by: David Chastity
Yes, Gentle Readers, it even happens to David Chastity. Bad sex. Sometimes you go to boink and everything goes wrong, and not in that cute “haha whoops that was my elbow, sorry!” way, but in that way where you just want to get up mid-thrust and walk into the other room and watch a movie instead. Alone. But don’t despair! There are lots of reasons Bad Sex happens, and just as many things you can do to avoid it. Let’s look at some of them:
Yes, yes, I harp on this all the time. But for a reason! We all have variations on what we like to do when we smoosh our bits together, and if you don’t develop some kind of understanding with your partner, how are you ever gonna get what you want? I have a list of things I really don’t like, and the sooner I mention that my body don’t work that way, the better for both of us. When someone tells me they really like something, I can start doing that all the time, which is fun for everyone. Beyond that, sex apparently has something to do with trust and intimacy, or at least works best when you have similar expectations of trust and intimacy levels. So if you can manage to not be in the middle of an argument with your sex partner, you’re probably gonna have nicer sex than if you both are seething inside.
2. Take Care of Yourself.
Recently, Thing One’s small children were away at grandma’s house, vastly increasing the amount of sleep and self-care Thing One was capable of. We enjoyed a quiet evening at home together, not chasing a single toddler, and by the time we made it to bed, discovered that we had all kinds of leftover energy for particularly good sex. Alas, parents of small children don’t usually get to choose to prioritize their lives for Maximum Sexual Pleasure, but all of us who don’t have to make sure a tiny person doesn’t die Every Damn Day can try harder to do things like get enough sleep and eat some decent food and maybe even exercise with our clothes on sometimes. Sex is a body thing, and the better your body feels, the better the sex will be.
3. Get in the Right Mindset.
Sex is a holy thing for me, and I’ve had some of the best sex ever immediately after meditating, worship, or prayer. I’m not saying this has to become part of your routine (it’s not actually in my normal set of behaviors, because apparently I’m too lazy to spend a minute or two having even better sex?). What I am saying is that being present and focused can do wonders. That old stereotype about a lady just laying there thinking about the grocery list while her husband pumps away? Don’t be that lady.
4. Have Some Standards.
I’m not saying you can’t take that random person from the bar home with you before you’re even quite sure what their name is. Random hookups can be great! If it’s 3 am and you’re just kind of horny and really drunk, it’s okay to take a dishonorable discharge. After all, you know what you’re capable of, and that desperation number in the corner could go either way. Moreover, if you HAVE hooked up with someone and it was so-so, you’d better have a good reason to go back for seconds, like strong mutual interests and shared values that set the stage for a solid long-term relationship in which you can both learn new sexual skills. One of my worst sexual experiences recently was with someone I had hooked up with before quite successfully, and then kept finding reasons to avoid based on some confusing subconscious feeling. Once I finally talked that inner voice into silence and invited Hook-Up back to my bed, it turns out that he was really bad at listening and boundaries, and I couldn’t wait to kick him out and never see him again. If only I had known that my misgivings were legitimate!
5. Do Your Research.
None of us, not even David Chastity, are born with sex therapist level skills. Did you know that sex therapists go to school for YEARS to learn to do what they do? So don’t worry if you’re sometimes the reason Bad Sex happens. We all have more things we can learn, and learning is fun! Get yourself some queer-friendly, feminist, realistic porn- the kind with real couples is the best for this purpose- and watch for ideas. Google lists of sex positions, and spend the afternoon laughing about the least practical, then go and try something that seems simple but interesting. Wander down to the local sex shop and pick out a new toy (or just talk to the clerks for a while! A fun game: find something that totally baffles you, then go ask what it does.)
Find times to casually talk about sex with your partner, if you’ve got one of those consistent partners. Sometimes it’s easier to mention what we like and don’t like away from the pressure of “and we’re about to do this!” If you’re struggling with a specific skill, look for instructional books or videos- there are tons of great resources, but Dr Ruthie’s Exploring Intimacy is one of my favorites. There’s no shame in wanting to up your game, and a patient, loving partner will probably be happy to help you work on something that will lead to both of you getting off better!
We can’t always avoid Bad Sex, but it doesn’t have to be a constant danger. And remember, you’re not obligated to finish what you start! If it’s not working for you, you can stop at literally any time- consent only lasts as long as you want it, after all. Having the self-confidence to say “I don’t want any more of this” is just as important to Good Sex as saying “I want a whole lot more of THAT!”
David Chastity is some girl who lives in a city on the East Coast and likes kissing. She also really enjoys doing the Onion A.V. Club crossword puzzle, drinking good beer and finding the secret sexual meanings in popular music. She’s working on her MDiv and convincing Jesus to marry her.