Hi Rhonda,

I’m 26 years old and my boyfriend is 40 but he still has a child-like mentality.

We’ve been together for 1 year and I’m in a dilemma now. I can’t accept my boyfriend’s past. He’s had a lot of sex with trans-women who still had a penis and he liked it.

When I confronted him about being bisexual, he didn’t accept that. I feel really uncomfortable with his past. I’m not anti-trans, I just can’t accept my boyfriend (or someone who will possibly be my future) having a past like that.

Also, he often watches ‘ladyboy’ porn and promiscuous hook-up stories. Every time I see his gallery all the pictures are naked women and naked ‘ladyboys’ with penises.

Am I too conservative not accepting all of that? I have a past too but it’s only ‘normal’ hook ups with different guys.

Recently he was telling me he’s not sexual at the moment, but I found out the same morning that he watched porn.

I feel disgusted with myself. It’s lowering my self-esteem. We used to have a good and wild sex life, but it’s gone now. I don’t know why it happened. I’m always the one who seduces him, and it makes me feel not wanted by him. It’s really hurt me so much. I’ve been crying for days. I don’t know what to do. I want to leave him because I know I can’t accept his past. I don’t want to compete with ‘ladyboys’. On the other hand, I love him. He’s a good guy underneath.


Hi D,

Given you are only 26 and you have only been together for 1 year, this may not be the relationship for you.

Your partner’s sexual interests and sexual orientation are not yours to question. They are his. If they don’t align with yours, if they make you uncomfortable, and you can’t find a way to accepting this part of him, then you can choose to walk away.

Regardless of whether you make that choice, consider if the shoe was on the other foot. What if your partner took issue with your sexual interests, your fantasies, your sexual history. How would this make you feel? Would this be a fair judgement to make?

Consider also the nature of fantasy. You say you don’t want to compete with his fantasies. Is he asking you to? Is he comparing you to that, or is this your assumption? Do you compare him to your fantasies? Does he know what your fantasies are and judge you for them? Remember that fantasy is just that – it doesn’t necessarily translate to what people want in reality.

Not everyone’s sexual interests align. Not everyone’s sexual histories match up – your boyfriend has a whole decade more experience than you. If there is not sufficient overlap for you to create and share a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, and this is a priority for either of you to meet WITHIN the relationship, then this is not the relationship for you.

Having said that, some people are not sexually compatible, yet they find a way to get their needs met outside the relationship, or they find sufficient compromise within the relationship to make things work. But if those options are not possible, and you are not able to accept this part of him, then the writing is on the wall.

One last point that stood out for me in your letter is that you are coupling your self-esteem with his overt desire for you. For example, with whether he responds to your advances or initiates sex. Sexual desire is complicated, and context dependent. Many factors feed into whether a person initiates or responds to initiation for sex. It often has little to do with whether a person finds you attractive and a lot more to do with how they’re feeling in themselves and/or about the relationship.

For example, if there has been conflict and confrontation around his sexual interests, this may lead to sexual avoidance. Sex might now be associated with conflict or bad feelings, even shame. Or if you have expressed your insecurities during sex, he may want to avoid repeating this situation. Or he might just be tired, stressed or had too much to eat. You don’t know.

Porn use can often increase to cope with stress. Maybe there’s shame or complex emotions, anxiety or fear that prevent someone from wanting to engage in intimacy with their partner. When sex seems too difficult, porn can provide an outlet, an escape. So, when he says he’s not feeling sexual, but is using porn, he may be telling the truth.

These are all issues that can be worked through, but with compassion and understanding, not judgement and fear. The question at this point for you both is whether you even want to. And only the two of you can answer that.


Rhonda xx

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