I guess I am now in the modern world as my boyfriend of two years who I live with admitted last night that he masturbates to porn 3-4 times per week. We are very sweet together, but the sex has always been just okay, and in the past he told me he was simply not as not as into sex as I am. I thought he was just wired differently and I had a higher-than-average sex drive. Part of me thinks I should be relieved that he does actually have a sex drive, Dan, but I am pretty angry. But should I be more understanding? It took a lot for him to tell me, and I don't want to embarrass him—he asked for privacy, that I don't talk to my friends about it.

Part of it came up because many many times I have verbalized to him that I wish he complimented me in general. He grew up with no sisters, no friends that are girls, and barely talks about his feelings. He says he doesn't see much benefit in talking about feelings, and has told me not to expect him to change, so that will make this harder to navigate. I'm not sure what my goal is.

I had sort of tried to accept that we don't have a rawr kind of thing, and I know that it's hard to get every single box checked when it comes to a romantic partner. How should I behave? I'm more mad than insulted, which is a nice change from my usual weepy state in relationships.

Sad Lass Absolutely Perplexed

You're 24 months in—you've been seeing this guy for two years—and you need to ask yourself this question: If nothing changes… and he’s told you nothing will change… can you handle another 600 months of this? Fifty more years of not receiving compliments from a guy who doesn't see much benefit in "talking about feelings" and so refuses to discuss—or even take seriously—your emotional and sexual needs? — Dan

Thank you. Anything to say on the porn part and types of expectations or hopes? — SLAP

I think the porn is a secondary issue—he’s not emotionally available to you and he neglects you sexually. If he was looking at porn and having a wank a few times a week and was also interested in IRL sex with his FAB (flesh and blood) girlfriend and was capable of expressing his appreciation for you, SLAP, you wouldn't have written. Bottom line: you aren’t emotionally compatible, you have a high sex drive, he isn’t meeting your sexual needs, and he's essentially told you—no, he's straight-up told you—that he won’t ever change, he won't ever meet your needs, don’t ask him about it, and please shut the door when you leave the room so he can have a wank. Oh, and he's forbidden you to talk to your friends because he knows they'll tell you the same thing I'm telling you: DTMFA.

I'm assuming you read my column—I get very few letters from people who don't—so you've seen letters from people who stayed in relationships like yours because so much else worked, e.g. things were "sweet," they enjoyed spending time together, etc., but the sex was lousy and infrequent or plain nonexistent. People who stayed in relationships like that—people who stayed in relationships like yours—don’t write in to tell me how pleased they are with their relationships. They write in because they are, to a person, miserable.

The ones who write me are miserable, I should say. There are people out there in lasting, loving, longterm relationships that never had a rawr kind of thing going on. If that works for both partners—if both partners are content with their relatively sexless or entirely companionate relationship—then I don't get letters from either partner since neither partner is, you know, utterly and completely miserable.

But you wrote to me, SLAP, and you wrote because you're... well, you're not quite miserable. Not yet. But you're mad and sad and disappointed. And if you stay in this relationship, SLAP, those feelings will metastasize into misery.

Get out now. — Dan

Thank you, Dan. — SLAP


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