How to turn bad sex good, or at least better?
March 30, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

How to turn bad sex good, or at least better?

I recently had penetrative sex with a new partner for the first time (I'm female, he's male, both in our thirties) We have been seeing each other for a few months now, and know each other reasonably well (ie it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment hookup). The long and the short of it is, I haven't had such bad sex since I was in high school! Leaving aside my role in the matter (I do appreciate that it takes two to tango), what is the best way to broach the topic with the guy and try to oh-so-gently steer him on the path to something that works better for me. And hopefully for him too.

Without going into too many NSFW details, let's just say that I am trying to figure out the best way to gently, gently indicate to my boyfriend that two minutes of foreplay and then (ouch!) two of thrusting just isn't going to do it for me. Clearly I need to take the lead but I'm just not sure how to do it without making him feel completely inadequate. He is generally very affectionate and I know he definitely wants to please me (and me him) but I also want to be sure not to hurt his feelings any more than I'm obviously going to. Have you been in a position where your partner needed urgent guidance? How did you deal with it?

FWIW my partner has had several long-term relationships, but I suspect that he is far less sexually experienced than I am. I'm sure that he was a bit nervous, I was too, but this was more like two people who hadn't a clue! I will give it time, but I need to give it more than that I think. Any advice appreciated.
posted by different to Human Relations (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I would recommend that you promise a night of sensous delights, and gently tie his hands to the bedhead to remove his responsibility to act. Then proceed to show him how it can be, say, long enough foreplay involving icecubes, and then getting on top and varying the pace to suit yourself.

Secondly, the next time you give up total control to him, if he just doesn't get it, you HAVE to tell him, no, I'm not ready yet, let's do some more of xyz, or it won't feel right. There's no blame in that.
posted by b33j at 2:52 PM on March 30, 2008

I think you should probably give him a second chance at least before you right him off as bad in bed. If he's been faithful to you in the months you've been together than he hasn't had any in a while and as you said, he was nervous, which can affect his performance but as b33j says, if you're not ready yet, its ok to say you're not ready.
posted by missmagenta at 2:56 PM on March 30, 2008

As far as prolonging the foreplay goes, I've found that a lot of positive reinforcement works. Saying things like, "Oh, please don't stop!" and "Just keep doing that," or describing how something makes you feel could let him know how much you love it and want him to continue. That might be tough if you aren't normally so vocal during sex, but it's worth a shot. As long as your comments are positive I can't imagine that he'd mind you prompting him a bit.
posted by christinetheslp at 2:58 PM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

et's just say that I am trying to figure out the best way to gently, gently indicate to my boyfriend that two minutes of foreplay and then (ouch!) two of thrusting just isn't going to do it for me.

A decent guy wants both parties to enjoy it. The foreplay part's easy. You don't need to be gentle about that so much-- "I want to draw it out more, play a bit before we really get at it." You might accentuate the point by going down on him. If he doesn't reciprocate, he's a cad.

The second issue (the two minutes of penetration) is a stickier issue, because it may be medical or he might just not have the control you want him to. You'll have to wait to mention that until he's more secure-- you'll just have to feel when the moment's right to discuss it in a few weeks when he's more confident with you.

That said, you might find that next time is less awkward and he'll do a better job without you having to say anything. If it was the first he's gotten in a while, the anticipation is HUGE and can wreck a normally confident guy's technique and absolutely can lead to an early finish.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:18 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Really, just say anything if you think it'll help. From "right there" to any number of more graphic commands, just to hear SOMEthing would be a great help. I've never really had a woman go too far in this department, so I'd say you have a lot of leeway.
posted by rhizome at 3:21 PM on March 30, 2008

Response by poster: The second issue (the two minutes of penetration) is a stickier issue, because it may be medical or he might just not have the control you want him to. You'll have to wait to mention that until he's more secure-- you'll just have to feel when the moment's right to discuss it in a few weeks when he's more confident with you.

Oh, I totally agree, I would never mention that ;-)
posted by different at 3:30 PM on March 30, 2008

As others have said, the best way is to express what you want more. That mean being more vocal, or physically just taking the lead more to show him how it's done. You are definitely right that if you are too direct about telling him what was wrong the first time, he'll probably feel like a huge loser. I don't say this to scare you out of approaching the subject though. And unless he's a big ass hole he'll feel like he has a huge problem, not like you're being mean. And, while, yes, he does have a bit of the problem so far, making him feel bad about it won't help solve it (yeah, you know this already, but I'm just reinforcing that I don't want this to sound like I'm saying "don't do anything about it, you'll hurt his poor ego).

Anyhow, so what you do is tell him what to do. Avoid using negatives when possible. So, take the lead, and tell him what you like. For instance, take the lead during foreplay, and while doing it, tell him how much you love it getting all built up over a longer period. If he is more in control, tell him what you like when he does it, and to keep doing it. And if you do need it harder/slower/slightly tweaked because your arousal is changing what feels good, make sure and tell him that too. "Yeah, faster/higher/slower now." If he ever does move toward penetration too early, rather than stating negatively that you don't want it yet, try something like, "I want to get you really worked up first", "I like teasing you first", "I like when you tease me a lot first", or something along those lines. Now, of course, depending on the phrasing you use, that might put you in the position of being more in control, or the situation could arise at other times because you're tying to get him to take it slower, when really what you want is for him to be more in control, but just taking it slower. If that happens, just encourage him, verbally or physically, to take an active role at the same time.

The same concepts all go for penetrative sex too, of course. Tell him what you do like as much as possible, and as much as you're comfortable with. If he does something you really don't like, that needs to stop, try to rephrase it to him positively by telling him something you do want done.

To say a bit more about being vocal about you want, it is something that not everyone is comfortable with at first, but I, and I think most men, do find it to be a huge turn on. Being vocal doesn't mean you have to be really loud if you don't want, or fake pleasure, or use really nasty words that you just don't want to say during sex. But saying what you want, and what you like is a huge turn on. Talking a bit dirty doesn't even have to involve using any nasty words that you find distasteful, or being loud and fake. Simply saying what you want and like can be enough. Our bass-ackwards "traditional" values and roles tell us that women are passive and all kinda meh about sex, and the man has to do the taking. By saying what you want, you're showing that you like sex *gasp* and know your own body enough to know what you want *shock*. Excuse me for implying that that is "dirty", because obviously it is not. But even for somebody who is very progessive and non bass-ackwards, having a woman not be afraid to show that she likes sex, and say what she wants can be a big big turn on. And obviously, saying what you want brings you huge benefits as well.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 3:35 PM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

make it about what you do like about what was going on and ask for more of that.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:26 PM on March 30, 2008

I had pretty much the same thing happen to me (I'm a male) ... first time, and it was terrible. I knew it, and we kind of looked at each other and both said "well that was ... not very good". I'd never had anything like that happen to me before, and at the time I thought we were just incompatible. But no, the second time, we were both more relaxed, and things went very well.

I think let things happen naturally next time around... I'm sure he knows it was wasn't his finest hour. If things don't go well that time then you might need to be more vocal, either with positive reinforcement or sitting down and have a chat.

I'd go with positive reinforcement :)
posted by Admira at 4:37 PM on March 30, 2008

The chances of having great mind-blowing sex the first time around are pretty low. I agree completely with what Admira said. In the grand scheme of things, you are both still relatively new to each other and its going to take a bit for your bodies to understand each other. (how long it takes to get turned on, what your hot-zones are, how quickly or slowly you can perform certain acts without pushing each over the edge,etc) If you like the boy and you want it to work out, then relax and give him another chance. I'm not saying "avoid communicating" but dont judge him by 1 event. If at some point you need to sit him down, just be honest and remind him often that the reason you are asking for help is because you care about him and you want the sex (for both of you) to be mind blowing.

My direct advice would be: slow down (humans arent rabbits ;)... be more sensuous, and change positions more frequently. If you are on top,... thrust for a bit, then back off a little and stroke/suck him for a bit, then climb back on. Take your time getting to know each others bodies so that you learn how to take things (slowly and deliciously) right up to the edge----and just hold it there as long as you can until you both grab each other tightly and jump off Orgasmo Cliffs.

....jeez, that makes me sound like a pro, but sadly, I'm painfully single :|
posted by jmnugent at 5:06 PM on March 30, 2008

If you like this guy on other levels (and it sounds like you do), I would recommend at least four more sexual encounters before you count him out. There have been lots of good advice about asking for what you want, etc., but I would just give it another try and see what happens. If you start to get a repeat of the first encounter, then apply the advice given in vivo. The first sex after a long period of non-sexual dating is almost always disastrous. Lighten up and try again.
posted by hworth at 6:12 PM on March 30, 2008

If the first time had been really really hot, and/or really beautiful and intimate and satisfying in every way, it would have almost surely set the stage for all kinds of great sex to come. But the fact that didn't happen doesn't make the opposite true. It may be that two minutes of foreplay and two minutes of thrusting are not his idea of sex either, that he was nervous, preoccupied with his own inexperience and having not been with a woman for some time, overly concerned with performance, etc. He may have even recognized his own deficiency and, in the interim, started making plans to do better next time. All of which possibilites are reasons to give him another chance or two before saying anything, which would ruin for him the idea that he'd figured these things out on his own.

Letting him know what you like is helpful to both of you, being vocal may well turn him on too. Of course, if things happen as fast next time as they did the first, there won't be time for that ... A slow, sexy, whispery voice saying "uuum, baby, slow it down a little" could get your point across and make him feel like you want more of him at the same time. You may not, but making him feel like you want him will encourage him to do things that will.

If that doesn't work out, try what jmnugent suggests, except for the 'sit him down' part. It'll work out better if you're both lying.
posted by farmdoggie at 8:16 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

First times are often pretty terrible. If the sex is still bad after a month, then you have a real problem. A few dud times are par for the course, however. Sometimes people click instantly, but sometimes there is a long learning curve involved.

For communication: keep criticisms out of the bedroom -- don't use snuggle-time to tell him how his performance sucked. Have that conversation in the living room, while giving him a shoulder-rub, or having a beer. Positive comments ("wow, that's great, more like that") are better than negative comments.

People always say to give specific guidance, but sometimes that's really hard to do. I may know that the sex isn't great, but it isn't great because of some small, specific thing they are doing at a distinct moment -- it might be not so great because our bodies are out of synch, or my non-verbal hints aren't being noticed. So even general guidance is good, I think, and give it if you can. You can say, "sometimes quickies like last night are nice, but really what rocks my world is foreplay, and keeping things intense and slow," or whatever.

Once people are out of their early 20s, I think that a big part of a relationship is retraining from everything that they had learned with their previous partners. It's very likely that he was "trained" by his partners to not focus on foreplay, and to not drag out intercourse (maybe those women didn't enjoy those things, or maybe there was a lot of guilt and discomfort around sex, or something else -- but it wasn't the sex-friendly and awesome experience that you want him to be having now). Retraining takes time, but really pays off in the long term.
posted by Forktine at 8:43 PM on March 30, 2008

I think you need to cut your losses. For me, first time sex is generally really amazing sex (though not the best, mind you). While it doesn't last forever, the anticipation and nervousness and eroticism culminate into something definitely worthwhile. If it is just bad from this early on, I think sexual incompatibility is highly likely, and without a genuine effort to get you off the next time (e.g. "oops, I lost it too early, let me make it up to you with wonderful cunnilingus"), I'd say you should break it to him that "things just aren't working out" and move on. Who wants to waste all their time teaching someone something they couldn't be bothered to learn on their own anyway?
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 1:50 AM on March 31, 2008

One thing that was said above is that women want different things. An ex of mine was good for about 2 minutes of penetration before she got bored. This frustrated the hell out of me, but that was sort of the deal. So if this dude was with someone like that, that may be how he's trained.

Yeah and if you aren't saying what you like, it's hard to judge him for not providing it.
posted by sully75 at 6:28 AM on March 31, 2008

Masturbate in front of him, doing whatever you want for as long as you want. Most guys love watching it, and if he's got any potential he'll pay attention to what you're doing. Not to mention you may be more comfortable telling him exactly what you want (and he may be more comfortable giving it to you) when you're aroused.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:25 AM on March 31, 2008

In a happy, sexy, and stress-free setting, when both of you are in a good mood, smile and suggest "trying something different." You want to show him how you like it. It's fun, it's an adventure for the both of you. Direct his hands, direct his face, and direct him verbally. When he does good, reward him with your moans, your encouragement, and anything else that signals to him that he's pleasing you.

What you obviously want to avoid is seeming overbearing or critical of his methods. This can be difficult with someone who can be very self-critical on their own; thus the happy setting, the gentle, fun suggestion, and the encouragement.

You can nip this in the bud since you recently did it for the first time. If you had been having sex the same dissatisfying way for months now, it might have been a difficult conversation had he suddenly looked back and realized he was at fault for "months of bad sex."
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:25 AM on March 31, 2008

Actually, this is a fabulous opportunity to set up the motherlode of all heterosexual coupling patterns. You get to teach him that male orgasm is not the end of sex for both parties. Woo hoo!

It is actually not a problem if he ejaculates after two minutes as long as he sticks with you until YOU are happy. And that can happen any number of ways as long as everyone has their needs met. Plus, it really takes the pressure off his own PIV performance which can make the whole thing much more relaxed for him and better for both of you.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:04 AM on March 31, 2008

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