I have been with my boyfriend for about 10 months, and have never been happier. The only thing is, I feel slightly uncomfortable in the bedroom with him, compared with how I’ve felt in previous relationships. The main issue is that he’s never been vocal during sex. I’ve tried asking him what he likes, and he’s always shrugged it off. It’s making me feel as if I’m not good enough for him. I can’t do anything to please him without knowing what he is into. He has opened up about not being confident about sex in his previous relationship, and that he has been rejected many times, so I think this has something to do with it, but is it a thing that men don’t moan or even speak during sex and foreplay? When we have discussions about sex, I always say to him that I want him to feel more relaxed and confident around me. I know it’s easier said than done, but I really want to help him feel he can be himself and enjoy sex. My boyfriend always ejaculates, so I must be doing something right.

Your boyfriend has already shared his lack of confidence and fear of rejection – and you can assume it will take him some time to become less anxious during sex. He is erotically responsive to you, but he has to bypass his anxiety in order to achieve climax – and that’s not easy for him. And perhaps you, too, lack confidence in your ability to please him and are searching for signs that he is satisfied. Breathe. Don’t push him. Saying: “Try to relax,” will only make him less comfortable. Your best course of action is to praise and encourage him for even small things he does that please you, and express your own pleasure vocally. This will subtly build his sense of sexual efficacy, and eventually he will enjoy it more consistently. However, although some men do express their excitement vocally, most have been taught to be secretive about sex and have learned to suppress expressions of pleasure and be silent. Don’t take this personally.

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 [email protected] (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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