Savage Love: Lotion Up 

Dear Dan —

My girlfriend always responds positively when I initiate sex with her, but she hardly ever initiates sex with me. I'm a no-beat-around-the-bush kind of guy, but I realize that this can be a sensitive topic, and I don't want to scare her by saying, "Please initiate sex more often!" So I do small things to coax her and let her know that I want her to initiate. I will lotion up in front of her after we shower. Or I'll say something like "I wanted to fuck last night—maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" But it hasn't worked. The only time she'll initiate is if I haven't initiated for a while and she's sexually frustrated. But that can take days!

-Girlfriend Rarely Initiates Naked Dance

Wow, GRIND, your girlfriend is pretty fucking dense. I'm surprised she remembers to breathe in her sleep.

I mean, she actually heard you say, "I wanted to fuck last night—maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" and somehow didn't realize that what you meant was "Please initiate sex more often." And she's seen you smearing lotion on yourself after showering and somehow didn't realize that you wanted her to start initiating sex once in a while. Amazing. A boyfriend smearing lotion on himself—who doesn't know what that means?

Um. Yeah. No.

Sorry, GRIND, but you're the dense one in this relationship. "I wanted to fuck last night—maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" does not auto-translate to "Please initiate sex more often." The likely takeaway from that statement is "I wanted to fuck last night, but the granny panties/pajama bottoms/hazmat Spanx you were wearing were such a turnoff that I couldn't get it up. You suck at this girlfriend shit." And while seeing your boyfriend "lotion up" after a shower may inspire lust, it doesn't communicate a very specific need like "Please initiate sex more often." The only thing it communicates for sure is "My boyfriend isn't going to put up with dry skin."

You want your girlfriend to initiate sex more often? Tell her you want her to initiate sex more often. Trust me, GRIND, that straightforward request will display more sensitivity to your girlfriend's feelings—and will be less crazy-making—than a potentially confidence-shredding statement like "Hey, I wanted to fuck you last night but you were wearing the wrong panties," or the conspicuous application of skin moisturizer.

But even if you're straight with her, GRIND, things are unlikely to change. She initiates when she's horny/sexually frustrated, but she obviously has a lower libido than you do and gets horny/sexually frustrated at intervals that leave you frustrated. Your desire for her cranks her up, so she's good to go when you initiate. But she's satisfied with less sex—she has a lower libido—and is unlikely to feel the urge to initiate as often as you would like her to regardless.

Dear Dan —

I'm a 21-year-old female college student going to school on the East Coast. Two days ago, I broke up with my manipulative, controlling, insecure, long-distance boyfriend of one year. I truly care for this man, but I need to live my life the way I want to, and that wasn't possible in this relationship. The problem is, he's been leaving voice mails, texting, and e-mailing me threatening suicide. I've told his mother about this, but I don't think she's taking it seriously. I feel horrible, but I don't want to talk to him because I refuse to get sucked back into his problems. How can I deal with this serious threat without getting personally involved?

-Single And Worried

Your ex-boyfriend's mom presumably knows her son better than you do, SAW, and she isn't taking his threats seriously. So it's possible that he has a long history of manipulating people with idle suicide threats, essentially taking himself hostage to get what he wants. But if you're worried—maybe his mother is neglectful and/or nuts—you might want to listen to Episode 364 of the Savage Lovecast (you can find that episode, and 363 others, at savagelovecast.com). I took a question from a man whose girlfriend threatened suicide when he tried to dump her. Jill Harkavy-Friedman of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had some excellent advice for him. Summing it up: Alert his friends and relatives, and pass the AFSP's hotline number (1-800-273-TALK) on to them and on to the person making the threat. I would add: Don't respond to his texts or voice mails, consider blocking his number, and forward any truly worrying e-mails to his mother.

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