Welcome to In Bed with Gigi Engle, a weekly column in which sex and relationships writer Gigi Engle answers your most intimate questions. Nothing is off-limits! From threesomes to anal, unrequited love to cheating: we want to hear it all.
For questions on relationships, sex, or anything else, email Gigi at AskGigi@thrillist.com.
I have been in a committed relationship for three years. In the last 12 months my boyfriend has gone on antidepressants, rendering his already-low sex drive nonexistent. Masturbating is providing minimal relief, since I'm mostly overwhelmed by an uncomfortable feeling not unlike being crushed by a train and kicked in the gut. I'm finding this entire experience humiliating and exhausting.
My boyfriend gave me permission to have sex with other men; but after two such experiences, he said he felt too hurt by it to allow it any longer. That exasperated the problem, making me feel even worse since that wasn't the solution I sought in the first place.
I will take any advice you have to offer for dealing with this issue. I am driving myself insane.
Being a highly sexual woman is a blessing and a curse, believe me.
Your position is especially challenging because it's just not the norm presented in society. Women who want sex more than their partners seem abnormal; like it's wrong for you to have the desires you have.
But listen to me: A zest for sex and sexual expression is PERFECTLY NORMAL! This is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. I know it's easier said than done, but the more sexual women you surround yourself with, the more normal and comfortable it feels. Hang out with people who get what you're about.
Sex is about as vulnerable a thing as there is. You're naked, you're putting yourself out there... and to be rejected when you're in that position will really mess with your self-esteem. Facing that exhausting battle, over and over again, can and will wear you down. It sucks to feel unwanted.
I think it was pretty noble and selfless that your boyfriend let you get what you needed elsewhere. Sometimes, it really is the only answer when your partner isn't able to satisfy you and doesn't know what else to do. That being said, I can understand why it only happened twice. There is a big difference between having a real open relationship because the two of you want to explore other avenues of sexuality, and letting your partner have sex with another guy because you feel so inadequate.
At the end of the day, sex with a vibrator (or person who isn't your boyfriend) cannot repair a lack of sexual intimacy with your partner.
Jealousy is a real thing, and so is hurt. I'm confident he's feeling a whole lot of both. He's also probably overwhelmed with guilt for not being able to give you what you need. And the only thing those feelings are going to do is complicate the issue at hand.
With all of this in mind, let's talk possible solutions -- or, at least ways to make this bearable.
It would be a shame to let go of someone you really love because of a difference in sexual desire. There are TONS of ways to experience sexuality outside of straight-up intercourse. I think you should do everything you can to bridge the gap before calling it quits on the whole partnership.
We owe it to our partners to meet them halfway in all aspects of our relationships, including sex. So I suggest having your boyfriend engage in your masturbation sessions with you. Antidepressants are a bitch -- and if he needs to be on them, he needs to be on them. They can really mess up your sex drive; but if being on the antidepressants is keeping him level and out of a really dark place, you have got to work around them.
Masturbating with a partner can be very sensual, if a bit unconventional. I'm much more sexual than my boyfriend, and this is a solution that really works for us by creating the closeness and intimacy I need without putting all the pressure on him to perform. Have your partner use your vibrator on you instead of doing it yourself. Or, use it on yourself and have him engage in another way, like sucking your nips or giving you a massage.
The point is, you need the closeness and he needs to be willing to give you the closeness in any way he can.
He can't force himself to want to have sex, but he can participate in the action with you to make sure you're happy. If this doesn't work, the two of you should certainly seek couples counseling. Talking to someone as a couple can truly help you find real, workable solutions. You want to explore every avenue before throwing in the towel. That way you know you did everything you could.
Love your favorite internet auntie,