The thought that you might not be particularly good in bed is one that occurs to lots of people at some point in their life.
Insecurities around sex are one of the most common problems that affect relationships.
So… the first thing to say is, if this is something that’s on your mind: you’re not alone.
What do we mean by it?
Very often, when we describe ourselves as not good at something, we’re not necessarily literally talking about our skill level, but rather our relationship with it.
We might feel we’re not good at drawing because we don’t think we’re a particularly ‘arty person’. Or we might say we’re not good at public speaking because we don’t think of ourselves as confident.
When someone says they’re ‘not good in bed’, very often, what they’re really talking about is their relationship. Sex is so often symbolic of wider issues in the relationship. Very often, we’ll see couples who come in saying that sex is the primary issue, but end up talking about this only a few times over the course of their counselling – instead they focus on their relationship as a whole and how they’re feeling about it.
Having a good sex life with someone isn’t about being ‘good at it’ – it’s doing things in a way that is mutually satisfying for you both. Getting to that point is usually much more about exploring issues in the relationship and figuring out how they might be addressed.
How do we do that?
Problems with sex can stem from a wide variety of places. It might be worth thinking about any of the following:
Have you been arguing a lot recently? Do you find that small disagreements can turn into big rows? Or that silly, seemingly unimportant things can easily set you both off?
Are you stressed about any other areas of your life, such as family and work? Anxieties from other sources can very commonly affect our sex lives.
Do you talk effectively? Are you able to communicate your needs and feelings and empathise with what each other is saying?
Do you spend much time with each other? Or are other demands on your time making it hard to properly prioritise your relationship?
Have you been through a big life change recently? Things like moving house, getting a new job or having children can create challenges.
What frequently links relationship problems is lack of effective communication. When partners are not talking openly and constructively it becomes harder to deal with problems and sustain connection as a couple.
Another possibility is that you may feel you’re unable to satisfy your partner because you simply aren’t that experienced, or have never picked up that many ‘skills’.
It’s first worth getting it into perspective. Very often we inflate such issues in our minds. We worry about things like being ‘good’ in bed — or about attractiveness or size — when, really, this stuff isn’t bothering our partner anywhere near as much as we imagine.
It’s also a good idea to address the concept of you personally not being good in bed. Sex with our partner isn’t something we do by ourselves — it’s something we do as a couple. So, if you feel you aren’t getting things ‘right’, it’s something you and your partner need to work on together.
Again, so much of this can be addressed through more effective communication. Talking about sex can be awkward, but it’s a crucial part of having a happy sex life. Remember: the goal isn’t about being ‘good’ — it’s about being good together. The end goal is to figure out what works for both of you by talking about it and understanding one another’s needs.
If you and your partner think you could benefit from help about sex, there’s no shame in asking. People who come to talk with our sex therapist are often surprised by how effective they find it — how quickly they begin to see changes. You can come in for an initial consultation to find out whether it would be useful for you and your partner. Give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.
Relate has helped thousands of people re-discover a satisfying sex life.