Dear Richard: No Sex In The City
My boyfriend and I have been together for about three years now, and I would say that our relationship is mostly good. We are in love, we are best friends, and share the same values. The problem is that we haven't had sex in several months. Nothing at all. He used to be the primary initiator, but when things started slowing up I tried to take on the roll and he hasn't seemed to have much interest. He says the problem isn't me, but we never really talk about it.
I'm as sure as I can be that he's not cheating. We live together and have access to one another's emails, but that's not even the point. I've had guys cheat on me in the past and a part of me always knew something was going on. That isn't the case here, but I can't figure out what is wrong.
I'm getting desperate. I don't want to end things, but I can't live without sex, and I'm not going to cheat. I don't know what to do. Can you help me with this?
No Sex in the City
Dear No Sex,
This sometimes happens in relationships, and it doesn't mean this is the end. There can be a lot of reasons why a guy's sex drive lessens: age, stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, side effects to medications, etc.. While Dear Richard doesn't personally know you, it's safe to assume that if your man was normally the sex initiator, then chances are good that what's happening is primarily his issue; even if it stems from a problem he's having with you, the problem still starts in his head. He may also be feeling guilty or blaming himself for not being able to satisfy you, because even if you don't talk about it he certainly knows you guys aren't having sex, and that can add to the stressors that are halting his horniness. So the task falls on you to initiate the healing process.
Take some time to consider every element of the relationship and see if something changed around the time you guys stopped hitting it. Did he lose his job, have to assume more responsibilities, or start taking a new medication? If you suspect the cause, it can help you approach him from a sympathetic standpoint. However, whether or not you find one isn't the solution. You have to talk about this.
Look, you can't hope things will get better, because they won't without your joint involvement. You have to work on them, and the key to that is being as open about your sex life with one another as you are with every other aspect of your relationship. Tell him you love him. Let him know he turns you on. And then make it clear that the lack of sex may be frustrating, but not knowing why it's happening is what's really wearing on your relationship. Let him know you love him and want to find a solution, but you can't find it without his help and support.
You guys should also be open to seeing a therapist. Many couples do, both for short and long periods, and it doesn't mean their relationship is weak or bad or "less than" anyone else's. Some people just need a third party to help them communicate, discover roadblocks and work past them. There should be no shame in talking with someone about your situation if that's all it takes to help get you back to a good place with each other.
And whatever you do, don't start wondering if he wants an open relationship, or if you're not sexy enough to satisfy him, or any other imagined scenario. It's a waste of your time. Those may be considerations down the line, but until you guys talk and figure out what the actual problem is you can't start dealing with those complexities.
Again, this isn't the end, but it is time to take charge of your relationship by opening a dialogue. Only from there can a solution be found.
Dear Richard has been away for a while, but he's back and better than ever!
Just so's you know, D.R. is not a medical doctor, a licensed psychiatrist, a counselor, a reverend, or a rabbi. He has not been evaluated by the FDA, the CDC, or the BBC, and his words are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The information is for educational purposes only and it not intended to serve as medical advice. You try this stuff out, you do it of your own free will.
Dear Richard does, however, love hearing from you and answering your questions. Leave a comment or send him an e-mail.