It's A Pleasure

How Do I Ask My Boyfriend For More Sex?

First, ask yourself what specifically it is about sex that you love and are currently lacking.

Originally Published: 
A Q&A sign next to a girlfriend hugging her boyfriend

Q: I need advice on how to ask my boyfriend for more sex, please!

A: What you’re going through is frustrating but also incredibly normal. Quite literally every single couple I know has had disparate sex drives at one point or another. It’s a situation where no one’s wrong or right, they just have different needs, and sometimes that kind of problem is the hardest to address. It’s not like you can just make someone want sex less or more.

But what you can do is... talk about it!

Talking about sex can be so uncomfortable, even when it’s with a partner you love and trust. I mean, I talk about sex for work and it took me a while to get over the idea that talking about certain topics is embarrassing — even if I didn’t find them shameful! But it makes sense — our sexual desires, our assumptions, our turn-ons, and our turn-offs are so closely linked to memories marked by shame, guilt, worry, or insecurity. The only way to get comfortable with talking about sex is to keep doing it and doing it until it’s less uncomfortable.

My recommendation is to have a date night, something low key and relaxing like eating dinner together (don’t bring this up on your axe-throwing date) and mention to your boyfriend using words that feel authentic to you: “Hey, I would love for us to talk about how often we’re having sex. I would love to be having more sex with you than we are now, and I want to hear what you think about that.” Right now, I — and possibly you — have no clue why you two aren’t having more sex.

Maybe he’s worried he’s initiating too much, maybe he’s bad at initiating, maybe he has a very low sex drive naturally, maybe his sex drive has fallen recently due to health issues or medication, maybe he’s feeling insecure about something, maybe he’s not satisfied with the sex you guys have been having for some reason, maybe he’s struggling with a mental health issue, maybe he thought you didn’t want sex as much, maybe a previous partner told him he was too horny, maybe work is stressing him out, maybe he’s interested in another “type” of sex but he’s worried you aren’t into it so he’s been holding back. There are lots of potential pieces of the puzzle!

First, you need to figure out: Does he want sex more too and something is getting in the way? Is he happy with how often you have sex? Or does he not want sex as much as you’re having it? Then you can dig in further. Remember, though, that this conversation isn’t about convincing him to have sex more often if he isn’t into that. Your job is not to change his sex drive but rather to discuss it and see what you both might do differently that could work better. I think there is an assumption — even if we aren’t always conscious that we’re buying into it — that men will be ready and up for and interested in sex all the time. That’s a lot of pressure!

One thing to keep in mind for both of you, if it turns out that your sex drives don’t exactly line up, is that there are a lot of sexual things you can do together that aren’t full-on sex that might feel satisfying. They often sound kind of corny, so forgive me, but you can take baths or showers together, you can massage one another, you can make out without having sex, you can watch porn together, you can masturbate together. There might be something you guys can do more often that he’s up for that helps you feel like you’re satisfied.

Sex is great and you don’t need a reason to be into it, but it’s worth it to think about what specifically you like so much about sex that you want more of. Do you really like the physical touch part? Do you feel validated from having sex? Does it make you feel attractive? Do you feel closer to your partner when you have it? What are you trying to get more of from him? Work from there!

I do want to say, just in case you haven’t heard this or haven’t been telling yourself this: It is perfectly valid to break up with someone due to sexual incompatibility. That’s not cruel or evil; it’s not weird; it’s not wrong. For many people, their romantic partner is the only person they have a sexual relationship with, which makes it all the more reasonable for them to want to make sure that the sex is actually good. And not just in the sense of “when we do have sex, I come,” but is the communication around sex good? Is the foreplay good? Are you having fun? Are you excited by the sex you’re having with your partner? If this is the only sexual relationship you have, it needs to be good! So if you talk about it and make some changes and take some steps and things still aren’t working, it’s OK to walk away. It’s more than OK to require the sex in your life to be good.

Q: What do you do when your husband suddenly turns into a right-wing nutjob?

A: It is thousands, if not millions, of times easier for me to type this than it is for you to do it, but you have to leave.

If your difference of opinion politically were about tax rates or infrastructure package sizes, I’d say, “OK, I don’t think this is a deal-breaker. You two can sort this out.” This is not that. The fact that you are calling him a nutjob leads me to assume he’s pretty far outside of consensus reality, and there’s really no getting back from that.

On top of that, I suspect — although I don’t know — that his beliefs aren’t simply wacky (e.g., clouds are actually cotton candy) but rather actively harmful to people. That is not someone you can make or keep a life with. Someone who has cruel beliefs is not your partner, and there is no guarantee they will not eventually turn their cruelty on to you for not joining them in their moral universe.

My strongest advice is to talk to a lawyer about how to prepare for a divorce where the other person might want to harm you physically, emotionally, or financially and have them help you get ready. I’m so, so sorry.

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