I don’t like sex. I would like to want to have to have sex but as soon as I start I can’t think about anything else but stopping. I am not in a relationship but have dated a few guys in the last year. Friends just say I haven’t met the right guy but if I think of my history there was only ever one guy I enjoyed sex with. A guy has never made me orgasim and I can only make myself using a vibrator (which I do enjoy). I feel confused and lonely by this because society is so sexually focused. What should I do?
This sounds like a very upsetting situation, but one that is also very common.
Many of us have conflicting feelings about sex and intimacy and it doesn’t help when well meaning friends tell you the problem is yours and your alone. Its also not helpful when we live in a society that is so sexually focused, as you say, but with little idea how to talk about it in ways that are helpful and meaningful.
What is sex?
Sounds like you don’t enjoy partnered sex, but I wonder what kind of sex that is exactly? Penis in vagina sex? Oral sex? Anal Sex? Using toys? Using hands? You mention that you enjoy orgasming from masturbation; can you distinguish what it is about masturbation that is pleasant? And maybe share that with a partner? It can be helpful to consider what you like about solo sex, especially if there are some sex acts that you like more than others.
The pressure to have (perfect) sex.
Firstly, ask yourself why you have sex? This seems an unusual question to many, but it is one of the most helpful. Sometimes the pressure to have a lot of sex, or a certain kind of sex can make it unpleasant. Examining our motives for sex helps us understand our needs and our desire for sex.
Secondly, consider the people who are your lovers. How would you describe the connections you have with them? Are they the kind of guys to take an interest in your pleasure? Do you find it easy to tell them what you like? Having dated a few guys in the last year and not liked them doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with you, nor them. Many people find sex very hard to discuss, and so avoid it, hoping that their partners will just magically know what they like. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your partner(s) how you like sex to be, what would make it easier for you? Or, if they are simply not listening to you, it may be time to reconsider if you are a good fit for each other.
Thirdly, where is your attention during sex? A lot of people who experience difficulty with sex do so because they find it hard to focus on what they are doing. You say ” I can’t think about anything but stopping” which sounds really distressing. Practicing mindfulness is a helpful alternative to struggling with sex and invites you to allow yourself to slow down and connect to your mind and body rather than being distracted by racing thoughts or worrying there is something wrong with you. A lot of women find this especially helpful and it’s been proven to have excellent outcomes for women living with sexual pain and even gynecological cancer.
Another consideration is a small percentage of the global population who report no or very little interest in (partnered) sex. The current statistics suggest around 1% of the population feel that the descriptors of asexuality are applicable to them, they may be for you too.
If you think you would like to be sexual, but are feeling blocked write down what stops you. If you are in pain or have some difficulty matching your your sexual values and your experiences, therapy might be really helpful.