Savage Love: The Relationship Is Lovely and Loving But Entirely Sexless and Can You Guess What Dan’s Advice Will Be?

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by Dan Savage

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I don’t consider myself a hypersexual person but I do want a sexual relationship. My current boyfriend I have been with for about eight years and I love him deeply. He is my best friend. But he hasn’t been in the mood for any sexual encounters (including just making out) for over a year. It started as a relatively slow decline probably about three years ago. I would try to initiate something but more often than not be rejected. Three years ago we were having sex maybe four times a year, then last year more like two times, and this year nothing at all. I’ve stopped trying to initiate as much but I will about once a month but I was rejected the last 12-15 times I tried. I love him but for personal fulfillment purposes I need a sexual relationship and I’m absolutely not looking to cheat. I’m in my early twenties and I’m a fit and healthy but maybe he’s just not attracted to me anymore? Or he’s bored? But he still says all the sweet things he used to. It’s just that it feels like I’m back in college living with a roommate and not a boyfriend. IDK what to do. I’ve brought the subject up before but it’s not something he likes to discuss so I feel like the subject is pretty much off limits at this point. He says he only wants to be with me and I don’t feel like he’s cheating. He’s just, IDK, not that into me? But still loves me? Maybe? How do I navigate this?

Sexual Connection Absent, Relationship Entirely Delightful

You ask yourself if you can take another twenty or thirty years of this—decades of rejection, decades of feeling unwanted, decades of sexual frustration—and then break the fuck up with this guy, nice as he is, because you need a sexual relationship for personal fulfillment purposes and he isn’t willing or able to meet your sexual needs.

It would be one thing if he could talk with you about this—about the central problem in your relationship—but he’s managed to convince you that any discussion about the collapse of your sexual relationship is “off limits.” If we were talking about his relationship with his siblings or a comic book collection stuffed in a storage unit somewhere, sure, he could declare the subject off limits, none of your business, etc. But you’re in a monogamous relationship with him and this topic—your shared sex life—involves you intimately and you have every right to raise the subject.

And it’s fine if he’s not as sexual as you are or he’s asexual, SCARED, but if the reasonable assumptions you made at the start of the relationship and/or the explicit promises you made each other at the start—that he would be your exclusive sex partner, that you would be his exclusive sex partner—are no longer operative, SCARED, then you’ll have to hammer out a mutually agreeable compromise/accommodation. And that requires discussion. If he doesn’t want sex as often as you do, perhaps he could hold you/engage with you while you masturbate. But if he’s no longer interested in sex with you at all—if he’s incapable of meeting your reasonable sexual needs—then you’ll need his permission to get them met elsewhere if you’re going to remain together. If it’s something else—if he’s struggling with depression or or experiencing erectile problems—then he needs to explain what proactive steps he’s taking to work on his mental and/or physical health and let you know roughly when you can expect to see a light/cock at the end of the/your tunnel.

You say you’re in your early twenties and you’ve been with this guy for eight years—so you’ve been with him since high school. So it’s possible your relationship has simply run its course. You share a long history and the relationship is loving (still) and low-conflict (for now)—it sounds like there’s real affection here—buy you don’t have to hate someone to break up with them. It’s possible to love someone before, during, and after a breakup. The ability to recognize when a good relationship has run its course and to end it before it gets ugly—before you cheat on him in desperation, for instance, or engineer some other conflict so you can get out—is an important life skill, SCARED, on that will serve you well in your future relationships.

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Listen to my podcast, the Savage Lovecast, at www.savagelovecast.com.

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