Dear Em & Lo: I Told BF Sex Was Just Alright

photo by db*photography

Dear Em & Lo,

When my boyfriend and I first got together and started having sex he asked me how I thought it was. I told him it was alright. Well, he took it as a negative thing and now he doesn’t want to have sex with me because he thinks I don’t enjoy it. I have told him a lot of times that I really do enjoy it, but he still doesn’t believe me. What should I do now?

— Foot in Mouth

Dear FiM,

First of all, let this be a lesson to all the luvvers out there: no one ever wants to be told that they’re “all right” in bed. Three-day old pizza is all right, one of Julia Roberts’ lesser movies is all right, and so is flying coach. But sex? Of course your boyfriend took “all right” as a negative thing, we don’t blame him! You may as well have shrugged your shoulders and said, “Eh.”

We’re guessing that an argument of semantics (“I meant all right as in, ‘Aw-right!!! Yeah!!'”) isn’t going to work here, so all you can do is lead by example. The more often you initiate sex, the more he’s going to believe you. And while we would never condone faking, you might want to think about how much noise you’re making in bed. Have you ever noticed how free people feel to moan in ecstasy when they’re receiving a backrub — and yet those same people are often quiet-as-a-mouse in bed. Perhaps if you learned to vocalize your enjoyment in the moment itself, that’d be more convincing.

That all said, we think your boyfriend also needs to suck it up and deal. If you’re not free to be honest with each other about how things are going in the sack, then your sex life is doomed. If the earth isn’t moving for you, then he needs to know that. Of course, as you have learned the hard way, men’s egos are often more fragile than a newly hatched duckling, and there are many wrong ways to approach this matter. As a general rule, you want to keep your directions in
positive, constructive terms: “I love it when you do this; I’d really like to do that again, it turned me on so much; You know what my favorite thing that you do in bed is? You know what I’ve always wanted to try?” And so on. Even better if your voice gets all husky and you sound like you’re talking dirty when you say this stuff.

And next time you want to tell someone they’re alright in bed? Make sure you pump your fist in the air as you say it so they know how you really feel.

Feelin’ alright,

Em & Lo


  1. Like I said, I get it. Frankly I agree with you that it all evens out, yin-and-yang wise. If you want to look at it from a cosmic balance point of view, ok, fine, it’s all perfectly fair. If I call it unfair it’s because we don’t always get to pick whether that cosmic balance tosses us into a favorable situation or an unfavorable one.

    Funny you should invoke that line of thinking, though, as my whole point was that you should give a little “om” and try some of that serene “cosmic balance” type thinking. You sound pissed off about the whole thing – a bit of a sounding board type yourself.

    But hey, I don’t know you. Maybe after writing your series of posts here, you logged on to a male-oriented website where guys bitch about how women are cock-teases and gold-diggers and cheating, heart-breaking whores and – yes – shallow for always picking bad-boy players over nice decent men. After all, the “cut down the middle” school of thought dictates that men are just as prone to that as women. Maybe you pointed the same thing out to the guys – that they’re probably the causes of their own problems, that neither the world nor women are to blame, and that they’re creating drama in their lives where there needn’t be any.

    When you say the people writing these letters are “really messed up,” you betraying your lack of experience with women (which, if I were to take a guess, is the main reason you and every other pissed off guy on the face of the planet get wound up over discussions like this). Their dilemmas are actually pretty typical for women, which is why I suspect some of these letters get chosen – because they address the concerns of a large number of people. And I don’t see what your beef is with a little bit of entertainment along the way.

    As for Em & Lo not tackling social issues in the way you think they should… I’ve never seen ANY single source ANYWHERE accurately portray – let alone solve – the totality of social dissonance. What do you want from them?

    So I guess, being a yin-yang, cosmic balance guy, you’re just providing an equal-and-opposite level of hostility to the one you think is directed at men around here. Um… well done? I guess?

  2. “Love and sex aren’t fair dude.”

    In most cases love and sex are exactly yin and yang for men and women. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I’d say its pretty fair, very few things you could turn around and say “well, the other sex does it too, and just as much! oh but this one has that advantage, oh but this one has this advantage.” Pretty cut down the middle.

    There are some really deep social issues that can be addressed for the parts that aren’t fair, but this place doesn’t address them. This spot is a fraud, its for entertainment, and these quack columist are giving advice not to help anything but to scream “girl power, you go girl” to appeal to the common demominator.

    Seriously, Can my dream tell me who my baby daddy is? I’m fat, this guy likes me anyway, but can I use my insecurity as a sounding board to call men shallow? Hey, my friend who doesn’t even like me said some vaginas are ugly, so omg… are men so horrible to talk about vaginas the way we talk about penises?? I’m an ex prostitute, my boyfriends ok with it, so now I’m not ok with him being ok with it?

    Its quiet silly. You mention double standards, but I’m not even sure if this site even goes that deep. Everything is a tit for tat situation.

    I had already moved on to something a little more stimulating that discusses some better social issues, but I did come to check back, it wouldn’t be right to not respond to you. I said, “you almost get it” in reference to almost getting my point, that these articles are just silly, and these columist are answering some really messed up people, not with sound advice, but with sexist propaganda.

  3. ^ I get it dude. You perceive hypocrisy and double-standards where these things are concerned, and you’re right.

    Now you could accept world as it is, or you could hop on your high-horse and go on some crusade about it.

    Love and sex aren’t fair dude. Women will judge you for your dick size, your job, your height, the amount of hair you have on you head. Men will judge women for their weight, the amount of hair they have on their bodies, their willingness/unwillingness to have sex, etc.

    Settle down brah. That’s just how it works. You’re not going to change peoples’ preferences or attitudes. The trick is to block out the ones who you judge negatively, and who judge you negatively; and to focus on the ones who you get along with.


  4. I hope she remembers that when she is feeling insecure and wants to ask if she looks fat.

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