Your Call: How Can a Relationship Work When the Sex Is Compromised?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. This week, we had two very similar inquiries from both a straight woman and a straight man. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below.

My boyfriend has been on antidepressants for almost a year.  He can no longer come through vaginal intercourse – only intense BJs or HJs.  I am minorly managing to avoid insecurity in this situation (he says he thinks my vagina is too soft – but he reassures me that it’s him, not me), but I am definitely suffering from this lack of intimacy.  How can I continue to support him, pad my frustration and sense of sadness, and not give him (or myself) a complex?  I worry that any input will change the mental part of the situation once the meds are done, so I just kinda do my thing and then we stop.  I also worry that all this intense play for ejaculate will mean my man will never get off from old-fashioned sex again – that he’ll wind up desensitized.  What do I do?

— Ms. Frustrated


I’ve been dating my girlfriend for over four years and I’ve never met anyone like her.  I am thrilled with my catch, but the one problem area is in the bedroom.  She has had a host of medical conditions that have made our sex life erratic at best.  When we are able to get down, it’s great, but very often she experiences pain, discomfort, etc.  She has seen multiple doctors and attempted many solutions, but it seems to be a never ending rollercoaster.  The latest recommendation has been to cut out intercourse for an indefinite period.  I feel I’ve been very sympathetic and understanding throughout the relationship about this situation and I know she appreciates it.  But this is maddeningly frustrating for both of us and I understand that she feels embarrassed/ashamed/guilty etc. for the whole problem.  I continue to try to be supportive, but obviously the issues are wearing on me as well.  I do feel like we’ve improved on communicating about it, but that hasn’t necessarily assuaged my frustration with the issue and I feel like my needs aren’t being met.  How would you suggest a couple handle a problem like this?

— Mr. Frustrated

What should Ms. and Mr. Frustrated do? Let them know in the comments below. 


Say Something

13 Comments on "Your Call: How Can a Relationship Work When the Sex Is Compromised?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
I understand where both letters are coming from. HOWEVER….It’s a well-known fact that anti-depressants are a major libido killer. From his perspective, it’s good to understand that sometimes a person needs medication because of an issue with their biochemistry. That is not an excuse for him to completely give up on her, but it is a reason why he may not be able to “go all the way.” That being said, does he have to come every time he has intercourse? No. Do women, no. Communication is important here. Make sure when you communicate that he is not emasculated because… Read more »
Why can’t he ride you and work your clitoris till you climax. Then do what it takes to get him off. Why does he HAVE to come inside you? The fact that it’s you he’s getting of with and he’s getting you off should be great. And sometimes, I don’t think it’s the A.D.’s, Men just need new and different hormones from a different woman. Where women are said to get off because of the emotional tie they have with a lover, a dude gets off because of the total excitement, almost like it’s a genetic thing or something.

Dear ms..
I can understand completely.. my husband has been on anti-depressents since 1997.. has not been a fun marriage. from 97 to 2006 sex was sometimes good but, long times inbetween.. he took meds for ED sometimes helped sometimes not.. as of 2006 sex of any kind between us has stopped. my husband won’t even talk about it just moved to another room.. I took this very personally and still do.. my advise is keep talking and seek help, toys, explore if he is willing… good luck.. hope things turn out better for you then they have for me.

just me

have you both tried to use sexual toys? me and my bf had the same problem i gave him bj’s and hj’s all the time, but then talked to him about my needs as well. we do have intimacy that is not sexual. Talk with your partners and tell them how you feel, if you can compromise with each other so both can be gratified. Toys have helped in my relationship.

Highway Rocker
Delayed ejaculation, which is what your boyfriend is experiencing, is a real medical condition that is exacerbated by the antidepressants. My boyfriend suffers from this as well. Different positions do make a big difference, but it sometimes takes an hour for him to ejaculate IF it happens at all. It’s not because he doesn’t find me sexually stimulating, doesn’t love me, looks at too much porn, or masturbates too much. We enjoy frequent intercourse and I do mean enjoy, but he rarely ejaculates. This is not his fault, nor is it mine – and thankfully we are each able to… Read more »
Ms. Frustrated, your bf needs to talk to his doctor. Could it be a side effect of the anti-depressents or is this another aspect to his depression and mental state? Is it a disorder which can lead to imbalance and lots of “highs” and “lows”? In terms of intimacy, do things that will not lead to intercourse, hand jobs or blow jobs. Take a bath together, put your favourite music on and hug and cuddle. Or offer to give him a massage. A slow rub after a hard day can help relieve his stress and strains, but make sure you… Read more »
I can tell you from my own nightmare of a relationship – girlfriend, find another lover! Bad masturbation habits and overuse of porn indeed! Have you ever discussed that with him at all? Why he feels the need to have such rough play with his member in order to achieve orgasm. Perhaps there is another mental block issue here he is not sharing with you or his therapist. And if he is in therapy already, for his sex habits, then take it from me. It will NOT get any better. It will result an a even greater level of stimulation… Read more »