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You Asked: My Boyfriend Won't Have Sex With Me

You Asked: My Boyfriend Won't Have Sex With Me

Dear Sugar,

I really don't know what to do. I have been in a relationship for two years and we've been living together for a year and a half. I'm 24 and my boyfriend is 34. A year ago he lost his job as a result of downsizing, and he spiraled into a depression. I stuck by him, supported him financially, and tried to get him out of his funk. I did this at the expense of a lot of my own goals and ambitions.

Shortly after he lost his job, his sex drive dropped significantly. Three
months later, we stopped having sex completely, despite my attempts. He got another job three months ago, but we still haven't had sex. I assumed it would get better once he got back on his feet, but it hasn't and I'm going crazy!

He has no interest in sex, refuses to talk about it, and refuses to go to therapy. Meanwhile, I am finding myself more and more attracted to a co-worker, who I know is interested in me too.

I love my boyfriend, and despite everything, he is a very nice guy
who has always been sweet and treated me with respect. We laugh and otherwise have a great relationship, but the bottom line is I need sex. Is it okay to leave an otherwise-okay relationship because of no sex?

—Wanting Some Action Anna

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Wanting Some Action Anna,

I can hear your frustration Anna. Your boyfriend is the only person you get to have sex with (that is if you remain faithful), and if he's not wanting to share that kind of intimacy with you (and not even willing to talk about it), then he's going to end up with one very sexually frustrated girlfriend. I don't blame you for letting your eyes wander. You're way too young to be in a relationship where you're not getting everything you want and need.

I do understand where your guy is coming from though. Men have this idea that they should be able to support their girlfriend financially. They want to feel like your rock and when he lost his job, he lost the ability to take care of you in that way. Sex was probably the last thing on his mind, which is understandable, and now that he's found a job, I bet he's waiting till he feels a little bit more secure. Once that happens, he'll feel happier about himself, more confident, and more in the mood for love.

How long could that take is the million dollar question here. You've already been beyond patient, so it's time for a big chat with your man. Explain that you love him, that you understand what he's been through, but you need that intimate connection that you've been missing. I'm sure that should get him to start talking, and with open communication, you're on your way to a better sex life. I wouldn't wait too long - relationships are all about give and take so if things don't change soon, it's time to seek out what you desire.


princess_eab princess_eab 10 years
Wow, 9 months would be a long time!! I agree, there's no sense in walking out on an otherwise fantastic relationship, but in my experience the no sex thing starts to chip away at other parts of the relationship somewhat more quickly than expected. It's part of perceived affection.... talk to him seriously and have him understand the stakes (not an ultimatum, exactly, though). I hope he'll be willing to work on the problem (because IMO it IS a problem).
girodet girodet 10 years
I agree it’s time to get tough with him. Tell him what you want and if he is still unwilling, you need to get out. Rereading this, it sounds like it has been 9 months since they were intimate. It has also been 3 months of him having a job. You have given him plenty of time. I’m tempted to think his ego and self-esteem was just too damaged by having you support him and he is unwilling to let it go. You have sacrificed enough.
jennaboa jennaboa 10 years
I agree with Dear, too, to an extent. I was in the same situation nearly five years ago: Great guy, were together about two years and lived together. Then he got depressed about something and we stopped having sex. I tried talking to him about it and asked whether he wanted to try couples therapy, but he was very resistant to that and only wanted to mope and be manorexic and sleep. I finally ended up storming out of the apartment one day because I was so sexually frustrated and realized that I was wasting my time on a man who had become completely self-absorbed with his problems and was doing nothing to fix them. Being there for someone only works so much, and sometimes it seems to be aiding and abetting in their depression. Sometimes, you really do just have to cut bait.
lemassabielle lemassabielle 10 years
I was just saying that when your in a relationship you don't instantly want to leave them for another guy at work because you aren't getting sex. That just seems a little heartless to me. I think he is just depressed and leaving him is not going to solve the problem. She stated she really loves the guy, sex will eventually come back. If she is sexually frustrated it's called pleasing yourself and let the guy go get some help for himself.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 10 years
Clinical Depression can cause low Seratonin levels. Seratonin is a neurotransmitters synthesized in the central nervous system, it is believe to regulate anger, body temp, agression, mood, sleep,sexuality and appetite. Low levels may lead to and or caused by depression, OCD, IBS, Migraines ETC. Anti Depressants can help regulate seratonin levels. I know that when i was depressed i didnt want to have sex, chemically i was a eunich. I took medication, changed my diet, exercised more and it came back.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
Heres my question. Are you constantly pressuring him even though you know this isn't easy for him? If you are, that is where part of the problem lies. The more you pressure someone about something, especially subjects like this, the more they close up. You have to give the guy space to figure out why he has lost his drive. It could be physical, mental, or a combo of the two. If you have been gentle and thoughtful, that's another case entirely. If you want to salvage this relationship, sit down with him and have the discussion Dear suggested. Make sure to use "I" statements. Hopefully with sincerity he will open up to you. But please don't expect it to change overnight. Take it slow and start with hand holding and cuddling. Then move things along to heavy petting without the pressure to have sex. Eventually, if you are both trying hard, things will get back to normal. However, if you are completely checked out emotionally then you might have to end things. He seems like a good guy and I would give it one more chance.
Jeng112 Jeng112 10 years
Wow..some really harsh comments. I thinkhe may be suffering from depression. Low libido is a tell tale sign.
sogracefully sogracefully 10 years
princess, marriage counselors certainly do not tell people they have to have sex any specific number of times or specific frequency. that's total BS, unethical, and unhelpful.
princess_eab princess_eab 10 years
Prada, you seem a bit harsh. Don't you think it's natural for someone her age to feel sexually frustrated by this? Her boyfriend won't even discuss it. That, to me, is the biggest problem-- he's not acknowledging there IS a problem. Marriage counselors tell couples not to go a week without doing it-- here they are going on three months! Don't call the OP a slut or commitment-weak, because sex is an important part of intimacy. Obviously she's not going to just walk out, but he needs to at least discuss it with her. Three months with no sex and no explanation is really hard on a relationship!!
KrissyThePirate KrissyThePirate 10 years
Here, here lilprincess, I couldn't agree with you more.
lilprincess lilprincess 10 years
ABSOLUTELY. Sex is a very important part of a relationship. If not for the physical part, then for the emotional intimacy it brings. Sex with someone you love and care about is a very emotional thing and can bring you two closer together. Like some other posters have said, right now, all you are is essentially friends. In my last relationship, it got to the point where we were barely having sex. I'm a very sexual person and eventually it got to the point where that wasn't working for me anymore (although, in my case, there were other problems also.) But the point is that you aren't happy and you should be. If you aren't getting everything you want and need out of a relationship, then move on. Life is too short to be in a 'ok' relationship. Why not be in a great relationship, emotionally and sexually? It's out there! You need to talk to him and be honest. You need more out of a relationship and he just can't give you that right now. Tell him that you will continue to be there for him as a friend, but that this situation just isn't fair to you. Good luck!!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 10 years
If he refuses to work towards remedying the situation then get going. Asking for permission to leave a relationship is silly for the fact that you don't owe anyone a relationship and are free to do as you please. P.S. Never leave a relationship for someone else, do it for you.
sass317 sass317 10 years
IMO, in a relationship, if both of you are sexually active (neither of you are waiting for marriage, which obviously neither of you are) and you arent having sex, then you are basically just friends. Right now you have a roommate that you share a bed with, been there, its depressing and awful for your self esteem. Seems like you have tried to talk to him without any success- if you decide to end it, I would suggest at least making it clear to him why you are leaving, "I love you, but I need physical intimacy, we dont have that anymore" maybe you can at least be friends, bc right now, other than the fact that you are sharing a bed, youre just already friends already anyway.
lemassabielle lemassabielle 10 years
Sex isn't everything. The fact that you can't get through this problem with your boyfriend speaks volumes. Relationships are about growth and support. He is obviously going through something and doesn't seem to be having an affair. I don't think it's fair that you are thinking about dumping him over sex. You can always get sex back but you sound like you have a great guy here who your willing to miss out on just so you can go have sex with who ever? seems kind of odd. I say tell him that you are ready to walk out if this problem isn't resolved. Tell him sex is something you need and you can't feel a bond without it.
Marci Marci 10 years
I also agree with Dear. Talk to him about it, and don't put it off. You are WAY too young to be living like a monk. If he's not interested in having sex with you, then you may as well end the relationship because that's part of being a couple. And believe me; someone else will be more than happy to have sex with you! :)
elmendoa elmendoa 10 years
i agree with dear sugar. example: my bf and i are doing the long distance thing and he just bought a house so is financially stretched for cash. i bought him a plane ticket to visit me, and you can TELL that it bothers him that i had to pay because he couldn't. unfortunately, the emotional aspect of men supporting women still very much exist. my advice would be to let him buy you all of your meals. maybe asking him to take you on vacation or something. make sure he knows that you need him, just like he needed you for so long. my boyfriends favorite line is: "no, let me, i am the man and i am supposed to take care of you" then, of course, i point out everything wrong w that statement, but in the end i can tell he enjoys i just let him have it. haha. good luck.
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