EDIT: Thank you all for your replies. I really appreciate them. I think I need to sit down and decide if sex is something I can learn to enjoy for the sake of the relationship, or if I really just want to end this and not work at it. I'm leaning towards working at becoming ok with sex. I need to talk to Mark, and make sure we take things slowly, so that I don't have another panic attack. If I do, then it might be time to go back to therapy. Thanks again.

Hey VPers,

I'm pretty much at my wit's end. My SO and I get along amazingly. We met in 2010, chatted online for a year, then started dating seven months ago. We cook together, go out for dinners, movies, and argue about politics. We spend equal amounts of time together and apart, and we get along with each others' friends well. Everything is going great, except for the sex. BTW, I'm 23. So sorry for the long post to come.

I never got attached to anyone I had sex with. I didn't think it was a big deal; I don't don't equate sex with love, or vice-versa. The first guy I had sex with wanted it way too often, and it got to the point where I'd just put up with it so he'd stop bugging me. For a few months, I couldn't have sex with him because of vaginismus, and his complaining that it was all my fault and that I needed to relax more wasn't helping. After a few months, I was finally able to sleep with him. It was fine at first – one weekend, we had sex about 20 times. It got incredibly annoying after that. Soreness, fatigue, just general not wanting sex on my end. We argued about how if I'm in bed, it doesn't mean I want to have sex, I just want to sleep. He couldn't catch the hint, and would grope me regardless. It was one of the reasons we broke up. Since then, he's realized he needs to cut that out, and I'm glad, since hopefully any new girls he dates won't have to deal with it. Sex was never something I really looked forward to as a teenager. I can remember being excessively curious about it from as young as 4, and I don't know why. To me, it was always just something people did, and it didn't require being attached emotionally to someone to do it.

The second guy I dated was a guy I'd been really into for a few years. We always got along well, and even went out a few times. He was always nice, always gentlemanly, and respectful. We shared many things in common. One night, after a drink, we ended up at his place and slept together. I thought it was great, because I really liked him. He didn't use a condom, and I told him I was uncomfortable with it, but didn't make a huge deal out of it. We slept together again after a couple of weeks, at which point he turned into the biggest douche I have ever met. I found out quickly after that point that he had a problem with cocaine and drank far too much (both of which he normally did in the privacy of his home, so no one would know). At one point, I saw him go through half a bottle of sake, half a bottle of wine, and a couple shots of tequila in the span of a few hours, while snorting a couple lines of coke. I asked how many lines he'd done that day, and he said about six. Thing is, he looked mostly normal. He was walking around and talking like he normally does; he was a little jumpy, but because I haven't had much experience around people on drugs, it wasn't too out of the ordinary for me. I realized that if he's so normal while doing that stuff, then he must do it a lot, and it was probably why he seemed so nice for the past few years – because he was never in his right mind to begin with. To be honest, I didn't react like I should have. I had a rough year, and at that point, I just didn't care anymore. My sister was dying (breast cancer that spread around her body), I had a crappy job, I was in and out of the clinic/hospital for various physical issues, and I was dealing with depression because of all of these things. I should never have dated this guy in the first place, but that's just where I was at that point.

After seeing this guy off and on for a couple months, and him avoiding my phone calls/texts and just calling me up when he felt like it, I moved on and started dating my current boyfriend, who is the most loving person I've ever met. A few weeks into dating him (I'll call him Mark), I ended up in the hospital for an intestinal problem. After running a bunch of tests, the doctor told me that they didn't find anything with my intestines, but that I had Trichomoniasis. I hadn't had sex with Mark yet, so I figured it was the ex. We both were meeting a mutual friend for a drink a few nights later, so I talked to him outside the bar. Long story short (I know, too late), even though he gave me an STD, he repeatedly called me gross when he found out I had it. He kept backing away and giving me this disgusted look, like I was a pile of vomit. I felt like a giant piece of crap and just went home.

Fast forward to my relationship with Mark. He knows about the Trich and we both got treated for it (didn't want to take any chances, even though we'd only done oral then). Kissing is fine. Making out is great. But the first time we tried to have sex, I had a panic attack and had to tell him to pull out. He is incredibly big down there, too big for complete comfort. That would be something I could deal with, if I actually wanted to have sex. I've had crappy history with sex, and because sex is not a symbol of a good relationship to me, I could easily do without it. Mark cannot. He is one of those romantics, who believes that sex is an expression of how much you love a person. He said he's had a one night stand before, and felt disgusted with himself afterward, because there was no emotional connection. He can't separate feelings from the physical, not to mention it takes him at least an hour to finish, and I get bored and sore after a few minutes. Honestly, I kind of hate sex now. I find myself looking at other guys, not for a relationship, but just for a one night stand, because I'd rather have sex for a couple minutes and get rid of the horny feeling than do the whole foreplay/cuddling crap that I hate just so my partner can feel good about himself.

We've talked about this many times, and he is incredibly frustrated. We've barely even made out in months, because he puts so much importance on sex in the relationship. He says it's at least 1/3 of a good relationship, which I don't agree with. We both just keep butting heads over this. We get along so amazingly on every other level, but he just can't get it through his head that sex doesn't mean love. He can't understand that the relationship is fine the way it is, and that even if I did want sex more often, I don't want to do it for hours at a time. I somehow find sex both boring and stressful. I get sore, and it's just not fun for me if I know it means way more to him than it does to me. I'm not in it for the experience of sex, I just want to get rid of whatever mood is rising so I can get on with my life. I don't know what else to do, because I really like being with him. I just can't stand how much pressure he puts on the sexual dynamic of our relationship. Again, we've talked about this many times. I don't know what else to say to him to get him to stop making it such a huge deal.

P.S. I was in therapy for depression, but it wasn't helping, so I stopped. I'm on birth control pills, and those might be affecting my libido, but no other pills.

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25 Responses to Having some serious issues with SO in bed

  1. Nwooeva says:

    not to mention it takes him at least an hour to finish

    I can so relate; that was my ex. Sex would last forever and I’d be sore and just hate it. 🙁

    I wish I could offer some advice; I just had to tell you that I can relate, though.

  2. Nagzoa says:

    I also agree, I’m so thankful it only takes 15 minutes tops to finish off my boyfriend. Sounds horrible but I get super bored too unless I’M in the mood. I have vulvodynia so sometimes I really don’t feel like being touched down there and he understands but I feel guilty when it’s been a week and I havn’t ‘put out’. The joys of being the one with low libido while your partner’s is high. :/
    Guess what I’m trying to say is I relate, I just think your partner should be more supportive because that’s bullcrap.

  3. EohNet says:

    Have you made it clear that you don’t enjoy the sex you guys are having? That it’s not just that you don’t care about sex, you also don’t like long sessions?

    If that’s already clear, I don’t see what else there is to talk about. You guys might get some use out of couples therapy, but it sounds like it might be unresolvable.

  4. Nwooeva says:


    As much as it hurts to say, this seems like something that just can’t be fixed. Sex is a fundamental part of relationships, whether you’re having sex or not–it’s something that both partners need to agree on, at some level.

  5. EohNet says:

    I think I may have sounded a little too glib. I haven’t been exactly where you are, but I have been in a relationship where I thought our problem was sex. I thought everything else was awesome. Then my husband wanted a divorce. We went to counseling and worked on communication and the sex problem went away for awhile.

    So I do at least somewhat get it. I just don’t see a solution. I don’t see your significant other coming around to your view of sex and I don’t see you coming around to his. The only other option is that you guys compromise and change something in the bedroom without changing your beliefs, but I have a feeling that neither of you will end up happy in that case either.

  6. Aniofa says:

    “he just can’t get it through his head that sex doesn’t mean love”

    you can’t change what he believes and it’s unrealistic (and shitty tbh) for you to push and expect him to change his opinion for you. i think that you guys should just break up; sex for him is an integral part of a relationship and your opinions on it isn’t going to change, therefore you’ll always butt heads about you. both of you are better off finding people who share the same views on the subject.

  7. Deydarta says:

    you can’t change what he believes and it’s unrealistic (and shitty tbh) for you to push and expect him to change his opinion for you.

    That seems a bit harsh, don’t you think? Even with the most generous reading of this situation that I can imagine, he’s not exactly being understanding of her opinion but its shitty of her to ask him to change?

  8. Aniofa says:

    i understand that she doesn’t have a good relationship with sex, but i take serious issue with her expecting him to cater to her ideals because they have an otherwise ‘great’ relationship. the thing she’s asking is for him to separate how he feels about sex and its correlation with relationships.

    like this : ‘He can’t understand that the relationship is fine the way it is’.

    who is she to tell him how he should feel about the relationship? it seems like he’s trying to do what he feels is right but is meeting this resistant wall that is the op.

  9. Yhpoma says:

    IMO, it seems as if they are both waiting for and expecting that the other should change. Possibly the two are just not compatible? Even if everything else is great, if you can’t agree on the importance of and place of sex in the relationship, I’m not sure it’s gonna work. Neither of you are wrong or should need to back down. You both deserve to be in a relationship that works for you on this level.

  10. HctNope says:

    I actually kind of agree with you, although I don’t think I’d have put it as bluntly as you just did. Think how we’d react if it were a GUY speaking about a GIRL like this: “I find myself looking at other guys, not for a relationship, but just for a one night stand, because I’d rather have sex for a couple minutes and get rid of the horny feeling than do the whole foreplay/cuddling crap that I hate just so my partner can feel good about himself.” If a man had to say that “foreplay and cuddling” is crap and only makes his gf feel good about herself… I have a feeling a lot of people would spew vitriol about it.

    So, OP, while I acknowledge your feelings and hear your boredom and pain (been there myself), I’d want you to acknowledge HIS feelings too, if you do indeed want that relationship to continue. If you don’t, then cut your losses and split up with him. Don’t keep adding fuel to the fire and opening old wounds.

  11. Gubzoa says:

    Hi, contact_vp or to contact us via email with questions or concerns. We only ask that you avoid commenting further here out of respect for the OP. For that reason, replies to this thread will be frozen.

    For the VP Team
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  12. Dekdy says:

    Safe Space Warning

    Hi, contact_vp

  13. RedZero says:

    Sex is a way he expresses love, just like maybe spending time together is a way you express yours (or gift giving or one of the many other ways people express affection). Unfortunately for you figuring out the situation – no one is in the wrong here. He’s not wrong for thinking sex is important, nor are you for not placing a significant emotional attachment to it.

    I am the same way as you, it’s fun but I get bored after too long and I don’t consider it the hallmark of a healthy relationship. My husband feels similarly so when one of us goes through a stint where we’re not in the mood, it doesn’t cause any fights between us. I could not be with someone who considered sex a cornerstone of a healthy relationship.. and unfortunately you may quickly need to decide if you feel the same way as me on this issue.

  14. Deydarta says:

    I dunno…if there is no way that he can compromise with you on how your sex lives look, this might not work.

    Frankly, I’m not comfortable with the insistence that sex=love because it sounds to me like a few abusive dynamics I’ve seen. If it was just a matter of physical intimacy being important, why can’t he compromise with you on different sex acts that you don’t hate/feel bored with? Why this one specific act? Especially if you don’t enjoy it? If you aren’t enjoying it and he is despite your lack of enjoyment, that’s not love, IMO. That’s selfishness.

  15. Hteall says:

    Yeah, this is what was making me twitch. See, even when someone is in the love-and-sex-go-together camp, that person should not want their partner to be in pain, or bored. Someone who nags you to “enjoy it more” is at best misguided, middling into a toxic relationship, and at worst, an emotional abuser. (Everyone should read youarenotcrazy.com!)

    Where is the compromise? Where is him saying, “I want to worship you, I want to know what I can do so you will enjoy yourself, I want to be such a fabulous lover that sex isn’t a chore”? Lemme repeat that: Where is him saying, what can I do so you’ll enjoy yourself?

    I’m not saying that this is a relationship-breaker, but if he wants the relationship — and not to run the relationship, if one sees the nuance — then he’s going to need to be a person who can listen to, “Look, I know that sex is important to you. I get that. But sex has been unimportant to negative for me, and I need you to recognize that. We may be able to compromise. We may be able to figure out how sex can be enjoyable to me. But if I feel nagged for sex, it’s not going to make my libido show up. So can we brainstorm things that don’t make me feel like sex is some chore?”

    And if he says, “You shouldn’t feel sex is a chore! Sex is love!” then… About then is where I’d start suspecting that he’s secretly got a control-freak streak, because disrespecting your emotions, ignoring your statements, invalidating the reality that you live in… That’s just not okay.

  16. Pidwoa says:

    Second the youarenotcrazy.com
    It helped a friend of mine realize her ex was indeed abusive, and that I was not just bashing him for fun.

  17. 29dWoman says:

    I hope you know you’re not gross, or anything other than the awesome person you are, because of an STI. He, however, reacted in a way i have no problem describing as disgusting.

    Also, I recommend Feeling Good by David Burns if you’re still struggling with the depression. I haven’t read it yet, but I did his other book, When Panic Attacks (also recommended) and I’m quite confident it will at least start you down the road to feeling good (ah…I get it now XD) again 🙂

    And sometimes, even though every other part of the relationship is good, we are not good sexual matches. It sounds like this is breeding negativity, and is harming the relationship. Nothing wrong with trying to work through it, but also nothing wrong with deciding that the differences wrt sex are just not going to work out.

  18. Remoma says:

    Just in terms of the it being painful and taking so long, when you do have sex, could you guys do other sexy things together and save the PIV for when he’s close to finishing?

  19. 77aNew says:

    There is a lot more to “sex” than “penis-in-vagina” and I’d really like to encourage you and Mark to work on OTHER kinds of sex. What happens with oral? What happens with manual? Have you masturbated together?
    Some guys take a long time, especially if they’re nervous. If he’s actually concerned about how you’re feeling (honestly I can’t tell, and that’s a HUGE red flag for me, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) it might be taking him a long time to orgasm because he’s worried about how it’s hurting you or how long he’s taking or if you’re bored.
    I’d tell him you don’t want to have penis-in-vagina sex for, say, a month. Do everything else. Give each other orgasms. Enjoy the sex. Tell him you need to re-program your brain so that you feel like these are good, intimate things. And if he isn’t willing to work on this, then I’d either consider counseling (if you think the relationship is worth it) or breaking up.
    Anyone who wants to penetrate you, knowing that you aren’t liking it, is being a jerk. Instead of him focusing on why you don’t like it, he should be thinking about how to help you enjoy sex.
    Good luck.

  20. 24hWo says:

    “He can’t understand that the relationship is fine the way it i”

    Well… no. It’s fine for you. Some people, sex really is that big a part of a relationship. Just because you guys aren’t compatible that way does not make him wrong. You either need to find a happy medium, or end it.

  21. 24hWo says:

    Also, have you tried more foreplay to get him to not last as long? Maybe if you gave him head until he was close, and then had sex?

  22. GodNew says:

    I agree with what others here: neither you nor he are in the wrong here. Sex is important for some people and not important for others. There can be compromises, but sometimes people are just not sexually compatible and not much can be done about it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you guys need to break up, though–if you love each other despite the sex issue, you could potentially look into opening up your relationship such that both of you can fulfill any sexual needs you have (if any) elsewhere. I don’t know if that would work for both of you (it definitely has to be a decision that you’re both 100% in favor of), but it may be an option to consider.

  23. 54ste says:

    Compromise comes from both sides, its not “fair” in a relationship to have one partner getting their way all the time. I’m not saying that you are, but that there are a lot of comments about him not compromising. It doesn’t sound abusive or manipulative from what you’ve said here, to me, the way you write doesn’t make him seem like that … again it could be (I had an ex who was very manipulative, especially about sex and he did say thinks like “if you love me you’ll have sex with me” but that’s not what I’m getting from your writing).

    It sounds to me that he *thinks* that since you have “put out” in the past that you will in the present or future, and that he is not fully understanding how much you don’t like it.

    It does sound that you two are not sexually compatible, possibly better off as friends not lovers. Since it is a large part of a healthy relationship for him I do not think there is a way for you to get him to not make it such a “huge deal.”

  24. Kdgle says:

    Hmmm. So I can only speak from my own experience here, but in some ways the ‘start to have sex, then have panic attack’ thing is familiar to me. I was raped by someone I knew when I was 22, and then I was assaulted when I was abroad four years later. After each of these incidents, having sex was hard. I was not in relationships when the incidents occurred, but in each of the relationships that immediately followed the assaults I had panic attacks and sometimes dissociative episodes during sex.

    Now, let me be clear. I LOVE sex. I’ve loved it since I figured out how to masturbate when I was twelve. Love it, love it, love it. Sometimes it’s a way of expressing my love for someone, and sometimes it’s a way of making myself feel really, really good. I do it by myself and I do it with other people. It’s great. HOWEVER, when I was having those panic attacks and dissociative episodes, I really needed my partners to be willing to go slowly and be willing to stop if I needed to. In both cases, my partners were extremely respectful and I was able to (eventually) trust them. They knew I cared about them, and I knew they cared about me.

    It seems like part of what’s happening here is that he is unable or unwilling to slow things down and it’s an all-or-nothing proposition…either you have sex or you don’t. It seems like another possibility is that you are still recovering from the trauma of dealing with your ex’s reaction to his transmission of his STD! Still a third possibility is that your sex drive and that of your partner are just different.

    I don’t want to say what is or is not normal in terms of how much/often you want to have sex. That varies a lot from person to person. But my experience has been that if you’re in a relationship with someone whose interest in sex is very different from your own, that can be hard to overcome. It’s one thing to want different kinds of sex, and it’s another if he wants to do it every night and you want to do it twice a year. Lots of things can affect how much you want to have sex, but I genuinely believe that each of us is hardwired to want sex more or less often…I base that on how strongly my physical and emotional state affects my sex drive.

    If you think that your sex drive is being lowered by the panic and trauma, I’d suggest that more therapy could be helpful. If you think your sex drive is just generally far lower than his, it might be time to think about ending the relationship.

    About the ‘takes forever’ thing? Yeah…even though I love it, sometimes Manfriend (my nickname for my current partner) takes forever. The key has been as other posters have suggested, to make sure that he’s pretty close to coming before we actually have PIV if we’re going to do it. Alternatively, we have PIV and then he pulls out and finishes on some part of my body of which he is especially fond, which is okay with me, too. But, that’s ME and it might not be okay with YOU, and what’s okay with you is really important here.

  25. Yaj007 says:

    I definitely don’t like how he’s pressuring you here, and it raises a red flag for me.

    Have you considered other sexual activities other than PIV? Sex is not just PIV. It’s a lot different things.
    Have you also considered polyamory and allowing yourselves to have sex with other people to fulfill your sexual urges?

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