When Your Partner Doesn't Care About Your Pleasure

The overwhelming sadness of depression.Dear Em & Lo,

My fiance and I have been together for three years and have a one-year-old son. Although to most people we would seem to be a relatively happy couple, we do have our problems. Half of the problems now stem from our sexual relationship.

For a while now my fiance does not consider my orgasm. He really has no consideration in bed, even when I am working my hardest to please him. I am not allowed to have vibrators or any sexual toy. I am not allowed to masturbate, not even in front of him to get us both going. If he figures I am doing anything, then I am just a bitch that is replacing him.

I know he is insecure, but I don't know how to handle it anymore. It has just gotten so out of control that he has lost all consideration for my needs and now I need help.

-- I Want What He's Having

Dear I.W.W.H.H.,

Sex does not occur in a vacuum. (There's not enough room in there, badum ching.) Seriously, though: sex -- and especially sex in a long-term, serious relationship -- is as much a part of a relationship as the way you communicate or the history you share or the way your personalities complement each other's or the kids you have together. A sexual problem is a relationship problem.

What we're trying to say is: a man who is inconsiderate in bed is being inconsiderate, period. If he's not respecting your orgasm, he's not respecting you. If he's being selfish in bed, he's selfish. If he's being an asshole in bed, he's being an asshole, period. There is no such thing as a happy relationship with an unhappy sex life.

We say all this to make you feel better. Really. You need to know that it's okay to feel angry at him. You should be angry at him. You should be mad as hell, and you shouldn't take it anymore.

We recently advised a reader whose boyfriend was terrified of sex toys, and you might want to check out what we said to her. However, we suspect your fiancé is a tougher nut to crack. We suspect he wouldn't be amenable to a little sex toy shopping trip. We think you need to lay down the law. Tell your fiancé the following:

1. Toys will never replace you. My hand will never replace you. But you know what might replace you? Someone who respects me both in and out of the bedroom.

2. My orgasms are a deal-breaker. If you won't let me touch myself or use a toy when we are together, then I will go elsewhere to have my orgasms. And by elsewhere, I mean someone else's bed.

3. The next time you call me a bitch for requesting an orgasm, I walk out.

Feel free to rephrase in your own words. Feel free to soften the blow somewhat, if you feel that a different approach would be more effective, given his insecurities. After all, you have a child together, and only you can know whether or not you want to save this relationship. But don't give in. (Even for your son's sake -- because miserable parents who don't respect each other, who don't even really seem to like each other, don't do the kid any favors.) If your softer approach doesn't work, then feel free to quote us directly. But here's the thing: you have to mean it. And whatever you do, woman, do not marry this man until you have sorted out this issue. (Yes, we realize that having a kid together is a bigger deal than getting hitched, but there's no need to tighten the knot.)

If that makes us bitches, we don't want to be anything else,

- Em & Lo