Today's question: I have a great new boyfriend and although it’s only been six months, we’ve really connected and I know what direction the relationship seems to be heading. The only problem is the bedroom, where everything has been terrible. I consider myself adventuresome sexually and from what I’ve been told or read I have a high libido. I consider sex to be a very important part of any successful relationship and previously could never have imagined that I would be in relationship where the sex was anything less than amazing. I’m sure I’ve been spoiled in the past. When I think about it I feel ashamed that I could be so critical and seemingly shallow to a man that has said he loves me when I may be starting to feel the same way.
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The first thing that I want to ask you is what the problem is, exactly. If he doesn’t seem to have the sexual information or skills that your other partners had, it’s pretty easy to read a book, watch a how-to movie, or check out a website. In many places, you can even take a workshop. After all, nobody is born knowing anything about sex, so we all have to learn it somewhere. Suggesting that the two of you read a book or watch a movie together can be a good way to gently make it work. Or you can leave the book somewhere like on a bedside table, where he can find it.
If what’s going on is that the two of you have different desires or fantasies (like if you want one type of sex and he prefers another), then you’re going to need to sit down with him and put that all on the table. One good way to bring things up is to try to avoid complaining. Instead of saying, “Why do you keep doing that?”, tell him something like, “I’d really like it if you would . . . " When you present it as a statement of what you want instead of a complaint or criticism, he’ll be more likely to be able to hear it.
When you do, you might be able to find ways to overlap your interests. “I’ll do what you like if you do what I like.” That means that the two of you need to be pretty honest about your sexual wants and likes. If that’s sounding tricky, try using a yes/no/maybe list. It can be a really good way to discover where things match up and where they don’t. If he’s not willing to budge, then it’s time for you to decide whether this is a deal-breaker or not. That’s not something that anyone else can answer for you.
There’s also the possibility that he simply has a lower sex drive than you do. Some people choose to get into creative masturbation. Some people explore open relationships. Some couples have sex where the person with more interest is the focus of it most of the time. Some couples break up. I don’t think it always has to be an either/or, but I also don’t think you’re necessarily shallow if you’re not getting what you want.
The question is whether the two of you can talk about what’s going on for each of you and why, whether you can hear what the other one says, and then look for a solution. But whatever happens, try to avoid turning it into a right/wrong situation. That almost never works. While sex might not be the only indicator of a good relationship, it’s pretty important to a lot of people. So there’s no reason to be ashamed because you’re not getting what you want. Instead, you both need to be able to talk about the situation without blaming or attacking each other. If you need some tips for that, check out this site for some really helpful ideas.