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Sexperts: The (Bad) Sex Talk


The path to a healthy intimate life requires communication and experimentation with your partner. Sexpert David Matteson offers a solution to bad sex.

After an evening of casual flirting later followed by tonguing outside of Ward Hall, a much younger and less wise version of myself ended up making the dreaded mistake of having a one-night stand.  It was neither the dorm-room setting nor the fact that I inappropriately sexiled my roommate in the wee hours of the morning that made this particular engagement dreadful—rather, it was simply bad sex.

Huffington Post Live recently interviewed me, and a question came up regarding bad sex.  While I managed to answer with some sort of witty anecdote, the experience left me recalling all of my own failures with past partners. As a perfectionist, admitting defeat in an area this forum claims I am an ”expert” in makes me want to cringe.  Everyone has a poor time with a partner every now and then—it’s like ordering a new dish at a restaurant and ending up hating it.  The mystery of bad sex is not its existence but rather how to handle it—do you return the dish to the kitchen for modifications, throw in the towel and order a new dinner, or, the worst, not say a word to the waiter and go on pretending everything is okay?

There is no universal cure for bad sex, but there are a few things you can try to improve the situation.  But before you attempt to make drastic changes you need an honest evaluation.  The effort you put on improving sex should be equivalent to the emotional attachment you have with your partner.  Don’t bring in your treasure chest of toys if you are simply hooking up with someone and want it to be better—that’s overkill.

If you are committed to making things work, start by learning the anatomy of your sexual partner.  Finding areas of arousal and treating them with special attention is an easy means of heightening his or her experience.  Don’t automatically assume that where your last partner liked you to lick or nibble is the same pleasure zone for this individual.  Not everyone enjoys it when you simply attack his or her nipples with your mouth.  Go slowly, and think of this as an adult scavenger hunt.  Find the zones where your partner begins to curl in excitement, tease them with soft pressure at first, and finally try to heighten the experience orally.  Once you’ve found a new area, remember it for next time—a good sexual partner always remembers what makes his or her partner excited.

It is traditionally thought that sex toys can be introduced into the bedroom as a means of remedying bad sex.  Handcuffs, dildos, and special lubricants are all enticing purchases that seem self-explanatory and easy to use.  Unfortunately, introducing toys can make a bad situation even worse.  Sex toys should be thought of as a means of combating bedroom boredom in a long-term relationship—not as a quick fix.  That said, if you want to use your special butterfly shaped vibrator in bed, talk to your partner and explain your decisions.

The easiest fix to bad sex is communication.  Having an open conversation about shared likes and dislikes can make sex better.  While this type of conversation may seem off-putting, if you are serious about pursuing an intimate relationship it is necessary to communicate.  Try filling out a red, yellow, and green light chart—a list of bedroom practices that you enjoy (green), would be willing to try (yellow), and those that are completely off-putting (red).  Compare lists with your partner and try to introduce and play with his or her yellows in the bedroom.

Ultimately, bad sex can be improved if both parties are willing to put in effort.  Choosing to seek improvement is an investment in your relationship and should be motivated by a shared hope for a brighter future.  Communication and new techniques can help, but ultimately this is a venture you should both be willing to make.

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