Hi to all who are reading this.
I'm a Psych major, and even with all my experience and knowledge, in this field especially, I can't seem to understand my own problems. My biases of my own situation and how close I am to the issue, prevents from being able to see my situation in any other way than from my own perspective. So I am hoping someone, who is either educated in this field or has personal experience with the matter, can offer me some advice and help guide me through this obstacle.
My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 months now (I know pretty soon to be having issues). However, I am very much in love with him and desperately want to understand why he is behaving in the ways he does. For a while now we have been struggling in our sex life. Hes is 24 and I am 24 and at the peak of my sexuality. Men, from my past experience and education, hit their peak during their teen years and stay that way for years. But not my boyfriend. He explains to me that he has a hard time getting aroused, that he's been this way for as long as he can remember and in every relationship hes been in, this has been a reoccurring issue between him and his partners. However, he has had multiple sexual partners and in the beginning of our relationship this was a non-issue. That being said, I find myself very conflicted between trying to understand this physiological inability to get aroused, understanding that he clearly has intimacy issues (if he can have meaningless sex with random people but not have passionate sex with someone he loves) but also i struggle with the feelings of despair this causes me. I am hurt, I feel unwanted, unattractive and undesired. Which, of course, are normal for a women to feel under these circumstances. This has created a lot of tension in our relationship, a lot of resentment on my part and I have developed low self esteem, I am self conscious and I have a very unhealthy internal script. This combination leaves me feeling very vulnerable and helpless.
The other problem that concerns me is that, although he claims to seldom find himself aroused, he still finds the time to masturbate. I feel like he does this because it doesn't require him to be intimate, there is pressure, therefore, he doesn't experience performance anxiety, and its a very lazy way of pleasuring himself. It has taken me a very long time not to feel personally victimized by this and responsible for this. I know this is an issue that he has to deal with and I understand its not a reflection of my beauty or sexual appeal, but never the less its an issue for me and in our relationship. Can anyone relate and explain ways in which can help me accept this better, cope and maybe even support him through this?
We have talked about all these issues and he seems to have developed some sort of learned helplessness. He feels there is nothing he can do to change this problem and I'm pretty sure he has no idea where to start. I'd also like to note that on one occasion, I suggested that perhaps something happened to him as a child that has created some sort of mental block on an unconscious level. He spoke very briefly about it (or more so had a conversation with himself) and said that he would never talk about it, that hes not even sure if it actually happened, that he thinks it was a dream or something. He has never talked about it since, in fact any time I try to bring it up he claims he never said anything of the sort. I do also think that in many ways my knowledge and experience intimidates him and hes scared to let me in, for fear that I might see through the very image he tries so hard to portray. Take the word intimacy for example, if you brake it down it says "in to me see", it does not surprise me that he has these issues because all that encompasses intimacy is letting someone in, in the most raw form.
On that note, we also have an issue concerning lies. He lies about anything that he believes will get him in trouble. I'm pretty familiar with the male psyche and understand that he see's it as harm reduction. He, and many men, see it like this ; why would anyone tell the truth if it will only cause drama and discomfort. Men are all about instant gratification, therefore if he does not see some sort of reward in the very near future and only see's punishment he will completely avoid the situation. I've tried different techniques, by reinforcing good behavior and punishing bad behavior, but he is not a rat or pigeon in a B.F Skinner experiment. These bad tendencies and habits are deeply rooted and this is something that needs help beyond what I can offer him. I don't know how to get through to him, these things are all contributing to a very unhappy me. I see a lot of potential in this man, I love him and with out trying to sound naive, I do truly believe we can make it through this.
I would really appreciate your input, please respond. Thank you