Ask Dr. Debra
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Dear Dr. Debra,
I’m in my mid-thirties, and so is my boyfriend. We have a
wonderful relationship. He’s loving, attentive, and even cooks
for me. We had a great sexual relationship until we moved in
together. Then he lost interest in sex. He’s still loving and
giving. I don’t understand what happened. I’m wondering if
maybe he’s gay and is afraid to tell me. Do
you think it’s possible?
An unhappy girlfriend
Although your boyfriend could be gay, I think it’s unlikely.
It’s far more possible that he has a problem with the
relationship or with you.
I’m wondering why you haven’t discussed this with him. It
sounds to me that your relationship problem isn’t just about
the lack of a sexual relationship, but also a lack of
communication. I can make some suggestions about possible
reasons for decreasing sexual interest, but only he can tell
you what’s really wrong. The two of you need to have a serious
talk about your relationship and what’s going on with him.
You don’t mention any stress in his outside life, such as
difficulty at work, that could be causing him to shut down.
Nor do you mention any health concern. I’m going to also
assume that you are still keeping yourself physically fit and
staying attractive. All of the above could cause a loss in
male sexual desire.
Several possible problems come to mind. The first is that he
has been building up some anger or resentment with you that he
hasn’t expressed. So many people don’t tell their partners
when something bothers them. However, little hurts and
resentments can build up over time until there’s a big silent
wall between two people. This kind of emotional wall can
diminish one or both partners’ libido. It’s far healthier to
bring up any issue that you aren’t able to completely let go
of, so it can be worked out.
Another reason is that he might feel he’s made a mistake in
moving in with you. Perhaps he took this step prematurely
before he felt entirely ready and now feels the need to
Many times when a man has lost interest in sex, he could be
dipping into pornography or even be seriously addicted to
porn. When this happens, he’s discharging his sexual energy
through masturbation, rather than with you. With pornography
being so prevalent on the Internet, more and more men are
slipping into sex addictions, to the detriment of their
relationships. Make sure this is something you ask (not
The most painful possibility is that he’s fallen out of love
with you--meaning that he still loves you, but is no longer
in love with you. The relationship may be meaningful
enough to him that he’s staying, or he cares enough to remain
silent so as to not hurt your feelings. As difficult as it
will be to hear this answer, when you talk to him, be brave
enough to bring the question up.
If he does want to continue in the relationship, you might
seek some couples counseling to learn how to better
communicate your feelings and work through any issues.
I hope your talk goes well.