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Is bad sex a good reason to break up?

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I have been with my girlfriend for five years and our sex life (or the lack of it, I should say) has become a serious issue. When I met her, I thought she was gorgeous and the sex was great, but definitely not the best it could be.

We get along great in most aspects so time has pretty much flown by. But lost interest in sex some time ago and I believe (contrary to what she says when we talk about it) that she has, too.

When we talk about this she seems to be more concerned about my lack of interest in sex than in actually improving it. An open relationship is a no-go for her. Toys and role-playing are kind of a no-go for me and tend to have a turn-off effect. Our options seem to be running low.

Recently, I slipped and had an affair. It was mainly driven by the sexual aspect, but not only. It had, however, the unforeseen effect of making sex with my girlfriend especially unappealing.

Sexual therapy or counseling seem to be the last door to knock on, but I am hesitant and my girlfriend is not exactly cheering for it, either. Should we face the facts and call it quits? I love her deeply, but don't really see this situation being sustainable. What do you think?

— Chuck It

Dear Chuck,

You know what? You've got the motivation of a stale Cheese Doodle in the back Ben Affleck's couch. You can't tell me you'd do anything to save your relationship and then hand me a no-go list that hits the floor and starts digging.

The truth is you've made the classic mistake of looking for a solution without understanding the problem. What exactly is wrong with your sex life? Does she smell so bad the aroma has a texture? Are you so ignorant of her body you think her menstrual cycle was manufactured by Honda? What, what, what? Define the problem.

For example, if the problem is that you don't turn her on anymore, then introducing a sex toy is going to be as useless as waving at Stevie Wonder.

Personally, I think if you either one of you thinks so little of your relationship that you wouldn't go to a shrink a few times to try to save it, then you need to start arguing about who gets to keep your dog, Obama — you know, the one who rolls over and plays dead so easily.

At the very least, you should have a sit-down and agree that your relationship is going to end if you can't get your sex life sorted out. You can each start by listing the problems from your own perspectives. Get away from each other and spend some time on that list. On the left side, state the problem, and on the right, possible solutions. Then talk to each other with a commitment to trying each other's recommendations. Don't treat this as an opportunity for put-downs. Exercise diplomacy. Avoid saying things like, "If my yawns get any bigger at your blow jobs they're going to name them after a hurricane." It's OK to say sex is boring; it's not OK to say she's boring. Your attitude should be that all problems are welcome as long as they're accompanied by solutions.

Of course, there is no point in any of this if neither of you are willing to give each other's solutions a fair try. One last thing: Set a deadline — 90 days. If three months of honestly trying to be each other's ideal lover doesn't work, then pull the plug.

Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? Email him at sexorcist@creativeloafing.com. Mike Alvear is the author of the Meet the Hottie in the Corner e-book and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.

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