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Mariah's avatar

[NSFW] Am I guilty of breaking this age-old advice?

Asked by Mariah (25876points) October 20th, 2013

“You should never use sex as a reward/withhold it as punishment.”

My boyfriend is on his way home from a study abroad right now and….I am not at my height of love for him. We’ve had a lot of problems during the last six months while our relationship has been long-distance. Honestly, at this moment, I don’t feel sufficiently in love to be having sex with him. I’m really uncomfortable with the thought of it.

Am I the asshole if I say that I need a dry spell for awhile? Or is there a better way to approach this thing? I don’t know if we’re going to get through this rough patch or if we’re going to end up breaking up, but I feel like I should give things a chance to get better rather than breaking up with him right away.

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25 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Start with your feelings as being valid. If you don’t feel like having sex, forget the adages and tell him simply that.

Then see what he has to say. His time abroad may have changed his views on your relationship and his feelings for you. Six months at your age is a very long time. And you may not have any idea of what he has been up to in the Casbah.

He may be equally apprehensive.

Seek's avatar

I wouldn’t think of it as punishment or reward in this instance.

You’ve been apart for a long time. If you need a chance to get to know him again before having sex, that is totally valid and understandable. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you are not both comfortable with and excited about. Sex shouldn’t be a duty.

Sunny2's avatar

You can simply tell him that you feel kind of shy after so much time apart and need time to get acquainted again. You do.

Mariah's avatar

Thanks all. It feels better to hear that my feelings are valid.

As for the idea that it might be a mutual feeling, unfortunately I am quite sure that it’s not. He is very enthusiastic about coming home and being with me again. I feel guilty for not feeling the same way.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

I was wondering how he was feeling.

All I can say is that in every normal relationship sometimes the love and sexual appetite is different, sometimes it will be same, usually it is different. Anyway we aren’t all the same otherwise that would be boring wouldn’t it?

Unfortunately or fortunately (for those in a relationship) that is how we have to make a relationship work or not.

In this case I personally think you should work on it. You just have had the added stress of long distance, which is why I think you should work on it, people don’t just have
long distance relationships because they want to waste their time. Your feelings I think are pretty normal. But you had feelings for him before right? So don’t fool yourself.

You probably owe it to yourself and your s/o to have a talk about how you feel, and any good relationship couples will work on working through things and not covering them up or packing up and fucking off.

If you do that, I honestly think you are seriously setting yourself up for running from more relationships instead of doing what you should do which I think is focusing on the problem and working through it.

Don’t forget to mention it to him or else your feelings will get mowed over and then you will be an emotional wreck anyway and he will have no clue and the relationship may be doomed after that.

Oh and don’t feel guilty, you are only human ;)

Once you talk about it with your s/o you can figure out if the relationship will move on from there and hopefully he is a good guy and respect your feelings and woo you back to the way you used to feel. :)

Good luck with it all. ♡

El_Cadejo's avatar

Be prepared for the possibility of him really wanting sex as well. He’s been away for all this time waiting to get back to you so it’s probably one of the top things on his mind. I’m not saying you’re wrong in how you feel, I agree with you but don’t be caught off guard if he feels completely opposite from you.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I don’t see how this situation violates that rule. You’re not withholding sex as punishment. You’re withholding it because you don’t want to do it. If you feel so uncomfortable with the thought of having sex with him, why would you want to try to make it work? My husband and I have gone through issues in the past and there have been times when I didn’t want to have sex with him because I was angry, but I’ve never been “uncomfortable” with the thought of sex with him. That’s such a strange word to use there.

Either way, communication is key. Tell him you’re confused about your feelings for him and you’d like to give it another shot, but you’d prefer not to be intimate for now. The ball is then in his court. He might be willing to continue the relationship sexless for awhile while you sort your feelings or he might want to end it.

Sex isn’t something a girlfriend owes to her boyfriend. Sex should only be had when both parties want to. I neglect to see how this is punishment.

flutherother's avatar

I think you have to be honest with yourself and your feelings. If the relationship then works out it has a solid foundation. If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Using sex as a reward involves having sex when you don’t want to because of something good someone else did. Withholding sex as a punishment involves not having sex when you do want to because of something bad someone else did. Both are different from not having sex because you don’t want to. Everyone has the right to say “no” to unwanted sex. You don’t owe your boyfriend sex, and your reasons for abstaining are about personal discomfort rather than punishment. So while I think there is wisdom in the adage you mention, it does not seem to me that you are acting against its advice.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sex in modern relationships is pretty much just a commodity, and there is no ring on it, so it is not like you owe him anything or he you. If there is no definite ring coming then it is basically at it roots what one can get for them. When you get tired of pizza you move on to sushi. Too much worry over a simple issue……

Mariah's avatar

Thanks for your viewpoint HC. This is a very old question and not a situation I’m in anymore.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ I did not think so…..but for others who might find themselves in the same predicament, it might help them.

Glad you have gotten passed that situation, as i was sure you had, hopefully in a positive way you wished.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, how did it turn out in the end @Mariah?

And what does a ring have to do with sex, HC?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ And what does a ring have to do with sex, HC?
Now that you can ask questions again, open up a thread with that question and get to the answer. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’ve got this mystical idea about sex @HC, that is just dumb. It’s just sex. What is the big deal?

Seek's avatar

He hasn’t had any, in a long time.

Mariah's avatar

@Dutchess_III I broke up with the guy for many reasons. Our sex issues probably stemmed from him having pressured me into losing my virginity with him before I really wanted to. Spent awhile thinking I was asexual due to how much I hated sex. Turns out I just hated sex with him. I’m very happy and have a normal sex drive with my current boyfriend.

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