Michele O'Mara

Sexless in Seattle

Filed By Michele O'Mara | May 28, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: advice column, gay men, low libido, sexless relationship

I'm young professional - recent grad, same as my boyfriend. Neither one of us has communicated what the other needs and I'm not sure we know how. He is a not a very sexual person and I am, and that has put our relationship in jeopardy. He just doesn't seem interested in me anymore and that is causing all our arguing. I do love him and want us to work through this. I have been talking to other guys that show interest in me just to get that feeling that someone does still find me attractive. Can you help us or give us any advice?

Seems to me you two need an intervention. That's code for therapy.
What your partner is feeling is important for both of you to understand and believe it or not, he may be as baffled by his decline in interest as you are... there are many possible sources for his change in sexual appetite.

Perhaps you had an episode of infidelity prior to his decline? Infidelity is a serious threat to one's libido. Or maybe there are some unresolved conflicts that are causing him to harbor feelings of anger or resentment toward you that he is not skilled enough to communicate to you directly, so he opts instead to cut out sex. That, after all, has gotten your attention.

In some cases, the desire-meter drops because of outside life stressors such as new jobs, recent moves, or family conflicts unrelated to your relationship. Going back further, there is also the possibility of childhood trauma or sexual abuse that makes it difficult to be vulnerable, period (whether it's sex, or talking about feelings!) Lastly, what comes to mind is good ole homophobia. Some men experience a lot of shame being sexual and have internalized negative messages about sex between men, and the conflict between one's mind ("gay sex is bad") and one's body ("but I desire this, and it feels good") can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy relationship.

As you can see, there are many reasons we experience a decline in sexual interest. To begin investigating this more effectively, I do suggest you find yourself a good therapist who is skilled in relationship counseling and has experience working with gay men (which admittedly is not easy), so that you can open the lines of communication about this. Oh, and if you're serious about making this relationship work, I'd put a hold on your efforts to prove to yourself you are desirable to other men. You will not only compromise your efforts to improve your relationship, you are also perpetuating a pattern of needing others to prove your worthiness (or desirability).

by Michele O'Mara, LCSW

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 29, 2008 8:43 AM

What ever happened to meeting him at the front door, with a martini, wearing your best smile?

Look, I have only been with my guy three decades, but we have had slow periods in the romance department. Once, I simply jumped his bones, and his immediate reaction was: "What ARE you doing?" and my response worked perfectly..."Anything I have to!"

I bit of info I would wish to have. You are both recent grads, how long together, and do you think of yourselves as dating or as really a couple? Did you meet in school? What careers? Is either of you significantly out earning the other, and could that be a source of unmentioned tension?

Big One: Does your partner feel like his career dreams, as well as his home life, are satisfactory? Many people define how happy they are with themselves by how successful they are at work.

How about setting up an "ambush dinner" with close Gay friends who are sweating the sheets and you, in advance, get your friends to agree to bring up the subject of how satisfactory their sex life is and what they do to communicate about it.

They just begin the evening in their home and begin talking about how happy they are and make sure your "sister" asks WITH his friend at his side: "Sometimes, as much as I love my guy I have no idea what is on his mind. How do you make sure you are on the same wavelength about what you want and need?" This way you are both being asked how to help their relationship be more complete. Be sure and answer inclusively with your friend using "We" rather than "I" and be sure he talks about it as well. That ice breaker may be just enough to get past his walls of resistance. Continue the conversation at home.

Michelle, therapy first? With respect I disagree. For a lot of people that would be a relationship ender. To communicate people need practice, know they are in a safe space where they can be vulnerable and know that just because they might not be realizing their professional goals they are still desirable.

Oh, and letting other guys flirt with you? Not a good idea unless you really want to move on.

Yeah, this cries out for relationship therapy. That has to be a rough relationship.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 31, 2008 7:18 AM

What am I missing here? Michelle, I thank you for the post as I found the subject interesting, but why assume "infidelity" right off the bat? EVERYONE likes to flirt and be complimented. You and I basically covered the same questions in a different order, but you started with couple's therapy and I concluded with dinner. Yes, it was a "Lucille Ball ambush the clueless guy" approach, but sometimes a nice relaxing dinner, a little wine with friends talking and communicating and "poof" it is your first date all over again.

It is possible too that the person withholding the intimacy is empowered by it, yes? I and my lover argue, daily, and we kiss more times during the day than you would believe. Knowing how to argue is healthy and we stupid hunter gatherers (aka males) have ten million years to unlearn from our genetic encoding before we can change our ways.

When no one is being physically abused and civil communication is possible why not do that first?
(Also, if anyone is being physically abused game over.) Strangely Bil and I responded to your piece within two minutes of one another. It would have been impossible for him to have read my response before sending his own. He agrees with you (beginner) and I did not. I have waited a day for another comment on your posting before writing this. What am I missing?


Thanks for your thoughtful responses. I don't think you are "missing" anything. :) Sounds like what you are doing is working for your relationship - so on that note, I say congratulations, keep up the good work!

Not all folks are brave enough to have an honest conversation with their partners. Meeting him at the door with a "martini and your best smile" sounds like a natural thing for you. If only this were so for everyone. You sound like a confident, assertive communicator. Those skills are gifts that not everyone is blessed with. Be grateful that you have them (if you do).

There's no greater risk than the bare-nakedness of our vulnerability; asking from the one we love - "will you please meet my needs," knowing all the while, the answer might just be, "no, I'm sorry, but I can't," or worse yet, "I don't want to."

Counseling isn't for everyone. It's imperative for others. At the end of the day I just believe we need to keep searching until we find a way to make things work. Because, as I say - when love is good, life is good. ;)

Wishing you great love!

Hi Michelle , you can rent a Adult Vodeo named Sexless In Seattle and have it running when he comes into the room and see what will happen ! If you have desires oo meet guys for sex then be Open with him about it !!