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Is it me or is it him?(25 Posts)
Posting in relationships as I don't feel up to the bluntness of AIBU on this topic. I'm not going to leave over this so no LTB comments please, just need some advice and support.
Long story short, 16 years between dp and I. Been together 3 years, engaged. Very happy overall but sex is quite irregular. We probably dtd once a month. I would like it to be more but he has been quite open about his low libido as he's gotten older and he also takes viagra (he doesn't know that I know that, I just stumbled across the pills while cleaning one day).
I have learnt to live with this. It's a compromise I make because I love him and want to be with him. Sex isn't a deal breaker for me but maybe twice or three times a month would be better!
But one thing that plays on my mind is whether he's telling the whole truth about his libido or whether it's just me that doesn't really do it for him. So as not to drip feed, early on in our relationship I was borrowing his iPad and saw that he'd been looking at a certain type of content shall we say. I guess you could call it fetish stuff - nothing disgusting or illegal but a bit odd. Not going into details but I was quite shocked. He was embarrassed but quite open about it being a 'silly kink' that he felt I might judge him for. Since then we've watched a few things together but it's not really something that does it for me although I've always told him he's free to talk to me about anything without judgement.
I'm just worried that he finds his silly kink more arousing than a sex life with me. And if this is the case I want to be able to communicate about it but don't know how. Whenever I've brought it up before he's just said he loves me and fancies me but can't help his low libido. I want to believe that but part of me is always wondering what he's up to when I'm not here. I'm not monitoring his wanking btw but if he's focusing all his sexual desire on that while I'm going without it doesn't seem right or fair.
Can anyone advise a sensitive way I can try and approach this with him? Please be kind!
OP - what are you really hoping to achieve when you say ‘communicate about it’ and ‘approach this with him’?
On one hand you said you made peace with his low libido, but on the other you say you’d like the frequency double or triple.
I suspect subconsciously you’d prefer he forgot about his kink and refocused on you.
And, while understandable, it’s unfair and unrealistic.
He TOLD you upfront he has a low libido. He is much older than you.
You understood and accepted things as they are. Now you want it changed?
He has lived with his kink for a long time. Its part of his sexuality.
You say you don’t monitor his wanking and yet you wonder what he is up to when you are not there.
You need to decide what you actually want - and if you are prepared to be with him as he is. Hoping for a change will only lead to disappointment.
For what it’s worth - I think his kink and his interactions with you aren’t related. They are on parallel planes. One is an individual plane, another is an interactional plane. Both make a part of a whole.
@MMmomDD thank you that is a really balanced and thought provoking reply.
I guess I want the reassurance that he wants me and only me. I know he loves me. I know he is committed to me. But sexually I sometimes feel like I don't really know him at all. The low libido I can handle. What I can't handle are lies and secrecy. Can I really be happy with someone who is fine with me compromising on my own sexuality and needs while he selfishly pursues his own gratification alone? If that's the case it's not low libido, it's him preferring and prioritising wanking over his kink to a sex life with me.
Of course I have no proof that that's what's happening. I've not seen anything on his phone or iPad. But the doubt is there and I guess what I'm hoping for when I mention communication is some reassurance that he isn't doing that...
I'm afraid that once you're into lies and secrecy territory, you know there will never be honesty. Lots of couples compromise their way through this, either by turning a blind eye or by agreeing to disagree.
You are not yet married, no children (I'm gathering from your post), so perhaps now would be a good time to try a bit of couples counselling.
A successful, satisfying relationship really does require that both people are on the same page. It's all about teamwork, honesty and mutual respect.
Thank you @Sicario - I probably am being a bit harsh to say it's lies. I guess we all deserve some privacy when it comes to personal matters such as sexuality. I would just like a bit more openness. I understand why he felt he couldn't talk to me in the first place about it as people would consider it a bit strange but it's made me feel like I don't really know him sexually. I would like a bit more closeness.
We're not married yet but I do have dc from a previous relationship who adore him. We also have a joint mortgage and other commitments. The relationship is otherwise good - he's kind, funny, generous, supportive and me and dc adore him. But I can't help feeling a bit of a wedge between us because of this
How old are you OP?
Statements like ‘need reassurance he wants me and only me’ - and ‘he selfishly pursues his own gratification’ seem to indicate that you are quite young.
Even when in relationship - and being devoted to their partner - people see others as attractive. They just don’t act on it.
So - demanding he swears he wants only you is naive and unrealistic.
The second statement makes it sound that you object to masturbation. And it sounds extremely controlling. If a partner told me I am not allowed to self-pleasure and have to have all my focus on him - i’d be out there in a flash.
He didn’t lie to you, didn’t false advertise by starting with lots of sex and then cutting down.
You KNEW from the start he has a low libido. The reasons for it aren’t really up to you to accept question.
He is how he is.
You accepted the situation as it was.
Now you seem to be questioning and demanding changes.
Nothing good will come out of this if you keep pushing with this. I presume you are in your 20s and he is ok his 30s or 40s. He has been this way for a long time. You aren’t going to change him. And it’s unfair to demand that anyway.
He doesn’t owe you more frequent sex. You don’t owe him staying with him.
As someone who is on the, shall we say ‘kink spectrum’ myself. Vanilla sex doesn’t do it for me. Not one bit! I’d literally rather do anything else. Kink plus vanilla doesn’t really mix. So it may just be that you’re not compatible sexually.
I’m guessing he needs the viagra to help him get aroused for vanilla sex where as his kink would have him 0-60 in a second.
It’s nothing personal and doesn’t mean he doesn’t think you’re amazing but when your mind is kink it’s very difficult (at least for me anyway and I’ve heard many others) to get turned on in the traditional way.
@MMmomDD I'm in my mid 30s and he is approaching 50. So yes he's been this way for a long time. I accept that and I know I can't change him.
I don't object to masturbation and I don't want to control his desires or anything like that but I'm sure you can understand it would be frustrating not to have very much sex because of 'low libido' only to find out that he actually prefers to self pleasure. It's a knock to the confidence at the very least.
I just wish we could talk a bit more openly about things. I wish he trusted me enough to talk about his kink without fear of judgement - I genuinely didn't judge him I'm pretty open minded like that. I know everyone is entitled to their privacy but this situation is just making me feel a bit unfulfilled and frustrated.
I could leave but I won't because in the grand scheme of things this is only a tiny part of an otherwise really happy and loving relationship.
I couldn't be in a relationship where it was once a month. Never mind the once a month being one sided. Once a month is fine of it suits both parties. I'd struggle with once a week in all honesty.
You've thought initially it was his low libido but now found it's down to the fetish. He's getting his arousal from other places. It's understandable that it's affecting your confidence.
You've gave it a try, getting involved & encouraged him not to feel embarrassed about it. Does he ever try to make it happen more often than once a month for you?
That aspect won't change. I suppose it comes down to how satisfied you are with the rest of the relationship & is it enough to forfeit the side that's not meeting your needs?
I'm sure you can understand it would be frustrating not to have very much sex because of 'low libido' only to find out that he actually prefers to self pleasure. It's a knock to the confidence at the very least
I said above OP it may just be that vanilla sex is not his jam. I don’t think it’s low libido I just think he is kink and that’s the way he is. It’s hard if not impossible to get out of that mindset.
People are different. And where people fall on the kink spectrum differs too.
I know a number of people who are successfully mixing vanilla and BDSM, for example.
And then there are others who don’t or can’t.
And another thing. Viagra and other ED medication do not create arousal. They can’t ‘make’ him interested in vanilla sex if he doesn’t find OP attractive.
For those meds to work - he needs to be attracted to the OP, and be aroused. Meds simply add the mechanical bit. Signal to ‘launch’ still has to come from the brain.
Well his libido is not going to improve.
So in your mid 30's you have resigned yourself to very little sex.
And it will only decrease as the years go by.
You will get more frustrated and more resentful.
It's no way to live at such a young age.
Do you have DC?
Do you want DC?
It's actually not the once a month aspect that bothers me. I have learned to live with it and although my preference would be a bit more often, sex isn't the be all and end all for me.
So that side of it I'm fine with. It's just the fact that he could be getting his jollies elsewhere that upsets me. Why is being with me not enough? Again, I don't know this is what he's doing. He might be doing nothing. And asking him outright about it seems intrusive - let's face it he probably wouldn't answer honestly anyway.
@MMmomDD People are different. And where people fall on the kink spectrum differs too. I know a number of people who are successfully mixing vanilla and BDSM, for example. And then there are others who don’t or can't
Agreed. I’m an example of someone who is incapable of mixing vanilla and kink. I just cannot do it. So perhaps that’s what is happening here.
I agree viagra doesn’t doesn’t create arousal but it may help OP’s guy to get there. I bet he thinks she is amazing so can get going in that respect even in a vanilla context but he doesn’t pursue as often as she’d like because it’s not his kink.
@catspyjamas27 to some extent it isn't always easy to answer this one. I'm not sure in a relationship you can keep a sex life (that isn't very fulfilling) separate to his "kink". Do you feel able to say what his "kink" is? In any event it doesn't sound awful
I've NC to reply to this as with yourself, I do t want to out myself to others. I have grown in confidence gradually in bed. What I find is that myself and DH tend to relax and be more open when in bed and aroused (sorry if TMI). I don't know why but whispering to each other when really turned on seems to relax us into saying what we like and want. My DH and I are totally "normal" couple but I got the impression he wanted to perhaps tie me up or spank me. I hadn't acted on it but one night on a weekend away we were playing and aroused and I whispered I would like him to do certain things to me. I prob did more to please/excite him. It certainly did and he tried somethings with me, which TBH , yes I enjoyed and excited me although I wouldn't have thought of trying....think some aspects of 50 shades.
The point I'm making is that do you feel able to try and merge your sex life to include his kink and for him to feel you are part of it as a couple. Removes the separateness of it all, you feel that there are no hidden aspects from you and I suspect your sex life could improve?. I think you may then feel closer as a couple but if his kink disgusts you then having that feeling when trying it won't work.
I don't think long term your relationship will work as it is but best of luck
I'm a vanilla person myself, so I do sympathise OP. But I think you're going to have to accept him for who he is. I'm not sure he would be able to close down that part of him (even if he wanted to). If you can't accept that, maybe the two of you are not compatible.
OP - i’ll repeat it once again a and shut up.
Life is about choices. You decided to be with an older guy - I am presuming for reasons younger women often do - they are more mature; more financially sound; less insecure; know how to treat a woman; etc. Maybe these are wrong in your case, but these are the common ones for age gap relationships.
What is also common in age gap relationships is that libido mismatch often is unavoidable, as men slow down after 50. And it will only continue to decline further, and more ED would be happening. For most, not all, obviously.
You went in with your eyes open. You knew what you were buying, and what he was offering - so to speak.
Now you are saying that you object and are hurt because, in your eyes, you were/are shortchanged - because you object to his reasons for low libido.
However - you (or even him) don’t know if libido is related to kink. Men with ED, for example, can masturbate. Those are separate activities.
And if there is a relation - his preferred sexuality balance is how he is.
If you decided to stay with him - stop torturing yourself about his sexual preferences. You need to actually accept what you say you accept - him being how he is.
And stop hoping for a change or demanding some explanation/reassurances.
You have a long life together. Focus on that.
I have put it out there that I wouldn't be adverse to trying it out with him. It's not bondage or anything 50 shades. It's sillier than that. But tbh I have left it to him to pursue because I wouldn't even know where to begin with it. He hasn't mentioned it and if I mention it to him he tends to close up a bit (embarrassment maybe?) and it goes nowhere. So that leads me to think he wants to keep me and the kink separate?
I really don't think even if he is watching it and doing whatever that it's happening often purely because he doesn't really have the time! Work, family commitments, everyday life means he isn't often alone in that sense. So as I said he could be totally innocent and not the low libido story could be the truth. But who knows.
I just wish it was something we could communicate more freely and openly about. That in itself would help me to feel closer to him. But I don't feel like it's something I can force if he a) isn't doing anything anyway and b) if he is he wants to keep the two things separate...
Learning to live with it doesn't sound so good. It's not the be all & end all for me either but it's just how me & DP are, very intimate & I could never picture it being any different.
If you feel you can't ask him about it, your hands are tied. There's no shame in telling him how you feel, you're in the relationship too.
If you don't speak to him then it looks like this might be another thing you'll need to learn to live with.
@MMmomDD the age factor never really occurred to me in the beginning. I didn't 'go for' an older guy. I was swept off my feet by him as a person and tbh this is the only aspect of our lives where the age gap is even noticeable to me.
I have accepted him, I do love him. And I want this to work out. I try not to overthink and torture myself I really do. All I want is a little more transparency between us because when you suspect there are secrets it can create a bit wedge between you. I know he won't change but I just wish he'd communicate.
I don't think it's you or him. It's an area that needs some attention.
Probably shouldn't let this fester OP, it will affect your trust.
You can't force anything but you can tell him how you feel, it's up to him to take it on board.
OP - sex is a joint and consensual activity. And it should be so.
Masturbation is a solitary and personal activity.
He was always transparent and open about sex with you - he told you what he is capable of and what his preferences were.
You would have liked him to be more open about his masturbation preferences and frequency. However much you would like that to be true - you must realise that it’s not entirely fair to demand it. He has a right to his body.
Sometimes the mind is willing but the body just can't.
Unfortunately as your partner is older your not going to find this improves.
I do respect his right to his own body. I suppose I'm being selfish and just thinking of my own needs. It's just upsetting for me knowing that I'd like it more and wondering if perhaps he would too but is choosing to channel his libido into something else. If we were having regular sex I wouldn't give a toss (no pun intended) but it's just a bit of a knock to the confidence.
Can't you just get involved with the kink.. don't ask just do whatever it is that he likes?
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