The first thing to go was the kissing.

We were on the bed when I went to go kiss him. “You know, we don’t have to make out EVERY night!” he spat, as if the mere thought of our lips touching was poison. We had been dating for less than three months.

Things only got worse from there.

Before long, making out was out of the question (My lips hurt his beard, he’d say. Looking back, I’m just like HAHAHA, WHUT?!). Then around the six-month mark, we stopped having sex. It wasn’t even like anything dramatic had happened; we had simply stopped. Every time I tried to do anything sexual with him after that, I was made to feel guilty for wanting him. The one time I tried talking to him about it, I was immediately shut down.

“I don’t get why you won’t have sex with me,” I whined, sounding like someone whose ice cream cone had melted before they had a chance to eat it. “It makes me feel like you aren’t attracted to me.”

“That’s not what I said at all,” he replied, which admittedly, wasn’t the clearest answer in the world. “I’m just not like other gays that need to have sex all the time. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“Well, me neither,” I said, with the sexual frustration of a mistress without a plaything to keep them busy.

And with that–silence. We never had sex again.

Honestly, I still have no idea how I ended up–let alone stayed–in a sexless relationship for more than two years, but I did. It didn’t make much sense to my friends either.

“What reasons has he given you for not having sex?” one friend asked after I had spent the bulk of one conversation complaining.

“He’s said he’s ‘just not into it,’” I replied, “He’s ‘not like other guys that want to have sex all the time,’ ‘it’s gross’, etc. etc.”

“Huh, well…” my friend noted, clearly itching to drop some #truthbombs. “You are into it. He is not. So you guys are incompatible. Sorry ‘bout it, but that’s just the facts, buddy.”

“I know, you’re right,” I said, somewhat defeated. “But then I overthink or I find myself trying to rationalize why it’s okay if he doesn’t want to and ughhhhhhh! I can’t tell you how many sexless marriage columns I’ve read!”

It was a lot. Every time my boyfriend was at work, I would jump on my phone and Google sad things like “gay and in a sexless relationship.” At one point, I even Googled, “Boyfriend says my lips hurt his beard when we kiss.” (The results were understandably pretty skim on that one.) With every new search, I became more and more discouraged: This is supposed to be an “old couple” thing, I would think, not something that happens to a 20-something!

And yet, I stayed. For every one excuse he had for not having sex, I had fifty more for why we should stay together.

He makes me laugh. Maybe he was like this with his other boyfriend and it’s not just me. He loves me. He buys me coffee (which really is a fantastic reason to stay in any relationship but alas…).

Until finally I began to question, OMG, am I a disgusting pig that’s super bad at sex? (I’ve got great self-esteem, can’t you tell?)

Any questions or rationalizations I had were quickly squashed when we broke up after two and a half years of dating and nearly two years without having sex. The breakup, surprisingly, had nothing to do with the lack of sex… it was more a realization that we wanted different things. (Go figure, right!?)

All of that to say, if you ever have the chance to be in a sexless relationship, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. To this day, I still struggle with putting into words what it was like to be in a relationship like that, a relationship that made me feel more like a plutonic companion than a lover.

Even though I was sad to see our relationship end, I later realized that having a boyfriend that wouldn’t even kiss me was far lonelier than being single. Since the breakup, I have yet to do anything with another man, and am kind of terrified for that day to come, because it has been so. damn. long.

Of course, our breakup wasn’t completely terrible. Not even a week later, he sent me the following message:

“I want you to know that I didn’t love you any less, or think you were unattractive or something stupid. I look back and it just seems to me that we just settled into that funk and we just existed and had adventures here and there but I think you and I both lost our romantic excitement like some married couple. You listened to me whine and complain but I rarely heard your stories. Because I didn’t ask.”

It was a clear indicator that he wasn’t completely oblivious to my sexual unhappiness.

My favorite, though, came when he added, “Side note: If you write some Queerty article about this, at least hide it from me until I am ready to read it.”

To which I say to him now: Consider it hidden, along with all the kisses you never gave.

Related: Self-Described ‘Black Queer Man’ Says Being Celibate Improved His Sex Life

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