Is Bad Sex a Dealbreaker?

I saw a question posed on Twitter (I think, or perhaps Reddit) that I pondered briefly but didn’t reply to, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I think it’s a question worth exploring. The question being is bad sex a dealbreaker for a relationship?

For me the answer is yes, which might seem flippant for someone who is sex positive and champions good communication. Surely if the sex is bad there should be a conversation about improving things and not a conversation about ending a relationship. I think though in my experience by the time I’m at bad sex the relationship isn’t working in many other ways. 

In my first ever relationship the sex was bad. I was young and had no clue how to discuss intimacy but I did try. When we visited a town with an Ann Summers I was delighted for us to get some goodies to spice things up but despite being receptive to this in the shop once we got back to our hotel room and back home she categorically stated she wasn’t into trying what we’d bought. 

Looking back no amount of talking would have fixed the sex we were having. The chemistry wasn’t there and our interests and desires were mismatched. I think perhaps she was battling her own issues and we were just too young to reconcile all the hurdles and get to a good place, including good sex. 

I wish I’d be wise enough to learn from that experience at the time, but it took me about 15 years and a few more experiences of bad sex to understand how important good sexual chemistry was too me and also to learn that it is okay to want good sex and to not be willing to compromise on that. That doesn’t mean everyone has to take that approach but we all have our deal breakers and it’s important to stick by them if we want to be happy. 

When I considered this question I definitely made a natural distinction between bad sex, the kind that would be a deal breaker and less than perfect sex that you know can and will improve. To me the two are not the same. 

The first time, maybe even the first few times Mr F and I had sex it was definitely electric and instantly addictive but I sure we had our dumbly moments and I definitely didn’t have orgasms as intense as I do now. I never once considered it bad sexy though because it just wasn’t, it was so good. It wasn’t perfect but it absolutely solidified that the connection I’d been looking for existed and despite what I’d been told the type of sex I wanted was out there. 

In previous relationships there was even physically good sex that was bad in terms of frequency & emotional connection and that also ended up in my bad sex category. When someone can physically please you but lacks the desire to do so and perhaps isn’t on the same page you are emotionally that also feels a bit shit and is a dealbreaker for me. Especially when, as it was in my situation, I had tried and tried to express the need I had for sexual intimacy and it just got me nowhere.

I think mismatched desire and mismatched communication skills have been the biggest factors in bad sex in my relationships. They have been far harder to overcome than someone lacking the skills required to have good sex. Skills can be learnt but desire not so much. Communication can definitely be improved but I also seemed to find myself with people who were wilfully ignorant to what I was actually saying. 

In another situation I was constantly asked what my fantasies were. Now back then I didn’t know all I know now about BDSM and kink. I didn’t have the words to explain that I wanted to be sexually submissive. I described it very well but was told that wasn’t a proper fantasy. I was also asked what would lead to more sex. I clearly stated that more kissing, more fingering, more oral. Having these things last longer would have made me more receptive to aex in general. Again, I was shot down. That partner wasn’t bad at the physical acts, but they were bad at hearing my actual words and understanding they were valid desires that would actually lead to a lot more sex.

I left both those relationships because I wanted to find more passion, more desire, more kisses and more fucking that didn’t involve a rush to PIV sex. I wanted to find someone that didn’t need a performance to fuck me. Someone who just wanted me for me. Whether I was dressed up sexy or chilling in my PJ’s. I wanted my version of good sex. I wanted someone who heard my words and didn’t see the things I desired as boringly vanilla or simply too much hard work. I was told more than once my expectations were unrealistic. 

I am so pleased I didn’t listen to the people who told me that and I’m even more pleased I didn’t stay in relationships that were no longer physically (and emotionally) enriching for me. Inevitably when I voice this opinion I get told it’s not that easy just to leave a relationship that isn’t working out for you in certain ways. I understand that more than people realise I think. When I left my marriage I had a kid, combined finances (was financially dependent in reality), had a ton of shared debt, was living in a home shared with in-laws (who also had two kids), everyone loved him, very few people supported my decision and when I left, I absolutely blew up a lot more lives than just mine and his. 

I share that last lot of information because people will downplay sex as a reason to leave. Splitting up your family because of sex? Who the fuck does that? Making other people homeless because of sex? What the actual fuck? Seriously though that bad sex and all it stood for made me miserable. I’m a good person (despite what I just explained) and I deserve to be happy. I also think the partners I parted ways with are also happier with people better suited to their desires or views on sex. 

People love to minimise sex and make it something that’s‘nice to have’ but it shouldn’t be the hill you die on, but I absolutely disagree. Physical intimacy is incredibly important and while everyone’s requirements for it may vary, I don’t think there should be any shame in making it a dealbreaker if it is affecting your happiness.

Image Via Pixabay

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