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Thursday, June 12, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: You're In Or You're Out

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I'm a mid-20s female. I’ve been dating a slightly-older-than-me mid-20s male for three years. We met while I was still in college, and decided to move in together when I went off to grad school. He quit his job and moved with me a few states over. Everything had been going pretty well up to that point. We were sexually compatible and open to each other.

My partner and I drifted apart sexually near this time, however. I chalked it up to stresses of finding a new job in an unfamiliar town, and my starting grad school. I figured it would get better once he became financially stable again, and luckily he found a job within a couple months. However, in October of my first semester of school, (about 1.5 years into the relationship), he opened up to me about questioning his gender identity, and was considering transitioning MTF. It made the puzzle pieces come together about his not wanting to have much sexual contact. He opened up everything on the night he came out—about the therapist he had been seeing for the past month for possible gender identity disorder, he showed me his secret stash of women’s clothes and makeup, and told me about his desire to start hormone therapy right away for this transition. I was in shock for the rest of the night, because it was a lot of info to take in at one time. As soon as it sank in, I was very confused and upset about everything (what was my role supposed to be? am I trans-phobic if I don’t want to be with a girl?), and made an appointment with the same therapist he had been seeing to sort out my feelings, too.

I saw the therapist about once a week or so through the holiday season, and after I came back from visiting my folks over holiday, he revealed that he was comfortable in his male gender, and no longer wanted to transition. I think this threw me for a bigger loop, because he had just dumped all of this info on me not that long ago, and he had seemed like this was a for-sure thing. We talked about this for awhile—I wanted to make sure he wasn’t “re-closeting” himself on the behalf of our relationship. He assured me this was not the case, and that he realized that he did not want to transition after his counseling with his sex-positive therapist. While I was still a little confused, I figured I would roll with it and see what happened.

Fast forward a year and a half—even though he is no longer questioning his gender identity, the sexual aspects of our relationship have never been the same. Our sex life has dwindled to once in the past year, and not much seems to come of my gently bringing up a desire to rekindle the intimate side of our relationship. I’ve been getting by with myself, sex-wise, and don’t really have the desire to open up our relationship.

I was wondering if you had any ideas about how I can bring up being more intimate with my partner. It hasn’t helped my ego much to get shot down every time I try to initiate sex. Oral isn’t even on the table anymore—I can’t even remember the last time we actually made out! He doesn’t initiate anything anymore, and I can’t tell if it’s due to lack of desire to me particularly or if he is disinterested in sex in general. I think what makes this so difficult is that he is an excellent companion and roommate, and I worry if I speak up I will lose this aspect of our relationship, too.

Without Chemistry

My response to WC—and hers to mine, and mine to hers, etc.—after the jump...

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Does he make you happy?—Dan

Absolutely!—WC

Really? You're not just saying that? Your boyfriend makes you happy... even with the constant sexual rejection? Huh. Then stay with him, I guess, but reconcile yourself to a sexless future—unless you open up the relationship, which you say you have no desire to do. And you may be happy now, WC, but Judging from all the mail I get from people who are in the tenth or twentieth years of sexless marriages/relationships, this guy won't make you happy for the longterm. Eventually the sexual rejection and frustration will catch up with you. It will catch up with you both.—Dan

You are right about that. Honestly: If my boyfriend proposed to me right now, I wouldn't be able to say yes. Not with the way things are right now. Things would have to change. Is there any way to approach him without making this sound like an ultimatum?—WC

What's wrong with an ultimatum? Why not an ultimatum? Give him the Heidi Klum: You're either in (my pussy) or you're out (of this relationship).—Dan

It sounds so confrontational, and I guess I fear confrontation. I also fear losing him as a friend and companion. I haven't had any sense of urgency with this in part because I haven't had any desire to sleep with anyone else, so I didn't want to risk the current value of my relationship. It's super cool of you to correspond with me on this. I'm realizing now that I need to suck it up and more loudly express my dissatisfaction with our intimacy problems. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Thanks, Dan!—WC

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