Dear Em & Lo: My Fiance Doesn’t Care About My Orgasm

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Dear Em & Lo,

My fiance and I have been together for three years and have a one-year-old son. Although to most people we would seem to be a relatively happy couple, we do have our problems. Half of the problems now stem from our sexual relationship.

For a while now my fiance does not consider my orgasm. He really has no consideration in bed, even when I am working my hardest to please him. I am not allowed to have vibrators or any sexual toy. I am not allowed to masturbate, not even in front of him to get us both going. If he figures I am doing anything, then I am just a bitch that is replacing him.

I know he is insecure, but I don’t know how to handle it anymore. It has just gotten so out of control that he has lost all consideration for my needs and now I need help.

— I Want What He’s Having

Dear I.W.W.H.H.,

Sex does not occur in a vacuum. (There’s not enough room in there, badum ching.) Seriously, though: sex — and especially sex in a long-term, serious relationship — is as much a part of a relationship as the way you communicate or the history you share or the way your personalities complement each other’s or the kids you have together. A sexual problem is a relationship problem.

What we’re trying to say is: a man who is inconsiderate in bed is being inconsiderate, period. If he’s not respecting your orgasm, he’s not respecting you. If he’s being selfish in bed, he’s selfish. If he’s being an asshole in bed, he’s being an asshole, period. There is no such thing as a happy relationship with an unhappy sex life.

We say all this to make you feel better. Really. You need to know that it’s okay to feel angry at him. You should be angry at him. You should be mad as hell, and you shouldn’t take it anymore.

We recently advised a reader whose boyfriend was terrified of sex toys, and you might want to check out what we said to her. However, we suspect your fiancé is a tougher nut to crack. We suspect he wouldn’t be amenable to a little sex toy shopping trip. We think you need to lay down the law. Tell your fiancé the following:

1. Toys will never replace you. My hand will never replace you. But you know what might replace you? Someone who respects me both in and out of the bedroom.

2. My orgasms are a deal-breaker. If you won’t let me touch myself or use a toy when we are together, then I will go elsewhere to have my orgasms. And by elsewhere, I mean someone else’s bed.

3. The next time you call me a bitch for requesting an orgasm, I walk out.

Feel free to rephrase in your own words. Feel free to soften the blow somewhat, if you feel that a different approach would be more effective, given his insecurities. After all, you have a child together, and only you can know whether or not you want to save this relationship. But don’t give in. (Even for your son’s sake — because miserable parents who don’t respect each other, who don’t even really seem to like each other, don’t do the kid any favors.) If your softer approach doesn’t work, then feel free to quote us directly. But here’s the thing: you have to mean it. And whatever you do, woman, do not marry this man until you have sorted out this issue. (Yes, we realize that having a kid together is a bigger deal than getting hitched, but there’s no need to tighten the knot.)

If that makes us bitches, we don’t want to be anything else,

– Em & Lo

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  1. Don’t why my finances refuse caress me why I please him . and I felt not enough for him .sometimes deep hurt inside and I love my fiance very much. What answer that . I wanted be special moment to my tender love

  2. “Allowed”? ALLOWED???

    Honestly, that’s the only word I need to see. Only abusers tell their partners what they are and aren’t “allowed” to do. And once someone decides they can dictate “rules” for his/her partner, it’s a slippery slope to dictating EVERYTHING. It’s unfortunate that the author is trapped with this man by virtue of having his child. If she’s lucky he won’t pursue custody.

  3. Dear IWWHH,
    This was disturbing to read. I was you.

    Eventually, I quit wanting to please him, my libido died, and I felt a resentment that was soon replaced by hate.

    He couldn’t believe that I didn’t want sex anymore so assumed I was getting it somewhere else. I was recorded in my home (I searched for it EVERYWHERE)and in my car. He knew what I was saying, and doing somehow. I wasn’t allowed to take a bath, and I made sure that I got into and out of the shower without touching the removable shower handle. He had toys and magazines to take care of what I wouldn’t, and he kept a close eye to make sure they weren’t touched. I wasn’t allowed to be in our bed without him. God forbid I breath hard–I had a mental list.

    How does this happen? The abuse was slow to take over. Over 9 years there was just more and more I couldn’t do– all for the sake of peace in my home for our children. He’d blow up with the same accusations you are hearing. Who wants her kids to hear that?

    My withholding led to being raped twice, for which he told me I should be ashamed for making a husband who loves me so much do that.

    We did counseling for years, but unless he will admit he is sexually abusing you, you’ve got nothing. You also need to recognize you are being sexually abused.

    I’ve been out for 4 years now and am still recovering. It did get REALLY bad when we separated and divorced, but I am thankful that he will never come through my door again.

    Please, get someone to help who knows what’s going on, and get out now, and get yourself back.

  4. Whoa. I’m also reading abuser all over this. I doubt the same guy who tells her she’s a bitch if she tries to satisfy her sexual needs (?!?!?!) is somehow a redeemable partner in other ways. I recommend she get herself a copy of Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That?” Then enlist a supportive friend – or if she fears a violent reaction on his part – support from local advocates, and start to separate from this man. This is *far* more than a sexual dilemma, and I’m a bit disappointed that Em & Lo missed the giant flapping red flags here.

  5. IWWHH needs to get out of this relationship, for all of the reasons listed above, but she needs to get out carefully. This man is an abuser and could become violent when she makes the break. IWWHH, please look into resources in your community to help you and your child leave safely.

  6. Figleaf has some great points to go with a well-thought-out and astute response from you Em & Lo. Thanks for always keeping your heads on straight, and not giving into trolls who might label you a “bitch” (even preemptively). 🙂

  7. “For a while now my fiance does not consider my orgasm. He really has no consideration in bed, even when I am working my hardest to please him.”

    Couple of points. First, it’s simply not true that he has “no consideration” for your orgasms. It sounds like he has very strong opinions about them! I obviously can’t read his mind but two reactions I’ve seen in other men have been a) I’m the “breadwinner” here and so sex is my reward — your reward is me taking care of you and “your” kid. That one’s obviously pretty gender-male specific.

    The less gender-specific one you also see is “what I’m doing should be all you need” where the assumption is anything else you do is somewhere between insulting and outright infidelity.

    It’s actually theoretically possible for otherwise sincerely good people to hold either or even both of these acidly toxic attitudes. If you’re raised in one of the many harsh cultural and religious traditions around the world (including a number of long-standing U.S. American traditions) then it’s almost more of a surprise that those beliefs are overcome rather than succumbed to.

    If so then there’s a possibility, however small, that in all other regards he’s a perfectly considerate partner and co-parent.

    So I’m not going to go all knee-jerk and say kick his ass to the curb.


    Sweet mother of pearl this guy needs some help. And until he gets it you need help too!

    Possibility #1, since I’m assuming he’s being a fucking dickwad for religious or cultural reasons: find someone or something from the same tradition that might help him see things in a non-dictatorial/one-side light. Even arch-conservative protestant Southerners have sex manuals that remind men of their obligations not just to “service” their partners like livestock but to give as much pleasure as they receive. Same with even conservative Jewish traditions. Same with even Islamic ones.

    If, instead, he’s a “I’m the one paying for it so if you enjoyed it you’d be ‘double dipping'” type then… Do you really want your son growing up to be a chip off that particular old block?

    It’s likely that, unless by “he’s insecure” you mean “I’m in denial,” then he’s probably not one of those. But still he’s the one who needs to bend on this. If he won’t bend then you probably will need to break it off with him.



  8. I usually never comment, but this compelled me to do so. Em & Lo your response is excellent. I hope this woman can lay out her needs and safely exit this relationship. I agree with all comments above. I wish her the best. And thank you for your insightful answer!

  9. I nip this sort of thing in the bud by dumping a woman the minute she tries to tell me what I’m “allowed” or “not allowed” to do.

    A little late in this case, IWWHH, but if things can’t be fixed with your current dude, keep it in mind for future relationships: avoid controlling types like the plague.

  10. I agree with Evan. This guy sounds like he has gone past simply being selfish or inconsiderate. If he is not allowing her to masturbate… That sounds like really controlling behavior. I would be concerned about his reaction if she does lay down the law as suggested above. He may get really angry or even violent. I think she should consider counseling or just get out of the relationship all together.

  11. I’m reading abuser all over this, not just insecure asshole. My advice would be to run like hell and don’t look back. This behavior will get worse, not better, and if you get married it’ll MUCH harder to leave. I know the kid makes it harder – but are you prepared for 60 years of this? Get out now.

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