How Can I Stay In a Sexless Relationship Without Feeling Resentful?

Dear Dategirl,

I've been with my boyfriend for a little over six months, and it's been wonderful. We get along great, have fun, and are committed. Although we've been sexually active for most of the relationship, he recently decided that he's uncomfortable with vaginal intercourse. He says he's been thinking about abortion issues and has concluded with some very (in my opinion) orthodox views. Furthermore, he's decided that the statistics for protected sex (we always use a condom) are not good enough and he wants to take no risks. When I pressed him harder for information, it came out that he always assumed on the off chance we do get pregnant, we could manage, but recently with me planning to leave the country (in roughly three months time) he's been forced to realize that I am unready/unwilling to bear a child (hence our fastidious use of condoms). I flat out told him I will not be having children until I am ready, and while abortion is not my ideal first choice, in a rare/emergency situation I do not think it's an immoral solution.

The amount of years until I want to have children is far greater than the amount of years I want to go without sex! As I said before, though, I'm planning to teach abroad for six months to a year, and that has also caused some tension in our relationship (he doesn't want me to leave, but he's not in a position to work abroad). Suffice it to say, there's a lot I want to do before settling down with children. By the way, he's known all along about my passion for travel, but admittedly this is the first time there's a bit of a timeline involved.

This seems like an unfair boundary for him to insist upon. I don't want to break up, because I love him, but I don't know if I can stay in a (more-or-less) sexless relationship without feeling resentful. He says he's satisfied with oral, hands, kissing, hugging, and everything except vaginal intercourse . . . but I feel like something is missing.

Am I wrong for being inflexible? Should we end things because of our different desires?Confused

I'll say something's missing—his penis in your vagina. As far as being inflexible goes, I think you're confused; sounds like he's the unyielding one. My first, second, and third thought on the matter is that he's punishing you for leaving the country. He may not even realize he's doing this, but it sure sounds like it.

I understand if abortion is something he doesn't want to be part of personally, but that's why we have things like readily available birth control. What if he's anti-choice for everyone? Have you discussed? That'd be a deal breaker for me. Either way, his stance seems pretty over-the-top.

He's correct in that no birth control method (save abstinence) is 100 percent effective, but why would he assume you'd do something as life-altering as have a baby with someone you'd only known for a few months? That seems like a recipe for ruining your life. Is he open to using a second method of birth control, like the pill or a diaphragm, in addition to the condom? Unless he's got supersperm, the chances of anything fighting its way through two methods are incredibly slim.

If he's not willing to bend on this, I don't see how or why you'd continue seeing him. Having a kid is a huge responsibility and one you're understandably not interested in for a few years. It's great that he's satisfied doing everything but; unfortunately, you aren't! Are you supposed to settle for hand jobs until you decide to get knocked up? Or is he just going to try to wear you down with cunnilingus? Maybe this is TMI (though really, when did that ever stop me?), but being punitively denied dick would drive me fucking crazy.

Your man is, at best, an ethical mismatch or, at worst, extremely passive-aggressive and manipulative. Your choice. Unfortunately, neither option is particularly appealing.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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