Should you split if the sex is bad?

KATHERINE FEENEY
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
bad sex
SACK IT IN: Katherine Feeney thinks if you're not compatible in bed, it might be time to move on.

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OPINION: Is bad sex reason enough to quit a love affair?

(And no. I'm not having a rubbish stint in the sack.)

Welcome back, dear readers. Hopefully you enjoyed your summer sojourns. Hopefully you return eager to untie those too-tightly laced attitudes to sex, love, dating and relationships which too many of us encounter daily.

Hopefully you're having mind-blowingly wonderful sex.

Especially if you're with someone right now.

Not a few times over the holidays did I have bawdy conversations with near strangers in sundry social circumstances. Not a few times was there talk of dissatisfaction. "Why stick around if it's really all that bad", I'd ask, repeatedly.

"Because sex isn't everything in a relationship/marriage/partnership," they'd say. "We have deep feelings for each other/children/a house/debt to pay..."

I completely understand all of this. I also understand what Helen Mirren was talking about when she said sex doesn't make a marriage last, etc, etc.

But in the early days of courtship - at the time when you're sizing up the person you're wining, dining and sleeping with - certainly shabby sex is a red flag worth observing. Certainly you wouldn't want to sign up to a long time or lifetime of less than wonderful sex?

Yet people do. For many reasons. Here are three

"It'll get better with time"

Theory: The more you grow to understand each other and the more you grow into your relationship, the more you'll grow into your sex life, with a big, beautiful, "blossoming" in store for you both, eventually.

Problem: What if "eventually" never arrives and you stay stuck in budding-mode for ever-more? This is a real possibility, and one that could see you start to notice other aspects of your relationship that maybe aren't working so well either. Suddenly "...and he/she is not that good in bed" is the addendum to every other gripe. That's a lot of angst to overcome.

Solution? If time is your focus, then set yourself a timeline. And work toward it. It's one thing to say your sex will improve by this date or else, but if you're not actively trying to improve you may as well not bother. Get the Karma Sutra video. Watch it. Learn. And if it's still not working, perhaps confront the idea that you're just not meant to be...

(which brings us to...)

"I'll take whatever I can get"

Theory: Tragic but true - many of us have been in a situation where we feel we may do better, but we a) can't be bothered, b) don't know how, or c) actually secretly think this is as good as it's ever going to be. Depressing, isn't it? Yet it's no use pretending there aren't relationships out there built on this very shaky foundation. Marriages-with-children even.

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Problem: Need I spell it out?

Solution: Fix it. Fix it, please. Fix it now. Fix it good. Fix it because this is a broken way to think about life in general, let alone your life in love. Fix it by being better, and realising you are better than you or anyone else led you to believe.

"Relationships are more than just sex"

Theory: Mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual admiration - who needs sex when everything else is just dandy? People used to get married without having sex first, and they turned out fine. It's only this sex-obsessed flesh-culture that cares so much about fleshy pleasure. How base, lurid and unattractive!

Problem: Rubbish, to all the above. Yes, sex isn't everything. Yes, We little human beings are mind, and body, and spirit. But when it comes to choosing our romantic partner, we should be aiming to satisfy all three elements. Sure, two out of three ain't bad, but is it really worth your while?

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