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Dead sex drive with multiple partners


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Hi, I’ve been with my partner for five and a half years. We have always been polyamorus. Our relationship is great except for the fact that in the past year we’ve had sex like 2-4 times and it has been painful and difficult each time.


I was sexually abused as a child and my whole life my sex drive has jumped and died. I want to fix it and find a healthy place to be in but it has been hard and this is the longest I have gone with this awful feeling in my heart when it comes to sex. I am working on finding a sex positive poly counselor but it isn’t always easy. The one I know well is off the table because she is to closely tied in with my romantic cluster.


I sound like a giant hippie, but I’m really not.


So the deal is even though I am not having sex with my partner he still has sexual needs and when this first started happening I was happy to give him oral sex as a stand in but in the last six months or so that too has become scary to me. We have a girlfriend who just moved a few states away so his sex life has come to nothing and he is getting down and feeling unloved (Which I know is his own issue love doesn’t have to = sex, but he is working on that to) I just hate seeing him hurting and feeling down.


So we’ve talked about him maybe having a new sexual partner. Now we are always open to the idea of new people coming into our lives. We try to keep our hearts and minds open to new love and possibility but this is the first time one of us has actively looked for another partner. And on top of that our girlfriend is also meeting new people and finding new partners.


So I guess I feel scared and left out. I want them both to be happy but I feel like looking at there sex lives and romantic lives reflects on my own lack of sexual desire and it makes me feel broken. A term I hate to use when it come to people because people don’t break, but it is how I feel.


They are normal active sexual people and I feel like a messed up freak. Which I know isn’t helping me feel better about them having new sexual partners. And at the same time if I think about being sexual with them I start to feel scared.


I don’t know what to do.

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I expect a lot of us are reading this and feeling sympathetic and thinking we can't begin to advise you on this because it's beyond where most of us are...


Can you explain how it is that you've never actively looked for another partner?


The feelings you describe must be really awful for you, I'm so sorry. But they are the feelings I KNOW I would have if I were to try being polyamorous and why I wouldnt' dream of going there. Perhaps as you have got older, what you want in life has changed? Perhaps at some, unacceptable-to-you level, you have started to feel the need to be exclusive? I can imagine this would be hard to deal with in your position.


You say your desire has waxed and waned over the years. Is there any reason you have to see a counsellor who is familiar with poly issues? (What is 'sex positive'?)


This is a common enough issue after abuse, and I expect someone could address it with you without the other things being on the table - or have you tried this and met with disapproval/misunderstanding?


You are probably right that you need to address things within yourself; I think you may at some point need to face whether these issues are what led you to polyamory and whether you fear that if you deal with them, your sexual preference may change.


Anyway, you are hurting. You are in a relationship. So the simple and obvious answer, as you have a partner who loves you, is: Talk to him. Dare to be vulnerable and express your needs. If he is who you are meant to be with, he will understand and reassure you, whatever form that needs to take.


I am so sorry you are hurting so much. I hope you can find the right person to help you to get over your pain and issues from the past.



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Thank you for taking the time to write.


I don't doubt that I want to be poly. I'm in committed loving relationship with two people and the idea of losing one of them is heartbreaking.


So what I mean about actively looking for another partner is that we are all open, but we don't like sign up on dating sites, go on blind dates or really even go on dates when we aren't pretty sure we like someone. So actively looking for a partner, you are putting yourself out there more. Trying to find people to flirt with thinking about your options instead of just letting thing happen. I'm okay with it, it's just a change.


I love being open. It has changed my life for the better 7 years ago I couldn't have even posted about my abuse anonymously on a forum. I was still lying about it and trying to hide it. I was sacred of people and had a hard time having even friendships. Now I have a large group of loving caring friends and tow wonderful partners. Other then this thing about sex I couldn't be happier. I started working on my art again, and learned how to let people see me and felt like I was a real good person. It has changed me in deep meaningful ways. Even thought it is a lot of hard work.


I have had a REALLY bad experience from a therapist who wasn't familiar with poly. She was horrible and told me that the only reason I would permit this kind of abusive relationship was because of my sexual abuse. Sex positive means someone who is positive about sex. Who feels like sex in a person’s life is a good positive and even needed thing. Basically someone who doesn't feel sex in and of itself is damaging weather it is bdsm, or prostitution.


I feel so torn. I know my partners love me and that love doesn't necessarily hinge on sex but I really feel like I'm letting them down or even hurting them although they both reassure me that that isn't the case. I talk to them both a lot. We have some of the best commutation I have ever seen and we worked really hard to get it. But there are some things that I need to do myself. And no matter how supportive and understanding they are to what I'm going thru it's up to me to change it. And I guess even with all of this love I feel alone.


They both seem so normal, and I know the have there own sexual hang ups (we all do) but I feel like nether of them can really understand what it's like to be so full of fear about something that is connective and good and enjoyable.


It just hurts.

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So when you post that you've been 'with your partner' that is just one of two partners... how long have you been with the other one?


It sounds to me as though the polyamory is a bit of a red herring - this is about you and your needs. I don't know a lot about your lifestyle but I know people choose it for lots of reasons and are happy with it. I am not about to make a moral judgment here!


But you are not happy - so what is it you fear right now? What is your worst case scenario?


I'm afraid I don't understand the word 'commutation' unless you mean communication, in which case it's wonderful that you have that.


So don't be afraid to tell them how you feel. I had a situation a couple of weeks ago (I'm in a fairly new relationship) where I had had an emotional response which I knew was irrational but which was real to me (triggered by past emotional abuse). I plucked up my courage and told my guy how I felt - how I REALLY felt... it was a very vulnerable thing to do but my goodness, I am so pleased I did it.


I think perhaps you need the reassurance that they are okay with you having hang-ups.


And if they love you, they probably are.

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Blue -

How old are you?? I'm wondering if maybe you should talk to your primary care doc or your OBGYN about your concerns - maybe it's a hormonal thing.


People's sex drives wax and wane. If you're completely happy with your partners, then perhaps it's a hormonal issue or imbalance, or something medical that's suddenly come up for you. I would definitely start by talking to your doc and ruling out something medical.

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What To Do If They Cheat - Do this ...
What To Do If They Cheat - Do this First


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