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Old 03-17-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
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HALP! Lots of stress and lack of sex, but both people want to save the relationship

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I just want to say upfront before I even describe my situation that I don't consider seperation to be an option in this relationship, so if you are going to encourage me to break up with my boyfriend, I'm sure that you have the best intentions, but please don't waste your time.

Now: down to the knitty-gritty. Be warned...this is very long and has some sexual details, but nothing too randy.:D

My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for two years, and we have been living together for the past year and a half. There are many things that are wonderful in our relationship; we are both artists, and we share a creative space and inspire each other all of the time. We support each other completely in all endeavors. For the most part we are able to talk to each other candidly and honestly, and while we have had some very heated discussions or revealed some truths to each other that were painful, we have always been able to talk things out.

For the past six months or so, we have only been having sex once a month or less, sometimes once every two weeks if I'm lucky. As much as I have tried to convince myself that there is so much that is positive about our relationship that the sex should be secondary, this is still a large source of unhappiness for me. Sex is very important to me, because I see it as a celebration of our relationship and a very necessary way of expressing love for one another.

There are many reasons for my boyfriend's lack of sexual appetite:

-two years previous to our meeting he experienced an unfaithful and verbally abusive marriage.
-the next woman he dated was a drug addict and exotic dancer who killed herself, and she was very special to him. He was trying to help her because despite her problems she was a brilliant person, but he learned the hard way that people have to help themselves. To this day he mourns her, as he probably will for many years to come.
-he has just graduated from college, and his experience in school wasn't all that pleasant (this is a major understatement, but it's too much to go into).
-he is currently unemployed, and will need a job very soon.
-he fears getting a job because he wants to be able to make his art.

...And the list goes on. There is a lot of stress in his life right now, and I try to lessen the burden by talking with him about it as much as possible. Sometimes talking it out is the only solution, and like I said, we've always been able to talk about anything, and he tells me that he always feels better afterwards. It is completely understandable that he is overwhelmed, and after what he has been through to be somewhat fearful. But for the first year or so of our relationship we had sex on a regular basis, once a week or more. (Frankly, between my jobs and school, I doubt I'd have time for more than that...but to go without for weeks at a time is frustrating to me.) This lack of sex is a recent developement of the past few months.

When I try to talk about our lack of sex, he naturally is very defensive (who wouldn't be?), and he'll tell me that the reason he doesn't want to have sex is because I put too much pressure on him...but how much can one take? After two or three weeks of no physical intimacy, I'll try to set the mood, but it makes him very uncomfortable. Or, at times when I'm not thinking about sex at all, he'll say, "I'm feeling a lot of pressure from you right now to make love, and it's making me uncomfortable." I will admit that after a couple of weeks I will start to feel rammy and agitated, and not to mention neglected, but I try not to express this because I know that he is going through a lot and I don't want to add to his stress. But if I hold him or kiss him he'll say, "I'm feeling that urgency from you again," and I'll have to end my affections. He tells me that I'm the one who chose to be in a relationship with an artist, and I should understand because I'm an artist, too. He's even said to me that if I want to date some regular guy who will "service me on a regular basis," there are tons of other guys out there. It goes without saying that I find this kind of reply less than satisfactory. He's also told me that I need to let him "take the lead," but after about three weeks I'm tired of waiting.

No matter what I try, nothing works. I've bought fancy underwear, walked around the house in stockings, made him romantic dinner... I even started working out a few months ago to get rid of excess nervous energy (from the lack of sex, of course), and I've gained lots of muscle and grace from doing yoga. And guess what? Every single friend, family member, and aquaintance has noticed and commented on how different and nice I look... but he doesn't seem to really notice at all. He says that I'm beautiful, but he doesn't have that passion for my body that he used to.

The other day I was at a loss for what to do and I looked through the porn on his computer in a moment of desperation to see if maybe there was a secret desire he had or something that he wasn't sharing with me. I know that this was probably the wrong thing to do, but I figured it was for a good cause. I have no problem with the fact that he looks at porn because I understand that having a personal sexual relationship with yourself is just as important as a healthy sexual relationship with one's partner, if not moreso. But my issue is that he masturbates quite a lot--so much that he has often chafed his poor weeny--so our lack of sex certainly isn't due to a lack of libido. His porn collection was pretty run-of-the-mill and I discovered that I had nothing to worry about in that department. But since he likes watching it I suggested that maybe we watch an adult movie together sometime to set the mood, but this was also shaken off.

Then when we do have sex, he'll initiate it by saying, "I can't go on like this much longer. We're going to need sex at some point, so we might as well do it now." This is upsetting to me because I feel like it's something that he has to succumb to or something that I'm forcing him into, and even though he seems to really like it, his initial behavior makes me question myself throughout the act. I wonder if I pressured him into doing it, or if I'm an over-sexual person. I ask him afterwards if it was okay, and he'll say, "I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to," but there's still the question in the back of my mind.

I'm finding that I feel a lot of anger and resentment throughout my day, and I think this is where it's stemming from. The major things I want to know are: how can I let him "take the lead," while not feeling neglected or helpless? What is the best way to approach this topic so that he doesn't feel defensive? How can I make him feel comfortable with me sexually again? Has anyone else had success with this kind of problem? Please share with me how you overcame this kind of sensitive hardship. If you've read this far, then thank you. :)

Meanwhile, I'm trying to focus on doing fun things with my boyfriend. Today we went for a walk to a scenic spot and brought a thermos of tea with us, and tonight we're soldering together wires for his recording studio. I just want him to know that I love him so much, and I want him to feel secure first and foremost that I'm not going to leave him. I know that's a major fear of his, and it only adds pressure.

Last edited by Moderator BAC; 03-18-2008 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Do not be condescending in your posts. Thank you!

 
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:23 AM   #2
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Re: HALP! Lots of stress and lack of sex, but both people want to save the relationsh

If you REALLY want to stay in this relationship, then accept that the sex is probably always going to be a problem for you. I don't know of many men who couldn't feel desire for this long unless there was something quite wrong. Not just external stress factors. The question that springs to mind is "Why the last six months?" Surely all these factors were in place from the beginning of your relationship? What was the trigger then? All his excuses sound to me as if he just plain isn't into you enough. You have covered all the bases, and he is also doing a good job of making you responsible for the whole problem. "It's your fault, you are pressuring me"; "You chose me, so put up with it". Do you really want to live this way? He will not change for you, if he wanted to, he would have made the effort by now. That "fear of you leaving" sounds like a huge smokescreen, so that the inevitable breakup will then be all YOUR fault. You are being manipulated by a master. Take this from one who knows. Sera

 
Old 03-18-2008, 05:36 AM   #3
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Re: HALP! Lots of stress and lack of sex, but both people want to save the relationsh

I really have to agree with Seraph on this one. You said separating is not an option, so the only other option you have is to accept that he is happy with the way things are despite the fact that you are not. It seems he would rather put the blame of his lack of wanting sex on you rather than find a way to deal with it as a couple. The thing that really gets me is that he will masterbate to porn to the point that he is chafed, but he feels "pressured" into sex with you once a month. I mean, I know my husband watches his porn on occasion to, but he would rather watch together than alone and masterbating. But I guess everyone is different.

The way I see it you have tried everything you can from your end and he is refusing to even meet you somewhere in the middle. He is happy and therefore he doesn't see a problem. I see this as the "theme" to your relationship for years to come. If you want to continue on with him then you are going to have to accept that your feelings and needs will always play a distant second to his. Personally, I wouldn't be able to be with a man who felt that way about my feelings and needs, but again, everyone is different.

 
Old 03-18-2008, 05:50 AM   #4
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Re: HALP! Lots of stress and lack of sex, but both people want to save the relationsh

I think that maybe you should let him read your post or write him a letter spelling out all of your feelings. If he doesn't at least make an effort after knowing for sure, in no uncertain terms how you feel, then you have your answer.....since you won't leave him, you'll have to live with it.

You are a perfectly normal woman who wants a perfectly normal relationship, you are not asking for too much. You have done everything that you can. This is his problem (although he is making it your problem) and there isn't anything that you can do about it. The ball is in his court. He needs to show you some kind of willingness to try even if it is to see a doctor to find out if he is depressed or some other problem.

 
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