Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why is he acting like sex is a four-letter word?

I've always been pretty good at identifying the exact moment a new relationship dies. Even if the nails aren't all yet in the coffin, even if nothing specific has been said and we are still going along, acting our roles and playing our parts, I can still hear that death knell ringing from miles away.

He is no longer playful and sweet. Our "relationship" has suddenly aged by years overnight. We've gone from mix cds and non-sequiturs to perfunctory phone calls, dry-lipped kisses, and absolutely no sex. Now when we go to bed he gives me a peck on the lips and a "'night babe." Oh, we've talked about it, sure, and come to no useful conclusion. Sex complicates things, he says. It speeds things up, heightens emotions. He just wants to get to know me better, first. He wants to be sure. He wants to do it, don't get him wrong; he really wants to. But he doesn't just jump into these things lightly, and he doesn't want to be pressured into it, either.

When he first said it a couple weeks ago, I was ok with it. Just another week or two, he said. And so I waited. But it's been two weeks, and he's still saying it. And now he barely touches me at all. Now he just goes to sleep. We should be passionate, mad, crazy about each other, but instead we are both on the defensive, both waiting to see how this thing will turn out, steeling ourselves for the end.

Oh, it's all in working order, if that's what you're thinking. Some early reconnaissance showed everything to be of the correct size and proportion. Fully functioning, too, as I found out in another, apparently acceptable, non-intercourse sex act. Because that's ok, but apparently penetration would be too intimate.

"I feel like..." I said, my face turned away in the dark, "I feel like you're not even interested in me, like you're not attracted to me at all." I tried to keep my voice steady, but every other word hinted at tears.

"How can you say that?" he asked. "I tell you all the time that I think you're beautiful; I send you texts telling you how sexy I think you are." That's true. Hey gorgeous, he'll say. Hey beautiful, hey sexy, hey angel face, doll face, peaches, precious, peanut. He has a hundred names for me, and not one of them is Rachel.

"I just want to wait until I'm sure the time is right," he said.

"But how will you know?" I said.

"I'll know when I know," he said. "I'll just know."

"Well I wish I knew what test it is that I'm supposed to be trying to pass."

"We've only been together a few weeks," he said. "Would you typically be trying to have sex at this point in a relationship?"

Way to turn it around there, I thought. He might as well have said, Are you always this much of a slut?

"That's not a fair question," I said. "There's no such thing as 'typically.' And besides, usually it would just happen, naturally."

"Yeah," he sighed. "Yeah."

So is that it? I wondered all day yesterday. Is it over? Hours and hours went by and I didn't hear from him, and I was sure it was. But then he texted, said he was having a crazy busy day. And so we've been carrying on in the usual way, only it's not fun, anymore.

He called me tonight, asked me when I am going home. Tomorrow, I told him. For a week. Are you going home tomorrow, too? I asked.

"I'm on my way home right now, actually," he said. "I was going to leave tomorrow, and then I would have spent the night with you, but I have to get home tonight. I just have so much stuff to do."

"Oh," I said. "Oh."

Then he brought up our conversation from the other night; he felt weird about the way we had left it. And so we tried talking about it, but talking only made it worse. To me, it feels like a power play. He has the upper hand and there's nothing I can do to change that. Either he will continue to withhold, or he will eventually decide that the time is right and in a grand gesture of benevolence finally grant me the "gift" of his sex. But I don't want it like that. There is no good outcome here. We're both backed into a corner, and the only way out is away.

"So, I guess we'll see how it goes when you get back," he said, hesitantly. Because suddenly we are awkward, ill at ease with each other.

"I guess so," I said.

I said goodbye and fell back onto my bed, and instead of picturing his smile, his lips, his broad shoulders, the only thing I could think was, It shouldn't be like this, it shouldn't be this hard, it shouldn't be like this.


  1. Hm...

    1) Is he/was he religious?

    2) Have you had an STD talk?

  2. Yeah, I wondered too if it was a religious thing. It seems a bit odd...... I don't know what to say, but I hope you have a great Christmas with your family. x

  3. I was thinking similar it a religious issue? Is he a virgin? Is he worried about STDs? If it's none of that, I think it's a bit strange that he's being so standoffish about sex. Clearly sleeping next to someone and kissing them and exchaning emotions is very intimate, so why is he so scared of sleeping WITH you? Perhaps he rushed into things in a previous relationship and is trying not to reenact that...but he doesnt seem willing to explain in much detail and I can totally understand how you must be feeling awkward, and confused, and angry.

    Just ask yourself if he is really worth all this baggage, because as you wrote, at the beginning it should be crazy, mad fun and not tears and confusion.

  4. He is:

    a)not a virgin
    b)not now and never was religious
    c)as far as I know, STD free

    The mystery lives on.

  5. herpes... the gift that keeps on giving.

  6. The part that stands out for me is not that he doesn't want to go "all the way" yet, after a relationship still measurable in weeks. There could be several decent reasons for that, one alluded to at 8:46 above. What's weird is that he expects to sleep with you, all night & regularly, while NOT having sex. Normally in a courtship those two things are associated. You're not out of line to associate them, or expect more explanation as to why he's willing to cordon them off (and allow other intimacies). But it's a horrible conversation to have IN bed. You deserve better.

    If it were me I would suspend the sleeping over until he's ready to make it all happen. That way the mixed message disappears -- IMO that's what's causing you the most distress.

  7. Dee- I came to exactly the same conclusion last night right after I wrote this. It was like a revelation, like, why hadn't I thought of this before?

    That's it. No more sleepovers until he has his shit together. Ta daaaaa! Problem, if not solved, is at least temporarily alleviated. Phew.

  8. You deserve "the mad and passionate"... you stated yourself- it's not supposed to be like this. I agree with Dee, you deserve better. God Luck!

  9. Boys are trouble. Which is why 4 years after our separation/3 years after our divorce, I have barely put my toe (whenever I do, I freak and pull it right back out) in the dating pool while he hasn't gone more than a few days without a girlfriend. It is tough once you've been burned and I am impressed that you keep trying. I hope this works out for you the way you want it to. And I hope your crazy (I mean that in a nice way) family can distract you for a while. Merry Christmas!

  10. I might have a teeny bit of insight for you on this. I dated a guy (long distance) who had a lot of the same feelings about rushing into sex. I just wanted to jump him from the get-go, but he held back because he was afraid that the relationship would become entirely about sex. We spent so little time together (which I would equate with the short amount of time you've been in this relationship) that he didn't want to lose the part where we got to know each other, in favor of sex. I was embarrassed too -- I thought that he either 1) wasn't attracted to me and/or 2) thought I was a slut. But his argument was that the anticipation of it was the best part, when you're dying to have sex but you haven't done it yet. There can only be one first time with someone and he wanted it to be special because he cared about me and didn't want to cheapen it.

    Another factor to the whole thing was that he wasn't a virgin, but he'd only had like 1 or 2 partners before me and only 1 of them was a serious relationship. We eventually got there, but we really pulled back. Went on real dates, where he dropped me off at the end and didn't stay over. It took some of the pressure off and I stopped feeling like there was something wrong with me. Guys I think feel this pressure that we expect them to always be horny and ready to go, so when they're not that way, we see it as our fault.

    But I think you should actually be kind of flattered by this (just go with me on this one); he's telling you that he cares enough about you to NOT let you become just another girl to have sex with. We think it's special and intimate to sleep with someone; for a lot of guys, waiting is more significant because they don't put as much emotional weight on every girl they sleep with.

    The holiday break will be good for you guys, I think. I definitely agree with the other commentors that you should stop having sleep overs though. Let us know what happens, and good luck :)

  11. You know what, too (not that you asked my advice) :) -- you can now spin the unexpected night apart as a great idea, which he got to just a hair before you did! Isn't it great that you're both on the same page now? No more tension, yay! /spin

  12. I'm the apparently prescient commenter from 6:46 p.m. on your last post. Painful as it may be, your opening sentences in this post are quite correct. This is over. You know full well this isn't how things are supposed to be/go, for you, in a relationship. End of story. Save yourself the 1-5 more weeks of overthinking, questioning, and drama that will ensue if you continue after the holiday break and snap it off in your mind and then in person. Easier said than done, I know.

  13. So we're friends, right? I mean, not IRL friends due to distance, but pretend we are IRL friends, and I've just come over with a bottle of wine so as to comfort you, okay? Well this is what I'd say over our second bottle:

    "Rach, dude, he wasn't right for you. I think you know that but you're lonely and he was hot and sometimes that's all a girl needs. I've been there. You need to not take this so seriously, because he for sure wasn't the one, and you've known that from the beginning. Time to cut your losses and move on.

    Also? and I hate to be the one to break this to you, and whether he knows it or not, this dude is gay with an uppercase "homosexual". I swear this sounds like a call to Savage Love Podcast [listen to it, if you don't already]. Dude is gay. Sorry. When you're first dating someone, sex IS a four letter word. A fun, sweaty, awesome four letter word, and if he's not into that, there's something amiss. Even if I'm wrong about him, a "no sex" rule sounds boring as shit. Hell, I just boned a dude on the second date, and it was AWESOME.
    You're too cool a girl to waste your time with so-so guys."

    How was that? Did I get the part? Will you fucking move to Los Angeles now?

  14. I once dated a guy who made me wait 6 months before we had sex because he felt that jumping into it too fast had been the problem in his previous relationships. However, we never ended up getting awkward. We just made out and groped A LOT for 6 months. While I definitely wouldn't have chosen to wait that long, it was kind of fun building up to it. Plus, who doesn't love long make-out sessions, and those always seem to end once the sex starts.

    I agree with Dee. Stop sharing a bed with him until it's time for sex. Suddenly you associate bed with somewhere to sleep, when at this point in a relationship, that should be the last thing you do there. Get out of this rut before you're too far in it. Go back to dates and hanging out and making out. Take the sex off the table for now, completely. It will also help make the time that you spend together a little more charged when you know that it's not going to go all night and into the morning.

  15. Cats chase mice, foxes run after rabbits. When they do not, something is wrong.

    Unless you go to bed wearing a nightgown covered in dog-feces, a man, a real man, would be jumping on your bones.

    Bees do it, even educated fleas do it, if you man doesn't do it, there is something horribly wrong with him. Run.

  16. I am sorry. :( Have a merry christmas and keep us informed. I worry about you.

  17. This just reinforces to me how different I apparently am from every other girl out there. Because I would not be jumping into bed with a guy I barely know, and a few weeks is still "barely know." Now if I knew him through work or school or friends for quite a while and then we started dating I would be all over him ASAP but not a relative stranger. It's just... icky.

    Ive been re-watching my SATC DVDs lately and there was a whole episode about this. Love that show bc it's so true. Aidan says to Carrie, "Don't people DATE any more??"

    I guess I am hopelessly old fashioned bc I think people jump into sex way too quickly. I am not religious, I don't have herpes or any of those reasons. If all you want is sex, jumping in can be good, but if you want a relationship, not always.

    Still there is nothing wrong with your desires and expectations -- he is just not capable of meeting them, sounds like. I wonder how he feels, living in a society where women tell each other if he is not a giant horn dog he is therefore gay. That sounds like junior high to me. Personally I have never had sex with someone when I have been less than deeply in LOVE with him, not lust. That hasn't made my life "perfect" or anything, but it has also meant I could not write a blog like this bc I have not be screwed (over) enough by various guys.

    Hope you have a happy holiday anyway. I enjoy your writing.

  18. I agree that the weirdness is that he's in your bed, but no sex. And he doesn't seem to be communicating well about the situation either.

    '"We've only been together a few weeks," he said. "Would you typically be trying to have sex at this point in a relationship?"'

    If the answer is yes, you should say YES. I agree with you that he's trying to say something he's not actually saying here.

    I've dated more than one guy in L.A. who had sexual problems due to severe fear of pregnancy, but again, if that's it he should be clear about it. All in all, things seem unfortunately awkward fairly early on here. You're not happy, it seems to me, so why not just move on? JMHO

  19. He's stressing over something but he is not going to tell you why.

    Either that or just distracted, but as a man I can tell you this: Something is bothering him.

    Good luck with all of this. Nice blog btw.

  20. Do we not learn through Hollywood movies and social conditioning that women like to take things slow and men just want sex and women don't like sex as much as men and that women use sex to bait, lure, and control men. Perhaps he is misguidedly trying to play hard to get, building things up to an uncontrollable climax of dirty animal rage. Perhaps he sees this as the proper way of going about things with whom a girl he sees he has an honest long-term potential with. I don't know. But God do I pity that poor misguided bastard. If only he knew or somehow found this blog. He'd be driving right to you at a hundred miles an hour with a condom already lubed up and strapped on ready to do you like a man just out of jail. This reminds me of a movie entitled "Charlotte Sometimes". I'll just go ahead and ruin some of it for you: So the one guy #1 is like all in love with this girl and they're kind of like brother and sister but not cause that'd be kind of gross but more in the sense that she goes to him for intimacy and the cuddly half of relationships, and goes to her tall hot muscular boyfriend guy #2 for the loud hot sex half that Guy #1 has to endure listening to. After said loud hot sex, she goes to Guy #1 and watching movies with him late into the night, cuddling or what have you but all understanding that they are just friends and this is perfectly acceptable and there is nothing really sexual about it. Then crazy bitch #1 comes into his life somehow and they get to dating and she tries to initiate sex and he says no. And crazy bitch #1 says it's a shortcut, sex that is, and he wants to take things the proper way slow and all of that. Turns out, she's a sex addict of sorts! Bazinga! I think she is anyway, others have disagreed. Not sure how any of this might help you. Lol? If I were you, I'd rape him. Good luck!

  21. Okay, I know the answer, and you're not going to like it and then you're going to like it just a little bit.

    He's in love with someone and that someone is not you. He loves his ex, or one of his friends or one of his friends' girlfriends or something, and in the back of his mind he thinks that he will end up with that person.

    The good news about this? He definitely cares about you. It's totally unfair to you to have to deal with this, and I'm sure he knows that. I'm sure he thinks you're wonderful and amazing, and he feels intense guilt about his feelings.

    OR he's gay. Super fucking gay.

  22. Rachel, I agree with my ex-boyfriend, anonymous from December 23, 2009 12:21 PM and "for what it's worth" on the last post. He's kind of a jerk but he's totally right.

    A tight-lipped dry peck on the lips is no way to express affection, sex or no sex. This guy is being weird, he was weird from the start, you're not asking for too much, and it's not fun anymore. Just end it. He's going to try to spin it like you're too demanding, I bet, but just keep listening to yourself. Something's not right and it's not you. You're allowed to want more. Ok?

    I'm sorry girlie. Like my ex, I've come to really enjoy your blog.

  23. You guys have some really amazingly good insights. This is all so helpful.

    Rassles, I've pretty much come to the same conclusion as you. It's definitely the ex. I was at his house and there's still ex paraphernalia scattered about, even after a year. They were together for 3 years, and I can sympathize because I was with my ex for 3 years and I was messed up for a long time after. But I've moved on and he hasn't yet. Not much I can do about that. But it does help to know that that's probably why he's acting the way he is.

  24. I was going to say I agree with Rassles, but you already did. Oddly, it does make him kind of a decent guy - he doesn't want to do anything that would hurt you (or maybe he just doesn't want to have to tell his ex that yes, he did sleep with someone else, but they were on a break).

    I say take a break from him. He sounds like he has some issues that do NOT have anything to do with you. You deserve more.

  25. Wow, this is my first time here -- I think -- and that was a fairly emotional post. I don't know the full situation, and I'm not sure any of your commenters do either. There could be a number of things going on. In his defense, I would ask you to think about the same scenario if the sexes were switched -- I don't think it would be such an oddity. He might have some personal issue, but if you like him enough, I'm not sure you should just dump him without finding out more. I think you really need to talk with him again, or try to create a situation which is clearly special -- maybe even going away for a night to a hotel as a celebration. Then you will see if he is willing to work with you on whatever is holding him back. That will tell you a lot more about your future than right now.

    But the barely touches you at all part is a little troublesome. Texting is NOT the same thing as the human touch.

  26. Hard spot to be in, emotionally.

    Head says, "it's over", but the heart wants what it wants.

    You're in the right. I agree with others above. He will try and twist this into your fault, being too pushing or some lame excuse.

    You're feeling what you're feeling cos its a little red flag.

    Nix the sleep overs for sure, until he comes 100% clean about what his issues are. Men have them and sometimes they are embarrassed that they do, cos society says they are the more rational ones in a relationship....most of the time. *cough*

    Claim your happiness, take control of it for yourself. If he naturally falls into your life, great! If not, it wasnt meant to be.

  27. Man, I realize I am way late on this particular thread, but I agree with Rassles, and also with pretty much everyone who is confused, because: Dude should have a major boner for you at this point in your relationship. You should be having sex *all the time*. I am not kidding.

    And please please please don't feel bad about wanting to have sex with a dude you've been seeing a few weeks. That doesn't make you a slut. Unless I am also a slut, and also! Also approximately 80% of our generation. Hooray for sluts! We are *taking over*.

    If you want to invest the time and see where it goes, great. If not? New year, new boy. Etc etc.