Sex can be sexy (duh!), but it can also be clumsy, and a bit awkward. Sometimes, even talking about sex can be a bit uncomfortable! In a recent survey of 1,686 women ages 25 to 49*, 24 percent of respondents said that talking about sex made them feel uneasy. 😬
Whatever the reason for less-than-ideal sex, from your partner finishing before you’ve orgasmed to one of you just not being able to get in the mood, here’s how to handle it.
Situation 1: It doesn’t last as long as you’d like.
Not every sex session needs to be a marathon (quickies can be hot!), but if your partner finished quickly and leaves you hanging, the mood can shift from sexy, to well, not-so-sexy pretty quickly.
If you’ve ever been left hanging by a partner, you’re def not alone. According to a Cosmopolitan sex survey, 72 percent of women have experienced a time when their partner climaxed but made no attempt to help them finish. If you find that your partner is quick to get in and out and leave you wanting more, it’s definitely okay to say something.
“Say, ‘What can we do to help slow this down a little bit? I would love to finish with you,’ or, ‘What if we experiment with me finishing first this time?’”suggests Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist.
After all, a strong partner enjoys it when you enjoy it, too. “I think often women are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings,” Richmond says. “But if it makes your partner a better lover in the end, I guarantee you they will want to hear it.”
Situation 2: You’re regularly not in the mood.
You just had the best date night with bae, and you know in your partner’s eyes, hopping into bed would be the icing on the cake. The only trouble is that you’re def not in the mood.
Wondering how to deal without making things weird? Think about exploring different avenues for pleasure with your partner that make both of you happy. “It doesn’t always have to be about sex in the typical way we think of—you know, penis and vagina, or oral sex,” says Richmond. “There are so many other things we can do that encourage intimacy.” (Think: massaging each other, making out, etc.)
If not feeling it is a recurring issue that’s negatively impacting your quality of life or the quality of your relationship, touch base with a physician or sex therapist. You may suffer from something called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), says Sheryl A. Kingsberg, PhD, chief of the division of behavioral medicine in the ob-gyn department at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center’s MacDonald Women’s Hospital. HSDD is an ongoing lack of desire for sexual activity that causes distress, she says.
If you can relate, you’re def not alone: In the survey mentioned above, 37 percent of respondents said that they were frequently not in the mood for sex for “unknown reasons.”
Situation 3: Your partner can’t keep their erection.
This is so common that it’s actually a tiny bit funny that it can create such an awkward vibe in the bedroom.
“Every man—I have not met an exception to this rule yet—at some point in their sexual lives has trouble getting or maintaining an erection,” says Richmond.
There are a lot of different things that can mess with someone’s ability to pitch a tent. Two biggies: alcohol consumption, and, according to a Journal of Sexual Medicine study, lack of privacy while trying to do the deed.
“Definitely the first thing not to do is to make him feel worse,” says Richmond. The best thing you can do is normalize it, and suggest activities that don’t revolve around penetration.
“I would just slow things down,” says Richmond. “Just be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s totally fine. Let’s do something else.’ Maybe just go to giving him a massage. Figure out how and where he likes to be touched. Maybe what turns him on is actually pleasuring you.”
* Survey was conducted by Women’s Health & Cosmopolitan, in partnership with a pharmaceutical company that sells a drug to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).