We’ve been together for 15 years but I have no idea how to sexually arouse him. He avoids the question & talks around it. I know he watches a lot of porn & he spends a lot of time looking at the nude pictures of every woman he’s been with. I wonder if he’s not excited by me so he can only have sex with me after looking at these things. Is that what it is? If not, how can I try to compete?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    The short answer is: I don’t know how you can arouse him sexually. Over the 15 years you’ve been together, I’m sure you’ve tried many different strategies, but alas, they haven’t worked. Here are a few thoughts that may provide perspective.

    • How old are you guys? If he’s an older man, over 45 or so, arousal becomes an issue. Young men walk around trying to hide their frequent spontaneous erections and arousal is no issue at all. But for older men, it becomes one, and that can be disconcerting. Something they took for granted their whole lives is now a hassle, it’s work. Masturbation is easier than partner sex. The only person the man has to arouse is himself and he can feel exactly how to do that. And porn is easily available and a convenient masturbation aid. Many people think that it’s young, single, horny guys who watch porn. Yes, they do—but a substantial proportion of male porn viewers are older men in relationships who use it to prove to themselves that they can still become aroused.

    • How’s his erection function? To many men, “sex” means intercourse, and if they can’t get it up and firm enough for that, then they may retreat from sex: I can’t get it up so what’s the point. The point, of course, is togetherness, intimacy, and orgasm. The good news that many men don’t know is that they don’t need erections to have great orgasms. I suggest you read my low-cost article, Great Sex Without Intercourse. He should read it, too.

    • What about resentments? If he’s been dodging sex for years, it’s likely that both of you feel upset and resentful. Sexual issues, especially desire differences, can be difficult to discuss without a coach. I suggest that you consult a sex therapist, who can help unravel the knots. Sex therapy usually takes four to six months of weekly one-hour sessions. It costs $150-200/hour, though many therapists discount fees for those who can’t afford standard rates. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, clients DON’T have sex with therapists and therapists DON’T watch clients having sex. For more, read my low-cost article, An Intimate Look at Sex Therapy, and/or see the film, “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. If he won’t go with you, then I suggest you go by yourself. That’s suboptimal, of course, but the therapist may be able to help you with coping strategies. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.

    Good luck!

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