Your Call – Does Bad Sex Have to Be a Deal-Breaker?

photo by M31.

Can sexual compatibility improve over time in a relationship — or does it need to be there from the start for the relationship to work? Is bad sex necessarily a deal-breaker? Read the letter below and then advise “Underwhelmed” in the feedback section below.

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve always been a fairly promiscuous woman, in between looking for Mr. Right, and I’ve enjoyed most of the sex I’ve had, and consistently gotten rave reviews. I’ve never had a shortage of lovers and only rarely found myself sexually incompatible with someone. I’ve got some skills.

And I was thrilled this year when I met someone with whom I actually connected emotionally, and really felt excited to be around, talk to, and spend time. I was excited and turned on by him physically and emotionally.

So I was pretty shocked to find that the sex is insurmountably bad. I’m excellent at giving head, and approach it with gusto, but around his cock my bag of tricks doesn’t seem to work. I’ve had guys who were too small for me, but this guy is actually WAY too thick. To the point that there are very few positions we can use and when I get close to orgasm and start to clench down a bit it actually hurts him a great deal and we have to stop. He probably only comes about 30% of the time.

I’ve never had a sexual relationship like this. With anyone else I would’ve just chalked it up to weird sex issues and gone on my merry way to the next dude but I don’t often fall into a “boyfriend” space with someone and I am crazy about this guy. He’s introduced me to his family, we’ve talked about moving in together. It’s clearly “going somewhere” but I know that if the sex doesn’t actually improve we don’t have a chance. He’s reticent to talk and, frankly, I don’t know how to make myself more commodious, or figure out what will get him off without him TELLING me what to do, especially since the moves and tricks that worked so well on the previous bazillion dudes doesn’t work on the one guy I want to keep around.

How to make myself bigger? It’s not a lube issue. I’m juicy. Just small. How to get him to talk? Should I go back to slutting it up? I’m in my 30s. I’d rather have this work than go back to the (albeit more sexually compatible) anonymous masses.

— Underwhelmed

What should “Underwhelmed” do? Advise her below…

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12 Comments on "Your Call – Does Bad Sex Have to Be a Deal-Breaker?"

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5 years 3 months ago

I’m actually going through a similar situation in the bedroom, however, my situation is that the guy is a little too small. Now, I give him credit for trying to make up for what he ahem, lacks, orally. However, even with clitoral stimulation it takes me a while to orgasm with him, and he gets off rather quickly. This has been bothering me for about a month now as I never feel sexually satisfied. We’re about 8 years apart (I’m 25), and I honestly just think that he is unable to keep up with my sexual needs/desires. I like him and I was dating him with the intent to get into a relationship, but after a month, I guess I just expected that the duration and intensity of the sex would pick up, and it hasn’t. So I am considering moving on because I can’t deal with plan vanilla, 5 minute sex forever. I’ve even went as far as to talking to him about it, and he just says “what do you expect? I’m not going to be a stallion every time..”. I’m yet to see this stallion he’s referring

5 years 3 months ago

pik: Thank you! I was starting to get really irritated with some commenters’ clit fixation. I personally get really bored when my lover *only* pays attention to that.

Underwhelmed: if he’s unwilling to even talk about these issues with you, that’s a bigger red flag than the sex. What happens when other big issues crop up in your relationship — finances, family issues, crises? Will he clam up then too? And if so, is this really going to be a long-term relationship that you want to settle for?

Princess McGregor
5 years 3 months ago

It’s so ironic that I stumbled upon this article. I thought I was reading about myself when Underwhelmed was describing herself: experienced and skilled, etc. I am having a similar issue in the bdrm too – not where anything painful is happening but there are some definite signs of erectile dysfunction. I don’t know exactly when is the “right time” to have a conversation about it with my boyfriend. I was on top of him the other morning and I could actually feel his penis deflating. I looked him in the eye and tapped his forehead and said “I think you need to shut this off once in a while.”…meaning his mind. Ideally this would have been a perfect time to have the talk but I didn’t think it was my place to initiate it. Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it (not to mention a nasty yeast infection…ahh – yes, the joys of a new sexual partner), I feel as though I must bring it up b/c quite honestly, I agree 100% with pik: can’t and won’t sacrifice either.
I wish you luck and sending you good thoughts on your journey, Underwhelmed.

5 years 3 months ago

i think you are definitely on the right track with this one. however…

sure, sex is far more than just intercourse. but that doesn’t mean that his size “shouldn’t matter” – clearly it does matter, to her, in a big way. since orgasm is hardly the only point of sex, having one big part of it be simply too painful to enjoy can be a huge problem. i love all kinds of sex… but intercourse is very important to me. if i were only able to have a pleasurable sexual experience by forgoing intercourse itself, i would eventually get very frustrated and even resentful.

also, the clitoris is just one part of the female sex organs, certainly not the only one. clitoral stimulation alone, without attention to all the other sex organs that i have – labia, g-spot, etcetera – is actually painful and annoying for me. i’m sure that i am not the only woman who feels this way.

that said, you are absolutely correct that there is so much more to sex than just the penis and vagina… always good to remind people of that!

and of course, communication is key. i can’t imagine being so physically incompatible that intercourse wasn’t comfortable… and i gotta be honest, even if we talked it over and had lots of great sex in other ways, i can’t see myself staying in that relationship long-term. the ultimate in sexual satisfaction – for me at least – is to have emotional AND physical compatibility, and that includes being able to have satisfying intercourse. i don’t think you should have to sacrifice either one!

5 years 3 months ago

Dear Undrewhelmed, that sucks! Good sex (for starters, manageable sex) is important! But everything else you’ve described as your feelings for this guy is also very, very, very important – and so much more difficult to find than passably good sex!
And sure, you can (and will) focus on all sorts of other ways that get you to your orgasm, but it sounds like that’s not really the problem. It’s also about you pleasing him that doesn’t seem to be working. And hey, despite of all the excessive attention it gets, intercourse is also important! I mean, who would really say that they’d do without it entirely? I sure wouldn’t, even if I usually need other forms of stimulation to get to my happy place.
The only sensible piece of advice I can give you is to GET HIM TO TALK. Many of us feel awkward giving instructions and even discussing sex openly, but there’s always a way – Em&Lo here have done a great job in giving examples on how to start.
And once you start talking, I really, really want to believe that there’s also a way to finding a solution to your problem – the universe would just be too cruel otherwise.
So don’t go back to the anonymous masses before you’ve tried everything possible to make this work. I’m 30, I’m in the masses, I’m having good sex and that’s about it. I know.
Good luck!