When Bad Sex Happens to Good People

Being single and having sex in your 30’s can be weird.

On one hand, your hormones are raging and you want to have as much sex as possible. However, after a decade of bad decisions in your 20’s you’re now way more selective about who you get naked with.

As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, “Most days I want to have sex with everyone and no one, all at the same time.”

It’s confusing.

As a 30-something, it’s likely you’re way more comfortable in your own skin and what works for you in the bedroom. Added to that, it seems like every magazine article written about women in their 30’s never fails to point out that you’re in your “sexual peak” (whatever that means.) In theory, you should be having the best sex of your life thus far – right?! As I’ve discovered, this isn’t necessarily the case.

People assume that because I’m a sex & relationship blogger that I must be having the hottest, steamiest, kinkiest sex, all the time. However, when I first started to date again following the big break-up in 2011, I had a string of awkward, bumbling, just plain bad, sexual encounters. Coming from a 6.5 year relationship where my partner knew my body almost as good as his own, I knew I was spoiled. However, I was totally not prepared when my love life turned into a living, breathing (panting?) version of this e-card.

girls-hbo-lena-dunham-sex-relationships-tv-ecards-someecards

Luckily, it seems as though the curse of bad sex has been broken (woo hoo!). However, for awhile I was getting worried. Up until very recently, I’ve been avoiding all contact with the opposite sex, for the sole reason that I just can’t bear to add another item to my growing list of “bad sex” stories (situations I thought I had outgrown when I bid my twenties farewell.)

Everyone weighs the importance of sex in a relationship differently. Having dated several people over the years with whom I didn’t have the greatest sexual chemistry with (but who were good people), I’ve come to the conclusion that a strong physical connection is really, really important to me. I even wrote a column for the Toronto Sun about whether bad sex is reason enough to break up (my answer: yes, yes, a thousand times yes!)

So, what exactly qualifies as “bad sex”?

Well, that’s really different for everyone. Personally, after extensive research in the field throughout my 20’s and 30’s (and some preliminary research in high-school) I’ve come to the conclusion that what I consider “bad sex” usually falls into one (or several) of the following categories. Let me know if any of these sound familiar:

1. “The Guitar Solo” – Really great sex is like music: there’s a give & take between the different instruments, crescendos, melody and a good use of rhythm. “The Guitar Solo” basically takes all of those principles and blows them straight to hell. It’s a one person performance that usually involves spastic movements reminiscent of an energizer bunny on meth, bizarre vocalizations (“Fuck Yeah! Score! Touchdown!”) and perhaps even some rodeo-style arm movements. Yee haw! When it comes to guitar solos, the second guy I slept with was a regular Jimmy Page. FYI, in my experience, the most prolific “soloists” usually have a sex face that looks like Steven Tyler having a seizure.

2. “Let’s Not Make Eye-Contact” sex – What’s the deal with people not wanting to make eye-contact during sex?! Do women do this too? I’ve slept with a couple of guys who seemed to only want to have sex in facially obscuring positions. I don’t mind a bit of doggy-style action, but if we’re having sex and it’s been 45 minutes since I’ve seen your face, that’s a problem. What’s even worse is when you try and make eye-contact and the person dodges you, looking away. It gets to the point where it feels like you’re in the sexual equivalent of a Larry David style stare-down. Make eye-contact with me! I DARE YOU.

(And yes, there really is a Larry David gif for every life situation)

It was after one of these situations that the guy I was dating at the time told me,

“When we hook up I’m never sure if you’re actually having a good time.”

To which I wanted to reply, “Well, maybe if YOU ACTUALLY MADE EYE-CONTACT you might figure it out.”

3. “When Wetter Isn’t Better” – I enjoy a good hot, sweaty roll in the hay as next as much as the next person, but sometimes there is such a thing as too wet – especially when it comes to saliva. I dated a man who despite being a lovely person, was one of the sloppiest kissers I’ve ever met. I should have listened to the old adage “If the kissing ain’t right, keep the legs tight” but I liked spending time with him so we kept dating. Everything was great between us, except in the bedroom – the main problem being an overabundance of saliva. He’d try and lick my face, lick my shoulders, I think I even caught him licking my elbow at one point. The deal-breaker was when he spit on my ass crack & proceeded to try and rub it in with his hand – a move that almost made me vomit. FYI, if you are using this move to initiate anal sex, you’re doing it wrong.

4. “Mr. Noodle” – As a 30-something, it’s amazing how many times I’ve had a guy try and insert his non-erect penis inside me while attempting to have sex. I get that things happen and sometimes stuff just doesn’t work down there. Guys, it’s not a big deal! I won’t judge you! I’ll probably snuggle up next to you and tell you that I still think you’re irresistibly sexy. However, if you refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong and insist on having sex even though you are completely limp, I will judge away. Why? Because, it feels weird – like we aren’t even having sex at all- and I doubt either of us is enjoying it. What’s even scarier, is that I’m not the only one of my girlfriends who has been in a situation where the guy was like, “I’m not hard, but lets try and have sex anyways!”

When I told a former booty call about this, he said:

“If I was a woman and a guy tried that with me, I’d walk out the door.”

“But, you tried to do that with me last night.”

“I know, and you walked out the door. I respect you for that.”

Case & point.

5. “The Three Pump Dump” – I’m pretty sure most women have experienced this one at least once. The “Three Pump Dump” usually sounds something like this: “OH! OH! UHHHHHHH!“, after which you ask yourself “Did we actually just have sex?” It happens to the best of us. It’s awkward, but luckily it’s over before you know it.

6. “The Chemistry Experiment Gone Wrong” – Despite the best of intentions, sometimes when two adults who are equally attracted to each other hook-up, the sex just doesn’t work. Whether it’s an awkward tangle of limbs or just conflicting sexual styles – sometimes, the right kind of chemistry isn’t there. It’s natural. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

It’s funny, after I wrote that article about sexual compatibility for the Toronto Sun, I received an email from a very angry male reader that basically said:

“HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT MAYBE YOU’RE THE PROBLEM AND THAT IT’S ACTUALLY YOU WHO IS BAD IN BED?!”

It’s very possible! Some of the people that I thought were terrible in bed, likely thought I was terrible as well. When the chemistry is off, the chemistry is off and there is nothing you can do. However, everyone is different. The worst sex for one person, might be an earth-quaking and amazing experience for another. It all depends on the people.

Truth be told, I think having some less than satisfying sex every so often is a positive thing.  Often, the only way to figure out what we like is through trial and error. Having a few awkward, cringe-worthy notches on our bedposts help us recognize when things are really, really good.

 What do you think makes or breaks good sex?

  • JimmerJammer

    Yeah it was pretty awkward when a lady told me she wanted to be choked. Oh and one guy punched her in the face once and she got off on that. That was awkward.

    I mean cool kink, but some stuff it is like yikes!

  • skinny_dip

    Oh wow, that’s pretty crazy! I wouldn’t know what to say to that. Sounds like a scene out of Californication.

  • Teacher Girl

    Oh man, this post made me laugh! I think you are right– sometimes we need to have bad experiences sexually so we can appreciate the great ones.

    • skinny_dip

      I’m glad it gave you a laugh! The way I see it is that it’s a life long learning process. Can’t know what you like until you’ve experienced the opposite right?!

  • Stef Woods

    The three pump dump killed me! I also hate the Question Guys. “Do you like this?” “How is that?” “Should I do this?” Just do it already! And, congrats on The Toronto Sun piece!!! xoxo

    • skinny_dip

      Thanks Stef!

      My ex actually coined the term “three pump dump” and I thought it was the perfect descriptor, so it stuck! Ugh, not a fan of the question guys…or the ones who want to dissect every moment & move after the fact when all you really want to do is enjoy the after glow. Ahhh!

  • Divorced Kat

    My ex was Mr. Noodle. It was pointless and depressing to literally try to force something that can’t be forced! That just led to both of us feeling like total crap.

    • skinny_dip

      My condolences! Dealing with Mr. Noodles is no fun. Here’s to better sex in the future!! 🙂