My Boyfriend Thinks My Orgasm is Optional

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Hi Minda,

My boyfriend has lots of wonderful things about him, but sex isn’t one of them. I’ve overlooked it, and we’ve stayed together for a long time because he has so many other amazing qualities. I’ve tried to talk about things that would bring me more pleasure, but it’s been a long process of me speaking in ways he wasn’t really hearing and slow progress. It took about three years before he decided going down on women wasn’t icky, and when I suggested he could still help me finish after he had, I was clearly speaking a foreign language. He’s now more open to trying things I enjoy but now says they’re not the best for him, and we should compromise. While this sounds reasonable on the surface, it usually means him still getting off and me still not (not an issue I’ve had in past relationships). I told him he can bite the bullet from time to time and make sure I get mine — something I’ve done for him a million times in the past. I feel like he’s being selfish in bed. He feels like I’m being unnecessarily complicated and hard to please. How can we work toward a sex life we both enjoy?

—Needy-Not-Greedy

Needy-Not-Greedy,

Ma’am, I really wish you had included the “lots of wonderful things” you claim this man has going for him because I am struggling to advise you to do anything other than leave him because I just can’t imagine a man who is this stingy between the sheets being generous and plentiful in other ways.

Like, what partner is really out here walking with their head up in the world knowing that they are consistently (and intentionally) leaving a partner they supposedly care about sexually unfulfilled? Like, he’s for real trying to negotiate with you so that you consistently accept less?! I just really cannot. I can’t! What is even the point? It’d be one thing if he was trying, or your sex drives were misaligned or something, but it appears that he is simply just unwilling to do basic-ass shit to keep you pleased and would rather put that energy into convincing you you’re somehow the one making things unnecessarily complicated — dropping to your knees is literally one swift motion, sir.

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If you’re determined to stay, what I’m going to propose may sound harsh, but, honestly, I read similar advice in a different advice column recently (I can’t remember who or where or I’d shout them out) — it’s time to flat out refuse to participate in any sex that won’t result in pleasing you. If you’re not getting off, what’s the point of getting it in? If he thinks it’s perfectly reasonable for you to endure a life with no physical pleasure, he can join you in that pastime. You don’t have to pressure him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. You’re done with that. You’ve accepted his terms, and now, based on those terms, you’re making your own choices.

This won’t be easy.

A precedent has been set, and sometimes it can be easier to just go with it than to fight over it, but if you don’t take a stand now, nothing will change. You’ve tried reasoning with him. You’ve been with him a long time, and he’s hardly made any progress. He’s not listening to you or attempting to meet your needs. He’s just wearing you down until he gets what he wants, regardless of whether or not you get yours. So, opt out. Just be done with it. Spend that time and energy loving yourself instead — feel free to interpret this however you please…

Match his energy. And when his energy changes up? Because it absolutely will, then be open to the next phase of your sex life. And from here on out, all encounters start with him going down, and you finding your pleasure before you all move on to anything focused on him.

It might also be helpful to have some conversations around why he believes this is a healthy way for him to function in your relationship. Why does he think you’re unworthy of sexual fulfillment? Does he fully understand all the ways his disregard affects you and the way you feel about him? Has he thought about what this means long-term? Does he truly believe that you will want to continue in a relationship with someone who isn’t prioritizing your needs? Maybe there’s something else going on. You can replace all that time you would be spending having sex with these deep soul-searching conversations and see what happens.

Good luck,

— Minda

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