Her boyfriend isn’t really interested in sex
Dear Dr. Love,
I’m 26 weeks pregnant and my boyfriend wants me to marry him, but I feel that there are so many things that haven’t been acknowledged between us, yet. The big one is his libido, which is very. . . mild. I, on the other hand, have what I would call a voracious appetite, and it gets very frustrating for me.
Often times, I will approach him and allude to or outright tell him that I want him, and he has some excuse for not having sex. I wonder if he doesn’t find me attractive, or if I don’t do the right things. I am willing to jump through sexual hoops to turn him on ( which has gotten difficult for me in the past month), get him therapy, probing him for what gets him hot. . . and he’s always so vague. ‘I don’t know. ‘ is the answer to any question I ask him about what he likes. Or worse, ‘I don’t mind it. ‘
Obviously, he seems uncomfortable with sex, and he gets very defensive if I bring it up. . . even if I’m talking about what I like. He makes me feel dirty when I describe what turns me on. I’ve never had this problem with anyone before. Every man I’ve been with enjoyed my sexual appetite. I feel shallow and petty for complaining about it, but it’s an important part of our relationship, and I feel like it’s not being acknowledged. Help! I want to resolve this before I commit to marriage!
You are exactly right in saying that this issue needs to be resolved before you can commit to marriage. In fact, if you can’t resolve this issue, a marriage to this man will be a disaster. What concerns me in your letter is the fact that he makes you feel dirty about your sexuality. Why would you consider marrying someone that makes you feel this way? And, why is the man who turns off to you sexually so much more appealing to you than the previous lovers who accepted your sexuality?
I am getting a sense here that your unconscious mind is trying to work out some unfinished business from your first family. I say this because I see a pattern in which you are pursuing someone who is not available, accepting or responsive to you. Whenever a repetitive pattern occurs, it usually recreates a problem from the formative years. This is called, repetition compulsion, and, as I have said in other columns, the unconscious mind has a compulsion to recreate the emotional dramas of childhood and work for a happy ending. In your case, it feels like your mind is trying to make an unresponsive parent love you.
I know you may say, I want sex from my boyfriend, what does this have to do with my parents. Keep in mind that, to the unconscious mind, sex represents love. And, when we pursue an unavailable lover for sex, our minds are actually pursuing an unavailable parent for love.
On a related note, when you said that you worry that his lack of desire indicates that you are unattractive, I am reminded of a little girl who thinks that if only she were better, daddy or mommy would love her more. I suspect that you felt unloved in your first family, and thought it was your fault. Now, you are feeling sexually unloved and worry that it’s your fault. Can you see a parallel?
As for your boyfriend, he clearly has issues around sex. Again, sex holds a deeper meaning for him as well. When a man avoids sex, he is usually fearful of being taken over, swallowed up, etc. He needs to work on this issue and see if he can overcome his own blocks to sexual intimacy. I am talking about healing his emotional blocks not making behavioral modifications (promising to do x if you do y). While he is working on his issues, it would be good for you to explore what sex with him represents for you, how this struggle relates to your history, and, as you wisely said, you will also need to ask yourself whether it would be healthy for you to marry someone who is so sexually unavailable.
Good luck to you. The desire to stay with someone who is unavailable is very strong when you a person has suffered emotional deprivation in her first family. Have courage to look inward and heal.
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