Low libido
March 31, 2006 7:03 AM   Subscribe

The girlfriend has lost her sex drive, and mine is higher than ever. Help!

Shes 21 and im 23 and been together 4 months now. We had a little issue when the condom broke, and she is extremely paranoid about that (went and got the emergency pill straight away) and as a result we havent had sex in over a month (used to be several times a week). Ive tried talking to her about it, and suggesting things we could try. But whatever I say she just gets depressed and doesnt want to talk.

But now i'm getting depressed as im constantly feeling rejected and ignored. Whenever I hint at some bedroom activities its met with outright rejection or a "yeah right" sarcastic comment. The other night we fooled around a bit, but she wouldnt let me do anything to her, and after i felt terrible because i felt like she caved in to my nagging and that she didnt really want to do it.

I would hate to end this relationship due to sex. But im going crazy and we're both getting depressed. Im angry that sex has become this important to me and that ive let it become an issue.

What can i do to rescue us?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (65 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

a "yeah right" sarcastic comment.
When contempt sets in, it's pretty much doomed. Time to go.
posted by bonaldi at 7:22 AM on March 31, 2006

You won't fuck the one you love forever. It just seems to be that way. Most men take a mistress. At some point if you want to stay with someone for a while you'll be forced to take a little on the side.
In terms of simply wooing your present girlfriend, take her out. Wear a crisp suit, go to the most expensive restaurant in town. Afterwards, go to a play or something fun. She'll be climbing all over you before you get home. While men are wired for sex, women need to feel nice before hand. Your job is to work like a madman to get to that point where everything is nice. A nice gift will work also, such as vintage jewelry.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:23 AM on March 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

In other words you should never have to directly coax someone into bed. You should make yourself and the evening so attractive that she can't control herself. Takes work, a little practice, but even if it totally fails at least you treated someone to a very nice time, which is worth a lot unto itself.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:25 AM on March 31, 2006

And let me be direct. You are way to young to fuck around with a tease. The older you get, the farther away you become from beautiful young women. Act now, or else regret will become the rhythm of your days.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:28 AM on March 31, 2006

I think 4 months is a little early to be "taking on a mistress" The Jesse Helms.

I would guess that there is something more to this than fear of a condom breaking. I think you have to bite the bullet and lay your cards on the table. Explain how important that side of the relationship is and that if it can't be fixed then you'll have to move on.
posted by oh pollo! at 7:28 AM on March 31, 2006

Most men do not take a mistress. What a fucking load of crap.
posted by agregoli at 7:29 AM on March 31, 2006

Time to move on. She's using the broken condom as an excuse. If you have to "nag" your partner for sex, or you have mismatched libidoes, it's just not going to work. It's part of the whole compatibility thing.

Oh, and get over your guilt about everything (what are you, Catholic?). Sex is part of a healthy relationship.
posted by notsnot at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2006

4 months in? Something's not right. Over the course of most relationships sexual activity does wane, but we're talking years, not months.

The broken condom might explain it, but I have a feeling that the potential pregnancy has roused either some guilt or past hurt in your girlfriend and the depression you're seeing is not related to her lack of intimacy with you, but with that issue.

Pressuring her will not fix this situation at all. Making her feel secure and appreciated might do a little to alleviate the problem but until you both talk about it as honestly as possible, or she sees a specialist, then bonaldi's right -- continuing the relationship might be futile for you both.
posted by purephase at 7:32 AM on March 31, 2006

She's definitely freaked about something. Tell her that you need to get this figured out. If she's not interested in dealing with it, move on.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:35 AM on March 31, 2006

If sex is important to you in a relationship, tell her. Her response will tell you whether she is interested in continuing a relationship with you or not.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:36 AM on March 31, 2006

What kind of birth control is she on? Does she have a good awareness of which kinds are more effective, how to make sure you're using them correctly (e.g. taking the pill at the same time every day), etc.? Is there more to the aversion to sex than just the condom incident? Has there been sexual abuse/harrassment in her past? Maybe an anxiety disorder (which would cause extreme paranoia about pregnancy)? Maybe depression is cutting out her sexual drive? Maybe there's something else gone awry in your relationship?

It's hard to know what you can do about the situation unless you know what the situation is.
posted by heatherann at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2006

The "yeah right" thing is just too much, hey? Also, you've stopped having sex three months in? Not a good sign.

I'd suggest that you talk to her as to her mental state, and find out what taking that pill really meant to her. Maybe she considered it wrong somehow, morally. Maybe it made her feel really sick, and she doesn't want to go anything that would put her in that position again. Maybe she resents you. Maybe it has affected her hormonal balance, making sex totally unappealing. The side-effects of that pill are unpredictable.

After you do that, explain to her how important the intimate side of the relationship is to you. As a 23 year old, I would reckon "very".

And if she is still unreceptive, slip out the back, Jack. Jump on a bus, Gus. Find a new plan, Stan.

I broke up with a girl for something like this. The conversation went like this:

Her: "I'm disappointed you'd break up with me for not having sex with you."
Me: "I'm disappointed you think a healthy adult relationship doesn't include sex."
posted by jon_kill at 7:38 AM on March 31, 2006

This could well be a side-effect of the morning after pill or antidepressents. Talk to a doctor before you take a mistress or break up with her (sheesh).
posted by ori at 7:44 AM on March 31, 2006

I agree with purephase. She could have just decided to back off after realising that, hey! she could actually get pregnant. I'd also vote for being up front and letting her know what's going on in your head, so maybe she will do the same.
posted by starbaby at 7:44 AM on March 31, 2006

Oh, and: if she's on birth control, is IT killing her sex drive? This is not unheard of.
posted by heatherann at 7:44 AM on March 31, 2006

I'd suggest that you talk to her as to her mental state, and find out what taking that pill really meant to her. Maybe she considered it wrong somehow, morally. Maybe it made her feel really sick, and she doesn't want to go anything that would put her in that position again. Maybe she resents you. Maybe it has affected her hormonal balance, making sex totally unappealing. The side-effects of that pill are unpredictable.

jon_kill has it right here. Unless there's more to the story than you've told, *something* about that pregnancy scare got to her. This is not the more usual situation of "we used to have sex all the time and now we don't" complaint. You guys need to talk, at length, about what happened and how that event made her feel. If you can't get her to talk about it, then *that's* what will end your relationship, not the lack of sex.
posted by JanetLand at 7:45 AM on March 31, 2006

Well, I don't know that a great night out is going to fix the problem. Or rather it might for one night, but not as a long term thing. Something's up with the broken condom beyond just, "whoops, let's get EC." In my past, I've had scares that made me more critical of the relationship and put me off partnered sex for extended periods of time, and it was the realization that I was taking the wrong risks with the wrong people. But somehow you need to communicate about why.

From what you said, it seems that half the problem is on your side of the equation. She doesn't want to have sex. You seem to be pushing the issue. That's not going to help. Either be gracefully supportive and give her space to take the initiative or get the heck out.

On preview: Healthy adult relationships don't always include sex several times a week. Learning to deal with the unrealistic expectation that long-term relationships are always going to have daily or weekly boinking for years is pretty critical.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:51 AM on March 31, 2006

How can you get her to want to have sex with you? You can't, not exactly. Not directly.

She has to want it on her own - and her reasons for not wanting it could be damn near anything. If she started a new type of birth control, it could mess with her sex drive something fierce.

She could be scared. She could be worried about the condom breaking again, and -not- want to have sex and risk pregnancy and be too scared to tell you.

She could have decided that she doesn't -want- to have any sex, because she feels used. This may or may not be something you did - or something she's just feeling all out of proportion about.

Depression will cut out her sex drive. So will anxiety. And the less that she has it, the less she'll want it. Us girl-folk are funny that way.

Blunt question - is she masturbating? If so, it could be not her sex drive, but either something related to the relationship, or anxiety, or somethnig you did.

Second blunt question - are you masturbating? If not, do so. It'll take the edge off your crazy sex drive.

Please don't actually answer those questions here. I really don't want to actually know.


If you want the sex, you're gonna have to probably work for it. Decide if it's worth it or not.

If you love the girl, if you're with her for reasons not involving either of your sex drives, pretend like it's not a big worry that you're not having any. Don't push, don't nag, don't bring it up every night. Or every other night.

But - remind her that you still find her hot (or sexy or pretty or whatever words SHE likes to hear. Use the ones she likes.) If she's looking good on a particular day, let her know. Be generous with the compliments.

Don't avoid the subject of sex entirely either. Make offers - when she seems most receptive, be physical without being sexual. Hugs, cuddles, backrubs, whatever she finds comfortable.

However, it's also vitally important that, espically right now when neither of you are getting any, that she feels like you're with her for reasons -not- involving her vagina. If she thinks all you want is the sex, odds are, she'll not want to give you any.

Spend time together. Do fun things. Go bowling, go dancing, go bike riding, play Worlds of Warcraft, whatever you two do together that's FUN for both of you. Make sure she knows without a shadow of a doubt that you're in the relationship because of reasons not involving the sex.

Do nice random things for her just Because. Send her roses at work. Buy her a cute stuffed animal if she likes that. Dance in the living room, whatever would make her smile.

It'll take some time, it'll take some work. Most of all, be patient. Women's sex drives are fickle.
posted by FritoKAL at 7:59 AM on March 31, 2006

I think you need to bail. If you had been together for a long time (>1 year) and/or living together, it would be different, but you shouldn't be dealing with this kind of grief so early into the relationship. It's a very bad sign.

You won't fuck the one you love forever. It just seems to be that way. Most men take a mistress. At some point if you want to stay with someone for a while you'll be forced to take a little on the side.

I've read a lot of stupid shit on AskMe over the years, but that list may now have a new #1.
posted by mkultra at 8:04 AM on March 31, 2006

Seriously, if the sex dies after 3 months, something bigger is wrong. It's normal for it to die down after a certain amount of time, but definitely not after 3 months, and definitely not when you're 23/21. Talk to her, ask her wtf is up with her attitude about sex. It has nothing to do with unrealistic expectations of how often you should be having sex, and everything to do with finding out why the hell she is so hella ass crazy now. :)
posted by antifuse at 8:06 AM on March 31, 2006

Response by poster: I'm with the "pregnancy scare has her totally freaked" crowd. If you're not using other forms of birth control besides condoms, you may want to consider the pill or IUDs or something to alleviate her worries.

If you've been having sex multiple times a week this is probably already the case, but just to check--you are taking care of her needs, right? Oral sex and all that? You try new positions, you put in at least a half-hour of foreplay (squeezing her tits for half an hour is not foreplay)? Because man, foreplay and oral sex does not get anyone pregnant and can be highly enjoyable for all parties involved.

Yeah, stop pushing for the sex. It's difficult, and at 23 and four months in there's no reason you guys should have the sex lives of a couple that's been married for forty years, but if you want the relationship to continue you're going to have to give her space. Otherwise sex is going to turn from "Fun times for the both of us!" to "Nasty power game where she loses if I get some and she wins if I don't".

But remember, do not feel bad about leaving the relationship if the sex issue is not resolved. Yours is a very young relationship. The two of you are already hitting problems that shouldn't be hitting for a couple of years down the road. You do not want to be stuck in a relationship where you know your libidos are mismatched in the long-term.

That said, Jesse Helms is full of crap. I gotta say, as a woman just giving me a bundle of flowers and a shiny rock is not going to get you boned. In fact, the assumption that women just need to be showered with expensive things to put out is pretty offensive. And this business about men taking mistresses? Hey, if that's how you want your relationship to work in the long-term go for it--as long as you don't mind her cuckolding you.
posted by Anonymous at 8:09 AM on March 31, 2006

I'm with the "pregnancy scare has her totally freaked" crowd.

A variation of this is that she's freaked by the possibility of a pregnancy where YOU are involved. This is certainly one of the reasons why I stopped having partnered sex for a while. While the relationships were nice, fun, and friendly I really didn't want to commit to parenting a child with them for the rest of my life.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2006

Commentary on our culture: Monogamy is a requirement in an adult relationship; Frequent sex isn't a requirement in an adult relationship.

She may be wondering if you are good father material - start thinking about her pregnant and unmarried spending Christmas with your parents, see where that puts your libido.

Tell her regardless of sexual activity, you would like her to try the pill.
posted by ewkpates at 8:21 AM on March 31, 2006

At some point if you want to stay with someone for a while you'll be forced to take a little on the side.

Worst. Answer. Ever.

However: it's showdown time. You two need to have a conversation about this. She's refusing to talk about it, reacting with sarcasm and contempt when you bring it up, and you're to the point where you're considering leaving her over it. Which is perfectly reasonable, especially given how short term the relationship is.

A fancy night out on the town isn't going to fix this. Flattering her and giving her gifts and pretending that the way she's treating you isn't hurtful -- which it is -- isn't going to fix this. (Not wanting to have sex isn't in itself cruel. Reacting with contempt when it's suggested is.)

It could be depression caused by birth control (that can happen, defintely), it could be fear about pregnancy, it could be that the pregnancy scare has made her rethink the whole relationship and she just hasn't gotten around to telling you about it, or it could be something else entirely -- but whatever it is, you have to get it out in the open so you can deal with it one way or the other. She's refusing to talk, so you either have to take on the job, or move on.

I'm not suggesting an ultimatum along the lines of "have sex with me or I'll leave you." That would be stupid. More like "You need to talk with me about why you don't want to have sex, because this not dealing with it is distorting my feelings for you, and it's getting pretty bad." Honestly I think the real problem here is not the sex, it's the lack of communication. Yes, any longterm relationship is going to have periods where one person's libido is greater than the partner's, and you'll have to find some way to cope with it. Yours isn't a longterm relationship yet, though.
posted by ook at 8:49 AM on March 31, 2006

Damn, beat to the point by KirkJobSluder. I would imagine the scare was enough to make her think that even with effective birth control, there's the weak possibility she could somehow become pregnant. That can make people really evaluate things -- sure, she might enjoy what you have together, but does she enjoy it enough to commit to that possible situation? It's an unlikely but possible consequence that she's now been exposed to.

When you say "went and got the emergency pill" do you mean that you both went to her doctor or a clinic together? If she had to make the trip alone, even if it was because you had to work, she could have felt a little alone and be put off by the experience.
posted by mikeh at 8:54 AM on March 31, 2006

Tell her regardless of sexual activity, you would like her to try the pill.

No. No no no no. This isn't up to you, and it's only going to muddy the issue.
posted by ook at 8:54 AM on March 31, 2006

ook, you need to relax. Everyone is not exactly like you; thus, your belief system is not always adequate for every circumstance, despite your rabid protests to the contrary.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:03 AM on March 31, 2006

Is is possible that she's actually pregant? The ECP is hardly foolproof and it's not uncommon for women to become depressed during the initial stages of pregnancy.

If she hasn't been tested, it might be something worth mentioning to her when you sit down to talk about the whole ordeal.
posted by purephase at 9:05 AM on March 31, 2006

So many of these answers are ridiculous attempts to mind-read, axe-grind, or project preconcieved ideas onto your relationship problem. I'm sorry you seem to be catching AskMe on a particularly ignorant day.

There is only one useful answer appearing here for you right now, and several people have offered it, and I just want to underline it.

Talk to her.

Just lay this out like you did for us, and ask her what's behind her lack of interest in sex. It's a completely normal relationship discussion. Disparate sex drives always require negotiation, understanding, and conversation. Particularly because it's a change for her (that is, her level of interest was once higher) it's likely that something specific is impeding her from feeling interested in sex -- it's not just her nature.

Listen, speaking as a woman, a pregnancy scare really does freak you out. It calls into question everything about the relationship, and it's quite scary sometimes. I'd venture a suggestion that she might want to explore better and more reliable birth control. But the only way to know what's going on is to ask her.

I'm seriously appalled that people are suggesting that your solution is to 'take a mistress'. These answers are unhelpful, unrealistic, naive, show inexperience, and don't even address your problem. Ignore them.

And talk to your girl. She is the only one that can answer this.
posted by Miko at 9:07 AM on March 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

And talk to your girl. She is the only one that can answer this.

anonymous -- who, of course, cannot -- should mark this as best anwswer

listen to Miko, man
posted by matteo at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2006

"The other night we fooled around a bit, but she wouldnt let me do anything to her, and after i felt terrible because i felt like she caved in to my nagging and that she didnt really want to do it."

Ouch. I know that feeling. This is no longer about sex. Sex is just the way she happens to make you feel ashamed and you happen to make her feel...whatever it is she may be feeling.

I've only skimmed the other answers so I'll be brief with this: If she has an issue and she can't discuss it, the relationship has no hope. Even if she is willing to discuss it now, the fact that she has held back for a while implies she will hold back in the future.

She has already rejected you. Move on. "Take a mistress" - just break up with this one first.
posted by Brainy at 9:23 AM on March 31, 2006

Most men take a mistress.

My ass. Around here, that's a hella low way to act. Very few women I know would stand for it, most guys would get threats of ass-kicking from their buddies for being so inconsiderate to their SO.

Break it off or beat it off, but I have yet to see ONE "open relationship" work for any extended period. Invariably ends up in huge fights.

YMMV of course.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:23 AM on March 31, 2006

Backseat amateur psychologist here: I'm getting the impression something's happened to her that she's not ready to tell you about. If you want to save the relationship, she needs to talk to someone professionally, since her current way of dealing is unhealthy for you both. If she's unwilling to take that step, she's not ready to be in a relationship.
posted by glibhamdreck at 9:36 AM on March 31, 2006

TJH, whatever. I'm not sure where you got the idea that I think one belief system fits all, but if you seriously think a 23-year-old in a practically brand-new relationship should "take a mistress," I guess I don't care to learn much more about yours.

I could have been more graceful in my response to ewkpates' suggestion, however, so let me try that again: Many women don't appreciate being told what they should be doing with their own bodies; we could have a philosophical debate about that but the point is that it's an area in which we men should tread lightly. Bringing it up could wind up dragging in all sorts of power and control issues which are only peripheral to the problem anonymous is trying to solve, here. She obviously already knows the pill exists, and presumably has already made her own choices about it; while it might be reasonable to bring it up as a possible option as part of a larger discussion, telling her flat out you think this is what she should do is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

That better?
posted by ook at 9:43 AM on March 31, 2006

There is a MetaTalk thread about this thread if people want to debate some of the social issues or personality interactions here.
posted by jessamyn at 9:56 AM on March 31, 2006

is she against intercourse, or anything sexual? pregnancy scares can wreak emotional havoc--i hope she doesn't get the impression you've made light of what happened. and if she's 21, it might have been one of her first major ones where she wasn't sure what she'd do about it, unlike a teen living with mom and dad situation...it makes you feel more alone and it makes you rethink how well you're doing at being a responsible "adult." so she might be contemplating all of that and being insular as a result. also, irrationally, she may resent you in a "how could he put me at risk of that and not act like it's a huge deal?!!!!" way. i didn't say it made sense--it takes two of course--but it's understandable. trust and all that.

if she won't even let you cuddle her or go down on her, she's probably Really Angry but also knows it's not rational for her to be blaming you. but i'm just guessing based on personal experience.
posted by ifjuly at 10:00 AM on March 31, 2006

Tell her you want her to go on the Pill?
What a great communication tip. How exactly does that address the problem of them not having sex?
Try asking her before telling her, specifically asking her about why she isn't sleeping with you when she was before.
You could try telling her that you're leaving unless the problem gets addressed, eventually this will become clear anyway from the description of the situation you've given and what action you're planning to take.
Or is this pretty clear to her anyway, nobody else has asked, but do you have any idea how she views you in terms of wanting to have sex and/or a relationship with her? If she thinks you think of her as little more than a spunkbucket then it may not be a huge turn on for her. The reality of how you view her may not matter as much as how she thinks you view her.
posted by biffa at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2006

Echoing what many others (notably the women) on this thread have said, it seems like there's something obviously *wrong*, it's not just that she's drifting out of being interested. It could be many things (past abuse or bad experiences, maybe a past abortion that she's thinking about, the doctor or pharmacist could have been an asshole when she went to get the EC, maybe she desperately wants a baby and is feeling conflicted about having taken the EC, etc etc etc), but the main point is that she seems hurt and confused and angry. If you want to fix things, I would ask her nicely what's wrong, what she's scared of or upset about, rather than making it a "Why won't you have sex with me?" confrontation.

Pregnancy scares suck. And it feels like the person you want to turn to for support, your partner, is the one you feel got you into the situation in the first place, which can be disorienting and confusing and resentment-causing. And there can be something really frustrating about suddenly feeling like a body, and like your life can be derailed by the physical needs of another physical body growing inside and taking over your own -- and in that state of mind, having a partner treat you like a physical body responsible for his physical needs is really NOT helpful.
posted by occhiblu at 10:47 AM on March 31, 2006

The Jesse Helms writes "In other words you should never have to directly coax someone into bed. You should make yourself and the evening so attractive that she can't control herself. Takes work, a little practice, but even if it totally fails at least you treated someone to a very nice time, which is worth a lot unto itself."

For all the noises about "OMG, TJH said get mistress," I think this is probably the best advice in the thread. It certainly seems like a great first step. I cringe at the thought of going straight to having a "talk," because no matter how you approach it will definitely have some drama associated with it. I say first try to make her feel special, try to rekindle the romance and see what happens - if that doesn't work, then the next step is to follow everyone else's advice.
posted by mullacc at 11:07 AM on March 31, 2006

Taking emergency contraception can be a really visceral experience. Feeling deeply sick throughout your body, because of sex. Sex already makes you feel a little vulnerable. Then you felt that surge of panic and fear. Then you have to go to some alienating medical establishment. Then the medicine makes you nauseous. I took EC and threw up -- I never threw up from the flu or anything -- it was the second time in my entire life.

You know how you don't ever go back to that restaurant where you got food poisoning? Or how you swore off alcohol for months after that one night?

Then, who knows what thoughts might arise. What do you think, as you feel really, really sick because of a sexual act? Some women are still fairly new to sex at age 21 and might have a bunch of issues about it, depending on their family and background. Maybe something happened in her past. I had a religious friend who concluded "I deserve to feel sick for having sex before marriage."

If someone is feeling scared or guilty, or even just skittish, what they need is love and support, not guilt or an ultimatum. If she's already pulling into herself, making demands is just going to make you more of an enemy. This is not you vs. her, this is the two of you together trying to help her feel comfortable with intimacy again. I second the backrub approach. And a conversation where you're concerned about what she's feeling. You sense something is up and you want to help, is she feeling bad about what happened, is she scared it could happen again? You might gently suggest an article or two that is sex-positive. Assuming her issue truly is not with you, I think love and patience will be the best strategy.
posted by ruff at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2006

You definitely need to talk to her. I'd start by asking her if anything relating to the birth control failure - or your response to it - has been upsetting her.

I am a bit concerned about your phrasing here: she wouldnt let me do anything to her, and after i felt terrible because i felt like she caved in to my nagging and that she didnt really want to do it. I'm hoping it's just the way you wrote it, but if you're thinking in terms of what she'll let you do to her, instead of what you'd like to do with her, that may be adding to whatever anxiety she may already be having. I can tell you that thinking you might be pregnant causes the most disturbing feelings of powerlessness; if that was an issue for her, then you'll need to talk to her and work on making sexual negotiations less like... well, less like negotiations, I guess.

Sadly, it may be that having that scare has made her re-evaluate having a sexual relationship with you. I've done the same thing and thought "holy crap, what if I really got pregnant with this guy's kid?" which pretty much turned me off the idea of having sex with him again. Again, this leads back to how you may have reacted after the condom broke. If you unintentionally behaved badly, finding that out may help you recover any standing you may have lost.

But again - the long and short of it is that the only way you can get through this is to talk to her.
posted by stefanie at 11:36 AM on March 31, 2006

If she can't or won't talk about it, break up with her. Life is too short to stick with someone who disrespects you like that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:02 PM on March 31, 2006

This could well be a side-effect of the morning after pill or antidepressents.

Just wanted to reiterate what ori said. I took EC over two years ago, and there were substantial long-term effects. It totally fucks with a woman's natural hormonal cycle and it can take a long time for things to return to normal.

That said, if she was still into you and the relationship, she'd recognize the issue and probably be just as frustrated by it as you are. If she doesn't want to talk about it, or even acknowledge the problem, then she's probably not that invested in saving the relationship.

Some people only know how to break up by forcing the other person to break up.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:10 PM on March 31, 2006

schroedinger's right. You two never heard of Blow Jobs or ol' Colonel Lingus?

Jeebus. Kids today.

You have two choices:

Lick eachother silly.
Or Dump her.

Your both way to young to worry about this as a "relationship killer". And you are under no obligation, nor do you have the right, to cure her of her hang-ups.

I'd wager a thousand dollars this ISN'T about a preganancy scare. I can't count the number of GF's I had where the condom broke and not ONCE did it slow down our hunger to bang eachother.

This is about either her hang-ups with sex in general or her hang ups with YOU. Sorry. But it's likely true.

If you were married, engaged to be, or older, I'd say talk it out like every body else here. But they're just being nice and the advice is fairly useless in your context.

Listen to your Uncle Tkchrist, now. Don't waste your precious youth on this kind of thing. Eithier get busy getting busy or get busy with some one new.
posted by tkchrist at 12:21 PM on March 31, 2006

When I was in my early 20s, I had a very nice boyfriend whom I loved, and who loved me. I stopped wanting to have sex with him -- didn't know why. It was a complete mystery to me, though I came up with a lot of theories. I saw a therapist who asked about problems in the relationship (I was aware of none) and eventually said she was at a loss.

I knew all the while, and admitted to myself, that I didn't want to marry the guy. I thought that was irrelevant. Years later, I realize it was very relevant to me. I loved the guy a lot, but... what? I wasn't committed to him, I knew he wasn't a total keeper.

I'm not saying this is right. I still look back and think how wonderful he was... and also that I'm glad I didn't marry him. My point is that there is some psychological reason your girlfriend doesn't want to have sex with you. Something doesn't feel right to her.

Talk to her bluntly about how you feel. If she feels defensive or completely helpless, she might say you're insensitive or that you care more about sex than you should. Ignore comments like those, because they just mean she doesn't want to deal with it, or has no idea how to deal with it. But do assume she actually doesn't want to have sex with you, not that her libido has just mysteriously shut down for no reason. She doesn't want to. And it's something to do with how she feels about you.

The upside of being nice about it instead of just bailing: she won't just take solace in hating you. She might actually allow herself some introspection at some point. Or she might hate you anyway. But you can't control that. Do what is right for you. Her saying you're a bad guy won't make it true.
posted by wryly at 1:09 PM on March 31, 2006

It really doesn't sound like she's emotionally ready for the sexual relationship you want to have. A near miss with serious consequences seems to have soured her on sex pretty bad. You guys should certainly talk ALL of that out if you haven't already. It doesn't sound like you have really communicated completely over that incident. You should also talk openly about your sexual needs now, and whether you are compatible. I don't imagine that the current mismatch in desire is much fun for her, either.

But I don't think it has anything to do with "sex drive." It sounds like trust, fear of being hurt, or other emotional issues. You have some talking to do. Perhaps counselling if you want to go there. You need to find the terms on which she feels comfortable having sex. Maybe she needs more commitment from you. Maybe she'd feel more comfortable with more effective birth control, like the pill. Maybe something's going on with her self-esteem right now. Maybe she's just depressed - depression's a big sexual sinkhole.

It's okay to want sex. Your sexual needs are NEEDS. It's okay to "end a relationship because of sex." You better figure that out now, before you spend 10 years of your life nursing relationships that ultimately fail because your needs are not met.
posted by scarabic at 1:16 PM on March 31, 2006

It could be many things (past abuse or bad experiences, maybe a past abortion that she's thinking about

Does she consider having taken the morning after pill equivalent to having had an abortion? She might, and that might have serious emotional consequences for her. It really sounds like you're at square 1 for getting inside what's troubling her. I hope some of the suggestions in this thread give you some starting points.
posted by scarabic at 1:51 PM on March 31, 2006

Is is possible that she's actually pregnant? The ECP is hardly foolproof - purephase

Took the words out of my mouth. Odds are against it, but it's a possibility worth considering.
posted by raedyn at 2:35 PM on March 31, 2006

Maybe she cheated on you, unprotected, with someone she suspects of having venereal disease. If she's responsible, she knows that she can be contagious for months before the routine tests would show positive.

Maybe she hates you. Maybe she hates sex. Maybe she hates sex with you only.

There's something here she's not telling you. Everyone else has been saying "Talk to her," which is great, but actually what you need to do is get her talking to you, and then listen to what she says. As an exercise, next time she's speaking to you, try not judging or interrupting for 10 minutes; you might learn something.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:05 PM on March 31, 2006

My money is on what Stepanie said.

Basically what a pregnancy scare does it makes you take a long hard look at who you are sleeping with. If you are totally infatuated , you might blissfully continue sleeping with the person.

But if you take a hard look, and the sunglasses fall off, it might be that your girlfriend is just beginning to go through the process of figuring out that you are not the right guy for her. My money is on the fact that she doesn't want to sleep with you and its a deep visceral thing that she can't explain and doesn't understand.

IMHO, her body is telling her what her mind isn't ready to accept - you are not the right guy.
posted by zia at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2006

You can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.
posted by semmi at 8:43 PM on March 31, 2006

dump her. it's not worth it.
posted by shmegegge at 7:41 PM on April 1, 2006

*****!!!!!***** What?!!? I cannot believe how harsh some of you are being! Obviously (I can't put enough emphasis on that word) this is related to the issue surrounding the possible incident of pregnancy. As a woman who's had an abortion (and this was in a responsible monogamous relationship faulted with 1 bad unprotected choice during the most fertile time of month, thank you), this is NOT something you just brush off! Granted, abortion of a definite pregnancy is not the same thing as an emergency contraceptive, but the feelings are likely still there. Some people are naturally more neurotic than others, meaning some people are more likely to freak out about things than others. I am probably considerably cold and rational, but even still, I would at least have some conflicting feelings. It depends on a lot of things, like for instance how deeply her guilt and shame are rooted or the values she was brought up with.

I imagine she also feels like you are totally not getting it at all -- and don't get me wrong, I don't believe that men should be able to read minds, but I just predict that's what she's feeling. She is probably feeling like you are (no offense) an insensitive idiot who doesn't know how to bring this up and she is probably feeling isolated and distant. I imagine she is probably perceiving you right now in a very negative light.. she probably doesn't trust you.. she probably thinks you are emotionally immature.. etc. I think she is feeling really, really misunderstood and disconnected from you. (This is all my prediction here, I could be wrong.) I'm not saying this to insult the poster, but to give him an idea what she might be feeling like toward him.. angry, hurt, misunderstood, etc.

I do not think the poster is the correct person to try to help her deal with this necessarily, but at least some kind words of understanding should be offered to this poor girl before he moves on! That would be the ETHICAL choice of someone MATURE. To just dump her? Ugh, the only worse thing you can do than that is start cheating on her. I think she probably needs some professional counseling, but somehow I don't think the poster suggesting this to her will go over very well at all.

Otherwise I think what zia said has a lot of truth in it.

In any event, it sounds to me (from what little I've read here) like her reaction is not a rational one, but an emotional one. From my experience, I would say using rational ideas to deal with a woman's irrational emotions tends to make her feel like you are invalidating her feelings. A good way to piss her off. If you want to try to talk to her and make her feel understood, I'd suggest verbally acknowledging how she feels first. That alone might make her feel better.

Regardless of what happens though, just please don't be a d*ck about it and give the girl more issues than she already has. It's not your responsibility to "heal" her, but I would say it's your responsibility to at least not be a d*ck.

phew.. Sorry, had a little outrage there ;)
posted by mojabunni at 11:40 PM on April 1, 2006

this is NOT something you just brush off!

She doesn't want to talk about it. Is he supposed to get out the bamboo strips and the iron maiden?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:11 AM on April 2, 2006

Just so you know anonymous, ending an incompatible relationship doesn't make you a dick.

If your girlfriend has moral or ethical issues about abortion, and considers the emergency pill abortion, you may have to ask yourself where you stand on those issues. If you feel the same way you should be able to understand where she is coming from. If you don't, you are really incompatible with this person and should probably move on.
posted by sic at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2006

Just to add one thing - an abortion and taking the day after pill are NOT the same thing. Yes, I agree with mojabunni that if she had had an abortion you would be a dick to dump her and she would likely be having very very unhappy feelings. But just to clarify: a day after pill is like taking a mega dose of the pill, and can be uncomfortable. An abortion is completely different. When a woman is pregnant, her body knows its pregnant and it makes many many tangible changes.

When that woman has an abortion, it is a procedure that rips the fetus out and that is exactly like what it feels like. I don't know a woman who doesn't have ambivalent feelings about having done it.

Even if your girlfriend thinks of the day after pill as an abortion that is an emotional and perhaps intellectual interpretation (of course you'll find out when you ask her). However it is NOT a physical reality either for her or for you.

I know I may sound a bit harsh, but this is an important distinction and anonymous while you should be thoughtful with her, she did not go through an abortion and you don't have the same obligations as if she did.
posted by zia at 11:11 AM on April 2, 2006

she did not go through an abortion and you don't have the same obligations as if she did.

Well, this is tantamount to ranking the degree of severity of an emotional experience, which we simply can't do for another human being. What is terribly upsetting for one person may have less impact for another. Sometimes when a woman has an abortion, the primary emotion is not regret or even ambivalence, but relief. Sometimes simply a scare, or the need to take ECP, may trigger doubts about the relationship, sexuality itself, or the future.

Something has upset her, and again, you'll need to get her talking to find out exactly what it was and why it has been so destructive. The 'obligation' here is not determined by what she actually went through, but by your intent to stay with her if possible. If your goal is to rescue the relationship, as you said, you will need to help her communicate and work through the problem, no matter what its cause.
posted by Miko at 1:20 PM on April 2, 2006

all of these comments about trying to be understanding and how it's so harsh and whatever to leave her are all complete nonsense.

The girl doesn't want to have sex with you anymore. Maybe she doesn't want to do it with anybody, and maybe she'll change her mind eventually, but that doesn't matter. You're 23, you've only been with her for 4 months, and she doesn't want to have sex with you. There's more to a relationship than sex, but bad sex or a lack of it entirely will ruin what's left. If you leave her, you're not going to live a life of regret because of it. You'll feel bad for less time than you dated her, you'll move on and your sex life will be far more satisfying.

It sounds to me like you're asking this because sex is obviously important to you. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH FEELING THAT WAY. There IS something wrong with pushign that feeling aside because you think you have some obligation to the girl. The only obligation you have is to be kind when you leave her. But leave her. Do it now, do it gently, but do it. Every single person who's trying to tell you that you need to be understanding and put up with it is very simply giving you bad advice. If you'd been with her for years or had seriously committed to a lifetime of love together, I'd say to stick it out, but this girl only recently acquired the title of "Your Girlfriend" in the first place. Life's too short. Let her be as upset as she wants to be, but look out for yourself, too. There's nothing wrong with how she feels, but there's also no reason to subject yourself to this frustration. Sex is important, and pretending like it isn't is just asking for trouble down the line.

Be especially wary of people talking about how hard it is to have an abortion and all that. They're projecting their own lives onto yours, and have absolutely no concern for your feelings in this or what's best for you.
posted by shmegegge at 1:48 PM on April 2, 2006

shmegegge, sex is totally important, no one is denying that. The poster is certainly entitled to ask for the type of sexual relationship he would like, and not to feel in any way bad or guilty about wanting sex as part of a relationship like this.

But the poster is not asking "Should I leave?"; he's asking how to "rescue" the relationship. I think we can assume the girl is at least somewhat important to him. He's heard that he needs to explore what the problem is if he wants to preserve the relationship.

If, after that sincere attempt at exploration, nothing improves, then it would make absolute sense to move on, and both parties would clearly understand why it was happening. The fundamental point is that he's trying to give it a chance first.

Another argument for talking frankly and pursuing a solution: If he does, in the process, he's likely to pick up some really useful relationship skills and a degree of interpersonal understanding that will serve him well in his future, whether that lies with this girl, or another, or many others. This is how we become better at relationships -- not by throwing up our hands and walking away at the first problem. He will also enjoy a clear conscience in knowing that he had the courage to observe and address a problem directly and with maturity, and communicating about it, however awkward that may feel.

I realize it's quite possible that the Asker and the girl might not be able to work this one out. But he asked for suggestions about how to try. Suggesting that he dump her without a sincere effort to rebuild the connection results in the most hurt for all involved, not in the peaceful resolution of a problem in whatever way makes the most sense.
posted by Miko at 2:59 PM on April 2, 2006

"I have a leg that is completely gangrenous. How do I rescue it?"

You don't. Sorry, but my answer is totally valid, and I wasn't talking about people offering advice on how to save the relationship. I was specifically talking about people who act like it would be wrong to leave. It wouldn't. If he wants to try to stick it out, he's more than welcome to, but I'm not going to say that he should. I don't believe he should. I think that every single comment on here that tries to pretend that leaving for sexual reasons is fucked up is very simply wrong and giving him the kind of advice that is emotionally and sexually unhealthy for him.

Leaving is not the most hurt for all. The current situation is the most hurt for all. Continuing that situation is continuing the most hurt for all. He's already explored it, that's why he's come to us. If you want to act like leaving would be "not by throwing up our hands and walking away at the first problem," you're free to believe that, but it's a fiction. Your entire speech about how we get better at relationships is likewise a fiction. That's how we get better A relationship. We get better at relationships in general during every day that we work at them, no matter how many of THEM we have. He's worked at this one. He's at his wit's end. Acting like he's quitting too soon just because this is the first time YOU'VE heard about it is absurd.

You're welcome to think he should stick it out, and to suggest likewise, but nothing you've said has given any reason why my advice would be considered unsound. Don't act as if the only answer falls under the criteria of "rescue." Bad relationships don't get helped by sticking it out anymore than rotten decaying body parts get helped by keeping them attached to the body. If you really want to talk about what's best for the poster, then deal with the fact that this relationship could very likely be over already and the best thing for him is to bail. Let him make up his own mind between the two sides, and stop pretending your solution is the only helpful one.
posted by shmegegge at 3:16 PM on April 2, 2006

You're reading my comments incompletely. I'm not saying the right decision isn't ultimately going to be leaving, or ultimately staying. I'm saying there's no way he can know without having the full discussion. You're putting words into my mouth by suggesting I don't think sex is important, or that he should stick it out in a bad relationship. I haven't said either thing. I've really tried just to answer the question, rather than advocating an alternative that he hasn't expressed interest in.
posted by Miko at 3:39 PM on April 2, 2006

What Miko said. The poster does not say that he's talked to her about it, and the way the question is phrased makes it unlikely that he's talked to her about it. Maybe they have a huge discussion and realize they're incompatible, maybe they have a small discussion and she realizes that's he not being as inconsiderate as she thought and they live happily ever after. But just leaving now, without at least bringing up the issue for discussion, is rather cowardly.

And maybe it's just a superficial relationship that deserves a rather cowardly exit because the poster's not that invested in it. If he makes that decision, fine, but given that he's asking for advice on saving it, he seems at least invested enough to say, "Hey, what's going on?" and take the time to listen to what she has to say.

Also, I think I'm the one who originally brought up the abortion angle, and I certainly didn't mean it in the way that everyone seems to be taking it. I meant that if she ALREADY had an abortion, this pregnancy scare may be triggering feelings about the earlier abortion. I mean, she may also be equating EC with abortion, but that seems less likely given the way the poster described the situation (in that she seemed eager to get EC).

But actually, that neurosis might be a clue that she's dealt with an unwanted pregnancy before, or at least has larger than expected issues surrounding an unwanted pregnancy, that should be addressed if you want to continue the relationship.
posted by occhiblu at 3:58 PM on April 2, 2006

If anyone actually read my comment all the way through instead of responding to the first few sentences, you'd realize I wasn't saying he should stay with her "because it would be wrong to leave." Honestly I don't foresee this relationship working out well if she is completely unwilling to speak with him about it. If that is the case (which it sounds like it is), it should probably end, but hopefully it should end gracefully. For the poster to take the suggested self-centered attitude of "Dude, this isn't worth it, I'm outta here, buhbye" and just break up with her -- that is a straight up asshole thing to do. I just suggested taking a more understanding approach in order to end it gracefully with kind words (if it comes to that). It's not like the girl is cheating on him or like purposely trying to ruin his life, for crying out loud. I just fear that if he just bolts without giving her a peaceful goodbye, or any explanation at all, it might make her internalize it and blame herself and yatta yatta. And yes, it's part of life to have those experiences sometimes.. But if you can at least do your part to help prevent that from happening, why wouldn't you? No one is saying that this girl's feelings are the responsibility of the poster... but his actions and words are.
posted by mojabunni at 7:07 PM on April 2, 2006

Mod note: a few comments removed, please keep comments on -topic and not abusive of other posters
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:14 PM on April 2, 2006

She doesn't want to talk about it. Is he supposed to get out the bamboo strips and the iron maiden?

Come on. I am not sensing a fully realized good-faith effort on his part to really ask what's going on. He's here talking to us because he wants to have sex more often, not because he's trying to understand his girlfriend. I'm not judging. Read the question. I think he's got plenty of work to do before he has to resort to torture.
posted by scarabic at 9:18 PM on April 4, 2006

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