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 Sex & Relationships 

My Man Doesn't Want Sex!

 By Dennis, Dr. Neder
 "Being a Man in a Woman's World"

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I just read your article "Breaking Up", and I found it to be very useful. It help me to understand a little of what I am going through and how to go about ending the relationship.

My boyfriend and I have been involved now for 4 yrs. Our problem is sex - he is not a very affectionate person and believes you should not make love all the time. So we only make love once every 3 to 5 months or more depending on our schedules. We do not kiss much unless I ask, hold hands or make any physical contact. I myself, am a very affectionate person and need to have that contact in order to feel that he still loves me and wants to be with me. Now because of this I feel very distant from him and tend to want to venture off with other men, to fill the void that he does not satisfy. Should I break up our relationship and move on? I tried talking to him about it, but he thinks I am going thorough a phase and I will get over it soon, so he does not listen to me or make any changes. Help! What should I do? Is their any way I can get through to him? Or is it just not meant to be?

Dazed & Confused


Hello Dazed!

I'll let you in on a little secret about men - some men lose interest in their partners sexually. No, its true!

As I discuss in my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", men have a biological propensity to seek multiple sex partners. This way (as it is with any species that produces few offspring), he insures that his genes are passed on to the next generation. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the infant mortality rate was about 50%. So, to counter this low birth rate with a high death rate, nature spent 1.6 billion years building the desire in men to have multiple partners. By seeking multiple partners, men help to insure that at least some of their offspring survive. For reasons that don't deal with your question, very few women posses this same drive.

Some men have turned this "hunting instinct" into something else - the innate desire to find multiple partners causes them to lose sexual interest in their current partner. I hear this from many of my readers, so you're not alone. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to have much to do with love - he probably still loves you (in his way). Further, when you're apart for any length of time, his interest in you probably grows tremendously.

I'll bet that when you first started going out together, you and he we're banging it out just about every night. Then, slowly this frequency began to drop, where now you're having sex only about once every 3 to 5 months - and he is asking for less!

Its obvious from your letter that you need the physical closeness. For many people physical closeness is absolutely necessary for mental health! In my book, in the section under "Communication" I discuss a number of communication types. From your description, I'll bet you're a "physical sexual" and your boyfriend is an "emotional sexual". Without going into all the details, suffice it to say that, you use your physicalness - your body - to protect your emotions, and you crave physical connection to support your emotions. Your boyfriend does the opposite.

Ok, that's enough science - so, what do you do?

First, you need to recognize that you're not going "get over" your need for physical expression. That's like saying that your dog is going to "get over" the need to be furry! On the other hand you're probably not going to change him to be more physical either.

You're going to need to make a decision here. You really have three choices: 1) live with things the way they are, realizing that his interest in sex and physical closeness will continue to wane while yours doesn't; 2) split with him and find another partner; or 3) stay with him and try again to discuss your needs, and, if not met, satisfy them elsewhere.

You're already living in situation #1, so I can't really give you any advice here. You've read my article on breaking up, so you know about this as well. Thus, I'll discuss the last option. If you choose this, (and, it is wrought with problems!), let me offer some ideas:

You're going to need to make a stand here. Find a time when you're not interrupting something else - you want your boyfriend's full attention. Tell him that you're unhappy with the sexual and physical part of your relationship with him. Tell him you still love him, but feel compelled to satisfy your physical needs. Explain that you're not going to "get over it". Then, be quiet and listen to, and watch his reactions.

Is he committed to making a difference? Is he genuinely concerned about you and your needs? If so, does he actually make the effort over the next few weeks and months? If things again begin to drop off, is he willing to discuss it with you and try to deal with it? If not, and you choose to venture outside your relationship here's what you need to do.

First - USE PROTECTION!!! Don't assume that your new partner will handle this - you take the lead. This is an absolute must - no excuses. It is your responsibility. Get some condoms (hidden so that he will NOT find them!), and use them every time - no exceptions.

Second - don't tell your boyfriend, or allow him find out about it! Let me explain this. Many people use their straying as an excuse to inflict damage and hurt on their non-conforming partner. Others feel guilt and try to relieve their own guilt by "coming clean". In either case, the unknowing partner is always damaged and the perpetrating partner is never cleansed. If you choose this path, you have the absolute responsibility to protect your primary partner. You may choose to stray because you love yourself, but protect him because you love him. Don't cause further harm to someone else - if you choose this path, you must also choose the responsibility it holds. You have much to consider here.

Notice, that in the last paragraph, I haven't used the word "cheat". I purposely avoid this word because I don't believe in it. I believe that there are circumstances that affect every relationship beyond any outside person's understanding of it. To judge a situation you're not directly involved with is to assume you know everything about it and view it with an open mind - quite arrogant. You (and your boyfriend) are the only ones capable of judging your relationship - not me or anyone else. Our society preaches monogamy and curses "outside adventures", but offers no acceptable alternative. Further, it doesn't recognize the huge number of dynamics involved in every relationship. By the way, men are not the only ones who venture outside of a primary relationship. Women explore outside possibilities just as often as men, but they do so for different reasons.

Even when we're in a committed, monogamous relationship, we're still on our own. You can't own or control another person in the long run, but you can control your own happiness and health. In fact, it is your responsibility to do this. I wish this happiness for you in whatever decision you make. Please let me know how things turn out.

Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved. Remington Publications For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit: P.O. Box 10702 Glendale, CA 91209-3702 (818) 246-2058 Fax (818) 246-5431
About the author
uthor of: Being a Man in a Woman's World
Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships.
Start having the relationships YOU deserve!
Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You
can write to me at
for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's
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Article Overview
You may choose to stray because you love yourself, but protect him because you love him. Don't cause further harm to someone else - if you choose this path, you must also choose the responsibility it holds. You have much to consider here.

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