Sex and Relationships

The Single Girl: Telling the man you’re seeing the sex has to be better

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I think with anyone there are things that they know they should be grateful for; personal characteristic or traits, or events that have or haven’t happened to them.

I am particularly grateful for my uncanny ability to seem almost entirely sober when I am in fact absolutely trollied. I am grateful for my ability to pull off most styles of hat.

But then, there are certain things you have that you’re so oblivious of that you can’t be grateful for them until you don’t have them anymore.

If I could go back, I would tell Past Me that another thing I should be profoundly grateful for is the sparsity of awkward sexual conversations I’ve had in my life. All up, I can remember just two.

Of course there was The Conversation, which was awkward for me. Though, not I think for my parents, who seemed to really enjoy how awkward I found it, and as a result, really revelled in the detail. My dad had statistics, for the number of spermatozoa (as he insisted on calling it) in the average male ejaculation, the different roles sperm played in the process, the number of viable eggs a woman has, and which I was staggered to discover were already inside me.

The second was with my grade four teacher, Mrs Winterbottom, who was giving me a sternish dressing down after she caught Daniel showing me his penis behind the dress up curtain (dear diffident Daniel, he did whatever I asked – he’s vaguely famous now, I won’t say for what).

She’d scolded him instinctively, in a way that I’ve previously theorised might have led to his current career path, before I copped to asking for a peak.

Watching her face turn a deep shade of crimson as she floundered during her telling off of me, I became consciously aware, for the first time, that this was something to be embarrassed of.

I can add awkward sexual conversation three to that list this week, and frankly, it blows the other two out of the water.

For first-time or casual readers, here is a brief synopsis of the events that led to the conversation referred to above: I met a man, who was first sulky, then deeply lovely, we’ve been dating, and those dates have been perfect, and we’ve been having sex, and that sex has been the opposite of perfect, anti-perfect.

Call me old fashioned, but I think sex is important in a relationship and I can’t foresee a future with a man, no matter how perfect otherwise, who doesn’t satisfy me in the bedroom. It is, in short, a priority for me.

Stephen returned from his alas unsuccessful cricket trip to Sydney on Sunday, and very sweetly, asked to see me as soon as was practicably possible after his landing.

It was with a heavy heart, and a gut-full of butterflies, that I answered the buzzer.

He arrived in my kitchen, rosy-cheeked and enormous, and immediately enveloped me, lifting my feet from the floor, in a way that I’ve now decided I always want to be hugged.

“Stephen we need to talk,” I said, knowing this needed to sound ominous, to imply, in its tone, that Stephen ought to emotionally brace himself.
“That sounds ominous,” he’d got the picture.

“Our sex life,” I said, not wanting to beat about the bush, figuratively speaking, “are you happy with it?”
“Very happy, couldn’t be happier, you’re the best sex I’ve ever had, by,” he paused for emphasis, shooting an arm off towards a mutually imagined horizon, “miles!”

I was frankly staggered. That he thought — and it appeared genuinely — that our sex had been anything other than a shamozzle, and was in fact the best he’d had caused a well of pity to rise in me.

“Am I…” don’t do it I pleaded internally, don’t, please, “…the best you’ve ever had?”
I grimaced, in a way that I hoped conveyed my answer, but his eyes held mine, and it was because, not in spite of, the growing, actual, I’m quite sure, l**e (still can’t write it) I feel for the man behind them, that I shook my head.
“Oh, second?” Seriously?
“Top five?”
“Nah,” I feel as if I’m literally dying by this point.
“Top 10?”
“Yes,” I have slept with nine people (remember I was with a man since I was 21).

He didn’t seem too displeased with his rank.

“Look, Stephen,” starting sentences with ‘look’ is a pet hate of mine, it’s crass and rude and I apologise for it unreservedly. “Our sex is not good, I don’t enjoy it.”

The look of pained resignation in his eyes wasn’t what I was expecting.

“Ahh,” he said, “Right, this again.”
“Huh?” I said, playing dumb — he was surely alluding to this being the reason behind his break up from his last relationship, which I learned last week from his bestie Gerard.
“This is why me and Clara broke up — she said I didn’t, like, do the job, sex wise,” he said, his voice breaking, sitting with a sigh on a the breakfast stool next to mine, while I briefly considered whether there was some connection between Stephen’s ability to coin and deploy a term like ‘sex wise’ and our bedroom predicament.

“Well, did you guys try anything?” I said, “Did you try to fix it?”
“No, she was like, you’re awful in bed and I’m leaving you for Brian from Operations. It’s hard been left for a Brian,” he said, letting that wit I so adore shine through even in this most painful of moments.
“Well, that’s good, because I think we can fix it,”
“You do?” he said, looking up excitedly, realising I think that this wasn’t a conversation I’d predestined the outcome of.
“I do, because all the other stuff, all the pre and post, is so good, so hot,” I said. “We just need to carry that through to the actual deed,”
“How are we going to do that?” he said, I felt a little non-constructively.
“By talking, and listening to each other,” I said, not entirely convincing myself that this approach could yield results. “But obviously, that’s only if you’re willing to give it a go?”
“So like, you’re going to tell me what to do?”

The look on his face wasn’t dismissive, just confused. He was staring down at his hands on the countertop.

“I’ll make suggestions that I think would be mutually beneficial,” I said.
“Okay, because the only thing that really gets me off, is knowing that you’re getting off,” he said, nodding.

There was a flaw in his logic here — it implied, however gently, that there had been a the very least one instance when, during our sex, he had noted that I was apparently ‘getting off’ and that caused him to enjoy himself all the more.

I can categorically say that no such moment has ever occurred.

“Well, okay, because I want us both to enjoy it, are you up for this?”
“I am, of course I am, if I get to keep you, of course.”

It was at that moment that I realised we weren’t just dating Stephen and I. We were something else, but Jesus, one big convo at a time please.

“Maybe we could try, like now? I’m keen to improve as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Okay,” I said, enjoying this soupçon of spontaneity.

Of which, spectacular events I will relay to you, next week.


Previous post: I could love the man, but I hate the sex

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TMGR's girl on the front lines of love. The Single Girl is an indie-obsessed, wine aficionado buff drinker, with a penchant for vinyl and French novels. She finds her goldfish Evelyn's indifference upsetting so she's sharing her dating stories here instead.