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Bad sex? That's a deal breaker

Date
Bad sex needs work.

Bad sex needs work.

Is bad sex reason enough to quit a love affair?

(And no. I’m not having a rubbish stint in the sack.)

Welcome back, dear CityKat readers. Hopefully you enjoyed your summer sojourns. Hopefully you return eager to untie those too-tightly laced attitudes to sex, love, dating and relationships which too many of us encounter daily.

Hopefully you’re having mind-blowingly wonderful sex.

Especially if you’re with someone right now.

Not a few times over the holidays did I have bawdy conversations with near strangers in sundry social circumstances. Not a few times was there talk of dissatisfaction. "Why stick around if it’s really all that bad", I’d ask, repeatedly.

“Because sex isn’t everything in a relationship/marriage/partnership,” they’d say. “We have deep feelings for each other/children/a house/debt to pay...”

I completely understand all of this. I also understand what Helen Mirren was talking about in this world-headline-making article about how sex doesn’t make a marriage last, etc, etc.

But in the early days of courtship – at the time when you’re sizing up the person you’re wining, dining and sleeping with – certainly shabby sex is a red flag worth observing. Certainly you wouldn’t want to sign up to a long time or lifetime of less than wonderful sex?

Yet people do. For many reasons. Here are three:

  • “It’ll get better with time”

Theory: The more you grow to understand each other and the more you grow into your relationship, the more you’ll grow into your sex life, with a big, beautiful, "blossoming" in store for you both, eventually.

Problem: What if "eventually" never arrives and you stay stuck in budding-mode for ever-more? This is a real possibility, and one that could see you start to notice other aspects of your relationship that maybe aren’t working so well either. Suddenly “...and he/she is not that good in bed” is the addendum to every other gripe. That's a lot of angst to overcome.

Solution? If time is your focus, then set yourself a timeline. And work toward it. It’s one thing to say your sex will improve by this date or else, but if you’re not actively trying to improve you may as well not bother. Get the Karma Sutra video. Watch it. Learn. And if it’s still not working, perhaps confront the idea that you’re just not meant to be...

(which brings us to...)

  • “I’ll take whatever I can get”

Theory: Tragic but true – many of us have been in a situation where we feel we may do better, but we a) can’t be bothered, b) don’t know how, or c) actually secretly think this is as good as it’s ever going to be. Depressing, isn’t it? Yet it’s no use pretending there aren’t relationships out there built on this very shaky foundation. Marriages-with-children even.

Problem: Need I spell it out?

Solution: Fix it. Fix it, please. Fix it now. Fix it good. Fix it because this is a broken way to think about life in general, let alone your life in love. Fix it by being better, and realising you are better than you or anyone else led you to believe.

  • "Relationships are more than just sex"

Theory: Mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual admiration – who needs sex when everything else is just dandy? People used to get married without having sex first, and they turned out fine. It’s only this sex-obsessed flesh-culture that cares so much about fleshy pleasure. How base, lurid and unattractive!

Problem: Rubbish, to all the above. Yes, sex isn’t everything. Yes, We little human beings are mind, and body, and spirit. But when it comes to choosing our romantic partner, we should be aiming to satisfy all three elements. Sure, two out of three ain’t bad, but is it really worth your while?

 

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316 comments

  • It is easy for Katherine Feeney to say "get a new sex partner". She is a young, attractive woman in a sexy job who meets a lot of people she could have sex with. But for people who aren't like that, the advice is not very helpful.

    Commenter
    Anonymous
    Location
    Queensland
    Date and time
    January 18, 2013, 1:38AM
    • Not only is it unhelpful, it is also damaging. Imagine being married for 20 years with children and suddenly your partner has decided sex with the same person is a bore and wants to gallivant around pleasing people half his/her age. Commitment is not about suffering but it is about exerting effort into one’s relationship first instead of throwing it away like a 20 cent can of beans.

      Commenter
      Joshua
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 8:46AM
    • Fair points.
      However:
      - anyone can have good sex, at any time of their life if they approach it with a willing and open mind. I have interviewed people with severe physical disability who enjoy sex. It's perhaps more challenging for them to arrive at that point than it would be for a knock-out model, but keep in mind that looking beautiful doesn't necessarily translate to feeling beautiful, or having beautiful sex for that matter. I know this because I have also interviewed stunning creatures who have some of the most miserable sexual/romantic relationships imaginable.

      - secondly, I am talking about the beginning of a relationship, not turning around mid-race and going, 'hang-on, this sucks'. My suggestion is you learn to identify a problem before it becomes one, and deal accordingly...

      Commenter
      CK
      Location
      out of the BT HQ today
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 10:13AM
    • What the hell is a "sexy Job".?????

      Commenter
      Max
      Location
      Stafford Heights
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 10:39AM
    • Yes, older woman can certainly find sex but actually having that within a relationship they want to be a part of is entirely another question - if you fancy having someone you care about, respect and don't have to support then who is also capable and feeling the same for you then you might be waiting quite a while...if you insist on fantastic sex as well, good luck...it's a desert out there as far as relationships go. I am sure there will be plenty of men telling me I'm either too picky or I had it coming because I was too picky when I was younger. Whatever makes you happy. I wish I was in the position of choosing.

      Commenter
      Morgan Lee
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 11:42AM
    • CK, bad sex at the beginning of a relationship is (a) rare, and (b) rarely a chronic problem. People don't go around saying "I'm having bad sex at the beginning of a relationship - poor me." The time when bad sex is a serious problem is some time down the track in a relationship, when something changes and the good sex goes bad. So, I'm not sure why you wrote the article. Is the article about you? Have you experienced this problem? Often?

      Commenter
      Anonymous
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 12:08PM
    • @anonymous- wrote the article because of the conversations had over holidays and throughout the years with people who were less than satisfied w what they had, but not sure what to do. Bad sex is bad sex, no matter at what stage in a relationship it occurs, and it should be recognized for what it is, and appropriately dealt with. Too often people ignore red flags and come to regret it down the track.

      Commenter
      CK
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 12:18PM
    • "bad sex at the beginning of a relationship is rare".

      That's from the perspective of the "modern" person, who has had dozens of relationships.

      Yet there are no end of people who have complained here about bad sex at the beginning of a relationship. Particularly people who married young, or were inexperienced, or culturally or religiously "conservative".

      There have been both men and women here, who have told the story of marrying their second cousin from overseas without even meeting them, and a year later they haven't had sex! And it is not just about the "frigid" women, there are women who complain about this too ( they may have unfortunately married a closeted gay ).

      So yeah, I don't think that it is all that rare.

      Commenter
      enno
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 12:28PM
    • @CK
      Anonymous is correct in asserting that bad sex tends to occur midway through a relationship as opposed to the beginning. The beginning is usually when both parties are zealously eager and that eagerness tends to make up for the awkward aspect of not being completely familiar with your lover’s body and quirks.

      It is usually the excessive familiarity of your significant other (and the general arduous repetition of life) that leads to bad sex because that is when you potentially find yourself being either bored or too lazy to fix unresolved issues or pretend that you have unresolved issues when the truth is that you’re bored (to absolve yourself of guilt).

      In the odd case that there is bad sex from the start, the individual in question can usually be persuaded to be more adventurous unless if there is a deep psychological issue being the root cause.

      Regardless I find the use and dump attitude (no matter how politely vocalised) to be incredibly dehumanising. Yes life is short, yes we are all busy, however IMO respect and a little extra patience for oneself and others goes a long way.

      Commenter
      Joshua
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 12:44PM
    • I've definitely had bad sex in the beginning of a relationship. And usually it comes with the dilemma "this guy's really nice, we have so much in common, he's caring and funny BUT..... absolutely terrible sex". You consider pushing through and I'm sure some people actually do (probably mostly on the female side of the equation) and it could end badly 5 or 10 years down the track when you realise that you can't actually make that compromise after all.

      I think what Cat's trying to say is don't push through just because of the other things and don't sell yourself short.

      I've now ended up with a guy who ticks ALL the boxes and I'm very glad I waited!

      Commenter
      ezbot
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      January 18, 2013, 12:59PM

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