Q; My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost three years. We were both virgins and had sex with each other for the first time 8 months into the relationship. We would have sex at least three times a week and then it slowly went down to twice or once a week. Now for the past 5 months or so, we have sex and then go for two or three weeks without having sex at all. I talked to him about this and he said he just doesn’t have a need for sex, or have a desire for sex all the time. Sometimes he is in the mood and sometimes he is not. I do not understand how we went from being so intense to not sleeping together at all. I want to marry him and have a life with him, but I am afraid that his lack of desire will cause problems in our marriage. I feel that he is rejecting me every time he declines sex and I do not know what to do. Is it me or is it him? Please help.

A: I can’t answer your question definitively on the basis of a letter. What I can tell you is that there are people in the world who, after the first intense period of getting to know someone sexually, don’t have the desire very often. This doesn’t mean they don’t love. It just means that they have low sex drives. On the other hand, there are people in the world who use sex as a weapon or as a manipulation or as a way to signal that there is something wrong in the relationship. My advice to you is to look at the total picture. If you feel loved and cherished in every other way, maybe he just has a low sex drive. In that case you need to decide if infrequent sex is a reasonable trade-off for all the sweet and positive things in your relationship. This can be hard if your drive is more intense than his but people do find ways to compromise when they love each other.
On the other hand, if you feel like your boyfriend is using sex as a way to control you or the relationship and isn’t willing to make an effort to meet your needs as well as his own, then you need to ask yourself why you would want to be in a relationship with someone who would withhold intimacy to have the upper hand. These are difficult and perhaps painful issues. If you can’t sort them out yourself, then I suggest you talk to a qualified couple therapist about the issue.