His rampant sex drive is driving me mad
Question: My boyfriend of 18 months has an incredible sex drive and I simply can't keep up. He sometimes gets annoyed by this and tells me that I obviously don't find him as attractive as he finds me. This isn't true - he's really good looking. I've been under lots of stress at work and my father passed away six months ago. When we first got together we couldn't keep our hands off each other but with all this stress things have gone downhill. The rest of our relationship is fine but my sexual feelings show no signs of perking up. My gut feeling is he should be less selfish and more understanding. How should I handle his approaches for sex?
Dear "no signs of perking",
It's like you're asking me to give permission to you to neglect the sexual side of your relationship. This isn't only about him being selfish - it's equally about you needing to deal with the stress and loss so it doesn't profoundly affect your relationship.
When people tell me there's a 'difference in their sex drives' there's usually loads going on - it's just not that simple. Here's my quick analysis: he's childish using ploys like "you don't find me attractive" to try and guilt-trip you into bed. And you're burying your head in the sand thinking you can indefinitely dictate the frequency of sex between you rather than finding compromise.
There's much to do to sort this out since you have a good relationship otherwise:
* Definitely get bereavement counselling for yourself or share more of your feelings with your family (who have also lost your father) and with your man. Grief permeates all areas of our lives (including sexual desire) for a time after a loss - but it shouldn't go unchecked indefinitely.
* Take the initiative to let him know when you have an inkling of sexual desire. Tell him what would fire that up even more. Be honest about what would turn you on. The more you can describe what works when you're feeling a little "warm" towards him, the easier for him to stoke up a proper fire.
* Identify what causes you stress at work and start setting goals to sort it!
* Honestly and tactfully let him know his comments about his 'attractiveness' are completely inappropriate and an excuse for him to pressure you. Ask him to dump such comments and replace them with grown-up conversation about your situation.
Final tip: If he has such a rampant sex drive he should try occasional self-pleasure - because even if you had - or develop - a higher sex drive, you may not always feel like it when he does. But some men (and women) need permission to masturbate in a relationship - so give him your blessing!
Best of luck, Dr Pam x