Dear Rabbi Boteach,

First of all, let me thank you for your frank opinions on sexuality. I enjoy reading your articles very much. Four and a half years ago, my husband of 20 years died...After four years of crushing loneliness, I ventured onto the Internet. I started a dialogue with and eventually met a man that I had a lot in common with. We have continued to meet and enjoy many of the same activities, such as crystal hunting and renaissance fairs, for nearly six months! I am very attracted to him both mentally and physically. He is affectionate and holds my hand in public, he gives little kisses, and says that I should be able to tell he likes me by his actions.

However, he won't have sex with me. We've slept in the same bed, bathed together, and he is comfortable with all of it. He claims he isn't impotent, and with his last girlfriend, he had terrific sex.

I'm a little self-conscious about my weight and worry that he doesn't find my body appealing, but he says it's his problem, not mine, and he's working on it! He makes plans for the future with me as if we were married, and he even contributes financially to my household. After half a year of this strange relationship, I'm wondering if as a 45-year-old woman I'm wrong about wanting a more physical relationship? Do you have any ideas as to what's going on in this man's mind?


Dear EC,

Thanks for your kind words about my writings, which I much appreciate.

Sex is the culmination of all the love of a relationship, so you are of course justified in wanting to share this most unique form of intimacy with a man you love. But you're wrong for thinking that the problem is with you. If this man wasn't attracted to you, he wouldn't spend so much time with you and be so affectionate. He would simply stop calling you. Since the problem isn't with you, you need to let go of the self-consciousness about your weight. You should always feel and act like you know you're beautiful. Studies show that men identify a woman's self-confidence as her sexiest quality.

Don't let your insecurities dictate your emotions in a relationship. Now, on the subject of sex, I advise you to let things unfold naturally and organically. Your boyfriend might value sex as something more than just physical. He might want to be emotionally as close as possible before your relationship is consummated. Indeed, he may even want to get really serious-- like marriage serious--before the relationship gets physical. And that's a good thing. You yourself wrote that you were crushed with loneliness after your husband died. So, clearly it wasn't just sex you were starved for, but human companionship. You're fortunate to have great companionship already with a guy who sounds like a real gentleman. Maybe part of his being a gentleman is that he doesn't want to get too close physically if he's not sure that he's completely serious about you--serious in a real long-term way. So give it time. Don't rush things. Tell him how you feel about him. If you're really sure he's the right one, tell him that you'd like to spend the rest of your life with him. Because the real issue in this relationship is not the fact that you haven't yet had sex, but rather that you have not yet told each other what your long-term intentions are.

I really hope it works out, and I am sure that once the two of you decide that you're both in it for the long haul, the sex part will all sort itself out.

G-d bless you.


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