Dear Hot Stuff,
I am in love with a wonderful woman and we have been
together for just over ten years. All was fine until about two
years ago when she completely went off sex. Our relationship
perfect except for this. In the beginning we talked, argued
and even laughed about it. Discussions always finished with 'it
will get better I promise'. She had never had a huge sex drive but
depression and prolonged time off work have clearly had influenced
I have tried to be patient and have suggested
counselling, either on her own or together as a couple. She keeps
on insisting she's fine and doesn't need help. All of this is
slowly pushing us apart. I have been honest with her and have
told her how much it hurts knowing that the woman I love (and who
insists she loves me too) doesn't want to touch me or have me touch
her. She just keeps apologising and tells me it's not me -
something I have difficulty believing.
I love her so very much but I can't and won't stay in a
sexless relationship. I've told her this but her answer stays the
same - it will get better and she loves me. I just want to know how
to help her and save our relationship.
Amanda from Loughborough,
Dear LBD in Loughborough,
I'm most saddened by your mail. So-called "lesbian bed death" is
sadly an all too common occurrence in long-term relationships.
Firstly, you are doing the right thing by being patient, and two
years shows a lot of patience. Seeking external advice from sexual
health experts, counsellers and doctors are also recommendable
But nevertheless you are in a dire situation here, LBD, and for
your own health and happiness, I would strongly advise that you
begin asking yourself some serious questions about whether or not
your relationship should be kept alive in it's current form.
I want to be kind to you, LBD, and if you were a reader writing
in different circumstances, perhaps in regard to a less mature
relationship or one in which LBD had only struck temporarily, then
perhaps I would be able to. As it stands, out of your ten years,
the last two of those have been lived sexlessly and, I can only
imagine, most painfully.
The problem with "bed death" is not the lack of sex - one can
always masturbate and watch porn - the most damaging effect of this
particular phenomenon is the pain it causes to constantly question
why the one you love doesn't want you or doesn't seem to love you
in the same way. Your partner has apparently had reason to retreat
for a while, indeed depression often has a negative effect on
libido (so inextricably linked to self-esteem), and I'm sure you
have cared for her and been entirely supportive of her during what
must have been a difficult period. Two years on however, no one
would begrudge you saying to yourself 'I think my needs must also
be taken care of now'. Both physical and emotional needs.
The real question is not 'should I break up with my partner?' or
even 'does she love me?' or 'will things change?' The real question
is are you happy? If you are and you genuinely believe
things can improve then force the issue. Tell her how you feel
and suggest a series of low-key (but non-breakable) "sex dates" to
get you back on track. Concentrate on rebuilding intimacy to begin
with - you could agree that you share a candle-lit bath together,
followed by a massage and then cuddling, but no sex, for example.
Take it from there, being creative and thinking about what works
for you both as a couple (A luxy hotel? A night under canvas?).
Work together to make it fun and remember that sex is always part
of a bigger picture.
If it becomes clear that she has no interest in reviving your
sexual connection and you really think that you have done all you
can and your battered ego and emotional batteries need
recharging then it sounds like a time-out or a definitive break
could be in order.
The gruesome fact of the matter is that love is about being
happy and wanting to make someone else happy. If
after all of your attempts to instigate renewal in your sexual
relationship, your girlfriend is still incapable of wanting to
change for herself and for you, then I'm afraid things are pretty
Try and try and try again when you're in love, LBD, but know
when to stop and say enough is enough too. I wish you all the
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