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Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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My boyfriend does not like giving oral sex but loves receiving

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My boyfriend does not like giving oral sex but loves receiving it. He also doesn't like kissing or foreplay. I have expressed frustration with this imbalance. Is he being selfish? I don't feel my needs are being met and I don't know what to do about it.
Thank you for writing to Just Answer.

This is a pretty serious difference between the two of you. I think this is too important to be dealt with by "hinting at" your needs not being met.

At a time when you're alone, but not after you've slept together-- it would be wise for you to have a frank conversation with him about this. His reluctance to make sure you are also enjoying things, and yet expecting you to perform orally for him is quite selfish. Those restrictions--no kissing, no oral sex, no foreplay make it sound like he is just using you for his own pleasure with little or no regard for you.

Are you really willing to settle for a relationship in which you are not kissed or treated well sexually? Have you ever experienced a healthy sexual relationship?

I wonder if his revulsion toward women shows in other aspects of the relationship. Is he controlling? Does he make decisions without consulting you? If this attitude is also present in other areas of the relationship, please consider them serious red flags.

It is hard to imagine him acting like that and at other times being emotionally supportive and respectful.... His "phobias" point to a dislike of women, at a very deep level.

Think if this is how you could stand to spend the rest of your life....and if it isn't, give serious thought to finding a healthier man to have a relationship with. There is a great little book I found that sums up why women settle for second best relationships, and how to break the cycle. It has a silly looking cover, but the information is excellent: The Temptations of the Single Girl

I hope this helps!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful. I have been in a long term sexually healthy relationship before, and my current partner is very sweet, considerate, and kind in other areas, so I guess it's complicated--we're compatible intellectually, share a great deal of humor, and regularly express affection, if not physically, then verbally. I am frustrated with division of household tasks and finances though, and there is selfishness on his part here too, and I can't help wondering if this selfishness on the practical domestic level translates to the sexual?

Do you think mysogyny is a factor here? Or narcissism? Or phallic narcissism?

I'm wondering why, exactly, a man being able to have intercourse and receive oral sex but not give back translates into a hatred of women? Why would a man who hates women even want to have intercourse at all? Is it possible for a man to have deep intimacy issues but not actually hate women?

My boyfriend has had previous trauma/injury to the face/head area, and he claims this is why it is hard for him to kiss, etc. Plus he says it's frightening. He has, to his credit, tried to kiss me more, and there has been gradual, minimal improvement, but I am still feeling frustrated since kissing is very important to me in romantic relationship.
Ah, here are the pitfalls on online advice-giving. There was no hint of facial injury in the first note I responded of course this changes my impression quite a bit.

But frightening? Can you give me some background on this... Was he ever molested? What is his relationship like with his mother?

And how does he do with women authority figures at work, etc?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes, I should have mentioned the facial/head injuries, of which there have been several, but a long time ago and no visible signs of them now. This could explain his aversion to anything to do with his mouth, but not his aversion to foreplay in general. I think he does have some form of PTSS--could this explain his overall intimacy issues? We have fallen into a sexual rut (for me) of me giving him a blow job, having intercourse (with no eye contact which also bothers me), and then I will bring myself to climax afterwards (sometimes he helps but he's pretty detached). There is very little sexual intimacy. Yes, he was molested by an older boy when he was little-- this happened once and did not involve anal intercourse, just the other boy (for lack of a better word) "jerking" him off. He was also seduced by a much older woman when he was 12, and was having sex with her for a time, so in my mind, this counts as molestation, and must have been completely overwhelming for him--he doesn't really talk about it, and still maintains his promise not to ever tell anyone about it as she made him promise). He had a turbulent childhood, with a very smart, talented, beautiful, emotionally and practically unstable mother--he was her main confidente, the oldest child, responsible for his siblings, especially after his father left. His father is a narcissist, as is my mother, and we are both oldest children, so we share a deep common wound. He claims his mother was in love with him. When he talks about her, it is always with love and sadness, not hate (he talks about his father with hate at times, though). His mother committed suicide when he was in his 40's. I've been with other men, where the sex was better, but the communication was terrible and the passive aggression intolerable, and they hated their mothers (inevitably turning me into her). I share enough similarities artistically and intellectually with my current boyfriend's mother to know that there is a connection for him there, he's even alluded to it, but I thought I was "evolving" by finally being with a man who didn't actually hate his mother. He is in therapy, as am I, but it's as if a light bulb has suddenly gone off for me in terms of the sexual problems (I had hoped they would improve over the last year we have been involved and have been reluctant to set sexual boundaries for fear of making him feel inadequate). Sometimes he forces my head down when I am giving him oral sex, and he only likes to have sex from behind, although he will concede a bit when I say I'd like to do it differently. He did have anal sex with me against my will--it was only for a minute, but I said no, it hurts, and he couldn't stop. Since then it hasn't been a problem, but this kind of force has never happened to me before and it troubles me.As for women authority figures, I don't see a problem--he is self-employed, and while he swings between adoring people and criticizing them, he is also capable of deep compassion and thoughtful gestures (looking out for elderly female neighbors, etc.) He loves to give people gifts. I realize this is a long answer. Thank you so much for your insights.
Thank you for filling in the details. There are so many red flags in what you wrote I can hardly count them.

I have seen relationships where people bond over mutual wounds, and have to tell you that it rarely works out for the best. It distresses me to think of the way you are being treated sexually by this man. This is not in your best interests. Do you feel loved and respected after having sex with him? Even "only a minute" of non-consensual sex ...especially when you are telling him it hurt is unacceptable. (There is no such thing as "can't" stop--that was a choice he made.)

His having been molested by both sexes does not bode well for him being able to evolve into a healthy sexual partner. He needs therapy. Those kind of early experiences cast a long shadow over a person's life. He is still keeping a promise to his female molester--this is very significant.

He forces your head down, comes at you in a way that he can't even see your face, hates to kiss, forced you to perform an act against your will. If your best and dearest friend came to you and told you this story was happening to her --what would you tell her?

You are accepting unacceptable behavior and making excuses for him--he couldn't stop, he will concede a bit. I know he may seem better than those in the past, but is it good enough? What is his sexual behavior doing to your self-esteem? You might want to do some reading on co-dependency. This is a trait of making other people's needs more important than our own. It is often a reaction to a chaotic, violent, or alcoholic childhood in which the child learns to do whatever it takes to keep the peace. The classic book on this is Melody Beattie's

I know I have changed the focus to you instead of figuring out what is going on with him. That's because this situation will not change until you change. Nothing you can do or say will make him change--the issues are too deep. And the only person we have control over is ourself.

I think it is time for some introspection about what you really want in a relationship--how you want to feel when you're with someone. And decide that you won't settle for less.

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is what I would say to a client or friend that I cared about.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Well, what you are saying makes sense, and I've had enough therapy/self help to know this intellectually--but of course that is different from knowing it experientially. I've struggled with co-dependency issues all my life and know the territory, alas, well. That doesn't mean I make smart choices, still, but at least I am reaching my limit much sooner in this relationship than in others. I have decided not to engage in sex with him anymore, set firm boundaries around what I need, and if he can't change, then there is no more sexual/romantic relationship...he is very dependent on me and I worry about his stability, but I have to put myself first. Will do. Thanks again--you've been clear headed and truly helpful.

ps I'm ready to "accept" the answer, but wasn't sure if I click on that if you will get this latest reply.
I'm glad our conversation was helpful!

In addition to therapy, one of the very best ways to overcome codependency is through Al-anon...even if there isn't any history of alcohol use in your significant others (although most people have it somewhere in their family). Their program of keeping the focus on yourself instead of the other person is incredibly helpful. Another group with a similar focus is CODA

The advantage to these groups is that they're free and frequent...a big help when you're trying to re-configure your life-long patterns.

It's been great working with you...take good care of yourself,
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