Too Soon to Be Bored

Friday, August 15, 2008

Question

I am a bisexual woman in her early twenties who has been in a relationship with a man for a bit more than two years. He is also in his early twenties and is accepting of my bisexuality. He is my first sexual partner, so I don't have a lot of experience. The sex used to be good and fulfilling to me, but I am now in a situation where I find it rather boring and uneventful. My desire for sex has decreased to a point where I don't really feel sexual even when it comes to masturbation. I'm having trouble directing him to do things that I would like, partly because I have a vague idea of what exactly I want. All I can say is that he is not very good at putting me in a sexual mood, often turning me off completely during the preliminaries. Any suggestions? Given how young I am, I think it is

Answer

I agree. This is especially sad because the sex with your partner has been great in the past. So we both know he is capable of arousing and satisfying you. But it sounds like his approach to you has changed. I'm not sure what he is doing to turn you off completely, but it has to stop. Are you having trouble feeling assertive enough to tell him this? If so, try to find a diplomatic way to suggest alternatives. It's usually best to initiate a conversation about sex when the two of you are not in bed, by the way. He's less likely to be defensive. Tell him that you are insisting on having this conversation because you fear for the health or the existence of the relationship. Does he still want to be with you? If so, this has to be fixed. There's no other option.

After two years, people can start to take one another for granted and eliminate very important steps like taking a shower before sex, setting up the space so that it feels warm and sensual, or renewing a sense of romance and commitment to one another. Sex therapists often say, "Women really need this," but I think that men do too. It reminds us that we should not take her for granted, that she is somebody precious and unique, and we need to have open hearts and enjoy what is special and amazing about her. Men don't really enjoy quick, predictable sex either. It shows that we are being shut down, selfish, hostile, or numb.

Maybe you have told him what he is doing to be icky, and he's ignoring you. That's a whole other problem. I would interpret that as a lack of respect and affection (not to mention erotic skill). An ongoing relationship does not give either party the right to assume they can have sexual access to the other. That's a privilege that always has to be earned. It may take an ultimatum for him to realize you are very serious and very unhappy.

Since partnered sex is new to you, I'm not surprised to hear that you have only a vague idea of what you might like. Besides, if sex starts off with you feeling repulsed, what chance does a new technique have to feel wonderful? See if you can take some space from this man, read some erotica, journal about what your fantasies are (or used to be), and see if you can reconnect with your own desire. Of course, this involves the risk that your desire is no longer for him. You say he is accepting of your bisexuality, but you don't say if you've ever had an opportunity to act on your attraction to other women. Maybe this need has been neglected for so long that you are feeling alienated from yourself. Being bisexual potentially gives an individual a whole world of sexual possibilities. But it also complicates the experience of being in a monogamous relationship. Don't get me wrong—I know bisexual men and women who are monogamous; but most of them have already done enough experimentation to know how they relate to men as well as women, and they feel ready to focus on just one person. I don't know if you are ready for this yet.

There are no rules here. Sometimes being bisexual is just something that you know about yourself, and you don't have to do anything about it. But because I don't have all of the information I'd like to have about the two of you and your relationship, I feel that I owe it to you to throw out as many ideas as I can that might be helpful. Please feel free to write again if you want to give me more details or get additional support.

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