The Guide to
Getting It On


I love sex, but my boyfriend isn't as enthusiastic

Dear Paul,

I love sex, but my boyfriend isn't... well, as enthusiastic. We've been together for 2 years now and it's always been this way - even when we first started dating. He says he has always been like this. We have sex... usually once every 3 weeks. And it's almost always the same: not very interesting. We definitely have had some great sex, but it's few and far between. He has never been big on foreplay (especially on giving me oral pleasure--in fact, I haven't had any in at least 9 months!). I am very open about sex and love to experiment and talk about it. I think it's very important to a healthy relationship. We've talked about it a lot. But he doesn't like to talk about it, he HATES it when I ask him to do a specific thing while we're making love. So I constantly feel as if I have to tiptoe around making sure not to irritate him, but trying to get him in the mood. We have a very strong relationship and we both love each other very much. I would never leave him over something like this, but at the same time, something's going to have to change! I'm losing it here! Not to mention it's not helping my self-confidence much. Part of what's so wonderful about being a woman is having the ability to seduce men. Not being able to do that to my own boyfriend... I'm sure you can imagine. He says it really bothers him that he' like this, and he's working on it. It's difficult for me though, because he doesn't do anything physically to work on it, and he doesn't talk to me about it, so the only thing I can imagine he's doing is thinking about it. I seriously doubt that he'll be willing to see a counselor... I even tried giving him "The Guide" - definitely didn't take to that well! So basically I have to sit and wait.



Dear F,

First, I need to apologize to my readers at the Daily. This makes two columns in a row where I've thrown psychobabble at you. I promise that next week I'll get with it and give you something to chuckle over.

As for Frustrated, I'm a little fascinated that you say "one of the wonderful things about being a woman is having the ability to seduce men" yet you have chosen a man who is unable to be seduced. The psychoanalyst in me may still be on summer vacation, but not on Mars or Jupiter.

So, my first question is, what are you trying to address within yourself by having a relationship with a man who you can't keep aroused?

Mind you, I've never seen a relationship that was free from our mind's tendency to reenact past hurt and failure. Some psychologists view this the hope to "finally get it right this time." The trouble is, our partners are doing the same with us, and plenty of times we get locked into hopeless struggles rather than being able to help each other to grow and evolve.

So here you are, falling into a role with your boyfriend where you feel sexually ineffective and he disappears sexually. How do the two of you fix this mess? Can you fix this mess?

From knowing about his history or family, do you have any clues about why he might have to always keep his sexual appetite on the back burner? What's so dangerous about sexual passion for him? Why does he need to keep his sexual excitement hidden from you, and perhaps from himself?

One image I have is of Ulysses, having his men wear earplugs so they can safely row past the seductive call of the Sirens while he is tied to the mast of his ship. Perhaps your boyfriend is fascinated by your seductiveness, but fears you are like the Sirens and will destroy him if he surrenders to your call.

At the same time, it might be possible that you are more like the sirens than you think--a wee bit overwhelming. So you keep calling louder, and he keeps resisting harder. Or maybe he is simply the perfect person to act the out disapproving or rejecting voices from your past...

What I'm trying to do is to find some way to shake up the psychic stalemate that you and he are in. Fortunately, you are in a good position to be able to help each other to resolve the problems that you are bringing into this relationship. The trouble is, when couples resolve issues like this, the amount of emotional closeness in the relationship will increase substantially. And most of us, regardless of how much we claim to want more intimacy, tend to avoid it like the plague.

A more traditional approach to the problem you write about is to focus on your boyfriend. For instance, what happens if you gently caress his back or thighs? Is there is a threshold of physical closeness beneath which he is fine, but when the excitement reaches a certain level, everything needs to be shut down? Are you able to masturbate together? Do you take showers together?

The goal would be to help him safely increase his capacity for sexual excitement, just as you are currently trying to do. But that would imply the problem is all his, and I've never seen a relationship where the problem fell on the shoulders--or in the pants--of only one partner. On the other hand, you and not he is asking for help, and I've never seen a relationship get fixed when only one partner was willing to try.

©2007 by Paul Joannides

Related Issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Relationship, Sexuality
Relationship, Sexuality

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In America, sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it is a fact. - Marlene Dietrich

Paul Joannides is the author of the Guide To Getting It On!--the Universe's Coolest and Most Informative Book On Sex. You can contact him at by clicking on the cover of the Guide that appears on his web site. All columns are the property of Paul Joannides and Goofy Foot Press

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