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My boyfriend has sexual problems
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My boyfriend has sexual problems

My boyfriend of two years has been having sexual problems throughout our relationship and I am trying to help us but it has turned into a downward spiral.  This is really hard for me emotionally because I don't have a strong family unit and I have been laid off from work and I really need his love and support BUT I can't go on like this.  Here are the sequence of events:
1. He had problems cumming- delayed ejaculation
2. Then he had trouble getting hard (he said it was because I put pressure on him for not cumming.)
3.  Next he divulged he love affair with porn and I first tried to embrace it but soon found out about why I really do not like porn.  I want him to be into me and not have to look at porn to get going.
He would look at porn during the act instead of looking at me and I am not awful looking.  I told him it bothered me and he tried to focus more on me.  It really hurt my feelings and also made me wonder if he has serious sexual issues. I have never been with a man that isn't hard just by making out.  He would never get hard while kissing.  I would basically need to give him oral sex in order for him to get hard.
He went to a well known sex therapist once a year ago and said that he will not return because we didn't try the exercises she gave us, which are mostly oral sex.  I am really sad now because we're taking  a break.  I feel like I have been too tactless (as he says),  I told him how I feel and he says I need a therapist to help me cope with these problems and that we will no longer be in contact.
He comes from a deeply religious family, I think this may too add to his problem.  he is also very insecure with me ,( I think because of the problem,) to the point where he doesn't want me to hang out with friends or chat online sometimes.  I do it anyways.   but I want a serious relationship that's for the long-term and I feel that we need to deal with these problems now.  

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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear lilliesori,

I’m answering in relationship terms, because that’s my mandate here and your problem involves it. For other opinions about the sexual issue per se, try the relevant expert forums on Medhelp.

There are a number of possibilities as to what’s going on. Quick list:

1. Neuro anatomical/chemical issues leading to your man’s slow or insufficient arousal.

2. Psych issues re guilt or other ambivalence about sex with a live woman as opposed to porn figure.

3. Particular psych issue with YOU.


I can't handicap this list, but if it were me I’d try the easiest thing first, a prescription for Viagra or similar. Sometimes these meds can do wonders, if the cause is a straightforward biochemical problem. I note that the sexual problem has been there throughout the two years. That MAY be saying it's ongoing for him, irrespective of partner.

I understand his attempt to arouse himself with porn. It is by nature and novelty a genuine excitement to the brain for men. That’s hard-wired, so no moral judgment. I think you’re right about his low sexual threshold. Most guys are easily aroused.

It’s unclear to me whether his insecurity is a cause or result of the sexual issue. This is something he might want to explore. And just how important IS the religious issue? How much prohibition on enjoyment or sex is there in his background? Also, what was the place of both sex and closeness in his parents' lives?

If neither of the above turn out to be relevant, I’d wonder whether there isn’t something buried in your PARTICULAR relationship that’s being expressed in the sexual problem, e.g. ongoing control issues. I’d certainly want to know his history, whether similar ever happened before.

I don’t understand the sex therapist’s prohibitions. Unclear why she didn’t just try another approach. Also, from what you’ve said I don’t see the need for you to be in therapy alone, unless YOU feel you need the support and further insight.

Clearly, oral sex is insufficient, both sexually and in terms of your relationship. As are his attempts to control you otherwise. Calling “time” right now and finding the cause and the fix strike me as a good idea, so long as the two of you can not blame each other (this frequently happens when there are sexual problems) and leave the door open to a renewed relationship.


Sincerely,

Dr. P.

P.S. Feel free to get back to me if there’s more to ask, or more relevant information that could help clarify what’s going on.

9 Comments
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Hello Dr. Pomerance and thank you for your time !
I wanted to comment on several of the issues that you asked about.  
1.  Nero antomical/chemical issues- he saw a MD who prescribed him Viagra but it didn't work.  The doctor then referred him to Doctor Silbert a well-know sex therapist here in San Diego.  He went one time and didn't want to continue.  He said that we didn't do the exercises that she recommended e.g. oral sex and for him to practice concentrating on the moment, (to stay focused.) SInce then we have been active off and on.  But I came to a point one day where I broke down and asked him what he was doing on the side, what he was in the closet about, thinking that maybe he was GAY.  But he instead told me about his PORN activities.  As far as his condition being irrespective of partner he told me his last girlfriend said that it was not normal that he couldn't ejaculate.  He also told me that in his previous five year relationship they would only have sex once a year or so, supposedly due to her finding out about his infidelity which he says was brought on by her not wanting sex for religious reasons.

2.  As far as PSYCH ISSUES his family are so reserved about sexuality that in all of his lifetime he never saw his two sisters bras or underpants.  Three out of six of his siblings went to priesthood school of which one is gay (out)  and the other I believe is gay because he has never had a girlfriend and knows all name brand clothing (i know it's a cliche.)

3. As far as psych issues with me well I am sure that might just be ruled at by looking at the extensiveness of issues with my partner.  I do however come form an extremely different background, (open minded,  non traditional parents.  I am going to therapy because of my self-esteem.  I am unemployed and have been interviewing for a year now.  I am a teacher and times are really unstable here for teachers right now.  I just finished school two years ago and I am still looking for work.  I have been a part-timer but need full-time.  This has really taken away form my personal strength and time for him.
As far as time off for him.  He said he wanted time off but called me the next day needing to see me.  I saw him two days later just for a bit.  But I feel that he can also be very CONTROLLING  as you had mentioned before, which I will explain later.  
I am really concerned because I will be 35 this year and want kids I wonder if I am wasting my time ?
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear Illesori,

You might be, if he’s just so sexually repressed or otherwise dysfunctional that it’s affecting his body this way, and in combination with his behavior leaving you fundamentally unsatisfied.

It looks like the problem predates his involvement with you. It’s a very religious family. I’m also confused about what you’re doing with a guy with a background so different from your own. It seems like a setup for failure, though perhaps I’m missing something.

Has he ever had a good physical with an M.D. specializing in sexual physiology and biologically based dysfunction? Something physical could be causing the ejaculation problem, and perhaps the other one.

Also, you might consider another sex therapist.

The porn involvement is still an unknown, beyond the possibility of him using it to stimulate himself.

Looking down the line of years, whether you stay or go seems a function of two things: 1) whether the two of you have a genuine and abiding relationship that is rewarding outside of the sexual area (which winds down over the years) and including this controlling and other confused/neurotic behavior; 2) what your own realistic prospects for a relationship and marriage with someone else would be at this point, considering all factors. The latter is always tricky: stay when it won’t work, just for the sake of having kids, and you’ll wind up unhappy in the long or not so long run; go when it might, and you throw away opportunity for an uncertain or even nonexistent dating and partnership future.

There’s a lot to consider. Get back to me if you want.


Sincerely,

Dr. P.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Pomerance,

Thank You for your time.  I am putting my relationship on the back burner right now because I am presently an unemployed teacher as the story goes for new teachers in California.

My bf and I do have a lot of love and fun together.  It's really just our sex life that is in the can.  I am now having dreams that I am desperately yelling that he is gay and that I wasted 2 years of my life.  

He is a very clinging guy, very loyal loving, dedicated, hard-working.  He is everything that I never had in a man just a down right good man.  I think he's just a little uptight about sex.  I have never seen his rear end before ?  What is that all about ?,  he won't let me.  Strange.  He's just a little eccentric, I'd say.
None of his six siblings are married, they are a very reserved family and when I went to one of their parties no one danced?  VERY reserved, I mean.
But I think this is why he likes me so much because, myself and my family are everything he's not- open-minded and free-spirited.
I keep telling myself in my head, "What am I doing with this guys? NO SEX .  " I am a little confused I must say.  It has been three weeks since we've been intimate.  He is planning to take the viagra tonight.  But (QUESTION), isn't that unusual, a 36 year old man having to take viagra ?
We'll see.  I will ask him to go to another doctor and sex therapist but I think he will be offended so I have to wait for a good time.
He gets super emotional when I say anything about it.  Yesterday I was laughing because he said that the viagra pill could last up to 4 hours and he was even offended by that and insulted me and critisized my character- he has said really mean things before that are not true about me after I called him up on his ED.  Like you don't even have a profession-you're not a real teacher, you're dirty, your house is dirty.  SO I have been afraid to ask him about the ED so as to avoid a fight.  Plus I haven't had the energy, I have been interviewing for positions, even today, so I must go !
:)

Thank You,

Lillie
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear Lillie,

Ok. Just remember that sometimes the “balancing act” relationship, where people get together on the basis of major personality DIFFERENCES sometimes, if they those differences (in your case “open” vs.“closed”) are small enough (and there’s enough ongoing love and fun) works, and sometimes create a long-term nightmare, where the partners eventually write each other off, and wind up pained and isolated.

So, for example, you conceivably could become mighty cynical and angry if you never got any sex, or if his personality issues went off the charts, and he might then draw on his religious upbringing to stereotype you as some kind of sexually wicked woman (note the offense he took at your mild comment). This would undoubtedly drive the two of you apart.

Sometimes even younger men need Viagra or equivalent, whether for psychological or biological reasons.

At some point, you may want to deal with the issue in a forthright way. Maybe say “look, it’s obvious there’s a problem here, let’s deal with it like anything else. It doesn’t mean you’re bad or insufficient. There’s something mechanical or psychological going on, let’s figure it out, treat it, and move on. I’m here for you with it, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. If we sweep it under the rug, it’s more likely it will trip us up. We need to protect our relationship for the long term.”

An academic note: the rear end, in medieval times, was thought of as the place of the Devil.

Whatever the cause of your man's problems, you need to monitor his attitude, actions, and progress, and be clear and honest with yourself as to whether things are and are likely to stay the same, get better, or get worse.  Resist the temptation to put these issues on the back burner for reality reasons, however compelling. You need to have a marriage that is at least acceptable, over many decades. Good luck!

Sincerely,

Dr. P.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Pomerance,

I have made attempts to DEAL WITH THE ISSUE told him, he has been very defensive and he become fearful that I will break up with him.  It takes a lot out of me.  I will attempt again, with more eloquence.  I am a little mystified as of now in my personal life  due to more major problems- unemployment and financial stress.  I feel that I don't have the emotional energy to support my relationship problems at this moment in time.  I will get back to you after I have "the talk" again with him.

Thank You,
Lillie
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear Lillie,

Right! First things first. Build the foundation, get stronger. Then the relationship. Maybe then try the third pgf from the bottom of my last email. Or something like it, put in your own words. . .

Regards,

Dr. P.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello Dr. Pomerance,

Thank you for listening.  I talked to my partner about the ED problem.  I told him that I want him to go back to the sex therapist or else I don't want to continue.  I just got so fed up with him watching porn and waiting for himself to get excited enough to be with me.  I felt so devaluated as though I am not enough to arouse him- like he has no passion for ME.  I was totally fed up.  I have been with him for two years now.  

So now he wants to break up which is fine except that I am pregnant- two months.  He has been telling me for a year how he wants a child.  I know- A real white trash situation.  I feel like I have worked my entire life to try and become a professional with a good hard-working boyfriend or better, husband.  Now I am underemployed, no partner and pregnant.  I have NO  or very little family support from my immediate family- they are to busy with their lives and problems.  

So as a means to clear things up with my EX I asked him to PLEASE go see the sex therapist because we were planning to move in together.  He said NO WAY and since it hasn't gotten any better he feels that I should have an abortion.  Because he doesn't want a kid with someone its not going to work out with.  He also said that he doesn't believe that he would have ED if he were with another girl.  Can you believe that ?  
I was a model and a dancer.  He also insinuates that I've had many lovers- HOW RUDE and SEXIST.  And he, how many ?  What a hypocrite.

OK so know I am in really bad shape emotionally, physically and mentally.  I need to hold myself together.  I just went to an interview that I failed to obtain second level with.  I am truly a wreck !  HELP?  

I made an appointment for Thursday in case I decide to abort my baby which I don't want but I am AFRAID- no full-time job, no partner, no insurance and a mildly supportive family.  I have two degrees, a bachelors and teaching credential and can't seem to get full-time status.  Lord help me.  I guess I just need to have faith.


Any advice ?
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear lilliesori,

Ok, the crisis is now yours.  He doesn’t sound like a partner, if he ever did. But with planning, you can make things better.

First, since he’s not on board, you have to take care of yourself. Make your decision about whether to keep the baby or terminate the pregnancy with that in mind. Those are two  VERY DIFFERENT roads you can go down. If you take the former path, please be VERY clear that you could raise a child alone, from financial, emotional, and child developmental points of view.

He is demonstrating that he’s unwilling to make the relationship work, as it is cooling off (no ED with another woman, etc) and at the same time saying he wants a child. That sounds both bananas and impossible!

Perhaps he’s making these bonkers accusations about you, re promiscuity, as a way to not deal with his own stuff, in light of the realization that you’re waking up to his mistreatment and lack of involvement, and his unwillingness to change.

It’s a hard job market all right, but if you’ve got marketable skills, this may well change fairly soon, but probably not until some time next year.

I’d get support from a local mental health person. Perhaps there is a clinic near you that could help. The point is not that you have an emotional disturbance, but that you need support and direction.

This is the general direction of my thinking. If you’d like to discuss this more, please feel free to call me. The phone number is on my web site, smartrelationshipdecisions.com.

We don't just have to rely on the Lord. Let's make some decisions, and a plan to get through this mess to the other side!


Sincerely,

Dr. P.
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