Pub date May 20, 2008


Dear Andrea:

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 or more 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, I think phone sex is boring. Though I like to masturbate, it’s hard for me to orgasm when the person on the other end of the line is waiting for it.) My ex was so obsessed with sex that he saw everything as sexual. If I said it was raining, he’d say, "Oooh, sounds … wet." If I said something was hard (difficult), he’d say "Ooh, hard!" And he wasn’t some 20-year-old kid. He was 48! I’m 31, and since I felt more mature than him, we broke up. Then I fell in love with his polar opposite. I’ve been with the new guy for a couple of 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 to. I really love this guy and I want to marry him. I just need to figure out how to find a happy medium between my sex-obsessed ex and my uninterested current beau.


Opposite Day

Dear Day:

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 room for negotiation. Un-ideally, you’d make 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 (ooh, 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) but don’t want to admit it? I don’t think it’s abnormal to experience a drop-off after a few years, but four times a year is 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 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, 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 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. It is time to find out what’s going on in his head all those times you initiate and "get nowhere." Is it possible he’s missing your cues? Is there a better time or a better approach? A different act? If the answers are all "no" and this is just who he is — a guy who’s interested in sex four times a year and anything more seems unnecessary or unappealing — then you’re going to have to figure out if there’s a 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 checkup and a meds adjustment and all will be well after that. In any case, you’re going to have to find out. I don’t care if it’s hard. And that’s not what she said, or so I hear.



It’s not all about the sex! Andrea’s new blog, "Go Get Your Jacket: a blog about begetting and spending," debuts May 19 at Pink or blue? Made in China or made in Vermont at three times the price? What are we buying for our kids, and why?

Andrea is also teaching two classes: "You’ve Really Got Your Hands Full" — a realistic look at having twins — at Birthways in Berkeley, and "Is There Sex After Motherhood?" at Day One Center in San Francisco and other venues.

Andrea is home with the kids and going stir-crazy. Write her a letter! Ask her a question! Send her your tedious e-mail forwards! On second thought, don’t do that. Just ask her a question.