The New Year instills a feeling of great hope into a lot of people. It makes people think they can do anything, like lose weight, change their eating habits and have better sex. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any tweets or Facebook statuses reading: ‘2012, the year for better orgasms!’ But I wish I had. I think we as a culture hold ourselves to a pretty low standard when it comes to sex. We accept the idea that if it’s happening, it must inherently be great, no questions asked. There is nothing else in life that people just assume is awesome right off the bat. If you go out to dinner, people ask, “Was it good?” If you see a movie, people ask, “Was it good?” When you tell me that you had sex, you can bet I’m going to ask you if it was good. And the same way I would empathize with you if you had a bad meal or saw a bad movie, I’m going to be sad for you if you had bad sex. My friends are often surprised by such a response, but if their description of the deed is anything less than mind-blowing, I’m often a little incredulous. When did our standards for sex stoop so low as to become something to be tolerated, like dentist work or a trip to the gyno? Most college students I know are doing everything in their power right now to avoid procreation, so if sex isn’t something exciting, amazing and titillating, why the hell are you doing it?
People often engage in sexual encounters for all the right reasons: It’s fun, their partner is sexy, or they just want to have sex. Unfortunately, sometimes these sexual encounters continue for the silliest of reasons — no one came. I’ve been there! You start having sex, feeling sexy, wet and excited, and somewhere in the middle, you just feel finished, sore and tired. When I first started having sex, I felt like the duration of the experience was supposed to be as long as it took my partner to finish. It was like watching a TV show on one of those second-rate streaming sites — you can’t press stop, or even pause. It just runs its course, with or without you. Sex seemed completely independent of my feelings or my pleasure. If he didn’t come, for whatever reason, I took it as a personal attack, and I felt like I hadn’t done my duty. It took years, and the right guy, for me to realize that orgasm doesn’t have to be the goal for sex; sex can be plenty fun without it, and sometimes trying to reach climax does the rest of the experience a disservice. For so long, I was apologetic if my partner didn’t come, regardless of my own — much lower — orgasm count. Luckily, my partner did not hold my same unrealistic expectations of each sexual encounter. He pointed out that if I didn’t have to orgasm every time we got naked, why did he? It was so great to have someone notice that hey, when we do it for hours at a time, I get sore, and it’s painful. Even better, when I got sore, he insisted that we stop, regardless of the state of his O.
That’s not to say that your first line of defense against lackluster sex should just be to stop. Your choice of action should really depend on what is keeping the sex from being fabulous. A ton of my girlfriends talk about how they’re glad when their partner only lasts 15 to 20 minutes, because that’s when they start getting dry. If getting it on and then being able to catch the end of “The Office” works for you, by all means, you do you. I, personally, like my pleasure parties to last longer, but I’d never be able to do it without my trusty bottle of lube. I don’t remember the origin of my relationship with lube, but it’s one relationship I can guarantee will be lifelong. I think there’s this perception that lube is something that only kinky people have on their nightstand and shouldn’t be used for the casual encounter. I have to disagree. Lube can be used on the inside to make things slide in and out more easily, on the outside if friction is making you sore, to the inside of condoms to increase sensitivity, or to the clit, so it’s not rubbed raw. I make this argument all the time, and still my friends are mortified at the idea of pulling out the KY with their bed buddy and would rather lie there in quiet agony as the condom starts to feel like sandpaper.
Everyone deserves to have great sex, and it’s important to take steps to ensure it for yourself — whatever that means. Whether it’s telling your partner what move always makes you hot, using the super thin condoms, or lubing yourself up, you have to have the confidence to take control of your sexual destiny — no one else is going to do it for you. Let’s make 2012 the year of better orgasms; I’ll tweet to that.
Tyna Holland is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and will be achieving her New Year’s Resolution all night long.