Hello, and thank you for reading and answering my question! After more than two years of being single, I decided I needed more affection and physical attention and asked a male friend if we could try having a casual relationship (casual because I was not sure I wanted a serious relationship, because I did not know him 100% well at that point, and because I may move out of town in some months from now). This arrangement worked very well for about a month, keeping me very satisfied physically. Around the end of this month, I realized I had started liking my friend more and more as a person. At about the same time, I started losing my appetite for sex, suspetedly because I was unsure whether my friend felt the same way about me or whether I was still just a casual thing to him. After clearing up the fact that we both feel a bit more than just physical attraction for each other (while he confessed that the unclear situation was uncomfortable for him as well, as he did not know whether to invest more or not), I thought things would take a turn for the better, but instead, I find myself unable to climax. For the past two weeks, I find more satisfaction in cuddling with my partner than in sex, and it is as if my sexual organs have lost their ability to feel electrified. I do derive some erotic pleasure from his touches, but it does not escalate to the point where it can make me have an orgasm anymore. We still have sex sometimes (about twice a week), but I do it more because 1. it connects us, and 2. because I want my partner to feel good, even if I don’t feel much. Under these conditions, my partner also rarely wants to engage in or continue sex if I tell him I don’t feel so much, because he says he is never completely satisfied himself if he cannot make me have an orgasm as well. Since this has happened to me before, I fear that this will be the end of our relationship (just like back then), and it makes me feel…defective. Any suggestions are much appreciated, because I don’t plan to just let things fall apart without counteracting it every way that I can.

A: First of all, you are not defective. It is very normal for there to be a great deal of sexual “electricity” in the early stages of a relationship, and then for it to wane a little as time goes on — especially since you were initially only looking for a physical relationship and now you are looking for more. Our head gets in the way of our body all the time.

I think that’s one of the reasons affairs are often so sexually charged. You aren’t trying to analyze all the other aspects that go into a serious long-term relationship, such as compatibility, affection, shared goals, family involvements, hobbies, financial stability, future aspirations, etc, etc. Once we start looking at someone as a potential life partner, all sorts of things become important, not just whether we are sexually satisfied or not.

You are in your early twenties and this relationship is still in its infancy stage. Give it a chance before you predict its end. The best way to improve sexual intimacy is to improve open communication and trust. Keep cuddling, keep talking and see where things go.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts