Whether you're involved in a summer fling, a FWB arrangement, or something a bit more long-term and stable, you've probably figured out that good relationships are made even better by good sex. On the flip side, even the best relationships can be completely derailed when one or both partners are bad in bed. But how do you know when bad sex is a relationship dealbreaker? Even though there are ways to sustain a relationship when you're crazy for your partner, but not so crazy about the sex, not every sexual relationship has a happy ending... and if you think that yours might be doomed because of bad sex, you might have some tough decisions to make in the near future.
If you are utterly disappointed with the sex that happens between you and your partner, you're definitely not alone--- a survey by Cosmopolitan says that up to 30 percent of women are completely unsatisfied with their sex lives, and only 25 percent are happy with the way things are going in the sack. While many of the factors that cause sexual dissatisfaction are easy to fix (and sometimes don't actually need to be fixed after all), not all of them can be worked on. If you're holding out hope for tightening all the loose screws with your partner when the clothes fall to the floor, you may need to prepare yourself for a very harsh reality.
If you're worried about a short-term or long-term future involving terrible sex, ask yourself if any of these characteristics are true about your partner and your relationship. If you find yourself nodding, you might be faced with the tough choice of sticking with them and resigning yourself to the fact that you're not going to enjoy yourself in bed for the duration of your relationship, or cutting ties with someone you care about in order to improve your sex life.
1. They Don't Listen To You
The key to good sex is good communication, and one of the keys to good communication is good listening skills. If you've already discussed with your partner how you'd like things to improve in the bedroom and they seem to conveniently "forget" every time the clothes come off, then it will probably be less frustrating and more satisfying to have a sexual relationship with your vibrator instead. A partner who is bad in bed is hard enough to deal with, but if they can't be bothered to pay attention to how sex could be better for you, that's probably a symptom of an even larger problem in your relationship.
2. They Aren't Willing To Change
If you've ever slept with someone who just "doesn't do that" when it comes to giving oral or "has always had sex this way and no one else has complained about it," then you know exactly what I'm talking about here. It's one thing when your partner just doesn't seem to care about improving things in the sack or isn't comfortable with certain things, but you're dealing with a whole 'nother monster when you sleep with a person who gives you a straight-up "nope" when you try to tell them how their performance could improve. And 99.999 percent of the time, that sort of monster just isn't worth battling or banging.
3. You're Not Sexually Attracted To Each Other
This one may seem pretty obvious, but plenty of us try to convince ourselves that we really are attracted to the person we're sleeping with when in reality, we aren't that crazy about the idea of their genitals coming into contact with ours. A loss of sexual attraction can be caused by a number of factors, including weight changes, aging, or just plain boredom with sleeping with the same person over and over again, and none of those reasons are anything to be ashamed of. We can't help who we want, and it's especially frustrating when you want to kiss their attractive face and have meaningful conversation with their attractive personality, but have no interest in anything sexual with them.
4. There Is No Chemistry
There are techniques and pills to fix just about every type of sexual problem out there, but you can't force chemistry. If everything in you and your partner's sex life seems objectively perfect, but something still just doesn't feel right, it could very well be that your pheromones just aren't jiving with each other. This might have something to do with sexual attraction as well, but there are plenty of times when very sexy people want to get it on with each other, but have mediocre sex just because that's how the world works sometimes. While working on your relationship outside of sex could help bring that spark back into the bedroom, sometimes you just have to admit to yourself and your partner that mind-blowing, passionate sex just wasn't written in the stars for the two of you.
5. You Don't Feel Confident Around Them Or Vice Versa
Sometimes, all it takes is a single comment or experience for a person to lose their confidence in the bedroom. If that loss of confidence happened with you, then it's probably best to start preparing for the end of your sexual relationship. No matter how many nice comments you make, it's pretty hard to overcome a deep-seated issue of sexual self-confidence. You/ your partner might eventually recover from it, but it will most likely take starting fresh with someone else for it to happen.
6. The Sex Has Never Been Good With Them
It's pretty normal for the first time in bed with someone to be pretty lackluster; you're experiencing each other's minds and bodies for the first time, and there's bound to be some nervousness and general awkward stuff going on. But if it's still bad the fifth time, then the tenth time, then the thirtieth time, it's probably not going to get better the thousandth time. Sex that has gone from good to bad usually has a chance of reform, but if you've had sex multiple times with the same person and there's never been even the slightest hint of enjoyment, it's unlikely that anything but a miracle is going to help it get better.
7. You're Both Into Completely Different Stuff
If you're into butt stuff and he doesn't like to acknowledge the existence of buttholes during sex, or if she's into spanking and handcuffs and you were forever traumatized by reading Fifty Shades of Grey, your sexual relationship has an expiration date. We can't fault ourselves nor our partners for the things we do and don't enjoy, and we should never force ourselves to do anything we don't feel comfortable with. However, accepting that also means accepting the fact that no matter how hot your partner is, your sexual differences are too great for there to be any hope of a lasting and healthy sexual relationship with them.
8. They Take Constructive Criticism As A Personal Insult
Let's say that you tell your partner, "Hey babe, it's even hotter for me when you move your hips like this instead of like that." Do they: A. At least try out your suggestion for a minute B. Reprimand you for "expecting all people to be sex deities" C. Start sulking and apologize for being the worst thing ever to happen to a vagina or D. Immediately try to convince you that you're the problem, not them? If you believe your partner would do anything except A, it's probably because they're assuming that any suggestion for change is you telling them that they are terrible in bed. Even if they are awful, anyone who takes a gently-delivered hint and blows it completely out of proportion is likely destined to stay awful if they don't change their butthurt ways.
9. You Don't Speak Up
Remember how I said good communication is the key to good sex, and how good listening skills are one of the keys to good communication? Well, here's the rub: your partner can't show off their good listening skills if you refuse to show off your good speaking skills. Even if you are the world champion of facial expressions and body language, it's doubtful that non-verbal communication is all you'll need to fix any serious problems you have with your partner. They can't read your mind, so if you believe things need to improve, then you need to be the one to say so. If you can't bring yourself to be completely honest with your partner, then the sex you have together isn't likely to ever improve.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our latest video on sex positions for small penises.
Images: M Yashna/ Flickr; Giphy (9)