Wise Guys: What’s the Definition of Bad Sex?

bedphoto by rileyroxx

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What’s the definition of bad sex?

chris_diclericoStraight Single Guy (Chris): Good sex is a function of the physical and the mental. For women, the mental part may be much more about nurturing and safety, or so I’ve read. For men, I would argue the mental part is much more about stroking the ego as much as the penis. Guys want to finish sex feeling manly, powerful, and in control. Guys almost always get off, so the physical part is fairly easy — though I’ve been with some women who really don’t know what they’re doing and don’t take subtle instruction well. For those women, there may be no hope. For the mental part, every guy is different. Most want to make sure their partner was satisfied, which is a win-win situation. If we feel like our partner is bored, or going through the motions, or worst of all, faking it, I think we come away feeling weak and insecure, even if it isn’t true. For the same reasons, guys don’t always want to have to initiate sex. We want our lives to feel like an Axe Body Spray commercial, with dilated pupils and uncontrollable urges. That’s why Axe is one of the fastest growing brands in history.

balthaserGay Married Guy (Jonathan Balthaser): There’s lots of types of bad sex. There’s the I’m-too-drunk-and-can-barely-keep-conscious kind. Worse is the I-wish-you-had-bathed type. The herky-jerky, we-just-don’t-click type is just plain awkward. But by far the worst kind of sex is dispassionate sex: being with someone who’s bored and would rather be playing Scrabble than with your naughty bits.

james_glazebrook_100Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): Having sex with someone who isn’t as into it as you is THE WORST — or so I’ve heard (meh meh). Images like the drunk husband squirming atop his long-suffering wife, who begs off with a headache but eventually submits, should be consigned to cave paintings — because in this day and age sex should have nothing to do with obligation. You can do all the scheduling and experimenting and dressing up (and getting drunk) you want, but you will ultimately have to deal with the fact that at some time, someone just won’t feel like it. Don’t fret about it, and don’t force it — just go find a place to whack/flick off, and maybe next time you’ll get lucky.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Manflet, our Straight Single Guy is Chris DiClerico, and our Gay Married Guy is Jonathan Balthaser of Boerum Hill Blog. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. Basically my definition of bad sex is when there’s a values clash, which is usually about feminine arousal. Sure, a lot of women want to get off, but just as many of them focus on the opposite: staying in control. Me, I’ll take the former and leave the latter for men who don’t really care about feminine needs.

  2. Well, I’m a woman who has a healthy sexual appetite but even I have to admit the makings of bad sex are-no physical, emotional, or even any connection whatsoever on both parts. There has to be at least some kind of chemistry, and consideration for the other person’s pleasure. I’ve had a time or two when the guy I was with did not do anything for me sexually…yet in foreplay it was all good-so anything goes when it comes (pun intended) to having a great experience…or not.

  3. Yes, the drunken kind sucks, lots of guys have a hard time even getting and keeping an erection when they’ve had too much to drink.

  4. From a woman’s POV, we don’t usually get that “He didn’t really want to.” kind of sex really often. Yeah, if you are in a long term relationship, you do have occasional Obligational Sex. It isn’t a big deal. Sometimes you or your partner just NEED it, so you or he goes with the flow to please the other. That doesn’t bother me. Or him. It works out fairly even, most of the time.

    SELFISH sex is the worst. The guy who gets off and does NOTHING for the woman. Once knew a guy who would spend about 1 minute “fingering the goods,” never went South of the Border, and then would spend half the time during intercourse, good naturedly saying, “Someone coming?” I wanted to yell out, “Maybe, but it ain’t ME!” Just what did he think he was doing that would have……Oh, never mind. He’s LONG ago history.

    A certain amount of self absorption is necessary in sex. But, likewise a certain amount of empathy and Doing for One’s Lover is just as necessary.

    Ever see a really OLD stag film? Where the woman looks totally bored, is obvious she is getting nothing out of it, and isn’t even bothering to fake it? And the man doesn’t even seem to NOTICE? That’s similar to the BAD sex I am talking about. It sucks for you, and your partner doesn’t even know it.

    Oh, and the second worst kind is when the guy is “I’m so drunk and so horny.” and just as you start to get into it he….ZZZZZZZZ. UG. Hell, I wake him up to finish the job. I believe one shouldn’t start a job one isn’t going to finish.

  5. First of all let’s get over the notion that a bad day of sex is better than a good day at the office. You might not remember a good day at the office but memories of bad sex can last a lifetime. Really bad sex can ruin good sex for the rest of your life.

    One form of bad sex? When you’re too young or otherwise not ready for it. This can obviously include being forced into it but can also include forcing yourself because, say, you think you should or you think you won’t get another opportunity.

    (James mentioned the archetypal drunken husband. I’m also thinking of the archetypal fathers, uncles, or even frat brothers who used to… and I hear sometimes still do… take very young men to brothels to “initiate” them or otherwise “make a man” of them. They think they’re doing the young man a favor but — based on my own near miss in 7th grade with some older neighbor boys who said the girl they knew was better than the women their fathers took them to — it can create lasting anxiety.)

    On a more prosaic level bad sex is sex when you’re each doing it for the other, it’s gone on too long, for whatever reason neither of you is going to come, and you’re both waiting for the other to finish and wondering how long they’re going to take.

    On a more one-sided note, it was bad sex when your partner says either “are you done yet” or, after, “did you come?”

    And on a humorous-only-in-retrospect note, it can be bad sex when the partner you rendezvous with right after she got off work had spent the afternoon chopping habanero peppers. It’s a good reminder that kink involves a lot of intentionality and planning, as opposed to one partner saying “ow, ow, what the heck, I’m burning up” followed by the other’s “arrrrr it’s on me too!” 🙂


  6. As in most things, true wisdom comes from Woody Allen:

    “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.”

  7. I agree completely. Sex when one of the parties is not interested makes it bad. Nobody wants to be with someone who makes them feel like they’re not wanted, and that goes double for something so intimate as sex.

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