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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


Dear 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 backpedal.


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 accuse) him.


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.


Dr. Debra  

Feel free to write me with your questions

Debra Holland, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationships and communication techniques.

To read previous 'Ask Dr. Debra' articles, please visit www.wetnoodleposse.com, where Dr. Debra is a regular contributor, or click here to view the archives.





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