Is Bonerkiller 9000 on the loose again?
September 26, 2019 7:16 AM   Subscribe

As an early-30s lady, it would be nice to date again after sitting out for a couple of years. Only trouble is, I'm kinda bad in bed and it's been a real relationship-killing downer for everyone involved. Help? This is as NSFW as can be. There's more inside, but it's :(

For starters, I don't think I'm asexual. I find guys sexually attractive, I have a libido, I fantasize, I've enjoyed sex in the past. But I've had a lot of trouble with the feedback loop of sex being really bad for the guy killing any good vibes that were present at first. I don't date now because I'm wary about either party being able to get anything out of sex with me.

I'm that not sexually inexperienced, but my experience is probably a bit different than average. My last relationship was with someone with whom I seldom had sex, and there were only a couple occasions where they were able to stay hard or climax with me over the course of a year. That relationship ended because it was clear he wasn't feeling it, in large part due to the sexual incompatibility issue. My most significant LTR prior to that lead to a dead bedroom for a few years because he was put off by my gaining 20lbs or so.

So there've been a few situations where the sex simply isn't worth the effort for the guy - a couple have actually said as much literally. The only partner who hasn't taken issue with my sexual performance in the past, I dunno, 5 years, was someone who was previously a virgin.

I did have vaginismus in my early 20s, for which I did pelvic floor physio and had an okay PIV sex life for some years thereafter. That said, maybe my vagina still works differently than women with no history of pelvic floor disorders? I can have pain-free PIV with not all that much foreplay, but not all positions seem to work well for me, in spite of being pretty flexible. This has been off-putting for my partners and for me.

So, my problem is the concern that I really don't quite remember what it's like to date someone who, well, actually thinks that boning me is worth the bother, and it's throwing off my game. It's not clear to me if this is something I can fix easily - I'm of a mid-healthy BMI with no loose skin, I'm fairly athletic, I look pretty average naked compared to what I see at the gym. My gyno says there's nothing unusual about my equipment that would explain why it doesn't seem to provide a pleasant experience.

FWIW, I know what I like and how to get myself off. I watch porn. All the porn! Until the last guy, I also have always gotten rave reviews in the HJ and BJ categories. I know how foreplay works, so have (most of) the guys involved. I do Kegels properly! This doesn't really make me feel confident when it comes to partnered sex now though, and I'm afraid that I'm bad enough at sex that it'll be a real impediment to building a connection with someone. To be honest, this makes me not feel great about my desirability or femininity. I expect a first encounter with someone to be a bit awkward, but lots of couples can get past that; for it to be weird enough that no one's really looking forward to what happens at the end of the next date isn't great.

Does it make sense for me to start identifying as ace and totally take sex off the table if I want to date? Should I move to Crone Island permanently? Should I find a sex surrogate? How does one fix this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I've read your question three times now and I can't find a single shred of evidence that you're bad at sex? All I see is that you've dated a couple of shitty guys who were shitty to you about sex, but that's, like, not even close to the same. Maybe I'm missing some important subtext here or something but my snap reaction is that you need to be way kinder to yourself, maybe talk to a therapist about your confidence in this arena, and for the love of God the next time some schmuck tries to blame you for his flaccid dick laugh in his stupid face.
posted by saladin at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2019 [172 favorites]

This is one of those situations where there's no way to tell exactly what the issue is without our being there, which none of us are. But with this disclaimer, I am going to say confidently that the problem is not that that you're offputtingly bad at sex, the problem is that you were having sex with men who were being horrible to you about it. Possibly for their own defensive reasons rather than with the intent of being cruel to you, god knows what was going on in their heads. But there is literally nothing I can imagine about how you're having PIV sex that would be generally offputting, unless you're randomly stabbing your partner with something sharp in the middle.

I would bet a great deal that this will not be a problem with a partner who is not trying to hurt your feelings.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:29 AM on September 26, 2019 [35 favorites]

It kind of sounds to me like you need to somehow relax and calm your mind when the possibility of having sex is there, in order to keep all those negative, distracting thoughts at bay. If that means wine, cbd, weed, meditation, or whatever works for you, it's well worth a try. My own missus likes to have a glass of wine, and it really helps her relax and get more into the mood. YMMV, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:29 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I agree that the issue here is with the assholes you were with, not with you or how you have sex.

You might find Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski useful for re-framing sex.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:40 AM on September 26, 2019 [15 favorites]

there were only a couple occasions where they were able to stay hard or climax with me over the course of a year.

That is not your fault and it may have nothing to do with sex. If I had a body part that didn't work the way it's intended to work, and I wanted it to work better, I'd be at the doctor trying to learn what's wrong and what can be done about it. I wouldn't be letting it slide for a year and then blaming someone else for it.

My most significant LTR prior to that lead to a dead bedroom for a few years because he was put off by my gaining 20lbs or so.

This also is so much Not. Your. Fault. We all have preferences but again, there's more going on there with him if he's blaming another person for his willingness to write off sex altogether.

The only thing I can see you doing "wrong" here is not sex at all, but staying with horrible people past their expiration dates.
posted by headnsouth at 7:47 AM on September 26, 2019 [25 favorites]

It doesn't sound like you're bad at sex, at all. IMO, being "bad at sex" means being unconcerned about your partner's pleasure and that kind of thing. You can be inexperienced and maybe need to work on technique a bit, but being bad at sex is more than that.

If a guy is not conveying that they are deeply enthusiastic about "boning" you, then they are bad at sex. When somebody agrees to get naked with you, enthusiasm is appropriate! Every time! And kindness, and communication. It's OK to say a position isn't working for you, or could you please do this or that, but if you aren't conveying that your partner is desirable and that you want to be doing this you are failing at sex.

I'm afraid that I'm bad enough at sex that it'll be a real impediment to building a connection with someone

Maybe the connection should be, ahem, coming first? If you're with a decent human being that's into you, naked sexy times should be fun and about connecting and learning what's good for both of you. (Or doing the things that are good for both of you, if you've gotten to the point you know what those are.)

If PIV sex isn't going well, as you say, there's always HJ and BJ and other things to do. They can also, pun intended, take matters into their own hands - which can also be super sexy and fun and totally worth it if you like the other person enough to be naked with them.

Sorry that you've had some bad experiences but I can almost guarantee that you are not "bad at sex." Maybe bad at picking sex partners, but the failure here seems to be on their end and not yours. Please do not give up hope or buy a ticket to Crone Island.
posted by jzb at 7:48 AM on September 26, 2019 [11 favorites]

Another person agreeing that it's not you, it's them. Sex can be a tricky thing, sure, but two sufficiently motivated people can make almost any arrangement for mutual pleasure happen. That it's not clicked for you, despite you being willing and able, is down to your partners being either not willing or not able (or both).

If you have a few dollars to spare, have an appointment with a sex therapist to talk things over. I'm sure they'll confirm what I and everyone else above are saying. You've just had a run of shitty bed partners, and it happens.

You can be ace if you want to, but if you don't want to be ace, that's not a choice others get to make for you by being shitty to you in the bedroom.

Find sexy people who find you sexy, and have good preliminary consent and mutually reinforcing desire conversations that light you both up, then get freaky.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:00 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

You are not the one with the problem here.
posted by sallybrown at 8:01 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Absolutely nothing in your post indicates that you're bad at sex. Lots in your post indicates that you've got a history of dating guys who are jerks. Seriously, someone gave you trouble over 20 lbs? 20 lbs is nothing. Giving someone trouble about minor weight gain is horrible.

You need to date better guys. There's nothing wrong with you.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:29 AM on September 26, 2019 [16 favorites]

It does sound like the problem in the past has mostly been shitty partners, plus maybe some plain old sexual incompatibility.

You say that "not all" PIV sexual positions are comfortable. I'm not sure if by that you actually mean "not any" but if you've got a couple that work for you, that is actually plenty! Assuming PIV is even important to you and your partner. Many people have excellent sex lives that focus exclusively on HJ and BJ (which should of course be reciprocated in a way that you like, if you want.)

I was once married to a guy who was disappointed in the sex unless we did it in multiple positions over the course of a couple of hours, with two orgasms for him and at least one for me. Me, I like to finish up in 20 minutes or so, and I don't always need an orgasm, and I'm not into sexual athletics all that much. Needless to say, he was disappointed a lot.

My current husband is generally perfectly happy with the 20 minute regimen which doesn't even include PIV that often. He thinks I'm perfectly fine in bed. I mean, he likes to occasionally get more elaborate but if he's just had a great blow he's not half-sulking that we're done like the previous guy. It really is a matter of being more compatible with him, plus also him not being shitty about my weight or blaming me if he can't get it up or whining because I can't get my legs behind my head or whatever.

So I really don't think there is anything to fix other than maybe you need to be prepared to quickly dump any new partner if they are shitty about your body or defensive about their performance or use any other way of communicating about sex that is not respectful and careful of your feelings.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:04 AM on September 26, 2019 [16 favorites]

It sounds like you may need to increase the sample size, if you get what I’m saying.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:11 AM on September 26, 2019 [14 favorites]

a few situations where the sex simply isn't worth the effort for the guy

my friend, this is not evidence of a problem on your end. This happened because these dudes were either porn addicts (notoriously lazy/unable to get it up for actual partner sex; and increasingly common in our porn-ful age); or just extremely low libido guys looking to blame someone else.

I don't entirely understand your sample size, but even if you had a run of these types, it still doesn't mean the problem is you sexually, although it does indicate that you made a mistake in choosing/putting up with these men. These types are common as mud. Your job is to dump them as soon as you get a whiff of this kind of thing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:22 AM on September 26, 2019 [10 favorites]

In case you need another person on the internet saying it: it isn't you. In a way I agree with kevinbelt, but that's not for everyone. So there's also the opposite option: don't sleep with anyone before you have a strong emotional relation and mutual respect.

The reason I agree with kevinbelt is that if you experiment a bit, you will find that men are as different as women, and sex depends on the combination, not the individual. With some men, straight up vanilla missionary is great, even amazing. With others, you will need more variations for fun. With some guys, I've done things I otherwise didn't like, because the mutual feeling was so good. All types are good, it's the chemistry and also the shapes and sizes. IMO a sense of humor and mutual curiosity are the most important things. I avoid men who criticize other women or talk about "types", out of bitter experience. There are jerks out there, and you have been unlucky.

Maybe think about why you have dated jerks? Or did they become jerks? Or was it a combination. I'm absolutely not saying you are to blame, but that you need to develop your jerk-detector. My girlfriends were better than me to recognize when a guy I was dating was a self-absorbed misogynist, I just didn't listen to them, so that's a thing too. And I was bad at seeing when I had a lovely and loving guy doting on me. (I'm taking a break from dating now).
posted by mumimor at 9:28 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

As a guy, here are some things that might cause me to feel like PIV sex was less than optimal:

1. lubrication issues
2. insisting on uncomfortable positions
3. making weird faces or noises

All of which are easily fixable, although 3 is subjective and can be hard to diagnose.

Odds are good that the actual problem is that you have been sleeping with guys who are porn addicts, "figuring themselves out," etc.

I also have always gotten rave reviews in the HJ and BJ categories.

Let's be frank here, if that's the case and you just lay there and do absolutely nothing during PIV sex, lots of guys would still say you're "great in bed."

I don't think it's you.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:52 AM on September 26, 2019 [15 favorites]

You mention "bother" and "effort" a couple times. I'm curious about what that means to you, because, like others, I'm having trouble identifying any evidence in your post that you are actually bad at sex.

I'm a quality over quantity lady. I'd rather have leisurely, mind-blowing sex once every couple of weeks over a quicky every day. Quickies do absolutely nothing for me and at the ripe old age that I am, I've stopped pretending they're something I enjoy. Is that what you mean by "bother"? Like, these dudes are expecting to push a button and you're ready to come the second they touch you or what? Because that is not a reasonable expectation.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:56 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

I think you believe you're bad in bed, and these men are using that as a stick to beat you with. You admit what feels like a weakness, they exploit it. Get therapy for your habit of dating mean guys, for having terrible self-esteem. Start read Dan Savage and a lot of other writers mentioned here about sex, try to get some understanding of what sex can be like between 2 giving and willing individuals who want to please each other and themselves. Also, lubrication really matters, both for your own comfort, as well as your partner's. Do not ever tell any partner that you are not fantastic at sex, and any partner who says this gets kicked out of bed immediately.

sex simply isn't worth the effort for the guy If a guy says this, he's probably lying and definitely being intentionally cruel. You give great blow jobs! You can't be bad in bed unless a guy is unbelievably selfish. Guys who talk to women this way are narcissistic, bullying, assholes who want dominance. As you gain esteem and confidence, guys will treat you better; bullies exploit weakness, real or perceived.

I'm so sorry you have been hurt in such a deeply personal way. You deserve better. You deserve love, affection, great and/or adequate sex, fun, love, respect.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 AM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

Also, I'm so, so glad you brought this to Ask.Me instead of feeling bad in silence and misery.
posted by theora55 at 10:10 AM on September 26, 2019 [34 favorites]

Look, you could lay there and not make a sound or move a muscle, which is terrible sex, and there are still men out there who would bone you. The quality of these men might be questionable, but that's beside the point, which is that there is nothing in your post that suggests you're even close to being "bad at sex" - shit, most women I know dislike BJ/HJ and they're still regularly boned. You've encountered men who are bad at being decent human beings, and none of this has any bearing on your sexual abilities.

You could try attending a sex workshop, or, if you have the courage, browse FetLife in your city for safe events in which exploring your sexuality might give you an idea of the broad spectrum of sexual activity there is and where you fit in. Looks to me that confidence in your abilities is perhaps what you need to work on - please consider doing that in safe, helpful ways with the assurance we've all given you here that there doesn't seem to be anything you're doing wrong.
posted by Everydayville at 10:18 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

while i do agree with all the posters above about your previous partners being shitty, i want to offer a counterpoint i didn't see mentioned.

maybe, in the moment, you're so focused on "being bad at sex" and worrying about that, that you're not enjoying the moment and fully engaging with your partner, and that just makes you "worse at sex." i think the fix to that is to find someone you really dig outside the bedroom, someone that you can be comfortable with.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Agreeing with all the earlier comments about previous partners being shitty. There's nothing wrong with you.

I'm afraid that I'm bad enough at sex that it'll be a real impediment to building a connection with someone. To be honest, this makes me not feel great about my desirability or femininity.

I've had a few multi-year droughts, and long enough ones to create the exact same issues. I was never super-experienced going into those prolonged periods of nothing, and -- it totally does a number on how you perceive your desirability. Because, yeah, no-one's desiring you.

When I exited my longest drought, I was concerned about whether I would be any good at sex. There was nothing that more practice wouldn't fix, with the right partner. And it's the same for you.

I also have always gotten rave reviews in the HJ and BJ categories.

Focus on that. If you give your partner a certain amount of pleasure one way, they give you a lot of leeway with any other 'deficiencies'. It sounds crass, I know, but if you focus on making sure your partner has a good time doing one thing, they'll see sex with you as an overall positive, and be patient while you practice some more. And that's all you need.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:20 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering whether you have unrealistic expectations about what normal sex actually looks like, and this is clouding your judgement here about whether you are 'good at sex'.

This bit stuck out at me: "not all positions seem to work well for me, in spite of being pretty flexible. This has been off-putting for my partners and for me."

What positions are you and your partners trying to use here? I'm not flexible at all, and have very vanilla (enjoyable for us) sex with my husband. We literally have variations on 3 positions - from behind, me on top, him on top. There's nothing wrong with this and I'm wondering whether 'all the porn' coupled with not much experience has skewed your expectations of positions a bit? For me, there is nothing worse than my partner trying to flip me around into all kinds of positions during sex (also indicates that the guy is inexperienced in my opinion). I'm like, just stay in one place for a bit!

Also, way too much information, but I can't give blow jobs for long periods of time, so usually my husband has to help me finish him off at the end. That's all good for us, because my husband knows I'm a human not a sex doll...

So yeah, I don't think you're bad in bed. What does that even mean to you? For me it is a reciprocal act where everyone respects each other and hopefully feels satisfied at the end. My guess is that you have been around some shitty guys whose expectations may have been shaped by porn.
posted by thereader at 1:44 PM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

[This is a followup from the asker.]
Thanks for the responses so far. A lot of this makes my situation seem more hopeful. I should have probably added more information about what goes wrong, specifically. Ugh, this is so TMI but:

My expectations are that my partner can usually maintain an erection hard enough to penetrate me and can come at least some of the time. Also, it would be preferable if they were sexually attracted to me. Those seem to be the expectations of most of my partners as well. That doesn't seem too lofty, right?

One of the issues on my end is that both me and my partners notice that I'm pushing them out randomly and without pain on my end, like they're boning a trampoline. It sucks for everyone involved. It's both a matter of them pulling out too far as well as my geometry not working with theirs - it becomes difficult to maintain any reasonable rhythm. As ridiculous as this sounds, part of this probably has to do with me having a bubble butt, which throws off the angles they're accustomed to if their experience has mostly been with proportionally flatter-assed women. Am I onto something here?

Finding positions where they're not pounding against gravity is the issue. Standard missionary typically doesn't work well unless my legs are over my head or there's something under my butt. From behind requires a lot of weird angles to be comfortable for me.

These aren't problems these guys have had with other partners, and my women friends (not even the ones are very curvy, where body size and proportions may play a role in what positions work) haven't had problems like these. So I acknowledge that most of the problem is about who I dated in some of these cases, but I'm not sure it's all of the problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:17 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nope, still nothing wrong with you. You are you, and there's someone out there who is compatible. I'm not certain the issue is exactly what you think it is, it's impossible to know from afar, but maybe as someone who could be your mother I'd say try to go a lot slower on all things next time you hook up with someone. You don't want to win at any form of sex, it's strictly a participation game.
posted by mumimor at 3:31 PM on September 26, 2019

Okay, let's say you have a shallow vagina that causes slippage problems. A dude who is properly into you will remain horned up and work with you to find a better angle/position or explore alternative sex acts. He is not going to say "this isn't worth the effort." Also, plenty of women with completely average standard issue vaginas have their own special angling/positioning requirements during sex so don't sweat it for a second if that is the issue.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:50 PM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

I've never heard of a bubble butt forcing a dick out. This sounds more like vestiges of the vaginismus -- like what happens when I cough during sex. No pain, but various muscles contract, and dick is most definitely forced out very suddenly (AND HILARIOUSLY.) Whoever heard of complaining about having to stick your dick back into your willing gf? I have nothing but eyerolls for these ridiculous men. You're fine.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:03 PM on September 26, 2019 [16 favorites]

I agree with what everyone above has said about these dudes being the ones bad at sex, there is nothing wrong with you and you should try exploring a different buffet. There are so many shapes and sizes!

That said, I totally get what you are saying in the reply and I have a few more actionable ideas for you:

1. it really helped me at some point to like... read an instructional sex book? I went through several but the one with the most memorable title was called “hot sex how to do it.” All this reading helped give me a vocabulary that made me more comfortable talking about what I want with partners, and like.... things my awkward naked brain might never have thought of? And increased my confidence too, which is hot. Again, there is definitely nothing wrong with you, these guys are duds and you deserve better. But in my experience, instruction books are great for all sorts of things including this.

2. Try listening to some Lizzo if you aren’t yet in the habit. Lizzo is definitely the soundtrack to this question. Maybe start with Truth Hurts!

3. Have you ever tried Pilates? Awesome for the pelvic floor, flexibility, and all sorts of health. I honestly never liked any exercise before this and it has been life-changing.

Hang in there!
posted by wowenthusiast at 4:17 PM on September 26, 2019

If a pillow under your butt helps, then that is a perfectly fine solution. You don't have to be apologetic about it, you just keep a pillow handy and when it comes time to bone, you or he automatically just sticks it under you. It just becomes part of your routine.

It might help to realize that lots of couples (and I mean LOTS) have to make adjustments of various kinds to accommodate differences in anatomy. People who are large or tiny or disabled or inflexible or who lack stamina. Couples who are physically mismatched in some way. People who can only orgasm in particular ways. I mean, this is SO incredibly common.

People find various ways around these things. Different positions for PIV; focusing more on activities other than PIV; pillows, bolsters, restraints, etc that help you maintain a position; sex toys; etc. A person who is a good partner for you will work with you to find mutually pleasurable ways of doing sex. Many people even find having special techniques, accessories and gadgets for sex to be exciting and arousing.

A good partner for you is going to be someone who is open-minded and flexible as far as their expectations in the bedroom, and who is experienced and relaxed enough to roll with the challenges rather than freak out, lose their erection and get pissy about it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:30 PM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Couple practical suggestions:

They make pillows just for boning. Which isn't to say you should buy those exact sex pillows, just that this is a common enough need that you can find knock-off sex pillows on Wish. No shame in the pillow game, if you need to prop up your booty, do it.

Secondly: every try a dildo? Does the same ejection situation happen with a synthetic dong as an organic one? Some solo experimentation might bring some clarity.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:26 PM on September 26, 2019

For whatever it is worth, I agree with everyone who is saying that the problem here is not you. It sounds like you have had the bad luck to be with some crappy guys who don't know how to handle routine aspects of intimacy (like getting ejected once in a while) without trying to make you feel bad.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:32 PM on September 26, 2019

Yep, still nothing wrong with you. Your expectations are not too high. These guys are idiots. Fwiw, I have a short vag *shrug*. And a bubble butt. I have not seen this listed as a resource yet, but you might try OMG Yes.

Also? Outlander. You can google "feminist sex outlander" for articles. It's hot because sexual (and dramatic) tension and chemistry. The stuff they do is actually pretty vanilla - and imperfect. They say corny stuff and laugh, they bonk heads, they get interrupted, they're not in the mood... I'm sure this is a ymmv thing, but it was really good for me to see recognisable sex scenes.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:19 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Adding the additional anecdata that every dude's penis inflates and deflates a lot during sex, and it has practically nothing to do with how into you he is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on October 1, 2019

« Older How should we pay for our second floor on our...   |   Why did I get a burn from glassblowing when nobody... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments