Savage Love Letter of the Day: He Really Is Perfect, Except For His Damn Libido


It also sounds like the guy suffers from depression. Home all the time (doesn't say if he's working or going to school), constantly not feeling well, making excuses. Just a thought.
If he's not working; and he's taking care of himself during the day that's part of your problem. He's looking at porn (likely) and pleasuring himself and being selfish.

There's no reason he cannot look at erotica and say damn I will be glad when my other half comes home so I can make love to her and show her how much I want her.

2-3months however; eff that he's not even trying. Get yourself tested for STD's as he's likely not faithful

Long distance relationships make cheating easy; they build in excuses to work around it in their head (it's not cheating if they're 900 miles away ... blah blah ) and you are taking a low demand relationship and moving in with him which turns it into high demand.

So take care of yourself; let him know he's on thin ice and if he wants access to you than he needs to work on him.

Sure you can change you; but that's the problem. We shouldn't have to change ones self to make our other partner happy; or to be happy. If you are unhappy with yourself that's a different story.

You should never change to please your partner; you can grow up and grow in general. But you should not be doing things you don't want to do to please your partner if you don't want to.

Personal choice; start learning it young one... and remember you'll fall and trip and DTMF already and find someone new; if even for a date.
The BF doesn't find the LW sexually arousing. Clearly. Maybe because he's only turned on by new partners. Or he has some kink he doesn't think he can indulge while with her. Or she's not his type - physically, emotionally, whatever.

Whereas he does find some things arousing - whatever he's jacking off to.

She, understandably, feels rejected.

He, lamely, hasn't explained himself (why isn't he more interested in partnered sex with his partner?).

Time for a knock-down-drag-out discussion. Maybe he's got some kink she could be in on. Maybe there's some physical/emotional conditions that are a price of admission to be sexually active with him. And maybe there's no fixing it. Either way, have that big talk and if there's not an obvious path forward, decide if you want your partnered sex life to be decrease even more in the future with him (i.e. DTMFA).
Get out now, you're too young for this. Take it from experience. You'll be happier in the long run.
I feel like Dan should have stressed to not get married unless this is resolved. Because she'll just be creating a recipe for divorce and/or cheating.
And why is it that it's almost always women who say this sort of thing - 'He's perfect in every way except....' and then proceeds to detail one issue that incorporates ALL sorts of really important partner traits - empathy, compassion, communication, compatibility, etc...
Oh dear, LW, please take it from a middle-aged frustrated woman, Please do not marry this man. It DOESN'T get better. Take your lovely, luscious libido and find someone you click with sexually. It only gets worse, you can touch yourself all you want, but you will suffer from this lack. I love my husband dearly, but if I had it to do all over again, knowing how often I would cry and feel terrible and unloved and unattractive? No, I would never live this life again knowing what this has felt like. How many times can you have "the talk"? It can be an endless loop and it won't change, he won't change. He has shown you who he is, please believe him. People have very different sexual needs, your partner not meeting yours is soul crushing. He may not mean it, he may feel terrible for how it hurts you, he may not be getting those needs met elsewhere because he doesn't have them. He may be a wonderful person, so lovely and OTHERWISE so perfect. I life of unrequited sexual needs is depressing and sad. I would advise to DTMFA, even if it is hard.
I join the others in advising to DTMFA. Whatever his reasons for leaving you high and dry, they will NOT get better, and you'll find your self-esteem down in the pits, and it won't be your fault. Let it go; there is bound to be someone out there who can match you & who cares enough to give you what you need.
This is actually a letter from a 37-year old husband. But anyhow.

My only advice to LW, is to make sure that she is "being" rejected, rather than your BF doesn't want to have sex. What do they call that in CBT, "personalization"? Yeah, if you already aren't getting as much sex as you would like, why pile on and convince yourself it's due to your own personal failings?

There's a few things we can poke holes in: If you can only "get him in the mood" 50% of the time after he's already said no, 1, that's a pretty good conversion rate, but 2, perhaps consider accepting the first no, instead of ignoring it? If you've spoken about your sex frequency and "gotten very emotional", I'm a but curious as to what that means, although I feel fairly confident that it isn't making it easier for your bf to have unbridled sex with you. If he'd rather please himself, it's probably because there's a lot less pressure on him (ie, none) than when he's having sex with you. Perhaps not virtually forcing yourself on your man and then crying when he says no is a route to him actually desiring rather than dreading sex.
LW, you're a 24-year-old female nurse with a steady job and a high libido. Dump this guy because there are literally millions of men who would compete to take his place!
@4 &@5--I agree: Dan should have said (as he HAS said before) If your libidos don't match, DON'T get married. If masturbation works for her and is enough, great, but I do think this situation is only going to get worse. I agree with all of you: get out while you still can, girl!
Dear god, get out of there while you're still young. I could have written this letter 25 years ago. Like her, I was forever the sexually frustrated optimist who felt rejected and unattractive. I thought things would get better. Excruciating conversations that went nowhere, so I just stopped talking about it. It only gets worse with age and familiarity, I'm afraid. Now I'm STILL with the "perfect " guy, but no sex in 15 years. Not once. We have a teenager with mental health issues that makes me reticent to break up with him, as well as complicated finances. And we are such good friends and quite compatible otherwise, so there's that. I've consoled myself with several extremely inappropriate covert affairs over the years. Someone else's dysfunction will inevitably become your dysfunction if you stick around long enough.
She should write him a letter detailing how she feels. Don't be accusatory, don't place blame, just say this is an issue they must discuss, rationally and calmly. She should say she is concerned about his (mental) health, citing his sexual reluctance. Talk of compromise, talk of being open to different ideas (GGG) and respecting his low libido. She will need to stick to the fact she deserves to be heard, and following through with having her needs met. No more crying, pleading, arguing, etc. It's not making any difference to him and it's taking a serious toll on her. She should say, if nothing changes, serious measures are going to have to be taken, such as an open relationship or the dissolvement of theirs. She should NOT be sexually miserable in her relationship because he refuses to respect and meet her reasonable needs.
@10: "If masturbation works for her and is enough, great"

But it obviously doesn't, or else she'd be fine with the here and now.
So sad when the obvious gets pushed aside by our delusions.
One thought. They have been together since TOUCH WAS 15 and Mr. TOUCH was 17. Perhaps, Mr. TOUCH would like to end this relationship, which started when they were teenagers, but just doesn't know how to come out and say that is what he wants. TOUCH is of the mind that she met her life partner at age 15. Maybe Mr. TOUCH never thought the relationship would last this long, and wants out.

TOUCH should bring this to a head and make sure they are truthful with each other. Does Mr. TOUCH want to stay in this relationship or not. Is Mr. TOUCH masturbating every day and then rejecting offers of sex? If so, why? Is Mr. TOUCH depressed? If that's a possibility, is he willing to speak to his doctor to discuss his health? Do Mr. TOUCH have a kink or sexual desire that he's withholding? If so, come clean.

As for TOUCH, you are free to masturbate in your own home, in your own bed, or wherever you please. Don't let your boyfriend's presence stop you.
I agree with @1 and @15 -- specifically, that it sounds like he's possibly suffering from depression. She would know better than any of us.... but as I read the letter, he is either 1) isolating himself and pushing away the people he cares about and suffering from depression or 2) he's just being a POS. I think she should broach the subject of depression tactfully, follow Dan's masturbation advice, and then if nothing else works, come up with a time frame for breaking up with him.
I had a very similar situation when I was the letter writer's age. I always wanted sex and my then-boyfriend wanted it rarely. We lived together. It was excurtiatingly painful and led to some brutal fights. I always felt like I was not attractive or sexy enough -- in hindsight I know that was not the case. Getting him to cut down on his porn/masterbation helped somewhat. But ultimately DTMFA was the real solution and 10 years later we are both married to other people. I am so grateful I did not stay in that relationship. My husband can't get enough and it's much better this way.
This is covered in Chapter 3 of "Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives" - Stupid Devotion.
@2, it's 2-3x per month, not every 2-3 months. That said, I am impressed that Dan is dialing back on the DTMFA line, as that seems to have become the solution for every problem, and while it will get rid of the problem, a lot of times it is callous and doesn't account for the good things in a relationship that are hard to let go of. I am really surprised that Dan did not mention the sort of changes Lava brought up, such as considering an open relationship. If this was a guy writing in, people would say that a few times a month isn't total neglect, and encourage him to take care of himself and stop pressuring his partner. While several commenters have brought up the pressure angle, Dan seems to think masturbation is a way to entice him to sex and if it doesn't work, then at least she got off, instead of doing it just for herself. Also, there seems to be some underlying feelings of shame, since all of the solutions for doing it while her bf is home are pretty obvious (like shutting the door, doing it in the shower, etc.) and yet she still doesn't feel she can do this. Maybe there are some things not expressed in the letter that are impacting her boyfriend's feelings about things.
@15 gets it. If they've been together since they were 15 and 17, it's likely neither one has had sex with anyone else. DTMFA, go have lots of sex with lots of different guys, and then MAYBE settle down when she's about 30.
"He knows that I'm upset but then says it's not exactly a turn on when I'm upset so he doesn't want to have sex at all." The eternal catch-22 in mismatched libido situations.

Sexists @2 and @3: Some men just have low sex drives. It doesn't mean he's cheating, that he's not attracted to her, or that he's masturbating constantly -- she says she "feels like" he's pleasuring himself instead of having sex with her, because that's what she would be doing if she were home alone. There's no evidence that's what he's doing, aside from his disinterest in sex, which might just be the way he is. (That's my guess, as the low sexual frequency has always been the situation.)

I do agree with TheMisanthrope @1: depression is a possibility. He's uninterested in sex, plus he's tired a lot, sick a lot, and there's no sign that he's working.

I'd be inclined to suggest an open relationship, but if their social circle includes a large number of people who are getting married in their mid-20s, that's probably not How Things Are Done Where She Comes From.

Isn't there an acronym, DTPNPA (Dump The Perfectly Nice Person Already)? This guy isn't a motherfucker, they're just not sexually compatible. Part amicably and find a horny dude -- they're not just out there, they're the majority!
I actually agree with Sportlandia @8, perhaps she should just respect his no. Would that be so strange if the genders were reversed? As we see often on this column, low libido is men is a thing. Sexual incompatibility is a thing. Surely begging, crying, pleading and pressuring him basically isn't a great way to elicit enthusiastic sex. The dynamics in this relationship are unhealthy, beyond sexual incompatibility.

You know what else is a thing? Decreased frequency of sex when living together, particularly in 5+ years LTRs, at least it's been my personal experience.... and at first it made me wonder what was wrong with me / the relationship etc. It doesn't necessarily have to involve small children, life stressors like work and health issues can put a damper on things as well. What is so lame about 2-3x a month? Clearly she's unhappy with that, so sure, have all the necessary talks, consider opening the relationship or moving on. I opted for the former.
He might simple have a low sex drive, but if they have been in a relationship since she was 15 and he was 17, SA @17's conjecture that he might want out of the relationship sounds quite plausible to me.
RE @23: Bored and ready to move on, but without the guts to say so, is a distinct possibility, I agree.
First thought: Dump him.
2nd thought of something to try: Separate loving touch from getting him hard and having sex with you. Explain that you expect him to hug you, caress you, kiss you, give you a massage, with no expectation of sex. Then masturbate on your own without him. This takes the pressure off him. He may respond.
3rd thought: Give that a try, but be prepared to dump him. You're mismatched.
I'm a 24-year-old woman and I've been with my boyfriend for almost seven years, he is 25.

Reading comprehension for a couple commenters above. She was NOT 15 when they began dating, she was 17-on-her-way-to-18. Even so, it's difficult to transition a relationship from high school to real life which - in her case - involved college and acquiring a profession.

Several people mentioned that he might be suffering from depression. I wonder whether he resents the fact that she has reliable and (mostly) respected work which might be a blow to his male ego. That resentment could fester and manifest in both overt and inadvertent ways, where he intentionally punished her by not wanting to have sex with her, and then found he'd sabotaged his own libido.

As a short-term solution, I'd definitely encourage her to take care of her own pleasure without hiding it because otherwise she's elevating NO SEX to be the default in the house. I'd be interested to see how he reacts but doubt that it'll be enough to reset his sex drive which won't be possible anyway unless the depression (plus possible resentment) is dealt with first.
You know, I was just thinking. After you've been together for a while, 2-3 times a month seems pretty good. It's often enough for it not to be non-existent, but infrequent enough for it to be kind of special when it happens.
Bauhaus @28: I'd be inclined to agree if this couple were in their mid-60s and had spent several decades together. They are in their mid-20s, and have only lived together for a year. They should be banging two to three times a week, not two to three times a month!
I rarely comment, but feel I must on this letter.

Twenty years ago, that was me. Both the feeling of rejection with someone I loved (and basically became an adult with), mismatched libidos with attendant inability (due to relationship dynamics) to relieve sexual tension by masturbating.

I cried myself to sleep (quietly, so as not to disturb the boyfriend next to me) countless nights, feeling rejected, undesirable, and sexually frustrated. The "love of my life" - from high school until my late 20's would reject my advances 90% of the time, sometimes using disparaging digs (it's unnatural for a girl to want sex too much, he preferred jacking off to sex with me because it was easier) or just saying tired, headache etc. He wanted sex once a week or so. I don't feel my libido was off the hook or anything, I would have been more than happy with 4x a week (but wanted it daily, honestly).

I have an idea I understand what the letter writer said about not being able to masturbate. Me making provisions to take care of myself lead to furious fights. He was deeply offended if he caught me masturbating. Disgusted when he found my vibrator. This lead to less sex from him due to the fights - his irritation with me masturbating became further excuses to not have sex - with him keeping an eye out to fight with me more if he found evidence of such.

Years after the breakup, he admitted that my sex drive made him feel less masculine because his was so much lower than mine, which prompted the various digs to knock my self-esteem, lessen my comfort with my sex drive - & lessen the sex drive itself thereby. Good news for the ex is he figured some of his shit out after the breakup and was later able to have more positive sexual interactions with his later relationships. Good new for me, I found people that matched or exceeded my libido.

Any Savage Love reader knows mismatched libidos are more than common. Even now, though, the cultural stereotype is *still* men, especially young men, want sex all the time and women much less so, leaving men feeling rejected. This is the cultural expectation, and men are conditioned to accept rejection as a common occurrence; women, however, aren't. Of course rejection hurts everyone, but I would argue that due to the above stereotypes, it hurts women more (undesirable, unnatural). Although there is beginning to be some acknowledgment that women can have high sex drives, sometimes - at times higher than their male partners - it is not yet in the cultural concept of sex that percolates to whatever the hell forms people's opinions about gender and sex drives.

Young people, like the letter writer and her boyfriend, don't have enough life experience to sort through all the cultural stereotype garbage and figure their own selves out. Since they have been together their entire adult lives, they also haven't had enough outside input from other sexual relationships to be able to realize there is more. For 25 year olds to be together for 7 years - that's their entire adult life & some of their childhood AND over a quarter of their whole lives to boot, with no other "sexual" information input from other partners/experiences. They are in a long term relationship, which means habits of interacting are ingrained and difficult to change.

I DID NOT KNOW that men could have sex again (after the refractory period) soon after a previous orgasm until my 30's! Due to my lack of "outside" experience, I was still conditioned to think that when he came, sex was over; I also had no idea that sex happening more than once a night - or during the day - was "normal" and that anything else was extraordinary circumstances. It took later experiences for me to learn these and other things.

I get and respect that the letter writer loves her boyfriend, but I think that in the long run, they will be both happier if they break up now. NOT "DTMFA" - but they each need to grow. Breaking up will be painful, but better for both in the long run - even if they get back together in a few years after some growing up is done (if they truly love and want to spend their lives together).

Because one thing I didn't learn until my 30's was that even if you love someone, that doesn't mean you HAVE to be with them. And if you and that person love each other, that love will still be there after you've each done the things you need to do as an individual and are ready for a relationship. I wish someone had told me this when I was the letter writer's age.
He wants to break up with her but doesn't have the courage to do it. And maybe he feels dependent on her which would make it harder for him but also makes him resentful. She should be the adult in the relationship and break it off.
Dump the Perfectly Nice Person Already. You're not compatible, neither of you wants anything unreasonable. 2-3 times per month is ideal for some people and within the range of acceptable for many others. You are not one of those people (which could change later, it's not the case now). Break up.
You're right LW. You can't marry someone who doesn't satisfy you sexually.
You are so young, so wish this first love a happy life and go find a man who would be delighted to have you jump his bones.
"He knows that I'm upset but then says it's not exactly a turn on when I'm upset so he doesn't want to have sex at all."

He wants to be able to ignore her hurt, because facing it would be inconvenient. And she isn't allowed to complain about being ignored because that turns him off. So she has to pretend that everything is fine, when it isn't fucking fine at all, but that allows him to also pretend everything is fine too. So he has no real incentive to do anything about it, because as far as he is concerned, everything is fine. And the way he can tell everything is fine? It's because she isn't complaining. Because she isn't allowed to. Nice Catch-22 he's got going there. She should reject it soundly.

I think she should tell him, "You get to choose from the following three options:
1) Continuing the relationship with me
2) Continuing to ignore my sexual needs
3) Continuing monogamy on my part

But you only get to choose two of them. Choose wisely."
I'm going to throw myself on the pile of women who spent decades living with a partner with a mismatched libido and add my hearty DTMF to the chorus. After the inevitable divorce, I learned my lesson gave sexual compatibility the same importance as my other relationship non-negotiables. I just remarried and even though we have been together for over 4 years, are middle-aged, and have teenagers who stay up later than we do, we still have incredibly hot and satisfying sex 3-5 times a week. That compatibility is echoed in the other areas of our lives together too and I am so much happier. The LW needs to hold out for this.
been there. no amount of talk will fix this. just go. it's for the best.
Jinxie @30 and others: Thank you for sharing. The mistakes we (all) make when we are young and stupid. A lot of your post resonated with me -- I've had "what's wrong with you?" attitudes from partners who thought I was initiating sex too often. Going back to the main thread, having many partners means I've also had lovers who were thrilled that I was so horny. Yael, congratulations on finding a great relationship.
Dear LW: this relationship is making you feel stressed, miserable, and inadequate, because he won't have enough sex with you. This relationship is making him feel stressed, miserable, and inadequate, because he feels constantly hounded for sex. You are making each other miserable, and the kindest thing to do is end it. He can then find a woman that's blissfully happy to only bang 2-3 times a month (or a woman he wants to bang 2-3 times a day) and you can find a man that's blissfully happy to bang you as much as you like!

Seriously, you aren't doing him any favors by staying. End it and move on - you'll both be better off for it.
Something that might help the LW: So far most of us have been recommending you dump your partner for your own sake, because he's not satisfying you. Consider that dumping him might be something you do for HIS sake, something that will make him happier. Right now you have evidence that he has a low libido in general. It's possible that he just doesn't want to have sex with you. Could be that in his next relationship he'll feel like having sex more often. There could be lots of reasons, but as much as you'll interpret them in a way that's insulting to you, they all come down to a mis-match. Dump him so YOU can be happier. Also dump him so HE can be happier.
This is not a DTMFA, it's a break up gently because your sex drives are mismatched and he doesn't want to expend the effort to remedy the situation. You're young. You haven't had much experience dating (you've been together with this one guy since you were 17 or so). Get out there and broaden your sample base of guys! You are much too young to settle for this, there are plenty of fish in the sea, go catch a few! You might find out that after a 8 year diet of sea bass, that you really prefer mahi mahi!
General advice: don't date people in sexually exclusive relationships if they don't want to have sex with you and you do. You're preventing yourself from meeting people who will be a better match for you by both casting yourself as unavailable for sexual relationships with others (yes, some people meet their next partner before breaking up with their current partner, but in general, people with decent ethics don't try to fuck people in sexually exclusive relationships with others) and spending your free time with your current partner.

In this case specifically, because of how BF is responding to the problem by blaming TOUCH (you're not sexy when you're upset but also I don't really want to have sex with you anyway, breaking up seems like a good possibility to keep in mind. Given TOUCH's age and the length of their relationship, I suspect she doesn't have much basis for comparison and is thus thinking the relationship is far less broken than it sounds to me; I suspect she could find a much more compatible partner that will make her wonder why she ever thought this relationship was so great in the first place. (Jinxie@30 does a great job of unpacking this dynamic.)

@1: BF isn't home all the time, as far as we know, he's just home at the same times as TOUCH, which she stated as a comparison to when they lived separately (she had alone time at home to masturbate, something she feels unable to do when he's around). That said, fatigue and psychogenic pain can be depression symptoms, so if they're not simply convenient excuses or the result of a physically intensive job, that's still a possibility.

@8: I second the flags (not that TOUCH is a terrible person, but that there are problems in the relationship) in TOUCH's description of her behavior. Pressuring people to have sex after they've already told you no isn't good, and if the conversations she's trying to have about this are framed as her heatedly accusing him of ignoring her or sobbing about how neglected she feels (I'm also unclear on what "gotten very emotional" actually means - rage? sadness? anxiety spiral? probably not joy) rather than checking in to see what his deal is and collaboratively looking for something that works for both of them, I can see why they might not be productive. That said, it's entirely possible TOUCH isn't bottling up resentment until it comes out in a confrontational conversation but is instead approaching in the best way and getting upset that BF won't engage or look for solutions - I don't question the validity of TOUCH's feelings of neglect, just some possible responses to them that maybe aren't serving her well (and if those are the case, they're understandable if not-ideal responses).

@15, 20: You're off on the ages by a few years - they're 24 and 25 now and have been together for less than seven years, so they were 17 to 19 when they started dating. The advice does still apply.

@26: You could well be right about the ego thing, especially if he's unemployed as some others have assumed (I see no direct indication of that, but it's certainly possible, and depression could also be a factor in difficulty motivating himself to find a job, keeping a job, and exacerbating the self esteem hit of non-conformity with a normative masculine role). If it is, I would count that as a red flag, maybe light red, but people who have internalized masculine gender norms like that have probably also internalized more toxic aspects as well, so especially if he's not willing to work on deprogramming himself, I'd advise breaking up if that's the case.
@40 - Agreed.

DTMFA for this would be... "prude-shaming"? It seems incorrect to argue out of one side of one's mouth that a low libido is "MF" territory, but that having objections to high libido be considered "slut shaming". Either we accept that a wide range of libidos is appropriate (and "once a week" is more sex than average for most 20-something Americans, and probably within 1 standard dev of average for 8-year couples) or that there is a particular range that is OK and straying outside that range is bad.

That all being said, LW needs to make a decision as to which is more valuable to her. Im going to ignore that they've only been with each other; but it seems like once-a-week, for a gentleman in his late-20s to thirties, isn't especially low after a couple moves in together and has settled in. She could roll the dice on a new guy but it's not a slam dunk she'll find someone with a higher libido, and who knows about the personality fit.
I just don't fucking understand people like this. The world is full of lonely single people, and yet there are clueless dullards who refuse to have sex with their partners. I have never in my life said "no thanks" to a sexual proposition from a partner. They're your partner. They want to have sex with you. And you are both growing old and dying, this very minute. WTF is wrong with you?
Chase @43 - I agree with your sentiments, but your penultimate sentence is a bit of a downer as either a justification or an inspiration for life-affirming sex. "Let's get naked and have fun, darling, since we are both growing old and dying, this very minute."
BDF @21, DTPNPA is what I came here to say. LW, It isn't going to get better. Leave before it gets worse.
@43: Depression isn't combatted with logic.
I don't think he is a terrible person either -- but that's because people are amazingly capable of being illogical, self-centered, unfair, and complacent, without having to be actively evil, sociopathic manipulators. They aren't out to get you; they're just not bothering to think of the situation from your perspective. Thinking of it from their own perspective is instinctive.

That doesn't mean you let their bullshit slide, though. If it's clear that they aren't going to go out of their way to consider your side, you have to do all of the considering of your side for them. It's okay to a) be your own advocate, and b) not put up with unfair treatment, even when it arises out of stupidity rather than malice.