What’s Bad Sex?

If your orgasm isn’t compulsory, why should theirs be?

By Bella Biddle

We mined the incred Naked Grapefruit insta lot for what ‘bad sex’ meant to them, and somewhat unsurprisingly, we found a huge collection of experiences where women felt that their desires, wants, and needs had been thrown by the wayside. Turns out sex under patriarchy isn’t all sunshine and roses, who knew?

Some highlights lowlights included:

  • ‘when someone is not listening to my needs or body language at all’
  • ‘is just focused on their pleasure’
  • ‘when we don’t enjoy it’
  • ‘zero stimulation emotionally or physically’
  • ‘selfish’
  • ‘no foreplay’
  • ‘when he feels the sex is over when he comes’

Yikes. Basically, everyone’s experience seemed to hinge on women finding that their sexual partners didn’t see their pleasure as their problem, and that they just didn’t see the woman having a good time as like, a vital part of the sex act. Nah, we’re just wank tools pal.

It’s not just you lot though. The offish stats back us up too, finding that heterosexual women are the demographic having the least orgasms during sex (☹). While heterosexual men report cumming 95% of the time, heterosexual women report cumming only 65% of the time, which is a pretty grim difference if you ask me. Even MORE tragic, a study in Belgium and the Netherlands found that 20% of women NEVER orgasm during sex, compared to 2% of men who don’t. Mind the orgasm gap, amirite.

‘Bad sex’ is not the same thing as sexual assault, or rape, which is always always always violence and not sex. But the stories of women feeling ‘used’, ‘like a faceless hole’ or ‘self-conscious and unsafe’ are painful to read, prolly even more painful to live. And women being socialised to put their own needs second, and men being socialised to pursue their sexual needs at all costs (or at least, men not knowing how to read the signals of like, ‘nah bruh I know I said yes but this does NOT slap’) is causing shame, emotional turmoil, physical pain and generally bad vibes. Women putting up with men ‘straight-up hurting’ them, ‘mashing your clit’, ‘sandpapering’ and ‘stuffing them like a chicken’ (you guys are incred with the metaphors btw, pls keep it up), and generally putting up with pain and actual risk of injury just so mediocre dudes can get their rocks off absolutely has to stop.

‘Bad sex’ isn’t rape (although the lines can be muddy) but it can be traumatic, hurtful, frightening and upsetting. The good news? It just isn’t a necessary consequence of women having sex with men.

For a long time, the call from feminists has been that men need to get better at understanding not only consent, but enthusiastic, excited consent, and women need to get better at articulating their desires – and whilst knowing and saying what you want is always a good thing, it sort of ignores that this problem wasn’t created in a vacuum.

Women’s pleasure isn’t just ignored, it’s hardly even known about. Like, we put a man on the moon fucking decades before we worked out that the g spot was just the back of the clit. Hello? Did you learn about female orgasm in school? Because I didn’t. Do you see it featuring in scientific studies and research? Because I don’t. How many pornos have you seen that just didn’t feature female orgasm, or foreplay, or even any activities that looked remotely enjoyable for the woman involved? See also: films and stuff. Because for real, I feel like it’s most of them. We’re not really given access to women’s narratives of female pleasure, and so it’s slightly unsurprising, although still totally disappointing when a man wouldn’t know a real orgasm from a fake one if it ah-ah-AH-AHHHHed in front of him wearing nothing except a black lacy thong on his way to work in the morning. 

When a woman’s request for pleasure is seen as a favour, it feels socially difficult to ask for, in a way that a man’s orgasm never will be. It fucking sucks. And whilst consent is more than sexy, it is absolutely necessary, when female pleasure isn’t something we expect, it also means women are saying yes to sex that they don’t necessarily want, because they don’t believe or have the experiences to prove that they could have better. So consent isn’t how we solve the problem of bad sex.

Although asking for what you want is a good place to start, we need to do more than put pressure on women to ask for what we want. We need to adjust social norms so that female pleasure is totally centered in our narratives of what makes sex fulfilling and enjoyable.

The fact that the average male ego can walk away from a sexual encounter where female pleasure wasn’t even on the table without feeling like he let someone down is absolutely a problem. The Brads and Matts of the world need to start taking responsibility for the way their partner feels in bed. Especially when women are ‘closing their eyes and lying there waiting for it to be over’ (i.e. for the man to cum, gross). So if you’re a Brad or a Matt, then sort it out. It’s not that hard to ask a girl how she wants to be touched, or to try different things out and read some body language. Trial and error is defo a better tactic here than not even bothering. If she’s not having a good time, it wasn’t good sex, no matter how much it tickled YOUR pickle.

If you’re sleeping with Brads and Matts, remember, sex doesn’t have to be over just because it’s over for him. We need to normalise being weirded out when a man doesn’t care about our feelings or our orgasm. Maybe then, it’ll become normal for us to ask what we want and be less of a chore. Yes, I do want the last slice of apple strudel. Oh, and I do want you. I want you to go down on me. Again.

Let’s do more than put female pleasure and orgasm on the menu of our sexual encounters. Let’s make it the main course, move from ‘did you cum?’ and brownie points just for finding the clit to curious partners who are focused on women having a good time.

Sex should be pleasurable, and that means that if one person isn’t enjoying it, it’s bad sex. I cannot stress enough that you’re not obligated to have bad sex. So if you’re having a bad time, and he hasn’t cum yet, it’s okay to stop (because it’s not like that dude is gonna hang around for you to cum, is he?).

If your orgasm isn’t compulsory, why should theirs be?

Sign up to our newsletter for more banging content.