Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter comes from “His Take” contributor, Dennis Hong, who writes about relationships and other topics at Musings on Life and Love.
I am 26 and have been dating my boyfriend for two and a half years and we have been living together for about a year. When we moved in together we basically stopped having sex. Before moving in, we had sex 3-4 times a week. Since moving in a year ago, we’ve had sex about 7-10 times total! We talk about it and acknowledge it is a problem. He says he is tired at the end of the day and doesn’t feel like having sex. He says we just need to focus and work on it but neither of our behaviors change. Most everything else in our relationship is good. We spend time together, talk, cuddle, kiss, etc. In my opinion, we both have gotten too comfortable with our situation and we have become more like roommates.
Are we able to rebound or is this a deal breaker? How can we get sex back into our relationship? — Needin’ Some Lovin’
Of course you can rebound from this. But you’re not asking the right question. Instead, what you should be asking is, do you and your boyfriend want to rebound from this? From your description, it sounds like your frustration is stemming more from the fact that your boyfriend hasn’t made an effort to fix the problem, not from your lackluster sex life itself. Saying that you “need to focus and work on it” is about as noncommittal an answer as someone can give. I mean, that would be like the government “acknowledging” that we have an economic problem and saying that we “need to focus and work on” getting those economic gears cranking again. Point being, such vague non-solutions certainly won’t help either of you figure out how to squeeze sex back into your lives.
At the same time, it doesn’t seem like you yourself have been trying very hard to fix the problem. In fact, it sounds to me like you’re waiting for your boyfriend to initiate some sort of solution, as you didn’t mention anything specific that you’ve already tried or at least suggested. If that’s the case, have you heard of the saying, “If you want something done, do it yourself”? Because that’s probably what you need to do (way-too-easy masturbation jokes here notwithstanding). If you’re the one who has more of an issue with the lack of sex, then you’re the one who has to take that first step in fixing this. Don’t just wait for him to take the initiative.
To that end, I suggest that you first ask him how important it is to him that you reinvigorate your sex life. If he actually says that he doesn’t care, then… well, then you have some serious considerations to make regarding your relationship (see aforementioned question you should be asking). On the other hand, if he does want to work on it, ask him if he can think of any specific ideas, then offer some of your own. This way, you’re involving him in the solution-finding process and giving him a chance to take partial ownership in fixing your problem, rather than dictating to him all the ideas that you have. After all, sex involves two people. And knowing guys (because, you know, I’m one myself), I think he may not take it well if you go to him out of the blue with all these suggestions on how to fix this issue that you clearly have more of a problem with than he.
As far as specific suggestions from my end…. Well, I am by no means a sexologist (in fact, just typing the word makes me snicker), so I’m going to spare you any sordid, specific tips on what the two of you can do. Just know that there is a literal slew of resources out there that can help you spice up your sex life. Check some out, get some ideas, and approach your boyfriend with them. I do have one quick suggestion to help you get the, ahem, balls rolling, though. This one is used to help married couples firm up their flaccid sex lives: schedule sex. Seriously, schedule it. Like, put it on your calendar if you need to. I know it sounds unromantic, but if you actually commit to having sex, that gives both of you something to plan for and look forward to. So, maybe start by giving that a shot and see how it goes. Either way, “acknowledging” the problem is a great first step, but you have to be the one to follow through.
Dennis Hong is a teacher of juvenile delinquents, freelance comedy writer, group blog overlord, and internet entrepreneur. His personal mantra is: “Always stay positive in life (except when taking a drug or STD test)!” You can read more of his musings on life and love here.