Hi Michael,
I have a 2 part question. The first part has to do with frequency of sex. My boyfriend and I have been dating about 7 months. When we started dating, we were having tons of sex (I know, typical of honeymoon stage), multiple times a weekend / sometimes multiple times a day. Unfortunately, this drastically reduced over the recent months – I realize this is typical, but I want way more sex than he does and it’s frustrating and makes me feel insecure. We have had a couple of periods where the frequency decreased to once a week, and this is the first time it’s been over a week (we last had sex on 3/9, and it’s 3/17 today. This gives me a lot of anxiety. I realize that the anxiety is something that I can individually work on, since it’s largely due to me doubting my desirability/needing affirmation & feeling like sex gives me that affirmation, however, I also just want sex way more frequently than him. Initially, when we started dating but were past the first month, sometimes I would try to initiate but he wouldn’t be in the mood. After this happening multiple times, I was discouraged, and felt rejected, so now I feel like I need to wait until HE is in the mood, and take what I can get. I can pretty much get in the mood whenever – I’ve never turned down sex when he’s initiated. It’s discouraging to feel rejected, even though his tactics are not rude in anyway, but now I don’t really initiate at all, other than trying to do things that will visually turn him on to try to get him going. This works sometimes… it used to work more; perhaps the novelty has worn off. I don’t think it’s a lack of physical attraction since I’ve basically stayed at the same aesthetic level over the last 6 months (I work out everyday, and keep myself pretty tight/slim, and I always wear at least moderately seductive clothing or lounge wear with my boyfriend). I don’t know how to bring sex frequency up, and part of me is worried talking about this too much puts too much pressure on sex, and the psychological impact of too much pressure might just make things worse/more “loaded” if you will. I did express worry the second period of time we went a couple of weeks only having sex one time each week. I was about to leave his place at the end of a weekend, and he noticed I was upset about something. I didn’t want to bring it up for the reasons stated above, but since he was encouraging & sensitive to my mood, I asked him if he was still attracted to me, because I felt like we weren’t having much sex. He said of course he was attracted, & inquired about the actual reduction (I guess he hadn’t noticed, but I keep track, a little compulsive of me). I said it was down to once a week for the last couple weeks. He said that (1) since we only see each other a few nights a week (usually every weekend for the whole weekend and maybe 1 night a week night), and (2) medication (he takes vyvanse, and also takes stuff for allergies, non-drowsy antihistimines but I think those can take a toll. I take vyvanse too and it has zero damper on my desire – if anything it increases my drive..) Anyways he asked if I really thought it was a problem; after talking I felt a little better; he was a bit more flirty in text that week, and we had sex several times the following week / weekend. It went back to normal for a bit, however, now I am anxious again because we only had sex twice in the last 2 weeks, and in this period we were on vacation together, so we were with each other for more days/nights than apart, AND he took a break from the stimulant meds on that trip so now I’m double anxious about it. To be fair, he works very very very hard, and is probably chronically stressed. And he had a death in the extended family, which is why we went on vacation, so it’s possible that is affecting him more than I am giving credit. Anyways, this brings me to the second part of my question. Since I feel like I want sex more than him, and I don’t feel good initiating and being rejected, I kind of feel like I have to take what I can get. The thing is, what I can get ends up not being my favorite kind of sex – he LOVES having sex in the shower. I like pretty much all sex, anywhere/anytime but I’m not going to be able to come close to orgasm standing up in the shower. I actually have never been able to orgasm with a partner, however I have been able to make myself orgasm for literally as long as I can remember, I guess probably since I was a toddler. The problem is, I can only orgasm in 1 specific position with very specific rhythmic pressure that I cannot reproduce in any other position. I’m 28 years old, so this habit has been pretty ingrained. I just recently learned how to reach orgasm, in that same position using a vibrator rather than the pressure from my hands. I thought that if I could bring myself to orgasm in more ways, I might be able to coach him. The problem is, we aren’t having sex very frequently, and when we do, at least half the time it’s in the shower, and I have no idea how to start trying to coach him in the limited choices of shower sex positions; when it’s not in the shower it’s usually in the middle of the night when we’re half asleep – I love the primitive waking up to a guy eager to have sex with me, but it’s not an easy time to try to coach my partner. I don’t want to discourage shower sex since he really likes it, and that’s the most likely time he will get turned on, so we’ll end up having sex in the shower even when he says we won’t… I want to increase the frequency so I don’t want to miss an opportunity, however, if we are only having sex in the shower and it’s as rare as it has been, I’m left pretty frustrated. Obviously I am able to make myself come and do so everyday at least, but I want to increase the chances of being able to have him make me come or have it as a shared experience. I don’t know how to talk about any of this stuff. At the beginning of our relationship he was very concerned that I was not “enjoying things” as much as him, and I told him that I definitely enjoy sex, and I’ve never reached orgasm with a partner. He was interested in trying to learn at that point, but it was still early in the relationship so I was not super comfortable with him/coaching him. I’m actually still a little apprehensive about trying to coach him because I am afraid it won’t work (bring me to orgasm), and I feel a lot of pressure or like I’m on the spot. I worry if something doesn’t work it will discourage him and me. It also makes me uncomfortable to have all of the focus on me. I suppose there’s a large psychological component getting in the way of me reaching orgasm with a partner, in addition to a physical problem since even by myself my ability to orgasm is limited to pretty much 1 method. I’d like advice as to how to work on these issues in a way that will not put too much pressure on things I guess. And how to address these types of topics. I get very overwhelmed by my emotions in pretty much any conversation about sensitive issues, so this makes it difficult to have a good conversation..
I’d love to hear your thoughts – sorry this is kind of a disorganized stream of consciousness, but hopefully you can respond to parts of it at lease.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    You discuss two issues: your desire difference, and your orgasm limitations, and because of them, your desire not to always have sex in the shower.

    Regarding your desire difference. You hit it on the head. Initially, couples can’t keep their hands off each other. But the hot-and-heavy period last only around six months to a year or so. After that, frequency typically declines—and quite often, almost inevitably, one want more sex than the other and conflict may ensue. In addition, most people believe that sexually men pursue women—”only one thing on their minds.” But for around one-third of couples, it’s the other way around, as in your case, with the woman the more sexually motivated. Those couples—you—face two issues: the desire difference and the flip side of cultural expectations, the woman wanting more sex, which can feel disconcerting.

    Fortunately, over the past 50 years, sex therapists have developed a program that helps most couples mutually accommodate. I’ve distilled the program into a low-cost, self-help e-article, How Sex Therapists Recommend Resolving Desire Differences. I suggest you obtain a copy and read it with your guy. It comes with a money-back guarantee, so no risk to you.

    If the article doesn’t sufficiently resolve your issue, then I’d suggest sex therapy. It should help. 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. 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.

    Now about your orgasm issue. Many people prefer to come in a particular way. That’s fine … but it doesn’t work for you in the shower. Sex therapy for this involves slowly moving away from your particular way to a more generalized ability to have orgasms. You’re already doing this with the vibrator. Good start. Now you might consider other little changes that would broaden your ability. A sex therapist could help with that, too.

    Now about the shower: If that’s where he wants it and you’re ready to play ball, then fine, do it there. But he needs to know that it’s difficult for you to come in the shower, so after he’s all done, the two of you should move to the bed or anywhere you select where he can minister to you. One gives and the other receives. Then it switches.

    I wish you the best.

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