I want caveman sex, but my fiancé never seems to want me

I want sex of the caveman variety – how do I tell my husband that?
I want sex of the caveman variety – how do I tell my husband that? - Mark Long

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Dear Rachel,

I’m 33 and I love my fiancé to bits. However, we haven’t had sex in a year: we’ve been together for more than five years and, for the last two, had a long-distance relationship when he left to do further study abroad. I still fancy him and vice versa (he says). The problem is, prior to him returning home from studies, I usually made the first move when it came to initiating sex. And I don’t really want sex, unless it’s of the caveman variety (clarification: he initiates) and as a result of this dynamic I no longer feel sexy enough in myself to initiate sex. What to do?

– Anon

Dear Anon,

It’s going to be tough love from me, young lady. I’ve read your much longer letter several times. Every time, my eyes pop. You love your fiancé “to bits” and then, boom: you haven’t had sex for a year? Girlfriend! This isn’t normal. You’re not virgin giant pandas in a Chinese state zoo, or a long-married couple who’ve been sharing a bed for 50 years – you are a nubile, curvy, well-kept young woman. And you’re not even that certain your only occasional bedmate fancies you. As my mother always used to say to me whenever I was mid-heartbreak, “Darling, remember who you are.” It sounds meaningless I know but it is very helpful. Take stock. You seem to have forgotten, or neglected, to respect yourself and your own requirements from this sad-sounding arrangement.

I read the rest of your letter – thank you for all the details, and keep them coming please – with the red warning lights flashing. If you’re happy to have a sexless as well as long-distance relationship with your chap, keep calm and carry on. But you’re not. Otherwise you wouldn’t have joined my merry band of Asking for a Frienders. You are sad.

So I’d say this: if you can’t imagine ending your engagement (which is what I’d tell my friend, my daughter, a stranger on a bus – to do) then you have to manage your expectations. Forget your hopes of the swoonsome Caveman Experience with a Real Man, one who will carry you over the threshold on your wedding day with one arm, toss you on the bed and ravish you with the debonair manly confidence of a Clark Gable or Richard Burton. That is not on the cards. Work with what you’ve got, which is Mr Weedy Wet-Pants who always waits for you to make the first move. Like it or lump it. In my – cough – limited experience, men are very happy for women to initiate and long for them to do this more often but I agree: never reciprocating is rude and breeds resentment.

By the by, I don’t think this is male sexual paralysis in the wake of third-wave feminism, #metoo or the tense drama around consent. You are in a long-term relationship with this man. He says he fancies you, but his actions – especially in the bedroom – speak louder than words. I’m going to use that terrible, wounding cliché to drive the point home. If he wanted to be having hot monkey sex with you, you’d know about it. It sounds as if the long-distance side of things has snuffed out desire, his end.

Here goes: he’s just not that into you. But don’t despair. You know what you want – a caveman – and he’s not that. Plus, he’s on another continent. Remember who you are. Go and find your Fred Flintstone nearer home!

Dear Rachel,

I am a 41-year-old gay man who has yet to experience the joy of a long-term relationship. I am beginning to wonder if I am perhaps destined to be single forever. I would like to meet someone special but there is a part of me that thinks I am possibly far too inexperienced to be capable of forming such a relationship. Are some people just meant to be single?

– 41-year-old gay man

Dear 41-year-old gay man,

I felt a piercing pang for you, reading that. As I’m not gay (as far as I know) I’ll say what I can – then hand over to my fab franchise of gay friends. Straight middle-aged women don’t know much about the gay scene, you see, and still imagine it’s like Heaven nightclub in the 80s.

The other night at a birthday dinner a gay friend told me he was walking down the street in Tel Aviv and a man stopped him and said, “Do you want to f--k?” So they did and I honestly don’t think a man would have stopped a pretty woman outside Aldi and asked her that, as she’d probably call the police rather than an Uber to a hotel.

Look. If you were my son, of any orientation, I’d give you a big hug and tell you to concentrate on your work and your friendships because so often that’s where love is to be found. And I’d tell you to travel. Get out of this gloomy island and turn your face to the sun.

Without further ado, then over to my team – and here are edited highlights of what they said. “The romantic side must come first, and any decent partner would make the effort to understand,” says Johnny, in his 20s. “Keep trying – what about dating apps? Are you being too selective, maybe only looking for a 25-year-old twink [slang for a young-looking gay man] or a 50-year-old bear [the opposite to twink, a hairy, heavy, older man]?” asks Johnny. “Try and think less about the looks and vibe. And more about whether you connect.”

Tom, in his late 20s: “For many, the process of coming out is lengthy and arduous – and it really is a process, and not a simple matter of telling people you are queer. Being closeted forces many to adopt characteristics and traits to hide who they really are. Unpacking this after coming out can be confusing, as many often feel like they are two different people who need to become one – something many straight people won’t relate to. Not knowing or trusting who you really are can make trusting others to love, respect and know who you are difficult and thus relationships can seem elusive for many queer people well into their 30/40s. Ask yourself why relationships haven’t been your forte – do you love yourself? Are you making space for a relationship in your life – this requires carving out time to meet new people, friends or lovers. If not, you are not leaving yourself open to even the prospect of a relationship.”

Robin, in his 30s, and maybe wiser, digs deeper: “What do you feel being in a long-term relationship might bring you? What are you actually doing to find love and putting yourself out there?” He goes on: “I might also remind readers that many people in long-term relationships are miserable and that being in a relationship isn’t always the healthiest place to be.”

Indeed. If you are expecting continuous “joy” of a long-term relationship as opposed to deep satisfactions and quotidian pleasures, you may be doomed to disappointment.

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