From the sloppiest of tongues to someone treating your clitoris like a freakin’ set of turntables, we all know that sex can just be bad. While drunken one-nighters are almost begging to be awful, even your long-term love can just suck in the sack. But sex is so important! So what do you do when the sex is just bad?
Well, say something! If you can’t communicate about your flailing sex life, it certainly won’t get better. But discussing such a sensitive issue can get sticky (and not in the good way). So tailor-fit your fuss to your particular unsexy scenario.
You’ve just started having sex with a new person and they can’t figure out what makes you squirm: Though movies lead us to believe that anyone we eye-screw in a bar will just magically know how to do us right, sexual compatibility usually doesn’t come so easily. So go easy on the person for a minute! Like learning how to knit a hat for the first time, it takes a little while to master a new skill.
Practice forgiveness if your partner drops a few stitches. Focus not on what you don’t want, but on what you do, giving enthusiastic reinforcement when he/she does hit the spot. If the sex is deal-breaking bad, ask yourself if the techniques you require can be taught/learned. Knowing exactly how to get you off? A learnable skill. Breaking someone’s belief that sex toys are the devil? Not so much. Controlling how much he likes to use sports analogies for your most intimate acts? Might just be a charming, unchangeable part of who he is.
Sex is ultimately a relational skill that’s all about how much you can listen to each other’s verbal and body language, which can take time to get down. But if you’re speaking French and she only speaks pig Latin, it might be time bid her adieu.
You’ve been dating for a while, the trial period’s over, but the sex is... meh: Somewhere between casually dating and serious relationship, couples get stuck in this “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” pattern. You have sex regularly, orgasms happen, the sex is... fine. This is one of the trickiest “bad sex” scenarios to navigate. If you’ve never spoken up before, your partner can easily think that maybe you’ve been quietly unsatisfied this whole time! But you’re not unsatisfied, you’re just blah. Sure, the cobb salad at your favorite restaurant is delicious, but you’d be bored and malnourished if you ate it for every meal.
Tell your partner what you love about your tried-and-true sex. Then offer gentle upgrades. Simply changing the time of day you get freaky can work wonders. Many save sex for last—going through their whole day before sleepily moving through their sex routine. Our motivation and creativity peak in the late morning/early afternoon, so try getting down when the sun comes up instead.
You’re in a long-term relationship and the sex has “gotten bad:” The sex didn’t always suck, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have made it this far. Though taking stock of when things changed is helpful, oftentimes it’s just unrealistic to think that your initial, spontaneous spark can just burn unattended for so long. No one wants to schedule sex, but when you’ve got a busy life and a busy life partner, carving out intentional space for sexy times can bring vast improvements. Otherwise, deep-rooted dynamics happening outside the bedroom can cause a lot of strife between the sheets, so make sure to resolve external conflicts before assuming she just sucks at sex.
We all have a certain sexual toolbox we bring into our partner’s bedroom with our favorite utensils in it. But being “good in bed” is less about the tools we’ve got in our box and more about how we use both what we’ve got in ours and what our partner’s got in theirs. What I’m saying is, you can lend a guy you’re favorite hammer, but if the dummy can’t hit the nail on the head, it might just be time to ax him.•