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Sexless Wonders

Joe Newton

Have you ever seen a successful relationship when the sex was difficult from the start? Or even stopped early in the relationship? I have been with my boyfriend since August and I honestly lost my desire for him early on. He’s a bit of a hoarder and has some self-care and cleanliness issues, which I only realized some way into the relationship. It has killed the sexual vibe for me very early, but I do feel very safe with him, very connected emotionally. Is there hope? Or should we call it friends?

Only Doomed Or Real Shot?

I’ve definitely seen relationships succeed despite sex being difficult at the start — absolutely, for sure, lots of times.

In some cases, the couple broke up, found new partners, and remained in each other’s lives as friends. But most of the couples that succeeded in the way you most likely meant —...

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... But most of the couples that succeeded in the way you most likely meant — the sex was difficult at the start but they’re still happily together years later — had at some point redefined their relationships as companionate. Some of these companionate relationships were ethically non-monogamous, e.g., one or both partners were allowed to seek sex outside the relationship, but some were strictly monogamous. What I haven’t seen many examples of over the years are two people who didn’t share a strong sexual connection at the start who somehow managed to create one. And when I have seen that happen, ODORS, there was always some shared sexual interest or erotic dynamic or off-the-rack kink the two shared — there was one thing that worked — and on that rock built a good-to-great sex life together. But what I found myself wondering as I read your question, ODORS, was why you would wanna make things work with this guy. If he can’t be bothered to bathe and brush his teeth and use deodorant when he’s trying to win you, ODORS, he’s not going to make the effort after he’s won you. Maybe there’s some underlying mental health issue he’s struggling with. If so, ODORS, you can offer him your friendship and moral support — provided you can spare the emotional bandwidth — but don’t offer him a blowjob. Sucking this guy’s dick would not only be unpleasant for you, ODORS, but it would send the wrong message to him, e.g., that he’s in good enough working order (the proof: he’s getting his dick sucked) and doesn’t need to get help and make changes. P.S. The sexless monogamous relationship — as a concept — has aways broken my brain. If being sexually monogamous means you don’t have sex with other people… wouldn’t being monogamously sexless mean you only don’t have sex with other people? If monogamy means, “I’m not fucking anybody but you,” wouldn’t sexless monogamy mean, “I’m fucking everybody but you”? Perhaps someone who doesn’t wanna have sex with their partner but insists that their partner not have sex with anyone else — perhaps someone who thinks celibacy is a reasonable demand — can jump into the comments thread and explain where they get off. My husband is the Membership Chair of a nonprofit in town. The organization has about 100 members. Some are cute/hunky/sexy. We’ve got an open relationship, but I feel that, given his position, he shouldn’t be having sex with these members because it might lead to jealousy issues among the others. He disagrees and brushes off my concerns. I’ve considered playing with a couple of them as well, but I have not because I feel like as “the husband of” one of the club’s organizers, it could be seen as problematic. Am I wrong in expressing reservations about his playing with members? And what about my doing the same? Messy Ethical Matters Block Enticing Recreational Sex What kind of nonprofit are we talking about? If it’s a group that works with at-risk youth (painting murals on underpasses or whatever) or some sort of social justice org (blocking access to airports right before Christmas or whatever), MEMBERS, the Membership Chair fucking his way through the membership rolls could prove problematic. That goes double if being a member in good standing could unlock future professional success. If remaining on the right side of org leadership means getting the kind of letters of reference or recommendation that help people land jobs or promotions, the leaders of the org — and their spouses — should refrain from fucking members to avoid abusing that power. But if we’re talking about some sort of gay social club organized around a shared non-sexual interest (snowboarding, softball, kickball, etc.) or sexual interest (leather, pup play, kicking actual balls, etc.) — meaning, if we’re talking about a club that exists to help gay men break the ice and find like-minded friends and/or sex partners and/or potential romantic partners — then the leaders or their spouses don’t have to swear off fucking the members. Indeed, if the org was created to bring guys together socially and/or sexually, demanding vows of celibacy from the leadership not only punishes the men who step up to do the work (recruiting members, scheduling events, setting everything up, breaking everything down, etc.), it makes taking on those responsibilities on less appealing. And if no one steps up to do the work, the organization falls apart — and who does that help? I’m a 28-year-old woman and I’ve never had a boyfriend and I’ve never had sex. Up until this year, I didn’t focus on dating in order to prioritize my education, career, and mental health. I am doing very well in my life overall. I have two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree, I have a job that I love, I live in a great city (Chicago), and I’m doing well enough financially to buy a condo this year. The only thing I’m lacking is relationship and sexual experience. I am putting myself out there and going to social events to meet guys, but I’m holding off on having sex until I’m actually in a relationship and I’ve formed an emotional connection with someone. Casual sex has never interested me. I’m in therapy and I’m working with my therapist on my confidence as I navigate the dating world. My anxiety is my biggest roadblock. Nobody in my life has reacted negatively to my lack of experience but my anxiety tells me that no one will accept me and that there is something wrong with me. My anxiety tells me that I am the butt of everyone’s jokes and that I’m a loser. I know that doesn’t make sense. Literally no one has ever criticized me for my lack of experience. My friends don’t care and have been supporting me as I navigate the dating scene for the first time. However, some of my friends have been encouraged me to have casual sex in order to gain sexual experience but casual sex isn’t something I’m comfortable engaging in and some of my friends just don’t to understand that. I guess if I had to boil this down to one question, it would be this: How do I stop being insecure and embarrassed about my lack of dating and sexual experience and be confident? Nervously Experiencing Wonder PEP TALK! You need to own the choices you’ve made about sex with the same confidence — with the same pride — that you own the choices you’ve made about your education and career. I’m guessing were nervous AF when you got to college… and you nailed that shit. (Three degrees!) You were no doubt nervous AF when you got your first big job… and you nailed that shit. (Buying a condo!) So, just accept that you’re going to be nervous AF during your first sexual experience, NEW, and have some faith in your proven ability to nail that shit. GURL! You didn’t ace every exam — but you got those fucking degrees, right? You probably blew at least one job interview — but you got a fucking job, right? Your first time is going to be awkward (everyone’s is), NEW, and you’ll definitely be nervous AF (like everyone else), but you’re gonna nail that fucking shit like you’ve nailed every other fucking thing. I know it sounds like a paradox — or maybe it sounds like gibberish (or maybe it is gibberish) — but you can be secure about you insecurities. Own them, admit to them, talk about them. You’ll be more confident if you don’t pretend to feel any more confident than you actually feel. Don’t make the rookie mistake of allowing or encouraging someone to assume you’re more experienced than you actually are — don’t pretend to be someone you’re not — because that shit only makes a person feel more insecure. And instead of worrying whether they can tell, NEW, go ahead and tell on yourself: “I’ve never been with anyone sexually — I poured all my energy end effort into my education and my career — so we’re going to have to take it slow in my fucking condo.” Some guys will head for the door (of your condo) when they hear that, NEW, and not one of those guys will be the right guy for your first time. Remember: When you tell someone you’re inexperienced, you’re telling him one thing about you. His reaction tells you everything you need to know about him. And. hey. since you’ve got a pretty good idea who you want and what you want and how you want it, NEW, you’re starting from a better place than a lot of people who got early (but age-appropriate) starts. GOOD LUCK! P.S. You don’t have to make your friends understand your choices, NEW, you just have to make it clear to them that you appreciate their support and their advice — that’s what friends are for — and you hope they’ll keep it coming while you work on the who, what, and how of it. P.P.S. Get on a long-acting birth control method now — don’t wait. Even if there isn’t someone in your life you wanna fuck or anyone on the horizon you might wanna fuck, you wanna be good to go if you’re suddenly ready to go. Also, insist on condoms. Got problems? Email your question to Dan here! Or record your question for the Lovecast here! Follow Dan on Instagram and Threads @DanSavage. Follow Dan on BlueSky @DanSavage. The best porn film festival in the world opens in Seattle on February 8th before touring cities across North America and Europe! Go to HUMP! Film Fest to check out the new films and get your HUMP! 2024 now!  

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