Never Fear: Talking Sex

BY TEAGAN WEBB '19

Q: “The sex I’ve been having with my boyfriend is bad, but I really love him and he’s very self-conscious. He’s not selfish just bumbling and awkward in the bedroom. I want to be honest about what I want but I’ve been faking it convincingly for so long I’m worried he will catch on to my lie and feel betrayed. What should I do?”

This is a genuinely tough situation. Sometimes one faked orgasm or exaggerated moan can become months of a guy thinking you really like it when someone puts a finger in your ear. 

My instinct is to blame dudes for their inability to figure it out and do better, but it sounds like this one thinks he has the formula down. And for someone who is lacking confidence, he is unlikely to stray from what he thinks is working. Sexual creativity requires confidence. It sounds like you were trying to build that confidence, but got stuck in a cycle neither of you are willing to break.

I think you should sit down for a talk, not before or after sex, but separately and fully alone. Sometimes the most intense personal growth comes from a safe place to realize our shortcomings and make plans for change. This means this has to be a conversation just between the two of you, so resist the urge to gossip or joke in public. I love a good ‘boys are bad at sex’ story as much as any queer, but you can’t shame him into being better at sex. Tell him that you want to change the way you bond in the bedroom. 

Learning to have sex with people, the patterns and rhythms, likes and dislikes, is always a journey and not necessarily a destination. I know he is sensitive, but don’t coddle him. Trust him with the truth, and try to be the kind of partner who can be trusted with the truth as well. 

His reaction to being told that you are unhappy with some parts of your current sex life can actually be very telling of his maturity. It’s totally normal for him to feel sad, insecure or uncomfortable. However, if he becomes defensive or tries to manipulate his way out of this conversation, then it’s clear that he has a lot of emotional work to do on his own. Be kind, but it’s not your job (nor has it ever been) to teach him how to be in a relationship. 

After you have expressed your feelings, don’t linger in discomfort; instead, start working together on a plan. Not like a 5 part sex binder (unless you’re horny for spreadsheets in which case go ahead), but rather a basis for the kind of communication during sex that would put you both at ease. 

Ask yourself, and then him, what would help you become more creative? Maybe you need a set of specific rules to feel comfortable, or a game mechanic or just a space to play with less expectations of orgasm. Honesty will be emotional and challenging, but the resulting growth will be worth it. 

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