7 Amazing Things I’ve Learned From Bad Sex

I love sex. Love it. But it’s not always good, no matter how much you try. As Billy Joel said, “There’s nothing better than good sex. But bad sex? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than bad sex.” And I’m not just saying that because I’m weirdly obsessed with Billy Joel and still hold out that he will write a song about me one day, I’m saying it because it’s true. I know, because I’ve had some bad sex.

I mean really, really bad sex. And there are a whole lot of different ways sex can be just terrible. It can be so boring that you can hear every squeak of the bed spring. It can be so uncomfortable that your leg awkwardly cramps and you have to walk it off. And, I’ve straight up fallen off of a penis before. Like right off. And it wasn’t even a difficult sex position. I was just thinking about bagels.

The thing about bad sex is that there’s a lot to be learned there. On the most basic level, you learn what you like and don’t like, but there’s more to it than that. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s your partners, sometimes it’s no one’s, but in any case, there’s always something to be learned. You just have to get over the embarrassment (and sometimes the bruises).

Here’s what I’ve learned from bad sex, because sometimes you have to take criticism on board:

1. To Say What I Want

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You don’t need to sit (or lie) through bad sex. Be clear about what you want, and don’t be afraid to say when it isn’t working. Life’s too short for bad sex.

2. That Chemistry Outside The Bedroom Doesn’t Mean Chemistry Inside The Bedroom

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Some of the worst sex I’ve had has been with people that I liked the most — whether it’s actual romantic feelings or just someone I have a great flirt with, it doesn’t guarantee bedroom chemistry. You need to get into bed before you can tell.

3. That Sometimes It Comes Down To Style

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Like I said, sometimes it’s not anyone’s fault. I’ve had sex that I haven’t enjoyed at all, but my friend describes as “great sex.” Similarly, some of my friends roll their eyes at the idea of dirty talk, which I really like. Sometimes the sex is bad not because either of you are bad in bed, you’re just bad with each other.

4. To Take Criticism

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And sometimes it is my fault. Or rather, I’m doing something they don’t like. Learning to be cool with someone saying, “Oh, can you try this instead?” or, “That doesn’t really do it for me,” was a great building block to having good communication about sex. You’re so vulnerable during sex that it’s easy to shut down when anyone comments on what you do in the bedroom. But try to get over it — it’s not personal.

5. That We All Have Off Nights

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I’ve had really bad sex with people that I normally have great sex with. I literally kneed a girl in the vagina by accident. I’ve had teeth bump together. And again — I’ve fallen off a penis. But these all happened with people I normally had great sex with. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you’re not on your game. You’ll get ’em next time, Tiger.

6. That I Need Some Noise

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Bad sex teaches you what doesn’t work for you. Personal pet peeve? Quiet sex. That really quiet sex? It weirds me out. I’ve learned that I’m with someone who doesn’t make any noise — moan, talking, something — I need to turn on some music or it’s just not going to be fun.

7. That I Want To Try Anything Once… But Sometimes Only Once

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I really like to keep an open mind, but it’s also OK just not to enjoy things. I’ve learned to try something, but if something’s really not for me and I don’t enjoy it, I’m just not going to do it. You can find a middle ground that’s fun and sexy for both of you 99 percent of the time. And for that 1 percent — maybe you’re just not sexually compatible, and that’s totally fine.

Originally posted on Bustle