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
First, I picked up a book in the library yesterday called Kiss and Tell, New Secrets to Women’s Sexual Desire. I jumped quickly to the cliff notes section and I read something I had suspected but could now confirm. There wasn’t data given, or study cited, but the message was very clear. Men (testosterone driven) crave sex all the time, it’s part of our animal. Women (0.10 of the testosterone) don’t crave sex in the same way, and often require much more enticement to even think about sex.
Okay, so that’s not all that new, but this next part was the confirmation I had experienced in my first two marriages. During courtship it is important to get to know your partners level of desire. See, in the early phases of a relationship a woman’s libido and testosterone levels are boosted by the novelty and excitement of sex. After several months in a relationship, assuming monogamy, the woman’s sexual desire levels falls back to her normal level. The advice, from this woman, and woman’s sexuality expert, was to figure that out early. If the two levels of desire are wildly out of sync there might be a problem as the routine of sex becomes more predictable.
It’s no mystery that women desire sex too. But what was news (at least confirmed my thinking) was that during the initial blush of a relationship your partner may exhibit sexual tendencies and enthusiasm that is not in line with her normal levels of arousal and desire. And according to this expert, the range of normal sexual desire ranges from once a month, to once a week, to once a day. All of them being considered different but normal. No wonder the online dating questions about your sexual desire and frequency are so interesting, and HELLO: IMPORTANT.
Second, today I read a column in Dear Abby about a woman talking about her husband’s obsession with frequency of sex. Her mate of 30 years liked to track their sex on a spreadsheet and aim for 100 times a year. “Last year, we only had sex 72 times and he was upset.”
Holy cow! 72 times a year is A LOT. About what I would LIKE, but expect? No way.
And Abby responded quite simply, he should stop acting like a college kid making marks on his bedpost and consider the Quality of the sex and not just the frequency.
This got me to thinking about the discrepancy in my second marriage that began to show up more dramatically after our second child was born. See, before our daughter, we were trying to another kid. The sex was wet, spontaneous, and playful. She had a bit more purpose and calculation that I did, but it was great. For some GOAL, her libido had risen to match the task.
Things started taking a nose dive at some point after our second child was born. It appeared that a comfortable frequency for my then-wife would’ve been once or twice a month. But letting a few months go by without accepting my offers of a massage or straight out asking to make love, seemed like no problem to her. I tried to be a good sport and roll with it. But it was hard to make due with my hands and porn when I was sleeping next to a woman who I adored.
A few years after my daughter was born I got a vasectomy. It seemed like a good thing to do, and I imagined we were both hopeful that it might provide some juice to our love-making attempts. Certainly not having to worry about protection was a big incentive.
And a funny thing happened that surprised both of us, and reminded me today of the Dear Abby column. You see, when you have a vasectomy, the prescription is to have 45 ejaculations before coming back to the doctor’s office to get tested for swimmers.
Somehow the GOAL, really inspired my then-wife. It was like checking boxes on a spreadsheet or getting A’s on a test. We had sex all over the place. And it was occasionally just about getting me off, and getting another gold star for the week. Fine with me.
We reached the goal and suddenly we were able to have unprotected sex again. And things were HOT HOT HOT. For about a week. I’m not kidding.
We never recovered our sexual sync. And it wasn’t too much later that things started to go off the rails on deeper issues. But I think it was indicated by my then-wife’s return to an almost frigid libido. Again, I found myself making love alone rather than to a woman who I adored and found to be my sexual ideal, in all except desire or frequency.
Keeping sexual communication open throughout the entire relationship is critical. As one partner starts closing off, and not just having periods of low sexual desire, but shutting down the idea of sex, something is going to breakdown. And it’s either going to be your relationship or your relationship to sex and how you connect with each other.
The Off Parent
< back to On Dating Again index
- Casual Sex. What? I Have No Experience with This…
- The Honey Trap: How Beauty Can Lead Us Astray
- Burn the Maps!
- Little Turnoffs: On a First Date with a Woman
- 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)
image: faux upskirt, Dave Gingrich, creative commons usage
- Kiss and Tell – Secrets of Sexual Desire in Women
- Hot Sex – a guide to getting things spiced up
- She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman