Sex Against the Odds: 7 Ways to Recover from a Mood-Killing Moment

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Sex. It can be such a fragile thing. Put off because you’re not in the mood. Treated thoughtlessly because you’re in a rut. Derailed for any number of reasons: broken condom…a tummy in turmoil…self-consciousness over an unshaved bikini line or a bloated belly.

But can sex be saved? Can you salvage your sexual experience even if you’re feeling hopelessly distracted, or have been hard core humiliated?

The short answer: Maybe.

Here are some suggestions for finding your way back to The Moment:

For when your partner has delivered a verbal turnoff:

I’ll never forget the time my ex-boyfriend made a crack about my untamed pubes. Or the time my husband rubbed my belly in a way that felt as if he was insinuating something about my curves. Or the time he said, “I see you haven’t shaved your legs lately.” I can get away with letting my leg hair go wild sometimes, and my husband can get away with occasionally being an insensitive punk. But sometimes, offhand comments like these can leave a person feeling self-conscious… and cold.

Can the moment be saved? Yes, if the comment was made in jest, rather than purely mean-spirited (in which case I’d kick that man right out of bed, as he no longer has the right to be in such close vicinity to my pubes). Come up with a quick comeback, make it clear you’re willing to let it go, laugh it up for a minute (because sex can be funny, y’all), and then get back to business. Your self-confidence will make you a thousand times sexier.

For when you find yourself condom-less:

“What do you mean you don’t have a condom!?” When things are going hot and heavy after a fabulous night out, you ask him to pull out a condom, and he responds with a glassy-eyed stare, things can quickly screech to a halt. After all, even if you send him out for a condom, will the two of you still be in the mood when he gets back? Will things just be awkward? Will The Moment be gone?

This is one of those situations in which I recommend a session of Everything But (as in, everything but sex). There’s a lot of fun to be had without the regular ol’ in-and-out. Orgasms included! So make out like crazy. Give each other handies. Touch each other all over on a quest for your partner’s more elusive erogenous zones. Dry hump each other to oblivion.

Have the hottest time one can have without penis/vagina interaction. I’d bet anything he never forgets the condom again.

For when you pull a hamstring:

Last week, I shared the story of a guy who fell off the couch and threw out his back while trying a new sex position with this partner. Admittedly, there’s no coming back from that. But what if you simply pull a muscle?

I hate it when that happens. But once the initial agony passes, there’s opportunity here. If you pull a hammy, you could always give your partner a sultry look (after you’ve stopped wincing with pain) and request a massage. Having your partner knead that sore muscle could quickly turn into full-body erotic massages for the both of you, taking your sex session in a delightful direction it may not have gone otherwise.

For when your mom won’t stop calling:

Your guy is giving your boobs some much-needed attention. The phone starts ringing. You try desperately to ignore it. Finally, the answering machine clicks on and your mom starts talking about how you should call the dermatologist and get that mole on your hand checked out.

Thanks, Mom.

This is another one of those situations where you need to just block out the distractions, maybe have a laugh, and just hump your way past that awkward moment.

Also, next time? Put your ringer/answering machine on silent so you can give your partner your full, undivided attention.

For when his moves remind you of your ex:

This can be particularly mood-killing (to say the least) if you were previously in an abusive relationship, or have experienced some sort of sexual trauma. If something like this throws you off-course, be honest with your partner. You may have to table the sexy-times for the moment, but you shouldn’t force yourself to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, and it’s best that your partner knows. And if it doesn’t end your sex session, it may be the impetus for trying out something new together…something you don’t associate with painful memories.

Of course, if something like this is really holding you back in the bedroom, it may be beneficial to chat with a therapist and find your own path toward healing.

For when you emitted an embarrassing sound:

Once, when having sex with an old boyfriend of mine, I queefed while he was attempting to get my legs behind my ears. The poor guy gave me this hang-dog look I couldn’t help laughing at, and said — soft and mournful — “Oh.” Then we went back to it.

And that’s exactly how you gotta play it. As I said before, sex is funny. Not only that, but it’s messy. Bodily fluids are involved. Body parts that are usually covered up throughout the day are suddenly exposed. Sometimes, when your sweaty stomachs are rubbing against each other, they make that fart sound. Sometimes, someone actually farts. We’re all adults here. Everybody farts. Just laugh, move on, and have a good time. The more attention you draw to something like this, the worse it becomes.

For when someone catches you at it:

Sometimes, the possibility of discovery can be a huge turn-on, especially if you have a touch of the exhibitionist inside of you. Sometimes, the fear of getting caught actually raises the heat.

But sometimes, you’re in the midst of foreplay with your husband, your brother walks through the front door (for some reason, he thinks he doesn’t have to ring the flipping doorbell because you gave him a key), you suddenly hear him walking up the stairs, and you freeze. You both stop breathing. The two of you slink away from each other in slow motion. You each discreetly put on your pants underneath the sheets. You spend the rest of your life wondering if your brother overheard you having The Sex.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel the only way to deal with this one is to prepare for it in advance.

In other words: Put a lock on your bedroom door, and take any measures you can to soundproof the room (add better door jambs, put rugs on the floor to muffle sound, etc.).

Then have scads of sex. Sex when you’re tired, sex when you’re feeling just the slightest bit self-conscious, sex against the odds. Have sex, even if you queefed.