Look, we all have bad sex at some point in our lives. We all settle for much less than we are worth, and hook up with scruffy, chest-tattooed dudes who think that they are really good at oral because they were too hot to be told otherwise. That, essentially, is a big part of the problem: So many people are too hot, or too nice, to have been told the honest truth about their sub-par sex moves. This habitual dishonesty with our partners is not a kindness—it's a huge disservice, not only to them, but to all of their future partners. Fortunately, mediocre sex moves are not a life sentence! And though I can only speak from the perspective of a heterosexual woman, as my life has been in the 95th percentile of heteronormativity, there are some pretty universal sex moves that should go out the window as soon as you get some self-esteem.
So once you have started living your own life, paying your own bills, and working that Dolly Parton 9-to-5 life, consider yourself grown enough to turn down these moves. If someone tries these in bed, feel very free to stop them mid-action, look them sternly in the eye, and be like "No. This is unacceptable. I have a closet full of blazers in tasteful colors—I deserve better than this." And don't settle until you get it.
1. Non-existent (or misguided) foreplay
There is often a mental disconnect when it comes to men and sex, likely because they were raised on scary internet porn with all the nuance and gentleness of a blind rhinoceros, and honestly don't have much in the way of female anatomical knowledge. But just because they were taught to believe that women magically walk into every sexual encounter already ~*~sUpEr TuRnEd On~*~ just from being in their presence, without the need for any warming up, doesn't mean it should be encouraged. Guys who go for an awkward grab on the boob, (slash bite on the boob, which needs like...way more context than it often gets) before continuing on with regularly scheduled programming, should be stopped.
2. Bad kissing
This is a super underrated one, and I don't know why, because kissing is such a deeply important component of the overall sex experience. Guys who are bad at kissing—and then weirdly insist on imposing that kissing on you at all costs during coitus—are the absolute worst. They do that weird tongue-darting-in-and-out-of-your-mouth thing, or they keep their lips shut tight and keep giving you odd little lip smacks, or they just jam their whole face as far down your throat as it will go. There are many nuances of the Bad Kisser, but they are all equally bad, and being good at everything else does NOT let lackluster lip action off the hook.
3. The Vagina (or Penis) Monologues
Allow me to explain this one.
Anyone who, during the act of sex, decides to take a small mistake or less-than-ideal bodily function devolve into a panicked, scattered, justification-filled monologue—instead of laughing it off, which is clearly the only thing to do—is no good. This is tragic, and only serves to make whatever little weird thing happened ten times worse for no reason. If you have ever been in bed and had to rub a guy's back while he sits at the edge and rattles off a rolodex of randos who can confirm that this never happens to him, you know that it makes any otherwise-decent experience a total nightmare.
(And for the record, women can be just as guilty of this. Ask any woman who has made an unfortunate body noise within the precious first few hookups with a new dude, and you will find that she all but committed ritual suicide to prevent the shame from befalling her ancestors. In no way did she just laugh it off and say, "Hah, weird, let's have sex again and forget about this in 30 seconds," which is the appropriate response.)
4. Weird dirty talk that everyone clearly did not agree on
Dirty talk can be great, so long as everyone is generally into it, and on board with the...politics in question. But sometimes dudes (and I imagine women) degrade into their weird, fetishy dirty talk out of nowhere, which you 100 percent did not sign up for, and now you're like, "Umm, what do I do because I don't want to tacitly endorse calling a guy "daddy" but I also don't want to just cut the lights on and stage an intervention," so you just ride it out (heh heh) and then feel gross for the rest of the evening.
Dirty talk is a delicate game of testing the waters (heh heh), and it is so important to ease into whatever crazy shit you want to talk about, lest you leave someone in the horrifying position of calling you "naughy dirty diaper baby" or whatever, mid-sex, when discreet escape is no longer an option.
5. Peppering you with questions
Nothing worse (or more deeply awkward) than someone hitting you with a survey about your consumer experience in the last five minutes of your sexual encounter: "Did you come?" "Was it good for you?" "Was that okay?" "Does this feel good?" "Are you okay?" And then what should be prime spooning time degrades into you comforting this person by insisting that it was, in fact, great (it wasn't) and you did, in fact, have an orgasm (you didn't). And even then, no answer is truly sufficient to stop all of their uncomfortable questions.
Like, come on. You'll know. And if you have to ask that many questions, the answer is probably no.
6. Not taking care of you
If there is one tragic reality that NO one woman should put up with—and yet, so many of us do, in spite of ourselves—it's guys who are happy to run through that orgasm finish line tape like Bruce Jenner and then keep right on running right to sleep, without so much as a courtesy fingerbang. Any guy who is like, "Welp, that was great for me! Enjoy listening to me loudly snore when I fall asleep in approximately 13 seconds," is not worth any of our times. We must weed them out of the gene pool, and that starts with never having sex with them. You can do so much better; there are many hot dudes out there who are ALSO interested in seeing you to your orgasm.
Choose them instead.
Image: Silvia Sala/Flickr