Dear Miss Emily:

My girlfriend (21 y/o) and I (25 y/o) have been together for 2.5 years and have lived together for 1 of those. We used to have sex at least once a week while dating but since living together, twice a month feels like it's a fight. She always claims she is tired or not feeling well or just not in the mood whenever I try to initiate (because she never does). This will usually go on for about 2-3 days minimum, before it feels like she finally 'buckles' and gives in. All the days leading up to finally having sex are just days where I'm left fighting resentment, questioning our future and questioning what it is I am doing wrong. I have tried everything I can think of. I have tried addressing sex in different ways, such as being more passive or more aggressive, positive or negative. I have tried initiating at different times of day to combat her being tired. I've tried communicating with her about the problem and asking her for solutions (which usually ends up in me doing a follow up with her where she says she hasn't given it much thought or had the time to think about it).  I even read endless columns and articles online and search through pages and pages of advice and forums. I try to be the best boyfriend I can be, I pay the majority of the bills, I try to keep up around the house as much as possible, I try to spend quality time with her, I am very affectionate even when not pursuing sex, and we've even both read a great book ('The five love languages) to try to help us understand how to make each other happier (though the effects of the book didn't seem to last too long).  I've grown to accept that there are certain sexual things that she won't do, and I really only feel I  need it once every 5-7 days, which seems pretty reasonable to me.  Scheduling sex days was, in my opinion, the best answer we've come up with so far but that failed when “yes, we can do it Tuesday” turned into “maybe” or I don’t know” and nights that had been scheduled and agreed upon ended up with her being tired or not in the mood and me feeling deceived. She says she loves me and is attracted to me, but I can't help but feel rejected and unloved for multiple days out of every week during constant sexual rejection. She is the person I would like to spend the rest of my life with but with this giant looming cloud of sexual frustration, I'm not so sure I can. What am I not seeing here?
Missing Out

---------------------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------------

Dear Missing:

This is not an uncommon problem among couples, it’s just that most of them keep it to themselves because it is a source of embarrassment.  I recently read, again, that the average couple has sex, at least, once a week. Oh, really? I think those statistics are incorrect, because no one wants to admit that having sex, infrequently, makes them look like they are sexual wimps.  There is so much emphasis placed on fabulous, joyous sex, that if couples fail to meet these high standards, something must be wrong and they give up trying.  The pressure is great, and if sex becomes a mundane act (which it can with the same partner, unless the sexual chemistry is the cornerstone of their relationship), one partner might prefer to read a good book, while the other partner stews in a pot of rejection.  No one should have to fight for, manipulate, or bargain for sex, however, and you are in that position.  It’s created such a huge chasm between you and your girlfriend, it’s almost become an emotional tug-of-war. Life gets in the way of having fun, sometimes, and people do get wrapped-up in other more pressing issues like work or school – which can be physically and emotionally exhausting. I’m not using this as an excuse for your girlfriend to shine sex, but few people live their lives as if they are on a perpetual vacation, free of stress and obligation, and it can damper one’s libido.  If your girlfriend is not on board with taking some kind of action – either couple therapy to get your love-life back on track, or make a concerted effort to correct the problem by having date nights, exploration into having sex in different places, times and ways, I see this as an ongoing problem that will eventually turn into a hostile relationship, each of you blaming the other for his/her lack of understanding.  “Sex is all you think about,” and “You’re nothing more than a cold fish,” come to mind.  Seek answers now, and if they become insurmountable, you’ll have to come to terms on how important this is in your life, and if you can live with someone who sees sex as obligatory and not an intimacy bonding tool which solidifies your devotion to one another. You two are very young and you might still be trying to figure out relationships and the expectations that go with them.  Maybe the two of you have outgrown each other and you fail to look at this as the source of your trouble.  Either way, it takes two to deal with these problems and find solutions.