, how it's driving you crazy, and you have thoughts of cheating.

i think a lot of ppl tend to downplay the importance of sexual compatibility in a relationship because it's somehow seen as shallow. it's not. if you are someone for whom a lot of sex is important in a relationship, it's just as important as other aspects of the whole relationship—and if that's missing from your relationship, it will affect you and your relationship.
posted by violetk at 4:48 PM on November 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Depends on the guy. Don't worry about what's normal. Just reflect on whether your own needs are being met. If not, that may be a problem; frequency is unlikely to increase.

Also: knell, not knoll.
posted by ead at 4:51 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you schroedinger. Really good advice. I do have a lot of relationship/attachment anxiety and I am seeking an arrangement with a counselor through my University to deal with my demons, especially because I have something to lose now (well, two things - pursuing a graduate degree as well!).

the compatibility issue IS important. I know that sexual compatibility is important, I guess I also just wanted to hear that it doesn't spell the end of this relationship because I really really like my boyfriend. Of course I am going to stick with it for now. Maybe I'll see you all back in three months with a post-breakup AskMefi :)
posted by bengalibelle at 4:51 PM on November 11, 2012

Difficult to grok what the particular flavour of "begging" was, but I think if the genders were reversed here you would've already been told that literally BEGGING for sex is, in most contexts, super-unsexy. How bad a read on, or how little regard for, his feelings and state of mind did you have for that to be a repeated thing a month in? "He refuses because he is tired." Right, so. Let him rest. If that's undesirable with the frequency as is, I cannot understand why you'd want to keep this going? If he's more than sex to you, you'd want him feeling good on all levels; if he's just sex, that's not working out as you would like. Either way, I would think about cutting the losses here.
posted by kmennie at 4:52 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm going to assume this a monogamous relationship.

Despite what sex does or does not mean (and there have certainly been a mountain of opinions about that in this thread) It is vital that you are getting "all the sex you want" from your monogamous relationship.

Seriously, look at the hundreds and hundreds of AskMe that essentially read. "I don't have enough sex in my relationship/marriage... sure I did at the beginning but now I can't stand it!!"

That's you expect this is the beginning, when you have way way way less invested.

IMO. The rejection, the imbalances, the resentment etc will not get better. These things compound as infrequency increases and time goes by. As someone who likes to have sex more than once a week/month (a month I can't even imagine) this is an incompatibility I could not tolerate. I know, because I've tried to accommodate a lower sex drive because of crazy happy love... it turns out you need both those things, not one of those things.
posted by French Fry at 5:12 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

It doesn't sound unreasonable to me that your boyfriend would only want to have sex once per date, especially if he's working long hours in a stressful job. It certainly doesn't sound like "low libido". (Honestly, it sounds like you're being a little unreasonable about this.)
posted by leahwrenn at 5:17 PM on November 11, 2012

Best answer: Yeah, was all prepared to go 'check his testosterone!' but once a night is pretty much bang on better than average.

Step 1: CALM DOWN! :) Understand that there are some very real physical limits involved in the male orgasm here. I understand how you can feel neglected, but it sounds like he is doing his best. Oh, no/very little masturbating from him, though. That can lower sex drive (again, I think his is quite normal)

Step 2: communicate X8. What is his love language? (Physical touch ((Yours, I bet)) gifts, services, quality time, words of encouragement) Be sure to love him in HIS love language, ESPECIALLY if it isn't the same as yours.

Step 3: Find out what is reasonable, what you can put up with, and what is impossible. *cough refractionary period* Maybe there are other ways yall can have sexyfuntime without the actual male/female sex? Toys, play, kisses and cuddling, naughty talk... Maybe even some BDSM play where he gets to tell you NO/Not yet... in a sexy way.
posted by Jacen at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

It might be worthwhile exploring with your counselor the difference between your sexual needs and the emotions/feelings of self worth that appear to be tied to whether or not your boyfriend wants to have sex with you. There is a big difference, and you may be equating your self worth or general desirability to how many times your boyfriend has the energy to have sex with you. If so, this is something to really work on in therapy. Best of luck!
posted by retrofitted at 7:03 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Why are people telling OP to calm down?

The guy is perfectly normal and average, fine. But she isn't. She has unusual needs and they are not getting met one month in. As some people have pointed out, this frequency is going to go down, not up, if they stay together long term. This is as frequent as it is going to get, and it is probably going to go down significantly.

We all have our own peculiar needs. A lot of those needs can be augmented by someone other than our romantic partner. But if you're not open to getting your sexual needs met by someone other than your boyfriend, then it sounds like they're not going to get met, you know what I'm saying? So you have to decide if you're ok with that. It is a big sacrifice, and if you're serious about monogamy you're looking at some frustrating times ahead.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:04 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

My first serious relationship lasted from 18-22. At the two year mark we moved in together and I would guess there were less fewer than a couple dozen days in that time when we didn't have sex. We'd have sex before work and after work and then again at bedtime. I was happy, he was happy. It's what I thought relationships were like.

At 23, I started dating a 28 year old. The first time I spent the night and we had sex, I was sort of surprised/disappointed we only had sex once. I was even more surprised that when morning came he just got up and got dressed without us having sex again. We got together the next day and spent the night together and again had sex once. So, sex twice in three days. Like you, I thought it was weird and disappointing, but I really liked him otherwise. We had a lot in common, had the same friends, similar goals, and he was charming as hell. He just didn't want to have sex as often as I did.

We stayed together two years, and as time went on, we had sex less often, not more. The sex we did have was great, he was clearly into it and into me. He said I was the best! but I was always the one who had to initiate and I would often be rebuffed. The day I realized a month had passed since we last had sex I was devastated. My outrageous appetites and his lifeless libido were a big source of strife. By the time we broke up, my sexual self-confidence had had the shit kicked out of it. It's not that I didn't feel loved, but I didn't feel desired at all. He was miserable, too, because he felt like I was always badgering him for sex (his words exactly) and it made him feel abnormally sexless.

So... I'm not saying you need to run for the hills or anything, but do know that it's unlikely he's going to turn a corner three months in and suddenly match your appetite. It's totally true that how often you have sex isn't an indication of how much he loves you, but that doesn't mean that being turned down for sex doesn't make a person feel miserable. Only you know how important that is to you.
posted by looli at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

You've been dating this guy for a month, and you see him once or twice a week. Everyone moves at a different pace, but you've seen this guy, what, eight times at the most?

Try letting things unfold naturally and not obsess over the little things. Unless there's a long backstory you left out, it sounds like you guys are in the early stages of dating, not really in a relationship. Define things however you'd like, but really, this is a lot of angst over someone you barely know.

Also, from talking to some of my friends, I know that guys generally don't like to be viewed as fucking machines. Do you sometimes get on top and do most of the work? Asking someone to really give it to you good more than once a night is . . . kind of asking a lot of most dudes. It's a workout.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 8:31 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sexual compatibility is the same as any other compatibility - it shouldn't be dismissed because it's sex.
posted by heyjude at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Jacen - really dig your Love Language suggestion. Your feedback sounds fun and exciting and reminds me of the amazing aspects of relationships

Looli - Thanks a lot for your very relevant personal anecdote. I am going to work on compromise because it's very rare that I ever feel this way about someone so it's worth a shot.

ablazingsaddle: Thank you for your feedback!

Not to be defensive but more as explanation, I do take relationships really seriously, tending to invest a lot naturally - it's not really something I know how to control. I think it's just an automatic consequence of being an ENFP MBTI. However, I have learned one thing: to choose to enter into them cautiously as a result of this investment; we do not spend a lot of time together but when we do it is very intense, so I feel like I do know him in some sense.

I know I need to make an effort to be less obsessive, but again - issues for therapy. Sexually, I do get on top sometimes. When we have sex it's very interactive and personal so it's not like I'm just like - jackhammer me until I cum!! To me sex represents the most intense and intuitive way to express affection. It is helpful to understand that not everybody views sex the same way. I know I have growing up to do but you guys have offered some really great suggestions! Wish me luck on my growth as an individual and a relationship partner ! :)
posted by bengalibelle at 9:23 PM on November 11, 2012

Your boyfriend sounds totally normal to me. Some people might interpret your information as a case of you having an extremely high sex drive, but that's not what I'm reading. What I'm reading is that you think your boyfriend should want to have sex with you more than once per day if he really loves you and/or is attracted to you and/or has a high sex drive. I think that's an entirely false assumption and unrealistic expectation. Your boyfriend sounds like someone who could indeed have a high sex drive (just because he only does it with you once a day doesn't mean he doesn't have a high sex drive) and could certainly love you and could certainly be highly attracted to you. I think in figuring out this situation, you need to entirely look at yourself to find the "solution".
posted by Dansaman at 10:44 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

We both admitted that we are falling for each other/crazy about each other. But...if that's true, why doesn't he want to be inside of me, like, all the time? My response to falling in love is wanting sex constantly and I don't understand how he can feel similarly to me without a libido surge, especially since he is a man.

So, I once had this boyfriend. He told me he loved me on our first date (after I got a spontaneous nosebleed while making out with him.) We moved in together at around 8 months (which basically involved him moving to where I was and tripling his commute), and he started bringing up marriage around then too. He also cheerfully supported me through the worst flare-up of anxiety disorder that I'd had since childhood, when I would get debilitating panic attacks at all sorts of random moments. I am describing this because I've never felt surer on a gut-level that that I was with someone who was really, really in love with me. But we didn't have like constant rampaging sex. I would say we had a totally average amount, like a few times a week. This boyfriend was 24 to 25 at the time. So I am saying this just to confirm that it is possible for a man to fall in love with someone without wanting to have sex with them 24/7.
posted by cairdeas at 11:02 PM on November 11, 2012

But...if that's true, why doesn't he want to be inside of me, like, all the time? My response to falling in love is wanting sex constantly and I don't understand how he can feel similarly to me without a libido surge, especially since he is a man.

First: get rid of the whole "especially since he is a man" thing. That's pointless media-driven stereotyping, and taking it the least bit seriously will do your thinking no good at all.

Second: it doesn't matter, not one little bit, what is "normal" and what is not. The simple fact is that your partner wants sex less often than you. That's not because there's something wrong with him, or something wrong with you, any more than would be the case if he happened to be six foot eight to your five foot three. It's just a difference.

Third: most couples have at least some degree of sex drive mismatch. That, at least, really is normal. How much mismatch a couple can tolerate and still want to stay a couple varies wildly.

Fourth: people are package deals. The only way to get a partner all of whose attributes delight you is to find such a person; finding somebody who is wonderful-except-for-this-and-that, and then expecting this-and-that to change, is a recipe for ongoing frustration.

So you need to accept that this man wants and will probably continue to want sex less often than you do, and that this says nothing at all about your worth as a human being or inherent desirability as a sexual partner; it's just the way the two of you are. And sex drive is pretty basic as attributes go, so the mismatch between you is really not ever likely to change much.

If you can deal with that, stay; if you can't, find somebody else. Because if you spend your whole life expecting that your sex drives will eventually click into closer alignment, you're in for a whole lot of disappointment.
posted by flabdablet at 12:25 AM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

But...if that's true, why doesn't he want to be inside of me, like, all the time?

With the greatest respect, you need to adjust your understanding of how most men work, sexually. It is not like this. Naive young men sometimes talk as if it is, but it really isn't. Men can go sex mad for a while, especially if they're coming out of a fallow period, but it doesn't take long for most to settle out of that. Having sex once a date is perfectly reasonable and normal, as long as the sex is good and mutually satisfying.
posted by Decani at 3:09 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Discussed committment early you say? Crazy about each other you say?

You know, these things mean different things to different people. He may not be interested in just the physical stuff right now, especially being so early, because he's trying to build emotional intimacy with you. Emotional intimacy and emotional connections during sex do not equate, by the way. Emotional intimacy that's built by being crazy for each other outside the bedroom is the stuff that creates groundwork for a lasting, loving relationship that may be able to eventually grow and withstand stresses of life and other such external events. This is a good thing! This stuff is also genderless, by the way. Just because he's a guy doesn't mean that he doesn't want emotional intimacy and just booty all the time, you know. Let go of the stereotypes.

FWIW, I'm a lady with a high sex drive. When I started dating my boyfriend we worked on building emotional intimacy such as this early on, before getting really physical. We are ridiculously in love still and have plans to be together forever. This in my opinion, is so much more important than the physical stuff. Once we got to that part however, we would have at minimum sex twice a day (morning and night) because everything that we had been building outside the bedroom made everything inside the bedroom...explode.

Now that we've been together for over a year and live together, it's more like once a day and that works for us. Now for me, just falling asleep in his arms knowing that we have each other feels so much more real to me than any sexual connection I've ever had and I appreciate it even more now.

Allow yourself to think outside the bedroom. Sex does not equal love all the time.
posted by floweredfish at 5:54 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

But at least three times in one overnight session

What, oh my God, no, I would die, how does that even work!???

He's having sex with you every time he sees you. That is not sexual rejection, in the slightest. Sometimes, in fact many times, I have gone on dates and not had sex with that person at all!

If you're not willing to date someone who will not have sex three times every time he sleeps over, then you definitely shouldn't. We're all different, and we all have to prioritize our needs. Personally, from the other side, I would break up with you first, however, if you "begged" me for sex at night, in the middle of the night and then again in the morning.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:25 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

What, oh my God, no, I would die, how does that even work!???

The answers here are really interesting to me. I'm like the person asking this question: I'd always assumed that humping like rabbits was a standard part of getting together with someone new. (As just one anecdata point, we've been together a fairly long time and we'll still sometimes go for three or four on a lazy, rainy weekend day.) It's fascinating, and informative, to see how unthinkable and/or undesirable that is for some people.

The point being, "normal" doesn't matter and there's no "right" or "wrong" to this. A relationship based on communication and mutual respect is going to be good, and if you stay together a long time you are going to need to negotiate all kinds of issues. If you can find a happy solution to this, I think you'll be in great shape for the long term.
posted by Forktine at 6:46 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

The frequency of sex has a statistical normal, but your normal is what's important. My boyfriend and I had sex at least 3 times every sleepover date before we moved in together. The first six months after moving in together, we probably averaged 3x a day. Now, five years later we are down to 1x per day during the work week and 2x per day on weekend and holidays. (Still, well above the national average.) I don't think either of us could maintain a long-term relationship with a partner who only wanted sex 2-3 times a week. While I support the idea that you should not use the frequency of sex as a measure of how attractive he finds you, I would suggest that you need to think seriously about your willingness to be in a relationship with someone with such a comparatively low sex drive. When sex is unproblematic, it is a small part of a relationship. When sex is a problem, it tends to dominate all other aspects of a relationship.
posted by hworth at 6:49 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

he is an investment banker
he gets out of work on average between 11pm - 2 am.

Folks are missing the obvious here. This poor motherfucker is exhausted. We're talking about someone who spends, at minimum, 14 hours a day at work, eating lunch and dinner at his desk, and tied to his smartphone from the moment he wakes up to the moment he passes out.

Now I don't think much of this particular career and lifestyle choice, but I think it's pretty fair to say that it doesn't leave a lot of time or energy for sex marathons. It's very reasonable for this to be a dealbreaker for you. People date i-bankers for money and status, not the healthy relationship that comes from actually keeping a work/life balance. Your city if full of guys who will put in their 40 hours and spend the rest of their time cheerfully banging you eight ways from Sunday. Go find one!

However, I do advise you to do some serious thinking about your expectations of the male libido in the long term, because you're going to be progressively more disappointed as you date men further and further out of high school.
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 7:25 AM on November 12, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: well I've definitely been thread sitting but you guys are giving me really good feedback! I think I have tended to be in very immature relationships with men who don't communicate and freak out at attempts to communicate. So my M.O. thus far had been to read in to actions, which obviously is problematic. Anyway this is my first relatively "adult" relationship where we really do communicate a lot and I feel safe, valued, and listened to in doing so. So as far as it goes we have talked about it and that, in combination with your feedback, has made me feel very secure that our sex drive mismatch is not a reflection of his feelings toward me.

As far as willingness to accept it, that is something I will have to disentangle over time. I think my main issue was freaking out that his lack of constant desire was reflective of a general imbalance of feelings and emotional investment in the relationship. As it stands in general one time per night is good for me, I guess I just want it more because I am falling in love with him! I wish it were more often, but the fact is that I'm dating a man whose career is demanding, and it is just the beginning, so seeing him 5 times per week is just not feasible right now. I need to learn that if I want to be with HIM, then I have to accept the constraints of his career. If I can't do that then I need to move on, obviously.

I tend toward the advice that tells me to build other aspects of the relationship because I have found that my relationships do revolve around sex too much (probably a maturity thing / a result of how I was socialized). This revolving around sex aspect has honestly impacted my self-concept when it comes to relationships, so the fact that he wants something longer term and isn't obsessed with sex is actually kind of a good thing. The prospect of building a longer-lasting connection based on OTHER facets of compatibility and my "true self" (rather than sexual self) is extremely exciting and desirable to me right now, especially as I exit my early twenties, so I will give that a shot. But I do take heed of the people who warn about general sexual compatibility as well as whether his career demands will jive with my needs in a relationship.
posted by bengalibelle at 7:31 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, this stuff may be less applicable now at the start of your relationship, but... I'm in a long term relationship with someone with a lower sex drive (him: once every day or two, me: multiple times a day would be great) and there are some things that help us deal with the disparity.

Accept his limits. This part was sooo hard for me at the begining. It was something I understood, but part of my brain was just not clued in. Things like trying to initiate sex and him being too tired or that lets do that again sort of feeling and getting totally shot down were really hard. Really hard. And it wasn't on him for not loving me enough or not wanting to make me happy, because he was those things, but there are actual physical limits.

Honestly, I think its better, but I'd be lying if I said that was completely a thing of the past (3 years in now, long distance for the first two years, very hard with the only see each other every few weeks thing). Somethings that really help me:

Figuring out when he's tired and not trying to start things then. Example, I'm a morning person, he's not. I would totally love some sexy morning time, but if I want that I have to let him sleep in and get his brain all nice and rested. (knowing the opposite is also useful, but less helpful for not getting yourself psyched up at the wrong time :-P) Sometimes there are exceptions, but I let him make those.

Also useful here is if he's likely to get tired when you hop in bed then start the sexy time before you are in bed. (if he's just dead tired then ya gotta let him sleep, but sometimes the room and bed just have a lot of influence on how tired you feel)

I think for us one big thing was for me to just try not to be asking for it so much. It sucked for him being asked when he wasn't ready for it and it sucked for me dealing with the rejection feelings (less asking -> reduced stressed for both of us with the same about of sex). I was pretty bad at this during the long distance weekends only phase, but getting better at it meant spending more time together doing fun things rather than feeling disappointed. Planning out things to do that take up time and are also fun was really helpful to me. Find out some fun things you guys can connect over that you are both into (or willing to try out).
posted by Feantari at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2012

Well, does she have a much higher libido? OP, when you're on your own do you masturbate to orgasm three times a night? If you do, well and good, you do have a very high libido. If not, then maybe previous relationships have left you confusing fucking with something else.
posted by glasseyes at 7:58 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

On preview, OP, I really like your replies and I wish you lots of luck. He sounds like a lovely guy.
posted by glasseyes at 8:06 AM on November 13, 2012

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