Dear Dr. Romance:

I was hoping for a little advice on my relationship now that is truly wonderful and appears to be the best relationship of my life. Things are souring from my end, which I could not understand why, until this morning when it dawned on me. I have never been as happy as I am now in a relationship, but there is a major road block that has appeared (actually, I denied it ever really being there), and now I would like to know if it's truly fixable or if I am going to run into a dead-end wall eventually because of the resentment that it is capable of producing.

What is this undeniable truth...? I am not sexually as attracted to him as I'd like to be. His attraction to me is incredible and helps keep our sex life nice, but I'm slowly seeing that from the very first day, his technique, coupled with his chronic un-fresh breath, slight hygiene issues below (he's not circumcised), and larger than I'm used to "member", have me completely uninterested in sex. Now, I have raised the hygiene issue, so we're good there, and his breath is caused by his acid reflux, so we're monitoring that, and I keep extra lubrication handy for the "size" issue, but the overall technique is something I cannot figure out how to fix without hurting him. It's bad enough that I show disinterest and have raised the hygiene issues, but I still cannot seem to find a route to changing my mind about the chemistry. (I'm just not getting aroused!)

He's entirely my "type", tall and handsome and we get along like two peas in a pod, but why am I not feeling it in the bedroom? I'm attracted to him, but just don't want sex. My answer for this, thus far, was that I had been extremely sick a few weeks ago with a strange virus, and that I'd lost my libido suddenly. But this initial diagnosis has lost its validity. (I even tested my testosterone level to see if it is actually physical!) I know now what the problem is, and I really need help in figuring things out. I have never in my entire sexual life had this issue. I'm 30, and up until now, my libido has done nothing but GROW with time. ;-)

This is a "fresh" relationship of 2 months, he's 25 and I'm 30, we have great communication between us, he's open-minded, as I am, and we both have normal lives with the normal pressures that go with it, so no other explanations really remain as to why this is happening with me. I might be slightly depressed and stressed, but I have been all year and have never had issues with sex. I just don't want to regret losing a relationship that may have a chance to turn into something truly amazing, but I also do not want to build hope where there's no real room for it to thrive in.  I hope to hear from you soon. 

Dear Reader

You don't say if you ever had a strong sexual response to this man. If you once did, then the things you mention have turned you off, but you can get it back again. It's always disappointing when the "new romance" wears off, and it always does sooner or later. But, long-term relationship sex is a skill that must be learned if the relationship is to survive. It just doesn't happen as naturally as the new relationship sex. 

It sounds like you're doing the right things, taking care of hygiene and bad breath. If you've been able to get past those two toughies without upsetting him too much, then you're handling it well.

As to problems with technique, it's a teaching situation. You need to practice saying "Would you touch me here?" "I'd love it if you did this to me" etc. It sounds like he loves you enough that he'd be open to you telling him what you like, as long as you don't criticize what he's already doing. Think about what works for you, and then ask him for it. Look for alternative ways of doing whatever he's doing that you don't like. Present it as a new adventure, a new idea, instead of leading with your frustration. Then focus on how loving it is for him to do what you want, even if he didn't know instinctively. Sex is not the biggest part of a relationship, unless it doesn't work. Then it becomes the only thing. If you can focus on what you do enjoy in bed with him, and keep teaching him to do what works for you, you'll get to a place where you do respond to him. It's going to take some patience on your part, but it sounds like he's worth it. "Asking for What You Want"  and "Relating With Love" will help you move your relationship to the next stage.

 Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage   has a lot of helpful  information and guidelines about talking about sex.  

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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.