"He Goes Limp At The Thought Of Intercourse"

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Susie and Aretha Bright believe that mother-daughter teamwork is the answer for all your sex advice needs. Questions? Send them to sexperts@jezebel.com.

This week: the boyfriend with intercourse phobia, and seeking sex with an ex.

Dear Aretha & Susie,

My problem is so rare that none of my trusted advisers have any idea what to do.

I recently started dating a younger guy- there's a seven year difference between us. We are getting along great: he's sweet, intelligent, gorgeous and we share a lot of interests. We're having great sex... sort of.


He's only been in a few relationships in his life. One lasted five years. But since he broke up with her- ages ago- he's been single and celibate. When our intimacy started, he told me he didn't like oral sex or intercourse.

I was stunned but tried to be understanding. We've been using our hands a lot- and after some pleading, he allowed me to perform oral sex with him, going very slowly over several weeks. Now he likes it and even requests it- but I still haven't been able to get him off that way.

He goes limp at even the THOUGHT of intercourse. I've asked him if he had a bad experience or if he finds vaginas gross. He swears he doesn't- it just doesn't do anything for him; he's always been that way. We've tried using foreplay to get him in the mood but when we try to actually do it, he loses his erection.

We've gotten close and I really want to share this with him. I don't want to "force" him into intercourse or have it all the time. But I want to at least try it once! If he can handle it or even likes it a little, it would be nice to have as an option. He says his body won't cooperate.


Other than this, our sex life is fine. We have sex all the time and it's great. If he never got over this, I'd be cool with it because he's really worth it. But I would be wistful for intercourse.

Possible related factors? He's uncut. He's not experienced. He's had confidence problems in the past. His last girlfriend was borderline emotionally abusive to him- but he's short on any details.


My strategy has been to be understanding and not obsess over it. I keep telling him: "We'll try it one day when you are really horny, have a raging hard-on, and it will work out- you'll get over whatever psychological stumbling block is there. Don't worry. I mean, we got over the oral sex thing, right?"

Any insight would be appreciated.


Aretha: I hardly know where to start. My first reaction is: "HE'S GAY."

Susie: Ha! The last time I said that to you, during a period of… uh… your romantic frustration- you said, "Mom, you don't know what you're talking about."


Aretha: Well, you didn't! But I'm right about this.

Susie: How about putting it a more inclusive way; Puzzled's boyfriend doesn't conform to hetero-normative behavior. Which would be okay, if he was forthcoming and enthusiastic about his tastes- but he isn't.


There's one thing worse than him not fucking her, and that's him not talking straight with her. Is he even honest with himself?

Aretha: Yeah, like what DOES he like? I cannot figure it out. It doesn't sound like he's got any other proximity issues, if the two of them are going at it with their hands. That being said- he can't get off from oral sex- and he can't stay hard enough to perform intercourse?


Puzzled sounds like a saint.

Susie: Saints don't make good sex-positive role models.

I don't understand the hand action.

Puzzled, does he get you off with his hands? Does he go down on YOU? Does he like anal sex, in either direction? What does he do when he masturbates? How do you come? What are his fantasies?


Aretha: Yeah, good questions. If your boyfriend can tell you what he doesn't like, he should be mature enough to tell you what he does like. If he was a virgin, it would be one thing- but this guy already had a 5-year relationship with someone else.

Susie: He is a secret spun inside a secret. He wants you to play his beard but it's an intractable situation. Whether he has a history of abuse or is just too frightened to share his bent, you're not helping him- you're enabling a course in denial.


Aretha: Enough about him! Puzzled, you say that if you never had intercourse with him, you'd hang on to him because such a swell guy- but you'd still be wistful.

I'm thinking: miserable.

It's super-romantic right now. His inability to fuck might be a turn-on in some ways. I'm thinking... Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. But these feelings won't last long-term. Resentment and sexual frustration are around the corner.


Susie: I've known a few couples who didn't give a fig about intercourse. What they had in common was a great deal of sexual sophistication and a matching set of kinky appreciations. They wanted to be tied up, they wanted to 69 all day, they wanted to role-play and cross-dress. They weren't avoiding anything; they were going for their gusto. You don't meet many young people like that. It takes time and wisdom to come out of the closet.

Women are brought up to think that if it's "true love," they'll have baby-making sex. Lovers who throw that overboard work through a lot of baggage. They say bye-bye to the Harlequin Romances.


Not only do you have to have the political frame of reference, you need a sex drive that propels you outside the box. That doesn't sound like where you're coming from. You want your man inside you. You shouldn't be begging and hoping.

Aretha: It sounds like she's tried everything obvious in the bedroom, and it's not working. I wonder if he has seen a doctor or a therapist?


Susie: I doubt he has; he's using Puzzled as a surrogate. It's not fair, to her or himself. Miss Puzz, you need your sexual self-interest addressed, and so does Hand Puppet. Listen to your "wistful" voice... it's trying to tell you something.

Dear Aretha and Susie,

My long-distance boyfriend of two years broke up with me in June. We'd been having problems for a while, but I didn't think that he would end up dumping me.


In my post-breakup trauma, I've gone back to look at some emails we exchanged in the weeks before breaking up. At first, he insinuated that our relationship would "change" when I moved to LA from New York.

Then he started talking about "taking a break." One of the emails refers to a phone conversation where he said we could still have sex "as friends."


Now that I'm starting to accept he broke up with me, the ONLY thing I'm hoping for is the sex. I know it may seem silly, but the sex was amazing. I am aware of all "do-it-yourself" options, and frankly, I still just want him to give it to me.

Even though he said before that we could still have sex as "friends" (whatever that means), I'm afraid that when I confront him about it, he'll play dumb and reject me again.


How can you convince an ex that all you want is the sex and nothing more? Will men ever turn down sex that they know is reliably good?

I have planned a trip to see him for the first time in three months- and I plan on getting some. Please advise me on how to.


Scorned But Horny

Aretha: Being dumped, especially when you don't see it coming, is the worst.

Susie: Recapturing hot sex from a lost romance isn't reliable. You can't put it back in the bottle.


Aretha: You remember the sex being amazing, but the sex will not be the same. After having been dumped only 2+ months ago, you put yourself at a lot of emotional risk- like being rejected (again) by him.

Susie: Even if he doesn't push you away… the dissonance between your old familiarity and the recent betrayal will leave your head spinning.


Aretha: I think it would be far more healing for you to have wonderful sex- with someone else.

Susie: I second that motion. There ought to be a escort service for the recently dumped.


Go ahead and have as many cathartic jill-off sessions as you want, thinking about him, coming, crying. Now that's reliable. Your dreams, your unconscious, have to work through it; there's no short-cut. Each little solitary orgasm and teardrop helps you find some peace.

Aretha: I hate to crush your hope. But I want to discourage you from planning a trip to "get some" - I don't want you feeling bad.


Susie: Truth? I doubt you'll follow our advice. Both of us were once given the same counsel ourselves… and ignored it.

Your mother and your best friends and all the savvy sexperts will unanimously tell you to stay away. But it's like telling a child not to put a bean up their nose.


You want to pick the scab, you want to hold your finger in the flame, and this compulsion will remain attractive until one day you wake up and say: "I am too old for this."

Self-preservation eventually kicks in.

Aretha: Part of me wants to give you wild advice about how to seduce him back into your bed, like, I dunno... Tell him you just want closure, then get him drunk and spike his cocktail with Viagra.


But NO! You need to pine, stay away, and GET OVER HIM. The hurt feelings will feel better as time goes on, I promise.

Susie: Pine, stay away, masturbate, cry, and have some really smokin' sex with someone else. There is life after Mr. Wonderful!

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