Question from a Reader

by Jason Stotts

I get lots of emails from readers asking for advice.  I always try to at least give them some kind of response and recently we’ve been answering questions on the podcast as well.  Most of the time I respond and never hear from the person again.  Sometimes we correspond for a while.  On some of the more interesting questions, those that I think could help others as well, I ask if I can post our discussions.  Usually people agree.  This is one of those problems.  Before you read my response and our ensuing discussion, think about what you would tell this person if they came to you for advice.


I pray that you indulge me and read this long email trying to give you as much detail as possible. I am sitting in my room devastated and I need an answer desperately about understanding my now broken up relationship.

I looked online because the subject of zero sum game came up in a conversation I just had. And I read your answers in the blog and loved how your mind worked.  You seem calm and thoughtful and insightful and I am hoping to hear something from you that will help me understand sex in relationship better.  I don’t want a zero sum game.  But I think my ex-lover does.

I am a 54 mom of two (16, 18) and have been dating a man 62 yrs. old for five years. And we broke up this morning because I refuse to give him oral sex when I’m not sexually, aroused. He claims that if I truly love him, I would do this act for him regularly (several times a week) whether I feel sexual or not.

I claim if he truly loves me, he would not ask me to do something that feels this bad to me. I explained to him for five years now that I need to be sexually aroused in order to give my lover oral sex. That when I did it for him as a service I felt disconnected and bad afterwards.  He says he just wants to lay back several times a week and just get blown without having to engage with me.

He is perfectly willing to give me oral sex that way anytime I want.  But I rarely want that!  I don’t like to just lay there and get oral sex.  I am very active and I like to interact during sex not lay there with eyes closed getting “done.”

He regards intercourse as “nice” but if we never did it he would not miss it terribly.  What he values is oral sex.  All our fights have been over this issue.  And when I don’t consent he breaks up and leaves.  Then we get back together because we share many same interests and miss each other.  And the same thing occurs.

His son says that love is a zero sum game.  That his dad always wins because he is always willing to walk away when he does not get his way.  I am confused.  I thought love was about finding compromise, that the mere fact of getting your way becomes uncomfortable when you love someone.  That the idea is to find common ground.

I told [my partner] that if he would just engage with me with eye contact and a bit of smiling love talk that I easily can get into sex mode but he refuses and says that I am just trying to control the situation; that if I loved him, I would make him happy.  When I ask about my happiness he says he is willing to give me oral anytime I want.  He says he cannot understand how giving him oral is a chore!! But it is!  It is hard on my lips and jaws and my feelings :/

I will fuck him anytime he wants but he does not find that valuable.  I am turned on to him sexually and performing oral sex several times a week on him is grueling.  Often I get turned on when I’m doing it and then he climaxes and I don’t get to make love cuz his dick does not get super hard second time around even with Viagra.

So this morning once again he started kissing me hard with eyes closed, feeling the crack of my ass as he fantasizes about anal sex and would not open his eyes and engage with me, the person.  It was impossible for me to get aroused because also he is overweight so it feels like I am hugging an old fat woman, which does not turn me on. :/

I have asked him to talk to me, because he has a great low voice and it arouses me intensely but he refuses saying its artificial for him, that he is not a talker during sex.

He says I try and control sex by telling him what to do… But I’m just telling him what I need to get aroused.  It’s very simple.  I need some open eye time.  I need to be caressed gently not man handled and mashed by his weight, I love my neck kissed and nuzzled he insists on slobbering on it and licking it way before I’m aroused so it feels sticky and yucky.  I don’t like direct pressure on my clit as it is excruciatingly sensitive and that frustrates him because he wants to be all over it sucking it hard and licking it.  He wants to do everything to me that makes his dick hard and yet feels resentful to do what I need to get aroused.

After five years he knows what turns me on yet he hardly does it.  He wants to continue doing all the things that turn him on regardless of how it feels to me. And he claims that he is showing me his love by licking me all over and doing all these rough things and that if I loved him I would love what he does to me 🙁

I have been through menopause and my libido is not what it used to be although I still love sex!!! I love it and have orgasm thru intercourse.

So is this just a big difference in sexual needs? Or is one of us being unreasonable??

I HATE giving oral as a chore, like when he says “suck me” and he wants to lie there and be serviced several times a week.

I would cook for him do just about anything, but oral sex as a chore.  It’s a chore because its physically taxing plus I get aroused and feel resentful, that I can’t have intercourse because he wants to cum in my mouth…

If he leaves every time he does not get oral sex does that mean he values that over the relationship??

To make matters worse is he lives in Maryland and I live in Florida.  And there has not been one time in the three years I have lived here that he has come down here to visit and then cut his visit short because I would not give him oral sex enough…he just packs and leaves. What it going on with that?

He claims that he does all these things that he does for me .  He helps me with whatever I need help with.  He gives me everything he can and in return he wants to have oral sex often.  I would rather he do nothing for me and have normal sex … I get to being scared when he does things for me because I know if I don’t give him oral soon he is going to start with the silent treatment and say how I treat him like dog shit how I don’t appreciate him and all he wants is some oral sex.  Even if I’m fucking him daily which included putting his penis in my mouth.  That does not count.  He wants the kind of oral where he does nothing but lie there and get serviced. I think he’d want it daily if he had his way…

I have had over 80 lovers in my life and never has a guy wanted oral over intercourse weekly.  So it’s hard to see him as normal …. He has been the only one like this.

I love oral as part of sex and I crave putting his dick in my mouth I love it!  But just sucking it to orgasm as much as he wants makes me ill 🙁

He lives for oral.  I wish he lived for making love with me.

I love the sexy closeness of intercourse.  The intense eye contact when you climax together the strong love bond that you feel like that …. My other lovers loved that too.  He seems to like it ok.  Because he is fat, it takes a lot out of him and he seems to like lazy sex.  He wants to lay on his back and have me do him.  It’s yuck.  Over the years I have gotten him to at least face me and interact but left to his devices he wants to lie there and be done.

He says he always preferred oral since he was young …. And he is a lousy fuck I think from not caring to become good at it.  And he has complained that many of his former lovers did not seem to like sex well, maybe cuz he did not try and figure out what made them feel good…

I don’t know.  I’m sad and wondering if it was my fault .   I did try at the beginning to just service him but I felt lonely and disconnected … He says I should feel love when I do it for him knowing it makes him feel good and happy .  Is this true??? I tried to feel that but I always felt cheap and used and alone when I just do it without him connecting with me.  Maybe I’m too sensitive.  Maybe I’m a baby and need connection?? Maybe I’m not pragmatic enough and if I would just do it there would be no fights ….

But it hurts my lips and pops my jaw out of socket and to just sit there and suck and suck… I don’t know… Without being sexual is so hard on me.  I feel like a prostitute; like he will only be nice to me if I blow him.  He says all I need to do is give him oral regularly and he will do anything for me…anything…. But that feels like a contract a payment for sex… I don’t feel good about that ….

But maybe that is what love is… Doing what keeps the status quo… Is that my job??  Is that my responsibility?  I guess it’s my choice.  Give him a blow job and figure out how to deal with my bad feelings so as not to rock the boat.  Or not and have him leave constantly.

Is that something to compromise about?? Sex has never been about compromise for me.  It’s been a mutual desire and dance and flow… Each person wanting the other to feel good by doing what the person likes… Figuring each other out.  He loves a lazy blow job.  Once in a while I love to do it … But several times a week is just gross to me.  I have started to resent the whole act altogether.  It’s really depressing 🙁

If you are still reading this long complaint and care to share any wisdom or idea with me so I can figure out how to be sexually in relationship, I would be so so grateful.





I have several things that I want to say, but they all revolve around two major points: [your partner] is manipulative and wants oral sex, not oral sex with you, and that your idea of what sex should be sounds right.

First, much of what you’re saying about what [your partner] says and does sounds like textbook manipulation.  For example, starting a sentence with “If you truly love me…” means that if you don’t do the thing the person wants, then you don’t actually love them.  But, that’s manipulation.  Love is not shown through individual actions in isolation, but through the totality of your behavior towards a person.  Moreover, his willingness to just walk away shows that he does not actually care about you as a person. Indeed, this is also manipulative as he knows you really do care and he can use that against you. If he cared about you, then he would at least try to accommodate your very reasonable requests.  It’s no wonder that you feel like a prostitute just servicing him.

Second, your idea of what sex should be sounds right. You say: “Sex has never been about compromise for me.  It’s been a mutual desire and dance and flow, each person wanting the other to feel good by doing what the person likes.” That’s what sex should be and this comes about because both people want their partner to be happy and sexually fulfilled, because they love them and value them.  Sex should not be a zero-sum game or a compromise of one person to the other, but a developing of a sexual repertoire where both people are happy and satisfied.  The fact that you want to be sexually aroused in order to engage in sexual behavior is just normal.   Who wants to sexually engage with another person when they’re not aroused?  A person who doesn’t want to engage sexually with another person and who only wants the sexual act, regardless of the source.

To me, it sounds like [your partner] has divorced the sexual act from values and tries to ignore that sex is always an act of connection with another person.  There is no such thing as “just a blowjob” in isolation, they have to be given by someone and to someone.

I know that the a separation is always hard, but know that it’s definitely for the best for you and it will give you the opportunity to find someone who will really care about you.  I also want to recommend Drs. Kenner and Locke’s book “The Selfish Path to Romance.” It’s a very good book on sex and relationships and you’ll find that it has the exact same kind of philosophical viewpoint on sex and love that you and I share.



Oh Jason ~ thank you thank you.

Ohhh thank you :)))

I did not expect an answer from a stranger that I just reached out to in the thin air 🙂

As I lie here this morning and read your email I suddenly feel connected to humanity and gone was the isolated feeling.

Thank you for your thoughts that served to help me get my feelings straight. I’m stopping feeling bad or that it’s my fault right now. Reading my letter and your response laid it all clearly. It stopped being a jumbled mess in my mind that had been all mixed up with feelings. It just set it clear in my head.

In retrospect I now realize that from the beginning I did not keep boundaries. I did what he wanted out of wanting to be giving … Even tho it felt bad… I tried to discuss it with him and he got angry then I felt GUILTY instead of seeing it as a red flag!!

Wow … Unacceptable behavior … I am going to revisit that in my being… To FEEL ok about having boundaries. It does not mean that I don’t love a person, it means I … Love myself!!!!

Gosh … I have really lost touch with that… I used to be very sure of what was acceptable … I think…

I think also I’m scared of being alone, so I may be allowing stuff to be because of fear…


Ok today I’m starting over and I’m redefining ME based on what feels happy rather than on what is scaring me!!

I am ordering the book you recommended today.!!!

Jason thank you for being a cyber angel <3

Thank you for hearing me and reaching back!

With much much gratitude and so thankful to find in your response a solid rock in my thinking to finally rest on!! I have been treading water for so so long I just realized.  And I’m exhausted !!!  Today I’m going to climb up on my rock and I’m going to sit there and finally dry out!! Lol! Oh yay rock. And no fear or manipulation will push me off or cajole me off again. I need give myself shelter and not feel guilty about it!!

I feel so so much better with the direction back to ME. <3!!!!! I suddenly like myself !! I didn’t like myself because I was seeing me through [my partner’s] eyes … As an uncaring person!! but that WAS me!!! I was being uncaring to ME!!!!  Now I am going to be loving and caring to ME.  And if a man does not like it then he can just swim on by.

Oh!!!! I soooooo get that now!!!! I feel pretty and happy!!!! And I’m going to go buy a beautiful flower and planting it in the garden!!!

Thank you Jason. Oh… Thank you.

And I don’t have to get angry if a man gets manipulative! I just say no thanks bye bye!  From the VERY beginning!! And that does not mean I’m unloving!!! It means that I am lovingly taking care of ME!!! I COUNT!!! I’m not sure I ever thought that!!! I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me I count!!! But I don’t need that!!! I COUNT JUST FOR BEING ME!!! I don’t need another person to say I count in order for me to count !! OMG that’s huge … OMG!! I count because I say so!! Oh it’s sooo freeing!! I don’t NEED anyone in order to count!!! I count just by virtue of being born on this earth!!!

Oh wow …. Wow….that’s huge!!!!!




I’m so happy I could help!

It’s funny that it’s so easy to forget that love for yourself has to come before love of another.  If you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?

If you wouldn’t mind, I would like to put up an edited and anonymized version of our conversation on Erosophia. I think it could really help people who are in similar situations to see your struggle.  Oftentimes we can most easily see a problem from the outside, while we may be blind to it from the inside.  Let me know.

Either way, I wish you the best in your future relationships!



Hi Jason,

Yes of course you may. You helped me tremendously and if it can help another, yes definitely.

I got the book today and cannot wait to start reading tonight.

Also I started evaluating my whole life direction … I’m an artist and I have been just dabbling in it because somewhere I was told that art is a good hobby but no more than that…. And I understand where that comes from but I NEED to make art like I need to breathe.

And I just gave myself permission to feel the passion without apology!  I always felt a need to apologize to the world for wasting time doing art…I don’t know … It’s hard to explain…

But, I’ve been over the last three years since menopause suddenly able to express the free me. Prior to this my sexuality figured so much in my work and it was like a shackle …. That hormonal drive ugh….

I have been so freed with menopause … I still love sex but now the sexual feeling is brought on by emotion connection …. Rather than an urge or need… It’s more pure … Anyway my art is finally free and I’m doing some brilliant stuff now… :))

A thought … Love for oneself must be differentiated from narcissism right?? Cuz I think [my partner] would proudly say he loves himself first by demanding to get his way…. But wen u REALLY love yourself it is context with others and not making them do things you demand of them to satisfy yourself…

gosh I could go on and on…

Ill send u a pic of my art work so u can see 🙂

Anyway I think after your thoughts and this book I will be better organized in my being to see if this is something I want rather than this idea I had that “love tolerates all, love hopes eternally …” You know the talk…

Anyway 🙂 thanks again for your reaching out ….

Life is magical isn’t it?  When we just “be” instead of force…


If you have a question you’d like to ask me, just write to me at Jason(at)  You’ll either get a written response from me or your question read and addressed on the podcast.

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