Dear Em & Lo,
This may sound pathetic, but the guy I am dating is perfect for me, I love him and want him as my husband, but I don’t really enjoy our sex life. It’s two and a half years in and I don’t think it’s going to get much better. I know what I could have in that department and even where to get it, it’s just not with my BF. Is the only way forward to get out and wait for everything to be perfect? My mom, of course, wants me to get married, but I am only 27 and don’t want to spend the next 20 years thinking about being unfaithful, which has happened once already. Please, which way is up?
— Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Hmm…looks like we disagree on our definitions of “perfect.” Where we come from, “perfect” means someone who complements you emotionally, spiritually, physically — the whole soulmate package, ya know? It sounds like your guy would make a perfect platonic soulmate…but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to satisfy you.
If we were your mom, we would tell you that 27 is too young to settle for less than a soulmate. Hell, 47 is too young to settle for less than a soulmate. And we’re not even talking perfect soulmates, here — just strong, solid relationships without huge gaping holes in them. After all, good relationships are built on compromise — but there’s a big difference between compromise and settling. And marrying a guy who totally doesn’t do it for you in the sack is definitely settling, especially at 27.
We’re assuming from your letter that you’ve tried everything already — communication, experimentation, etc. — to improve your sex life. If not, then that’s obviously your first step. If this guy is all that you say he is, he clearly deserves a chance to satisfy you. Does he even know how unhappy you are in bed? If you’re not ready to let him go, then your one chance of making things work is addressing the issue together. Gently. You might even want to consider seeing a counselor together for a bit of guidance.
Also, make sure you’re being realistic about sex and long-term relationships. That awesome sexual excitement you get from a new love wears off after about two years (studies have actually proven it). And often, what makes sex exciting is the taboo, the new, the unknown. You have to work hard to hold on to those things in a long-term relationship, but they are automatic with a one-night stand/a fling/a booty call/someone you just start seeing — because it’s uncharted territory. Take this mysterious third party you know you can get hot lovin’ from — are you sure the main reason it’s so hot isn’t simply because he’s forbidden? Imagine what it would be like in a long-term relationship with this sex machine two and a half years from now. Would there even be a relationship?
We’d go into more detail, except that we have a feeling it’s more than just a lack of communication or realism on your part. You obviously know what sexual chemistry is and it sounds like you and your boyfriend don’t have even a smidge of it. Plus, it sounds like sexual chemistry is really important to you — some people could take it or leave it, but if you’re thinking about a life of infidelity just to get that chemistry, then you’re not one of those people. In which case, poppet, DO NOT MARRY THIS MAN! Sure, in the course of decades of marriage, your attraction to your spouse may come and go — eventually, when you’re old and grey, it may well go and never come back. But that’s a long way off, so if the chemistry isn’t there in the first place, what hope do you two have of making it in this cold cruel world? Especially if you’ve already cheated on your guy once.
Do yourself — and this awesome guy — a favor: if some communication, experimentation, and a roll of bondage tape don’t create a little more heat between you two, then let him go. Don’t worry about what your mom says: She’ll get over your breakup a hell of a lot more quickly than she would your divorce from him five years from now. And as everybody else’s mom would say: Plenty more fish in the sea.
Em & Lo
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