Or We Could, Y’know, Actually Talk To Our Partners About Sex

sexI got sucked into an episode of Sex and the City on Saturday.

I was sick, I was feeling masochistic, it was like watching a train wreck. I don’t want to talk about it.

Except that I actually do want to talk about it.

The plot of the episode was that the main character (Carrie? Something with a C?) had met a really great guy who she got along with perfectly. They had wonderful conversations, liked all the same things, but the sex was apparently less than amazing.

Neither Carrie nor her friends dealt with this in an adult manner. Her friends seemed intent on getting her to dump the guy (who made her happy in every other way) because he was bad in bed and Carrie just carried on sexing up the guy, hoping the sex would get better.

The problem? Never once did Carrie sit him down and talk to him about the sex. Never once during sex did she encourage him to try something different or even subtly guide him toward something more pleasurable. She just kept doing the same thing over and over (the definition of insanity) hoping he would magically get better. Even worse, her friends told her not to talk to him about it.

I got news for you Carrie Bradshaw, men are not mind readers.

Neither are women for that matter.

The thing is, for a show about a woman who writes about her sex life for a newspaper…she’s awfully immature about sex.

If you can’t have a conversation with your partner about sex, or at least give them basic direction in bed, you are not mature enough to even be having sex.

The phrases “let’s try something new”, “maybe we could try this position”,  “no, no, it’s a little more to the left*”, “that’s not really working for me”, or even just a gentle nudge without comment, are not things you should shy away from in sex with your partner. They will appreciate it (or if they don’t, they are an asshole that doesn’t actually care about you or a long term relationship) and maybe they will have some pointers for you too.

I am a lesbian and let me tell you, just because my partner is a woman does not mean she knows how to turn me on and there’s been more than a few times where I had to casually (or blatantly) let a partner know that what she was doing was just not working for me.

Women can be bad at sex, men can be bad at sex, but it’s rarely an incurable condition…if you learn to communicate. Sometimes there’s no chemistry and sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out what works for both of you.

Sometimes it’s because you are a feminist who thinks men should just feel lucky that you bothered to let him have sex with you at all. Which is apparently how feminists over at Jezebel feel about sex with men, as judged by this reaction from Jezebel Feminists to an article about how men could improve their sex life with women.

Now I don’t know that all the tips were necessarily awesome ones (the pilates one was a little…huh?), but many of them seemed decent.** The reaction by feminists was pretty terrifying however. The general consensus seemed to be that men have no right to discuss, nudge, or otherwise hint that they want a woman to do something differently in bed.

This is just as unhealthy as expecting sex to just magically get better when you refuse to talk about it.

If a female isn’t enjoying sex, she should probably talk to her partner about it or change something about the sex they are having.

If a male isn’t enjoying sex, he should also probably talk to his partner about it or change something.

This is the mature thing to do and the thing that could potentially save your relationships, rather than turn them into disposable dissatisfying flings.

Saying that it’s the man’s fault or the woman’s fault and acting like they eventually change without any input from you is not helpful and it probably means you need to grow up.


*I’ll leave what is “to the left” to your imagination.

**And after skimming the rest of the articles in the sex advice section of Yahoo/Men’s Health I have to say that most of them are pretty even handed in discussing men’s pleasure and women’s pleasure and how to paying attention to both will help everyone in the relationship. Actually some fairly decently healthy sex tips going on here…unlike in Cosmopolitan…or Jezebel.




  1. If asked many would say that communication is the key to a successful, even happy, relationship. But many will also say that they have tried and tried and tried to talk to their spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever and cannot seem to get anywhere. In fact often times an attempt at communication ends in an argument – even a shouting and screaming match with one of the two parties storming out the door. The truth of the matter is that communication is NOT the key to anything in a relationship except an exchange of information. For relationship building and growth it EFFECTIVE communication that serves both parties leaving them with the sense that they’ve been heard. However effectively communicating takes a little extra effort and requires one to set aside their own agenda and selflessly yield to what the other is saying. The one doing the speaking MUST be honest – not only with they say but with themselves as well. This takes courage. Telling someone what you REALLY want or need (sexually or otherwise) requires a significant degree of vulnerability and that can be scary. Consequently we try to temper our message or dance around the subject or hint at what we want, not only because we feel vulnerable but also because we’re a little embarrassed and shy. Will talking about it help? sure. But JUST talk? not hardly. A willingness to be vulnerable and painfully honest with the object of our love and our selves is an absolute must. The listener must also be selfless, tender, patient NOT reactionary of defensive. Remember you love this person – at this moment put your love on display for him/her. To initiate a discussion with sex as the topic one might begin: Honey this is a little difficult for me, I feel kinda silly and I may need you to help me get this out but… The bottom line? If your communication is not effective you’re not communicating – no matter how much you talk.

  2. Modern feminists really have an odd relationship with sex. I can hardly make heads or tails of it, but I find it grimly fascinating. Are we sexually empowerfullized or infantile and ashamed? Apparently both at the same time?

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