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Old 12-27-2010, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Is Bad sex a good reason to break up?

I was reading this advice column in creative loafing about a woman having inadequate sex with her partner. she loves him but the sex is killing her. many years ago i think people would have said love was enough, especially for women. but is it really? do you think a woman in particular should ever be expected to set aside her own sexual desires?



Is bad sex a good reason to break up?
'Although he's made some minor improvements, he is still very clueless in the bedroom'

by Mike Alvear

Dear Sexorcist:
Your advice may have worked for Miss (un)Happy but it has not worked for me. When I first met my boyfriend three years ago, I found the opportunity to teach him the art of advanced sheet-twisting and sensuality. He is five years older than me and I am only his fourth lover. I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity for sexual corruption. Although he’s made some minor improvements, he is still very clueless in the bedroom. I showed him what I liked, we have the Kama Sutra, watched porn together, watched online sex lessons, we are VIP members at adamandeve.com and even at ATL’s Twisted Toyland. I have tried many different types of role play and outfits to vamp it up, but it just made him release his gravy quicker. We can't seem to get pass vanilla high-school sex.

I don’t know what to do as I love him, but my physical needs are not being met. I think the pressure to help him improve may have worsened things. We took a break and I encouraged him to sleep around, but he declined. I feel he may need more experience. I slept around during our break. Although other men satisfied me sexually, I still went back to my boyfriend because he satisfies me emotionally. He is perfect except that he doesn't please me sexually.

I am beginning to lose my interest in sex altogether. I don't know what to do! Is it really possible to teach someone passion and sensuality? Can you really teach someone how to have good sex? Maybe we just don’t have the right sex chemistry. What do you try when you have tried it all?
— Giving Up





Dear Giving Up:

So, I’ve taken up piano lessons lately and you know what? I suck. I don’t mean the kind of cutesie awful like, “twinkle twinkle little star” bad. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! bad.

I practice and practice for hours and hours. My teacher’s face is beginning to set into a permanent wince. I’ve got Binder & Binder calling me with offers of a settlement (“Please, just take it.”). Dead composers re-enact their death every day that I practice.

I know I’m awful. So why do I keep going? Because I LOVE the feeling of playing music. Why should I give up on something I love just because I’m no good at it? Same with you. Or rather your boyfriend. He’s got a tin ear for sex. And, like me, he’s never going to tickle the keys in an impressive way. But why should he (or you) quit something just because there’s no progress? I’m not unsympathetic to your plight (or my teacher’s). You have the right to the sexually fulfilling life that you don’t have. I agree with you that you need to stop teaching him something he can’t learn (hope my teacher isn’t reading this).

So the question is, what now? Do you just give up? Let the dust and cobwebs form over your nether regions? No, but it does mean that you have to re-set your expectations. One way is to get good at partner-friendly masturbation. He may not know how or be any good at pleasuring you, but how bad can he be at holding you just the right way while you do that voodoo that you do so well? For him, it means assisting rather than leading. For you, it means coming to terms with the fact that he’s never going to be your idea of a great lover, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your own body.

The second option is rather ugly but something I’m sure you’ve thought about: Opening the relationship. This needs to be done consensually, not unilaterally.

Your third option, and the one I most recommend is sex therapy. The techniques they use, in combination with psycho-therapy, will give you the best shot at improving your sex life.

Now, sit and be quiet. I want to play you my rendition of Disney’s “A Whole New World.”

Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for The Sexorcist? Email him at Sexorcist@creativeloafing.com. Midtown resident Mike Alvear hosts HBO’s “The Sex Inspectors,” blogs at mikealvear.com and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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The person who responded actually wrote some darned good advice. But if eeevery option has been tested and still there's nothing helping, I'd say it's time to quit the relationship.

I think bad sex really could hurt a relationship. I also think that exploring every possible option to remedy the situation is necessary before just deciding to call it quits. To me, if someone calls it quits before really exploring all other possibilities, then they weren't giving their 100% to the relationship, either.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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I want a connection beyond genitalia.

I've had bad sex, and worse sex, no good sex, and I've decided a sexual relationship is an outlet for love that you already have/share. And since I've never really had sex inside a relationship, I think that's the factor I'm missing. I dunno, I'm pretty old fashion about it all to be honest.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:20 PM   #4
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I honestly feel like I could've written that.. it describes how I felt in my last relationship perfectly. Although we both shared an interest in feederism, our sex life was not satisfactory to me. He was a virgin when we started dating, and had also not explored feeding/wg with anyone. I was not a virgin, and had been in one other (casual) relationship with a feeder. I knew he was not going to be experienced and I was prepared for that but it still didn't end up working out. I tried communicating the things I needed & wanted, both with the fetish & the actual sex, and neither were met. It was part cluelessness I think, and part lack of trying. I think both of those things could be boiled down to immaturity.. he was stuck in high-school vanilla and I wanted something a little more intense. We looked at porn together, showed each other our favorite web models, talked in detail about our fantasies and the fetish and talked about things we'd like to try.. but even though we did all this communicating, it just didn't work. I don't think he realized how important to me it was. I also think he was somewhat nervous to try new things because he worried he wouldn't be good or I wouldn't like it, but honestly I would've welcomed ANY change at all. Some small improvements were made, but it was slow going. I felt like he didn't care about making me happy and I think he felt like sex became a chore because we were constantly talking about it instead of just doing it. I think I did all the right things by trying to communicate how I felt and being very specific about what I wanted and yet.. it still didn't happen. I don't know exactly what was going on in his mind, this is all just a guess, but for whatever reason(s) our sex life didn't greatly improve. And I felt like I was dyyying.. I wanted better sex, and I wanted more of it.. so I suggested opening the relationship. I thought it would be good for him to be with someone else, to try new things, to get some experience, etc. but he wasn't comfortable with it at all. So, for awhile I tried to pretend it was okay, but it got to the point where the conflict over sex was pouring over into all other aspects of the relationship so I INSISTED that we open it.. so we did. I fucked someone else, and that just didn't go over well at all. The sex was horrible for me (mainly because all I could think about was how I knew my boyfriend was going to be upset) and it was definitely a bad situation for him.. I really hurt his feelings. So, we closed the relationship again, but after a few weeks it became clear to me that the situation wasn't going to change and that I had done some (probably) irreparable damage by having sex with the other guy. I don't regret it though because it's clear to me that we were simply not compatible in that way. We were at different points in our life and different maturity levels. He really needed to grow up a little in that department and have the chance to be with other people.

For me, sexual compatibility is not negotiable in a relationship. Problems in my sex life can and will spill over into other aspects of the relationship because sex is important to me. We have to both be willing to make compromises, try new things, communicate what we want and genuinely make an effort to please the other person. I also couldn't be in a relationship with someone who didn't want sex fairly often.

I haven't been in an LTR since the one I just mentioned, but I have dated and had sex with other people and so far, I haven't met anyone I connect with on both levels but I've come to the conclusion that connecting physically is just as important to me as connecting emotionally. I'd rather be single than be in a relationship with a shitty sex life or with someone I didn't actually enjoy spending time with outside of the bedroom.

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Old 12-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by thatgirl08 View Post
I honestly feel like I could've written that.. it describes how I felt in my last relationship perfectly. Although we both shared an interest in feederism, our sex life was not satisfactory to me. He was a virgin when we started dating, and had also not explored feeding/wg with anyone. I was not a virgin, and had been in one other (casual) relationship with a feeder. I knew he was not going to be experienced and I was prepared for that but it still didn't end up working out. I tried communicating the things I needed & wanted, both with the fetish & the actual sex, and neither were met. It was part cluelessness I think, and part lack of trying. I think both of those things could be boiled down to immaturity.. he was stuck in high-school vanilla and I wanted something a little more intense. We looked at porn together, showed each other our favorite web models, talked in detail about our fantasies and the fetish and talked about things we'd like to try.. but even though we did all this communicating, it just didn't work. I don't think he realized how important to me it was. I also think he was somewhat nervous to try new things because he worried he wouldn't be good or I wouldn't like it, but honestly I would've welcomed ANY change at all. Some small improvements were made, but it was slow going. I felt like he didn't care about making me happy and I think he felt like sex became a chore because we were constantly talking about it instead of just doing it. I think I did all the right things by trying to communicate how I felt and being very specific about what I wanted and yet.. it still didn't happen. I don't know exactly what was going on in his mind, this is all just a guess, but for whatever reason(s) our sex life didn't greatly improve. And I felt like I was dyyying.. I wanted better sex, and I wanted more of it.. so I suggested opening the relationship. I thought it would be good for him to be with someone else, to try new things, to get some experience, etc. but he wasn't comfortable with it at all. So, for awhile I tried to pretend it was okay, but it got to the point where the conflict over sex was pouring over into all other aspects of the relationship so I INSISTED that we open it.. so we did. I fucked someone else, and that just didn't go over well at all. The sex was horrible for me (mainly because all I could think about was how I knew my boyfriend was going to be upset) and it was definitely a bad situation for him.. I really hurt his feelings. So, we closed the relationship again, but after a few weeks it became clear to me that the situation wasn't going to change and that I had done some (probably) irreparable damage by having sex with the other guy. I don't regret it though because it's clear to me that we were simply not compatible in that way. We were at different points in our life and different maturity levels. He really needed to grow up a little in that department and have the chance to be with other people.

For me, sexual compatibility is not negotiable in a relationship. Problems in my sex life can and will spill over into other aspects of the relationship because sex is important to me. We have to both be willing to make compromises, try new things, communicate what we want and genuinely make an effort to please the other person. I also couldn't be in a relationship with someone who didn't want sex fairly often.

I haven't been in an LTR since the one I just mentioned, but I have dated and had sex with other people and so far, I haven't met anyone I connect with on both levels but I've come to the conclusion that connecting physically is just as important to me as connecting emotionally. I'd rather be single than be in a relationship with a shitty sex life or with someone I didn't actually enjoy spending time with outside of the bedroom.
I agree with this 100%. If there are issues in someones physical relationship, there is definitely a knock-on effect that will impact the emotional side of it. It can happen in the reverse too. Without communication and a willingness from both partners to seek a solution, then the relationship will falter.
I also think you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence, CarlaSixx!
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:56 PM   #6
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All I've got to say is yes, bad sex is a perfectly reasonable reason to end a relationship for either a man or a woman. Sex is of course not the end all, be all factor in a relationship but it is certainly important for two people to have chemistry between the sheets. Make the effort to improve, certainly. But if those efforts don't lead to improvement and sex is important to the prolonged happiness of the couple then absolutely break it off.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by littlefairywren View Post
If there are issues in someones physical relationship, there is definitely a knock-on effect that will impact the emotional side of it. It can happen in the reverse too. Without communication and a willingness from both partners to seek a solution, then the relationship will falter.
THIS a thousand times THIS.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:09 PM   #8
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Sex is soooooo important in my life, I can feel her frustration. I believe when sex is lacking, you aren't in a good relationship, you are in a good friendship. Friendships are awesome but I think everyone deserves to be with someone they share a mutual passion. If I put that much effort into the sexual side of the relationship and everything was still ehhh. I would cut my loses and walk away. I can't picture myself living like that for any length of time.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:38 AM   #9
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Years ago every dissatisfied housewife was on valium.

It's not the bad sex part that will cause the issues, cos that shit can be learnt. It's whether the partner that isn't performing gives a shit enough to want to learn what it takes to make it work on all levels.

Also no one is a mind reader

Every relationship goes through different phases, where you're so into each other and then other times not so.
The disconnection and not consciously nor transparently addressing of issues, with repair in mind, will bring it all undone, no matter what the subject is. sex, cleaning, bill paying whatever.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:20 AM   #10
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You cannot have a good relationship without a good sex life. I personally think that anyone in a deep loving relationship will have good sex due to their ability to communicate with one another, their ability to trust one another, their ability to learn about one another, and their ability to explore new things together.

I also think that without good sex, a relationship is doomed to a slow decline. But that's just my opinion and experience.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:25 AM   #11
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I believe when sex is lacking, you aren't in a good relationship, you are in a good friendship
I agree
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:46 AM   #12
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I didn't know how to response to this topic when I first saw it. I've had problem relationships, though have never delt with this issue before, but this thread has given me a big new perspective on something I'll surly face some day. After reading what people have said I agree that a relationship needs a healthy, positive balance of both the physical and spiritual, no matter what form it comes in, otherwise it is indeed going to hurt someone.

Such wise people here on Dims.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:55 AM   #13
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personally, i have had mostly bad sex.
very very little good sex... damn

and im a very sensual person. i love alot of intimacy.
havent dated alot... mostly found that the guys i was with just werent into sex as much as i was. wtf.... that and they didnt try to give me a vowell.... that i find just selfish.... ugh. i always make sure my man gets his... why doesnt it happen the other way too?

my most recent bf fell off the face of the earth on xmas. yay me.

im wondering what im doing wrong. im strongly concidering fwb at this point.

honestly... ive stayed in relationships despite bad sex because i loved the person i was with. the reasons why they didnt work out had nothing to do with sex. but oooh... i would love to have a good relationship with lots of really good sex.... now THAT would be something i could enjoy

just sayin... lol
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:18 AM   #14
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The one thing I have learned with any relationship I have been in is that you must have chemistry! You had said that you don't think you have that with this particular person. I believe this plays a very important part sexually. I believe you can be connected to a person emotionally but a human body needs to have that physical touch. If your not getting what your putting into it, I would would probably have to start looking somewhere else. But this is just my opinion
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:25 AM   #15
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Now, if it is a man asking this question instead of a woman, does that change your answers at all?

My impression is that, as a general, societal, response, it seems to me that in general if a guy complains about bad/lacking sex, the social response tends to be “Oh you men, always thinking with your nether regions. It isn’t all about sex! Enjoy the connection, the romance….” When a woman makes a similar complaint, the belief seems to be that this is somehow more serious….I guess because guys are supposed to be the horn-dogs, that if he is failing in that department, things must be pretty dire?
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:18 AM   #16
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Now, if it is a man asking this question instead of a woman, does that change your answers at all?

My impression is that, as a general, societal, response, it seems to me that in general if a guy complains about bad/lacking sex, the social response tends to be “Oh you men, always thinking with your nether regions. It isn’t all about sex! Enjoy the connection, the romance….” When a woman makes a similar complaint, the belief seems to be that this is somehow more serious….I guess because guys are supposed to be the horn-dogs, that if he is failing in that department, things must be pretty dire?
guys ARE horn dogs and they have the testosterone to prove it when women get treated with it we go horn doggy ourselves all kidding aside though, the flip side of the coin is that women also have their pressure to conform to some kind of asexual standard. we aren't supposed to require great sex. if we do we're bitches. so actually we have the same problem that men do. nobody is supposed to want great sex. what a shame. there is nothing better than emotional connection and great sex mixed up together.

personally i find the ideas the columnist suggested depressing. if i have to sleep with people i don't have feelings for, or use a mechanical device or go on auto pilot even when i'm with someone to get satisfying sex i'd rather just wait on the right fit for me. i'm not saying there would never be a time that i would consider a trade off, but only if the person had a some kind of health problem etc... i could not handle it if they were physical able and they just would not or could not be sexually intimate in at least a somewhat competent way. i think it would feel very lonely not being able to connect physically in a relationship. if substitutes were all i had to look forward to i think i'd rather actually be alone and looking.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bonified View Post
Years ago every dissatisfied housewife was on valium.

It's not the bad sex part that will cause the issues, cos that shit can be learnt. It's whether the partner that isn't performing gives a shit enough to want to learn what it takes to make it work on all levels.

Also no one is a mind reader

Every relationship goes through different phases, where you're so into each other and then other times not so.
The disconnection and not consciously nor transparently addressing of issues, with repair in mind, will bring it all undone, no matter what the subject is. sex, cleaning, bill paying whatever.
this post is pretty much the closest to what I think... I can't even consider sex if I do not connect on a deep inner level (mentally, emotionally) anyway.

even with great chemistry and totally loving someone,the first time or two can be a bit nervous or awkward or maybe
because they turn you on so much or you waited so long the excitement made it "rushed" I think communication and effort is key... the same with other and all aspects of a relationship.

Rome was not built in a day!

However if you are just in it for the sex only, then of course you will probably leave if it is "bad"!

Otherwise learn and grow IMO We seem to live in a society that expects anyone we really like or date to be some kind of mind blowing sex machine and its just not a very realistic or giving attitude.

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:27 PM   #18
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You cannot have a good relationship without a good sex life. I personally think that anyone in a deep loving relationship will have good sex due to their ability to communicate with one another, their ability to trust one another, their ability to learn about one another, and their ability to explore new things together.

I also think that without good sex, a relationship is doomed to a slow decline. But that's just my opinion and experience.
I could not say this better. I had a bad sex relationship. My ex was unwilling to learn or explore anything that was satisfying to me. By the end it left me in tears.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:15 PM   #19
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Do people actually talk TO their partners before writing to advice columnists? Come on, how do you know what your partner likes or dislikes without communication? If the sex is bad, say something and discuss it, find ways to better it.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:57 PM   #20
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Do people actually talk TO their partners before writing to advice columnists? Come on, how do you know what your partner likes or dislikes without communication? If the sex is bad, say something and discuss it, find ways to better it.
I can answer this one--when your partner shuts down for some inexplicable reason and refuses to discuss it and even perhaps refuses therapy or spiritual counseling, an individual can become so desperate for clarity, for reason, for relief, that they do anything they can to try to repair or resurrect the relationship.

Whether it's first a breakdown in verbal communication or physical--it permeates, contaminates and very often destroys the relationship.

It takes TWO to 'find ways to better it'.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:22 PM   #21
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Do people actually talk TO their partners before writing to advice columnists? Come on, how do you know what your partner likes or dislikes without communication? If the sex is bad, say something and discuss it, find ways to better it.
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Otherwise learn and grow IMO We seem to live in a society that expects anyone we really like or date to be some kind of mind blowing sex machine and its just not a very realistic or giving attitude.
I don't really get these responses considering the girl in the column listed like 10 different things she had done to try to improve their sex life and it STILL wasn't improving. It's not about expecting your SO to be awesome off the bat.. it's if after 3 years (like the girl in the article) it still isn't satisfying, then what?

Honestly, I wouldn't even last close to 3 years if I was this girl.. if there was no improvement (or if I didn't feel like my SO was really making an effort) then I'd break it off sooner. (Which happened, and I did.)
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:19 PM   #22
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I don't really get these responses considering the girl in the column listed like 10 different things she had done to try to improve their sex life and it STILL wasn't improving. It's not about expecting your SO to be awesome off the bat.. it's if after 3 years (like the girl in the article) it still isn't satisfying, then what?

Honestly, I wouldn't even last close to 3 years if I was this girl.. if there was no improvement (or if I didn't feel like my SO was really making an effort) then I'd break it off sooner. (Which happened, and I did.)
i think you really hit on it. its not so much that the sex is necessarily bad, though thats bad enough. i think the worse problem for her is the seeming lack of care or trying. that spells doom in my book. if he were trying really hard at least something would have gotten better. there is nothing worse than a partner who doesn't really care that you have your needs met. i think all too often for men and women a lot of us are put in that position where we are supposed to sublimate our needs or desires for the happiness of someone else. i think her partner feels that if he does everything else right and waits her out she will stay because of the security in the rest of the relationship. in a way she has been doing just that. i hope for her sake she wakes up and moves on. it would be a shame to let someone willing to try to give her everything she wants pass her by while she bides her time with this guy.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:29 PM   #23
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If all attempts to improve it fail YES it is a great reason to break up. We only have 1 life time and sex is an extremely important part of our lives. Why should we allow ourselves to go thru life with out the best possible sex out there?
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:37 PM   #24
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I don't really get these responses considering the girl in the column listed like 10 different things she had done to try to improve their sex life and it STILL wasn't improving. It's not about expecting your SO to be awesome off the bat.. it's if after 3 years (like the girl in the article) it still isn't satisfying, then what?

Honestly, I wouldn't even last close to 3 years if I was this girl.. if there was no improvement (or if I didn't feel like my SO was really making an effort) then I'd break it off sooner. (Which happened, and I did.)
I was answering more to the generalness of the title and to the responses that others were making... but in terms of the specific body of the OP's post... I guess it depends on what commitment means to you and what is a breaking point or not... ask a couple who has been together 50 years if 3 years is really that long... anyway... I will just answer you bluntly though, for me, if I married someone, "bad" sex or not, I made vows! I am staying put. I will work on it for the rest of my life I guess... and for me to marry someone I have to connect deeply on so many different levels.

and to add: define "good" sex... for some this may mean always an orgasm, for others just the closeness or touch or a mixture and so on... it varies depending on the person and the relationship.

Last edited by fat9276; 12-30-2010 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:05 PM   #25
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I was answering more to the generalness of the title and to the responses that others were making... but in terms of the specific body of the OP's post... I guess it depends on what commitment means to you and what is a breaking point or not... ask a couple who has been together 50 years if 3 years is really that long... anyway... I will just answer you bluntly though, for me, if I married someone, "bad" sex or not, I made vows! I am staying put. I will work on it for the rest of my life I guess... and for me to marry someone I have to connect deeply on so many different levels.

and to add: define "good" sex... for some this may mean always an orgasm, for others just the closeness or touch or a mixture and so on... it varies depending on the person and the relationship.
I would never be in the position where I would have to divorce my husband because he sucked in bed because why the hell would I commit to him in the first place? 3 years may not be that long in the long run by why commit to the long run if you aren't happy in the first 3 years? I'm not seeing this logic. If I felt that ANY major aspect of my relationship was seriously lacking despite my best efforts to improve it, I'd break it off. The last thing on earth I'd want to do is legally bind myself to this person.

As far as "good sex" I agree that it can be defined a million different ways. But if for YOU good sex is xyz and you aren't getting xyz and you're unhappy.. why stay in it for the long haul? There's probably plenty of guys out there who can satisfy you both sexually and emotionally so why settle for the one who only makes you happy in one way? Clicking with someone on an emotional level is great but like someone said up thread, without sex it's just friendship.

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