I have been with my boyfriend for two and a half years now. During the first 8 months of our relationship we had sex almost everyday, our relationship was amazing. Then in the end of September I found out that he cheated on me, I was devastated so we broke up. Two months later we got back together and I noticed that our sex life fizzled. We still had sex but not nearly as much. While we were broken up he had sexual relations with other girls and I wonder if those other girls made him less sexually attracted to me? Well, zoom past a year later in November in 2010, he broke up with me for reasons that I’m still not sure about, he basically gave me the, “its not you, its me” speech. Towards the end of December, we started back talking and I thought that we were going to get back in a relationship but then he explained to me that he met another girl that he liked and who he thought was more attractive than I am and went on to explain that he didn’t I pretty That crushed my self-esteem because all of that time I thought we had relationship problems because of my actions but never my looks. After that I hated looking at the mirror at myself because I thought/think that I’m ugly and the only time that I did look in the mirror was to scrutinize my flaws and point out exactly what made me not pretty. A month later, my boyfriend came back and said that he made a mistake and that he didn’t think that I was ugly and that he loved me and wanted to be back with me. So, since then we’ve pretty much been in an open relationship, we’ve been back together for about 6 months and they have been amazing but he never ever wants to have sex with me and when we try he isn’t able to reach an erection. He explains that it isn’t because he doesn’t find me sexually attractive and that he doesn’t know what the problem is. Since we are in an open relationship, he isn’t able to have sex with me but he is able to with other girls. I still feel like he doesn’t think that I am pretty or find me sexually attractive but we have got into plenty of arguments where he argues that he thinks that I am. I don’t know what to do because I want our relationship to work but I don’t think that it will be able to if he can’t have sex with me. We’ve only had sex one time since we’ve gotten back together and I don’t want to have sex with other guys. I want a normal relationship. Do you think that the reason he cannot get or keep an erection with me is physical or psychological and what can we do to overcome this barrier? I am in love with him and he is my best friend. I don’t want this to be the cause of the end of our relationship.
A: Thank you for writing to us. The easiest way I can convey what I am about to say is that it is time to move on.
Open relationships do not work. It is as simple as that. They have limited value as a transitional stance, but ultimately the very human factors of security, intimacy, and self-esteem eclipse the transitional stance. If they work at all it is because they prevent deeper intimacy, not promote it. For those who want to keep intimacy at bay an open relationship will do the trick.
That having been said, your relationship does not sound truly open. You have not mentioned your side of the equation. If he is having sex with other women, are you having sex with other men? If not, why not? If it is because you are hoping to be faithful and that he will eventually curtail his other relationships, history would dictate you are wasting your time.
He doesn’t sound like relationship material. If intimacy is what you are looking for, find a person who is willing to be connected to you in a way that mirrors how you are connected to him. If you haven’t tried some individual counseling, you can use our find help tab at the top of the page to find someone in your area.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Aug 2011
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Boyfriend cannot reach an erection with me. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/20/boyfriend-cannot-reach-an-erection-with-me/