Boyfriend is Anxious about Sex

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve had a very loving relationship with a man for almost a year now. We have an amazing relationship and our only issue seems to be sex. He can’t orgasm. He says it’s due to anxiety. He HAS had an orgasm with me twice, once through mutual masturbation and once through oral sex. However, the next time we tried, he couldn’t and he was very upset. After that night, I noticed that he started avoiding anything intimate or sexual.

We used to be very sexual. Even if we didn’t go very far, we were always making out. Even if we weren’t having sex, I still felt loved and wanted. But now he avoids anything that might lead to sex.

I tried not pushing him for a while to let him initiate relations when he felt comfortable. When nothing happened, I thought maybe he was waiting on me. So one night I decided to be forward and a little aggressive. It was disastrous. Not only did he feel pressured, but also when he stopped me, I felt terribly rejected and hurt. Afterwards he apologized and said it wasn’t me. He assured me he wants me more than he can say. But tried to explain it by saying that every time he thinks about it now, he is afraid of not being able to perform and it just shuts everything down.

I’m writing to ask what he needs from me. What can I do to make this situation less stressful for him? In the beginning, he said it was like this with his last girlfriend and he just needed to get to know me and be more relaxed around me. After almost a year, I don’t know what else I can do to make him feel relaxed. I know he feels frustrated when we try and it doesn’t work. However he also says he feels like a failure and he knows he is disappointing me because he is disappointing himself.

I love him. I don’t want him to feel pressured and I’ll do whatever it takes to help. But I do get frustrated. I want him that way and I miss being intimate with him. Can you offer any words of wisdom?

A: I don’t know if these are words of wisdom, but what I can say is that this does not seem like a couples issue. The responsibility for this at this point is with your boyfriend. What has he done to manage this problem? From your email it seems he has not done anything (that you are reporting here) to cope with his anxiety. How can you help if we don’t know exactly what the problem is?

I would continue to be supportive but encourage him to see his physician to make sure there are no physical problems, and then make an appointment with a therapist specializing in sex therapy. In this way he will be figuring out what the issue is so that the two of you will have a better chance of moving through it. Here is the link to a not-for-profit, professional organization that can help you find someone in your area: The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) .

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Boyfriend is Anxious about Sex. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/09/boyfriend-is-anxious-about-sex/