Social Question

imgr8's avatar

NSFW: How important is physical intimacy in a relationship?

Asked by imgr8 (422 points ) September 10th, 2012

First off, This question comes from a friend, so please don’t take any of my previous posts into account when reading this question.

My boyfriend and I have been together 6 months, I’m his first girlfriend and he is a virgin, I’m not… I’m also older than him. I have no problem at all not having sex with him, because I love him and our relationship is wonderful without it. I don’t hold sex very high up, I enjoy it, but as long as I have some kind of intimacy I don’t find it that important. A lot of my friends think its weird and say that if it was them they would be frustrated with him, how important is it?

Another thing that does kind of bother me, or at least make me confused is that he seems just not into it. I would like to have sex, its no big deal, but I have asked him about it and he says, “its not like a religious reason or anything and its not that I’m not ready or something like that, I just don’t really want to, I like the way things are.” I’d feel a lot better about it if he had a real reason, it seems weird to me that he just doesn’t want to, I mean, he’s a teenage boy! Any thoughts on that?

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16 Answers

creative1's avatar

I wouldn’t push any teen into sex until they are ready… maybe his hormones haven’t kicked in yet for those urges or the other thing that came to mind when reading this was maybe he is gay and it hasn’t fully hit him yet and just not attracted to the girl he’s dating. This happened to a friend when we were in high school and it took until after graduation before he finally came out, he never had sex with a girl because he was never attracted by them but did date. You just never know what is going on with him unless he’s ready to figure it all out.

marinelife's avatar

If it continues to bother you, then break up with him. It is too soon to say why he doesn’t want to. You don’t say how old you are or. how old he is. It is very different if he is 15 or if he is 18.

deni's avatar

Wait, so have you had sex with him yet? I take it as a no? If you haven’t yet, I’m sure it’s just because he’s nervous and probably unsure of himself! And you are more experienced than him. Once he sees what he’s been missing, he’ll probably change his mind :)

wonderingwhy's avatar

I’m not sure where I’d rank it exactly, that changes, but I can say for myself, in a lasting relationship, while sex is certainly fun it’s not fundamental. I’ll go kick myself now. Also, once in a relationship, where sex ranks and its necessity or lack thereof, among other aspects, are better defined by couple rather than the individual. Now if your talking intimate, but not necessarily sex – that’s a little different, I hold that a little higher, without that, I’d tend to feel something’s missing.

As to the guy, maybe he’s self-conscious about something (and not necessarily sex) or simply doesn’t want to speak up about his reasons. Perhaps he’s really just not interested (in sex or her or both; see what @creative1 said for example) as he said. Why? You’d have to ask him and hope he’s feeling talkative. I’m just spouting off here, I don’t know him so I’ve no real insight, but those are all things I’ve encountered in one way or another.

I’d not worry about it unless it’s a real issue for her (in which case either discuss it or move on) or he starts/is acting distant or disinterested in other ways.

Kardamom's avatar

How old are both of you. People like to say that age doesn’t matter, but it does, especially if one person is more mature/ready/experienced than the other.

Is your boyfriend under 18? If so, and you are 18 or older, there can be legal consequences for having sex with a minor, even if you are the female.

There’s a few things that could be going on. My first guess is that because he is a virgin and he knows that you are not, he could be quite intimidated by that fact. Even if he says he’s not. To admit that he’s intimidated might make him feel, in his own mind, like he’s kind of a loser. If that is the case, you need to gently reassure him that it’s not a problem at all.

My second thought is that because don’t have any particular interest in having sex with him one way or another then he might think that sex isn’t all that great. I’m curious as to why you don’t have any particular interest in sex. Most people, once they’ve gotten a taste of it, and it was good, want to get more of it until the day they die. He may also think that because you’re not particularly into it one way or another, that he is not desirable to you and he doesn’t want to push the subject because if he found out for sure that you aren’t sexually attracted to him, then he would be humiliated.

The next thing is that he may not be ready for sex, especially if he is really young like 15, 16 or 17. The media portrays that young guys are always interested/ready for sex starting around 12 or 13. I don’t think that is the case for all guys. But even if he isn’t ready for sex, physically or emotionally, it would be very embarrassing for him to admit that to you.

Now, here’s what I really think. He might be gay, and not quite comfortable with it or even able to label it yet. He might still be figuring out his sexuallity. He probably really loves you, but does’t feel the typical male/female sexual attraction to you that he might with the right guy. Most of my gay male friends dated girls and even had sex with them and at least one even got married and had children. Back in the 70’s when my friends and I were growing up, it would have been traumatically embarrassing to have anyone find out that you were gay, or to label you as gay even if you weren’t. Things have changed, but not much when you think about how one of our political parties still sees gay people as sinful and not quite fully human. Being young and gay in the US still sucks. Most people aren’t brave enough to jump out of the closet, it may take years. But in the meantime, having a girlfriend can be a very comforting thing. If he is gay, he probably enjoys the intimate friendship he has with you, without having a sexual attraction to you. Plus having a “beard” will keep the wagging fingers out of his face, at least for awhile.

And last, but not least, he may actually have some type of physical problem, such as premature ejaculation that he’s ashamed of. Or he may not be able to get physically aroused by another person because he’s addicted to masturbation, and he may also have some type of hormonal problem that causes him to have a low sex drive. Or, he might even be asexual kind of like Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.

Trillian's avatar

Why are you sharing such personal and intimate details of your relationship with people outside of the relationship? Maybe he doesn’t want details about himself relayed to your girlfriends like what you had for lunch,
Consider the possibility that you are a beard for a non admitted latent.

Judi's avatar

I have a nephew who is OCD and he just says that sex is a lot of work. When you have meticulious cleaning rituals they become even more complicated when another persons bodily fluids are involved.

wundayatta's avatar

This is such an individual thing. For some, like me, sex is extremely important. I’m a physical person and there are things about the other person I can only understand through sex. Likewise, there are things about me they can only understand with the physical aspect of a relationship. If we aren’t able to communicate this way, I have learned, through hard experience, the relationship can get very sour, despite compatibility in other areas.

I can not tell you how frustrating it can be when you fall in love with someone only to find that there is a part of them cut off from you because they aren’t interested in physical intimacy. It is a horrible situation because you can’t stand to be without them, but being with them is constantly frustrating.

To me, that’s a red flag. If they aren’t willing to explore physical intimacy or they don’t enjoy it or don’t like it, or can’t express themselves physically, then that’s going to be a problem. I wish I had known this when I was starting off several relationships. Not that it would have mattered. I was too much in need of any intimatacy at all. I was willing to overlook the problems with physical intimacy.

Unfortunately, it was only much later in life that I was able to see that it was legitimate for me to feel this way. I believed what society told me: that physical intimacy wasn’t important. The soul connection was. No one ever told me that it was ok to have the physical and the soul connected—or even that it was possible. Everyone said they were separate. Or at least, that’s what I thought people were saying.

Now I know they can’t be separated. To pretend you could relate to me in any deep way without physical intimacy is very misguided. And don’t we want our love relationships to be deep? I do. But some of them could only go so far. Mind you, that’s good. It’s a wonderful thing. But I wish I could be fully and completely engaged, and not feel like there’s always something left out.

stardust's avatar

Very much depends on the person, but sex is very important to me in a relationship. If I’m not sexually compatible with a partner, it doesn’t work for me.

deni's avatar

@wundayatta Yeah, for me, if I’m attracted to someone physically (which I really do have to be, at least to an extent, for a relationship to ever even begin to form…) and especially if I’m also attracted to them emotionally, I feel the natural progression is to want them sexually too! I can’t imagine feeling any other way. I do not think sex is everything or even the biggest thing, but it is extremely important (to me) to be compatible with someone sexually as well like @stardust said, and if I’m not, well, it’s never worked out.

imgr8's avatar

FYI I don’t know the details of her sex life but her and her boyfriend do have some form of a sex life, just not one that involves actual intercourse, if that makes a difference. She is 18 and he is 17, stat rape laws are not an issue where I am.

Cruiser's avatar

To go from a first time experience to where I am at in live, intimacy will take on many shapes and forms and one thing will always remain is that touch no matter how small or intense will be that one thing that will bond you to your partner. When it is gratuitous of selfishly driven the relationship will suffer and when it is mutual and giving the relationship will thrive. That will not ever change as you grow old.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t think sex is the same for every person. I would think that maybe he wants to be sure that you are the right person he wants to be his first. So maybe he isn’t sure about it. Or maybe he doesn’t want it to be the focus of your relationship, or even maybe, he wants to marry the person first someday and then have sex. Some people are like that.
But then it could also be just a low sex drive or bad health, or he is embarrassed about being seen naked, or insecure because you are experienced. Whatever the reason. You should ask him and see what he says. There could be a ton of reasons that are perfectly normal. If he wants to wait or never do it than that is his choice. Maybe its more about the fact that he doesn’t want to take the chance of becoming a dad so young in his life or he’s afraid of what disease he may get.

Bellatrix's avatar

I was just about to say the same thing @Pandora started with. While he may care for your friend, he may be unsure your friend is the person he wants to give his virginity to. I think it’s good that he is being discerning. He will have sex when he is ready to have sex.

As to what friends think about the situation, it isn’t their business. If your friend and her boyfriend are content to wait, that’s all that matters. He has said he isn’t ready yet. If she isn’t prepared to wait, she should move on. If she can’t wait for him to be ready, she obviously isn’t the right person for him. Otherwise, ignore friends’ judgements on what’s appropriate or not.

harley54's avatar

I would respect his wish.If you both are happy, I would enjoy each other.That is what life is about!!!!!!!!!!!!

snapdragon24's avatar

Hmmm…how old is he? How old are you?

May I say, I used to have the same attitude as you…until I had the REAL DEAL…which I don’t think you have yet. No woman has a MEH attitude towards sex until they meet a compatible parter who is good with his stuff. Unless you have low sex drive, which happens.

But give your boyfriend time, I however, think sexual intimacy is a MUST…again, I dont know how old you are.

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