Q: I'm in my early 30s and my girlfriend of seven years is in her mid-20s. We've lived together for five years and while we're not married yet, there's no doubt in my mind that she is the woman I'd love to have kids and spend the rest of my life with.
The only hiccup in our relationship is our wildly differing sex drives. It really is the only strain in our relationship, but it's a big one. Her drive is like four or five times a week and mine is like never.
She gets frustrated by the fact that she starts nearly all physical intimacy and that I never take the initiative. She gets frustrated by the fact that no matter how hard I try to be in the moment, it always seems like I'm just going through the motions. Bottom line is that she feels as if she's unattractive to me, and to be honest, I can see where she's coming from.
The truth is that I do love her, I do find her attractive, and I do want to be with her, but for some reason I just don't like sex, and no matter how hard I try, it shows. I love to cuddle, I love to be close, but I've never been interested in actual love-making. (I'm not gay, possibly asexual? I do find women -- and my girlfriend in particular -- very attractive.)
I know sex is an important, even vital, part of a relationship. Is there any way for two people with wildly differing libidos to get through a lifetime together with a minimum of frustration?
– He of the not so lusty loins, New Hampshire
A: I have to wonder whether your relationship has always been this way, HOTNSLL. Seven years is a long time. I'm shocked that you've made it this far.
You put it best: Sex is vital. Physical intimacy is a big deal, and your girlfriend should be with someone who wants her.
My advice is to talk to a doctor about these problems. And, shocker, I'm going to recommend therapy. I'm not convinced that there's anything horribly wrong with you -- some people just have low libidos -- but you mention not liking sex at all. I want you to find out why.
Tell your girlfriend that you know that things can't continue on like this. Let her know that you're seeking help. If that help simply confirms that you're a guy without much of a sex drive, go find someone who's a better fit for your lifestyle. You ask: Is there any way for two people with wildly differing libidos to get through a lifetime together with a minimum of frustration? My answer: No. Sorry.
If this problem can't be fixed, you both deserve a better match.
Readers? Ever been with someone who could take or leave physical intimacy? How have they made it through seven years? Is there a better match for him? Is this happening because they've been together for so long? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.