Oh man, your life is MESSED UP right now.
Not that anyone asked us. But they can officially start.
Send Jilly your questions by filling out the form at the bottom of this post or right here, and she’ll send you a piece of her mind.
Because during those troubled times, it’s always important to ask yourself: What WOULD Jilly do?
I’ve been with my current boyfriend about four years, and I love him. We have our issues, but all in all, we’re happy together.
The problem is our sex life has nose-dived. At the beginning it was every night, then it got slower, but still really regular. But in the last year or so, things seem to have reached an impasse, at least for me. I find myself less and less interested in sex, even though I usually orgasm. Sometimes I just go along with it to not be lame, even though I’m just going through the motions. I’m still attracted to my boyfriend, at least I think I am, but I don’t want him like I used to. What should I do? Should I break up with him?
-Sleeping Together. No, Literally.
So … there may not be an answer.
At least not a good one.
I’m going to assume you’ve tried all the usual fixes already: buying a vibrating toy (or something saucier), trying role play, even just changing positions.
I’m also going to assume none of those helped your fundamental problem.
That’s because it may not have anything to do with your boyfriend: it may have more to do with you.
Emerging research is showing that female desire isn’t what we thought it was. Basically a.) women are actually MORE likely to tire of long-term partners, and they do so more quickly than men, and b.) they haven’t figured out any way to fix that.
Get more depressed with this New York Times piece on the topic.
On the one hand, if that’s you, you’re in a slightly better spot.
First: you know you’re not alone. Second: this isn’t something that happens because a relationship is bad, or you’re not trying hard enough, or your lady parts are trying to deliver a vital message about the overall state of your relationship. It happens to women, lots of women, just because.
Third: you can start a conversation with your boyfriend from a more-informed place. It might still be terrifying, but hopefully having something external, and scientific, to point to, will make you and your boyfriend feel less responsible, and more willing to think of this as something to work on together (whether that means opening your relationship or watching more Colin Firth movies).
The downside, of course, is that flagging sexual desire isn’t necessarily a good indicator of the health of your relationship, and ongoing sexual passion isn’t something you can use as a sign that things are going great. You’re going to have to sift through the rest of the mess—the supporting one another, and showing you care, and thinking of each other’s needs—that are far harder to quantify, but ultimately, at least as important as what you do (or don’t) in bed.
So what should you do? Chemical fixes aside, you may not be able to have long-term monogamy side-by-side with long-term sexual passion … with anyone (though even writing that depresses me). What that means for THIS relationship isn’t clear;
it’s almost impossible to separate out where possible desire issues end and actual malaise begins.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t blame yourself;
women in that article compare what you’re going through to losing a limb;
that’s not something you should feel guilty about, it’s something you need to learn to deal with however you can.
It drives me absolutely nuts when people break the rules. Line-skippers, people who won’t turn their phones off on an airplane, people who wait until the last minute to merge so they can jump a few car lengths in a traffic jam: you name it, I’m probably fuming about it. Last week I told someone off in the 12-or-less line at the grocery store and it escalated into shouting. I don’t want to be getting into fights with strangers, but selfish assholes like this make me crazy! What should I do?
-Playing by the Rules
Not what you’re doing now, that’s for sure.
I understand your gripe. We set up rules—wait your turn, follow the posted instructions, don’t take more than one free sample off the tray—so that society can run as smoothly, and fairly, as possible.
But you may have heard already: life isn’t fair.
Some people are assholes. The problem here isn’t fixing them (because that is never, EVER going to happen), it’s fixing you. Overreacting clearly isn’t stopping peoples’ bad behavior, but it might end up giving you a stroke.
So by all means, the next time someone budges in the concessions line, tell her, politely (I have a feeling that since you’re admittedly “fuming,” your tone is probably prickly at best), that the line goes this way.
Many people, once called out overtly, will defer to the rules everyone else is following; rule-breakers rely on others being unwilling to speak up as much as anything in their nefarious pursuit of self-interest.
If they refuse to listen to reason, count to ten, take a few deep breaths, and imagine their heads exploding like one of Gallagher’s melons.
You don’t have to learn to be zen about it, after all, you just need to learn how to not openly lose your shit every time someone else loses your respect.
You’ve Got Problems (But Jilly’s Got Answers)