How Can I Get My Boyfriend to Understand I Love Him But Don’t Always Want to Have Sex?

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 3 years. I’m 28 and he’s 26. We’re moving in together next month, will be living together for a year, and then I’ll be sent away to serve as a medical professional in the Navy. I have concerns about not being able to fulfill his sexual appetite now, and more so when I’m away.

In these past 3 years we have seen each other consistently about 3-5 days a week, and we live close to each other. There are only a handful of times I can remember where we got together and didn’t have sex. However, I feel like our sex drives are completely out of sync. He wants to have sex or have me satisfy him every time we see each other, and I just can’t seem to keep up with him and get in the mood myself. Regardless, I please him almost every time we see each other to keep him satisfied, but it can be difficult after my longer days of work. I’m completely exhausted and on top of that I feel the pressure to satisfy him. I never fake sex or pleasure, and there are times where he is disappointed that I’m just not into it. He makes me feel bad that I couldn’t at least pretend to enjoy it.

I finally worked up the guts to have what I felt was an awkward conversation about our sex life about 6 months ago. I explained that I find him so attractive, and that I think we have a great sex life, but that we have different sex drives and it’s tough for me to get in the mood at times. I also told him that it feels like the focus of our relationship is sex and not so much the things that are important to me, which is another reason I may not be as aroused. We agreed that I’ll be more open with him, and let him know when I’m not in the mood, and he’s going to try harder to fulfill my needs.

Since then he has romanced me a little more, which has resulted in a little more passion from me, but I’m still feeling the mismatch when it comes to sex. I’ve been more vocal telling him when I’m tired. So now instead of cutting to the chase, he’ll ask me if I mind if he touches himself, and I respond of course not. Then he’ll ask if he can touch me, and again I have no problem with that. This always leads to him asking if I could touch him, and it’s as if he either forgot or didn’t care that I just said I was tired. I don’t want to reject his request so I do, but I’m completely annoyed that he just doesn’t understand.

I genuinely feel that he loves me and values having me in his life, and he talks about our future all the time. But I’ve been close to tears in frustration feeling like my main purpose is to keep him sexually satisfied, and that it’s the only reason why he makes the effort to spend time with me. Well… I know that’s the main reason any guy puts effort into seeing their girl, but is it too much to ask that we spend the day together and he doesn’t try anything at the end? I don’t want to beat a dead horse by continuing to have these conversations with him, but I also don’t think he really understands what I’m feeling.

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I badly want to keep him happy, but I feel like I’m not going to be enough for him if we tone things down, especially when I leave for the Navy and only see each other a couple times a month. What can be a happy compromise for both of us?


I don’t like the way this sounds, Ashley.

This is not to suggest that he’s a bad guy, per se, only to acknowledge what you wrote yourself:
“I’m still feeling the mismatch when it comes to sex.”

And, like I’ve written on many occasions, anything that you choose to be a dealbreaker is a dealbreaker.

For some people, it’s religion. For others, it’s money. For others, it’s height.

Neither of you really wants to make the “happy compromise” that it will take to make your relationship work.

For you, it may be incompatible sex drives.

Listen, it sounds like you’re mature for your age, and you’re handling this about as well as you can. You’ve voiced your feelings. He heard you and made a sort of attempt to appease you. But he wants what he wants. You want what you want. And neither of you really wants to make the “happy compromise” that it will take to make your relationship work. You each want the other person to compromise on your behalf. That’s not terribly surprising, but if you can’t agree on a mutually agreeable solution, there’s nothing that you can really do to salvage things.


Sorry if that sounds like a gloomy diagnosis — I know I’m working off limited information. But if I’m a guy with a high sex drive, who can’t really accept no for an answer, and then my girlfriend is leaving for a military tour of duty? I’m probably not content with that solution. I’m turning to porn first and eventually either insisting that you move back home, looking for another sexual outlet, or breaking up with you. Even if I’m wrong about all of the above, you’re still stuck in the same place — a stalemate between your needs and his needs.

Rest assured that most men’s desires taper off to a more reasonable level over time.

I’m more like you and I’m sympathetic to your more moderate drive, but unless

    • a. You can keep up this every-night performance for the rest of your life or…


    b. He can take no for an answer sometimes, and be content with his own hand from time to time…

You’re facing a serious incompatibility problem, no different than when one person wants kids and the other doesn’t. I would have a very serious problem-solving heart-to-heart with him and openly discuss the possible points of compromise.

If they can’t be bridged, you can rest assured that most men’s desires taper off to a more reasonable level over time. Good luck.

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