As somebody who is married to somebody with a much lower libido than I do - and who didn't lose his virginity until 21 - well thats where the similarities end. I don't know if R finds sex a great joy, but my husband Adam doesn't think sex is fun unless he's having it, then he goes right back to a place of not wanting to think about it. A low libido I can handle, discomfort or fear of sex is more than a low libido. He's been tested for low testosterone and his was fine, however he is not in great shape and whenever he does start working out, his libido increases.
I don't have much advice about being gentle, sadly I was not gentle. When I met my Adam we were both poly then defaulted to monogamy temporarily. After several years I started pushing to open our relationship, watching my 30's slip by getting more and more resentful that he knew he had a problem with his libido, never wanted to have sex, and wasn't doing anything to change it - was reluctant to be poly because he felt it meant he was a failure as a partner, but was not motivated enough to work out and eat better even though it helped a lot, because he found it easier to think I was mistaken that it would help. It came down to a discussion that it was going to be poly, him making drastic changes, or us separating before he was willing to be open to poly again, which was about 20 months ago.
Anyway I mention this because with R holding on so tight to requesting you not see H more than once when he is in town? Well I can see that escalating in terms of how frustrating it will become, R depriving you time with H out of fear, but not wanting to look the issues of sex in the eye and admit it's a problem. You may let it go on longer than you really want because you feel guilty. Let's face it - do you feel R is being reasonable? (* addressing at the end of this spiel) You feel guilty, so you don't ask for what you really want, you get unhappy. Is R just fearful of you loving H more, or on some level is he aware the libido is a big deal, and H is happy to have sex with you so that's what he wants to avoid.
If I had things to do over again, I would've wished to read this book first. How to Improve your marriage without talking about it
. Pretend it says relationship instead of marriage. Adam also puts it in the top 3 of relationship books that he's read. Libido can be such a sensitive subject, addressing it head on in conversation was something I didn't do too well at all, but since it doesn't sound like you're crying yourself to bed most nights because R doesn't want to have sex with you, you probably have a better chance than I did.
Anyway, in my experience, the problem isn't going to get better, at one year with Adam I still had no idea just how deep the issues went, or what a big deal it would become. I'll throw in my advice to not even consider getting married (in case it does come up at some point) until you can say you are content with his libido being where it is for the rest of your life.
Obviously him getting tested for testosterone levels would be useful, but other than at his next physical asking if he'd ask about getting that done, I don't know what magical way it could be worded so he'd be receptive to it, hopefully others have advice, and hopefully I'll learn something here from others answers.
Lastly, I would've gotten us to counseling sooner. Several years ago Adam went a counselor that tackled things from a sexual angle (focusing on getting in touch with his body) which in retrospect was a big mistake, as the problems on his end at least deal with self esteem and self worth. Until that is in a healthy place, the other stuff wont really stick. Adam is very outgoing and confident too but people can give that outward attitude and energy and have low self esteem, so don't write the possibility off, in fact your last post lists at least 4 things that show R has some major self esteem issues. I imagine from what you say about R that whether or not testosterone levels are fine, he probably has some things that could be helped by seeing a good counselor. A few months ago Adam started seeing a highly recommended poly friendly counselor and there's already been a marked change, with him even initiating sex a couple times (and really, I'm guessing that averages has 1x a year, it's always me), and being willing to start working out again...and with a great counselor, that happened in 4 visits.
If I could go back, as soon as I realized the problem was not going away, and he didn't want to tackle it proactively, I would've said that I wanted us to both see a counselor, probably say I'd like to do it together first, and say if it turned out there were things we needed to work on individually, then we could branch off and have individual sessions. That way he doesn't feel singled out.
Again, I don't know how to address it directly without feeling like a jerk. I DO know that it upset him a lot when I would bring up him having a problem or any sort and the talk would be about him, instead of including my culpability in any given situation, he was too focused on fingers being pointed at him, and responds poorly to that. From a lot that I've read, this is somewhat common for men. Still haven't figured out the magical wording to gently address somebody about libido, and I never have been able to figure out how to include my contribution to our sexual issues in a way that is authentic so it isn't all about him without feeling like I had to label my desires as a problem. "Sorry I think sex is awesome and good so I want to have it with you?"
*So is R being reasonable. That is up for you to judge, you were only seeing him 7 months when you opened your relationship, it sounds like you've been putting his fear ahead of your wants (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's not a permanent thing) H is in town once a month, so me personally, I would ask for a time limit on how long R was going to need that one night only to feel secure. Personally if it was more than 3 more months, I would not agree to it, and if I did, R would have to be doing work on himself to figure out how to be OK with it. I MIGHT agree to only see H on nights while R was busy, but the potential of having months and months go by when I sat around wishing I was able to see H, and not seeing R because R was busy either...that's not a clever way to continue for most people, at some point it has to come to a head.
And I second all that on the staying over. Unless there is an end date to that, consider if that's how you want the rest of your life to be. I think I understand it more when long term relationships open up, to be more accommodating, but if you love H too, that could start feeling like a burden that is unbearable pretty soon. Is he doing anything concrete to move forward with dealing with the things he knows are a problem? If he doesn't want to hear about your feelings for H, is he trying to learn the skill of not asking, or if not, the skills to be aware that he is important to you? On that last one...it's unfair for both of you for him to ask and shudder if you dont answer him, just that little thing right there is destructive as hell and is just a set up for him to feel bad and you to feel guilty, maybe it's a good line item to work on changing first.
Ok, my gmail let me know GG replied to this, so I'll wrap it up so I can read what she said and learn something