The Hook Up: Languishing libidos and biphobic boyfriends


I have been in a relationship with a bisexual girl for about 10 months. We have a pretty OK relationship. We have our strong differences but there are things about her that I do adore. However, we are having some bedroom issues.

Background story: In Feb. 2013, she went for an operation to remove a couple of cysts in her womb and she has been put on the mini pill ever since. And from then, our sex life has gone from hero to zero. We have had many chats (both peaceful and heated) about its lack thereof and she has said on many occasions that she will decide when we have sex. She said it’s her body and she has a right to decide what someone else can do with it.

I definitely have a higher libido than she does and I’m not sure if it is because she has had sex with people who have been demanding and have forced themselves on her. But all this is making me afraid to initiate sex for fear of rejection. Yet I feel that it’s unfair that sex should solely be on her terms only.

I do not want to jeopardize the relationship—I know sex isn’t everything but I don’t feel the intimacy with her. It seems that she only wants sex when she’s drunk or when she feels like it. Please help. I don’t know what else to do.–Need Help

Anna Says: OK, I will help you with your “pretty OK relationship,” Need Help. But I would also like to go on the record saying you deserve a pretty f*cking awesome relationship, and not simply an OK one.

Your girlfriend is both right and wrong—of course, it’s her choice if/when she wants to have sex. Everyone gets to make that choice. But it’s not helpful or even fair for her to say that sex can only happen when she feels like it and never when you do. That line of argument seems to imply that you are selfish for even asking to have sex with your girlfriend, which is weird and a little slut-shamey. You have desires and needs and feelings that your girlfriend is effectively shutting down. Since the talking hasn’t been getting you anywhere (has this really been happening for almost a year?!), and your needs aren’t being met, then it’s probably time to get them met elsewhere. Whether this means opening your relationship up or starting over, I don’t know. But continuing the way you’ve been (seriously, for a year!) is clearly making you miserable. And yes, sex isn’t everything, but it’s also not nothing, and if it’s important to you, then it’s important to you and your girlfriend shouldn’t treat sex like she’s bartering in a hostage situation.

I suppose it’s also possible that she’s had some shitty sexual things happen to her in the past that would make her guarded or triggered, but if that is the case, then you’d think she’d have at least brought them up once or twice. It’s also possible that her surgery left her with some residual pain that makes sex less than fun, but again, I don’t know why she wouldn’t have mentioned that in your many discussions. And the pill also affects one’s libido, of course, though it generally doesn’t make people withhold sex until they are intoxicated.

You talked about a loss of intimacy too, which means your problems run deeper than mere orgasms, and is, in my experience, more difficult to remedy. I am genuinely sorry though. Differing sex drives are one of the most common problems couples face. Decisions and fights around them are also intensely personal, and often quite righteous.

If she’s not willing to compromise by either tossing you a bone once in a while or letting you get your boned tossed elsewhere, then ask yourself if you would be happy to live this way indefinitely. My guess is the answer is no, but well, that’s your choice to make too.

Best of luck, NH. I hope you go from pretty OK to way OK (Gay OK?) sooner than later.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your The Hook Up questions at   

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