Thursday, December 13, 2012

"I Suck at Sex": Things We Never Hear

A few days ago a friend made a comment on Facebook about being pretty good in bed. For whatever reason, the comment made me think about our self-perception of our sexual prowess. I couldn't recall too many examples of people admitting they weren't very good at sex.

I'm going to eliminate sexual rookies from the discussion because their inexperience is almost always going to affect their self-perceived abilities. 

A quick search of the 'Web brought up this post at Guyspeak.com. The author came to the same basic conclusion I did... nobody seems to think they're bad at sex.

This isn't entirely surprising. As much as we like to think Americans have rather poor self-esteem, we're actually ridiculously self-confident. We consider ourselves to be above average at anything and everything... except for a few isolated things we acknowledge that we suck at. It's just enough to create slight humility to offset our otherwise oversized egos.

Anyway, sexual prowess is the one thing that never seems to fall in that "I suck at this" category. People will use partner feedback and their ability to replicate skills observed while watching porn (or other sources) to affirm their abilities. Of course this feedback loop is inherently flawed. We don't have too many partners that will bluntly tell us "Wow, you're a terrible lover." And porn? You'd be better off doing the exact opposite of the techniques the actors use. If you ask anyone that's had multiple partners, it's clear some are better than others and they range from excellent to terrible.

So does everyone think they're good in bed, even those that are terrible?


Not necessarily. 

I've actually known a few people that have claimed they're not very good at sex. Why? In every case, the individual actually studied sexuality. As a student of sexuality, they were acutely aware of their own lack of knowledge. They may study some of the same sources as other people, but instead of believing they know everything, they're aware of how little they know.

It's no different than the college experience. Some people graduate from college and believe they have all the answers. They spend their days flaunting the knowledge they gained, blissfully unaware that their experiences were merely the tip of the iceberg. They shut themselves off from learning new stuff because they believe they're already well above average.

Others graduate college with a different perspective. They're acutely aware of just how little they know because they're vaguely aware of the giant chasms in their knowledge base. They recognize they only acquired a minuscule fraction of all the information floating around in our universe.That void fuels an insatiable thirst for knowledge, which ends up proving them with a far superior body of knowledge than the other group.

For whatever reason, most people take the latter approach when self-assessing their sexual skills. They believe they have superior skills because they're blissfully unaware of their lack of knowledge. The handful of people that have willingly admitted they're not very good at sex recognize their sexual knowledge is extremely limited relative to all that can be known.

The paradox, of course, is that the "I'm not very good at sex" group is actually significantly better than the "I'm great at sex" group because they recognize their deficiencies and seize every possible opportunity to learn all they can.

How can this help you?

It's easy- recognize that all of us aren't as good as we could be. Become a lifelong student of sexuality. Study thinks like interpersonal attraction, anatomy and physiology, and the psychology of seduction. Understand motivation and desires. Read published sexuality research, websites, and sexuality blogs. Recognize variability among individuals or the idea that we all like different things. Familiarize yourself with the wide variety of sexual activities humans practice. Understand your own thoughts and feelings about sexuality. Consider your own inhibitions and how and where your sexual morality comes from.

Regarding the FB comment that stimulated the entire thought process- I suspect that person actually is quite good given the way the conversation played out.

What do you think? Do you know people that claim to be great at sex, but really fall short? Tell us the story (no names, of course!) How about people that claim to be good and actually are? Do you know anyone that claims to be bad at sex? 

Leave a comment!

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1 comment:

  1. Well, if it will make you feel better, then sure, I am lousy in bed. I am one of those you describe as "terrible". It's generally depressing to miss out, mais, c'est la vie. You learn to focus on things you are okay at.

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