“I had the worst sex of my life last week,” he bluntly announced as he turned towards the kitchen to make coffee.
Oh good. I wasn’t the worst.
“I could tell she felt uncomfortable like you…”
Oh no. My gut reaction was to cover my ears like a Kindergartener, drowning out the description with “La la la la.” That or pop a Xanax.
Truthfully, and quite coincidentally, I had every intention of discussing this exact topic with my guy friend that day. It was the first time seeing him after New York, and I needed a debrief. I guess I just wasn’t prepared to dive right in before my coffee was even fully brewed.
Contrary to what readers might think, I can count the number of guys I’ve slept with on one hand. He is one of them and the only one with whom I can openly discuss such things and receive unfiltered feedback. Though I requested that he spare me any super intimate, and possibly embarrassing, details from sex together this past summer, I wanted his opinion on my current situation as someone who has witnessed it first-hand.
While my midnight encounters with men have been fun for the most part, they have never ended extremely well for me, like a hike in which you never actually make it to the top. You climb back down glad that you got a workout but bummed you couldn’t take selfies from the summit with a slight feeling of defeat.
To be clear though, I am not sexually frustrated. Many times I’ve imagined myself as a Miss America contestant in which my speech includes, among world peace, promises of “Vibrators for all!” The only thing that I’m frustrated about is my inability to fully enjoy one of the best, most beautiful, parts of human interaction.
You Can’t Mess This Up
In explaining this to my friend, he wasn’t entirely understanding the hangup. As someone who is sufficiently confident in themselves and passionate about sex, it was difficult for him to grasp my discomfort with something that seems so natural. I shared a metaphorical story to help illustrate it.
In elementary school, I was on the track team. Despite a lack of athleticism, my long jump skills qualified me to be a part of a small group of students who visited the local high school to learn how to high jump. The high school track coach demonstrated the first steps towards high jumping with the instructions: “All you have to do is run and jump on this big pad. Don’t worry, there is literally no way that you could possibly mess it up.”
When it was my turn, I did as he said. I ran and jumped.
“Oh. Okay, I guess there is a way you can mess it up…” Somehow I couldn’t even jump on a big comfy pad appropriately. This spans every dimension of my everyday activities. It is the story of my life.
“Then own it,” he replied at the conclusion of my story. So, this is me owning it. For various reasons, I have never had good sex. I drink too much. I get in my head. I overthink it. I equate it to a workout, worrying about my form and wondering how many reps I have left. I’m scared to be vulnerable, afraid to indulge and embarrassed to speak up. I feel guilty for not being more experienced and for being far from perfect. I let the fear of being bad overcome my ability to enjoy myself – to have a good time.
Story of Their Lives
To dive a little deeper and offer constructive steps towards better sex, readers weighed in on their own experiences.
In your opinion, what makes sex “good”?
NYC Girl, 25: For sex to be good, I think there always needs to be a level of passion and comfort and for me, love. It’s such an intimate and vulnerable act. If I don’t love the person, the trust isn’t there to really let go and enjoy the ride. (pun intended)
Scottsdale Girl, 27: Attraction – However, I’ve been with guys that I’ve been attracted to but the sex was bad. I think they need to have “sex appeal”. Being comfortable is a bonus. Comfort allows me to be more exploratory. Also, if I’m comfortable with the guy it allows me to stay in the moment and focused on my senses rather than “Do I look fat from this angle?” Or “Am I smooth enough?”
NYC Girl, 27: I think there is even a distinction between “good” sex and “great” sex. My experience with “good” sex definitely includes attraction, playful flirtation, fun and enthusiastic kissing, an ease in undressing each other, a closeness upon starting, visible and audible signs of mutual elation, multiple orgasms, and gratifying finish. “Great” sex sends heat waves down my body and leaves my inner thighs quivering long after it’s over. “Great” sex is a mind and body experience with my partner, moving together, moaning together, pleasing each other, and finishing together. Throw me around, kiss my entire body, and never finish… I just don’t want it to end.
Phoenix Guy, 31: Depends on the situation, but for me it is when both people feel satisfied. Whether that is both individuals lying breathless on the bed after going at it or cuddling after an intimate love making session.
If it’s not good, what do you do?
NYC Girl, 25: Run.
No but really, it depends. Sex isn’t always good, and that is okay. But if it’s consistently bad, and you truly care about the person… you have to fix it. This can lead to a very uncomfortable conversation, but it just has to happen. Sex is important in a relationship and there is probably a reason you aren’t connecting in the bedroom. Communicate and if all else fails, slam back half a bottle of wine and confidently tell him what you want him to do to you. That should get things going.
Scottsdale Girl, 27: It it’s not good, I’ve faked it. If I fake it (i.e. moaning) the guy gets more aroused and the quicker he’ll finish and the quicker it’ll be over.
NYC Girl, 27: Fix it! My go-to is hopping on top. I control the motion and depth and then close my eyes and touch myself. If he’s finishing, I want to get off also, so I’ll just take matters into my own hands and let him think he’s helping… somewhat. Trust me, he’ll never know you didn’t think he was that good!
Phoenix Guy, 31: I try to fix it during if I can, but sometimes you can’t. With regards to sex, I have found it’s bad when both people are out of sync or inexperienced, so I try to calm down the motion and get both on the same page, or even make suggestions. I know that can ruin the moment sometimes, but I would rather someone tell me during to do “x” than have a horrible experience and both people are sitting on the bed or floor with that awkward silence.
What advice would you give someone for enjoying sex more?
NYC Girl, 25: I would say experiment, connect with your partner, be in the moment and don’t feel like you have to do crazy shit.
Scottsdale Girl, 27: Masturbate. Find out what you like. Try different positions with your guy. It’s easier for me to get off if I’m on top.
NYC Girl, 27: Tell the man what to do to please you! Slow down, move here, touch there, kiss here and there. He finishes, if it’s good or not for you – so make it good for you! Explore with yourself solo to really learn what feels good, then bring that experience to the table and make him learn. It’s not all a sprint – slow and steady is just as beautiful in my opinion.
Phoenix Guy, 31: Be open to new experiences or to try a different style rather than what you have been doing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I would also suggest maybe finding out what makes the other person more comfortable or if they have any issues (i.e. body insecurities or past previous bad experiences). If you can figure out what someone likes and make them comfortable, they can usually end up having more enjoyable sex.
Though the following Steinbeck quote was initially in my notes to include in a future post about beauty, the meaning can be applied universally. I find it especially fitting for owning up to my sexual roadblocks.[quote]And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.[/quote]
Perhaps by letting go of the need to be perfect – in conjunction with less cocktails – I can be more comfortable, more confident and maybe… simply good.