A couple days ago I wrote this post about me and GreenHunk having mismatched sex drives. You guys gave me some good advice and I tried some of it. And it totally didn’t work. And the reason is that this problem is much more complicated than just mismatched sex drives, and I really just don’t know what to do.

I constantly feel gross and unattractive. My last relationship was very abusive, and much of this abuse centered around sex. My ex told me regularly that I wasn’t attractive enough to hold his attention, got angry with me when I tried to initiate sex, and would usually only initiate sex with me if I was upset about something else he’d done, usually in the middle of me crying. He cheated on me multiple times and watched violent, terrible rape porn and left it on my computer. He anally raped me several times. On top of this, I was raised to believe sex is very wrong outside of marriage and masturbation is never okay, and women don’t like sex, it’s just for men. I was completely inexperienced until 18, then did some sexual things for a couple years with my first boyfriend but was wracked with guilt before finally leaving religion and losing my virginity to someone I was not in the least attracted to, who I felt pressured to be in a relationship with. (He did not pressure me to have sex with him, though, I initiated it and kept pushing myself to “get over” my lack of attraction for him because I thought I shouldn’t feel that way.) I did not masturbate, ever, until I was 20. I have Problems with sex. If I were the kind of person who had a low sex drive, I think I would just never try again, and sometimes I wish that were an option because it’s all so painful.

From my perspective, GreenHunk doesn’t seem willing to try. He usually seems to get frustrated with me about sex whenever it comes up, seems annoyed that I’m asking him. This perception is incredibly painful and also very much at odds with the way he treats me in every other aspect of our life. I feel inadequate and disgusting and rejected.

His perspective, to the best of my understanding, is that he feels pressured and uncomfortable. He can always tell when something is really emotionally off with me, and no matter how I hard I try, something is usually off with me when I try to initiate sex or anything sexual, or even talk about sex. I’m expecting rejection before it comes. I’m expecting to not be good enough. He says that makes it hard for him to be in the mood. I feel like if I could get over all my issues about sex, we’d be able to make it work - we’d have sex a few days a week and he’d help me get off on other days, and it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But I can’t seem to get over them on my own, and his reaction to my attempts, while understandable, exacerbates my fear and sadness. We are in a spiral of terribleness. And the whole rest of our relationship is awesome right now - we’ve really overcome a lot. But I just have no idea what to do about this. I’ve tried and tried to ask him for what I think would help me, which is a consistently kind and open response to my attempts, however awkward they are, and I’ve explained to him how much I hurt, and he definitely cares about that, he just cannot seem to emotionally be in the right place to try when I’m struggling so much with my emotions.

I don’t know. I feel so discouraged about this. I’m sorry if I’ve talked about it too much. I don’t know what to do. Can I please ask you guys not to comment saying I should break up with him or he’s just being a complete jerk, though? He’s a kind and caring partner in every other aspect of our life - there must be something going on here that we can do something about.

Anyways, thanks for listening. Even if no one has any idea what I should do, at least I can tell you guys. I really feel like this is one problem I can’t tell anyone IRL about.