Most People Have Had A Relationship Start With Awful Sex, But That's OK

Ashley Batz/Bustle

If you have a real connection, you probably like to imagine that your first time having sex with someone new will be ~electric~. You hope that the chemistry you feel will immediately be apparent in the bedroom, that it will all feel effortless. But sometimes, even though you are really attracted to each other and hit it off, the sex can be a little awkward... or downright terrible. I've totally been there. And, according to a survey of 2,000 people Pure Romance, an adult toy retailer, so have most people.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll, found that a whooping six in 10 Americans have started off a relationship with bad sex. So, that means most of us have gone on to date someone, in spite of a total lack of fireworks at the start. But if you feel like you don't perform at your best the first time, don't worry — only three out of 10 people said they would break things off if the sex wasn't good on the first attempt.

Honestly, I'm surprised anyone would break things off just for sex not being good the first time. I thought it was pretty well known that the first time can be bad — or even terrible — but that it's not really representative of how the sex will be in the future. It's important to give it some time and try new things, which the study found helped, too. Six out of 10 Americans felt like experimenting helped them gain confidence and 71 percent said they've seen big improvements in their sexual performance.

“The only way for sex to continue to get better is for your communication to continue to get better," Patty Brisben, Pure Romance Founder, tells Bustle. "You don’t have to be a traffic cop, the 'stop' and 'go' does not make for a sexy and enjoyable dialogue in the heat of the moment. Bring up how much you enjoyed something your partner did afterward and continue the conversation from there.”

Naturally, what makes up "good sex" or "bad sex" is relative — and different people have different levels of tolerance for putting a lack of chemistry. Here's what else the survey found.

1Most People Have Had Some Rough First Times

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Over half of Americans — 56 percent — have had awkward or "simply terrible" experiences the first time they had sex with someone new. I am now regretting that I've never described sex as "simply terrible", because that feels like the harshest burn I've ever heard.

2People Give The Sex 4.5 Chances Before Breaking It Off

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

OK, so the numbers say that we'll put up with 4.5 bad rounds of sex before breaking things off — but I don't think people are walking out half way through a sex session and saying, "That's it! I've had enough! I will not round this up to five!" Let's say that people willing to put up with four to five bad sex experiences before we decide enough is enough.

3"Bad" Sex Is Very Different For Men & Women

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Men and women had somewhat differing opinions about what constitutes "bad" sex. For women, a lack of foreplay was on the top of the list. Considering "going too fast" came in at number two, I think it's safe to say women preferred slow and steady.

For men, the number one factor that determined sex was bad was not reaching orgasm — although that's misleading because men had lower percentages overall when it came to ranking "bad sex". In fact, a larger percentage of women said that not having an orgasm made the sex bad, so basically fewer men said things made sex bad. It seems like they were happy just to be getting laid, in general.

Bad sex can happen to the best of us, even for couples that go on to have great sex lives. So if you struggle with the sex the first time you do it with a new partner, you're not alone. If you're compatible in other ways, stick with it for a bit, communicate and don't be afraid to experiment.