Your Call: Why Won’t My Boyfriend Sleep with Me?

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. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below. 

Dear Em & Lo,

I am writing for a few reasons, and hoping to get some straight advice. First, I have been with my boyfriend for about 2 years. I’m 23 and he’s 29. It was kind of a crazy situation, but he swept me off my feet and we lived together pretty immediately. I was head over heels with him when we met and those first few months of sex were amazing.

Now, we have settled into that old married couple state, where there is little excitement and lots of routine (you know, where you do nothing fun anymore and have tv shows you watch on certain days of the week).

Here is the problem. Where we used to have amazing, spontaneous sex several times a week, now it has dwindled to once a month, if that, and currently a record of six weeks with ZERO sex. Not even a hint or suggestion of it on his end. He says I bring it up too much, and while I do try to initiate it a few times a week, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the man I love to want to make love to me! But he continues to reject me with excuses or just a flat out “no.”

I don’t understand what could make a guy suddenly have no interest in sex! I have researched it and talked it out and fought with him about it so many times, I am at a loss. I have tried it all; even sex games and naughty lingerie have no effect!

We both work and are stressed out at times, but we usually have plenty of time together in the evenings and weekends, when it would be a perfect time to get it on! I love sex, and I love sex with my boyfriend, but this is causing such a strain on us, I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I am tempted to cheat on him with a former lover just to be able to get off without using one of my growing collection of sex toys!

Help me out! What should I do??

— Six Week Drought


  1. I have a similar situation… I have been with my boyfriend for 4 and 1/2 years and we are still yet to have sex. I have tried everything that I can to try and spice things up in the bedroom like toys and sexy lingerie but he always seems to hold back. At the beginning of the relationship we did some sexual things (to me) on a regular basis but that’s sort of dwindled and now months go past without anything happening at all. And to top it off he won’t let me touch him either… I don’t really know what to do. I love him but with the lack of sex in the relationship it’s just hard and doesn’t feel like a relationship. We had a bit of a situation not that long ago where I had cheated on him due to frustration and he took me back but still the situation hasn’t changed.
    What could I do to get him to be more comfortable around me?
    What would you do?

  2. Dear Steve from Sept 18th,

    I really feel for your situation! I would give anything to find a man like u! I recently left a relationship of 13 yrs. I still loved him very much the day I left him and to this day has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do! I just couldn’t stay with someone that doesn’t love me, u see I did everything for this man, and when I say everything I mean everything! When he was in the shower I got his clothes ironed and had his towel and outfit ready for him when he got out. (To this day he doesn’t no how to dress himself!)Anytime he asked for a BJ I gave him one, I let him hang out with his friends any time he wanted, I cooked, I cleaned, I was there for him always! You would think that he would at least have sex with me when I wanted it, but not 1 time in the 13 years did he ever have sex with me when I initiated it! He would not do oral on me but I always did it for him! He would brag to his friends about what an awesome woman I was and how he was so lucky to have me but he treated me like shit! My friends used to always tell me I could do so much better he didn’t deserve me. I am beautiful w a nice body and just a good person in general I am very kind and considerate towards others. He was very controlling and verbally abusive, and if I wanted to have sex to bad I had to wait till he wanted it, and if I asked for it he would make me wait for a couple of weeks. Just 1 more way to abuse me! He was very controlling and that was 1 of his ways of showing me he was in control! So what i’m trying to tell u is u deserve better she doesn’t deserve u! There r way too many women out there to be stuck in a loveless marriage! It took a minute but I am much happier now that he is gone, even with raising our children on my own cause he wont pay child support or even spend time with them! my youngest son hates him and refuses to even see him! Because of how he treats me! He has plenty of money we have nothing and sometimes cant even pay our rent! I would rather be poor than be with him! someday I will met a man who will treat me right till then I will be happier on my own!

  3. I am 76 , registering 0 testerone , but I still wan’t sex and plenty of it . I do not think it is normal for a man not to want it at least once a week or more . Living together is not a really good idea on a longterm basis . It could be that your boyfriend is tired of your relationship .
    You should talk about it openly with him , see a sex therapist of arrange to leave him .

  4. Your Man won’t sleep with you because you stink in bed and/or you aren’t appealing. Or maybe you only want sex when you want it, not when he does so he is masturbating the rest of the time?

    Have a nice day.

  5. She also told me later that she loved me, but wasn’t in love with me. She is the one who suggested that we separate. I told her that would end in a divorce, since I wasn’t going to live like a room mate with a woman who did not want to have sex, unless we agreed that was the way we wanted it.

  6. I have been married for almost 30 1/2 years. When my wife and I married, we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. 27 years in she tells me she was molested by a family member, had a flashback during sex and no longer desired sex. I didn’t make an issue of it because I had a stressful job and untreated depression, so I had very little desire. Within the past two years things started to get better, my depression was treated and I changed jobs. My libido returned, so I asked for sex. She refused and told me go find some elsewhere. After being told this more than once, I asked if she was serious. She said she was. I found a younger, hot, beautiful girlfriend online who wants to give me what I was missing. We are separated, I will begin divorce proceedings one day after the separation becomes final. I plan to live with my girlfriend for a while, then ask her to marry me.

  7. Steve (September 18th, 2012 at 11:28 pm), I can feel your pain for I was in almost the same type of relationship. For my wife, sex came last. Dead last. As in after the dishes are done. After her TV programs are over (never during a Lifetime movie, Oprah, Dr.Phil, Dr.Oz, Rachael Ray, etc). Never during a crime show. Or a war movie. Or a romantic comedy. Or a commercial. Her TV was her lover, and I was just a way to satisfy her physically. It finally got to the point where I’d go to kiss her goodnight and she’d push me away because Something Important was Happening on TV and she HAD to see it.

    No spontaneity. None. If she was doing dishes or laundry, I’d come up behind her and nuzzle her neck, passing my hand across her body, massaging her back. It stopped and I was pushed away because We Have Work To Do.

    Weekends – more work. Suggested picnics, movies, meet with friends (the few we still had), hiking, biking … all for nothing, accompanied with a generous helping of vitriol. The only time we had sex was when she came into the bedroom at 2:00AM (never in the other rooms – the neighbors might see!!!) No role play, no sexy outfits (flannel nightgowns are NOT sexy). Forget oral, me giving was sorta ok, her – hahahaha; surely you jest (and stop calling me Shirley). Porn (Cinemax softcore) is degrading to women and is only watched by perverts.

    We’re now separated – she left me while I was in the hospital recovering from surgery (she gave the excuse that if I had a breakdown, there were psych doctors that could help). Came home to a semi-empty house and two much more loving cats.

    Now that she has to work, she talks about vacation. Needs a break, needs to get away. Never asks if I want to join, just her.

    Yes, I have a divorce attorney lined up. The storm is coming…

  8. Steve, I admire your commitment to your wife. I wish I had someone who cared about me and wanted to listen to what I wanted.
    I am adventurous and like to have fun, spontaneous and out of the box is my way of enjoying sex.
    I spend years being married to a man who was very much like the stories i just read about. he would ignore me and leave me to my own devices for months. he would drink himself to sleep on the couch as i ran after our kids and took care of our home. he was no partner and would just be confused when he heard me as i was crying myself to sleep.. and yet i was devoted. Like you, I would think of him when i was forced to play alone. i would ask and dress for sex and set up romantic evenings.. it was a no go or an unflattering comment that would come out of nowhere. the result was still the same.
    finally he had an affair blamed me for not being sexual and making him feel unwanted. honestly i have no idea what he was talking about, i loved him and was willing to do anything for him… now divorced for a while i come to understand. it wasn’t me it was a control issue and lack of love towards me. there was plenty of love for his subsequent conquests and the game that he had to have of perusing his pray, and to top it off the constant fear of being alone. the reality is he couldn’t be happy with what he so desperately wanted when we met or for that matter, what he had with the women he met.
    I’m dealing with being a single woman. I am happy to call my own shots. I no longer cry myself to sleep and don’t feel trapped with a man who doesn’t care about me. I am enjoying learning about myself and finally allowing myself to enjoy the company of men who want to please me. enjoy the surprise they get when they realize i can keep them very happy. Now i know how much it was disservice to myself when I was married to my x. life is to enjoy.
    good luck!

  9. I have one idea and I don’t mean to insinuate this is your situation or insult you at all.

    I now have sex with my wife of five years once a week or once a fortnight depending what is is happening. She complains that it is not enough, and makes statements like “why won’t you ever make a move on me?”. Well I want to and would live to have a lot more sex, but we don’t.

    Let me tell you why. My wife wants things to spontaneous and passionate like the movies (so she says) yet she has so many rules about sex it makes it impossible. Firstly she has to be clean, as in just showered clean. Secondly there can be no person cable of seeing, interrupting or hearing us. The third restriction is that she doesn’t like foreplay or any build-up, she wants straight at it. It is also only everissionary style or very rarely from behind if she really into it. My wife is attractive and I love her. I am no longer turned on by her and I am turned off by her rules. She is lazy, complains everyday that she has to work (I work 12 hours a day 5 days a week in a good job). She doesn’t have to work, but in order to keep our lifestyle with a maid, chef, gardener large home, new cars etc she does have to. She does not have to do anything at home. All of the cooking, cleaning, washing etc is taken care of. She works then sits in front of the TV. She never wants to do anything else. I offer to come exercising with me, join me in the shower…anything.

    The restrictions make it impossible to be spontaneous (I have tried and she will not go with it). I don’t feel like sex with her because it will be another routine mission the way she wants it without any passion or spark. I am not allowed to give oral (one of my favourite things to do) and as for receiving, well that stopped after three times. If I try anything out of these boundaries I am turned down and I have had that many rejections I don’t bother too much trying anymore. So I can have boring vanilla sex, the same EVERY time as often as I want. I only participate now when I really feel like it.

    I am a loving, caring husband that would do anything for my wife and I continually have to. I give her massages, listen to her for hours, do special things for her and complete any task she asks of me around the home. I love being the handyman! Unfortunately none of this is ever done in return. If I didn’t follow these rules we’d never have sex. She has never initiated it.

    So what I am getting at, is if your husband feels unappreciated and only has monotonous sex to look forwar to he may not want it as much as did. I still masturbate a few times a week, somtimes to porn. In all honestly, I think of my wife when I’d it or watch porn. I think of her doing the things on screen, things she would never do, such as long foreplay, oral (on either), a quickie, sex out of our home (or even bed) or spOntaneous sex without needing a shower first.

    I have explained this to her and even wrote it down but she has flat out refused to make any concessions. So this is my life and because I love my wife I am at peace with it.

  10. I thought White Rabbit’s comments were interesting, because I was once in what I believed to be a very happy relationship except for the fact that the sex dwindled. I was pretty young and I loved him and I honestly wasn’t too bothered initially but it got to the point where I would be crying about it in bed and he’d hold me and apologise but still never make a move or respond to mine.

    This went on for a bit until one night I tried again, pretty insistently – he said he was too tired and drunk and we went to sleep. The nest day I texted him and said we should talk. He came over after work and confessed he had cheated on me with a co-worker. I couldn’t believe it because he seemed so caring and also so entirely disinterested in sex. He said his sex drive always dwindled over time but since he had cheated in pretty much all his relationships I concluded there was something pretty messed up going on in psychological terms – as in, he couldn’t have sex unless it was ‘forbidden’ and/or he was ready to move on to the next person.

    I hope this isn’t what’s going on with your relationship, but do please bear it in mind. Some people can’t be single, and unfortunately that means they leave you dangling til they have the next one in their sights.

    Good luck xx

  11. All this discussion-and-therapy talk is making my testicles retract. You can’t discuss someone into sexual arousal – trust me, it’s impossible. Sexual arousal isn’t a rational thing that can be hashed out with a therapist as mediator. It’s a primal urge, and if it’s not there, it’s not there.

    You’re a young woman – too young to be dealing with this. He’s a grown man, and this is dereliction of duty. Two partners in a monogamous relationship have a responsibility to keep each other satisfied – that’s part of the monogamy contract, as far as I’m concerned.

    Put on something sexy and be as seductive as you can be. If he rejects you, say, “that’s it, I’m done. A woman needs some lovin’.” And dump him.

  12. There is no way to know what is going on without a lot of discussion. If you don’t share enough intimacy to discuss these things openly and honestly; then the relationship is dying on the vine – a therapist might help, though, and is worth trying if you are both invested in the relationship enough (and personally brave enough) to deal with whatever blocks exist.

    I would suggest exploring these issues:
    1) Is he aware of how long it has been without sex? (Chances are, he isn’t)
    2) Is he aware of how you feel about this? How does he feel about it? (You are hurt – is he hurt? Does it bother him that you are hurt?)
    3) What is he doing for sexual relief? Is there some way to share this with you? (If he’s watching porn, can you watch it together?)
    4) What general stressors are aggravating things in his life? (Unemployment? Best fried suddenly came out as gay? Career dissatisfaction?)
    5) What is he willing to do for your sexual relief?

    I’d refer to Dale Carnegie’s rule – seek first to understand; then to be understood. Or, as a slightly different truism: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

  13. I have had this with my ex husband and current boyfriend. It is so frustrating and it is ironic that the story is always that the guys don’t get enough sex. I have had a couple of other women say they don’t get enough sex either. Men are alot of talk and not enough action.

  14. Also, I speak from agonizing firsthand experience. Guy tuned out to be pathologically narcissistic and emotionally abusive. Everything in this letter describes what I experienced, hence my suggestion.

  15. This might sound weird, but hear me out.

    Narcissistic (pathological, not just vain) men and abusers have a pattern of sweeping women off their feet and rushing the initial stages of the relationship. Check. Check. They also tend to be selfish and do not respond well when a partner brings up concerns – perfectly legitimate concerns get turned around and thrown in the partner’s face, as if she is the one with the problem. Hmmm. Check. They also put their partner on a pedestal in the beginning, and as real life barges in, they start to devalue and disrespect the partner. They are also known to withhold sex as a manipulation tactic.

    I know it sounds extreme, and I hope it’s one of the other theories folks have set forth, but I wanted to put this out there. Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That?” covers this possibility in more detail.

    Good luck!

  16. Endocrine is a cue. Maybe he should check for hypothyroidism. I’ve got it, and when my med’s dosage isn’t right, my libido is like zero. And it’s not that rare, about 10% of people have it.
    Other symptoms are being cold all the time, constant fatigue and feeling depressed/angry all the time.

    Other suggestion: If you’re up to it you could suggest a regular strictly platonic cuddle. It’s really important, that you both are clear that nothing sexual will follow, so he won’t feel pressured. But some cuddling for the emotional connection and your sextoys for the thrill might get you a long way.

  17. Most of these suggestions are helpful. Additionally, he may want to go for a medical checkup. This happened to me and my boyfriend; it turned out he had an endocrine system-related tumor. Therapy is also helpful. Best of luck to you.

  18. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing a therapist, together and perhaps separately as well. I am in the middle of a similar situation, as my boyfriend’s libido dwindled after the first few months of us being together, in our case due to drug side effects. We spent nearly 3 years being frustrated with each other before finally seeking the help of a therapist. Turns out he honestly didn’t realize how devastating constant rejection can be to my self-esteem, and I didn’t realize how my attempts at initiating could make him feel pressured. Even after 6 months of therapy we’re still trying to find the common ground for a compromise that we can both live with, but frustrations and habits that have built up over years will take some serious time and effort to get rid of. If the relationship is something that you’re invested in and both want to make work, don’t hesitate to get some professional help.

  19. This is just an interpretation, but it seems like the “sex question” has become the elephant in the room… in the beginning, sex was spontaneous, it wasn’t a big issue, you just had sex because you felt like it. But then, for whatever reason, his libido declined somewhat – stress, health issues, a disagreement, too much routine, or something else. That might have set off a downward spiral: he doesn’t want sex, you try to seduce him, he feels pressured, you try harder, he becomes defensive and you both build up feelings of insecurity, blame, frustration, guilt, anger… and that only complicates the whole sex situation until everything is just about sex (or not having sex, more likely)

    So my suggestion would be to try and shift the focus away from sex and towards other things. How much time do you spend doing stuff together? (actually communicating, not just watching a movie)Do you talk about your feelings? (unless they’re sex-related) Do you talk about the future? Do you trust each other? Do you do little things to make each other happy? I suppose this is really difficult, but if you manage to make sex less of an issue (for a while) and really focus on your emotional connection, you can maybe figure out if there is an underlying issue in your relationship and finally open up about what being rejected feels like to you. If you manage to take some time off sex and get all that out in the open (maybe with professional help?), you can start with a clean slate and get rid of that pressure on your sex life. It’ll probably be a long road, but I wish all the best for you!

  20. Honestly, you may be putting a little too much pressure on him. Don’t get me wrong. You completely deserve to have your needs met but he has his rights too. I have been in situations like this in which I have lost interest in having sex with my partner. We fight about it. He pressures me. It stresses me out. And sex has turned into a problem, not something fun. It gets to the point where I’m almost scared that he will try to have sex with me because I’m sick of fighting. This is a shitty feeling and you may want to consider if this scenario is being created between you two.

    So, what can you do? Well, everyone above gave some good ideas about trying to communicate in a no pressure type of situation. But, at a certain point, you may have to accept that the sex ain’t working. Sexual compatibility is important and hard to fix if it isn’t there. It may be time for you to move on and find someone who is on your wave length.

  21. My only suggestion would be to try drinking. I know it’s juvenille and probably a bad stereotype. I have actually had some success with this, so I’ve done it more than once. If a guy can’t tell me what the problem is and it goes on for more than a week then it’s a six pack and a low cut shirt, a walk by a lake or under the stars drinking beer! After a buzz is achieved, and you are in the wide open air so he’s not fenced in and over protective or distracted by the TV or afraid to speak in front of anyone else, you just ask him. “What’s the deal with you not wanting any sex at all? If there’s someone else, I can take it, I just want you to be happy.” Okay that’s probably off base, not the problem at all. But it’s a jumping off point. Let him talk, let him stop talking and think stuff. But hang together until the does let it go and tell you his problem. Who knows what it is. Could be any of the suggestions above, could be stress, could be anything.

    If that doesn’t work, if he can’t tell you in a safe, open environment with a supportive girl and a buzz going on then you have had a nice walk sincerely tried to help him. When you get back home I would leave. There is only so much a girl can do and begging for sex is just not right. If they won’t help you or try to help themselves, there is nothing further you can do.

  22. Usually this is the result of one of a few potential issues:

    1. He’s having an affair
    2. He has a low libido, or a libido that responds best during the honeymoon phase and not during the “long time married” phase
    3. He’s depressed.
    4. He’s on antidepressants for depression (yes they have sexual side effects)
    5. He has some sexual issue he isn’t willing to admit to you.

    Men can be uncommunicative about what’s going on with them mentally/sexually, so you have to talk to him and find out what he’s going through. If he says he has a low libido, you might suggest he have his testosterone checked, although I think low T is probably over-diagnosed in men (our testosterone is supposed to decline with age). Even if his libido is just naturally lower than yours, he ought to be more responsive to your needs, and if he can’t bring himself to do that, then you should consider leaving him rather than cheating.

  23. I’ll probably get pilloried for asking this, but have you put on weight? If not, is he depressed in general? If so, those are your answers. If it’s both, that’s a double whammy.

    If it’s neither, he’s just not into the relationship anymore, but is too scared to be alone. In fact, you probably have a touch of the scared-to-be-alone thing yourself – otherwise you’d have broken this off a long time ago. Months without sex? That’s not even a relationship. You guys are room mates. In my book, hooking up with your former lover wouldn’t even be cheating at this point. It’d just be gettin’ some.

    Although if it’s come to that I’d recommend just leaving.

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