boyfriend refuses to talk about sex
June 29, 2015 6:02 AM   Subscribe

special snowflake details and lots of confusion within...

i'm in a new relationship (2 months) with an amazing guy (he's 31, i'm 37). things are generally pretty amazing. but i am very confused about some of the sex stuff that's going on, and he has flat out told me that he won't talk about sex (in the context of "if i have to talk about it, i won't/can't do it").

obviously i don't know his entire life story at this point, but i do know it's a hard one, and that he was raped (i don't know when, or by whom, or any details).

he has a much lower sex drive than me - that is totally fine. i get it. here are the parts that are a little confusing to me.
-the first few times we had sex, he had a hard time getting hard, and though things totally rocked when he *did* he didn't come, and told me that that happens pretty often (this has since changed, and he almost always comes)
-it's very rare for him to look at me during sex. i know i'm not supposed to assume, but it frequently looks like he's concentrating *really* hard or going somewhere else in his head (eyes closed, etc)
-foreplay is almost non-existent. this is not a huge deal, because i'm more of a "fuck me" kind of girl than someone who wants loooots of foreplay. but, kneeling in front of me while stroking your dick to get hard and fingering me is also not something i consider foreplay. (he has and does go down on me regularly, so it's not like he's completely incapable of exploring this)
-he doesn't even sext. i haven't really pushed this beyond saying something like "why aren't we making out right now?" i don't know if i should push it a little, just to see what the response is, or leave it alone.

i have no idea how to approach this with him. i don't want it to become an angry issue, and if things happened to him in the past i certainly don't want to trigger anything. and, i totally realize that we are still super early in the relationship and maybe he will open up more as time passes and trust builds.

TL;DR
he refuses to talk about sex. things are a little weird. do i need to be worried or wait it out?
posted by megan_magnolia to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Best answer: What does "if I have to talk about it, I won't/can't do it" mean? Like, he can't talk about sex at all? Or he can't go from talking about sex (during sexytimes) to having sex? If the latter, the answer is easy: talk about sex at some other time, when you aren't fucking or about to fuck.

Is he totally nonresponsive to your cues or comments? Like, if you want foreplay of a particular type that isn't him fingering you or going down on you, suggest that he do X, or put his body in position to X, or moan when he does X -- what happens when you try that?

It sounds like he's not ready for sexting or dirty talk right now. I wouldn't plan on him ever being ready for that. So if it's something you need need, you should factor that in to your plans and expectations. But if it's just something you want, I would wait before pushing this, and maybe when there's more trust built up it's something he'll be more capable of incorporating.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:15 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


When did sexting become a compulsory part of a sexual relationship? I must have missed the memo!

In all serious though: if he's not going to talk about it, I don't think there's any chance that it's going to get any better. That is even more true if he's not getting therapy to try to work through his trauma.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:18 AM on June 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


None of what you wrote raised red flags for me and you dismissed half of them as not a big issue for you (getting hard/lack of foreplay) - but if they are valid concerns then own them. Rather than an issue of sex, I'm seeing issues with intimacy and communication/compromise. Maybe dial back on the sexual part of your relationship and focus on building trust to create an atmosphere conducive to intimacy and open communication. Or not. If it isn't working for you then you don't have to stick around to make this relationship/man your "project".
posted by saucysault at 6:19 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


he has a much lower sex drive than me - that is totally fine. i get it.

Do you, though? The rest of what you wrote shows that you really don't get it. What he's doing is not easy for him. He's having sex when he's not in the mood. If you can deal with that, then you'll be okay. If not, and it's okay if you have a problem with it (be honest with yourself), then you should move on since things are still early on.
posted by inturnaround at 6:44 AM on June 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


You've said he's told you he "flat out won't talk about sex." He's survived a trauma. He won't look at you during sex. His sex drive is lower than yours-"much" lower, you said.

I feel for this guy, but I'm not sure why you're saying things like "I get it" and "it's totally fine." Obviously it's NOT totally fine; you're not able to enjoy the kind of sex you want, and your partner refuses to talk about this. You've asked if you should be worried. With so little time invested, I'd counsel you to consider ending the relationship rather than worrying about it. Be kind to him, but you can't fix this...and you're not obligated to try.
posted by little mouth at 6:47 AM on June 29, 2015 [24 favorites]


Yeah, a lot is wrapped up in the trauma he's experienced. Seconding that you can't fix this and if that's a dealbreaker, move on.
posted by inturnaround at 7:20 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


(I'm even more surprised by the sexting part of this given the age. I'm 40, I'm sure I know people who sext, but I've never had anybody sext me and it just doesn't seem to be much of a thing for our demographic...)

Anyway, I wouldn't be interested in having sex with a person who couldn't talk about sex. That sucks for him that he's maybe got bad stuff wrapped up in this and can't, but it sounds like he needs to do more work on this before he's able to have a healthy intimate relationship.

If I really liked him I might say that we should be friends until he's in a happier place with regards to his sexuality, and leave the door open there. But this sounds kinda weird and not right, almost like you're balling a person who doesn't really want to ball, isn't totally able to give healthy consent. Or maybe he's just really lousy in bed and a selfish lover, I don't know. But "won't talk about it" would just translate into "ok, won't do it with you" for me. Because what's the point of an intimate relationship with somebody lacking critical intimacy skills?
posted by kmennie at 7:42 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll throw another log into this hypothetical fire:

Do you know what his current/past porn consumption was?
If, when he was single, made porn the focus of his sexual release, then he might be going through some difficulty in making the transition from porn/masturbation to actual PIV intercourse.

This isn't a cause for shame, this is a reason for communication to take the temperature of his past habits, his current needs and future flexibility with regards to you and your needs.

Talk until you feel it isn't conducive any more, then go your separate ways.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 8:33 AM on June 29, 2015


some people have sex with their eyes closed, some people like to look at their partner and have their partner look at them during sex. neither of these approaches are wrong. it might be related to his past trauma, but it might just be that visuals are too distracting for him during sex. i have trauma in my past, and i don't keep my eyes open during sex, but i don't actually think those things are related and i would find it bizarre if my partner approached them with me as if they were cause and effect.
posted by nadawi at 11:29 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hi,

sorry you found a great guy and have to go through this. It's not going to be easy.

If he can't talk about sex and seems to be struggling... even with your best empathetic and loving support efforts it's going to be 6 months to a year before he will be able to open up a bit more (to you) and it's not going to get hotter or sexier during that time period.

After that... couples therapy to keep communication progressing and maybe an opportunity to deal with his trauma.

I'm old, so I've learned these lessons over and over again about people... check their credit and figure out if they are dealing with some big healing issues. Make kind, healthy and loving decisions that based on what you find out and what works for you.
posted by bobdow at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the closing of eyes could just be that he's found the 'right spot' and is concentrating on that sensation. Doubly so if condoms are de rigeur.
posted by plinth at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2015


So he said he doesn't want to talk about sex and you're trying to get him to sext? That's really not okay, particularly given that you know he is a survivor.

I manage my sex life around my trauma issues and one of the things that is absolutely fucking guaranteed to throw me off balance is sudden! sexual! behaviour! when I am not expecting it. Could be anything from a friendly drunken ass grab by my partner to him saying he finds me sexy. Those things actively work against me wanting to have sex because they mean I have had no preparation time. He's told you he doesn't like to talk about sex, why are you expecting him to sext?

That said there are obviously things you as a couple need to talk about but it just sounds like you are neither satisfied nor in a place to support him, really. Nothing you've outlined is a big issue (I close my eyes during sex when I'm concentrating on a sensation, or I'm getting distracted) and while you've said what he does isn't foreplay, you haven't made it clear why fingering you doesn't count.

Work out what you want before you have any conversation, and back up off the guy on sexting. If you can't actually work out what you want to be different, then chances are this is just not working for you.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:10 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Best answer: but i am very confused about some of the sex stuff that's going on, [. . . .] obviously i don't know his entire life story at this point, but i do know it's a hard one, and that he was raped (i don't know when, or by whom, or any details).

I don't know that any of us can provide you a definitive answer regarding to what extent, if any, his sexual behavior is connected with his past assault, and tbh I'm not sure that you can expect him to open up about that in great details and depth at the 2 month mark.

and he has flat out told me that he won't talk about sex (in the context of "if i have to talk about it, i won't/can't do it").

I'll second J.Wilson above, in that this could use some clarification - if he means "can't talk about sex while/before having sex", well, it seems odd to me, but I dunno that I would consider it abnormal behavior (of course, it could still be a dealbreaker for you, which is fine.)

OTOH, if he means, "No talk about sex at all, never, ever" - that's a problem.

-the first few times we had sex, he had a hard time getting hard, and though things totally rocked when he *did* he didn't come, and told me that that happens pretty often (this has since changed, and he almost always comes)

Well, this sounds like it's kinda sorted itself out, yeah? So I'm not sure what your concern is. I mean, the pop cultural mythology that guys are just a boner transportation system and said boner will appear when the wind changes direction is, y'know, a myth. Trust and intimacy and state of mind can affect male desire as much as female desire, so the erection and orgasm issues early on could easily have been a pretty normal manifestation of uncertainty in a new relationship. Or something physical (not enough sleep), or a side effect of medication, or, or, or. . . . . I don't know that you'll get a definitive answer about this until & unless he's willing to open up to you more.

-it's very rare for him to look at me during sex. i know i'm not supposed to assume, but it frequently looks like he's concentrating *really* hard or going somewhere else in his head (eyes closed, etc)

Maybe the only jokes older and more clichéd than ones about women buying too many shoes are the jokes about how men have to think about baseball statistics or count backwards from 100 in order to keep from coming virtually instantly during sex. And like a lot of clichés, there's a germ of truth to it. He might really be concentrating for reasons totally unconnected with his traumatic past. And IME there's a huge amount of variation in how much anyone looks at their partner during sex - heck, it can vary a lot during the same bout of sex.

So again, this doesn't sound to me like there's necessarily anything "wrong" here. If you would like something different, you'll have to communicate with him about it (and as above, it's not clear where & when he's balking at communicating about sex.)

but, kneeling in front of me while stroking your dick to get hard and fingering me is also not something i consider foreplay.

Uh, speaking from experience, there are women who would consider that foreplay, so . . . . . again, this seems to be a communication issue. None of us are mind readers, so he doesn't know what you like if you don't tell him, and, again, if he won't talk about sex during sex, that's one thing. If he won't talk about it ever that's another.

-he doesn't even sext. i haven't really pushed this beyond saying something like "why aren't we making out right now?" i don't know if i should push it a little, just to see what the response is, or leave it alone.

I would leave it alone for now. I'm not at all sure that sexting is quite the relationship standard you seem to think it is, and lots of people have (perfectly normal) "complicated" relationships to their phones and texting, much less sexting.

TL:DR - a lot of this doesn't necessarily seem weird at all, and could be addressed IF you and he are willing and able to talk about sex during non-sexy-times. If he won't talk about sex at all, that's a much deeper problem, one you can't fix.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:31 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Me: male, late thirties, absolutely positively do not sext. Often have new partners I take time to warm up to, don't get immediately hard or come the first time. Very healthy sex drive, multiple partners many times a week. I think at least part of this question is you having slightly unrealistic or inflexible ideas about how men have to be.

The other stuff sounds like insufficient communication and slightly mismatched drives. Talk about sex when you're not in the mood.
posted by ead at 8:46 PM on June 29, 2015


Response by poster: just to clarify, because a lot of people have misinterpreted my post:

- sex drive is NOT an issue
- *neither* of us has sex when we don't feel like it
- i'm not even ASKING him to "sext" - i think it's odd that he doesn't ever say or respond to flirting. if that's his thing, that's fine. you guys are putting waaaaaaaaaay too much effort into the sexting thing.
- he has said that he does not like porn (i didn't ask him about this, and haven't said anything further about it)
- i also have trauma in my past, and i've been working on it..forever. so i understand if that's why he doesn't want to talk about sex.

thanks for all your input! J.Wilson - think you are right. time and trust. and that can be worked on for as long as we both feel it's necessary.
posted by megan_magnolia at 7:12 AM on July 2, 2015


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