When Will She Stop Withholding Sex?

Name: Jay
State: New York
Comment: I am a 26 year-old male and I have been with my girlfriend for around 11 months now, on and off. We just got back together and emotionally she is getting close to me again but she has withheld sex from me since December and is still doing so. She claims sex is something I get when I gain her trust and I lost her trust by starting petty fights repeatedly during the months we’ve been together. Before December we were having sex about 3, 4 times a week.
Her rejecting me physically makes me feel worthless and I don’t know how much longer she is making me wait. Is this normal behavior on her part? What do I do to get her to have sex with me again?

She claims sex is something I get when I gain her trust and I lost her trust by starting petty fights repeatedly during the months we’ve been together

So, you two haven’t had sex in almost four months? And you’re still sticking around? Why? You’re 26. Why not just ditch this girl and find someone else rather than allow her to emasculate you like this? It’s not like you’re married. So just leave her and find someone else. That seems like the easiest solution. You’ve already broken up once. That right there is a bad sign. Why hold on to something that doesn’t appear to be very healthy or that makes you unhappy?

I realize that probably wasn’t you wanted to hear, but the alternative – to help you get this woman to have sex with you – just felt all shades of wrong. Withholding sex is just one of the many forms of abuse that a man or woman can endure in a  relationship. Ergo, I wouldn’t advocate staying in such a situation.Really? She broke up with you because she claims you started petty fights, but then got back together with you anyway, thinking if she withheld sex she wouldn’t be giving in? So this is her way with dealing with her own shame or whatever for giving you a second chance? Or does she just like the idea that you’re so whipped you’ll suck it up just to be around her? Either way….that’s a pretty ugly personality there. But it’s also a sign of real emotional immaturity and poor relating skills. I’m assuming she’s younger than you, yes? Say 21-25ish? She gets somewhat of a pass because of her age, but this behavior doesn’t bode well for her future relationships. Or for you.

She doesn’t know how to express her own doubts and hurt, if she has any. Her way to deal with conflict is to punish you and be hurtful. Dating someone who doesn’t know how to communicate such feelings in a healthy way is an uphill battle. Most people take one of two stances when it comes to conflict – they either run away or shut down or they confront the conflict head on. Neither is especially productive.

Also confusing is why she would give up having sex with you if she was having it that frequently before. Is it possible she just doesn’t like sex and is using this as an excuse not to have it? Or that she fears you just are interested in sex or nothing more?Or that she’s, well, getting it somewhere else?

This is an example of how women place such a high value on sex and use it as a bartering chip. Women who do this have a limited understanding of how real relationships – healthy ones – work. It’s a strategy, and it often fails. That is, unless they manage to land a sucker so desperate for a girlfriend that he tolerates it.

You two need to talk about what’s really going on here and you need to get to the bottom of her real concerns. Because this dog don’t hunt. There’s more to it than just her using sex as a reward.

You have to ask her what her true concerns are. If you’ve rectified the behavior and she’s still withholding sex, then the truth is that this girl either just isn’t into you or gets off hurting you.

If you insist upon staying in this relationship, you need to regain some of your footing and stop letting her call the shots. If she doesn’t want to talk or if she continues to her sex strike, then you need to make it clear to her that if she doesn’t have sex with you, you’ll just find someone else who will. If she’s not having sex with you, then as far as I’m concerned, all bets are off. You’re free to do what you want. If she doesn’t like that, well she can always either start having sex with her boyfriend and stop playing games or she can trot along and find some other guy who lacks a backbone to tolerate her drama.

The question you need to ask yourself, Jay, is…how much sh*t are you willing to eat? No man or woman would ever tolerate someone treating them this way. So you need to figure out why you’re desperate to stay with this girl.

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33 Responses to “When Will She Stop Withholding Sex?”

  1. Selena Says:

    You pick petty fights with her and she retaliates by withholding sex. So why are you “together” anyway is the question. Wouldn’t you be happier with a girlfriend you didn’t fight with? One who enjoyed regular sex with you?

    It sounds like this relationship ran it’s course back in December, but you are both trying to hold onto it for some reason. You need to figure out that reason. And then let go.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

    • Mark Says:

      Agree with Selena on this one.

      If you were starting petty fights, then you might consider choosing your battles. After 11 months you know who she is and she knows who you are. Consider resolving conflicts like an adult. As to withholding sex as a type of punishment, she also sounds like she also needs to grow up a little.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. A to the F Says:

    When you man up and break up with her, that’s when.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  3. jeff Says:

    Let me answer. No its not normal or healthy. Completely agree with Moxie on this one. How well you fight is one of the biggest signs of how healthy a relationship is. Good couples argue effectively. Usually when there is distain or a feeling of moral superiority involved, its a sign of break up. In fact, Paul Eckman (famous pscyhologist who studies faces) was able to predict with a 90% accuracy what couples would divorced simply based on this.

    Healthy couples talk and face issues. Healthy people are ok with the idea that they won’t always get along or that good couples fight. A healthy person can admit when they are being irrational or will consider the other view, even if they don’t agree. That she won’t trust you after this long is highly suspect.

    Secondly lack of sex should feel like a punishment for her. If its not, then there is something off (i.e. bad sex, getting it elsewhere, lack of desire etc) Sex should be a reward in and of itself. Sex should not be a quid pro quo, especially in a relationship. The way she talks about it sounds immature.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  4. icara Says:

    I totally agree: this is not a healthy relationship. She doesn’t trust you, she makes you feel worthless, she withholds sex for MONTHS and thinks you pick petty fights… how much more of this do you really want? And do you really want to be with someone that withholds sex as punishment… or who feels the need to punish you at all, rather than resolving conflicts and moving on? Or, for that matter, someone who “gets back together” with you, yet still claims not to trust you? Just what is this relationship based on, anyway?

    The stuff you’ve described is stuff that breaks up marriages. I don’t think she’s the right girl for you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  5. Crotch Rocket Says:

    I agree with all of the above comments regarding this not being a healthy relationship and her not having a healthy attitude regarding sex. Sex should not be a reward she gives you for performing tricks like a trained animal.

    However, I do want clarification on one point: what is she referring to by saying you pick petty fights? Since that’s her supposed justification for withholding sex, I think it’s important to understand why, especially since you gloss over it in your question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • Selena Says:

      People who pick petty fights do so because they are unhappy with themselves and what’s going on in their lives. They express that by taking it out on those around them. It’s a way of asserting control, a form of bullying. It’s antagonistic and exhausting for the recipient. In Jay’s case, it may well explain the off and on nature of their 11 month relationship: they fight, they walk, after a few weeks they pick right back up again and repeat.

      Withholding sex isn’t going to break this pattern. Gaining insight into why they do this and concentrated effort to NOT do it…might.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      • Selena Says:

        Also, he says they broke up in Dec. and recently got back together. Does SHE think they are back together? Or just “talking” about getting back together? She may be trying to see if he can go without picking petty fights BEFORE committing to him again. If she equates having sex with re-commitment, that could explain the self-imposed chastity. Just a thought.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          The reason I asked for clarification is that I suspect this isn’t really about him “picking petty fights” at all. Many women, especially women who use withholding sex as punishment, seem to think that a man daring to disagree with her or express his own needs is automatically “petty” because those things are unimportant to her–and refusing to back down when she dismisses his concerns/needs as such is “picking a fight”.

          Healthy couples disagree, even over important stuff occasionally, but will still respect and trust each other–and have sex.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • Jamie Says:

            Men do it too… I let things go on with the last boyfriend for way too long because he was young and beautiful and because when things were good, they were beyond the best ever, but yeah, the picking of fights every few months like out of nowhere, almost as sudden as a seizure… except he didn’t phrase it as a trust issue but as that I must not love him anywhere near as much as he loved me, and that that meant that I could break his heart but he couldn’t hurt me… and then there would be the withholding of all his affection, not just sex. It was like Jekyll & Hyde. But yes, like CR says, it’s because the abusive person (male or female) refuses to recognize that their partner has their own needs and priorities and can still love the hell out of someone while they set the boundaries they need in order to feel comfortable and ok.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Angeline Says:

        If she withholds sex to “punish” him, I’d be willing to bet she “punishes” him for all sorts of other transgressions as well. There is this unpleasant model out there of the woman being the little Mommy, and the man being an unruly and petulant child. She ‘lets’ him go out with the boys. She handles the money and ‘lets’ him have spending money. If he’s playing along with that, then he has to realize this kind of crap is the inevitable result. If he’s resisting, that’s probably a source of the ‘petty’ disagreements. Maybe he is picking stupid, nitpicky fights. Maybe he’s bringing up genuine differences of opinion on how to handle things, and *she* labels it petty.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • Selena Says:

          Interesting possibility. I often wish we could hear “the other side” on this blog instead of “He says..”, or “She says…”. Might make it harder to pick a “villain”.

          Whatever is behind this relationship,the off and on again, and frequent fighting indicate incompatibility. Sometimes people don’t want to acknowledge that’s the real problem.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • Selena Says:

            Also, re-reading the letter it’s rather confusing. He states they “just got back together”, and then says that she has withheld sex since December. Did he expect to have sex during the months they were broken up? Why is he counting that as they time she has been holding out? If they “just” got back together, then it’s only been a few days, correct?

            Then: “She claims sex is something I get when I gain her trust and I lost her trust by starting petty fights repeatedly during the months we’ve been together.” Does that mean the months prior to December? The months since? Both?

            There is something off about this post.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              The letter isn’t confusing, and there’s nothing off about the post. You’re looking for things that aren’t there. It’s pretty straight forward. Let’s not try and make a mystery out of this just to have something to discuss.

              Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

              • Selena Says:

                Okay. But after reading it through again, I believe they are still broken up. He’s saying they aren’t because “emotionally she is getting close to me again “. Actions though?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  6. offensivedan Says:

    Jeff you are a pussy and your g/f sees blood in the water. I have a friend whose wife does this to him and he puts up with it. He then retaliates by telling her he will find ass elsewhere. From day 1, this girl has been an insecure manipulator. I have never liked her and, last month, she brought me into her little scheme to manipulate him. Can you believe that??? Do you want your life to be this way when you don’t have anything like kids keeping you in this shitpile?

    Get out of this situation. Lesson learned. You will never regain any credibility with this girl. Oh, and by the way, it NEVER works the second,third, fourth etc. time around. I learned that the hard way. Finally, you have self-esteem issues. My advice would be to take a break from dating and build it back up. Also, take a look at yourself and see if you are the type of person that is easliy manipulated and told what to do. Because if you are and you don’t stop that, you will end up like my friend and countless other men who have had their balls cut off and placed on some bitches shelf. It’s like Slash the guitar player wrote in a song: She was a crazy bitch, she’ll fuck with your head and put your balls on the wall..” You get the picture.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

    • JS Says:

      offensivedan, you wrote:

      “last month, she brought me into her little scheme to manipulate him. Can you believe that???”

      I was wondering (if you feel comfortable explaining)…how did she bring you into her scheme? Just curious.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        No, he won’t be sharing that. There’s a post up above that provides enough fodder for people to offer their insight. No need to try and introduce more so you can have something to do or an opportunity to share your thoughts.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  7. VJ Says:

    RUN FORREST, RUN!!!! (As in All of the above too).

    So other off hand responses are possible:

    1.) Talk to her sweetly, calmly and deliberately: ‘Gwen honey, this is just not working out. It’s pretty crazy as a matter of fact. Gawd knows I’ve tried to be patient, but I’m only 26. If I wanted to stop having sex? I might as well be married 20 years, right? With kids! I see none of the advantages around, & I’m sick of being ‘punished’ like some sick dog for just being me & human. I wish you the best of luck wherever you land, and if you think of pulling this kind of crap on your next hapless victim er BF/whatever? I might as well help him extract some real revenge, but I’d certainly warn him ahead of time if I knew about it. Gwen, it’s just unacceptable, sick, and it’s not an adult way of addressing any of your or our issues.’

    2.) It’s obvious that she either does not like sex, or worse still, does not like sex with you. How is this advantageous in any sort of ongoing relationship? It’s not, at any time anywhere. Think about it.

    3.) Given the above? Why waste another second with this sort of madness screwing with your mind? It’s not worth it. It would not really be worth it with a supermodel who was paying your bills. No not even then! So why hang around?

    4.) Me? I’d talk to her mom too, if it was at all ‘serious’ and anyone was thinking a LTR here. Q: ‘Has she always been this crazy/vengeful/embittered/irrational?’ Does anyone here know here past history with other relationships?’ It might be very important to know to help break out of the cycle eventually.

    5.) It could be that ‘Jay’ does not have much experience with relationships or GFs. That’s fine. He should know that this is the crazier end of the spectrum and he’s got to go fishing elsewhere to save his sanity and dignity.

    6.) Again, ANY woman pulling this nonsense absent some deadly serious conflicts (read: repeated violence) in a marriage or serious LTR is really not really ready for any adult intimate relationship. She’s just wanting to play house with someone to torture for the season. It happens unfortunately. Cheers & Good Luck, ‘VJ’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • separatedguy Says:

      I’m not sure that it’s at the crazier end of the spectrum. There are plenty of women who act this way in relationships. Crazy is puttingup with it for all the reasons you and others have mentioned.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. fuzzilla Says:

    I agree with Moxie and everyone else.

    The question is, what IS keeping the guy with her? What DOES he get out of the situation? What DOES he like about her? What light is he waiting for at the end of the tunnel once he regains her approval? Sex? Sheesh, it’s not like she’s his only option (does he believe she is?). Hell, current status quo is she’s NOT a sexual option.

    I agree that the situation is bad news, she’s petty and bitchy and doesn’t know how to communicate, he should move on, etc., but there are obviously underlying beliefs that need to be changed before he can move on. Maybe time to call up a shrink (hey, no shame; I think almost everyone can benefit from it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I know some people might hear “therapy” and think “oh blah blah blah, just dump the bitch.” Not arguing against dumping her, not saying you need a bunch of analysis to make the right decision. Just think it would be wise to get a handle on whatever issues are going on so this doesn’t become a pattern in your next relationship.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. The Private Man Says:

    Yo Jay…

    This girl is batshit crazy and you know it. Just dump her, seriously. It doesn’t matter how good she looks. For every hot girl who is single, there’s at least guy who stopped putting up with her shit.

    You’re 26 and have a world of options ahead of you. Have Moxie help you with your online dating profile and then go out and yourself some fun.

    You’re welcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  10. JS Says:

    In my opinion, if you’re not “getting any” on a regular basis (i.e., several times a week), you’re not in a relationship.

    (special exception made for young people who havent cashed in their V-card yet, but once they do….several times a week or it ceases to be a relationship)

    Run! You’re too young to put up with this crap. Find a girl who will treat you well, respect you and wants to be physical with you and never uses it as a manipulation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • Lalalatte Says:

      I think each relationship differs in the amount of sex partners have. To make a blanket that that unless you’re having sex 3-4 times a week you’re not in a real relationship is a careless generalization. Sex isn’t the only defining element of a relationship, intimacy, trust, love, and desire are all just as important.

      As for the OP I’m in agreement with everyone who’s suggested walking away. The GF using sex (or lack there of) is deeply unhealthy and manipulative. Life is too short to put up with the hurt and BS.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. Andrew Says:

    Sounds like you may be operating from a scarcity mentality, afraid to
    Break up with her because you’re afraid of being single and
    having to jump back into the rat race of dating. It’s a natural
    fear but you’ve got to get over it.

    End it. You’ll be thankful you did in the long run.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  12. chillybeans Says:

    A trademark of manipulation is that the other person makes you think that it is all your fault. It takes two people to have a fight, petty or not.
    She sounds frigid and manipulative, RUNNNNNNNNNNNN
    I pity the poor man she marries.
    In your 20s you should be going at it like bunnies. Actually, bunnies should be stunned by how much sexy you are having! Find a real woman who acts like an adult and doesn’t pull this crap. I wish you the best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. Elros Says:

    I am most concerned because she says she wants to be able to “trust” you. I could understand there being a trust issue if you cheated on her (but even then her reaction is immature and hateful), but it makes no sense to use the word “trust” if you were only getting into petty fights. It sounds like this woman got you hooked on regular sex and now is emasculating you and trying to manipulate you. The fact that she calls it “trust” means that she wants to control you, and that she so many issues that you should run. Get over the fact that you used to have sex with her. You will be much better off once you move on and get in a healthy relationship.
    Take this time and figure out why you put up with this disfunctional woman, then learn from it and get with someone more healthy and caring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, while reading the letter I was totally waiting for the “because I fucked her sister” part of the story, which never materialized. Seems telling that he feels really vague on the specifics of what he did that bothered her. Yeah, “petty fights” have nothing to do with trust, good point.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. nathan Says:

    I agree with everyone who has said her approach appears to be unhealthy. Even more so than the withholding of sex to me is her focus on “petty fights” as the reason for making her decisions, and for her lack of trust. If she’s unable to handle conflict, or thinks that conflict isn’t a part of relationships, then it really won’t matter if she starts having sex with the OP again. She’ll simply find something else to withhold whenever a conflict occurs.

    Jay, you really need to consider why it is that you are staying with her. Perhaps there are a lot of other positive things we don’t know about, but what you have shared in the letter sounds like a power imbalance that will leave you miserable if it’s not addressed. If you want to keep the relationship, you need to step up and be clear that this kind of pattern has to stop. Otherwise, it’s time to move on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Mr. R Says:

    You should never want a girlfriend who treats you like this. Nor would you want this in a life partner.

    Get out now, save yourself some time, and go find a new girlfriend.


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Felemelt Says:

    You don’t want a girl who withholds sex as a punishment. She doesn’t want a guy she cant trust to not start petty fights. You’re waiting for her to show you her boobies. She’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    And the two of you are together again… why? You’ll never find Mr/Ms Right so long as you’re still mixing up with Mr/Ms Wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  17. Kelvin Says:

    I’m going through essentially the same situation, except it’s worse because it’s a long distance relationship. So for me, it’s become withholding all affection (I love yous and once frequent phone sex). It’s been months with nothing, but the occasional “I love you” and me feeling almost guilty for trying to bring back the phone sex and then ashamed when turned down.

    is this a valid situation to give her the above ultimatum?


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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