Sex Talk

My boyfriend doesn't get into sex

Question from a female sophomore at student at Michigan State University: I feel that my boyfriend doesn't get into sex, or isn't turned on. What can I do to make it better?

Dr. Caron's Answer: What do you want to do? It sounds to me like you may have a fine platonic relationship. One where you enjoy being with this person, but you do not share sexual experiences. How does your boyfriend feel about this? Is this something he is happy with? I suggest you sit down together and discuss the relationship openly and see if you are in agreement.

It might be important to examine if your perception of his lack of interest has been this way all along, or if this is something that you see as a more recent change? That may help guide the conversation you have with him. If he refuses to talk about it, you'll have to think about your own needs and options. For example, is it worth it to stay in a relationship that is not meeting your needs?

I am interested to know if you have been together for quite awhile and this is something that you have observed over time. If so, it is important to recognize that anything that is routine, which happens over and over again in the same exact way, becomes boring or stale. Even sex. If that is your situation, you may want to talk about how you might spice up the relationship: changing your positions, places, and times; adding little surprises; doing the things that used to turn you on which have now fallen to the side. It's important to find ways to vary your experiences - this means communicating and negotiating with your partner.

Finally, recognize that loving relationships thrive on mutual respect. I am not sure that you can make anybody feel turned on and interested because you're feeling turned on and interested. Generally, "turn-ons" for men include caring, touch, shared feelings, and the interest in mutual respect. Best wishes.

© 2009, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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