SL Letter of the Day: Sobbing Isn't Sexy


Pasting for the benefit of those of us who like being able to see the original by scrolling up:

I'm a straight woman who loves my boyfriend, but sex isn't a priority for me. His sex drive, on the other hand, is ridiculous. He gets very upset when I don't have sex with him and accuses me of not being interested in him anymore, which isn't the case. I just can't fuck on demand! Most people would probably say that my boyfriend is an insensitive asshole for pressuring me for sex. Except this was a switcheroo exercise: I, the girlfriend, want more sex. He, my boyfriend, doesn't see sex as a priority. When we first started dating, we had sex every day—it was incredible—but around the four-month mark, something changed. I've had to beg for it ever since—and I mean beg. I give him space, I take care of things on my own for as long as I can, and right around the time when I feel myself start to get really anxious, I ask for sex. And I am rejected. Only when I'm so hurt that I'm literally sobbing on the floor is he suddenly interested in having sex with me. Right then, right there. It happens about twice a month. I don't know what to do. I love him so much and would be a fool to leave him. Other than the sex, everything is wonderful. He is the best and most thoughtful boyfriend ever, but he says he likes being the one who's controlling the sex. Maybe I am just being a colossal asshole? My problem sounds mundane, I know, but it's killing me.

Sexless And Depressed

Sorry, SAD, but relationship graveyards around the world are crowded with tombstones that read, "Everything was great... other than the sex."

And this isn't your mundane, run-of-the-mill mismatched-libido problem, which is bad enough. (And, as I've written until my fingers are bleeding, reason enough to end a relationship.) You're dating a guy who can get it up only when he sees his girlfriend sobbing on the floor—that's apparently what it takes to make his dick hard—and this sobbing-on-the-floor shit goes down twice a month. I can only conclude that this is how your boyfriend likes it, SAD. He's turned on only when you're not just miserable but pushed past the breaking point.


Frequency is not a problem that improves with time, SAD. A boyfriend who wants sex only twice a month at four months into a relationship—and then only when his girlfriend is sobbing—won't want sex once a week five or 10 years in. You know what else doesn't improve with time? Assholery. I promise you that the "wonderful" and "thoughtful" will diminish as the years fly by, and the emotionally abusive games that cause you so much pain—pain that, again, seems to give him pleasure—will metastasize, spreading from your sex life to other areas of your life. The more difficult extricating yourself from this relationship becomes, SAD, the less wonderful and thoughtful he'll become.

End it now.
Only when I'm so hurt that I'm literally sobbing on the floor is he suddenly interested in having sex with me. Right then, right there... I don't know what to do.

It sounds like you know exactly what to do to get sex because your guy is creepily predictable. That sounds emotionally corrosive. What part of DTMFA don't you get.
Too soon to rerun this, Dan. If you don't wanna be an advice columnist anymore, please just quit the job.
Thanks @1,

I guess I kinda sorta understand the new comment format, but it'd be neat if the slog could maybe implement some sort of a software commenter patch that did that automatically (paste the contents of a post to the first comment). Is especially a pain to toggle between windows when navigating via phone.
@4: Your refund is in the post.
I really hope the LW left, this is way more than just mismatched libidos, this guy gets off on her emotional pain and I get the feeling he'll keep upping the ante.
Am I the only that sensed that the boyfriend was "giving in" only when the girlfriend resorted to crying, rather than getting all hot-and-bothered by the crying?
#8: I agree. And am I the only one who can imagine HIS letter? "Dear Dan, I met this girl, and the sex was great. But then [and we insert some issue that has nothing to do with him being a sadistic asshole] happened and I'm not comfortable discussing it. I don't feel [sexy/attracted/awake] enough and I try to be diplomatic, but every couple of weeks she breaks down sobbing and I end up having sex with her because I care for her and I feel so awful."

Now, I think Dan would take him to task for not being open about what's going on--but this assumption that it's all a cunning plan just seems like a leap to me. Like, a really gigantic, too-many-soap-operas-what-mind-even-goes-there-who-hurt-you-so-badly-let-me-snuggle-you-to-my-bosom-and-keep-you-safe leap.

And you know the one thing that's missing here? Her description of exactly what he said when she sat him down and asked him exactly what was going on. Because if that conversation never happened this letter shouldn't even have been written.

#4: It's a "Best Of". By definition, it's going to be a re-run. If you wanna talk trash, please just be relevant.
@4: I'll double @6's refund. You'll be getting triple what you paid.

@8: Only the "he likes being the one who's controlling the sex" provides any back-up to the asshole boyfriend theory. I'm not seeing any other red flags about abusive behavior. Just horribly mismatched libidos, once he was past the thrill of a new relationship. He won't willing agree to sex, so she coerces him into it with a big emotional scene.

How about this: BF is mostly gay. "sex isn't a priority for (him)", "I ask for sex. And I am rejected.", "Other than the sex, everything is wonderful. He is the best and most thoughtful boyfriend ever, but he says he likes being the one who's controlling the sex." That's all stuff that closet cases in straight relationships do and say. He had enough interest in someone new and just enough straightness to be sexual in the four-month infatuation period. But he won't willing put out anymore. Until she's broken down on the floor, sobbing. Maybe he takes pity on her. Maybe he hates seeing his best friend in pain and "rises to the occasion" while thinking of Brad Pitt. Maybe he fears losing his "beard" because a steady GF is great interior decoration to one's closet.

Regardless, She's a straight woman with a high libido. He is straight-identified but doesn't want sex in the long-term. They could both be very happy. WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

I totally agree that the jump to him being an emotionally manipulative asshole is a stretch, but him being gay is almost as much of a stretch. While it certainly isn't my experience, the idea that a guy could be excited by "new relationship energy", but then lose most of his interest in sex isn't completely ridiculous. Whatever the root cause is, there is only one answer: Identify it and make adjustments together or DTMFA. Based on the letter, DTMFA seems much more promising.
He is maybe NOT the best and most thoughtful boyfriend ever, actually.
Well, @4 has a point. There used to be a new SLLOTD every weekday, and if there were reruns they were accompanied by "Dan is on vacation"/"Dan is sick" explanations. Now it seems that there are only reruns anymore, and no explanations. It wouldn't surprise me if Dan is indeed getting tired of being an advice columnist.
Undead@6; well said.
Dan is having a break. After his bout of illness, he needs it.
Can't imagine the emotional effort it takes to deal with all the ratbags Dan
has to put up with.
Sending you love , Dan.
Enjoy your time out.
@13; you still alive, then? Haven't read you for ages.
Don't jinx it by saying that. I hope it just means Dan trusts us to just look after him, by putting no pressure on him.
Hey, if Dan needs a break, he should by all means take it. I don't mind reruns. But yes, please preface the reruns with some kind of note: Dan is on sick leave, Dan is on vacation, etc. We worry.
Hey LavaGirl @15. You remember me. If I may just say here that you are on of my favorite posters here. Always looking for the good in others, not looking for reasons to get angry.
I've assumed he's working on a new television project, and just hope it won't be labour in vain (not as in the plug gets pulled, but as in it gets to the air and the television people ruined it).
Seconding 8 and 12. But also that it doesn't matter; whether he's only interested in her when she's crying, or whether he's just not sexually interested in her, but gives in because crying is blackmail or something, they should still break up. They're way past the point where the relationship should have ended.
@8 - no, you're not the only one. I felt myself wondering just how....emotionally demanding and clingy she'd gotten (on the floor sobbing begging for sex? WTF?). That, and the simulaneous idolizing, both prick my ears. I would be very curious to hear his side of it. Sobbing and crying and being out of control emotionally dependent on his attentions are most certainly libido killers. Yes, I can see him doing it out of guilt. He should DTMFA.

Even if we take her version at face value, or rather: take this at it's most prima facie reading: mismatched libidos, the answer remains DTMFA. Whether he's a closet case, or really just a sadistic bastard (I wonder if Dan planted that thought as a way to get her to snap out of the idolizing), the answer is still DTMFA.
@6 +1 I really fail to see what is so hard about the new format - every single modern browser has tabbed browsing, and a simple right-click on the "comments" link and "open link in new tab" solves the problem. I like the comments on a separte page, because as far as I can tell, they aren't being indexed by bots.
AFinch @21,

I agree — in fact I always made a point of opening comments in a new tab even before the new format. Apparently the distressed people are reading on smartphones which is a different experience. If they say it’s a problem for them then I guess it’s a problem.
@22 in the old version the method you described for browsing worked, and the method others describe *also* worked. in the new format, only your method works. it's frustrating for those of us who used the other method, cause now we're out of luck.there was functionality lost, even if your method still works great.
in-frequent @23,

Yes, I think that’s what I was saying though I’m not sure I’d describe it as a loss of functionality exactly.

If A and B both work and A is easier and better, then not being able to do B any more isn’t actually a problem. The problem is users not wanting to learn to do something the easy and good way, which is what it looks like from AFinch’s and my perspectives. Whining for the sake of whining, really.

But if A is best for tablet-sized screens and up and B is better for smartphones, then smartphone users are right to feel hard-done-by with the changes. I’m giving folks the benefit of the doubt and assuming that this is the relevant situation. I hate the comments being cluttered up with reposts but I won’t complain because it’s apparently important for someone even if it’s not obvious to me why.
@24 - heh...being a luddite (despite being a coder) I do not use my smartphone to read SLOG (often anyway), and when I do, I don't comment, because I like a real keyboard. Of course, I learned to type in 1981...on a typewriter.
@24 ha! i like how you think:

"If A and B both work and A is easier and better, then not being able to do B any more isn’t actually a problem."

except.... "A is easier and better" is not how i feel on my desktop! :) that's a subjective opinion! i don't know if you were kind of joking or not, but often people will make UI or UX decisions based entire on one perspective. A is easier and better, and gets more page clicks, why offer B at all? the best designers are the ones who get it right. the worst get it wrong. the new slog is somewhere in the middle. there are lots of people who liked B better, but are there enough for it to have an affect? probably not.

(and i was serious when i said i liked how you think. either you were joking, and saying "A is better because i like it" which is funny, or are serious and saying "A is better because it is better" which is pretty confident and admirable. even if you are utterly and completely wrong! ;)
It could be a relationship issue. My bf and i did the same, sex everday for months. He moved in with me and it slowed suddenly. I would get frustrated if we didn't have sex or find him masturbating. I was solely relying on him for my satisfaction and happiness. I realized it wasn't healthy, i masturbate when i feel like it, he does the same, we enjoy sex together. Funny enough, we are moving into separate places because I told him that we jumped the gun on moving in together. We were comfortable with dating or fwb,but, living together, we fell into a traditional role that doesn't work for us.
I hope you can figure out what you need because if you are breaking down crying,it's no good. Don't shift blame on him for holding out, he may have felt you were using him..i mean guys like sex but if that's will lose him. Be accountable for your own feelings and actions and realize how others affect you..WITHOUT adding hypothetical assumptions...womens downfall.
@24, I tested this from my smartphone and yes, it's a PITA. I was clearly suffering from the myopia described @26
4 months is not much of an investment in is very early on in the relationship. I don't understand why a person would hang in there, through what sounds like abuse to me, with someone that they have invested so little in. Chalk it up to incompatibility and move on. It was a fun romp while it was a fun romp. You need to know that you don't deserve this.
@8, at first I thought it was going to be something like that when I started reading the letter, but only up to the description of the times they do have sex. The "he wants sex, and wants it right away, whenever I'm crying on the floor" does seem like a fetish. She didn't write that he goes "fine, let's have sex, please stop crying" or comforts her and things lead to one another or something. The phrasing (especially from someone who is blaming herself for the whole thing) just made me see it that way.

Add the fact that he apparently says he likes to control when sex happens (doesn't sound like someone who has sex when he feels emotionally blackmailed into it even though he doesn't feel like it, more like someone who wants to be begged for sex up to the point of breakdown, and is the one doing the blackmailing).

I expected the advice to include suggestions to try and figure out how to introduce the begging and crying on the floor to the sex life so that she's not miserable when she's doing it, and she can do it more often and get sex more often.

On the other hand the guy does sound manipulative and that's a warning sign.
Can't seem to be able to edit my comment. I wanted to add, after re-reading: the part that made me feel that way was "right then, right there". When I read it, I pictured something along the lines of "well now I'm in the mood and since you're on the floor crying you obviously aren't, but we're going to do it NOW, and you better take it because otherwise you get nothing".
@30: Not all sadists are healthy and willing to be channeled in more positive directions, of course.
Can we get the comments back on the post's page? The links to the previous comments in the profile don't work anymore.
Thanks, in-frequent @26! (I think it’s both.)
"Maybe I am just being a colossal asshole?"
I think she's being an asshole to herself about her sex drive. She should prioritize finding someone who can do her right. Unless she likes to cry. Who knows.
My advice: Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit relationship door and pass thru it. Kick him out while you can OR leave without bruises, because bruises will follow if you stay. Your relationship sucks.
thanks, RegisteredEuropean@17.
Which exotic locale are you at?
@16: "Dan has another set of jobs with a much better paygrade and status" is not very classy :)

I'm just happy that he does have new ones now and then, I don't expect SLLOTDs to be new, too much content to wade through. He wears a lot of hats and I can't be mad at that.
@LavaGirl: I'll be in your area(ish) next month on honeymoon, I'll wave at you from across the Indian Ocean!
This has not been a good week for promoting empathy toward my fellow humans. I know I should probably feel bad for someone in pain, but the only emotion I can muster for either party is disgust. Both SAD and her (hopefully former) boyfriend sound like they have the emotional maturity typical of six-year-olds; a boyfriend who lets a dynamic like this continue for any amount of time instead of either trying to address the problem or ending the relationship for both their sakes is not even close to the best boyfriend ever. SAD, buy a vibrator to take care of your sex needs, and don't date again until you've managed to cultivate an actual sense of self.
Cool, undead. The Indian Ocean way across other side of this vast land.
I'm near the Pacific.
So, make it a big wave.
Nice. Have a great honeymoon
Begging and crying on the floor for sex? Unless emotional drama is a turn-on, that emotional state and behavior suggests a problem.
"Right then, right there."

"... he says he likes to be the one controlling the sex."

He is controlling the sex, and he gets it exactly how he wants it. This is his emotional sadism and not her emotional blackmail. Unless the LW is lying (particularly about the right then and there part), there is no other explanation for that behavior. None at all.

I can't even imagine what it might be like to start getting hard because my gf is crying.
@41: I figured, its just the closest I've been so far!

@42: Yes, that's everyone's point.
I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

I think the re-runs would be better if there was a follow-up. I think Dan -- or maybe even an intern -- could grab tons of the best letters (maybe even hundreds of them) and email the original LW to ask for a follow-up. Maybe only a small number will be reachable and respond and have anything interesting to say. But then those responses could be kept on file and run, with the original letter and original reply, on occasions when Dan would normally run these re-runs.
@43 I'm amazed so many people are jumping through hoops to make this the LW's fault. That her boyfriend flat out said that her being in emotional pain is what he wants doesn't count as much as portraying the LW as a crazy, controlling, bitch does.
I'll add to Mr Kevin's suggestion that individually run letters make better choices for reruns than letters from the weekly column. The previous discussion threads will be more focused.