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June 27, 2011 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I hate sex. Now what? Question is unfocused and NSFW. Sorry.


I am a woman. Sex for me has been sometimes painful, almost always boring, never orgasmic. Foreplay is not much better. If one more guy fingerbangs me for ten minutes like that’s supposed to do something for me I will cry. It doesn’t help that fucking, with or without a condom, tends to give me a yeast infection. I have almost no sex drive, and I have no idea whether that’s my natural state or whether that’s a response to ten years of not enjoying sex. Giving instruction is extremely uncomfortable for me and leads to me feeling so nervous that I can’t come anyway. Having to give instruction in the first place is a serious turn-off to me. And a major problem I have is that I worry that the person I am with is not enjoying the sex we are having so inserting some unsexy 101 interlude just aggravates that in me (this also makes me uncomfortable with being on top). I’ve tried modeling the behavior I’m looking for (“tell me what you like” and shit like that) with no success. I am OK with sex if I am absolutely positive that the guy is enjoying it, and if he magically possesses the ability to make me come that’s a nice bonus, but that combo has been so fucking rare in my life that when I combine it in my head with my already narrow guy requirements (like, that I be interested in the guy, which barely ever happens) I end up feeling like I’m going to be alone forever. I’m sort of OK with that but it’s not what I really want for myself. I don’t know what to do about this.

* Is there a way to prevent yeast infections from happening every damn time I have sex (with or without condoms)? *

* Is there a way to get the guy to do things that feel good and to not do things that feel bad (my clit is not a game of Whack-A-Mole) without feeling like I want to run out of the room? *

I really appreciate your help with this. I will feel most helped by specific suggestions and least helped by suggestions to seek therapy.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
* Is there a way to get the guy to do things that feel good and to not do things that feel bad (my clit is not a game of Whack-A-Mole) without feeling like I want to run out of the room? *

I'm afraid that giving some instruction is going to have to come with the territory, at least the first time. It's a little of what I always do, and it helps.

But one thing that may help you feel more comfortable with this sort of instruction is to make it a sort of..."sexy show and tell". You know -- rather than an unsexy "no, here is the procedure you need to follow," try doing it like, "mmmm...you know what I really like?....here, watch this...." and then you touch yourself the way YOU like it, and let him see what you do WHEN you get touched in the right way. That way, you communicate what you like, but you also give him a little thrill, and it feels a little less like "sex 101".

As for the yeast infections -- hmm. Are you using lube? If not, you may want to start; but if you are, try seeking out non-glycerin lube. I used to get a lot of yeast infections myself, even though I used lube, and one day I was getting a new bottle of it when I happened to look at the ingredients, and noticed that glycerin was the first ingredient -- and I suddenly remembered, "wait. glycerin is....sugar. And yeast....LOVE sugar." So, in using glycerin lube, I was turning my pink bits into an all-you-can-eat diner for yeast. I switched to non-glycerin lube, and I have not had a single yeast infection ever since, in something like ten years. Non-glycerin lube is not the easiest thing to find -- KY and Astroglide both have glycerin -- but it's not impossible; there are at least seven brands that I know of.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:21 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


You need to talk to your gynecologist about the yeast infections. Sounds like there's some medically relevant situation going on there. It might also go towards explaining why you don't enjoy sex.

That said.. are these just random hookups? One night stands? Or are the guys you're talking about ones where you've tried to have emotional relationships with? Maybe you're not into the sex because it doesn't mean anything. I can see how the instruction situation would be difficult with strangers as opposed to a long time lover.
posted by royalsong at 2:27 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


OP, I am sorry for your struggle. Could you provide a throwaway email address?

Also: you don't say anything about the context of the sex you are having, but I'm wondering how that factors in. Sometimes instruction needs to be provided outside of a sexual encounter. Sometimes when people have sex too early in a relationship, it's crappy and not fun. Maybe you need to be BFFs with the guy first so you intuitively know each other better? Just a thought.
posted by pupstocks at 2:29 PM on June 27, 2011


Can't help you with the yeast infections. Probably a question for your OBGYN.

Instruction is not inherently unsexy. Instruction can be really, really hot. Don't assume that the guy will get offended or be antagonistic or that it will automatically take you both out of the 'moment.' Just like you want the guy to be having a great time, we want you to be having a good time. Where all guys are pretty much the same as far as the mechanics go, every woman is really quite different and instruction is always welcome and wanted.

It sounds like anxiety might really be the wall that's keeping you from enjoying sex. All the worrying about the other person, afraid to speak up and say, 'hey, fingerbanging isn't really my thing, let's try....' Sure, a certain nervousness is normal when it comes to sex (and why sex and alcohol tend to go so hand-in-hand), but it sounds like maybe your anxiety is hinging on debilitating, especially w/r/t sex. Consider seeing a therapist.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:30 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


That said.. are these just random hookups? One night stands? Or are the guys you're talking about ones where you've tried to have emotional relationships with? Maybe you're not into the sex because it doesn't mean anything.

I was wondering the same thing. Casual sex doesn't work for everyone, and the instruction aspect is part of why it was never a real winner for me, and why relationship sex for me tends to get better and better with time.

That said, my favorite instruction moments have been when someone was all "oohhhh, more of that, more of this" rather than "no, not like that, no, that's bad too, no, not like that either..." The positive reinforcement was a lot sexier than being told what I was doing wrong.

But like with dancing or anything else, some sex partners you click with and get your non-verbal cues right away (so the only verbal instructions are for fun), and others just don't get it at all and need to be told and retold and re-retold everything in painful and depressing detail. So maybe you are being really unlucky and you keep hooking up with guys who can't read your body language at all?
posted by Forktine at 2:34 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you ever tried having sex with other women instead?
posted by Jacqueline at 2:57 PM on June 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


That said.. are these just random hookups? One night stands? Or are the guys you're talking about ones where you've tried to have emotional relationships with?

This was my first thought. It might be helpful if you told us the context of the sex you've been having. It sounds to me like you are not having sex with people you trust or feel comfortable with. It sounds like they are people you feel very self conscious around, and afraid to embarrass yourself in front of. It sounds like you believe they are people who may judge you. It sounds like you don't know them well enough to know that they won't react horribly to you expressing yourself.

It might really be different for you if you were to wait until you completely trusted a guy and weren't afraid (to this degree) of what he thought, before having sex.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:58 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you thought about other kinds of sex that you might enjoy? I mean really thought about it carefully, possibly including looking at/reading some (non-skeevy, appealing to you) porn? If you are socialized to do normal straight female stuff (with the passivity and the not-wanting-to-talk-about-sex-to-your-partner and the politely doing things even if they don't get you off and the resenting not getting off...which, please believe me, I am familiar with all of the above) it can be difficult to recognize when you'd be happier with...oh, with whatever - with bondage stuff, with only oral sex, with you being in charge, whatever. I (although I'm not so much about the guys at the moment) found being with guys a lot more fun when I was able to stop with the feminine script.

The annoyance and resentment of dealing with some oaf who couldn't tell that I wasn't enjoying ten minutes of [whatever gets women off in bad porn, only executed really poorly]! After a while, when I felt like speaking up didn't make a difference, I did just give up and grit my teeth...there was no point in going through a big deal about what I liked or didn't like when it would be incompetent and boring and the guy would be utterly unable to read my responses either. Oh, those were some bad times - and kind of sub par for the guys, too.

Speaking of which, is there anything you like doing with/for your partner, from kissing onward? IME, a bad sexual feedback loop can make it difficult to figure out what you like to do for someone. At times I used to find it helpful to focus only on what my partner enjoyed, but to only do the things I really liked - ie, I made sure that I had fun by doing things I found fun to do, rather than having things I found fun done to me. This isn't the same, of course, as full-on sexual participation, but it made the whole thing fun rather than resentment-provoking.
posted by Frowner at 3:16 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


And -- I'm sure some people will get het up about this, but it might help to look for guys who 1) aren't super into porn, 2) first became sexually active in a relationship, as opposed to doing most of their early "learning" from porn. I leave it to you to figure out how to determine this.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:17 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is it possible you're asexual? There are all flavors of sexuality. Maybe sex is just not your thing. That is perfectly fine.
posted by Lieber Frau at 3:21 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are you on the BCP? For some women this causes yeast infections and loss of libido. You should discuss this with your OBGYN. It might be worth switching to a dif kind or finding alternative options.
posted by melissam at 3:21 PM on June 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Do you feel pressure to make the experience good for the guy to the point that even your orgasm becomes all about him? And then maybe get passive-aggressively angry about not getting your share of the experience? I mean, 'if you don't know what to do then I'm not going to tell you!' isn't productive, but it is punishing. Why are you punishing him (and yourself)? Are you getting men who don't listen to you out of bed, and you fool yourself into thinking sex will fix the situation?

You might try giving yourself permission to be selfish and turn down sex. Don't have sex with someone unless you're really into the idea and willing to invest yourself in directing the experience. YOU have the power to pick and choose. Don't go into it with a flippant 'what the hell' attitude, because the guy seems fired up about it. You've been putting up with chronic yeast infections, for goodness sake, and the guy just merrily goes on his way, la dee da. No wonder you resent the experience - it's so uncomfortable for you.

Give your own wants equal weight. It feels like you know you are giving yourself the short end of the stick and you're pissed off at yourself for giving the guy all the power, so you take it out on him. Which is no good for anyone.

You sound pretty down on yourself and dating in general, nevermind sex. How about a break with a nice vibrator? Maybe take a holiday and relax for a few days? Get a massage? Sounds like you need to take care of yourself and learn to put yourself first.
posted by griselda at 3:30 PM on June 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you want to become orgasmic, ask a doctor about a qualified sex therapist.

There's no such thing as too much lubrication for you in this situation.

* Is there a way to prevent yeast infections from happening every damn time I have sex (with or without condoms)? * Pee immediately after sex. Take vitamin C, drink cranberry juice eat yogurt; these seem to help the natural immunity.

* Is there a way to get the guy to do things that feel good and to not do things that feel bad (my clit is not a game of Whack-A-Mole) without feeling like I want to run out of the room? * "I have some issues about sex. I hope you can be patient and also let me be specific about what I like and don't like so much. " If someone is doing something you don't like, ask him to stop; if he isn't cool with that, leave. Really. If you want, ask a guy to teach you how to angle your body so a guy will come faster, and tell him that you're learning about sex, and currently do not enjoy the lengthy version.

For me, masturbating, sometimes with a small vibrator, taught me how to have an orgasm. Things got a lot better after that.
posted by theora55 at 3:32 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


What out of physical contact with other people do you like? I usually have a pretty high libido but itchies, whack-a-mole and earnest idiots trying to pry off my labia all make me cross my legs so vigorously I look like a piece of twine.

There's two possible directions -one, maybe sex isn't your thing, and that's cool. If you like the rest of romantic stuff you'll probably need a partner who is also asexual

The other direction is the possibility that you do want to do the sex thing- in which case start with a doctor, but also consider what works for you. You say low libido, not absent libido, so I imagine every so often the urge strikes you? What's going on when it does? For example I have a boatload of sexual kinks so you could give me the cutest guy ever and if he wanted to make love to soft violins with lots of tongue I'd be lying back and contemplating England, as the saying goes. On the other hand even for "vanilla" (non-kinky) fun, I have my likes and dislikes too. Try with a guy who doesn't use porn as his teacher, which doesn't help the whack-a-mole effect. And seriously, finger banging, is something I have to put off until I'm in convulsions with arousal, to feel anything other than like a toddler was trying to remove a stubborn booger.


Note, for guys saying "every guy is the same!", this is not true. Every guy has his quirks, kinks and even sensitive spots.

posted by Phalene at 3:33 PM on June 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


You sound pretty down on yourself and dating in general, nevermind sex. How about a break with a nice vibrator? Maybe take a holiday and relax for a few days? Get a massage? Sounds like you need to take care of yourself and learn to put yourself first.

+1. Not only that, but OP mentions not often being interested in guys. That lack of interest is probably doesn't help since guys most likely to be decent between the sheets are the same guys most likely to pick up on those kind of signals. If you plan on investing time it might take to good sex, find a partner who you think is worth the investment--even if it's just a FWB for the time being.
posted by Hylas at 3:42 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was once at lunch with a group of workmates. One man brought up sex and the woman were like "ewww yuch sex, who the hell would want to do that?" They were more interested in cuddling and romance. It was funny since they were mostly nurses and professionals.


If it really bothers you, talk to your doctor. Maybe there is a physical problem? But you are not alone. I think there are a lot of women who feel the way you do.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 3:44 PM on June 27, 2011


I highly recommend Lonnie Barbach's classic book: For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality.
posted by Carol Anne at 3:45 PM on June 27, 2011


Also, if you are asexual, that's okay too. You can want relationships and companionship and be asexual. Even if you enjoy a sex life by yourself but don't enjoy partnered sex, I think it would be valid to call yourself asexual. And there are plenty of asexual men, and asexual dating sites -- might be worthwhile to give them a look.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:57 PM on June 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, first, you don't have to give instructions to say 'ow' and move away.

Secondly:
Foreplay is not much better. If one more guy fingerbangs me for ten minutes like that’s supposed to do something for me I will cry. It doesn’t help that fucking, with or without a condom, tends to give me a yeast infection. I have almost no sex drive


Christ, who could blame you?

Are you having sex with people so that you can say you have a sex life? Because there is no requirement for this. You don't need to be doing this, and I'm wondering why you are, and why you're sleeping with drips. Seriously, them there sound like the sweet, sultry moves of a sixteen year old. I'd cry too.

Maybe stop sleeping with people for a while. See if maybe you meet someone you want to have sex with eventually, and if not that, then focus on other areas of you life that don't have the dull and depressing monotony of prolonged foreplay with an unskilled partner you're not that into.

Also, that yeast infection thing might have something to do with the irritation that comes with not being turned on.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:32 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know you said no therapy but ... I am willing to bet good money that interpersonal anxiety, communication, and inability to express (or even know) what you want are problems you face outside of the bedroom too. Why have you allowed yourself to have painful, unhappy sex for 10 years? Is it to make guys happy? Stop doing that to yourself! You deserve to have physical and emotional experiences that make you feel good. You do not owe anybody. You are not taking up too much space in the world - you are a human being, and you have the right to say what you like and don't like. you are literally hurting yourself by having sex you know you don't like. I can read the sadness and pain it is causing you.

As for specifics ... some girls have really sensitive clits. It is a variable thing, so there is really no way getting around communicating openly about it. Personally, I usually don't like anyone touching my clit - it feels weirdly invasive and uncomfortable at worst, and only sort of good at best.

I think it might be a good idea for you to take pants-off activities off the table for now. You need to reconnect with your body and have some positive experiences. Kissing and hugging are fun!

Love yourself, don't tolerate unhappiness! You deserve to be touched only in ways you like.
posted by mrs. sock at 4:35 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you depressed?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:23 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You left out a critical, need-to-know piece of information; do you orgasm from masturbation often/rarely/never? Because that answer colors the rest of your question to a very large degree.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on June 27, 2011


I hate sex.

Then why are you having sex?

my already narrow guy requirements (like, that I be interested in the guy, which barely ever happens)

Don't have sex with people you don't like (unless that gets you off, which, clearly, it doesn't).

I end up feeling like I’m going to be alone forever.

Is that really want the problem is? Intimacy does not equal sex. What you are looking for is intimacy.

Is there a way to get the guy to do things that feel good and to not do things that feel bad

You tell him exactly what you want and what you don't want (how EmpressCallipygos said).
posted by mleigh at 7:04 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was going to write what other have said above, but what I get from your post is you won't take responsibility for your problem, and won't take action to change the situation, though I think you do have the potential to change your situation. You impose all these requirements and then complain that no one is good enough:

some unsexy 101 interlude just aggravates that in me

Giving instruction is extremely uncomfortable for me and leads to me feeling so nervous that I can’t come anyway.

I am OK with sex if I am absolutely positive that the guy is enjoying it

like, that I be interested in the guy, which barely ever happens

Stop being such a "girl", in the sense of the negative stereotype that word is unfortunately associated with; which it shouldn't be, just to be clear. You need to be assertive. You need to stop waiting for some magical perfect man–who can read your mind–to come by and be 100% into you all the time (because your so awesome).

* Is there a way to get the guy to do things that feel good and to not do things that feel bad (my clit is not a game of Whack-A-Mole) without feeling like I want to run out of the room? *

No. If you try to get a guy to do things that feel good and not do things that feel bad you will feel like you want to run out of the room. You need to stay, despite your feelings, if you want to get what you want(?).

This is what every 13 year old boy has to learn, so, sorry, I'm not very sympathetic. So how do 13 year old boys learn to overcome their anxiety? Because they really like sex; enough that they will put themselves in psychologically painful situations–feeling like they want to run out of the room–just so maybe they might eventually have a chance to have sex. So, learn to enjoy sex by yourself, and maybe you'll be willing to bear the humiliation of telling someone what you want.

Or, just don't date people, but make friends, and get a dog.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:27 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


For the yeast infections, do make sure you don't have any underlying gynecological problems and your doctor may check you for diabetes. Sugars feed yeast, so high blood sugar as well as any sort of sugary type substances that shouldn't go in your vagina (but might anyway) can feed the beasties.

You can try getting a gel called RepHresh, which helps keep the vagina pH down. Sometimes lube can increase the pH, and semen is inherently basic in pH. The vagina needs an acidic pH to keep the yeast in check. My doc recommended that to me once when I was having issues with recurring yeast infections, but I never tried it (mostly because she didn't tell me how it was spelled - nice marketing there, RepHresh manufacturers!!).
posted by eldiem at 7:28 PM on June 27, 2011


Gonna tackle yeast from the perspective of someone who's had one helluva too much of it up until the last year or so. Apologies for any inaccurracies, we haven't been running field studies at my house, I'm just passing on the details of hygiene that appear to have impacted the problem here.

1) Man MUST wash hands & manparts (with soap!) before engaging in sex. No washee, no fun. If you've got a history of problems, make sure the boy is CLEAN before he comes in for a landing.
2) No licking. This one might not apply to you, let empirical evidence be your guide. If you seem to get infections more often when there has been mouth-to-ladyparts contact, you may want to take that off the menu. If your man whines, point out that licking results in an automatic two week time out due to yeast infection treatment.
3) Anything that gets in contact with the ass must be washed, with soap, before returning to the ladyparts. (Obviously we are talking about the business part of the ass, not the cheeks.) It might blow your mind that I even think this needs to be said, but if you haven't heard, hear it now: There is no "you're killing the moment/this will feel amazing" argument that is worth the aftermath. It's a guaranteed horrible infection afterwards.
4) Be aware of allergies --you too could be allergic to latex! That's in a lot of condoms & finally being recognized as a genuine skin irritant to some people. Judging from my family, some people are more sensitive than others. My mother's skin blisters & damn near falls off if she gets taped up with latex bandaids. Me, I just can't tolerate it on wet areas. Even my dentist has to switch out of his latex gloves: Any rubbing with latex starts to burn after several minutes, and there is *nothing* fun about chemical burns down there.
5) Wiping the ladyparts down with Pampers Natural Aloe Unscented (for sensitive skin) babywipes afterwards also seems to help. Infants get a lot of yuck around their girlparts, & Pampers seems to know what they're doing when it comes to preventing & assisting with red & tender.

I hope you got a few useful ideas from all that. The whole miserable-for-a-week-to-two-after-sex thing really is beyond not-fair, and guys can be amazing assholes about the whole business. Not to mention the itch medicine is bloody expensive. And gross. And...
posted by Ys at 7:41 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good answers above. My two cents is that sometimes when I'm not into sex (and don't even have any) I get a yeast infection not long thereafter. YIs are uncomfortable even before they really take hold. Friction is then just irritating. Do you have one at a low level all the time?
posted by salvia at 8:00 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record I think the cranberry juice and peeing after sex helps for UTIs but I don't think it would have the same effect for yeast infections. I could be very, very wrong.
posted by sully75 at 8:14 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


But on a re-read of your question, I think anxiety is the main issue. It sounds like you're suffering a lot around that.
posted by salvia at 8:48 PM on June 27, 2011


Drinking D-Mannose powder dissolved in water can cure the yeast infections. I can vouch for it.

It's safe. You can load up on it as a preventative.

You get it at a vitamin shop or health food store. Probably cheapest ordered online.
posted by jbenben at 9:20 PM on June 27, 2011


whoa, sorry I don't mean to be derail-y, but drinking D-Mannose powder in water is a cure for UTIs, not vaginal candida. It is a form of non-soluable sugar that attracts the e-coli that want to adhere to the bladder wall, and encourages flushing them out instead of letting them take hold and multiply (into excrutiating pain).

jbenben, i so wanted to believe it was true, and if it helped you in a time of pain, excellent! but that link you posted is weird! it doesn't talk about d-mannose in the article, and in the title it's talking about vaginal e-coli, which would be vaginal bacteriosis, not yeast. the other stuff it recommends, loose breathable clothing, lots of hygene, is sound advice for yeast.

for yeast, +1 on the advice of empress c & Ys. the uti advice is good too, because you don't want those either (+++++ urinate right after)! but please! let's be clear on what does what!

i've also read topical application of a high-probiotic, non-sugard yoghurt can take down vaginal yeast (by introducing good micororganisms that muscle out the bad), but if you are a chronic sufferer, i would think that wouldn't be strong enough and that trying to alkalize the body through diet would be more beneficial. (not a doctor, etc.)

op, i feel for you. i don't have any advice on the other fronts besides take the good advice of yon well-meaning mefites, and i wish you the best of luck and a turnaround soon.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:51 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't have much to add to what people have already suggested but I wanted to chime in and add that I HATED sex for the longest time due to general incompetence of my partners and my reluctance to educate them. I was very much of the "lie there and take it" variety because teaching them was too much work or embarrassing or might turn them off or some shit.

Let me tell you, once I started being more assertive, thinks got better. They didn't get super fantastic all of a sudden but I decided that I had had enough of gritting my teeth through the latest fingering attempt with no clitoral stimulation, the insistence on blowjobs coupled with derisive comments about going down on me and so forth; I began with a boyfriend I knew was crazy about me, so he wasn't likely to bolt for the door if I asked him to do something, and with suggestions: a little higher, like this, go there and so forth. I wouldn't tell him to stop so much as redirect him and he took to this quite happily. He didn't become a perfect lover by any stretch of the imagination but sex went from a chore to tolerable to alright.

I'm a little confused as to why so many people suggest you try having sex with women. Being passive with a woman is likely to be just as boring as being passive with a man and you have indicated no attraction to women in your post.

The crux of the issue, I think, is this: nobody knows your body like you do, nobody is able to feel those nerve impulses and know exactly how they are making you feel: you have to tell them. So tell them! They're certainly telling you when they enjoy themselves, right? And they probably get pleasure from pleasuring you too. Be a little more assertive and see if you like it more. (This is all assuming you WANT to enjoy sex rather than settle into a comfortable asexuality, which is also possible.)
posted by buteo at 11:57 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


health professionals recommend eating plain yogurt for help with recurrent yeast infections. My grandmother recommended slapping it on the affected area for immediate relief.

You need to deal with the physical issues before you deal with the emotional/sexual ones. But when it comes to dealing with the other sex things, being erotic with oneself really can help you enjoy being with other people.
posted by jb at 12:27 AM on June 28, 2011


I'm going to be harsh because, frankly, your question and the way you talk about sex and men pissed me off. The knowledgeable folks on this site have addressed the condom issue it would seem, so I'm focusing on the other (bigger) issue of not enjoying sex:

1) As others have said, if you don't like sex with men stop having it. Problem solved.

2) Your objections to hearing it notwithstanding, you should get therapy.

3) If you do insist on continuing to have sex with men, and you won't tell guys what you want, you'll never get it. We are not psychic.

4) If I was having sex with you and I found out later you were faking it and suffering through it just to get it done, I would be hurt, offended, and any trust I had built up with you would have dissipated significantly. And I really can't understand how being uncomfortable this way is better than sucking it up and asking for what you want...but, refer to my item #2 for solutions to that.

I'm a straight guy, and I really, really want to please any partner I'm having sex with. I will work hard to do so. In exchange, at the least, I expect and ask for instruction, because after years of sex I've realized everyone is different and, as I said, I am not psychic (even though I am damn good on picking up verbal and non-verbal signals).

If you want to be in an adult relationship which includes sex—whether that be a one-night stands or a long-term committed relationship—you need to learn to ask for what you want, like adults do. There is no magical way around this, which is what it seems you are asking for.
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 1:59 AM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


In the vein of getting more comfortable with saying what you want, I'm going to suggest instructions couched in dirty talk--as foreplay rather than (or in addition to) saying what you want in the heat of the moment.

You: [Kiss him.] Mmmm, you know what I'd really like you to do to me?
Him: Why don't you tell me?
You: [As you're kissing him.] I want your x in my y, and then I want you to bloof it up and down right on my grat. Really slowly, like you're in a contest for how long you can drag it out. Like you're going to get a big gold star for taking longer than anyone's ever taken. Or maybe some other prize to be determined later. How's that sound?
Him: [Kissing you.] Oh yeah? What if I put my fleeb right on your nork? Would you like that? Huh?
You: [Still with the kissing.] Maybe later. What I really want right now is for you to bloof that x all over my grat, ok? I'm getting so hot thinking about it.
Him: [Removes your pants with his teeth.]
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:24 AM on June 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


You may want to read The V Book, the chapters on vulvodynia and its ilk. Good solid information to start off with.
posted by ifjuly at 7:22 AM on June 28, 2011


a major problem I have is that I worry that the person I am with is not enjoying the sex we are having

I doubt it would be hard to get a steady stream of reassurance on this point if that would help: "mmm do you like that? yeah? it feels good? I like to know what feels good..."
posted by salvia at 8:02 AM on June 28, 2011


Why was that comment in defense of the OP erased? I agree - the OP is expressing that it's hard for her to phrase what she wants, and is asking for advice on that note.

I also find it surprising that everyone's suggesting lesbianism or asexuality (is asexuality the new zeitgeist blanket answer to sexual problems?) It's not that those aren't possibilities, but that the base rates suggest otherwise. If we somehow pooled together all of the women in the world who are not enjoying sex with men, the overwhelming majority would be unsatisfied heterosexual women. So, ok, maybe lesbianism or asexuality, fine to point it out, but in all likelihood, since the OP is expressing that she HAS had (few) pleasurable experiences with men, and WANTS to have pleasurable experiences with men, it seems like the first avenue would be to try to improve her experiences with men.

Personal story: when I first started having sex regularly, I started getting recurring UTIs. Knowing that I was likely to end up in urgent care after sex did NOT make me want sex. Get an open prescription for diflucan so you can know you're protected in case symptoms come.

My two cents: sex gets better with practice with the same partner. The more comfortable the couple is, the more familiar they get with one another's needs, and the more comfortable it is to express those needs. It sucks that good sex does not just happen, but it's true - it rarely does. It takes work and getting to know one's partner, and expressing things that are awkward to express, but it's usually worth it with an attentive partner. First time sex usually sucks, and in order for long-term sex to be good, it takes some investment.

I would also say: finding vaginal sex kind of boring is NOT ABNORMAL for women. Unfortunately, our anatomy is not always built in a way that makes it reliably fun. Many women stimulate their clits during sex and enjoy the extra stimulation. Many women just enjoy the pleasure of their partner and make up for it during other activities. Don't feel bad about finding vaginal sex boring - but do try to boost your immune system against future infections. And perhaps ask your gyno about getting an open prescription for diflucan or something. Worrying about having to go to the doctor after every time you have sex is not going to make you eager.
posted by namesarehard at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it really that much to ask that that the person you are having sex pay enough attention to notice if you are enjoying yourself? If I can tell if they like or dislike something I'm doing, why shouldn't I expect the same in return without having to provide a detailed instruction manual? I fail to see how this requires more than a fairly minimal level of observation, definitely not psychic powers. (This does assume no one is pretending to enjoy themselves). Sure, instruction is probably necessary for amazing sex, but it doesn't seem like it should take all that much observation to confirm the other person is having an ok time, and I don't think that's too much to ask of men.

And "if you don't like it, stop having it" doesn't really solve the problem if you would like to continue having a relationship. Or if you would like to have sex that doesn't suck.
posted by sepviva at 3:09 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I can tell if they like or dislike something I'm doing, why shouldn't I expect the same in return without having to provide a detailed instruction manual?

Just because you know something is wrong doesn't mean you can fix it. And since everyone is a little different, knowing(?perceiving) that the last girl liked X doesn't mean the next one will. I would guess that the OP had some experiences where her partner could tell she wasn't enjoying it, which made him not enjoy it, which made her not enjoy it …

I was saying "stop having it" unless she will change. If she doesn't want to change it will "solve the problem" because

1. She'll stop actively making herself miserable, and

2. She'll spare the men she otherwise would have dated the grief of being with a partner who has poor communication skills and unrealistic expectations.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:29 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever waited until you were in love with the guy before having sex with him? Being in love with the person really helps.
posted by parakeetdog at 8:40 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also find it surprising that everyone's suggesting lesbianism or asexuality (is asexuality the new zeitgeist blanket answer to sexual problems?)

I suspect lesbianism or asexuality because she sounds barely/rarely attracted to dudes in the first place even when they are not attempting to have sex with her. I gather that tends to be an indicator that men don't grill your cheese, or so I hear. If you are fucking them because you feel like you should be fucking men, then... well, that might be an easier problem to solve than trying to make herself like men sexually when she doesn't. *shrug*
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suggested trying women because the OP said that she's "barely ever" interested in a guy and doesn't seem to enjoy having sex with men.

Rather than give up sex/relationships (and "be alone forever"), why not give lesbianism a shot first? If nothing else, a female partner will be more likely to know what to do with a clitoris.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:57 PM on June 28, 2011


I look forward to the day when someone tells a lesbian with sexual problems to give heterosexuality a shot.
posted by namesarehard at 9:48 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suggested trying women because the OP said that she's "barely ever" interested in a guy and doesn't seem to enjoy having sex with men. Rather than give up sex/relationships (and "be alone forever"), why not give lesbianism a shot first? If nothing else, a female partner will be more likely to know what to do with a clitoris.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:57 PM on June 28

I look forward to the day when someone tells a lesbian with sexual problems to give heterosexuality a shot.
posted by namesarehard at 9:48 AM on June 29


Seconding this.

I mean, the "try sex with women" advice is coming from a good place and I respect that, but the OP is not saying she does not like sex with "men," she is saying that she doesn't like sex with the specific men she has been trying it with. That's not a sexual-orientation issue, that's an "I've been picking duds" issue.

OP - you've gotten a lot of advice about how to communicate what you want. I would also suggest waiting a while before you go to the mat as well; because that will give you time to a) ascertain whether the guy's worth having sex with in the first place, and b) you will have built up a bit more comfort and trust with him, and that may also help some with the communication. I'm assuming you have little problem asking your best friend to do things for you, and expressing your preferences to your best friend, yes? It's always easier to express your preferences to someone you trust because you trust them enough to know they won't go "screw you, I'm not doing that."

Having that trust with a sexual partner sometimes takes a little while. Maybe giving yourself that little while will help.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:54 AM on June 29, 2011


I really appreciate your help with this. I will feel most helped by specific suggestions and least helped by suggestions to seek therapy.

Something just occurred to me, Anon. Is the reason that you don't want to seek therapy, because you don't want anyone trying to "help" you enjoy sex that you don't enjoy, telling you you're sexually dysfunctional or have issues or are somehow broken bc you don't enjoy it?

If so, yeah, I don't blame you at all for not wanting to seek therapy. I don't think trying to enjoy the sex you're currently having would be helpful to you.

But what I (and probably others in this thread) think would be really, really helpful for you to do is work on assertiveness and anxiety in therapy. Is *that* something you're opposed to? Why?
posted by Ashley801 at 11:50 AM on June 29, 2011


I can't speak for anyone else on the thread, but I brought up asexuality because there is very little visibility of asexuality as a legitimate identity. Perhaps OP isn't aware that you can be asexual and not have anything "wrong" with you. People tend to want to pathologize lack of sex drive, particularly in women.

Coming to the realization that you're gay, queer, or asexual is not a given. Many people languish for years in heterosexual relationships because that's what you're "supposed" to do. No one is prescribing it as a cure for her issues, we're bringing it up as a legitimate possibility that she may not have considered.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:42 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


[A couple comments removed, not the place for an abstract argument about sexual politics.]
posted by cortex at 8:21 AM on July 1, 2011


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