Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. Everyone wants it. Quite a lot of people have it, by all accounts. Sex is good. Sex is great. Except, sometimes it isn’t. Quite a lot of the time, it isn’t. We ended up reminiscing, the other day, about all the bad sex we’ve had in our lifetime. Thankfully, we’re definitely older, and possibly wiser, than we used to be, and bad sex is not something we feel the need to talk about a lot these days. However, we’ve both been younger and, ladies and gentlemen, we have been there and done that.
The internet tells us we’re not the only ones to have had bad sex. In fact, the internet tells us, bad sex for women is horrifyingly common, to the point of being tragically mundane. Lili Loofborouw writes:
The studies on this are few. A casual survey of forums where people discuss “bad sex” suggests that men tend to use the term to describe a passive partner or a boring experience. (Here’s a very unscientific Twitter poll I did that found just that.) But when most women talk about “bad sex,” they tend to mean coercion, or emotional discomfort or, even more commonly, physical pain.
Does that sound a little bit horrifying to you? It does to us. What the hell, we ask ourselves, is going on? Why are all these women being subjected to coercion, emotional discomfort, and physical pain? When we say “subjected to”, by the way, what we mean is “subjected to”. Because coercion and pain doesn’t just happen. Somebody causes it. Unless women are all having sex with other women, which is probably not the case, the people responsible for the coercion and pain would logically be men.
Eek. Dudes. This reflects badly on you. It might not be your fault, personally. Unfortunately, due to this big spider’s web we’re all caught in called the patriarchy (you may have heard of it), there’s this thing going on where men are all trying to show off to each other and women are just pawns in this grand old game that men play called masculinity. Basically, this means that men are socialised to not think of women as fully human, but as beings who exist to give men comfort.
No, “not all men”, but actually, every country on the planet that produces reliable statistics (there are countries like Saudi Arabia where women are literally slaves, and many other countries where rape within marriage, for example, doesn’t exist as a crime since a woman is considered the property of her husband to do with as he likes, that are not reliable sources of information in this context) says that 98-99% of all sexual violence crimes that are reported are committed by men, predominantly against women and children. There is a whole host of other depressing statistics, for anyone who’s interested. Most men would say, if polled, that rape is totally bad. However, when asked about scenarios that count as rape, it turns out that 30% of men would actually totally rape someone.
Whoah. This is like, bad, right? But you’re a decent dude. You don’t want to be part of these sad, depressing statistics. What to do? Well, lucky you – we’ve put together this useful guide for what not to say and do if you want sex and you don’t want to sound like (and be!) a massive wanker! It’s very clear and comes with examples!
A couple of notes before we start
- This blog post is written from a mainly hetero perspective, but is hopefully useful from a gay perspective also
- Our intended audience is male, but we hope that the information might be useful for women, too
- This guide concerns adults. If you find that you get turned on by the idea of sexual abuse of children, get help.
Let’s start with the basics. If you feel like you have to force someone to have sex with you, or trick them, or persuade them, you’re not doing it right. If this is you – dude, you need to chill. What’s the hurry? (Like, literally, what’s the hurry?) If someone doesn’t want to be with you, you might want to reconsider your approach. Have you tried being nice, for example? Despite what the ideals of patriarchal masculinity would have you believe, women like men who are nice to them.
If peradventure you have tried being nice, and she still doesn’t want you, back the fuck off. A woman is not a prize for the man who perseveres despite her refusal. Don’t whine about the friend zone. Find someone else. Or find yourself. (Have you tried meditating?) Also, don’t stop being nice just because she won’t sleep with you. Friendship is valuable. And who knows – she might have, now or in future, a friend who likes you.
Ok, so you think she wants you, but you’re not sure. How can you know? Dude, if you’re at all accustomed to human interaction, you will know. Humans have this amazing signal system that can give you detailed and constantly recalibrated information about what another person is thinking and feeling. It’s called body language. Signs that another person likes you include eye contact, smiling, and laughing at your jokes even if they are shit. Someone who likes you might stroke your arm affectionately, or even go so far as to gaze at you adoringly. If you’re not sure whether you’re reading the signs correctly, ask.
If you have consent, make sure that it is enthusiastic. If you ask her and she says “ok”, or “sure” or “yeah, I guess”, you haven’t got consent, you’ve got acquiescence. A good definition of enthusiastic consent is, “if it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no“. You’ve (hopefully) seen the famous cup of tea video, but here’s another video you might want to consider watching that explains not just consent but enthusiastic consent. It’s worth pointing out that enthusiastic consent is actually not super easy to get, and it is a pretty big compliment. Do you really want to sleep with someone who is too tired to go through a discussion about it so just gives in, or with someone who can’t wait to try this out with you? Play life on hard. Go for enthusiastic consent.
Don’t forget to ask yourself what you want. Society conditions men to believe that in order to be masculine, they have to always want, pursue, and initiate sex. This is not true. It’s ok to not want sex. Reasons why someone might not want sex include stress, trauma from sexual abuse, stress, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, stress, various medical conditions, stress, financial worries, stress, and just plain not feeling like it. This is ok. Don’t worry about it. Just wait till you feel better. Maybe watch Dirty Dancing.
Let’s talk about safety, baby. Yes!
Start by googling pictures of gonorrhoea.
No, it isn’t, is it. It isn’t very nice at all. This is not something you want. It’s not something your lady wants. Nobody wants gonorrhoea. Did you know it’s largely resistant to antibiotics these days? As Gwyneth Paltrow so memorably said, whenever you have sex with someone, you’re having sex with everyone they’ve ever had sex with – and everybody’s got a random. Humanity is riddled with sexually transmitted diseases that are just waiting – literally, they are lurking! – to infect you. Apart from joining a monastery and spending the rest of your days hoeing the kitchen garden (yes, really) in total silence, one effective way to not get gonorrhoea – or any other STD – is to use a condom. It has to fit right and stay on for the entire performance. This is basic safety for both you and your partner.
Here’s where we’ve got some practical, real-life examples of things not to say and do, based on our own private conversations about the worst sex we ever had. These are all things that we have experienced personally, and let us tell you, it was not hot.
Idiotic things that dudes have said and done before, during and after sex
About to begin
One said, “I can’t use condoms. They don’t work for me. But don’t worry, I’m a tattoo artist so I obsessively get aids tests just in case.”
This is not reassuring at all. I asked a couple of follow-up questions but didn’t really get any more satisfying responses.
Then there was the guy who didn’t want to use a condom because “I don’t have any diseases”. I was like, “that’s great, but I might get pregnant.”
Like what the hell. Congratulations, I’m so happy for you? What do you want, a cookie for being disease-free?
I asked why one didn’t ask, and he was like, “Well, you seemed the type to have that under control.”
This was when AIDS was basically still not treatable. You know it’s not just men who give STDs to women? They can actually be transmitted both ways?
Actually, let’s skip stupid things that dudes have said to us during sex, for now. You need to be drunk for that conversation. We’ll go straight to “after”.
A condom fell out of me when I went to the toilet.
WTF. You didn’t think that was worth mentioning? Did you not notice this?
A guy did tell me this (the condom coming off) happened, once. I guess I really have been lucky.
Some other things to think about
One really important aspect of consent is that it can be withdrawn at any point. You might have done everything right, and your partner might be rampantly enthusiastic to the point of approaching hedonism, but if they suddenly don’t want to go any further, you have to respect that.
It is also important to ask if you want to try something new. Most men are physically both bigger and stronger than most women, which means that a girl will be at a disadvantage, and might not be able to resist something she doesn’t want to happen. So if you’d like to do something other than what you’re doing right now, you have to ask. Otherwise, you might be committing rape.
Unless you’ve specifically agreed to kink, and both partners are enthusiastically consenting, anything bordering violence is a big NO. While 70% of women don’t watch porn, 70% of men do. It is important to understand that porn is recorded rape and sexual abuse. You need to educate yourself about this. Men who watch a lot of porn get desensitised, and may get so accustomed to violence that they can’t maintain an erection without it. Porn leads to sexual abuse; many men who watch porn believe that violent sex, sex using weapons, and choking is normal. It is not. This is violence, and under any other circumstances it would be criminal. Treat your partner with respect and tenderness.
- Be respectful
- Use protection
- Be a wanker
Now, we believe you’ve got all the information you need to go out there and have a honking good time! Tally-ho, pardner!