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Not Tonight, Or Ever

Dear Rosemary,

In the past few months, I started dating a guy friend of mine who I had always known had a bit of a crush on me. I totally adore him: he’s smart, sweet and sensitive and amazing to spend time with. There’s just one big problem: he never wants to have sex. We’ve been dating for about 2 months and had sex maybe four times. I’m a pretty sexual gal, so I’ve tried talking to him about what the problem is, but he says he just doesn’t like to be touched all that much. He doesn’t like making out or massages, or hand-holding on the street. All in all, it doesn’t seem like much has changed from when we were just friends, except that I’m totally sexually frustrated. Can he really just not like to be touched, or is this a problem with us?

Sincerely,

Celibate

Dear Celibate,

Yikes! Firstly, I’m mentally stroking you right now (platonically, of course) because yes, kitten, there is a problem here. But don’t let newfound coupledom brainwash you into us; if this is a problem for you—as “total sexual frustration” usually is—then yes, you have a problem.

More bad news: This could be just about anything on the foreign male front. Best case scenario is he’s simply shy—though I doubt it, as you’re already friends and you’ve already hooked up (successfully, I assume). And on that note, a martini-warranting question here: so, uh, how was it? If painfully uncomfortable or over in a commercial break, then you may have jinxed your shagability for a while. If it’s not back soon, you must consider the ever-looming possibility that your status as ‘best friend’ has been elevated to ‘beard.’ Or maybe the transition from friends-to-more-than-friends isn’t as easy or exciting as he’d hope, and dude’s gone awkward as hell. Maybe he wants to go back to the good old days and, as so many men do, is waiting for you to do his dirty work (Like a band-aid, girlfriend, like a band-aid.) And there’s always the worst case of the psychobabbles: he could be a trendy Asexual (lucky!) and incapable of sexual attraction. He could suffer from the extremely rare Haphephobia, the fear of being touched, and that breathless, sweaty animal “sex” was more actually a full-blown anxiety attack.

My sincere sympathies in all the above bummer situations, but buck up and look at the facts: Both verbally and non, your boyfriend has clearly articulated that he doesn’t want to be touched by you. Whether he’s just shy or a complete headcase or your ladyparts disgust him, situation as it stands is you’re not sexually compatible. But not all’s lost; you can still talk about things and have amazing times while not holding hands. In fact, they have a name for that: just friends.

Rosemary

9 comments
Kirsten
Kirsten

Get out. Quick. For whatever reason is behind this madness, it's not worth it. All the different possibilities of why he's doing this in a new relationship? They all point to get the eff out.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I knew a mexican guy a couple of years ago back in high school. He had a crush on me too. One time he told me that he doesn't like "touching". What I am trying to say is, there is guy like that. In my point of view, I don't think it's your problem; "HE" has a problem. If he is not comfortable to be touched, and you are not comfortable "not touching", maybe he just not right for you.

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JR
JR

"He's either gay or just not that into you" I just don't buy into this...there are a whole host of other possibilities...he may have some emotional issues to get over, he may have a fear of failure (i.e. not performing up to expected standards), he may have trust issues, he may have been sexually abused, he may have erectile dysfunction, he may just need time to feel comfortable in an intimate setting with someone. On the flip side, he may be gay or just not that into you. I say grab the bull by the horns (which is just an expression, btw), and get to the bottom of the issue via a heart-to-heart. If he avoids the issue, then tell him you will explore other relationships while he figures out his sh!t.

JR
JR

"He's either gay or just not that into you" I just don't buy into this...there are a whole host of other possibilities...he may have some emotional issues to get over, he may have a fear of failure (i.e. not performing up to expected standards), he may have trust issues, he may have been sexually abused, he may have erectile dysfunction, he may just need time to feel comfortable in an intimate setting with someone. On the flip side, he may be gay or just not that into you. I say grab the bull by the horns (which is just an expression, btw), and get to the bottom of the issue via a heart-to-heart. If he avoids the issue, then tell him you will explore other relationships while he figures out his sh!t.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This is the stage of the relationship when you should be all over each other like teenagers (assuming that you are not, of course, teenagers...) If he doesn't want to have sex, and you both feel that this relationship is going well otherwise, you should be prepared to talk about it. If you were friends previously, this conversation may not be as difficult for you both as it will be if you weren't close before the relationship. If he doesn't want to talk about it, move on. There are several valid reasons (believe it or not!) that a man may not want to have sex, and several of them could have nothing at all to do with you. He may have been a victim of sexual abuse, or have self-esteem issues that cause him to be insecure. Hell, he may even have an STD that he's worried about discussing with you. But regardless of the reason, you need to discuss it if this relationship is to continue.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Poor you, Celibate. I agree with the witty Ms. Counter. He's clearly a friend only. Intimacy without fun shags is like a day without sunshine.

KK
KK

It's tragic when a relationship fails due to an irreconcilable difference in regards to an essential element of said friendship. It is a constant reminder of the importance of compatibility, which should never be overshadowed by the allure of initial chemistry. That being said I know you have her number or email, inCounter. Pass it over, if she wants someone to come over and roger her roundly.