I am on vacation for all of July. But I've invited Mistress Matisse to handle the Savage Love letters of the day. Mistress Matisse is a writer, a dominatrix and a sex worker’s rights activist. She has a blog here and twitter here. The archive of her Stranger column, Control Tower, is here. Mistress Matisse will be answering your questions all week.

I am a guy who has been in a relationship with a great gal for over a decade. We have a strong emotional connection, but over the past couple of years our physical connection has withered. A lot of this can probably be put down to work and financial stress on both our parts; but I also more and more feel a lot of emotional conflict regarding sex that makes me avoid it. You see, I'd like to try anal. It wasn't something I'd even really considered in past relationships, but around seven years ago it seems to have just clicked in my head. I've been very open, honest, and patient - as I understand it is an imposition - but I've gotten a mess of mixed signals regarding the topic over the years since I first brought it up. For the first few months after mentioning it, the reaction was defensive. There were lots of interspersed jabs, even outside sexual conversation, in the vein of: "why would you want to [buy lunch] for someone you want to fuck in the ass?!" We had an open conversation about it later and she explained that she had one bad experience in the past (the old no-warning-tally-ho! method) and I can totally empathize with that. She explained that she'd be open to some experimenting so long as we left things at her pace, which seemed totally reasonable.

The problem is that over six years later, that's still where things stand. We've experimented a bit with a finger or two and moderate sized plugs, but nothing further. It's not an every-time sort of thing, but it's always me who has to suggest doing this stuff and I guess I see that as her politely conceding, rather than actually enjoying. When we've talked about things, I've always tried to offer her a free out to say "Sorry, this just isn't for me" but she insists every time that she enjoys it. But after the years I'm just worn down and even thinking of sex makes me twist up in knots in my head: without a definitive "It ain't happening" I can't really put this out of my mind, and after being shot down hundreds of times when I suggest maybe we give it a try soon, I feel bitter every time my brain thinks that maybe this time she'll say yes.

I feel rejected and my feelings blatantly disregarded, having been in this position for so many years - but I also can't tell if that's unfair of me. I feel like if I press the issue, she'd probably give in for a one-off grudgefuck, but I don't want to be that guy who uses guilt or pity as sexual leverage - it feels wrong. And if I do confront her and then turn down this sort of begrudging "ok fine let's get it over with" go-around, I'm sure that'll send mixed signals.

Am I wrong to feel this way? Is this just an unfair sense of entitlement? Because it's destroyed my sex life and I need a reality check.

Have Extended Love Problem

Mistress Matisse's response after the jump...

Okay, HELP, I hear you saying that you need to be told, clearly and openly, that your partner doesn’t want you to fuck her in the ass. I can assist you with that: your partner doesn’t want you to fuck her in the ass. Now that you’ve heard that, do you think you will be able to put the issue out of your mind and move on?

I doubt it, because communication is not the real problem here. I agree, stating one’s sexual boundaries clearly is the best practice. But even if she isn’t saying this exactly the way you’re so indignantly telling yourself she should, she is giving you signals about her level of (dis)interest in receiving anal penetration. Being open, honest and patient? Those are good things, HELP. We could have a conversation about whether or not that’s really how you’ve approached this. Borrowing someone’s car for a week? That’s “an imposition”. Having someone’s dick up your ass when you don’t want it there is something really quite different.

But even giving you all the possible benefit of the doubt, just being a baseline decent guy is not a guarantee that you’re going to get absolutely positively everything you want sexually. No, your feelings are actually not being blatantly disregarded, because wanting to put your dick in someone’s ass is not an emotional state. What you are really saying is “I’m mad, because I feel entitled to anal sex, but my girlfriend’s asshole has friendzoned me!”

The real question is: why is putting your dick in a place where your girlfriend doesn’t want it so important? I don’t think that any sexual activity has inherent meaning – sex is what we make it be. But you seem really invested in controlling not only whether or not your girlfriend has things in her ass, but how she experiences that. The way you tell it, nothing about how she’s handling this is okay. When you initiate and she consents to some anal penetration, she’s not doing it for the right reasons, and she’s not enjoying it the way you think she should, so it’s not good enough for you. And when she doesn’t initiative it – well, you’re not happy about that, either. Perhaps your partner is not being more direct in her communication because she doesn’t see a way to respond in a way that doesn’t just make things worse. Other than, of course, being sincerely eager for you to fuck her up the ass, which isn’t how she feels.

Your girlfriend not wanting to be fucked in the ass is not what has destroyed your sex life. I don’t know what the real issue here is. Maybe there’s another problem with your relationship that you’re avoiding examining. Or maybe she’s a good partner to you, and you’re letting an unfair (and decidedly unsexy) level of resentment cloud your judgment. But either way, anal sex is not the answer to your problem, so you need to get your head out of her ass and get over it.