Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Want to Have Sex with My Girlfriend Anymore”

In regards to the letter “My boyfriend doesn’t want to have sex with me,” I can really relate to what the boyfriend is going through. I’m 51, I’ve been with my girlfriend (47) for two years, and it feels like I’ve lost interest in her sexually. The start of any relationship is always exciting, but after two years I’m bored. I don’t think familiarity breeds contempt, but the excitement level is much lower. By the way, this is my longest relationship ever.

I don’t feel like kissing her or having sex with her. Well, I guess I could make an effort, but I feel like I can’t be bothered. It’s like I’ve checked out physically. I’d rather get a good night’s sleep than have sex. However, she doesn’t complain at all. There have been no complaints about the lack of sex although she did ask a few times if I was seeing someone else The last time we did it was four months ago. And before then it was like two months before. So during the second year together, we didn’t have a lot of sex. My testosterone levels are fine, and I’m fit and active. Is it me being lazy or am I just not that into her anymore? I feel like she’s becoming more like a friend. The whole thing is making me sad because I want things to be exciting.

I fantasize about ending it, going on Tinder for casual sex, and then finding a new relationship. How immature and selfish of me, right? Do all men think like this? Is this a sign that I should move on, or is it just a fantasy? What happens if I get bored with the new girlfriend in two years time? What does this mean? I’m destined to changing girlfriends every two years? That’s depressing.

My girlfriend is a wonderful and kind person. I worry I’ll regret the decision and won’t find someone else as loving and devoted as she is. Also, great sex does not mean you’ll be together forever. I know many couples that had great sex and have since broken up. If you think about it, how many times would you have sex in a year (especially in your 50s)? It wouldn’t be as often as in your 20s or 30s. Does it make sense to exit a relationship in your 50s when in five years the libido will be almost gone? I’ve read that companionship is more valuable than lust over 40 years.

Is it over or can this be worked out? — Doomed Relationship?

Do you want to have sex at all? Or do you just want to want to have sex with someone new? Maybe your libido is very low and sex just isn’t something you want, and if your girlfriend feels similarly, maybe this doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship. But you mention feeling bored, feeling sad because you want something more exciting, and fantasizing about ending your relationship and going on Tinder. I just wonder if you’re confusing what you want with what you *think* you want. Maybe sex just isn’t exciting for you anymore, regardless of who it’s with. Maybe you’re not a relationship person (not everyone is). Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that sex is what will fill your need for excitement because that’s what worked in the past or what you think works for other people, but maybe what you need is something else entirely.

If this need for a new relationship every two years has been a pattern in your life for a long time, this is probably something worth exploring with a therapist. You ask what it means if you get bored with a girlfriend after a while and want to break up, and I can’t tell you that. This is an individual issue and your avoidance of/disinterest in commitment could be the result of all kinds of things. It may also just be who you are and not necessarily something that needs to be “fixed.” What might beed adjusting is what you think your idea of fulfillment and happiness is. Maybe all this time you’ve been looking for it through what has worked for other people – like long-term commitment – instead of exploring what might work for you. (Obviously, committed relationships don’t work for you, so maybe it’s time to stop trying? Maybe it’s not about being with the wrong person, but that commitment doesn’t fulfill you.)

You say that you read that companionship is more valuable than sex over 40 years, and I’m not sure what you even mean by that. Lust doesn’t last 40 years. Lust is a temporary thing. Lust fades. Companionship outlives lust by a lot. Does that make it more valuable? Well, to someone who values companionship it does! To someone who places a lot of value on lust, then, yeah, short, maybe even non-monogamous relationships would likely be a better fit. But what do YOU value? I can’t tell by reading and re-reading your letter. What is important to YOU? Forget what you’ve read about libido after a certain age, never mind what you’re heard happens to other people, or what other people want or crave. Listen to your own desires, tune in to your own needs. How valuable is the companionship you have with your girlfriend? How much do you love her? Do you love her at all? Do you have any interest in HER, beyond the love and devotion she gives you? If not, just move on. But if you really care about her and truly want to build a future with her, I’m not sure a lack of sexual desire with her necessarily dooms that potential.

It’s clear that you want something more or something different. What’s not clear is what that something is, and whether your girlfriend knows how you feel. It’s time to get real with yourself – and the guidance of a good therapist can help with this a lot! – and to get honest with your girlfriend. Clearly, the pattern you’ve been engaged in for however long isn’t working for you long-term. Finding a new sex partner on Tinder isn’t going to fill the hole inside you. Time to do the work to figure out what will.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

19 comments… add one
  • LisforLeslie June 28, 2021, 9:53 am

    Sounds like you’re not interested in her. Period. I know women in their late 70’s – early 80’s who are still actively dating and in physical relationships. Many women still want sex well into their geriatric years. Don’t assume that all women lose their libidos.

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  • Bittergaymark June 28, 2021, 11:10 am

    Oh… Just break up already. Your GF deserves better. And she will undoubtedly find somebody better. Much better, I suspect. NEWSFLASH: clinging to somebody you have no interest in sleeping with is both cruel and fucked up.

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  • Peggy June 28, 2021, 11:20 am

    What BGM said,100%. Wendy has lots of great advice for assessing the situation and figuring out what is really the problem, but this sounds like a lost cause and you should let her go.

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  • katmich15 June 28, 2021, 11:40 am

    So who told you that the libido is gone at 55? I can’t speak for anyone else’s relationship but my husband would jump me at least once a day if I let him and he’s 55! 😉 I think you need to figure out if you don’t want sex or if you just don’t want it with your girlfriend. If it’s specific to your girlfriend, break up with her, she deserves someone who is into her.

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  • FYI June 28, 2021, 11:49 am

    There’s an old saying: “Only boring people are bored.”

    You seriously have nothing new to discover about this “wonderful and kind” person you’re with? Nothing? And, no, I don’t mean just sexually. Your life isn’t just happening to you, you know. You can decide at any moment to go to a deeper level.

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  • Kate June 28, 2021, 12:01 pm

    I think you’re just not that into your girlfriend and that’s okay, but you should break up with her and move on. I don’t think she wants a “friend,” and she’s definitely noticed the lack of interest if she asked you if you’re seeing someone else. Don’t stick around because it’s comfortable and/or you feel guilty. See a therapist on your own if you think you have issues to address, but you should end this relationship.

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  • Bittergaymark June 28, 2021, 12:13 pm

    It’s interesting that she isn’t more pushing you to have sex. But that could stem from a lot of things. One one hand, she may not be missing it much. On the other — she could be missing it terribly but avoiding the issue for fear of rejection.

    That she’s repeatedly asked if you are banging somebody else is a pretty big indicator that she senses something is very wrong with your relationship though.

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  • ron June 28, 2021, 4:01 pm

    Unless you talk to your doctor and find out the problem is something like low testosterone, it’s over and you should do both of you a favor and break up.

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  • brise June 29, 2021, 2:58 am

    After two years, having sex with your partner is more a voluntarist thing than just feeling the lust. You decide to make love because it feels good and makes you both feel intimate and it cement your relationship. You set up a time after a date or on the week-end. It has to be somehow on your radar, not something that will pop up spontaneously if it doesn’t, as you both seem a bit aging … So if you still ask your partner to float your boat like a first week excitement, that won’t do. It is simply immature and unrealistic.
    Sex becomes interesting if you practice it. It is a bit like a music instrument. If you let it in its box, well, you de-learn it. It will just stay were it is. The more you do it, the more you enjoy it.
    What strikes me in your post is your total lack of any comment on the quality of your relationship, what you think of your partner, how is the relationship beyond the lack of sex. In fact, it is only assessed through the filter of your sexual satisfaction. A completely self-centered and avoidant perspective on love. Very limited. Sad, when you are close to 50.

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    • Rebecca June 29, 2021, 11:12 am

      …um, wow. I’m 10 years into my relationship, and we’re still hot for each other like it was the first week, so maybe speak for yourself.

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  • brise June 29, 2021, 3:00 am

    Actually more than 50…

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  • LW June 29, 2021, 4:22 am

    Wendy, great insightful advice.

    I know you’re not a therapist, but gut feel, what do you think I really want

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    • Kate June 29, 2021, 6:40 am

      A therapist would start by digging into your past, like way back into your childhood, to figure out what’s going on with you. That would be necessary to really determine what you want. But it sounds like something has prevented you from forming romantic connections with people beyond a surface level. You don’t experience love and attachment the way many people do. You tell yourself you want variety and new experiences, but I think it’s probably something else like a personality disorder or some deep fear, that keeps you from making long-term connections.

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      • Kate June 29, 2021, 6:57 am

        Also fwiw, my husband and I are your ages, have been together 9 years, and we do have sex regularly and much more often than you’re describing. In your situation I really think the lack of a real connection and chemistry has caused the sex to die.

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    • Dear Wendy June 29, 2021, 7:10 am

      I can’t answer that for you. But it’s clear you want to know, it’s clear you aren’t satisfied with the pattern of short-term relationships that quickly become boring. So go to therapy! It can help you figure out what you want, what has been standing in your way, and what you can do to move past your roadblocks. And in the meantime, break up with your girlfriend. She deserves someone who truly wants her.

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    • misspiggy June 30, 2021, 9:39 am

      How often do you think ahead? Like, really think ahead? If I’m wondering whether sex would be a good idea, these days my body will usually tell me sleep is more what it needs now. But I’m thinking about what my relationship needs in the long term, and without the fun and intimacy of sex I know it will fail. So I decide what I’m going to do with my body, even if I have to push through fatigue at first. If the sex was no good or if I didn’t feel better about my partner even with regular sex, then I’d be thinking about more serious changes.

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  • allathian June 29, 2021, 4:30 am

    Early on in the relationship, people are often completely head over heels in love and in lust with each other. But it’s not sustainable in the long term, and eventually the crazy brain chemistry of new love either settles down into some form of contentment, or the couple stays together out of habit even if they aren’t really happy anymore, or they break up. Achieving that sort of contentment requires work, though, it doesn’t just happen by itself. That’s why it’s called commitment.

    Some people are so hooked on the sensation of being newly in love/lust that they never manage to maintain a relationship for longer than about eighteen months to two years, which is how long that giddy feeling of new love usually lasts. That’s okay too, at least as long as you aren’t stringing your partner along into believing you’re committed to a long-term relationship.

    I think it’s telling that the LW’s girlfriend has been wondering if he’s seeing someone else. At least it sounds like she’d like to have sex more often, but may not want to say so out of a fear of rejection.

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  • CZ June 29, 2021, 3:24 pm

    The key to your issue is in your statement that this relationship of two years is the longest you’ve ever had. If you truly want to change a lifetime of behavior, I would seek therapy to find out why you are unable to sustain romantic relationships. You get out when the “Honeymoon Period” is over. That doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. But if you truly are seeking to change a lifetime of a behavior and have a more deeply fulfilling and long lasting relationship, you’ll need help looking deeply into yourself.

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  • laylas June 30, 2021, 4:38 pm

    Let her go. She deserves a more mature and committed person who’s actually into her, not one who’s ready for the next shiny thing a mere couple of years in.

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