Jack Advises a Man With a Disinterested Lover

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Dear Jack,

My girlfriend and I have been together almost four years. Everyone says we are perfect for each other, and we are. She is the best friend I’ve ever had. But over the last few months she appears to have lost all interest in sex. Our sexual relationship has never been spectacular, not even in the beginning, but it has always been pretty good. Neither one of us are particularly adventurous in bed. I have been faithful to her since the beginning, and as far as I know she has been faithful, too.

Nothing else has changed in our relationship – just the sex. She seems to have some excuse every time I try to get intimate, while she hasn’t tried to initiate sex since I don’t know when. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she doesn’t want to talk. She says nothing is wrong, but clearly something is. Meanwhile, my boiler has been steadily building pressure. It’s getting more and more difficult not to blow my top. I’ve spent a few nights on the couch, sitting up most of the night watching television and trying not to think about it. But it’s getting to the point where it’s all I think about, and eventually that will change the other parts of our relationship.

I want to stay faithful, but how can I under these conditions?

Boiling Over

Dear Over,

I could make some jokes about experiencing the joys of marriage without the expense of a wedding and a divorce, but I won’t. I commend you for your desire to stay faithful and your success so far. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re in a situation that is only going to get more difficult.

I’m not a doctor, though I was once pre-med, so my medical judgment is about as trustworthy as my judgment of race horses. But I’m going to guess your girlfriend has issues that can only be worked out with her doctor. A drastic decrease in libido could indicate a medical problem, or it might be a symptom of depression, or who knows what. Something may have happened that she can’t talk to you about, for whatever reason.

If she won’t talk to you, you need to do your best to get her to talk to someone. If she doesn’t already have a therapist, suggest she talk to her gynecologist. I suspect you’re going to have a difficult time getting her to do even that, if she is so insistent that nothing is wrong. You need to convince her, somehow, that it is. My first wife used to complain about my snoring, but I always denied that I snored, until she made a video tape of my snoring and showed it to me. (Then she sent it to America's Funniest Videos.)

Maybe if you mark on a calendar each time the two of you had sex over the last six months, and show her the days and/or weeks that passed between moments of intimacy, that will convince her. If not, you’re going to have to make the even more difficult decision of whether to talk to a female close to her, like a friend or sister. Hearing it from them might shock her into realizing how concerned you are. Then again, it might strike her as an unforgivable betrayal on your part, so you need to tread carefully.

Whatever happens, you will need to be as patient and understanding as you can. No matter how angry you may feel, she isn’t doing this on purpose. She isn’t trying to hurt you. She needs help, and you need to help her find it. And last of all, trust in the healing power of time. Things won’t always be this way. Don’t do anything you know you’ll regret. Even the fierce urgency of Sex Now Dammit! will pass.

Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: jack.wagg@gmail.com

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