Sex Diaries: In a Long Term Relationship, Is Bad Sex a Dealbreaker?

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Editor’s note: Virginia Plain is the pseudonym of a twenty-something woman living in New York with a less than ideal sex life. This is her first post; check back next week for more. 

How bad is bad sex? To be honest, this wasn’t a question I ever considered until recently. It’s so terribly easy to explain things away when you’re in a long term relationship with someone and you desperately want things to work. You’re blind to so much, telling your friends everything’s fine, really, until you wake up and realize it isn’t.

Related: When It Comes To Bad Sex, It’s 3 Strikes And You’re Out

This question first popped into my head sometime last summer. I’d been with my boyfriend for over three years. Things were quite serious. Family functions, vacations together, plenty of time hanging with one another’s friends. From the outside it must have looked pretty swell. But the inside was a different story.

Related: 23 Bad Sex Moves

As much as I loved my boyfriend, I couldn’t get past the fact that he had such a damn hard time getting…hard. Was something wrong with me? Should I have opted for the crotchless panties instead of the leopard print thong? My head and heart raced as I gamely gave him hand job after hand job, blow job after blow job, so that he was semi-hard enough to enter me. Worse still, he just couldn’t last. Ten minutes (on a good day) of feverish but detached humping left me feeling used and dejected. If this was the man I was supposed to be with, wanted to be with, why did I feel so terrible every time we had sex? Something was amiss.

Related: 5 Signs She’s Faking An Orgasm

I decided before broaching the subject with him, it was imperative to talk it over with my very close friends first. While one friend pointed out that I’d complained of things seeming “so vanilla” way back when we first started dating, another friend said something that truly shook me: “You deserve good sex.”

That seems like the most obvious thing — like, hey, you deserve oxygen — but hearing it from someone else really struck a chord. I did deserve good sex. Hell, I was as horny as a jack rabbit, and when you date someone, part of the joy is not having to masturbate all the time. You have a buddy to help you out with that on the regular.

Broaching the subject was difficult, but I was galvanized. I wanted to be banged properly, and if we were going to be together he needed to at least meet me halfway. But when I told him how unhappy I was, instead of a torrential rain of apologies and vows to make things better, he passively said he didn’t have the sex drive he did when he was younger (he’s in his early thirties). He was stunned I wasn’t enjoying things. Stunned the sex wasn’t good.

I was stunned he could think that ejaculating into a girl as soon as she climbed on top of him could qualify as “good.”

He said he’d go to the doctor.

Related: 13 Signs He’s A Selfish Lover

That was months ago. He still hasn’t gone. And things have not improved. If anything, they’ve devolved into a sort of sad pantomime of sexual activity that only resembles the act but typically leaves me in tears while he’s brushing his teeth in the bathroom. I so desperately want to be loved properly, and as a lady in my mid-twenties, that shouldn’t be too much to ask. And yet, when I think about speaking up, I feel paralyzed. After so many years, can I really say ‘Hey, your flaccid member just isn’t doing it for me’?

The problem is: I should have accepted this wouldn’t change awhile ago, back when my trusted friend pointed out how much I enjoy kink and how much this guy likes missionary — without kissing, even. But at the time, I was so desperate to be in a relationship, my natural inclination towards the darkest of molten chocolate seemed to pale next to my need for him — or anyone really — to love me in any way. Now, I’m trapped with vanilla ice cream while secretly longing for rocky road.

Related: 6 Ways To End A Sex Drought

So my question is, how bad is bad sex? Is it a dealbreaker in a long term relationship? When — if ever — do you throw in the towel?

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