The Bedroom Is Not a Stage: Sexual Guidance and Tutorial

Q. I have a seemingly simple problem: the guy I’ve been seeing for two months doesn’t know how to turn me on, and I don’t know how to get him to know how to turn me on. A bit of background: I’m 20, have been sexually active for 3 years, and in that time have had about 16 sexual partners and more sexual encounters (don’t worry, condoms and dental dams were always used). I’m a mildly kinky sub, and while I can appreciate vanilla sex and can switch, I really get my kicks by being held held down as well as mentally dominated by someone sharper, rougher, and more confident than me. The guy is 22, isn’t a virgin, but hasn’t had a girlfriend in the past 3 years, and very much takes things slowly. He’s a great kisser, but doesn’t touch well – when he puts his hands on my waist it’s like he’s holding a box, or a book, or a plate. I let him know that breathing close to my ear and mediumish scratching do wonders for me: but when he does it, he’s almost mechanical in his actions. Again, when he fondles my breasts or sucks my nipples, it’s so bland it’s almost platonic! That’s not to say he FEELS that way – he has some very sexy reactions, is a great receiver, has said stuff like “wow, you’re good” and “you really know how to move,” and has got pretty excited in the pants department. Which is another thing that niggles at me: he’s kinda small. I know it shouldn’t matter, and I’m not a size queen, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to enjoy him. If he were some one-night-stand, or someone who I didn’t see myself having a serious relationship with, I wouldn’t care. I probably wouldn’t make the effort. But, as much as I hate the phrase “making it work,” I really DO want to make this work! I think he’s something special, he’s worth it”¦ I just don’t know how. How do you teach someone to dance when they don’t even know how to get up and walk?

A. My sweets, it looks like you have a few options here that all need a-weigh’n. You want good sex, but don’t feel like your partner is giving it to you. You want to feel turned on, to get turned on him, but aren’t or can’t. You even comment on his size, but swear you’re not a size queen. You just want more. You want it to work. So let’s see what options you have.

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  1. Be patient with his sexual experience while you show him the ropes and guide him on the type of sex that works for both of you.
  2. Not be patient with his sexual experience while you show him the ropes, get mad at him, resent him, and let issues slowly (or quickly) boil over and poison your emotional and sexual lives.
  3. Accept the fact that maybe even after the best guiding and showing, this is his sexual style, and work within the relationship that you do think is worth it.
  4. Accept the fact that maybe even the best guiding and showing, this is his sexual style, and it does not work for you, however, it may work incredibly for the next or worked wonders on the last person.


You may start to see where I’m headed here.

You and your partner are at very different sexual levels. You also seem to have very different understandings of your sexual selves, as well as different ways of expressing that. You have different sexual history, different sexual expectations, different sexual opinions. I might be throwing caution to the wind here at this next statement, but dare I say, you are two completely different people. Once we all accept that, I think it will be easier to move on to how we work with the situation at large.

You, my petite buttercup, seem to be much more sexually experienced than your partner. The world can always, always, always, use a sexual experienced person, helping out an inexperienced one. It helps further on down the road for whoever comes next in your partner’s life. Now, do you have to be the sex tutor? No girlfriend, you do not. You are allowed to walk away because it seems sexually incompatible. You are allowed to walk away because it is not sexually pleasurable. You are allowed to walk away for a hundred billion reasons that don’t even need justification. You can walk away at any time, for any reason.

That being said, if you do want to stay and help your partner – and it seems like you do, you need to shift your approach. I hate to come down on you, bunny love, but your letter comes off as a bit”¦ well. Arrogant. You might fight me on that, and feel free to. I will say this: you are a woman who knows what she wants. You know the type of sex you like, and you have done the research. Congratulations bb, you are far ahead of the curve. But, just because you are ahead of the curve does not mean you are ahead of the game. Remember that everyone – especially at 22, is not on the same playing field and has had incredibly different sexual pasts. This is all I want to stress to you. Well that and this: if you want to help and guide your partner to the type of sex that you both want, you might have to drop some of your “why does he suck so much” and take a bit more understanding position. You too were once a sexually inexperienced person, trying to navigate the world of what felt good, what worked, and what you wanted out of a sexual encounter. If you want to grow with this person sexually, you have to give him the space to do that, otherwise, you are going to resent him – and that’s a real quick libido killer.

Let’s talk about this: “How do you teach someone to dance, when they don’t even know how to get up and walk.” If you decide that sex tutorials on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, will now be a thing, I’d recommend being a gentle teacher. Our little human egos are fragile like a box of glass animals. Be careful with your words, especially in more intimate moments. Seriously, if someone has a dick in you or you are on someone’s dick, remember that you are both in a relatively vulnerable situation. You are both literally naked, participating in the oldest dance our lizard brains know of. Save any real talk for beyond the bedroom – as for the bedroom, be gentle, but firm. Direct, honest, but understanding. No sugar-coating is necessary, but my love, how much would it suck to have had sex with someone and they told you “that sucked”? It would probably add a bit of neurosis and anxiety to the thing, right? Make it seem like your sexual performance is being graded, that your partner who’s supposed to be having sex with you, is expecting you to do certain things? And you may disappoint them? That’s a bit of pressure, and I can’t remember a case ever of anyone doing well under sexual pressure.

Your gentleman caller might be experiencing some performance anxiety, given his sexual history. We are all nervous in the beginning, but after a while, you get used to the old bicycle. Your friend? He still needs training wheels. Two months of sleeping together is not a long time in the least, hardly enough time to teach someone what works for you and what feels good for you. Two months is a point where you can either cut your losses, realize it isn’t what you sexually need, despite it having the potential to be a good relationship, or, you can cut some of the sexual losses en route to gaining them, knowing that because it has the potential to be a good relationship, be willing to work with him. You my love, must decide which of those is right for you.

In the end, both of you stand to benefit in one way or another, whether sexual, emotional, or some other touchy-feely crap. It may teach you the fine art of pros and cons, and how to cut your losses, even when the game looks good. It may teach you how to be more patient and compassionate with people who aren’t on your exact level. It may teach you both how to get more awesome orgasms. Je ne sais pas. But whatever you decide, is another decision that is based out of you knowing yourself and expressing your own sexual autonomy, a little thing I like everyone to celebrate, regardless. So cheers to that, kid. As for everything else – you will figure it all out.

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One reply on “The Bedroom Is Not a Stage: Sexual Guidance and Tutorial”

Hey letter-writer, this is my current relationship, and I’m marrying him. It’s not unsurmountable, but the Bad Sex fight is one of the recurring fights that happen (because he’ll slip back into bad habits and I’ll get exasperated and blah blah). If he weren’t such an amazing guy in every other area of life, it would’ve been the dealbreaker.

The thing that helps: Tbh? Being poly. So not exactly a magic bullet for all situations.

I wish you all the luck in creating better sexytimes.

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