The Sex Doc is now a daily! Check back here every day for a new question. Have one for Dr. Debby Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute? Send it anonymously here.
When I have bad sex, how do I know who’s at fault? Me or the girl?
Sarah: Not to go all linguistic philosopher on you, but what’s your definition of “bad”? There is such a multitude of meanings of “bad” in the bedroom: awkward, stiff, boring, uncoordinated, rushed, lazy, overzealous, trying-too-hard, collegiate and non-orgasmic (which are usually one in the same). But more often than not, bad sex is the result of two mismatched partners both trying to get what they want without paying attention to what their partner wants or is responding to. Bad sex often starts with one or more partners betting really, really hard on one special “move” (worse, still, if the move has a name) that you concentrate so hard on completing that you forget to pay any attention to your partner or whether they even like it. Bad sex begins in the pages of dating books authored by men with one-word monikers, or women who really just want to get on The Today Show and turn their blog into a movie. The threat of bad sex shouts at you from the neon covers of Cosmo in the checkout line at Marsh. Don’t pay attention to any of that shit. Get in the bedroom, get naked and get vocal about what you like and don’t like.
Debby: Bad, or unpleasurable or awkward, sex is sometimes one person’s fault and more often a shared issue, as in “it takes two to tango”. Let’s say one person wants intimate, eyes-open, lights on sex and yet they have sex in the dark and don’t look at each other or share feelings. If Person A doesn’t describe the kind of sex he or she prefers, and Person B doesn’t ask or share either, then it’s a shared problem. On the other hand, if Person A shares what he or she wants and Person B disregards it, then B isn’t being a very cooperative partner. Ultimately, it matters less whose fault it is and more than both partners turn towards each other and try to create an intimacy that works.