Not Enough Sex

Q: My boyfriend is 50 and I'm 33, and when we first met we had sex quite often. We now live together and in the last two months we have had sex only four times. His excuse used to be that he wasn't feeling like a man because he wasn't helping financially. Now he has a job, but his excuse is that he's too tired. He recently made a date for us to have our special night together, but when it came down to it, he made the excuse he was tired and needed to get up early. He said we should have attempted earlier in the day, but he made no attempts to have sex during the day. When I asked him if he's not attracted to me anymore, he said he wouldn't be with me or show me affection in public if he weren't attracted to me. I want to understand why we don't have sex anymore and if it really is me he isn't attracted to. -- Kylie

Dr. Susan: Sex every other week isn't as weird as you might think, though I can see you're concerned because your lover seems to be avoiding you. He could benefit from a medical check-up, plus the two of you have to talk frankly about what's going on for him. It's not unusual for men at midlife, like your boyfriend, to experience changes in their sexuality. Such a slowdown could be caused by an undiagnosed illness, or by some drug he's taking (several of them can strongly affect libido), or by some psychological factor that isn't being faced. He could be depressed. Just as the "wrong" pill can wreak havoc, the right one can work wonders (and has saved many a relationship). Gently encourage him to talk with a mental health professional if he checks out medically perfect, or the two of you could see someone together for a couple sessions. A lack of attraction to you is probably very low on the list of probabilities. Not to mention that all relationships start out one way -- sexually hot -- and then turn at least somewhat cooler. So where does that leave you? Try hard not to pressure him. Let him know that you don't need a performing tiger, just a cuddly buddy to share affection with. Catch him in a good mood and ask if there's anything you can do to help him feel more frisky. And be ready to take him up on just about whatever he suggests.

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