Mediocre sex – is it a dealbreaker?

So I’ve been in a relationship with a man since October 2010. I am 26 and he is 36. We live together as I moved into his place around the one year point. I love him dearly. He has shown to be the most gentle, patient, caring, and devoted man I could ever ask for. We’ve never been seriously angry at each other. One time we had a minor argument while out and when we got home we sat down and seriously, rationally, and calmly talked things out.

Everything is great with him except he has a very low libido. We have sex maybe two or three times a month. I know for me that’s not enough but I am too content with him to try to make it a dealbreaker.

He values hard work and works two jobs (by choice) putting in 13 hour days most of the time. When he is not working, most of the time he is sleeping. I realize this is draining on him and leaves little time for us to even have sex.

When we do have sex, it’s usually not quality sex. He doesn’t like to perform oral sex on me. It’s not me; he’s always been this way; I asked. He also has lasts a brief time in bed most of the time. I figured this was due to a lack of masturbation because he doesn’t have the time.

I have always initiated the sex in our relationship. I always get turned down a few times in favor of “more sleep please” or a nap or “I’m too tired” before I find that he will say yes. I have asked him to initiate more with me but he always says when he wants to ask, I beat him to it.

I would like to have sex more frequently and with more foreplay (he always goes right for penetration). Every time we’ve talked about this, we say we’ll make an effort to have more sex and it happens once and then things go back to the way they were.

Like I said, I love him dearly. I don’t know what to do about this. This doesn’t even get into the problem of how boring and vanilla our sex is and he is unwilling to do anything kinky. Also, he sees no point to open relationships as well.

Also, I want to add that I don’t masturbate much because I find it just makes me want sex MORE instead of being a substitute for it.

13 thoughts on “Mediocre sex – is it a dealbreaker?

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    [I think the fact that no one has responded yet says something about how tough a question this is. I don’t consider myself a sexologist by any means, but here’s my take:

    I think mediocre sex and differences in sex drive, in themselves, aren’t dealbreakers. What *can* make them dealbreakers is if one person has a problem with these differences, while the other person doesn’t. Or if one person wants to work on them, while the other doesn’t care.

    To that end, have you talked to him about your issue? It sounds like you’ve been keeping it to yourself and trying to “solve” it on your own. But, as they say, it takes two to tango. So, maybe he just has no idea how hard this has been for you.

    Of course, you’ll have to tread carefully, as this is a delicate topic. But, I don’t see anything wrong with saying something like, “Honey, I know you work hard and are usually tired. I respect that. But, I have to admit that I wish we could have sex more. (I mean, that’s a good thing, right? It says something about how attractive I find you?) Anyway, I feel like we just have a difference in our sex drives, and I’m hoping that we can figure out a situation that works for both of us. Is this something you’d be willing to work on?”

    Obviously, this isn’t going to fix the issue, and for that, I’m gonna defer to any others who might want to chime in. But, as I see it, this is the necessary first step that you have to take.

  2. Solstice says:

    [I can relate, although it’s not as extreme – my boyfriend and I have sex about twice a week, and I’d like to have sex more often. He’ll use the tired excuse sometimes. He doesn’t like oral sex. And he likes to jump right into sex with no foreplay.

    I have to admit that my boyfriend and I probably aren’t compatible long term, b/c of other reasons unrelated to sex. But in your case, if things are going great, I would follow Dennis’s advice and try to talk about it. Sexual issues are among the toughest to talk about. But if there’s an issue, it should be able to be talked about in a healthy relationship. And if things outside the bedroom were going wonderfully with my boyfriend, then I’d try to work more on the bedroom issues. Bedroom issues aren’t a dealbreaker until you’ve tried everything you can to fix them.

  3. Metacognition says:

    [I know how you feel about the vanilla sex stuff. I’m one of those variety is the spice of life types, my girlfriend… not so much.
    It’s not a deal breaker in my mind because sex (while awesome and fun and worthwhile) is only one part of being in a relationship and there will likely come a time when you’re (insert random elderly number here) that it becomes probably even less important of a part of your relationship.
    Still, if it’s a good relationship (and it sounds like it is), it should be something that you both can work on. It’s not something that you should need to be shy about. You’re both adults and you’ve both seen each other naked and didn’t run away. After that, talking about it shouldn’t be too hard. 🙂
    Maybe try to find out if there’s something you can do to help him get in the mood more often? Is there any way you can make oral sex more appeasing to him? Questions like those will help keep his ego intact if he’s self conscious about it. Plus, then you’ll have steps you can take to try to initiate sex more often!
    Hope that helps!

  4. Happy Pants says:

    [I agree with Dennis that it can be a dealbreaker if you see it as a problem and your partner doesn’t. I think before you even try to approach the topic with him, you need to ask yourself how important sex really is to you, and if you can deal with it the way things are now. Assume that this is the best case scenario, as your sex drive may increase with age, and his may decrease (I’m not saying that’s definite, but there’s a good chance that’s how it’s going to go).

    If he doesn’t see this as a problem, and you do, you need to seriously evaluate the relationship and figure out whether you can live with being sexually frustrated for however long this relationship is going to continue.

    Frankly, it’s only been a year, and you’re only 26, and there are a lot more guys out there who will be able to keep up with you and who will care about you more than to make an effort once and then not care anymore.

  5. LMcMack says:

    [This is tough. It definitely appears that his schedule is partly responsible for the lack of frequency of sex… is this a temporary thing for him? Is he simply a workaholic? I’d try to get to the bottom of the reason WHY he’s working so much. Perhaps it’s possible you both can afford it if he cuts back a bit.

    That said, I’ve found when I get into a sex slump that it’s really up to ME to initiate change. Surprise him with a BJ on the couch one night – sext him – make him feel attractive and sexy. Recognize his hard work and give him a massage after work one night, and don’t demand sex afterwards. All of these things combined should at least spark a bit of his libido. If these things don’t work, and if it continues to bother you, then unfortunately I’d say that he might just not be the right guy for you, as wonderful as he is otherwise.

  6. Liastim says:

    [I suppose it’s only a dealbreaker if you feel that it is. As Dennis pointed out, talking about it with him seems to be the way to go. You’ve mentioned that when you do things briefly change before returning to the status quo. You’ll have to make it clear that this is something that is seriously bothering you. I don’t think anyone here will be able to definitively tell you that it’s a dealbreaker or not, but the fact that you’ve brought it up suggests that it might be. If you’re thinking about it a lot and feeling unwanted because of it, it’s probably something that needs addressing.

    Let me ask you something though, if you talked to him about it and pointed out that you couldn’t go on with things as they are and he therefore changed, would that make you happy? I only ask because a mate of mine went through something similar, and though her partner did put in the effort to change, she still felt unwanted at the end of the day because she didn’t feel like it should have had to have been such an ‘effort’ on his behalf.

    On a slightly related note, I think the gender stereotype of the male who can’t get enough of sex all the time should be disposed of quickly. It leads to tense situations in relationships in my experience.

    Good luck!

  7. fast eddie says:

    [A good sex life can compensate for detriments and other qualities can make up for the lack thereof. The problem is that our sex drive can trump everything else. One way to handle it is to masturbate for relief. Nothing wrong with that but it isn’t nearly as good having a partner. Another solution is to have an open relationship but that can get really sticky because it’s hard not to develop deep feelings for a good lover. The bottom line is that your too young to not be getting the kind of sex you want and need. If he’s unwilling to adjust his technique and work schedule then MOA.

  8. lilredbmw says:

    [I feel your pain! I dated a guy older than me and we had the same problem. Everything was wonderful, minus the sex(or lack there of). I believe sexual relationships can be fixed, but it takes communication and some work on both parts. So, of course, you must talk about this. Howver, let’s dig a little deeper. Why is he working so much? You said it is by choice, so would that mean that he doesn’t have to financially or otherwise, work 13 hours a day? Shouldn’t your relationship be a priority? Hell, I’m tired after a 13 hour day, which is why I try to not work that much often. I know my relationship with my hubby would fail, and I am not willing to let that happen. He continues to use the “tired” excuse, so maybe he needs to live a life where he isn’t always sooo tired. Just sayin’.

  9. McLovin says:

    [It would seem that after 18 mos. together as a couple he’s shown you who he is and what his priorities are. Good guy, hard working, loyal, even-tempered, and so on. What he isn’t, apparently, is a sexual person. By that I mean he doesn’t seem to *need* sex, either physically or emotionally, to feel satisfied in the relationship.

    You said that even when you do have sex it’s not *quality sex*, and that you wish he was more creative(kinky). Are these things that the 2 of you can meet in the middle on? I mean, obviously YOU want more, and better sex. But can you focus specifically on just 1 thing at a time with him instead of everything all at once? For example: blindfold him; have him tie you up; meet him at a bar and let him *hit on you* like the 2 of you have never met before; wear a cheerleader outfit for him(don’t try all of this at the same time:)). Basically anything that sounds sexy to one or both of you that could slowly build up to the *kink* level that you want. Anything would be an improvement at this point, right? After he’s more comfortable/confident with one part of your sex life then work on the next part that you want to improve.

    As for him being too tired all the time, I dunno. If he’s got his shit together in every other aspect of his life, and your relationship, then being too tired to hump sounds like it’s just not that important to him. Decide for yourself how much more you really need from him to be satisfied in the relationship and then tell him specifically in the least confrontational way possible. If he’s willing to change some things to make you even happier then give him one thing to work on at a time. He might not ever turn into a sex maniac, but he should be willing to meet you somewhere in the middle for the relationship to work. And if he can’t, or won’t, make any real changes it’s not the end of the world. You’re 26. I promise there are plenty of other good guys out there that would be very happy to sex you up.

  10. Kier says:

    [As the stereotypical twenty year old male, I have to chime in and say that if you’re letting me touch your naked body, I’m not going to consider it bad sex.

  11. EricaSwagger says:

    [The thing that stuck with me as I read this post is that your boyfriend works 13 hour days and sleeps the rest of the time. When do you have time for a relationship? When do you talk, or hang out at home? When do you eat? It’s more of a deal-breaker (for me anyway) to be dating someone I don’t even get to spend time with. That is what would bother me the most.

    You say your boyfriend cares about you a lot, and aside from the sex, he’s a great partner and the relationship is good. It seems to me that you live with a close friend, not a boyfriend.
    Relationships need passion.
    I’m a firm believer that when marriages last 60+ years, it’s because the partners are in love and passionate about one another. Once the sex goes away, you have a roommate, not a boyfriend.

    Ask yourself how you’ll feel in a year if, even after talking to your boyfriend and telling him how you feel, expressing your concerns and letting him know how important sex is to you… he STILL doesn’t step it up. Because I have to say, he probably will not change his ways. There’s nothing you can say or do to boost his sex drive or make him perform better. Do you want to be with him forever if you aren’t having sex? Do you want to spend the rest of you life content,, happy, and cared for, but not satisfied?

    If you have no desire to be with someone else and you’re willing to spend the rest of your life having sex 2 or less times a month, then you should stick with what you have. Most likely, he will always be this way, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you can live with that.

    It hurts to realize that the person you’re with maybe isn’t your perfect mate. By reaching out for advice you’re realizing that maybe something is wrong. Maybe this man isn’t ideal. Something about your relationship is making you unhappy, and while that in itself may not be a deal-breaker, your happiness comes before all else.

  12. Kier says:

    [Ah, ok Shelly. I didn’t realize that you were joking. My bad.

    “but if you’re just looking at sex as putting it in a wet hole, you really need to expand your horizons.”

    By no means is this how I’m looking at it. Sex is the most meaningful thing that you can do with another human being, and doing it with someone who you love, someone that you share a deep, emotional connection with, that is the most beautiful thing in the world.

    I’m only saying that the most important thing to me is that she enjoy the experience. I care more about her than myself.

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