Dear Em & Lo: He’s Mr. Perfect. Except for the Sex

couple_bench_421photo by jeroen_bennink

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

Dear C.G.N.S.,

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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  1. Lela, things like this are why I always say, “Ladies first.” Have him bring you to orgasm by oral sex or some other way BEFORE you start any intercourse. A lot of couples do it this way, for good reason.

    Kurt said, “After I’ve climaxed, I am not ready for more, but relatively quick in the “man down” situation as you put it. So, after I’ve come, there is…. no more action possible.” There IS action possible, maybe not penis action, (After all, YOU just came, she didn’t. This isn’t about just YOU.) but your MOUTH and hands are still working? Aren’t they?

    A new study said that men have NO more reason to fall asleep after they orgasm than women do, and most of us (in decent, adult relationships) usually orgasm first, manage to STAY AWAKE and THEN go on to work hart to have more sex for a while and make sure our Man gets what he needs. NO REASON to always immediately fall asleep. Gentlemen will fight the “sleepiness” if they care about their woman, and she hasn’t gotten what she needs yet.

    As for the “Ew, I just came in there.” Ug, get over it….or, if it’s that “gross” (eye roll) make sure she comes, FIRST!

    I’m usually more understanding, but Jeez, there is NO reason for man to refuse to help his lover to an orgasm because he orgasms too quickly, thinks it’s “icky” and doesn’t want to give head. There are PLENTY of other ways to let both of you enjoy sex than “Boy sticks it in, ejaculates, falls asleep, Girl cries.” THAT is recipe for either “Boy” getting very little sex in the future, or changing his selfish “Boy” ways, if Girl knows what she wants, and won’t settle for less.

    Lela, I wouldn’t settle for this Little Boy Selfish behavior. TELL him what you need. I DO NOT believe in using sex as a weapon or a tool, but I can guarantee, you won’t want to have sex often if you don’t get what you need. HE needs to know this, If he doesn’t care, or change the way HE likes to have sex (meaning ONLY he gets off)…….dump him.

  2. It depends on how important sex is to you. Most women don’t make it as important as most men do. Me however, I’m different. If the sex is bad, or if we are not on the same page as far as our sex drives then I am out. The relationship is a waste of time. Why? Because its not superfical to recognize how important sex is to a relationship. It is not just physical. Its a way of emotional bonding and if someone is frustrated it really effects your relationship in every way. I saw move on find someone who makes you happy in EVERY way. Good luck.

  3. Lela,
    being a man, please let me try to bring some light into this.
    First of all: I do not know about your ages and I do not know if what I experience and my problems apply to your situation.

    After I’ve climaxed, I am not ready for more, but relatively quick in the “man down” situation as you put it. So, after I’ve come, there is – at least for the next couple of minutes / quarters of hours – no more action possible.

    Having said that, I’d like to address the “it takes too long” issue. Even though if you rush like mad, this might already be ‘too long’ for him. I myself know that with the lack of constant stimulation, no erection is sustainable for me.
    There is no such thing as “once turned on, it stays up forever on its own”.

    So, have you ever suggested to him that he touches himself to keep it up while you are gone? Men normally know extremely well where and how they want and need to be touched and who should know it better than he himself what his body wants?
    If it stays up, it is easy to go for more after you return, but once it is down, it might be complicated to get back “online”. 😉 (At least for me.)
    Maybe he’ll feel a bit (or even more than a bit) awkward about doing so but (and being “caught” doing it by you when you return) it might be worth a try.

    Why he won’t go for some alternatives to bring you some relief I do not know.
    It might be that most men (not me) are incredibly quickly sleepy after their orgasms. It is not something they do intentionally or even willingly; it has to do with the hormones that are emitted after the act (namely Oxytocin). So, maybe, he’s just too sleepy to try some.
    Or he might find it icky to lick you after he has come in you. There are men who do not enjoy the taste of their sperm.
    Or maybe he does not not how to use his fingers on you.

    Regarding the “How can I become an orgasmic woman?!?”-question:
    Please consider what laughingtiger wrote in the first paragraph. Being a man I can tell you that I’d plainly *love* it if my woman touched herself. It is soooo hot. Being visually oriented (valid for possibly all men), it adds extremely to the excitement. And if you occasionally touch him too it might even add. But this might well be too much stimulation for him. Being one man who has to struggle hard to acheive orgasm, I need every stimulus I can be given. For him it might be different. You complained that 10 minutes would be too quick for you, so you might rather want to keep the steam a bit down.
    Before you ask: no, you won’t give him the feeling that he does not suffice. So please do not be shy about pleasuring yourself while riding him (oh my, what a lucky guy…).

    Overall: have you considered choosing other positions if “you on top of him” is too much for him to take? Others might deliver fewer stimulation to him (keep the “man down”-scenario in mind) and thus might bring the chance to reach orgasm for you.

    Best wishes and enjoy yourselves,

  4. I was this girl 20 years ago. I am now divorced. If there is no chemistry now, THERE NEVER WILL BE – you can’t manufacture it! Without a satisfying sex life, you will feel alone and misunderstood in your marriage, no matter how kind and wonderful your husband is. Sex is a balm that sweetens your life together. It buffers out the rough edges along the way bringing you together to console each other when life is rough and to celebrate when life is great and to add interest when life is dull. A marriage without satisfying sex is hollow and sooner or later will fall apart, despite all your best efforts. If you are able, keep this wonderful man as a treasured friend, but don’t make him your husband.

  5. lela,

    i believe you must have gotten your information slightly mixed up; it’s not that only a small percentage of women can orgasm, it’s that only a small percentage of women can orgasm THROUGH VAGINAL STIMULATION ALONE. that just means you have to throw some clitoral stimulation in the mix! that’s the key to setting off the fireworks. don’t be afraid to touch yourself, whether it’s with your hands or with a toy. if you can come by masturbation, you can come during intercourse. practice, practice, practice!

    also, it’s extremely bad form for your boyfriend to just leave you hanging like that after he’s had his. perhaps he’s just being thoughtless; maybe he just gives up because it takes so long. however, if you have a talk with him and he still is too lazy to at least try and get you off in some other way, i’d seriously rethink the relationship if i were you. selfishness in the bedroom often means selfishness elsewhere in the relationship.

  6. Wow I love the feedback from you guys you all seem to know what you’re talking about so could you help me out too?

    I have a similar problem, the topic is the same but the problem is different. My boyfriend gets SO excited about my performance when I’m on top of him that he cums in like what 10 minutes!?
    You see when he does cum he’s ready for more but then all of a sudden I have to pee. Then when I get back let’s just say “man down” I understand my situation but for him I don’t understand why? He says because I take too long I was in the bathroom for less than 1 min! I rush myself like a bootcamper to pee but still he can’t go up again, it takes him a long time. Then I give up on him.

    It feels so freaking selfish that he gets to cum and I don’t but I guess he doesn’t really want to try either because it takes me a while to cum too. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to cum I did some research and found out that only a small percentage of women can cum…. How Can I become ONE OF THEM????

    any advice? suggestions?


  7. This is totally my life! I married an amazing man, the best man any woman could ever hope for! But the first couple of years our sex life was less than thrilling. So I figured out how to ask for what I wanted, and ask for what he wanted. It was a little awkward at first, but trust me, totally worth it! Now I have the man that is perfect for me, in life and in the bedroom!

  8. CGNS, I’m not sure why Em & Lo would make the leap to suggest the thrill of illicit sex is what has you considering other men. I instead imagine you’ve been fortunate to know super-sensual boyfriends who made the journey as delicious as the destination; now you’re mated with someone that’s not as adept in reading your body language (or at leaving you speechless). If he does not seem dedicated to figuring out how to better please you, he’s not perfect. If you let this man go, tho, it might be several years before you find someone with a suitable concatenation of perfection. It’s a risk, but probably worth it.

  9. Ooh…ooh… I gotta get in on this one…

    What is the problem with this man in the sheets? She is not being descriptive enough…

    Does he not know that the clitoris is key to the female orgasm? Does he have a small sized penis? Is he a premature ejaculator?

    There are solutions to each one of these problems.

    As to premature ejaculation, there are ejaculation control exercises he can learn. Also, a low dose of the common SSRI’s (zoloft, paxil, lexapro) have been shown to greatly delay premature ejaculation.

    If it is premature ejaculation, send him here:

    Quick question regarding Ejaculation Control Techniques

    As to penis size, there are traction devices, exercises or surgery that work to enlarge the penis, contrary to what most people will tell you. Tell him to look into this if it’s a problem.

    If he’s your perfect man, minus the sexual skills, have him work on that part of him. If he can’t, or won’t, then you’re just going to have to drop the poor guy.

    Hope this helps

  10. Oops, Too bad this person was not specific about what was wrong. It is difficult to give constructive advice when there is not enough information. Just saying the sex is unsatisfying does not tell anyone enough.
    What about the sex was bad? or is this a chemistry question where she does not have the lust for him or is it technical,(see Anaga Ranga, or Perfumed Garden) or physically a bad fit(see Karma Sutra)?
    Please let us know!!

  11. Actually I would like more details. I was in a relationship where the same thing happened. She did not know herself sexually and also had a communication problem. She was a great roommate but lousy for a full relationship. Worse she told me to find another woman for sex!! Wonderful i am not a ladies man so it is not easy for me to find new sexual partners!! Not many women are interested in a man who has a relationship. I do not lie to people. But I ended it I felt really used,robbed,etc. Had I been a ladies man for whom getting sex partners was easy then the outcome might have been different.

  12. I was in a very similar situation to this. I, however, went ahead and married the man. We were 5+ years into the relationship when we got married and he always seemed perfect-and everyone told me so. However,our sex life was boring and mediocre, no matter what I tried to do to spice things up. This mundaneness carried over into other parts of our lives. Six months after getting married I was moving into a studio apartment and filing for divorce, at 28. I now have a boyfriend who I’ve been seeing for over a year. We have amazing sex–and it carries over into an amazing relationship. My BF is not always what I would consider “perfect” for me, but I would marry him any day if he asked me, because I’m completely happy and satisfied in the areas that I think matter most.

  13. You can either look back in 20 years with a not perfect sex life, or you can look back and wish you married this perfect man…

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