Dear Dan: I’m a straight 18-year-old girl, and I have been dating my boyfriend for eight months. He recently told me that he wishes we never had sex because he feels like he raped himself by doing it. He has had some bad sexual experiences in the past, but he has initiated almost all of our sexual activity. He says he has problems and a low sense of self-worth. I told him that we can take it slow, but I’m not sure he’s ever going to be all right with sexual things. He said that he doesn’t mind if I get sex from other people, but I want to help him understand that he’s a good person and that sex isn’t a bad thing. How do I do this?
P.S. We’re both fairly sure that he could be asexual. Can asexual people enjoy sex at all?
—My Sad Boyfriend
Dear MSB: Your boyfriend doesn’t need a girlfriend, MSB. What he needs is loving, concerned friends (you could be one) and a trained, competent therapist (you are not one). If having a girlfriend with sexual interests and needs traumatizes your boyfriend, then he shouldn’t have a girlfriend with sexual interests and needs. If he’s a miserable, game-playing jerk who likes to make other people miserable, MSB, and he’s discovered that playing the victim after sex (that he enjoyed) makes his girlfriend miserable, then you shouldn’t have him.
Dear Dan: I’m a straight woman who loves my boyfriend, but sex isn’t a priority for me. His sex drive, on the other hand, is ridiculous. He gets very upset when I don’t have sex with him and accuses me of not being interested in him anymore, which isn’t the case. I just can’t fuck on demand! Most people would probably say that my boyfriend is an insensitive asshole for pressuring me for sex. Except this was a switcheroo exercise: I, the girlfriend, want more sex. He, my boyfriend, doesn’t see sex as a priority. When we first started dating, we had sex every day — it was incredible — but around the four-month mark, something changed. I’ve had to beg for it ever since — and I mean beg. I give him space, I take care of things on my own for as long as I can, and right around the time when I feel myself start to get really anxious, I ask for sex. And I am rejected.
Only when I’m so hurt that I’m literally sobbing on the floor is he suddenly interested in having sex with me. Right then, right there. It happens about twice a month. I don’t know what to do. I love him so much and would be a fool to leave him. Other than the sex, everything is wonderful. He is the best and most thoughtful boyfriend ever, but he says he likes being the one who’s controlling the sex. Maybe I am just being a colossal asshole? My problem sounds mundane, I know, but it’s killing me.
—Sexless And Depressed
Dear SAD: Sorry, SAD, but relationship graveyards around the world are crowded with tombstones that read, “Everything was great… other than the sex.”
And this isn’t your mundane, run-of-the-mill mismatched libido problem, which is bad enough. (And, as I’ve written until my fingers are bleeding, reason enough to end a relationship.) You’re dating a guy who can get it up only when he sees his girlfriend sobbing on the floor — that’s apparently what it takes to make his dick hard — and this sobbing-on-the-floor shit goes down twice a month. I can only conclude that this is how your boyfriend likes it, SAD. He’s turned on only when you’re not just miserable but pushed past the breaking point.
DTMFA. Frequency is not a problem that improves with time, SAD. A boyfriend who wants sex only twice a month at four months into a relationship — and then only when his girlfriend is sobbing — won’t want sex once a week five or 10 years in. You know what else doesn’t improve with time? Assholery. I promise you that the “wonderful” and “thoughtful” will diminish as the years fly by, and the emotionally abusive games that cause you so much pain — pain that, again, seems to give him pleasure — will metastasize, spreading from your sex life to other areas of your life. The more difficult extricating yourself from this relationship becomes, SAD, the less wonderful and thoughtful he’ll become.
End it now. Respond: firstname.lastname@example.org