My Relationship Is Perfect--Except for the Sex

Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.
Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.
Dear JaneWhat the FUCK is your problem? Write to me and I’ll help you figure it out! Dear Jane is a regular advice column here at Jezebel. I’ll take your questions, from the petty to the metaphysical, and dispense guidance.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years and we have total trust, strong mutual respect and admiration, and great communication. We are super active and do fun stuff every weekend, we love each others families, we both make good money, he is hilarious, affectionate, I can take him anywhere and he will make friends and have fun without my help, he’s a total f-ing babe, he is a genuinely good person and regularly goes out of his way to help anyone even strangers, he loves me and forgives me when I’m a twat, all of our friends immediately become mutual friends, he CLEANS all the time, he can fix and build anything, he’s an amazing listener, his dog is one of the two best dogs I’ve ever known, he’s all the things. I love him. He wants to be together forever but the sex is not good and it never has been.

For the first three-to-four years I brought it up regularly and we had great open clear communication and he would try and then a week or day later it was the same again (him only wanting to on mornings on his days off, not pulling my hair or doing the specific things I’ve told him I enjoy, no foreplay, etc). I can get myself off if he just stays hard and doesn’t move but it’s just not as much fun. I love sex. This sex, for me, is meh and I don’t know if I want to have meh be my sex life forever (he wont consider anything outside of monogamy). But my relationships with great sex had other issues that made me straight up batshit—cheating, them being super dependent. I want all of the things on that above list with few exceptions but I don’t know if it’s realistic to think I will find someone with all those things who I also have amazing sex with. I mean, I’m sure that person is out there, maybe hundreds of that person are out there, but I’m in my 30s and am SO ready to just be settled in one spot for a nice long time. Tell me how to figure this out. Or just tell me what to do. The few people I’ve talked to about this look at me like I’m out of my mind—they love him, we are perfect, they want their relationship to be like ours. Am I an idiot for questioning this?


No. You’re not an idiot. Sex plays a different role in all of our lives. For some (me), it’s crucial to have frequent and good sex. My happiness depends on it (just ask anyone I’ve dated who has a low libido). For others (I won’t name names but you know who you are), sex is not the very first thing on their Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You need to be really honest with yourself about where it lies for you. If it’s important enough to write in to an advice column, I’m guessing this will be an ongoing issue in this particular relationship. SO! Check your moral compass and consider your options:

  • Get a lover or lovers without his consent. You wouldn’t be the first person.
  • Leave and maybe never have a great pal like this again
  • Stay and maybe never have great sex again
  • Leave and find a person who checks all the boxes
  • Go to a sex therapist

Do any of those look good to you? I’m sorry that this advice is kind of non-advice. The advice is to do some soul searching. I know I would not be happy looking into the future after seven years of no foreplay and only getting it on mornings when my lover didn’t have anything on their schedule (a.k.a. never, especially after kids). Would you rather look back at a great seven year friendship (because that’s what this is, if you really think about it) or never again have the transcendent, healthy feeling that great sex can bring to your life?

Hi Jane,

I had a baby in April (yay!) and it’s my parents’ first grandkid and they are super excited. They moved to Boston a couple years ago and made a lot of new friends there. Those nice friends have been sending gifts and cards down with my parents when they come to visit.

It’s very sweet and generous. And it was one thing when I wasn’t back to working full time yet, but now it’s gotten to be a bit much. You see, after opening said card/gift, my mom emails me the sender’s name and address and expects me to send a thank you card to them as soon as possible.

Is this out of line? Am I being bratty? I have never met these people before and I’m spending a lot of time and postage thanking them for their cards and/or gifts for my daughter because my mother is scary when she’s mad and this is what she’s demanding. Please advise.

-Keeping USPS in Business

There are people who send thank you cards—and straight away, at that—and there are people who don’t. It’s up to you which you want to be and I honestly don’t give a shit either way on your behalf. If someone wants to be upset that you didn’t send a card for that onesie they thought was soooo cute but that your child destroyed with shit the minute she wore it, fine. Getting a thank you note is a treat, not a receipt.

More importantly though, detach from your mother! You are in a codependent relationship and that is what keeps us alive as children but you need to find more comfortable distance now that you are a fully formed adult. No scary mad people around the baby, please.

Dear Jane,

Eight years ago, a very wonderful and intense relationship of three years came to an amicable end. After a period of division we have evolved into a sometimes-strange, somewhat ambiguous, but generally friendly relationship. He has since moved to a moderately large city on the east coast for medical school. Because life is strange, my closest friend was transferred to the same city last spring for work. The friend and the ex had met once or twice in a group setting over the last few years, but now the ex has reached out several times to the friend through social media and wants to hang out. This makes me feel gross. Should it? I’m in my mid 30s, not high school.

Do I have any right to say something to my ex about this? What would I say? I know he’s extremely busy, but it’s a city of over a million people—find someone else to hang out with!


I know, right? This would bother me too and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out why? Ooh, I figured it out! It’s jealousy. And abandonment shit. I’m not even talking romantic jealousy, though that could be there to. The fact is they both left you, literally, and are now off in a new world that you’re not really a part of. That would be hard to watch from afar.

What is your best friend doing about it? I think if it makes you uncomfortable, and you really are best friends, you should be able to tell her that and ask her to handle it. No need to bug the ex, he’s either creeping on her or is lonely. Neither surprise me. It’s more her reaction that counts. Of course she can say, “He’s great and I want to be friends with him,” and you’ll have to accept that. I imagine, however, that she’ll hear your discomfort and do whatever she can to minimize it. (Hint to the friend: quit telling your best friend that her ex-boyfriend is sliding into your DMs, you dumb jerk!)


Have a question for Jane? Email her at Please change names and identifying info; this advice column unfortunately is not aimed at destroying lives.


The Noble Renard

I feel like I listen to more than enough Savage Lovecast to have heard the first scenario over and over again. If the sex is bad this long into the relationship and your partner has shown no interest in improving it, then you have to really sit down and ask yourself whether bad sex is the price of admission you’re willing to pay to stay in a relationship with someone you are so compatible with in other ways.

If no, you need to seriously consider some of the options Jane raises (though I would strongly discourage the cheating option, something I largely disagree with Dan Savage on). As a side note, I do notice that you indicate that every time you used to raise it with your partner, he would respond for a week or so and then go back to his old patterns.

With the reference to the hair-pulling, it sounds like you want him to play the dominant role during the act itself, but all indications are that he doesn’t want to do that. Again, drawing on some Savage Love insights, have you tried active communication during the act? I.E., “Do X, now” It sounds like he’s someone who needs a routine, and maybe something closer to an actual script might work?