Make Your Move

Dear Dr. Melanie,

I am a Fantasia Consultant and currently experiencing something new! I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now. When it comes to sex he never starts it! I always make the first move, then this is what happens. He eithet cant get it up, cant get completely hard unless he is rubbing himself, or flat out says no! He tells me that sex isn’t important to him or he lets his head get in the way! Far as I know everything is ok in his life no stress or anything and he is healthy. This really disturbes me and he refuses to see a doc. Thanks, First Move


Dear First Move ,

Without knowing your partner’s age or sexual history, and without knowing anything about your relationship dynamics, it’s impossible to be too concrete. However, consider the possibility that he may…

  1. have a naturally low sex drive
  2. take medication/recreational drugs/alcohol that decrease sex drive
  3. have age-related, emotional, or health issues that affect his sexual expression
  4. be more stressed/preoccupied than you realize
  5. be turned on by something/someone other than you
  6. masturbate so often to the same technique, fantasies or porn that he requires them to get aroused
  7. enjoy a different type of sex than you enjoy/require
  8. want to focus more on intimacy first; sexual intercourse second
  9. have performance anxiety/fear of failure
  10. not have a chance to initiate because you beat him to it

The best time to discuss these possibilities is outside of the bedroom, in a non-sexual situation. Communication style is important because you don’t want him to feel defensive. Focus on how this affects you by saying, “I enjoy making love with you, and I wish we could be together more often. Can we discuss how to create more intimacy in ways that are enjoyable for both of us?” Then wait for him to respond without jumping in to say more. If he doesn’t answer or doesn’t want to talk, say, “I understand you don’t want to discuss this now. That’s fine, but I’d like to have this conversation before the end of the week. Our difference in sexual desire is seriously affecting the health of our relationship.”

At some point in the conversation, suggest that you visit a sex therapist together. Present it as a relationship concern, not as his problem to fix. You can find a certified sex therapist or counselor near you at If he doesn’t agree to get help, you have some tough choices to make. Can you live with a partner who isn’t interested in your concerns? Should you invest more time in someone with whom you aren’t sexually compatible? If you want to stay with him but need sex, might the two of you consider opening up your relationship so you can enjoy sex with another partner? A sex therapist or educator can help you think through some of your options.