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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » No sex life with boyfriend

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Author Topic: No sex life with boyfriend
Pooky
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My boyfriend and I have been in a sexual rut for almost an entire year. We are in our mid-twenties and have been dating for about two years, have lived together for a year, we don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, and we are in good shape; though its honestly hard for me to even remember when we had a healthy sex life. I posted about this problem nearly nine months ago, and we have been having a sexual disconnect now for over half of the time we've been sexually active.
This problem is largely due to anxiety and nerves on his behalf. He will lose an erection halfway through sex or never even get one during foreplay to start, but in many situations he never initiates sex at all or acts like he has any passion left towards sex. We have talked about this issue many, many times in depth to the point where I feel like I can't even talk about it anymore because I have nothing left to say. We have tried spicing it up, trying new things, new positions, new toys, going slow, other types of stimulation, etc. with no results. He has been to a doctor and he has normal testosterone, he has tried Viagra with no luck, and he even saw a counselor once and never went back. Nothing has changed.
At this point, I feel completely undesirable. We have sex maybe once a week, but often go longer without attempting (almost all of these times I initiate). It makes me really emotional to think that in this past year, I can only recall one single week of somewhat "success" where we had sex three times... and it stands out because it was the ONLY week we had sex more than once in the past year. That was seriously a big deal. Its sad, because even important days like Valentines Day, anniversaries, first major vacations, and our birthdays, we have absolutely no real sexual contact. Its like our relationship is completely devoid of anything substantially physical and I feel scared that this is how it will always be.
I feel truly unsure of what to do. We have had countless conversations about this by now and he always says it is nerves and feeling overwhelmed and stressed about performing. All of these issues have made sex a very negative issue between us, like its hard for either of us to look forward to it because we are afraid what will happen if it fails. I've asked him to suggest specific ways I could help, and I've tried, but we always find that there is no real progress. I also asked him to seek help like therapy and only now after the one year mark of all of these problems is he even considering the idea of seeing a sexual therapist. It makes me feel like he never regarded the situation as serious enough to try and change before. There have been times where I've been really supportive and understanding and other times where I've felt sad and depressed about it, but now I feel hopeless. I'm not sure what else to do. We enjoy each others company, but all of these sexual and physical issues have made the romantic side of our relationship all but disappear.
Has anyone else been through this for this long and come out of it okay in a healthy relationship? I wish I knew what else to do other than talk about it, because we have over and over. I have also tried just stimulating him with oral sex and other ways, which seem to only work half the time, though he never reciprocates. At this point it doesn't even matter to me - I feel like I have little to no sexual desire anymore. I feel like his anxiety towards sex is now affecting me in many ways, because I feel so distracted and detached. I really miss having an intimate connection with him. Any advice would be so appreciated!

[ 09-09-2012, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: Pooky ]

Posts: 48 | From: PA, USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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I am sorry you are still struggling with this, Pooky! I've just read through your old posts and, and before I take a stab at what you've said here, I want to touch on some suggestions we made back then to check whether/how those worked out for you.

Did you step back from attempting intercourse for a while? You mentioned then that you were trying every other day, and we suggested you put a stop to attempts, to lessen the pressure and make intercourse less of a chore. Did you two ever try that?

Did you explore some other sexual activities that you could engage in? You mentioned feeling disconnected, but intercourse is not the only sexual activity that people can engage in to create intimacy and closeness, so I wonder if you two ever tried to find sexual activities that worked well for both of you?

[ 09-09-2012, 01:20 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Pooky
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Thanks! We have stepped back from attempting sex, which is why we only really try once every week or two. We definitely aren't trying every day anymore! He seems like he is almost afraid to make a move now, and avoids the disappointment. I have told him that we could always take a longer hiatus from intercourse if he thought it would help, but that always makes him upset and uncomfortable, and our frequency of attempts now seems like less pressure to both of us. Still, I would like it to be more, but I never bring it up because I know he feels the same way.
We have tried other sexual activities, though they aren't necessarily reciprocated by him. I don't mind these things every once in a while, but doing them constantly feels very one-sided. When I mention that he should try doing different activities to me, like oral sex, he says he doesn't know what he is doing and thus is too afraid to mess it up or ruin the mood. I have tried reassuring him that he won't get better unless he practices, but the argument seems pointless. We do cuddle a lot to try to gain intimacy, kiss, and caress each other, though anything sexual is almost taboo in our relationship (save for that one time a week). Even if sex is successful and everything goes perfectly, he will still wait another week before trying again regardless.

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Heather
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You know, Pooky: a lot more of this sounds like your boyfriend's stuff than your stuff.

Would he be interested in coming to talk to us himself? Or, if not us, to another sex educator?

That said, this also may, at least in part, be an issue of you two simply having very different sexualities, in terms of what activities you each want, and also in terms of frequency.

have you two ever had a conversation about that? In other words, perhaps making clear that it seems you want to have sex much more often than he does, and he wants a lesser frequency, neither things that make anything worng with anyone: just ways we can all be different. Knowing or accepting that, what do each of you think?

Does this even seem, to each of you, like a relationship which makes sense being a sexual one? Do you have enough in common there, or too much that's different?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Claire P.
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Pooky, quick q- does your boyfriend still masturbate, or has he lost interest in that as well?
Posts: 170 | From: Northeast USA | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pooky
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Sorry its been so long, just wanted to update the situation and answer your questions.

Heather: We do have a lot in common for a relationship, I feel like emotionally we connect very well and he is incredibly kind, generous, sweet, funny, intelligent, and interesting. I find him physically attractive even though we have no physical or intimate connection. He has started seeing a sex therapist (last week) after I insisted he go or I couldn't continue this relationship. He claims he does have a high sex drive but is just unsure of himself and anxious.. I don't know. The therapist said the same things that have been said: we should take sex off the table and focus on other activities for now to build up the desire. However, he has never been open or interested in performing other sexual acts so really that doesn't leave us with much. Either way, we haven't had sex since September 8th, so its been about a month now either way. Not much intimate contact at all since then...

Claire: No, he doesn't masturbate anymore either, and neither do I. I have extremely graphic and sexual dreams though recently, often times about me cheating on him. I know, it sounds bad.

Last night we got into a huge fight because we spent the entire day watching love stories and romantic movies together. After about 12 hours of this, he had yet to kiss me longer than five seconds, and it bothered me (I was never the one to pull away). Finally around midnight I confronted him and asked why he didn't even want to make out with me anymore. He said he was planning to do it later and that I was being selfish and impatient to have wanted it sooner. To me, it is incredibly sad and depressing that now he has resorted to "planning out" just kissing me, like its such a big deal. We used to have trouble keeping our hands off each other, and now it feels like I have to beg him to kiss me. I feel so lonely in this relationship and its like he doesn't even understand where I'm coming from. I don't feel like I'm being crazy to want some intimate contact after a day of watching love stories!!

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Robin Lee
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HI Pooky,

I'm sorry to hear that things are still so disappointing and unsatisfying for you.

Just so I understand, were the two of you watching love stories with the intention of heating things up (or were you hoping that watching them would do so)?

Your boyfriend has started with the sex therapist. Is he expressing a desire to change things? Is it possible for the two of yo to see the therapist for some joint sessions to talk about some of your differing expectations and to work out how the therapist's suggestions wil play out in real life?

You mentioned that you don't masturbate. Have you done so in the past? If so, do you think it's something that would help you with some of your sexual frustration?

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Robin

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Pooky
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Here's an update -

After a year and a half, many fights, and months of seeing a sexual therapist, I am sad to say that nothing has changed. Nothing. I feel like no matter how many times I express my feelings to my boyfriend now, it never matters or is important enough to inspire a change in him. We only have sex once a month now, and he makes absolutely no effort to initiate. When we do have sex, it is extremely boring and follows the exact same routine until it is over.

I have started feeling severely depressed in our relationship. I feel like I'm starting to get a shopping addiction to over compensate for the things that I'm missing from my life/relationship. I feel like I've reached a dead end and there is no way to get out. We are scheduled to go to Florida to the beach during spring break on Sunday - I honestly dread it. I feel like nothing will change and we will just bicker at each other the entire time around my family. Just tonight, I was so sad and hopeless I told my boyfriend I just felt like my life was meaningless to him because I feel so alone in our relationship. He patted my back half heartedly for 15 minutes before going to bed. This is a constant pattern in our lives - I feel like the world would freeze over if he ever even sacrificed a few extra minutes to comfort me when I feel like I'm emotionally spiraling out of control. I have no idea what to do.

I know everyone will say just to get out, but it is much more complicated than that. It is so hard because I thought this was the person who I would spend the rest of my life with, and we are very compatible and have almost everything in common besides our horrible sex life. However, I am starting to feel super worthless and undesirable, and I miss even having an ounce of passion or romance in our relationship. I feel like this is a cry for help. I just want to feel like I matter to him for once.

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Robin Lee
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Hi Pooky,

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling so sad and that you're not getting what you need from this relationship.

It sounds like you've done a lot of work on this, and nothing has changed; I can imagine how disappointing that would be.

From what you're describing it sounds like there are more disconnects between the two of you than what you both want out of sex. You describe, for example, that you don't get what you need or want from him emotionally, particularly when you're sad.

You're voicing that you're very compatible, but I'm not hearing a lot of compatibility here. i'm hearing struggle and dissatisfaction.

Wehn you say the two of you are will likely bicker at each other on your vacation, what are you expecting that you'll bicker at each other about? It sounds like the arguing is about more than sex, but I'm not clear on that from what you're saying here.

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Robin

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Pooky
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I think you're right, it doesn't really seem like we are that compatible in many ways anymore, which I hadn't really put too much thought into. I feel like he's not there for me emotionally now, but it hasn't always been that way... it seems like it has slowly disintegrated into this state, and now we both feel such a lack of energy and motivation that its hard to be there for each other when we need it. We fought about it this morning and he says he also feels depressed about our relationship and so he doesn't have much optimism to solve problems, but its been like this for so long that I don't know what was bothering him before.

What I meant about bickering was basically that we will probably be bringing up our sexual/relationship issues constantly, even while we are on vacation. I feel like I have to keep bringing it up because if I don't its almost like he is comfortable letting things slip back into the typical routine of our sexless life (not that talking about it ever changes anything really). We also nitpick at each other more frequently - I think in general we annoy each other more and we don't spend much quality time together or go on dates as this wedge is driven between us. I feel like I've gotten to the point that when we do get physical, it feels really forced and awkward and uncomfortable since we never do that anymore.

Its all really strange to me... when we get along well, we talk about getting engaged later this year and planning a life together. Then I'm quickly reminded that we have literally no sex life anymore and I feel sick thinking about it. I definitely can't live my life this way forever, but don't know what else I can do at this point besides just walk away.

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Robin Lee
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When it comes to making changes that involve more than one person, more than one person needs to be involved in making those changes. It sounds like you and your boyfriend want very different things right now.

You're absolutely entitled to not want to stay in a long-term relationship in which there is no or very little partnered sex, and your boyfriend is absolutely entitled to want or feel able to engage in little or no partnered sex. You're both right--for yourselves--but not for each other, since tthose needs and wants are contradictory.

You've said that constantly bringing up these problems isn't helping. I'm wondering how it would be for you to make a point of not bringing them up while you're on vacation? Since nothing is to be gained by arguing about this, perhaps you can try and see what things would be like if you didn't argue about them? At the very least, you might have a calmer, more enjoyable vacation. [Smile]

In terms of what to do from here, I'm wondering if it would be helpful for you to make a pros and cons list for staying in the relationship versus leaving it. What do you think?

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Robin

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