Sex Diaries: I’m Afraid to Tell My Boyfriend How Bad the Sex Really Isby Virginia Plain on June 04, 2012
Editor’s note: Virginia Plain is the pseudonym of a twenty-something woman living in New York grappling with a less than ideal sex life. Read her previous posts here, and check back next Monday for more.
So, I think (I think) that I finally have the courage to bring up sex again with my boyfriend and have an actual conversation about it. I think this also might be a good time to give him some sort of pseudonym so I don’t have to keep calling him “my boyfriend.” Let’s call him “Real Estate” (his profession).
The last time I attempted this discussion was several months ago and mostly consisted of me crying and feeling confused. I went in with confidence, having planned what I needed to say for entirely too many weeks, and I assumed this would be if not an easy talk at least one I felt alright having. Not the case. As soon as I opened my mouth to explain how dejected I’d been feeling, I melted into a puddle of tears and embarrassment and every perfectly formed thought I had flew right out the window.
The fact that Real Estate seemed somewhat unmoved did not help in the least. He seemed, if anything, shocked that things weren’t better and that I was so unhappy. He apologized for his complete lack of sex drive and said he’d visit the doctor, but that never happened. If anything, he was more worried about the fact that I was crying than what I was trying to tell him.
So clearly, that didn’t go very well. This time, I want to do it right. The problem is, I have no clue how to really talk about sex with him. Sure, I can be quite frank with my friends. Lord knows, I love a dick joke as much as any thirteen year old boy. But with him it’s different. Real Estate and I don’t really talk about “big issues” as it is, and something as monumental as sex deserves to be addressed appropriately and calmly without scads of tears thrown into the mix.
I think my trepidation about the subject started many many years ago when I was first learning about sex. While some kids had annoying but certainly useful sex ed classes, I went to Catholic school and the only education I received involved abstinence and a completely horrifying video about how evil abortion was supposed to be. If that wasn’t scarring enough, I never had a proper birds and bees talk with my parents. Instead, I got a book. A book I was too scandalized to read much less look at and as a result I didn’t really understand how sex worked until high school. Honestly, I thought it was a lot of Victoria’s Secret and foreplay.
Real Estate is also my second long term boyfriend in a row, the first being my high school/college sweetheart. While that relationship was good in the beginning, it devolved into a complicated and very emotionally abusive hell that ended with him breaking up with me, for the third time, in an e-mail where he detailed at length that he’d been cheating on me for months. While the timing couldn’t have been better (I flew out for my semester abroad the next day), I spent the year between him and Real Estate consumed with the idea I’d never have a boyfriend again and no one would want to date me. (I was also consumed with Mono, but that was unrelated.)
Needless to say, my first ex gave me a good bit of baggage that bled into my relationship with Real Estate in a way I couldn’t control. I was so petrified that he’d leave me if I said or did anything wrong or upsetting to him that I inadvertently created an environment where clear and honest emotional expression wasn’t welcome. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t happy, as long as he was. For a time that worked. But I’m not twenty-two anymore, and I can’t pretend that something like sex isn’t important to me.
So how do I attempt to bring this up again? I know what I need to tell him:
- I feel like you aren’t really attracted to me
- I’m worried about the fact that you have so much trouble getting an erection
- I’m upset that things are always kind of the same and we never try anything new
- I feel like you only worry about you getting off and could care less if I do
The thing is, I’m worried that maybe I’ve let these things go on for too long. Is this relationship salvageable at this point, four years down the line, when I’m finally ballsy enough to talk about things I should have brought up in year one? Also, obviously, I don’t want to hurt him.
Yes, a lot of this does have to do with that random rock god I gave my number to and yes, I’m still texting with him (nothing bad, although it is getting more flirty). I can’t keep feeling this resentment towards Real Estate, and more importantly, I’m sick of it because he doesn’t deserve my ire. I want things to get better. I just don’t want to be the only one making an effort to change.