He won't initiate sex -except w/ himself

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
He won't initiate sex -except w/ himself
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 9:42am
I can't win. I've been dating this wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent guy for over four years, and this year he moved in with me. Everything else is pretty much great, and I love him very much, but there's one big problem - he doesn't ever initiate sex. His sexual interest in me has been like this for the last two and a half years, but the desert has grown even drier since he moved in and we started acting like an old married couple. My body hasn't changed dramatically in that time period, I'm still in good shape, and we haven't had kids, so I don't know what I am doing wrong. Twice this month, I've caught him pleasuring himself. It's disturbing and frustrating. He's being selfish or just not into me anymore. I am very upset and want a resolution. Anybody else with this problem? What should I do?
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 10:46am

Well once you move in, things can become very intimate for people. They are now living with someone 24/7. If they share something very personal with their partner, they see and know each day that their partner knows this personal information and that they could get hurt by what they share with their partners. For some, men including, sex becomes a very intimate experience and they fear this emotional closeness so they avoid sex with their partner. Lot of people here see this after they move in together.

Or their drive is low to start with and before moving in, it might still be a little more exciting and they know they need to work on the relationship to keep it going. Once people move in together with the idea that the relationship will be permanent, they stop working on their relationship and focus on other things.

Is he selfish? Yes. It's much easier for him to take care of his own needs and skip helping take care of yours. He may be avoiding intimacy with you. You say he never initiate sex so it appears he has a low sex. Since you do all the initiating, you probably take care of his needs quite well.

"My body hasn't changed dramatically in that time period, I'm still in good shape, and we haven't had kids, so I don't know what I am doing wrong. "

You're not doing anything wrong. You just picked a partner with little interest in sex and he'd rather take care of his needs without you. No intimacy to deal with and he can do or think whatever he pleases.

" Anybody else with this problem? What should I do?"

Well if you have plans for kids in the future, I would recommend you put that on hold for the time being. After kids come along, it can get even worse.

Have you ever sat down and talked with him about this? If so, what did he have to say? What were your expectations? Were you hoping that things would get better when you move in and he would change?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 2:16pm
Thanks for your advice. Two years ago, I tried talking to him about this. I tried to be very careful with my wording and not offend him. But he still got extremely offended and defensive. He felt emasculated, I guess. I dropped the subject after that morning, because I hated to see him so upset. But because physical interaction is something I value and enjoy, I don't know whether if I should bring it up again, rely on myself for fulfillment, or...leave?
Avatar for holdingontoit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2004
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 3:03pm

I vote for

When you see it coming, duck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2006
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 3:21pm

"I dropped the subject after that morning, because I hated to see him so upset. But because physical interaction is something I value and enjoy, I don't know whether if I should bring it up again, rely on myself for fulfillment, or...leave?"

You have to remember that this is your life as well as his. Yes he will experience various emotions but so are you. Both your needs should be address in the relationship. In the Articles section are some tips on how to communicate to try to keep emotions on a somewhat level basis but this type of talk is hard to do for most couples.

You are probably going to have quite a few talks if you want to attempt to get this resolved. Now you have moved in together with this unresolved issue and it becomes harder to end the relationship as you have more invested now, if that is something you might want to do. Most couple also get too relaxed in working on maintaining their relationships, including the sexual piece, once the relationship becomes more permanent. Having kids can make it even harder for a couple to work on their relationship and if they don't want to work on it any more, much harder to leave for the kids sake.

Most folks here find that just trying to rely on oneself for fulfillment rarely works. You're basically giving up who you are as a person so the other person is happy and doesn't have to work on this part of the relationship. Only you will be the one doing the work and making changes.

But things won't change if you don't drive for change. He's not going to do it. But after you have discussions with him, hopefully you will both attempt some changes in the relationship that draw the two of you closer together. If that doesn't work out in the long run, hopefully you will both see there is no right or wrong to this, just two people who aren't a good match for each other. And have an honest talk as to where the relationship is heading; either remaining together or going your separate ways.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2007
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 4:09pm

You have to be able to air your greivances for the relationship to be successful. This is a primary point in John Gottman's book "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail." Certain topics can't be off limits just because he doesn't like the topic. What if I got offended because my wife tried to complain about my body odor?

There is nothing inherently wrong with him masturbating, but it is certainly understandable that you'd be unhappy if your needs aren't being met. It's okay to complain and let him know how you feel about this situation, but don't criticize his character. Is there some acceptable way that you two could make your sexual encounters more enticing for him? Does he feel like he's walking on eggshells when he's with you? Does he want to do things in bed differently? Or is this just a sexual mismatch between the two of you?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Tue, 09-04-2007 - 5:53pm
I am scared to make this seem like a bigger deal than it is. If I bring this up again, he will be mad and his ego possibly crushed. Who knows what will happen? Still, its my life too, like you say! I have my needs. Perhaps I should come onto him more, and wear something sexier than old t-shirts to bed. But I get tired when its always me initiating. Plus, isn't that the guy's job? (I guess I have stereotypes and previous boyfriends stuck in my head) Long term relationships are tough. I really don't know how married people stay hot for each other for decades! Its particularly confusing when the rest of the relationship is so strong. Its not like we don't connect otherwise. We have great conversations. My boyfriend is hot, but the more he shoots me down and reaches for the remote rather than for me (or chooses to fulfill his needs as soon as I leave the house for five minutes), the more sexuality gets sucked out of the room, leaving us in some cheery yet dull platonic vacuum. Right now we are just good pals sharing a house.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-2007
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 11:14pm
I completely understand how you feel. I myself lived with this same matter for years. I felt like I couldn't even take a walk after dinner and leave him alone in the house for two seconds. It was horrible, I was very angry at first and he never wanted to do anything with ME. We used to have a clear shower curtain. After a while you could see into the shower from the outside but you couldn't see outside the shower from the inside. This being said.... I walked in on him in the shower. I'm standing there starring at him in the shower in utter shock. I got nervous, embarrassed, my stomach dropped to the floor, and I didn't know what to do, he had no idea I was standing there. So, I asked him what he was doing... turns out that could probably have been the worst thing I did at that moment. I don't know what it was but I was busting him all the time. He never cared about my needs. He was also big on porn. I'd find it stashed all over the house. And he was horrible about covering up the evidence. I walked into my bathroom to take a shower and I found one of those post cards that come from the mags on the counter. I freaked. This went on for quite some time, but I confronted him every time. I was just trying to make him realize he was kinda leaving me out.
So.... then we started putting on shows for each other. I of course initiated that, I was trying to make him feel more comfortable, and trying to get his attention a little more. Don't know about you but it kind of turned me on to find him in such pleasure. Now, forget it. My problems are so beyond the other way, but it's a different circumstance now than it was 6 years ago. I really have no idea why they do that.. especially if they KNOW we're in the house, almost like they want to get caught. Funny... I never would have thought so many people went through this same situation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2005
Thu, 09-27-2007 - 1:07am

I wont 'be much help in here, but I'm pretty much in the same page as you. We very rarely have sex after we moved in together 4 years ago.. twice a year is average and I'm only 24!!

Back then, his idea of sex included foreplay (mostly him pleasing me since I was

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2002
Thu, 09-27-2007 - 8:44am

I've been seeing my man for two years, and been living together over a year. Our sex life has plummeted to the point where it has now been three months since we had sex. He doesn't see any problem with the lack of sex in our life, and lashes out at me in defence whenever I bring the subject up. But he doesn't have any qualms about masturbating to porn when I'm not at home. So I know it's not a LL issue with him. When we first met, our sex life was off the charts - I'd never had it so good. Now, in the rare occasion we have sex, I wonder why I bothered, because he puts such little effort into it. And it's not just the sex I'm having issues with - there is a whole absence of any sort of communication, intimacy or emotional connection with him. I've tried everything I can think of to get through to him, and try to open the gates of communication, but he shuts everything down, or tries to turn the blame around on me. At this point, if he bothered to initiate, I'd turn him down, because there is too much hurt there for me right now, and I don't think he deserves to share that part of me.

Last Thursday I gave him and ultimatum and told him he had until the end of November to get his act together, because I'm so unhappy I'm in counselling every week, and on antidepressants. I will be away most of October for a new job, so won't see him a lot, which is why I've given him so long, coupled with the fact that if he did make changes, I wanted to see if he could sustain them over a period of time. So far though, he hasn't done a damned thing, and to be honest, the end of November still seems too far off for my liking.

Good luck to you.