Any ministers, officials, and citizens who can directly tell me my wrongdoing will be awarded the first prize; anyone who jiàn 諫 me in written form will be awarded the second prize; anyone who gossips about me will be awarded the third prize.
May 11, 2011 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Do women mind guys bragging about how good they are in bed?

I'm a straight guy, 30's, New England in the U.S., handful of relationships in my history and no casual sex to speak of.

My question is talking about what I'd regard as tasteful, discrete comments made in confidence (I guess you'll have to trust that I'm tasteful and discrete or provide advice on how to be) that include no information about her identity (for example when speaking to someone who doesn't know her) or limited information about her identity (speaking to a friend who might figure out who she is in context but would be expected to be tactful.) I'm not talking about reporting gritty details of fetish sex or things like that, and I would particularly want to avoid creating gossip or talking in a gossipy fashion. This is more a case of when it's so damn good / so sensual / so intense that I have an urge to tell someone and for them to hear me glow, and hopefully hear some commonality of experience and acknowledgement of what it was to me.

I have wondered about the etiquette and ethics of this both during the relationship, and after relationships that ended well, and after relationships that ended badly.

I assume that the answer varies from person to person and by context, so whatever details you can give to help me understand your answer are appreciated.

I didn't see any questions quite like this via search or in the tags, though there are some good threads about gossip and gossip-like behavior. In particular I like the potential that ErikaB's answer in this thread would seem to have in connection with my own post.

(Bonus question: for anyone who can read Chinese, did I Google the correct CJK character for jiàn in the title of this post?)
posted by XMLicious to Human Relations (82 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, do you like it when others brag to you about something they think they're good at?

there's your answer.
posted by hollisimo at 2:51 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do drummers, singers, and bassists mind lead guitarists bragging about how good they are in bands?
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You brag about things to a) make yourself feel good and b) get something from someone.

I brag about my Rolex because a) "Look at me! I own a Rolex! Aren't I awesome?" and b) "I'm such a badass I can afford a Rolex so you better not mess with me because I'll buy your entire house and turn it into a frozen yogurt shop."

Similarly, you brag about sex because a) "Look at me! Aren't I awesome?" and b) "Wanna fuck? I'm really good at it."

Neither of which is terribly attractive.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:55 PM on May 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


I guess you'll have to trust that I'm tasteful and discrete or provide advice on how to be

I'm really having a hard time imagining this and I feel pretty okay about that.

Do women mind guys bragging about how good they are in bed?


Personal yikes aside, I don't think anyone likes bragging. I'll pretty much tolerate anything if someone can bring the funny, but I don't think that's the context here. So yeah, it's not supposed to be something you're 'good' at, like being awesome at knitting or playing pool or making a Bearnaise sauce. It's not a skill. You're supposed to be too swept away to be sitting there assessing your talents, and if you're bragging about it, you're saying you weren't paying attention to those other women, so there's no reason to be thinking you're paying attention to the new woman. I think they would probably just assume the bragger is in it for his own ego, and ultimately, selfish in bed.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:55 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ugh, no, please don't do this. I could see maybe talking about this with a close, same-sex buddy in a confidential and oblique way, but if you are bragging to opposite sex people about how good you are at sex, expect them to be squicked out. Discretion, man!
posted by bonheur at 2:55 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Different people have different ideas about what's tasteful, tactful and discreet.

I like to err on the side of caution, myself.
posted by box at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll be blunt: it's not that I mind it, per se, it's that I find it kind of . . . pathetic.

From a friend, who calls (or IMs) me all wiggly to share what happened to be a great fireworks-sex kind of a night? That's OK. Anything else is either gross or trying too hard. In particular, don't tell other women how great you are at sex if you ever want them to be potential sexual partners. It speaks to a lack of boundaries and self-awareness.
posted by KathrynT at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


You question is pretty convoluted. Are you bragging to your girlfriend about how good you are in bed, or are you bragging to your friends about how good she is in bed?
posted by neroli at 2:56 PM on May 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Seems like you mean "do women mind if men brag about sex with them?" (not do women mind if you brag).

All women don't do anything.

Personally, I would be horrified to know anyone was talking about intimate things involving me, regardless of whether the other person knew who you were talking about.
posted by parkerjackson at 2:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Your no casual sex to speak of and your examples of giving limited clues as to her identity don't really go together.

I can't speak for all women, but I'd say that yes, I mind quite a bit when my bedmates brag on my skillz. It's skeevy, pathetic, and I always find out, which is a surefire way to end sexytimes.
posted by stellaluna at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait -- when you say 'they' in the lead are you talking about you or the woman?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm fine with people bragging about how good a time they had in bed with me, in a general way. Like "the sex was amazing. Wow." is fine.

They shouldn't go into details about the activities with anyone who knows both of us.

I'm not so thrilled with "she loved it!" kinds of stuff or "and then she put her ring finger [censored]" kinds of stuff.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2011


I think I'd rather my reputation for fireworks in the bedroom be confined to those who have had the pleasure of finding out for themselves.
posted by lizbunny at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


maybe i'm misunderstanding, but it seems like you are seeking to discretely brag not about your own prowess but about how fantastic a woman you've been with is. i don't think there are rules here, other than sincerity and discretion. that kind of thing gets old if you bring it up more than once or twice, in the fullest sincerity, and of course it's nobody's business, so you have to tell only really trustworthy people. but other than that, why not share your happiness with others?
posted by facetious at 3:00 PM on May 11, 2011


If you gave NO DETAILS and just talked about how good it was, that would be fine.

If you gave any detail about activities I did, how I did them, what I looked like, what I acted like, and so forth, I would be super skeeved out. The last thing I want is your friends picturing me having sex.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:01 PM on May 11, 2011


I'm pretty sure what he's asking is whether a woman would be annoyed that a man she had slept with told his friends about how god she was in bed.

And that is, IMO, going to depend so entirely on the individuals involved as to be unanswerable.
posted by empath at 3:01 PM on May 11, 2011


tl;dr. I actually hate this because while the words are "I am so awesome in bed because I do )#$(*$," the subtext is "I did that once with another woman." And I can be grown up and tolerant and accepting of your past all day long, just keep it subtextually out of my face.
posted by motsque at 3:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there just a conversation that included (paraphrasing) "if you have to tell someone how great you are, maybe you're not that great"?

Also, nthing skeevy and pathetic. The only person who you should be talking about your sex life to if the other person(s) involved-- and then you should ask her/him/them what they're comfortable with.
posted by Kpele at 3:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure what he's asking is whether a woman would be annoyed that a man she had slept with told his friends about how god she was in bed.

Ah yes. I had misunderstood. The answer is maybe, I guess. It depends on the person.
posted by The World Famous at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2011


Yeah, I'm not really clear on if you're bragging about your own awesome sexiness or someone else's. The latter is always much more preferable. The former should be avoided at all costs, as it will invariably produce the opposite of the intended result.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, now that I re-read it, the answer is "Keep my awesomeness out of everybody else's face." Would you not blush in front of a room full of women if you suspected they knew you could get your ankles behind your ears?
posted by motsque at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2011


What I consider fireworks (of my own creation) may be someone else's defective sparkler.

Proceed at your own risk.
posted by Madamina at 3:03 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't want to hear about anyone's sex-having, unless it it is the sex they are having with me.

Seriously, keep it to yourself.
posted by phunniemee at 3:04 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


You question is pretty convoluted. Are you bragging to your girlfriend about how good you are in bed, or are you bragging to your friends about how good she is in bed?

Crap, you're right. I was trying to ask about mentioning how good *she* was and how incredible she made me feel, in some cases about things that happened years and years ago but still stand out in my memory so clearly; but I realize that I over-thought and over-polished the question so that it's literally ambiguous in that regard.

ATL says, "You're supposed to be too swept away to be sitting there assessing your talents" - that's actually exactly what I'm talking about, whether it's kosher in any context to relate an experience that was so good that I was swept away.

Enlightening misspelling, empath: "how god she was in bed".

Thank you to everyone who has answered so far.
posted by XMLicious at 3:04 PM on May 11, 2011


I use the words discrete and discreet to show my students why spellcheckers don't always work.

If you tell a close friend simply that you've just gotten involved in a relationship with someone new and you really like this new person and the sex is awesome, that's ok. But if it's some kind of bragging, like you really know how to turn women on then it's just plain crass. The fewer the details, the better.
posted by mareli at 3:05 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, I would mind if someone I slept with told his friends about the experience, even if he thought he was being flattering to me.
posted by decathecting at 3:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just think of Owen Wilson's character in Meet The Parents when mentioning his former relationship with Teri Polo's character. Do you really want to be that guy?
posted by The World Famous at 3:07 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well if you were to confidentially whisper to me, "I'm getting really good at it now, I've got it down to 15 seconds," I really wouldn't be too envious of whoever I fairly quickly figured out was the recipient of your affections.

If you told me anything more discreet and indirect yet still boastful, say a subtle allusion to missing the entirety of a Wagnerian opera, I would think "he's got it down to 15 seconds".

Furthermore, I'd wonder if you were expecting me to make you an offer. In line with your motivation to share the joy of your love thang. EW. GROSS. NO.
posted by tel3path at 3:10 PM on May 11, 2011


I can barely parse your question, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say don't do it like that under any circumstances, or she's going to wander away confused.

Are you asking if you can tell a girl, "One time I fucked this girl so good she [whatever]," or "I can make you [whatever]" (the latter being preferable - unless you are sharing stories of hilarious misfortune, never start a sentence "one time I fucked this girl")? Sure. If she's already eyeing you, and you don't say something way freaky or creepy, that's probably okay. Or not. Depends on the recipient.

And of course, basic information about past condom use is always discussable.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:11 PM on May 11, 2011


It would be like bragging how good you are at biting the heads off kittens, only slightly more gross.
posted by joannemullen at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your question is way confusing, but dude, this:

when it's so damn good / so sensual / so intense that I have an urge to tell someone and for them to hear me glow, and hopefully hear some commonality of experience and acknowledgement of what it was to me.

You do this with the person you had the great sex with. It can be one of the best parts even.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:13 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


This went out of fashion just about the time that the "Playboy Forum" disappeared when the much better and more graphic internet porn arrived.

Don't do it, you can't compete with cyberspace.

Did I mention you'll come across as clueless and rude? No? Well, there's that part as well.
posted by tomswift at 3:14 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I don't like when my friends brag to me, "Man, I had trascendent sex last night! Her vagina was AMAZING!!" It comes off as disrespectful of a private experience. And what am I supposed to say in return? "I am glad you had this experience. Last night I watched TV till I fell asleep."

If you want to be discussing that, why not discuss it with the lady herself?
posted by muddgirl at 3:15 PM on May 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


What is the point? Do you want the other men to try to steal her away because she's so good?
posted by Maias at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2011


If you're specifically having a conversation about sexual experiences, it's fine. Women talk about sex too, and it can be just as graphic.

But if that's not the subject at hand, you just sound like a jerk. Context matters, once again.
posted by spaltavian at 3:20 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why don't you brag/glow to your partner about how awesome the sex was? Problem solved!
posted by torisaur at 3:20 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not female, but my reaction would be, "So you had sex, basically, is what you're saying?" And I'd give you my biggest "so what" look.

Nobody cares. You might as well be describing a really great poop you had.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:21 PM on May 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know about "women" since this is a personal matter that varies with the person. I've specifically asked my boyfriend to not talk about anything related to our sex life with anyone. That's private stuff between us only.

But the best way to know regarding a particular woman is to ask her what the boundaries are.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:24 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a music video about doing this.

It is a satire.

There's your answer.
posted by Zozo at 3:26 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Okay, I think I'm reading this question slightly differently than everyone else: are you bragging about how good YOU are in bed? If so, quit. Are you bragging about how good you *and* your significant other are TOGETHER in bed? If so, do it to him or her, and then have even more and better sex. Are you just so frakkin' ecstatic and enthusiastic and off this plane of existence because of the amazing sex you just had and you have to tell someone? That's cool, do it discreetly to your best bud (regardless of gender), and leave names (unless they already know) and definitely specifics out of it.

I talk about my sex life all the time, with close female and male friends, but I can't tell if my situation is analogous to what you're describing-- mine is more like a "We're-all-in-committed-relationships-we're-all-friends-with-everyone's-significant-other" support group where we get together and talk non-judgmentally about relationships and sex. I suspect this sort of arrangement is not uncommon and not problematic, but it's also not bragging (although there may be a certain amount of celebration when really good sex happens). If you want to talk about your sex life, such a close-knit group is the place to do it.
posted by WidgetAlley at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, upon clarification, I'm seeing a reading of this question that might be, "Is it ok if I tell a new partner about something my old partner did that felt great?"

To that question, I would say, "Absolutely!" And it doesn't need identifying details or even a reference to past experience or the former partner. You could just say, "Oh, I love it when/if you xyz...". Or, if you really wanted to maintain complete anonymity as far as your past partner, you could say, "I've always fantasized about xyz, would you indulge me?".

That goes for non-romantic conversations as well, though I don't know why you'd randomly confess that something someone did to you felt good to a friend - I guess y'all are close, huh? You could say, "I fantasize about xyz; I think it would feel great," if you feel the need to protect your listener from knowing your partner has done xyz to you.
posted by lesli212 at 3:30 PM on May 11, 2011


I really do not think that recounting the intensity and pleasure of past sexual experiences is a terrible thing to do with the closest of friends. It is understandable, and forgivable, to share something that was super-amazing.

I just think it's a bit prudish and uptight to suggest it's out-of-bounds to talk about amazing sex with one of our friends. It's part of our experience, and to say we can't talk about it is unreasonable ... as long as our talk is tasteful.

Locker-room type talk might be offensive, but not tasteful talk.
posted by jayder at 3:31 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want to be discussing that, why not discuss it with the lady herself?

Because in many cases the lady is years gone and continents away; and some times you need more contact related to things that mean a great deal to you than a faceless email address or voiceless words without tone or texture, and you need to feel like you aren't alone.

In some cases it seems like it mattered so little to her that she forgot her half of the experience quite quickly and so trying to talk to her about it did not feel much different from talking to a stranger.

I have always absolutely forced myself to never talk about this kind of personal, intimate stuff at all, not to anyone, not even anonymously; so I'm just trying to figure out whether or not it's possible to discuss these things in some way, somewhere, in a fashion that won't be disrespectful or inconsiderate or insensitive to the other person who was involved.

Also, apologies to everyone that my question was poorly worded and vague. I have a personal tendency to go on and on and on about everything, and on top of that it often appears that "human relations" AskMes go on and on with little value. It seems that in trying to be brief but clear and expressive I've instead accidentally gone the route of being ambiguous.
posted by XMLicious at 3:34 PM on May 11, 2011


I've had girls tell me that they bragged to their friends about how good I was in bed and I felt uncomfortable about it. But I think that's just because I'm kind of uptight about sex (stupid catholic upbringing!)

I've also known girls who are proud about how good they are in bed and wouldn't care if you took out a full page ad in the New York Times. It really depends on the person, but I think unless you know she's the kind of girl that wouldn't care (and you would pretty much know this, if you slept with her), it would probably be a good idea to be discreet.
posted by empath at 3:36 PM on May 11, 2011


Also, if the relationship is long over, and you're not talking to people in her circle of friends, then who cares, really.. talk away.
posted by empath at 3:37 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Its always good to tell the person who made feel good that they did so. It can grow intimacy and feelings. And lead to more of those good, swept away feelings.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on May 11, 2011


If we don't know any of the same people (and probably never will), then I'm comfortable with you discussing time, positions, tools used, any permits we needed, the fact that I have amazing hair, whatever. As long as it's positive or hilarious.

Your speaking partner might not be so thrilled but that's another story.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:46 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


People don't like people bragging about how good they are in bed.
posted by orthogonality at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2011


I was trying to ask about mentioning how good *she* was and how incredible she made me feel

I get that you feel that this is not a thing, but I think you're recognizing that to some people, it's a thing.

To me I guess it's like this: if you did not ask me if this was okay and I never found out that you talked about how good I am at sexxin' then why would I possibly care?

However, what has usually been my experience, especially as a younger woman, was that guys would do this sort of bragging and it would get turned around somewhat so that instead of some discreet exchange of "Wow I knew a woman who really knew how to make me feel good, that was nice!" information, you'd give out too much information by accident, or to the wrong person such that I am now getting leered at in the hallways in high school and let me tell you that fucking sucks.

Put another way, I know for a fact that a college boyfriend bragged about me in this way and I know he was thinking he was ... what ... doing me a favor? keeping himself from feeling lonely because he turned out to be a weird creepy stalker type? being flattering? and instead it turned into a completely gross "Please do not talk about me in this way to other people, it's a symptom of the general problem we have communicating where you feel like you are saying something nice and I feel that you are being mega-creepy now that we are no longer together..." situation. We got back in touch on facebook recently and he was still mister TMI "remember this?" guy and I was like "Oh my god I can not believe you are bringing that up. That was twenty years ago and you are married and freaking me out" and now we're not in touch anymore. And I don't like thinking that he's still mooning over college exploits but honestly I can't really stop him.

So I know this seems like it's important to you and if it is and your discretion is what you say it is then to me you do not have to ask this question because if you are so discreet, it will not come back to the woman you are talking about and so who cares. But if you guess wrong, the women who you are imputing all sorts of "oh she forgot about it so quickly" emotions on to may find out and it may cement your reputation with her even more solidly in the negative direction.

Put another way, while I sympathize with your general question, your lack of ability to ask it in a way that wasn't totally ambigious would also make me doubt your ability to make good guesses as far as tact and appropriateness. My vote is that talking about your past experiences, sure, okay, fune. Talking about a specific woman and revealing sexual confidences? Much less okay.
posted by jessamyn at 3:51 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you leave out names, dates, and details-- and particularly if you ensure that the person to whom you're bragging can't guess the identity of the third or fourth parties you describe-- bragging can be a useful tactic.

It'll create annoyance, sure, but that annoyance will likely be outweighed by curiosity.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:53 PM on May 11, 2011


Some do, some don't. You can't say "women" or "men" or any of it. Have to ask the woman first, no?
posted by Ironmouth at 3:53 PM on May 11, 2011


They hate it and find it contemptible.

I agree with them and have developed almost a complete block against doing it.

Too bad, in a way, because a lot of human nature reveals itself clearly only during sex, and I'd love to be able to talk about what I think I've learned with other people, but I just can't.
posted by jamjam at 3:58 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that's just because I'm kind of uptight about sex (stupid catholic upbringing!)

I've had an oddly orthogonal experience to that where I've been an atheist, apparently on my own initiative, since my very first memories of thinking about religion when I was a little kid. I have always drunk up, intellectually at least, all of the notions about being healthy in your sexuality, and so I've at least felt for my whole life like I could talk to anyone about any kind of sex no matter how dark and fetishistic.

But it has seemed to me lately as though I've done that in a rather detached manner; I never got terribly intent on or interested in the particular sexual stuff I'd discuss with people although I felt as though I could appreciate their enthusiasm for whatever it was we were discussing, on some level at least.

Before the refrain "therapy!" comes along, yes, I am now and have for years been a client, though only relatively recently found a therapist I could relate to. And I could play bingo with the drugs that psychiatrists have tried prescribing for me over the years.

Thanks again to everyone who has answered, it's all helpful.
posted by XMLicious at 4:00 PM on May 11, 2011


One thing. Do NOT brag to your current flame about your experiences with ex-flames. Ever.

As lesli212 said, it's fine to ask for x, y or z and to say that you have experienced x, y or z. Just never, ever, ever say something like "OMG she did such&such to me and then I did thus&so to her and then we both came so hard we almost went ballistic, it was amazing, it was epic and the earth moved". Your poor current flame will fizzle out, knowing her performance will probably never measure up to your ecstacy with lovers past.

Never ever.
posted by likeso at 4:01 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course it's tacky and not particularly gentlemanly, but let's be honest, it's pretty common and most people I know consider it a forgivable offense if it's not a graphic play by play, is not insulting/demeaning to the woman, and the women is in no way shape or form identifiable. And only then if it's to a few very close friends who you can trust to be discrete.
posted by whoaali at 4:11 PM on May 11, 2011


A couple of things:

This is not a gender issue. Different people will have different privacy boundaries, which may or may not become more fungible with time and distance.

However, you are autonomous and you are able to relate your own experiences. You just need to be circumspect about it. So like "and holyshit did she have some tits on her and she did this amazing thing with my cock" is not a respectful thing to say about someone who was nice enough to share their naked self with you. "My college girlfrind taught me amazing things about the sex you could have without fucking" communicates the same essential information in a way that isn't prurient or smacking of weird objectification.

My rule, and one I would like past lovers to apply to me and one I would encourage you to adopt, is to never say anything about anyone you would not be enirely comfortable repeating to their face. I also assume that had you dated say, both me and my sister, you would know we have very different boundaries for what we would be comfortable with there and act accordingly. I couldn't care less what you say about me over beer as long as it's respectful and complimentary; my sister would prefer you deny all knowledge of ever having seen her naked.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:12 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I totally wouldn't mind having a former lover tell other people how good I was, unless it was to highlight the totally freaky shit I did. So, yeah, you have my permission to talk about that time we did it.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2011


I often see women on facebook note in their status updates how incredible their boyfriend is in bed, and how lucky they (the girl) feel to have him. And other variations on how <3 is the best boyfriend ever.

I don't really see guys doing it though. I think it's one of those things where it kind of comes off differently due to society's gender expectations. Perhaps too many people (especially women) still associate female awesomeness in bed with promiscuity, and think female promiscuity is bad (when it's other women).
posted by -harlequin- at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2011


I'm revising my answer based on your responses and going with 'I think it's okay to talk about the Hot Sex you had with Some Girl in Yesteryear/Yestercountry'.

Not so okay if Some Girl is going to be having dinner with the friends you're talking to -- in fact, bad and disrespectful in that case.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:19 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I should caveat what I wrote above with the note that it's anecdotal and within my social circles, as it's a pretty huge generalization otherwise. There will be plenty of places where the gender expectations are different, and where even the results are the same, happen for different reasons.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:22 PM on May 11, 2011


I'm female, and I talk about sexual experiences with my female friends all the time. I don't go into great detail about what he did, especially if it's a current sex partner, but I would say something like "he said I was good at X sex act", or "he was so good at X".
posted by Sal and Richard at 4:33 PM on May 11, 2011


My rule, and one I would like past lovers to apply to me and one I would encourage you to adopt, is to never say anything about anyone you would not be enirely comfortable repeating to their face. I also assume that had you dated say, both me and my sister, you would know we have very different boundaries for what we would be comfortable with there and act accordingly. I couldn't care less what you say about me over beer as long as it's respectful and complimentary; my sister would prefer you deny all knowledge of ever having seen her naked.

This is encouraging because if I'm understanding it properly it sounds pretty similar to rules I was coming up with for myself last week when thinking about this sort of stuff; so thank you DarlingBri. Not that I would rely on any single rule or principle, and again everything in this thread has been helpful and I'm paying attention to it all, but I'd appreciate hearing what people think of this particular formulation of the problem and any exceptions I ought to know about or caveats related to thinking this way.

Also, to everyone in general, sorry about the gender-specificness of the way I have phrased things but recently I've felt like a dog chasing my tail, trying to word things so that they would apply to every possible variation of sexuality and gender I'm familiar with; some of my problems recently becoming more acute made me put aside that whole problem, but only temporarily.

Perhaps too many people (especially women) still associate female awesomeness in bed with promiscuity

harlequin, awareness of this is exactly one of the motivations that lead me to ask this question, so my OP was partly trying to take a reading on the current average attitude towards this idea. I don't think there's any solution in knowing general attitudes such as these, because every action I might take has to be contextual and case-by-case, and internet echo chamber, anecdata, et cetera et cetera anyways so gathering an impression of social mores in any one venue won't be thorough, but thanks for bringing it up.
posted by XMLicious at 4:38 PM on May 11, 2011


Heck YES it's objectionable. Tacky, skeevy, rude, obnoxious, classless....... fill in the adjuective ofyour choice.
posted by easily confused at 4:47 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you must "share" thusly, take Shakespeare's example, and do it in sonnet form.
"Sonnet XXIX"

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
posted by paulsc at 5:48 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if I was your friend, I don't think I'd appreciate hearing play by plays of your years-past sexual exploits. If it was part of a larger discussion of a past relationship and what it meant/still means to you, that's OK, but too much focus on the sex stuff and how it like, changed your life, man, wow, let me tell you about it in detail... I'd get skeeved out and think maybe you need to be having some more sex in the present tense, not dwelling on the past. Some private preoccupations are best kept private, especially because you've given no sign that you're considering the perspective of the poor friend you're sharing this information with.
posted by MadamM at 5:57 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gentlemen never talk.
posted by puddinghead at 6:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Others above have said that they wouldn't mind it. Personally, I would find it creepy and unpleasant to know that a sex partner of mine, whether current or former, was talking about me in anything more than the vaguest, most general of terms. ("It was amazing, man, she made my toes curl. No, I'm not going to give details.") And if I learned that an ex was talking about me, I would be skeeved out. When I try to imagine what I'd feel like when I learned about it, what comes to mind is "Eww — I am SO glad I'm not with him any more!"
posted by Lexica at 6:08 PM on May 11, 2011


Based on my limited experience it works best if other people do your bragging for you. Otherwise put your efforts into doing a good job in the present, which may require different skills than have served you well in the past.
posted by TedW at 6:28 PM on May 11, 2011


If you frame it with the right level of detail, good narrative timing, and just enough left to melodramatic mystery, you will be renowned for your bawdy bar banter and will be a hit at parties.

Unless those parties were thrown by a metafilter member, apparently.


disclaimer: i have a dirty mouth and am a bad influence, generally.
posted by vivid postcard at 6:38 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a term for this: Cad.
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:33 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah...context really matters here. I mean if everyone is talking about sex, that's one thing, but you don't want to be known as the TMI guy.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:34 PM on May 11, 2011


Bragging is never appealing, on pretty much anybody's part, about anything. But it sounds like you aren't asking about bragging, but about having a conversation with a good friend about life experiences. In that case, and assuming the relationship is in the distant past and you are suitably discreet (omitting all identifying info and omitting the play-by-play), it depends on your friend's comfort level with sex and body talk, and talk about euphoric experiences generally. There are some people who just don't want to hear about that stuff, and some who do love talking and hearing about it. Know your audience.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


In general, sure, you had a great experience and want to go glow at your good friend in a non-specific sort of way? Go for it! More specifically, speaking as a friend who gets the receiving end of those conversations from a handful of people, pleeeease spare your friends anything too erotic or likely to give them mental images they don't want. Their discomfort will probably be obvious when that happens, but just be aware; detailed descriptions can be very off-putting, they may not want to think of you that way.
posted by Lady Li at 8:53 PM on May 11, 2011


Oh dear. I feel your pain pleasure. Sometimes things just get so impossibly good that you desperately need to talk about it. w00t! I'm there. Fireworks have gotten to be the rule. Bragging? Not really. More like, "Pinch me! I think I might be dreaming!" Or even, "Don't you DARE pinch me, I don't want to wake up!". :-)

Some things are difficult to share with friends without sounding wrong, or otherwise creating a sense of envy. You need especially close friends for stuff like that.
posted by Goofyy at 1:17 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, as a girl, I wouldn't give a damn if you told people I was awesome. I would take it as a compliment. If you got all specific I might find it a little weird, especially if your friends were as clueless to ever bring it up with me.

Then again, I doubt I am representative of most people, my friends and I do have sex- based conversations and I have very little shame.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:03 AM on May 12, 2011


I don't understand what you're asking - whether it's OK to brag about sex to a new partner, or to brag about sex to friends?

As a woman, I don't talk about what I do with current partners at all to close friends and past things are generally 'So, I once did this, and...' I don't think even close friends need ot know more than that. I once read an online friend's lulu.com book about internet dating, expecting it to be humorous anecdotes, and it was very graphic descriptions of his sexual encounters and how great they were. One phrase that stuck out was 'and I wanted to tell him how her sweet young pussy was tight as a fist'. I just felt sorry for everyone involved, and then a bit sick.

Also as a woman - if a prospective partner told me about what they were doing with previous ones, it would be a big turnoff.
posted by mippy at 7:25 AM on May 12, 2011


I think it's fine if you convey it in the sense of "I saw this really awesome movie last night and I just have to share how excited I am." As a (mostly) straight 30something woman, I'd be flattered by that, as long as you didn't go into graphic detail.
posted by desjardins at 8:50 AM on May 12, 2011


Oh, and if you're telling people about the "awesome movie" that you saw 10 years ago, that's kind of weird and makes you sound like a stalker who still pines for the ... movie.
posted by desjardins at 8:51 AM on May 12, 2011


Mid 30s and just recently I had friend mentioned that a girl he was seeing was 'amazing' in bed. something along the line of 'its actually like the sex you see in movies' or something like that.

he didn't dwell on it - it wasn't a "brag" really. It came across more as a statement of fact. like some casual observation of a curious fact.

I didn't think anything of it. I think thats ok to do.
posted by mary8nne at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2011


When it comes to your nut busting experiences, you're supposed to write about them in your journal, not brag to people.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:16 AM on May 12, 2011


Frankly whenever anyone, male or female (and it's females I've encountered this with more), brags about how great their sex life is (short of, as mentioned, a Thelma-and-Louise-type close friend freaking out revelation excitement bubbling over need to share bonding thing) I assume they're probably inexperienced, the whole big fish in a little pond thing, coupled with insecure. ie, probably not actually very good in the broader sense of things. It's like my surprise people were impressed with that study a while back saying smart or talented people rarely think they are while less skilled people think they're brilliant (because being smart/experienced/challenged in life means you see the whole landscape and realize how high the bar really is)--just seems like common sense to me.

And anyway--that kind of bragging is so unnecessary. It's never something that moves the story you're telling forward or explains/gives context. So yeah, it just smacks of insecurity and cluelessness to me. "Pathetic", yeah.
posted by ifjuly at 9:10 AM on May 17, 2011


Hello anyone still reading! For a few days there earlier this month I had a really ridiculously intense desire to talk with someone or another about all sorts of experiences I've had in my life that were important to me in various ways; and at the same time my emotional state was changing much more rapidly from hour to hour than it has during most of my life, and my thoughts were racing; but now I seem to have settled down to a more stable state.

As several people suggested, I've found that I can get emotional release through much more casual and less specific conversations with good old friends than I had felt like I needed when I wrote the OP, especially now that I've calmed down; so I think I managed to avoid being the TMI guy. Several sources helped me to arrive at these realizations but hearing all of the different and articulate answers in this thread was awesome and feels like it was just what I was hoping for in posting the OP.

So thanks again! Good job Ask MeFi, another disaster averted! Until I try to decide whether or not to eat that thing in my fridge, that is. =)
posted by XMLicious at 9:06 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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