Dear Viv: I never have any physical urges but my boyfriend wants "porn-like" sex

On this week’s podcast, Viv discusses what to do when there's a mismatch in your sex life

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By Viv Groskop on


I've been with my boyfriend for five years, and for the first year or so we had a very exciting sex life. However, over the last three years it has dwindled to us now having sex less than once a month.

We're still physically close, we're constantly kissing, holding hands, stroking, laughing together, but always in a loving rather than passionate way. There's plenty of love and attraction, just no sexual partnership at all.

If you were to ask him, he'd pin this problem on me not wanting it. I'd pin it on a lack of communication. I have no desire to have sex, and when we do, I do it for him. It's just bottom of the list of things I want to do, and I never have any physical urges, although I do dream about sex a lot. I can therefore understand that he fears rejection, however, he doesn't understand that women aren't turned on at the flick of a switch. I need to be made to be turned on, which I assume he's afraid to do. So, he waits for me to initiate, which never happens.

He works shifts, so isn't home before 10.30pm, at which point all I want to do is go to bed. When we first met, we were working in the same place so we had similar schedules. Another issue we've butted up against is the type of sex we want. He once told me he's only interested in "porn-like" sex, whereas I crave something more loving and connected. I would compromise on a happy medium, but he flatly refuses and doesn't see the point, he is generally not a natural compromiser.

I've tried to broach the conversation but he refuses to talk about it, let alone find solutions. Even something as simple as trying out scheduling sex – I schedule everything and I think that would help me – was met with anger. I think he feels that wanting sex should be natural, and if there's not, there's no point. I say "I think", because we've never had a conversation about it. I would like to try therapy, but I'm scared to suggest it. 

I'm also on the pill, predominantly for my periods, although I wonder whether this is affecting my hormones or whether my lack of desire for sex is much more of a psychological thing. I've had one long-term boyfriend with whom I also lost all desire for sex, and other than that, my sexual experiences have been on more of a one-off basis.

Although in all my sexual experiences the emotion I recall most strongly was wanting intimacy and acceptance by another human being, rather than wanting to have sex. I want to have sex and enjoy it, I want that kind of connection, but how can I start to desire sex and how can I get this stubborn, non-talker to open up to communication in a calm way? 

Got a question for Viv? Email her at The Dear Viv podcast airs weekly on The Pool at 5pm on Tuesdays. All letters will be edited for length. Unfortunately Viv cannot reply to your emails personally. 

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