Why Am I Not Sexually Attracted To My Boyfriend?
The Debrief: When you're faking your period to avoid sex on a romantic weekend away, you know something's gone awry...
About a month ago, I was packing for the trip my boyfriend Andy* had arranged to Babington House in Somerset for our third anniversary. I had five minutes to pack after work and I was freaking out - he’d been talking about the expensive hotel room for months and had meticulously planned romantic activities for us to do all weekend. I was under major pressure to make sure I didn’t forget anything. In my head, I went through a mental check-list of all the typical away-with-your-boyfriend-in-the-countryside essentials; some wellies, a warm cosy jumper and that dress he likes me in (it shows off my legs) to wear one night at dinner.
I was sorted, but then with with 30 seconds to spare I panicked and plonked a jumbo box of super tampons, some Feminax and (just the really hammer the point home) a hot water bottle on the top of my case. But I didn’t pack all this stuff because some unfortunate timing had meant my period had charged in to ruin mine and my boyfriend's two day celebratory bonk fest - I was on the implant and hadn’t had a period in months - I’d packed them because I wanted Andy to see them and think he wasn’t going to be able to have sex with me again. Because the thing is, I love Andy more than anything in the world, but we have absolutely terrible sex and the thought of doing it all weekend was making my skin crawl.
It hadn’t always been like this, when I first met Andy I couldn’t keep my hands off him. I was 24 and he was in his mid 30s and when he approached me and my friend at a gig in Dalston, he seemed impossibly cool. He knew everyone in the venue - the band, the promoters, the eye-achingly (and irritatingly) good looking women who were hanging around looking moody at the bar - so when he asked if he could buy me a drink I was incredibly flattered. One drink inevitably turned into ten which inevitably turned into a drunken snog and fumble into a taxi and some messy but pretty fucking good sex.
He had his own amazing house in a proper ‘grown up’ part of town - there was underfloor heating and everything - and he seemed to have the maturity and experience to show me a really amazing time in bed. It didn’t feel like a race to orgasm like it had been with some of the younger guys that I’ve gone out with. He took the time to make sure I came and it felt like the connection between us ran deeper than the litre of tequila I’d just drunk. When I woke up in the morning, sneaked out of his house and collected enough pennies for me to get a bus ride home, I was certain that I’d never hear from him again, but by the time I got back to my shared flat he’d sent me a text telling me how much fun he’d had and that he would love to see me again.
The problem is, if I’m honest with myself, our sex life has been on a steady decline ever since those first few halcyon nights.
After two weeks we decided to be exclusive, and after just over a month we’d already told each other we loved each other. Six months later I moved in for four months while I was trying to find a place to live in London. It was fast, but I’d never felt this way about someone before - I felt safe, looked after and no-one had ever made me laugh like he did. Over the last two years we’ve been through so much together. I held his hand at his dad's funeral and he supported me (financially and emotionally) while I was struggling to find work as an agent in the music industry. My family and friends love him and they told me I’d never seemed happier. It felt (feels, at times) like the Real Deal.
The problem is, if I’m honest with myself, our sex life has been on a steady decline ever since those first few halcyon nights. I was always aware that, as an older guy, he wasn’t ever going to have the same stamina as some as the young men I’ve been with - you barely need to wink at before they’re waving their enormous erection at you - but that’s not to say that dealing with Andy’s occasional erectile dysfunction hasn’t been a long, hard (oh the irony!) slog. Aware of our age gap, he’d become embarrassed about losing his boner even for a second while we’re having sex, which would make him irascible and would only exacerbate the problem. He’d shout ‘Get off me!’ when I’d try to give him head to get him hard again, which wouldn’t make me feel very nice and would also mean he’d begin to wank himself off to try to get the wind back in his sails. I know this is a horrible thing to say about the man you love, but have you ever seen a guy angrily tugging himself off? It’s not that an attractive look and, even if he managed, I would be too put off about the change of mood to want to carry on.
And it isn’t just that, was started off feeling like slow, caring, attentive sex quickly lost its sheen. I love how passionate and caring he is in life, but when he’s that way in the bedroom it makes me cringe a bit. I want passion - back-scratching, biting, swearing, maybe even a bit of choking - but he can’t give that to me because he thinks it’s disrespectful to the woman he loves. We tried to talk about it and give it a go, but I could see how uncomfortable being rougher in bed was making him, so I never asked to do it again. We began to have sex less and less.
‘Next time’ keeps getting further and further away and I’m scared that the only time we’re going to have sex is on our birthdays or Christmas
Now we're having sex maximum of once a month at the moment and there’s so much pressure built up that it’s never going to live up to our hopes of how it could be. Not that we know what our hopes are because we’ve completely stop talking about sex. It’s the only thing we don’t talk about. Bear in mind that this was all going on while he was dealing with the death of his father and it’s easy/easier to see how we got into the spiral of silence we’re in at the moment. Instead of dealing with it, we both make our excuses and say we’ll make up for it next time, but ‘next time’ keeps getting further and further away. I’m scared that the only time we’re going to have sex is on our birthdays or Christmas. I can’t even muster the courage to do it on a romantic weekend in the country.
I suppose the sensible question is, if we’re treating each other like glorified best friends, why bother being in the relationship at all? The thing is, I love Andy more than anyone I’ve ever met and I can’t imagine my life without him. My whole idea of who I am as an adult has been built around him and if I were to leave him and have the rug pulled from under my feet I’m not sure how I could cope. I guess I’m hopeful that one day we’ll figure it out and get back on track. But in the meantime, I guess, I’ll have to stick to pretending I’m on my period and he’ll have to stick to pretending not to care.
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As told to Sophie Cullinane - follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieCullinane
Picture: Ada Hamza
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