The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
More often than not, having sex sucks. Unmet expectations, fake orgasms, lack of communication, shame, sexual monotony and pain. In some cases, poor sexual education and absent foreplay are some of the perfect elements that will make you want to becum a virgin, once again.
Is your sex life boring? Could it just be better? Or is it simply bad? Regardless of the answer, there’s no need to conform to whatever it is that is just not working out in bed (or wherever you choose to get that vitamin D).
What can you do about bad sex? Well, for starters, don’t lose hope, my dear friend. There’s a glimmer of light, aka toy, at the end of the tunnel. I’m kidding; it can get better without the need to buy some batteries at your nearest CVS pharmacy.
Listen to me very carefully. Somewhere out there, there’s someone who will do right by you. There’s a small, tiny, microscopic disclaimer. I’m sorry to tell you that there’s a huge possibility that that someone is you (go ahead and pretend I said this in Joe Goldberg’s unmistakable voice).
Oftentimes, we can make it right by not pointing fingers at others’ sex flaws or lack of proficiency, but rather by analyzing whether our own sex skills and attitudes are responsible for killing the game. Let me ask you one more time: are you genuinely interested in having better sex?
If so, hop on and get ready for some sexy time pieces of practical advice. Here are some pointers to prevent the recurrence of bad “sexperiences” that we’ve all probably encountered at some point in our lives.
- Say goodbye to performative sex
Moaning without pleasure? Following a script? Faking it ‘till you barely make it? Worried about how you look during intercourse? Feeling anxious during s-e-x? Rarely satisfied in the aftermath of making love? Focused on orgasms as a measure for sexual success? If your answer was yes to any of those questions, chances are that your most frequent type of sex is the worst of them all: performance-based sex.
According to sex educator Emily Frappier, performative sex focuses on giving pleasure to another person without considering our own personal connections to our bodies. Instead of being a mutual exchange of pleasure, in performative sex, intercourse only benefits one of the parties.
Performative sex is not only detrimental for those who engage in such practice. It’s also a contributing factor that leads to a grand-scale sexual (and social) issue that not many of us are talking about: the orgasm gap. In the peer-reviewed article, Orgasm Equality: Scientific Findings and Societal Implications, researchers explain that the orgasm gap is a term that mainly refers to “the discrepancy in orgasm rates between women and men.”
The University of Florida-based investigators claim that, for over 20 years, scientific literature has substantiated the notion “that women have fewer orgasms during partnered sexual encounters than men,” focusing, specifically, on cisgendered men and women.
Interestingly, the orgasm gap has been found to be more prevalent in casual sex settings rather than partnered-sex contexts. Furthermore, studies have shown that, when compared to heterosexual or bisexual women, “lesbian women are more likely to orgasm during partnered sex.” In other words, all of these findings suggest that the orgasm gap is likely due to sociocultural factors, including performative sex and power relations, rather than biological or anatomical differences between sexes.
In the words of the researchers, “[i]f the orgasm gap is a consequence of our social construction of sexuality, we have the power to deconstruct it and create a world of orgasm equality.” The same can be said about performative sex and other toxic sexual conducts. They are the product of a unidirectional social construction of sexuality and we have the power to tear them apart. It’s time to break those habits. It’s time to break the orgasm gap. What are you waiting for?
- Start talking for the sake of lovemaking
Hi there, I just wanted to mention that only a few people on this planet feel confident in their abilities to read minds. “Normal” people, like you and me, shouldn’t expect others to know about their likes, wants or needs.
Great sex doesn’t necessarily come naturally or spontaneously. Sometimes, you just need to talk openly about your preferences without the expectation that your partner/s should know what feels right for you. Intimate sexual communication is difficult for many. However, we shouldn’t let the fear of speaking up determine whether the sexual encounter is good or not.
For instance, whenever you’re going to be intimate with someone, it’s important to talk about your sexual health. Will it be awkward? Most likely. Should you skip the questions because it’s an uncomfortable conversation? Of course not. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are everywhere and we should be responsible with ourselves and our partner/s. There’s nothing sexier than safe sex.
Opening up to have the talk should not center around blatant criticism. Instead, it should revolve around being respectful and feeling respected. Communicating about sex before, during and after the process can bring in about as much pleasure as the act itself.
- Stop thinking, please
Have you ever found yourself thinking about your to-do list in the middle of a not-so-pleasurable sexperience? Stressed about deadlines? Counting the minutes ‘till it’s over? Then, you’ve probably gone through the weirdly normal lack of focus during sexual intercourse. Most certainly, you’re not a stranger to cognitive distractions during sex.
Experts suggest that the key to address this lack of focus is to make sex mindful. Sex therapist Aoife Drury believes that the process of mindfulness in the bedroom should revolve around the aspiration of “being in the moment and allowing yourself to enjoy pleasure rather than fixating on thoughts or judgements.” She recommends the following exercise to prevent distractions:
“When you feel that you are drifting out of your body and into your head, go back to basics. Draw on your senses, focus on your breathing, or shift/rock your body to bring you back to the focus of it. Equally, communication is important. Tell your partner/s what feels good and what you would like more or less of, allowing pleasure to become central.”
Dr. Laurie Mintz, author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters–And How to Get It, on the other hand, theorizes that “the antidote to being externally focused is to be internally focused.” Through similar approaches, both sexperts agree on the fact that sex is not about thinking. It should be about feeling intensely and giving/receiving pleasure at all times. Don’t think about it. Just do it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether the spark in your relationship is gone or the embarrassment is too much to bring up sexual topics with your partner/s, visiting a sexual therapist is always a good idea to improve the quality of your sex life.
You don’t even need to face a plethora of decade’s-worth issues to knock on a therapist’s door. Even single, non-sexually active, healthy individuals may opt for a sexual counseling session as a way to improve the relationship with their bodies.
There’s no shame in wanting to have a better sex life, which may be obtained under a health professional’s guidance. Don’t ignore issues that may have adverse consequences for your health in the long run. Overcome these obstacles by opening up to a licensed professional with whom you might feel comfortable with. Although some sexual assault survivors report therapy as a key element to reclaiming their sex lives after harm, everyone’s journeys towards sexual wellness vary.
- Read a little: It’s never too late for sex education
Is porn your primary source of information to learn about sex? Hopefully (I’m crossing fingers here), it’s not. It needs to be explicitly said: porn is not sex ed. Mainstream porn creates a false illusion of what real-life sex looks like. On the other hand, sex ed goes beyond pregancy or STI prevention.
If you didn’t come across a proper sexual education guide at school, you need to put in the time and effort to find the resources that will help you obtain a healthier, more pleasurable sexual life. That’s not up to anyone but yourself.
It’s particularly important to know about how the body works and all the different parts that it’s made up of. On your road to acquire sex ed, be aware of your sexual values and allow yourself to receive the pleasure you deserve. Have the courage to explore your sexuality and advocate for yourself. Some of my preferred sexual education resources include: verboypiel, sexwithemily, lovecrave, estherperelofficial, larissagloriel, drkatebalestrieri, and many others.
Remember, it’s all about the clit, use protection no matter what, pleasure matters, lube is your best friend, no always means no (remember it doesn’t need to be an explicit, verbal no for it to be valid). Your best sex life is one step away from having uncomfortable conversations, candid as well as mindful sex, asking for help and stepping up your sex ed game. You got this!