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What if She's Bad in Bed?

You're really into her, but the sex is subpar. Can the relationship be saved, or is it time to cut bait?

Q: I've been dating a totally cool girl—she's smart, funny, pretty, and we have a lot in common. But the sex isn't all that good. Is there anything I can do?  

A: We all know that when it comes to new relationships, it can take a few romps to get it right. The first night you’re overly anxious, the second time you’re familiarizing yourself with the territory, and when you get to the third, let’s hope it’s mind-blowing. In the unfortunate instance that it’s not, it doesn’t have to mean three strikes and she’s out, especially if you really like the girl. Here’s how to try to keep the game going:

Identify the issue

By now you should be able to identify something specific that she’s doing (or not doing) that isn’t making the experience as satisfying as it should be for both of you. Think back on what you consider “good sex” with previous partners. Do you like girls who are more vocal in bed, those who ask to be touched in a certain way, or those who let you know when they’re close to an orgasm? Or, was there a way a past partner touched you that just drove you crazy? These are all the types of adjustments that you can easily integrate into your current sex life. Guide her hands where you want them to go or tell her that it drives you crazy to hear how good she’s feeling.

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Think, then talk it out

"If you decide to have a conversation about sex, you should not only address what happens, but also what your expectations were and are," advises sex and relationship expert Mary Jo Rapini. If you expect every girl to go full-on Sasha Grey in the early stages of a relationship, think about adjusting your outlook. “Porn inspires variety, but when some men are in a real relationship, they have no idea how to deal with real," Rapini says. The fix: Have a talk with your girl and ask if her needs are being met. Then bring up your own desires. If you make yourself vulnerable, she’ll feel safe opening up to you and listening to what you’re saying without taking it as a direct criticism.

Ask yourself: How important is sex?

Is it just a nice bonus that comes along with the entire package–one that you described as smart, funny and pretty–or is it just as significant as other aspects of the relationship, like shared values? For many, sex is a crucial part of a relationship. It signifies passion and a physical embodiment of your feelings for each other. If I think back on my past relationships, the ones I remember most fondly were the ones where we had worked well in and out of the bedroom. The thing is, physical chemistry is something you just can’t force. So while it is definitely worth it to try to work together to achieve sexual and emotional harmony in a relationship, if one of you is left longing for more in either department, then it really is best to end it.

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