I have what I feel like is a common problem in long-term relationships. My boyfriend is very particular about when he likes to have sex. If he’s not in the mood, no sex. His in-the-mood-ness correlates with him feeling successful or powerful. So if he has a good day at work, horny. But bad day at work, or someone makes him feel bad, no way. We got into a huge blowup fight about this, because it’s completely unfair that I’m always the one working around his “schedule” and he never conforms to what I want. The fight spiraled out of control pretty quickly, and at one point he was throwing feminism back in my face—that he shouldn’t ever have to consent to sex if his gut was saying no. But it left me thinking: Why do I (a woman) feel the need to say yes even if sex isn’t really what I feel like at the moment? How do most couples make it work?
Oh dear. That sounds like a pretty amazing fight. I’m not going to lie, I tend to be like your boyfriend in fights, grabbing at any rhetorical straw to score some points even if I’m basically being ridiculous. It’s not one of my better qualities. Not that consent is ridiculous, obviously. I’m not trying to minimize the seriousness of marital rape. Buuuuuuuut I don’t think that’s really relevant here.
You’re correct in thinking this problem is a problem lots of couples have. Generally either one half of the couple has a way higher sex drive and jumps whenever the other is in the mood, or they schedule it? I think? I’ve never talked to a scheduler about the details, but it makes sense. It gives everyone time to get themselves in the mood?
Longterm relationship sex is great in many ways, and it sucks in other ways. I think, in terms of consent and scheduling, you have to decide for yourself what your level of interest has to be for you to say yes. It seems like, for your boyfriend, he needs to be actively horny before he’ll consider it. This seems selfish, but then again, maybe he has depression issues, or can’t get it up otherwise, or something.
I do think most people in longterm relationships are familiar with the state of not being actively in the mood for sex, but being not not in the mood—open to it, I guess.
I think for most, that is the bar for whether sex is going to happen. It’s possible—with just some foreplay, porn, or sexy thinking—to go from open to actively interested. It would be great if your boyfriend were able to do this, and definitely you should have another, non-angry talk about it. But if he’s not down, then the choice is yours: You be the one to adjust to his schedule, or accept that sex is going to be pretty rare. Great! But rare.
If you’re cool with infrequent but awesome sex, that’s a completely okay solution. You can also both masturbate as much as you want. Or talk open relationship? Is it fair that you’re the one always adjusting for him? No, it’s not fair. Are relationships that work always fair? Unfortunately, they are not.
Then again, you could always just break up with him. Problem solved.