I never get to sleep with my boyfriend!
My boyfriend and I started out polyamorous and have been for 4 years. He always said "If you ever want to be monogamous, we can do that." Recently, I said "Let's be monogamous for a while, I'm having trouble dealing with my jealousy." Which began a huge argument.
The problem is, he has problems with sex. It's always been difficult for us to have a sexual relationship because he doesn't initiate sex, is never dominant, and had really bad experiences with past girlfriends and was even abused by a stranger one night while a cop just watched across the street and didn't help. Since the beginning, we have had many ongoing periods of celibacy.
In the last year, we just don't sleep together. It's been 1-4 times a month at most. It has become especially bad because he developed a nasty rash on his penis and balls and feels really self-conscious. Many times before, he has let me know that he was having trouble and could I not touch him or ask him for sex until he says it's ok, which I have agreed to. He never really makes it clear for me when it is ok again which is part of our problem.
The last two or three weeks were one of those times when he was feeling bad. After trying to wait patiently for so long, I broke down crying. When he was confused about why I was upset, he told me he thought he had let me know it was ok for me to initiate sex again because we had had sex a few days before (I thought it was just a one time thing and he thought that was saying "Ok, I'm fine now" without actually saying it).
So then, his reason for wanting to remain poly is that he doesn't want to hold me back from having sex and doesn't want to feel pressured to "take care of me" in that way. I am feeling SUPER jealous because our arrangement is so that we can both sleep with other people, but the thought of him with someone else fills me with feelings of inadequacy, rage, and helplessness. I feel not feminine enough (especially since he is very feminine and so are his girl friends), not sexy enough, just not enough.
When he does finally initiate sex, I feel like it's "now or never" and sometimes just force myself to do it even if I don't want to. I hate the pressure. Sometimes (very rarely) he'll just roll over in bed and poke me with his erection and I get so disgusted with him because he's not willing after all that time to take the time to seduce me. I've started to resent him when he jacks-off (which I never had a problem with before) because I feel like he's taking an opportunity away from me.
If I am allowed to sleep with other people, he should be too, right? But I feel like I am being forced into an agreement where he can sleep with others INSTEAD of me and I HAVE to seek people outside of the relationship to get my sexual needs met. It's not fun for me to sleep with other people anymore because we don't want each other to get emotionally attached and feel feelings of love towards people outside our relationship, but I feel cheap when I can't have a deep connection with the person I am being intimate with. I see sex as a sacred act and I feel like I'm not allowed to when I'm with others. I have to treat it cheaply when I'm with someone else, otherwise I'm betraying my boyfriend whom I love.
I am getting really depressed about this. I need sex but feel so guilty when I look at other men. We were talking marriage for so long, and now I don't know how it can work without me having a second boyfriend who I'm allowed to love. Again, that is outside our "comfort zone" or agreed-upon "boundaries".
I don't want to lose my boyfriend, he is my intellectual friend, my buddy, my companion to travel through life with. I love him so much. But this is so unhealthy to my psyche. I feel like I either have to sacrifice my morals and just do it with whoever (which just makes me feel disgusting to even think about), pressure my boyfriend constantly (which is awful because I respect him and wouldn't want that for either of us), or throw away my beautiful relationship because I need sex.
Oh, also, he doesn't want to be monogamous because he thinks that means he's not allowed to have friends especially since he usually has woman friends and he said he'd probably be jealous of me having friends because I usually have guy friends. I feel like my safety blanket has been ripped away and that I'm never going to be able to be monogamous with him.
I've suggested counseling (although we barely have the money to eat and have bills in collections) but he's so reluctant to even discuss it as an option.
Please help, I feel like we're falling apart.
Dear Sandy, I totally understand what you are saying. My jaw dropped when I was reading your story because I am in quite a similar situation. My boyfriend wants a lot less sex than me and often rejects me in bed. He doesn't want to sleep with other people, but I have developed strong desires for others and therefore we are thinking about becoming polyamorous.
I don't have a solution right now for you, as I am also struggling in this new field that my boyfriend and I are exploring. But I suggest talking to your boyfriend and finding a way to make sex less pressuring for him and yourself. I am trying to find ways for this as well, so I would like to hear what other people have to say. I can understand your feelings of jealousy, it would be interesting to talk to him about it openly and show your vulnerability.
I'm having a hard time seeing how you and your boyfriend have been "polyamorous and have been for 4 years". You talked about how you don't want to just have sexual relationships with no emotional connection, and how you've treated sex with others "cheaply" so as to not "betray" your boyfriend. Polyamory is about having emotional connections as opposed to "casual" sex or "swinging" with no strings and no emotional attachment/connection. Have the two of you really explored what it is to be polyamorous?? Did you not anticipate jealousy coming up? There's lots of resources on this site for such an exploration, but I'm not certain that what the two of you are debating is whether or not to have a polyamorous relationship as much as whether or not to have an "open" relationship or "swinging". Perhaps I'm totally misunderstanding your situation???:confused:
Has he had that rash checked out and do you know what it is? I wouldn't want to fuck him if I didn't know what that was, or that I couldn't be infected, too!
I agree that your situation does not sound like polyamory. How old are you all? It sounds like there is a lack of experience in relationships, communicating, and being respectful. Seems like a lot of drama and not a great deal of maturity, I am sorry to say.
But the biggest, most glaring question that came to me while reading your story is: Why do you want to stay with him?
Hmm. Hi Sandy.
As another male, I can tell that your boyfriend has problems with sex. He is likely ashamed and embarrassed about it, so doesn't communicate very well with you (hence the mixed signals) and is really making his problem your problem.
I been there once, after my first marriage broke up. It affected me sexually for a while, but I got better.
Honey, don't ever think you are not enough. It is your guy that THINKS HE is not enough but is trying to hide that from you. He is enough, because everybody is enough, sex is about communication, good performance comes from losing yourself in what you are doing!
When he is ignoring you sexually for long periods it is because he doesn't want to test himself because of fear of failure. When he is suddenly prodding you in the back and wants to do it right then and there it is because he is afraid he is going to lose that erection if he doesn't do it straight away.
I doubt there is very much going on with these other girlfriends. They are all beautiful you say? That's his way of making himself feel virile, desirable. His "polyamory" is in my opinion a way of spreading his problem out and hiding it.
I think he may need therapy to get over this. He is kind of using coping mechanisms.
The abuse episode may be at the root of this or is certainly not helping.
I hope you can get him to open up to you with straight talking.
Ach, I could write a book on this subject of differing desire/libidos. I was in a long mono relationship with a man (34 years, I am now 55). We broke up in '08, and I met my current gf in early '09, and we are poly. In both relationships I've had to deal with this issue... a lot. I've been on both sides of the equation, the less horny and the more horny.
But as to your specific questions and concerns:
Is is possible he is gay or bi and has not come to terms with it? You said he is effeminate. Of course, there are plenty of straight femme men, but I am just wondering...
As for how to deal currently with your higher libido, how can you feel more satisfied while still being with him? Since my libido is higher than my gf''s, I do need to masturbate to feel relief from that pressure. Of course, being poly means I can go get laid by another person, but in the last year or so, I've changed my standards of whom to date/shag, and therefore haven't had that option as often as I used to.
So... masturbating when you've got a hot partner you wish you were sexing can feel very sad. One way my gf and I deal with it is, she never minds when I have to jill off, and quite often she "helps" me to do it, by embracing me, or touching my breasts or doing various other things, with the understanding I don't touch her erogenous zones when that is going on. It's OK if I kiss her, or touch her shoulders, or hips, or belly.
I agree with the others that what you two have going on is not polyamory, since you are both afraid of the other getting emotionally entangled with others, even to the point of being jealous of each others' platonic friends. I'd suggest being brutally honest and having lots of long thinks and talks about jealousy. Reading here, searching for jealousy in the thread tags, should help you a lot. I think almost all of us have had to work through this, with varying degrees of success.
Lots of thoughts here that all could be really useful. Here is my .02 cents.
I think that you need to put the poly aside for now and really work on this. This means no other partners, just the two of you. This has really gotten off track it seems.
I would suggest he find out what the rash is, get something for it or at least a course of action and start using condoms to protect you. This if it is not happening already.
Then I think you would have a romantic date once a week for as long as it takes. No pressure to have sex at all, but with the understanding that cuddling and touching is where it will end before you fall asleep. You can go for a walk and hold hands, dress up and go for a romantic dinner. Go to a lingerie store and try on some things for him. Whatever you both think of to do that will bring you closer. After a time I would just let it happen.
This could take a very long time, but with the relief of not having other partners to think about and with the concentration on just each other in a way that is loving and romantic, it could turn around with time and patience.
I think sex holds a lot of pressure for people and it really shouldn't. Somehow there is this notion that if you don't look like a porn star and do it like a porn star that you are useless and undesirable. That is so not true.
I always make a practice of looking at everyone around me and assuming that they have sex. Some people are asexual and don't, but for the purpose of the exercise I assume everyone does... It makes me realize that almost no one looks like a porn star and no one is not worthy enough to have something in their life that is as vital as sex. Under this assumption, we all have sex, we all want sex and we all need sex. Everyone is enough, everyone is sexy and everyone is worthy. I really feel that with time and patience and bringing it back to the two of you, that he will discover this and you will also discover that you are enough.
Do the poly thing later, if it is even important by then. It might not be.
I would also prompt him to get a therapist, it sounds like the things that have happened to him need sorting out and moving past. This could help to no end in your situation.
As to friends. Why can he not have female friends? Most of my friends have almost always been male. I don't want to have sex with them all. I just get a long with men... I don't call this poly... I call them friends. I would say he can fill his boots with pretty ladies if he wishes and it makes him comfortable, just no sex (as defined by the two of you) with them.
Hi there, I want to go back on two things.
First, I wanted to say that I really understands the poly thing. By which I mean when he says he'd feel better if you had other partners.
I've been in that boat, and I know the feeling of being pressured, of having your partner's pleasure depending solely on you (or so it felt at the time), especially as in my case he pretended not to masturbate for a while, which meant that I was not only his sole source of partnered sexual relief, but his sole source of sexual relief altogether! (As far as I knew. It turns out he was lying about it, which makes no sense to me as I was already having sexual problems at the time and had made it clear that it was one of the reasons).
The second thing is the masturbation thing. It's not a "lost opportunity to have sex with him". Masturbating and having sex are two very different things. And while it's possible to masturbate because you want to have sex but can't, the opposite is pretty rare. Even when my libido was at its lowest and I rarely ever had sex, I still masturbated for the most part. It was a completely different thing, something personal. With me, it doesn't matter how little or how much sex I get, I'm going to masturbate either way.
However, it is possible that he masturbates instead because it's "less of a hassle" for him.
Now that all leads me to a third thing. Right now there is some kind of vicious circle. If he's like me, the less he has sex, the less he wants sex, because the more he apprehends it. Even when I felt sexual, there was always a moment when I had to throw myself out there and say or show I wanted to have sex, and every time sounded so much like he was going "finally!" that I felt like the times we had sex, I was reproached the lack of sex MORE than if we didn't. He would also want it more after we had done it once than if we hadn't.
I also feared intimacy in other forms as I was afraid it would lead to sex. It happened that we snuggled, he wanted to have sex, I didn't, and he resented me for "teasing him" and "changing my mind" and things like that. Or I would start being affectionate and he would go "since I know you don't want to have sex, stop that".
So I felt guilty when trying to be intimate without being sexual, which destroyed the connection we had in the first place, and made me want sex with him specifically less. And when I did want sex, his telling me he knew I didn't made me think "well, fine, since you know everything better than I do, you're right, I don't want to". I didn't want to have to contradict him, go out of my way to say I did want sex only to have him go "finally!!" and my libido to immediately drop down again, and then be blamed for changing my mind.
Anyway, I guess my point is that it's hard to get out of this cycle. It takes a lot of patience and rebuilding trust, and rebuilding your connection. It's like having to go through the first stage of a relationship or even the stage right before one, except now there is a past history that can get in the way.
And of course there is the possibility that it will never change at all. He's got a low sex drive and he's been abused, it's possible that he won't change. Are you fine with the idea of it staying that way forever? Because it might, and if you aren't, you might want to consider breaking it up. If it's a breaking-it-up offense.
As for having other partners, is he saying he wants other partners as well? You say it wouldn't be fair for him if you get to have them and he doesn't, does he agree with that reasoning or not? Because if he doesn't want or need other partners, for him that permission is useless, while your being allowed to have them might be priceless as it could be the thing that releases pressure for him. If, from his point of view, you refuse to have other partners, it might seem to him that you're voluntarily making him responsible for your lack of sex when you could have it elsewhere, and that might not seem very fair to him at all.
So I would suggest you discuss the idea of your having other partners for sex and his not having other sexual partners, even if it's a momentary thing, and see how he reacts to it.
I would say that if he's relieved by that suggestion and enthusiastic about it, chances are his sex drive is never going to change, and it's not about you or the current relationship, it's just who he is.
If, however, he's very insistent of wanting other sexual partners, I would take it as a hint that it's a problem that's dependent on your relationship, that for whatever reasons he's not comfortable having sex with you more often but still wants sex with other partners.
In which case it's not necessarily a horrible thing. For instance, maybe he just has a dichotomy between sex and love. Maybe his sex drive is lower the more he's attached to someone. That's one possibility.
It could also be a bad thing, a sign that your specific relationship needs to be worked on. In which case I would work on it and tried to figure out what's wrong.
If that's what happens, I would suggest you take sex off the table completely until further notice. Don't initiate it, don't talk about it, do your best not to ever look like you miss it. Do whatever it takes to get your release in other ways. And focus on the relationship. If he's anything like me, he'll need to feel like you love him for him and not just for the sex. He needs to know you want a relationship with him for him, because you love him. The more you seem to miss sex, the more you seem to resent him for the lack of sex, the more he'll feel that's all he's worth to you, and the disconnect will grow bigger and bigger, and the issues will get worse as well.
I think that will be hard though. You said:
So if that's what happens (and remember there are lots of ifs along the way), then staying together would probably cause both of you to be miserable. I know it's miserable being the less horny partner, it makes you feel emotionally drained, and constantly pressured without getting a rest, and it sounds like you're experiencing something very similar, that it adds up and doesn't reset when you do have sex, the time you had to wait before is still there, and you still feel a need to "make up for it" and it grows bigger and bigger constantly.
It's similar from the other side, by the way. Even having sex once doesn't reset all the apprehension and resentment and so on, there is a build-up that needs to be made up for as well.
In other words, in such a situation, you each grow a "debt" inside of you that the other partner "owes" you, and you're waiting patiently for it to get better, but it never does. And even if it does eventually, you both have so much to make up for that you might never be able to do it. (That's the kind of things I meant by the past history making it harder by the way).
Either way, I want to wish you good luck and I hope you can keep us posted so we know how things go.
Double-posting to clarify something (and because I feel an edit wouldn't draw as much emphasis since my previous post was already long):
For me, when I had sex, I'd think "Pffew! I should be good for a week or two now before he wants sex again." But he still wanted sex the next day or sometimes the next, and I would go "Well, if I have to have sex every single day, then forget it! I'd rather take the resentment." I thought he had a "sex need" gauge that filled slowly and was reset to zero at the first ejaculation.
Reading the OP I started wondering if maybe he actually worked more like me. I had a "trust and intimacy" gauge. A date wouldn't fill it up, it would just add a little bit to it. And time passing would slowly decrease it, and feeling resented for the lack of sex would drain it fast. And it needed to be full before I'd want to have sex.
With this in mind, I'm sure you can understand what I mean by "you might never be able to do it". I wouldn't be surprised if I would have needed a reset of maybe a whole year of strong intimacy, trust, etc, before I was back to normal. I would have had sex before that every now and then, but at this stage having sex drains the gauge a little too. Only when it's full or nearly full does sex increase the intimacy and trust, if it's too soon it decreases it. As a result it would have taken a really long time.
And there is no way he could have been fulfilled the whole time, yet that's what I needed.
And as much as you can love each other, at that point it's a daunting task for either party. He couldn't go without sex for a year a seem fulfilled by it. I couldn't have sex several times a week with my trust gauge near zero. And there was no medium that would have worked for both of us.
That's why I'm thinking, if you can empty your "sex need" gauge with someone else, it might help. Because the intimacy and trust one isn't dependent of an individual but each relationship. If he gets it from someone else, it won't make up for the one you're missing in your relationship. It will help a little bit at first, but it will be too little too late.
I realise I might be projecting big time here. But sex drive differences within a couple seems to be a common thing, and not one where compromises often work. If release outside the relationship helps you deal with things that are specific to the relationship, I would urge you to consider that. Provided you don't need the sex to be specifically with him, it could be a crutch until you guys have it worked out.
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