The following are remaining questions from my online chat “No Sex, ” February 4:
My boyfriend and I had a very passionate relationship when we first started dating. He couldn’t keep his hands off me.
But it’s a year since we became exclusive and he seems to hardly be attracted to me now.
He goes out with his friends a couple of times in the week, and plays video games with another buddy on weekends.
I try to look sexy, set up romantic things, like candles and massage, but he usually just says he’s tired and falls asleep on the couch.
Is this what happens with couples, or is he just not turned on by me anymore?
Feel like a Zero
This is about him, not you. Being sexy and romantic isn’t working because he’s retreated back into self-interest and selfishness.
He’s got you settled at home, so doesn’t have to put himself out for you. Nor show affection or have intimacy once he’s returned.
His frequent “boys-club” socializing may also involve excess drinking and video gaming – activities that can dull sexual libido.
Confront him – not about a lack of attraction (have more self-confidence than that!).
The question is whether he’s IN or OUT. If he wants the relationship to continue, you need to work out a comfortable schedule of time together and time apart.
Some mutual independence is healthy, so make sure you’re spending some time with friends/family, too.
But overt neglect and distance are unacceptable.
If you don’t settle this, you’ll be spending the next several years fighting over his many absences, and your loneliness.
I’ve been dating a woman whom I like a lot, but am worried that we’ll find we’re not suited sexually at all.
She says she’s attracted to me, but she doesn’t ever initiate any physical touching at all, and stiffens up when I do.
She did tell me that she’d had some bad experiences with men in the past and has trust issues, but I see no sign of any softness in her.
When I take her hand, she smiles, and then soon takes it away. If I touch her shoulder, she shifts her position further away.
It’s been five months of our being together at least once a week. We have similar interests, enjoy going to movies, plays, talking about books we’re reading, etc.
But we’re never talking intimately or getting closer that way.
You’re having a pleasant, intellectual friendship with this woman, not a romantic relationship. So use that friendship to get to know the root of her physical distancing.
Without being part of any effort to seek sex, share some personal confidences to show trust, and try to get her to open up as well. In time, ask about her bad experiences.
If she was sexually or physically abused as a child, or later on dates, she would benefit from therapy.
Help her realize that need, by showing sincere interest in her well being (rather than a desire towards having sex).
She may never become your lover or life partner, but you’ll hopefully help this woman whom you like and respect.
If she does get past her fears, and there’s still mutual attraction, start just hanging out together comfortably again, sharing personal thoughts and going wherever that leads.
Ellie – Also from the chat:
To learn more about sexual pleasure and technique, the books Great in Bed, Moregasm, or The New Male Sexuality are recommended by Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute
My wife’s too tired or too busy for sex when I want it, but doesn’t understand when I’m too tired or too busy.
It’s like she heats up when she knows I’m going to be distracted – like weekend mornings when there are soccer matches, or when I’m on my way out on my poker night.
Is sex our battlefield for power?
You’re both not playing on the same team. On days when you’re over-worked and fatigued, get her on your side.
Before you grab an early night’s sleep, hug her and make a teasing promise of morning sex.
If you’re about to settle in for some marathon TV-soccer viewing, match her friskiness well beforehand.
Same with poker night – get home earlier, or arrive at the game later. The payoff at home is worth it.
End the power plays. You both want sex and both need to work at making it happen.
Tip of the day:
Couples need a healthy mix of time apart and time together.