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sexual desire

Monogamy in Gay Couples

Dr. Olson,

I don’t know how to ask this, not even sure if I should, but I will. Given that there is a difference in sex drives between younger and older men, and you are significantly older than your partner, did that ever create conflict for you and/or him, and if so, how did you resolve it?

You may ask me anything—my life’s pretty much an open book—but I also suspect that you are more interested in your own sex life than mine, and I’m guessing you are concerned about differences in sexual desires between you and either a much older or younger partner. Continue reading

Loving Women with Penises

Dr. Olson,

I feel a bit lost. I’m in my late twenties, and I have been trying to date women quite unsuccessfully for years. As a teenager I didn’t know if I liked women or men. I didn’t get aroused by looking at women in erotic materials most of the time, but I didn’t have much response looking at erotic materials of men either.

One day I found a website and thought this woman looks like the type of woman I would like to have sex with. Scrolling down, I realized she was a nonoperative, transgender woman—a woman with a penis—and I had a stronger reaction than I have ever had. I avoided it for years. Now I find that when I see a woman who was born a woman, I feel there’s something missing, and I have a recurrent fantasy of being with a woman with a penis. I have avoided it because I feel it’s something wrong, but now I think that maybe I would like to have a girlfriend who is transgender, and my arguments against it are becoming less and less good.

 Now the only things that are nearly stopping me are what my family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors would think; how it would impact my job; what risks I would experience in defending against others’ hate; what God would say; and whether there’s a “cure” for this.

You are not as alone as you feel. A book called Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are gives us some insight. The author argues that the best way to learn what people are really thinking and doing isn’t to look at research based on surveys; what people are doing is best considered by looking at big data like Google and Pornhub searches. Continue reading

“Is My Husband Gay?”

Dear Dr. Olson,

Several months ago I met my boyfriend at a party and we really clicked. He asked me out and we’ve dated since then. He treats me very well. A few months after we started dating, he told me he thought he might be bisexual. He said he’s never been in a sexual relationship with a man, but he admits to having erotic fantasies when in the presence of attractive men our age. He admits those attractions are growing stronger. He vacillates between wanting a relationship with me and exploring his same-sex attractions. He doesn’t want to commit to me “until I understand my sexuality better.” Should I try to encourage him to stay with me or set him free to explore his sexuality? Am I being too old fashioned?

First let me say that most people who are bisexual will tell you that just because they’re bisexual doesn’t mean they cannot be monogamous. If you read through the comments on my essay “The Messy Realities of Bisexuality,” you will find many who say that whether you are bisexual or heterosexual, everyone experiences attractions to people outside their primary relationship. But we also have a choice: to control those desires or act on them. Bisexual people are no more promiscuous in their sexual behavior than heterosexuals. But heterosexuals aren’t all that good at monogamy either. Continue reading

My Partner Has Lost Interest in Sex

Dr. Olson,

I have been with my partner for 24 years and we still have a good relationship, but he has lost all interest in sex. He treats me well and really seems to care about me, but we haven’t had any sexual intimacy in almost three years. When I want to talk about it, he casually dismisses the subject. I miss having that physical intimacy and wonder if it’s okay to experience it outside my relationship with him.

For a variety of reasons, all couples, gay or straight, travel through sexual deserts, but a three-year trek through this desert is an unusually long period of time. First, let’s examine male sexual functioning in general terms. (You can get a copy of my handout on self-esteem on my website.) Continue reading

Is Porn Ruining Your Sex Life?

Dr. Olson,

I’m sexually attracted to my wife, and she is a very sexual person, but sometimes we don’t have sex for a while because I have been watching porn, masturbated, and can’t be sexual with her. She thinks I’m addicted to porn and interprets my sexual contentment as not finding her attractive. I guess I’ve been neglecting her needs by giving myself an orgasm. There are so many different angles to sexuality, and it is challenging to match two people’s unique drives.

You are not alone in this. A recent report in the Washington Post suggests that adults in the United States are having less sex, and the number of people who reported having no sex at all in the past year reached an all-time high in 2018.

Full disclosure: While I’d like to say that my interest in porn has been purely scientific, the fact is sometimes I enjoy porn. Let’s set aside the issues of whether lust, masturbation, and porn are sinful and look only at the behavior.

Continue reading

Why Am I Attracted Only to Older Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson!

I am in my early thirties, and I came out about a year ago after years of casually dating women while having discreet sexual encounters with men much, much older than me. Since coming out, I have tried to date guys closer to my own age but have found that the sexual attraction just isn’t there for me.

I am grappling with the fact that my desires are what they are and trying to reconcile them with expectations for where I want to be in my own life, how I present myself to others, and my fear of judgment from friends and family.

Why don’t I feel the same attraction to guys closer to my own age than I do to guys 20–30+ years older than me? How could a 65-year-old man and I possibly live every day together? I feel that I should be seeking a more “practical” lifelong partner. We are so vastly different in terms of schedule and lifestyle. These are the questions I ask myself.

This is an important question and one I am asked about frequently. First, loving another person is never practical. Our attraction to another is not a rational process but happens due to forces outside of our consciousness and control.

Continue reading

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