Why You're Having Bad Sex + What To Do About It

Sex Therapist By Cyndi Darnell, MHSc, MNT
Sex Therapist
Cyndi Darnell is a clinical sexologist, sex therapist, and psychotherapist with over 15 years of experience. She has a master's degree in Sexual Health from the University of Sydney and a master's degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work from the University of Melbourne.

Recall the best sex you have ever had. I can almost guarantee that nothing about it was spontaneous. Whether it was anticipation of the date, the flirting that took place beforehand, your outfit or the cologne you decided to wear, sex was on your mind as a "plan," at least somewhat.

Interestingly, we often associate spontaneous sex with passion and enthusiasm. While don't long for the clumsy moves or awkward kisses of our teen years, we still tend to rely on youthful misguided intentions to propel us toward fulfilling sexual experiences. We glorify the idea of "spontaneous sex" at face value, forgetting that intentionality can make all the difference.

A big part of the problem is that we're all good at watching sex in the media, but we're still not so good at talking about it. The myth of hot, spontaneous sex stems from legendary stories of youthful, passionate encounters or romantic comedies all of which serve a purpose as entertainment, but do little for helping us understand sexuality.

In my conversations with clients over the years, I have noticed five things that tend to dominate their thoughts about sex, all of which prevent them from finding a way to actually have the sex they long for. When such thoughts become "truths" sex ends up lost in a vault of longing and misunderstanding.

Here are five of these common sex myths, and a few tips for how to rewire your thinking so that you can actually have (not just think about!) awesome sex.

1. "Sex should just happen naturally."

This is probably the greatest sex myth of all. While the urge for sex and connection may be natural, sex acts themselves are not. None of us are born with knowledge of sex other than a simple instinct, similar to our instinct for eating. Yet because as adults we associate sex acts with our instincts, we can be easily forgiven for thinking that sex acts are also natural.

Instinct and ability are not the same. Anyone can eat, but not everyone can cook. Cultivating good sex, like cooking, requires dedication. After all, it is a craft like any other that needs to be refined and practiced in order to become more proficient. Consider the art of sex as something that requires practice, just like anything else you dedicate yourself to.

2. "Sex will be sexy no matter what."

Our bodies have different requirements for pleasure, which make sex not only appealing, but satisfying. So, knowing what you need to get not only in the mood, but also aroused, takes awareness and intention. The reality is rock-hard erections, perfect grooming, clean underwear, lubed-up intercourse and synchronized-simultaneous orgasms actually need planning. The perfect sexual escapade, no matter how ravenous, is always more appealing with fresh breath and adequate lubrication. So put in a little effort so you don't take sex for granted!

3. "I don't have enough time for sex."

Well, you do. We live in a culture that glorifies being "busy." Whether we're working longer hours, taking care of family or completely distracted by social media, we can easily forget about just how important it is to have sex. These demands mean that we simply need to create some kind of schedule in order to value and properly appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives. So many other aspects of our personal and social lives get scheduled, but for some reason sex doesn't always get priority. And it should. And it can. So make time.

4. "If I start to schedule sex, it will be boring."

Just because you schedule time for sex does not mean it has to be boring, plain and simple. Like all great events in life that need scheduling, what actually gets scheduled is the block of time, and not the content.

Booking a table for a great meal doesn't mean you'll plan your conversations or gestures in advance. But it does mean making time to focus on an event that is important to you. By scheduling time for sex, you are saying, "Good sex is important to me." Scheduled sex needn't mean planning the acts (although for some, this kind of planning can be a powerful aphrodisiac). Rather, it's about making pleasure a priority by investing time and energy. If scheduled sex seems dull, then try something new!

5. "Sex just gets boring after a while."

If sex has become boring, it's likely time you amplified your sex practices a little to get things moving. One of the most common complaints I hear from people who chat to me about their boring sex life is how predictable it is.

Consider shifting the emphasis of sex to pleasure on an experience-to-experience basis, rather than just relying on habit. In other words: how do you want to feel? Close, connected, hot, dirty, desired, vulnerable, powerful? Talk about what you like to do or have done to you to make that happen.

Make one session "your session" and make the next session "his/her session." Taking turns in giving and receiving allows us to step back and relax into sex rather than feeling like the balance has to be equal or even the same. Discover what the other likes and provide it mindfully and with focus, rather than trying to give and receive at the same time.

If intercourse is always on your radar, try giving it up for a while. Explore mutual masturbation or oral sex instead. Or if you are a regular masturbator, try giving it up for a few weeks and see what happens to your levels of passion. The long and short of it is that you can change things up. So do it!

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