My name is Alexander. My nickname is Beastly. I write about sex.
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There’s this guy and I really like his personality a ton and I’m very attracted to him. We went on some dates but it fell apart because the sex just wasn’t good. I think he’s just very inexperienced (he came out after college and didn’t get much action in general I think). Or maybe it’s just that he’s not good in bed.
Since then we’ve stayed great friends, and I think both of us secretly wish we could try dating again, but when we have done some FWB hookups…the sex still is just not very good.
My question is, is there some way I can bring this up and maybe “teach” him how to be more responsive during sex etc? I fear bringing it up will just mortify him, or even if he’s up for “learning”, can chemistry or sexual skills be “taught”? Because if we could get the sex thing down I think we’d be great boyfriends!
Yes, sex skills can be taught, but it’s not enough to say someone is simply “bad” or “inexperienced” at sex. Address the problem specifically. What exactly is happening? If he’s too tight and can’t relax, that takes practice, patience, and some reading. If he’s not fucking you how you want to be fucked, he needs your input. What are you not getting out of sex? What do you want him to do differently?
Everyone learns how to fuck, and we learn from other people. I’ve been coached through very intense sex by very patient partners. At times, I’ve even called these people “coaches” and “trainers.” These words imply a BDSM context, but the dynamic they create is no less valid (and no less sexy) in a non-kinky, casual setup. He can call you a friend or boyfriend or whatever you want, but in the bedroom, you can become a sexual trainer to help him improve, and that dynamic can be very hot.
But first, you need to have a conversation about the sex you’ve been having, and yes, it might be awkward. You have to risk some discomfort because this conversation is important.
When you sit down to talk, don’t blast him with “you” statements, which feel like accusations: “You’re inexperienced,” or, “It feels like you’re struggling a bit,” or, “This is what you’re doing wrong.” Instead, start with a question. Ask how sex has been for him — what felt good, what didn’t — and tell him how it was for you. Let him know that some parts weren’t super great.
Tell him you want to improve with him, not that you want him to improve. The key difference between that phrasing is ownership — you’re owning the role you play in sex and acknowledging that some work might be needed from you, too. Tell him you’re willing to go on a sexual adventure with him to try new things. That may mean trying role play or focusing on sexual mechanics (ass training, etc.). If he’s game for this, you have a green light. If he’s not, leave this where it’s at.
All that said, you may already have the ingredients to be great boyfriends — just not sexual ones. You like being around each other, you enjoy each other’s company, and you are genuinely attracted to each other. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t still be attempting sex. Even though the sex is lackluster, he’s still checking some major boxes for you.
Is a monogamous relationship the only kind of relationship on the table? There are other options, and there are countless beautiful relationships in the world between people who connect romantically but do not have much (or any) sex with each other.
I’m in one such relationship. Even though I think my boyfriend is extremely sexy, we don’t have a lot of sex. We both prefer sex with strangers, which means we rarely do for each other what random nobodies can do for us. Our sexual triggers come in dark places when we’re surrounded by guys whose faces we can’t see — not home in bed. I wouldn’t change his appetites any more than he would change mine. In fact, they are one reason why I love him so much.
There are many long-term relationships out there between men like us. It’d be a shame to dismiss him as a great boyfriend and discard the good things you have just because the sex is lacking, especially if desire and attraction are present.
The communication necessary to have a nonmonogamous relationship is the make-or-break element. If you feel like you can tell him anything, even things he might not like to hear, you already have more than many long-term couples. I don’t know how well you guys talk, but if you can get through an uncomfortable sex chat, you can probably get through a talk about what kind of relationship would work between you two. If you’re not fucking each other, that relationship would need to permit sex with other people. If you can work with that, I suggest giving it a try.
He must be willing and ready to try it, just as he must be willing and ready to try things differently in bed. There is no convincing or wheedling either in these efforts if he’s resistant to either of them. In sex and love, you must be co-conspirators, complicit and equally excited. If one of you is dragging the other into something they don’t want, it will fail.
So, first step: Talk about the sex you’ve been having and tell him what you need from it. Share your experience rather than attacking his performance. It’s always a good idea to access sex because humans can’t read minds. It’s not always clear what we’re doing wrong (and right), so you have to communicate those things. And if you think you have something special and could make a relationship work, ask him on a date and talk about trying something a little different.
Very well written and explained. Sex and relationships are about communication – honest and real communication, just as sex should be – honest and real for your authentic self. Thank you as always for your great blog, and good luck to the guy who asked you the question.
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This article was outstanding. As an R.N. who specializes in psychiatry, I have read my share advice columns. Yours is one of the most honest, down to earth and relatable I’ve ever come across. It’s also highly educational without being too scholastic. I applaud your strait forward advice. The world needs more people like you. Please continue doing what you do, because I’m certain you are changing peoples lives for the better.
Mark Metz, R.N.
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You have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you so much, Mark.
Thanks so much for this article. My husband and I have been together over 23 years and we haven’t had sex since the first five. At first i thought something was wrong with me or the situation, but it’s nice to hear that we aren’t alone. And we’re not exactly struggling in our relationship. We’ve been open since day one so that also helps. Thanks again for your wise advice.
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