Sounds harsh, doesn’t it – giving someone the boot just because the sex isn’t up to scratch? But I firmly believe that if your sex life is crap then you need to start looking elsewhere. Pack your bags and set your sights on a sexier future. Sex matters because it’s a cornerstone of any intimate relationship and without it you’re just friends.
Of course there are situations in which it’s not that simple – if one half of a loving couple has an illness or injury that makes conventional sex impossible, for example – but I’m talking here about relationships with physical connections at their core. It’s not shallow to want to have a decent sex life, it’s human instinct.
Sex is how we communicate and bond on an animal level and without it we might as well just be work colleagues.
Sexual incompatibility in itself is no one’s fault, but over an extended period of time it can make for a seriously miserable existence. I spent more than a decade in a relationship with someone whose sexual appetite was completely at odds with mine and I can tell you now that sex (or lack thereof) was at the core of every argument we ever had.
How can anyone not begin to harbour resentment towards someone who knows they’re unhappy but doesn’t want to do anything about it? That’s not a conflict in sexual desire, it’s a lack of care for your emotional well-being.
If there is a problem in your sex life that is down to issues beyond your control and it’s no one’s fault, you have to decide whether you can make up for it in other ways. But if one of you just wants more (or less) sex than the other, or you love a bit of bondage while your partner isn’t up for anything more than three straight humps and a snooze, you’re on a roller-coaster to relationship hell.
These issues are often emotional, rather than physical.
Many people agree that bad sex is an issue in relationships
Hannah: ‘If it was just that they needed to learn what I like then I would be happy to teach them but there are some people who are just generally crap at sex and that’s a no no for me. I think you should watch someone dance before you sleep with them – it’s a great indicator!’
Remie: ‘My definition of “rubbish in bed” is “not remotely interested in what a partner likes”. And that’s definitely a deal-breaker.’
Jess: ‘I’d only dump someone unwilling to be taught or who thought they knew it all – and if the person makes it too awkward or uncomfortable to broach that subject you shouldn’t be with them anyhow.’
Thom: ‘Rubbish sex is often more about poor sexual compatibility and/or lack of chemistry – and if that isn’t there to begin with then you can’t usually fix it.’
So many men worry about the size of their penis, but I’ve known several with teeny tiny appendages who were still absolutely hot stuff in bed because they made up for it in other ways. It really is what you do with it that counts, not how big it is.
Good looks don’t mean anything when you’re horizontal, either. People who make no effort in the sack because they think their pretty face makes up for lack of effort are never a desirable sexual partner. Bad sex is most often caused by bad attitude, not the size or shape of a person’s body or genitals. It’s caused by a partner who doesn’t care if you’re satisfied, so long as he or she is.
If the problems with your sex life are simply down to being with an unappreciative partner, then the sooner you recognise it for what it is, the better. Start making escape plans, because life is too short for this. Sex is an incredibly powerful and compelling urge in humans. Suppressing that urge because your partner has issues – or even worse, going along with sexual acts that make you unhappy to in order to please a partner – risks long term emotional damage.
No one should have to do things in bed that they don’t want to – and that works both ways. So if you want more sex or kinkier sex than your partner and it’s making you both miserable, that’s as big a problem as if they wanted it and you didn’t.
Why the hell should you feel bad for wanting great sex?
Good sex can be absolutely life-affirming – it engages all the senses, makes you feel physically and mentally happy (and delightfully exhausted, if you’re really putting the effort in) and it helps you sleep. But bad sex seeps through your life like poison.
You start wondering whether you’re weird for even wanting physical intimacy, if the other person isn’t keen. Maybe you try to tell yourself that it shouldn’t matter anyway – that you’re above such basic desires and that affection and company is more important than that physical stuff. But the minute you start thinking it’s bad to enjoy sex is the point at which all the alarm bells should be ringing.
This is how people keep others in crappy relationships, by projecting their own issues onto their partners.