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Two Guys, Waiting and Wanting

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Steve asks:

Me and my girlfriend have been dating for a little over 2 months now and we have yet to have sexual intercourse. We're not like your average 2month couple. We stay together at each others house every night. I've slept with her every night this month, except these two nights. At times, just like these it is very frustrating. I've been sexually active for over 4 years now with around 7 different females. And she is a virgin. So, going from sex at least twice a month with no strings attached to a serious relationship with no sex at all, sometimes makes me want to have a mental breakdown.

Heather Corinna replies:

(Steve's question continued)

I feel weird having to rely to masturbation while having her. We've messed around a lot, meaning making-out, I've done almost everything to her breasts, and rubbed her vagina through her clothes with my hand and penis(dry humping), she has played with my penis through my pants quite a bit. Now, I don't want to sound like a sex addict, but, I'm a very horny person and its killing me having to wait. One thing that scares me also is that when I've let her play with my penis, I've asked her how it doesn't turn her on a lot. She said it just doesn't, but when I just feel up on her, I get aroused. I'm worried that I'm going to want it and need it quite a bit to be happy and she isn't. I want it for two main reasons. I want to pleasure her and myself and I want to show her that we can have passionate sex like a mature couple. It's often very hard to talk about it with her as well. For example, she'll touch my penis. Then I'll go to touch her vagina and she'll stop me. I'll ask her why she is stopping me, and she wont say anything, sometimes even get annoyed and roll over. So my question is, do I wait it out with her and if so, whats the best way for me to cope with the waiting? And, how do I open her up quicker, or is time the only thing that is going to handle that?

You can't make someone have a different pace than they have and want, and it's not sage to try to alter that for them because you want it to be different.

If you're really invested in her pleasure, you need to know that that's going to depend on being responsive to what she wants...and doesn't. Someone who isn't interested in sex, or not feeling ready yet, isn't going to have "passionate sex like a mature couple" by doing something they don't want or don't feel ready for. There's no passion in obligation or in caving into something you don't want because someone else does: at best, it's a drag and at its worst, it can be very traumatic and dehumanizing.

Maturity -- or lack of maturity -- isn't the only thing that keeps a person from having any kind of sex with someone else. We can be as mature as we want, we can have that maturity at 18 or 48, but perhaps just not be feeling a certain thing for a given person, not feel like at a given time in our life sex or certain kinds of sex is something we want to deal with (do bear in mind that if you've female partners, their burden when it comes to responsibilities and possible risks with sex is greater than yours), and/or just not feel a desire for sex at any given time, sometimes for long periods of time. Because she isn't interested in sex or isn't feeling the desire you are doesn't make her immature and you mature: it just means you two are different and want different things right now.

It's not killing you to wait. Seriously, it's not. Not having sex or one kind of sex doesn't kill anyone. You're also very unlikely to have a nervous breakdown from not getting the sex that you want. But what I do hear is that you're expressing that your pace and her pace are very different, and that what you want sexually and what she does are different. Neither one of you is right or wrong here, better or worse than the other. Both of you deserve to have your needs met, they just may not be able to be met with each other, now or period.

Any of us always needs to defer to the partner who is expressing a limit or something unwanted: if we want something someone else doesn't, because consent is so important with sex, we have to put that person's needs first. What that means to you, then, is that you can either wait this out or you can come to the conclusion that this isn't the right sexual partnership for you (or her) and agree to separate in terms of that relationship so you both can seek out other partners where you both are in better alignment.

How is this relationship for you otherwise? Has it been marvelous for you both in other ways so far? Do you both feel loved and cared for? Does it leave you both feeling like your best selves? Do you enjoy being together? You say this is a serious relationship, and seem to express you're used to more casual relationships: do you want a serious relationship right now and with this person? If all of those things are true, then there are probably some compelling reasons to continue this relationship and just hold off on kinds of sex she doesn't want right now, which includes also not doing things she is saying do nothing for her -- like touching your penis -- and not continuing to push activities she keeps telling you -- verbally or otherwise -- she doesn't want, like touching her vulva. In terms of how you'd cope with that waiting, you can masturbate as much as you'd like, and you can also probably find ways to get physical affection you're craving with her in ways that she DOES want and like, so long as she does have those same desires for you in the most basic way.

If those things really aren't the case, and this isn't the only arena of your relationship one or both of you isn't satisfied with, or don't feel is harmonious, then it makes sense to really talk about all of this and see if, perhaps, you two as a couple just aren't a poor match, or if maybe for now, being friends is best, and if and when she ever does feel differently sometime in the future, you might be able to revist this as a sexual relationship.

I'd be sure when you have this kind of conversation that you make very clear you just want to feel out what's going on, and that you wanting to talk about it should not be interpreted as pressure from you for her to do anything she isn't interested in doing or doesn't want to do. My guess is that some of how this has been going is that she's feeling pretty pressured, or might be feeling like she has to do sexual things in order to keep you around. Not only is that really uncomfortable, it's also hardly a turn-on: someone pushing or nagging you for sex is often a pretty big turn-off. It gets even weirder if they try and tell you it's about you or your pleasure, since clearly, it's not pleasurable to be nagged or pushed or told by someone else what your wants and needs should be. She's the expert on that, and it seems to me that as of right now, what pleases her most is not being sexual, at least in the ways she's saying don't work for her, aren't wanted, or where she's just not showing interest of her own.

If she won't talk about any of this at all, then you have a pretty serious issue. For a couple to have a healthy and mutually enriching relationship, both folks have to communicate. Radio silence does not the good stuff make. If it happens that she just feels she can't talk about this, and refuses to, I'd interpret that as her just not feeling comfortable about any of this yet, and I'd say that you'd need to back off considerably with all sex and accept that for whatever reason -- if she won't share it, you can't know it -- a sexual relationship with her isn't a good idea, nor the expectation of same, and you should make your choices accordingly.

I don't know much about your sexual history, but if your experience has been that with everyone you've dated, sex has happened or been a desire mutually felt when first dating (and two months in really is still just starting to date: it's not a long-term relationship), then I'd say you should recognize that your experience has been a bit atypical. More typically, we'll often find that when we start to date someone, and feel an emotional or a romantic chemistry, we won't always have a sexual chemistry or have the same sexual desires. While I know it can be uncomfortable to consider, it is entirely possible your girlfriend feels an emotional connection to you but not a sexual one, and that could be part of the issue. She may very well have the idea a lot of people do that so long as love is there, or attraction is there, sexual feelings will be, even though we know that's just not always the case. We can care for people in many ways, have many kinds of different feelings about people, but those feelings won't always include sexual feelings. That's another thing you may want to try and talk about together. I hope you can recognize that even if that does turn out to be part or all of the issue that's not a reflection on you, your worth, or your sexual attractiveness: chemistry is often very strangely random, and we can something find we have none even with people we find wildly attractive. It also will not mean that your relationship, if it is otherwise fantastic, is a failure: it'd just mean it's perhaps a different kind of relationship than you two thought or wanted originally, and that's okay.

I feel I should mention that with young couples, it isn't actually at all uncommon for people to spend a lot of time together at the beginning of those relationships and for the velocity of those relationships to be pretty fast. While certainly, not all young people are bale to have overnights all the time like the two of you are, it really is common to see young couples be very much joined at the hip very quickly. So, if your expectation is that that emotional velocity means it's reasonable to expect a similar sexual velocity, I'd have to say I don't think that's sensible. Everyone has a different pace, based on a lot of factors, and I can safely say that plenty of people (particularly young people, but some full-grown adults too) who have been dating for two months -- even when they've seriously U-Hauled -- don't yet want or feel ready for sex.

Lastly, even when in sexual relationships, most people still masturbate, and there's nothing wrong with that. Given, masturbation isn't really a replacement for partnered sex, just like partnered sex isn't really a replacement for masturbation. That also speaks to what I'm hearing is you saying that your partner is responsible for meeting your high desire for sex, which she isn't. By all means, you're entitled to only seek out partners who have the same kind of sex drive you do, and want the same kinds of things you do sexually if you like -- and that's fine -- and it's also totally fine to have whatever level of libido you have. having a high sex drive doesn't make someone a "sex addict." But I'd also just be sure you're aware of the difference between really sharing sex with someone, someone who wants to share and who wants an experience about both people, and just wanting to get off. When we just want to get off, or our desire for sex is mostly about that, it's really better to masturbate than to have sex with someone else, if you follow me.

Corey asks:

Jill and I started talking almost a year ago and flirted while she was in a relationship with another guy. Around xmas they broke up and we started talking. I started dating another girl but cheated on her with Jill. This was bad, but oh well, it's something I won't do again. We have amazing chemistry and both love each other very deeply even tho we are 16. Don't critisize please, I can absolutely say this is true love.

The problem: We moved too fast physically and we do EVERYTHING but sex. We even considered having sex at one point but we agreed it was too soon. Jill wants to wait 'til marriage but I do not share her belief. We have reached 6 months and my mind and body have decided that I want to "make love to her", I do not see her as an object and deeply want to do this out of care and attraction. She has told me it would take maybe 3 or 4 years with me because of her feelings for me. The problem is I do not now if I can wait that long. I would love to for her but part of me wants to do the deed pretty badly. I love her so much and I am in a constant struggle on the inside because part of me wants it and part of me wants to wait for her to want it as much as I do.PLEASE HELP!

Corey, I'd say many of the same things to you that I have just said to Steve.

I am not in the position to tell anyone else if what they are feeling is or is not love, nor if something is "true love." Everyone's experiences vary, as do everyone's definitions, so the only expert on what you feel is you, not me.

But what I hear you saying with that expression is that, in terms of the questions I asked Steve about the other aspects of his relationship, that you feel very strongly about Jill and that you very much value the relationship you have with her. Clearly, this relationship is very important to you, and I understand that your desires for sex are not about objectification and that you are very concerned with assuring sex is about something that's right and wanted for both of you.

She may also share those same desires, however, she's made clear that she feels best not actively exploring them with you right now, when it comes to intercourse, and that her personal values right now don't include intercourse in this context. That'd be a stop sign that you need to see, acknowledge and just accept.

If this is just about intercourse -- in other words, you two do everything else -- I hope you understand that intercourse really, truly, is not that different from other kinds of sex, physically or emotionally, save that it presents risks of pregnancy other activities may not or do not. It is not more special than other kinds of sex, and other kinds can create the same minds of bonds and closeness that vaginal intercourse can. Finding closeness and depth in sex isn't about what activity people are doing, but about what they bring to those activities. Of course, since a majority of women don't even reach orgasm from intercourse alone, and many aren't that keen on it as a favorite activity, for some women, in fact, it's OTHER kinds of sex which are more special or meaningful, anyway.

In other words, if you have the idea you're missing out on "real" sex, or some kind of apex of your sex life or sexuality, please know that idea has a lot of flaws, including that that's a kind of sex which doesn't cut the mustard for most women, that it does present additional risks for your partner, and the fact that you can get the same kinds of physical sensations and emotional intimacy with other kinds of sex as you can with intercourse.

Because you do express a strong desire to stay in this relationship, what I'd suggest is that you live in the now. Thinking about if you can wait four years now only makes so much sense to me. You two may split up before then -- I don't say that to suggest you don't love each other enough, but to express the reality that most young adult relationships do not stand that kind of test of time -- she may feel differently before then (or you might), and the sex life you have now may deepen as a little more time passes to the point where you find that the activities you are doing become more satisfying, and/or you find you're able to bring more to the table with them.

If you do decide to stick with this, you might also find that it's easier for you to manage this if you two aren't sexual at all. Some people find that to be true in situations like this, while others don't. But if having other kinds of sex isn't making you happy, but is making you feel more wanting of something you can't have, it's probably wise to at least consider trying that for a while and seeing if it helps or not. I'd also make sure, given her beliefs, that she really is okay with "everything but." If her beliefs are religious, then having other kinds of sex may not really be in alignment with them, either, so I'd be sure that if you two choose to be sexually active in others ways from this point, that she really feels it's alright for her to engage in those activities, too.

I'd say you probably want to see how it goes giving things a little more time.

As time passes, if you two are still together and you really just feel like having a relationship which doesn't include intercourse is a dealbreaker for you, then you may need to think about if staying in this relationship as a romance/sexual relationship is going to work out for the two of you or not. As I mentioned to Steve, this is going to be about what you choose to do: it's not ever okay to try and press someone who doesn't want to have any kind of sex for any reason to do so. Rather, if we want something a partner does not, it's up to us to either stay in the relationship and just accept we can't have that thing or to move on and seek out different relationships where we feel our needs and wants are in greater alignment.

For both of you, I want to reiterate again that it is OKAY to have sexual desires a partner does not, and I'm not nor have ever been of the mind that those desires or a wish to enact them makes a person any less virtuous, noble, caring or devoted. That also means that should either of you feel like you just plain want or need a relationship which includes the sexual activities you want to explore, that doesn't mean you're a bad person, a bad boyfriend or that you don't love the person you're with. It just means you're in a couple where the two people involved don't share the same needs or wants, even if both would really like to, which is something both parties should respect about the other, even if it means an unwanted -- but still positive -- result, like a grand romance or passionate affair which really is a wonderful platonic friendship, or two people wishing each other the very best as they let go so both can seek out relationships which are a better fit for everyone.

I'm leaving you both with a few links I hope will fill in any blanks, and with my best wishes in working out what is best for you, your girlfriends and your relationships.

  • Yield for Pleasure
  • Reciprocity, Reloaded
  • Does Abstinence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
  • Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models
  • The Great No-Orgasm-from-Intercourse Conundrum
  • Potholes & Dead Ends: Relationship Roadblocks to Look Out For
  • Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
  • written 13 Aug 2008 . updated 29 Jan 2014

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