Andrea is on vacation. This column originally ran 5/21/08.
I’m confused. Are there any guys out there who aren’t at the extremes as far as sex goes? My ex-boyfriend was completely obsessed. Not only did he want it four-plus times a day, he’d want to have phone sex at least twice a day when we were apart. I think of myself as a pretty sexual person, but even I have my limits. Plus phone sex was boring. I like to masturbate, but it’s hard for me to orgasm when I feel the person on the end of the line is waiting. But that’s not why he’s my ex. He was rather immature. He was so obsessed with sex, everything was sexual. If I said it was raining out. He’d say "oooh sounds … wet." If I said something was hard (difficult) he’d say "ooh, hard!" It was like that with everything! He was not some 20-year-old kid, either. He was 48! I’m 31 and I felt I was more mature than he was. So we broke up. Then I fell in love with his polar opposite. We’ve been together a couple years and our sex life has gone downhill rapidly, from two or three times a week to maybe once every three months. I’ve tried to initiate, but I get nowhere. It only happens when he wants it to. I really love this guy and I want to marry him. I just need to figure out how to find a happy medium.
A happy medium in your case would require something like the matter-transporter machine from The Fly you’d put Mr. "Ooh, Sounds … Wet" in one pod and Mr. Every Three Months in the other and zap them back and forth in space until their DNA was well and truly mixed. Ideally, you’d end up with a guy who wanted to do it about as often as you do, with some room in there for negotiation. Un-ideally, of course, you could make yourself a boyfriend who never wants to have sex but does like to make a whole lot of immature, sniggery jokes about it. On second thought, maybe this isn’t the best plan.
The first guy sounds unbearable. I’m surprised you stuck it out with him as long (ooooh, long) as you did. It must have been hard to … I mean you had to have been open to … I mean on top of oh, never mind. It must have been like living with Michael Scott with a few drinks in him: "That’s what she said!" Awful. You have my sympathy.
The new guy is a harder nut (oh, shut up) to crack. Are you really as mystified as you sound about where the sex has gone and why, or is there a chance that you do know what’s up (shut up) with him but don’t want to admit it? I don’t think it’s abnormal to experience a drop-off after a few years, particularly, but four times a year is pretty slim pickings. As a mere stripling of 31, I would be very cautious, in your place, about signing any long-term contracts under those conditions. At the very least you ought to know what’s going on with him (and with your relationship) before you agree to marry someone who frankly isn’t going to satisfy you. It would be a different story if you were saying "We only do it every three months and we’re both happy with that." Then I’d dance at your wedding. The way you’re talking about it, though, I’d feel more like I was dancing on your marriage’s grave, and while I’ve always liked Nick Cave, I’m just not that goth. Sorry. It ain’t going to work.
You’re going to have to have one of those sit-downs that nobody wants but nearly everybody needs at some point. This is no time to ask him what’s wrong with him or to suggest that maybe he’s just not man enough for you, not if you actually like him, anyway. It is time to find out what’s going on with him all those times you initiate and you "get nowhere." Is it possible he’s missing your cues? Is there a better time or a better approach? A different act? If the answer is no, no, no, and no, and this is just who he is a guy who’s interested in sex four times a year and anything extra just seems unnecessary or unappealing then you’re going to have to figure out if there’s some way you can get your itches scratched. Maybe he’d be happy just holding you while you take care of things for yourself. Maybe he’d be OK if you had a "friend." Maybe he needs a check-up and a meds adjustment and all will be well after that. You’re going to have to find out, is all. I don’t care if it’s hard. And that’s not what she said, or so I hear.
See Andrea’s other column at carnalnation.com.