My fiance fears intimacy – and we’ve only had sex twice

<span>‘He can’t get past this.’</span><span>Composite: Getty Images (posed by models)</span>
‘He can’t get past this.’Composite: Getty Images (posed by models)

I am a gay man who is engaged. We are both in our 30s, but my fiance comes from a Catholic background and is extremely sexually repressed. He says that until he met me, he had only had sex with a man once, while drunk. We live together, but he has a fear of intimacy and we’ve only had sex twice. He says he is attracted to me but can’t get past his repression. What should I do?

Changing the way your partner feels about sex and intimacy is not likely to happen soon, if ever. You could try taking some incremental steps such as introducing him to a gay Catholic priest who may be able to help him put things into perspective and relieve some of the guilt that seems to have led to well-entrenched internalised homophobia.

But it may be more important for you to consider the fact that you have chosen to be with someone who is largely unavailable to you. Why do you think that is? Sometimes people unconsciously follow patterns they learned in childhood, perhaps by growing up with a distant or remote caregiver, or having an unhappy parent whose attempts at intimacy were rejected by his or her spouse. You deserve to be in a relationship where you can enjoy healthy sexuality with someone who is capable of a reasonable degree of intimacy.

• Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

• If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.