Awhile back a woman asked me, “So what makes for bad sex?” It was an interesting question, and I hadn’t really thought much about it, but the concept has sort of haunted me. While I imagine that I’m pretty conscious in my sexual encounters, I’m certain there are times when I am a less-than-great lover. What makes for disconnected sex? By looking at some of these turn offs, perhaps it is possible to become more conscious when they are happening and try to steer the passion back towards the shore.
The Five Habits of Bad Sex
1. TDTF (too drunk to frack)
Alcohol and other mind altering substances can be fun for a bit. They can unleash the animal passions and loosen the inhibitions. BUT… they are not a key to great sex. If you require altered states to get aroused there might be a bit more at play. Of course, these changes can loosen the grip of some of the bad habits below, but if drinking is the gateway to sex, every single time, there might be a problem and a pattern that is being established that will lead to other destructive behaviors. A margarita and wild sex every now and then is fine. Three glasses of wine every night before rutting is not.
2. TTTF (too tired to frack)
Yep, we’ve all done it. We’re about to fall over exhausted but something triggers our sexual appetite. Our lover comes in dressed to the nines, or perhaps sweating from a run, and we are turned on. Our physical and mental bodies are low on energy, but the sexual opportunity brings some life to the situation. And we’re in, trying to please the other person and perhaps please ourselves and just as things are ramping up, we lose our spark. For men this can mean losing your erection, even if you are enjoying the sex tremendously. For a woman… well, I have not idea, what that feels like, please enlighten me in the comments, if you’d like to share.
3. MEGO (my eyes glaze over) – “Are you done yet?”
Apathetic sex is a killer. And it may not start out that way. It may be that moment, that opening for sex you’ve both been waiting for, and you are going about the task in a happy and healthy way… And something changes. It could be a combination of any of these other habits, or it could be something else, but what happens is your mind is distracted and you are no longer paying attention to your partner, or even yourself. Sex is mechanical and you’d just as soon it be over. (I know the first time this happened in my now-defunct marriage I was devastated. I had never noticed it before, if it had happened. I could see in her eyes that she was thinking about something else, and was simply waiting for me to finish.)
4. Hyper-focus on the orgasm. – “Did you come?”
Then the flip side of #3, is the “Hey, you didn’t come, let’s get you too.” And while this can be awesome, often it leads to this odd state of performance. Where you are trying to orgasm, partially to have an orgasm, and partially to fulfill your partners need for you to come. Let me tell you, for me, as a man, orgasm is awesome, but your orgasm is better. Yes I’d love to come, but if I hear you having a great time, I’m pretty fulfilled. And when the “focus” becomes my orgasm rather than the playful interchange of sex and passion, then I’m as likely to lose my erection as if I were being interviewed for a porn movie. Let’s play at sex, let’s not focus on either persons orgasm, and have fun. If we both orgasm, awesome. If we don’t awesome. If we can keep it about connecting instead of coming we are well on our way to compatibility.
5. Distractions and chores. – “Oh shit, look at that cobweb in the corner of the ceiling.”
Noticing the pile of laundry in the closet during sex and wondering how you’re going to get it done before the weekend is over, is a sexual killer. Once the mind is focused on other things, bills and chores being the most prevalent in my experience, there is no way to keep the connection. Once our focus shifts from looking into our partner’s eyes we begin to lose our charge. If I’m worried about an upcoming work deadline it can be hard for me to stay focused. I might be able to “get” you, but I’m probably not going to orgasm. If that’s okay, let’s go. If it’s a session of love-making you want, we might wait until the emotional connection is engaged.
Sex, for me, is about connection. There is pleasure involved, and the pleasure must go both ways. But for me, the pleasure is simply in the act of lovemaking, or screwing if we’re in an animal state. When the connection is lost, for whatever reason, the sex becomes routine or functional. Sex should not be functional.
There’s this myth that a man needs to orgasm every so often because his hormones or testosterone levels reach critical mass. It’s a myth. I’m sure a lot of men would like to foster the belief in this, and keep the mythology going so they can have more frequent sex. But your hormones don’t build up for release, they build up for the purpose of procreation. Your body wants to follow Darwin’s theory and continue their genetic line. You want to have sex, as an animal, for the purposes of having progeny. While this is a function of our mammalian brain, we’re a bit beyond that as humans.
If it is just sexual release I need, a discharge of my hormones, that’s easy enough to take care of myself. If I can rope my partner into thinking it’s part of my maleness and she should help, well, that’s a bit manipulative. It’s like when you are trying to have a kid, sex is ALWAYS an option. Once you have kids, sex is ALWAYS a negotiation.
Connected sex is what I’m after and what drives my fulfilling feelings. I get closeness from sex. I get relaxation and bonding from sex. And with my wiring (my Love Language is touch) sex or “skin time” is important. But skin time can be cuddling. Or hugging and kissing on the couch.
What ways have you found that sex becomes disconnected? I am learning, and hoping to provide a tiny glimpse into my unique male mammalian thought processes, and I’d love to hear from you about your perspectives. As men and women, we are in this dance together. Sex has many different flavors and colors. What get’s your passions heated? What turns them off? Please let me know, the comments are always open. (grin)
The Off Parent
- Seven Signs of a Healthy Post-Divorce Relationship
- the green bike girl < a poem of desire
- In Defense of Dalliance
- Sex is Fun: Should You Settle for Apathetic Sex?
- Zen and the Art of Lovemaking – Won’t Save Your Marriage
image: a sensual poem should start here, karoly czifra, creative commons usage
At the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, comes the things we need for survival. Things I associate with that are food, shelter, water, sleep. I was surprised when a friend shared with me that sex was indeed part of the base needs. What?
So what is it about sex is the required for our survival? Aside from procreation.
Today a post on The Atlantic about our youth’s “Hookup Culture” caught my attention and my comment. Here’s what I wrote on the subject of sex and hooking up.
Very nice summary of two trains of thought and your own place somewhere in the middle. Thank you for your honesty and clarity in your own pride and prejudice.
I think HBO’s GIRLS has the current generations MO down pretty close. Of course, I’m on the outside looking in, but the show’s currency can’t be argued.
So where is SEX in our growth trajectory as humans? It’s pretty a base-level need according to Mazlow’s Hierarchy. So we’ve all got to come to terms with it. Some earlier, I was a freshman in high school (home from prep school on Christmas break) when I lost my virginity to a girl a grade ahead of me, who came out and said, during the memorable event, that she was unable to achieve orgasm so “Just enjoy yourself.” I did. But it was sort of sad.
And jump cut to today, I just turned 50 and I’m single again for the first time in 12 years, I’ve got two kids, and… guess what? Sex and dating are no easier now then they were back in college. Well, let me take that back. It’s a lot easier establishing my priorities and boundaries and trying to understand what I will or won’t put up with in a relationship, but… the sex? Well, as Thomas Moore says in The Soul of Sex, “sex is one of the last mysteries left to us.” And as a mystery it has the power to drop us back into the sacred mind.
So sex is sacred and should not be taken for granted. Yes. AND. And sex can be casual and fun, and without dire consequences. I’m saying this from my 50-year-old perspective, but I’m pretty sure the good and bad sex happens with and without the sacred shroud we put around it.
You didn’t have sex until later in you life and your married, and are happily married to the woman who got your cherry. CONGRATS. I’m recovered from a second marriage that I wanted to last a lifetime, and now I’m back on the playing field, trying to rediscover what dating in the 2010’s looks like.
It’s a mystery. And sex can be both sacred and casual. The head games you put around it are up to you. And what do YOU think of Lena Dunham and Company’s generation now opus? Accurate? Over dramatized? For one thing, they get the mundane of sex up front and center so we can learn from their mistakes. At least we can hope to learn from their mistakes and our own.
The Off Parent
< back to On Dating Again index
- Don’t Blame “Hookup Culture” – The Atlantic
- Lena Dunham Doesn’t Want a Victoria’s Secret Body. Hers Is More Powerful. – Slate
- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
- Laugh It Off (building a resource library of funny videos and other diversions)
- Facebook (follow us on Facebook and keep up with all the conversations)
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)
- The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love – Thomas Moore