Dear Level

Your Bad Habits Are Ruining Your Sex Life

A man who acts like a child is the biggest turnoff of all

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

When I think about unsatisfactory sexual experiences, my mind goes back to one guy in particular. Fred and I had been friends for a little less than a year when I decided to sleep with him. I wasn’t interested in him romantically, but I wondered what he was like between the sheets. So, one night, after dinner and a movie, I told Fred to take me back to his place. Seconds into our coital excursion, I knew I’d made a mistake.

It was my first time in his apartment, and right away everything I thought I knew about him proved to be untrue. He wasn’t the swaggy, more mature, debonair-yet-thuggish New Yorker I thought he was. He was a messy, thirtysomething kid with two roommates and what looked like a month’s worth of dishes in the sink. His bedroom was littered with dirty clothes and his bathroom reminded me of what you’d find at a roadside gas station. The more time I spent in his apartment, the more disconnected I became. Still, I thought I was being judgmental and petty, so I tried my best to focus on all the things that brought me there in the first place.

While we were doing the deed, however, I couldn’t focus. My eyes kept wandering around his bedroom. It was like a real-life version of Where’s Waldo, except instead of finding a guy in a striped shirt and matching hat, I discovered old pizza slices, half-eaten bowls of cereal, and a fish I was pretty sure had died days ago. And on the subject of dead fish, I can’t think of a more perfect way to describe my state of sexual arousal and performance. Completely turned off by his lifestyle, I just laid there, waiting for the ordeal to be over, hoping for a spark of inspiration.

It takes a lot more than good sex to impress or keep a woman interested, and good sex quickly turns lackluster after you’ve shown your worst traits.

Fred, on the other hand, was doing his thing-thing! You couldn’t tell this man he wasn’t rocking my world and blowing my mind. He was like a gymnast — contorting, rolling, and changing positions with no concern for how I was doing, except for asking that one hilarious question: “Am I hurting you?”

Nah, son. You good.

When it was all said and done, I looked over at his alarm clock to see we’d only been bumping uglies for seven minutes. Those seven minutes were the longest year of my life.

“You okay?” he asked about seven minutes too late.

“That was the worst sex I’ve ever had.” I couldn’t hold it in. It came out like hot lava, and that wasn’t all. “We’re never doing this again. I never want to see you again. We can’t even be friends after this. Your apartment is disgusting! You’re like 32 years old, get your fucking life together.”

I hurried to get dressed as I ranted. I could feel the air being sucked out of the room and his ego deflating, but I didn’t care. I was a hothead in my twenties with too many options to settle or pretend.

That’s the thing about good sex, it’s not all about the size of a man’s penis or a woman’s vagina. Big, small, tight, loose, it doesn’t matter half as much as the emotional connection between you and your partner. Each woman is different and what turns her off is as personal as what turns her on. When she’s into you, it doesn’t matter what your sexual shortcomings may be. If she notices them at all, she’ll be more willing to work with you or help improve them because she loves you. But if you take her love for granted and stop doing the things that hooked her in the first place, that good dick will turn to trash almost overnight. Most men fumble the ball by thinking their sex game is all about how they “put it down,” that a woman is shallow enough to stay just because the sex is or was good, or that no other man can compete.

It’s commonplace to believe that women are emotional creatures, leaning more heavily on our emotions than men. For argument’s sake, if that’s true, it will benefit men to remember that emotions are visceral and feelings are fleeting. A woman can love you with the same intensity that she loathes you. She can one day think you’re the cat’s pajamas and, in the blink of an eye, think you are lower than dog shit on the sole of her shoes.

Your partner may have been turned on by your attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and generosity when you first started dating. But, years later, she’ll probably become turned off by the way you leave all the household chores for her, slack on your parenting, or refuse to give her hobbies and interests a chance even though she fully supports and participates in yours.

Next time you consider complaining about how much the sex in your relationship has changed, first reflect on how you may have changed. Those boxers you keep leaving on the floor are not an aphrodisiac. Locking yourself in your man cave every weekend for a 17-hour Call of Duty marathon doesn’t constitute foreplay. Turning your nose up at changing diapers, washing dishes, or scrubbing toilets is not a panty-dropper. That golden shaft you were slinging when you were dating and being on your best behavior has now turned to rust and she’s no longer interested, no matter how many times you stab her in the back with it when she’s trying to get some sleep.

Stop it. She’s tired. Tired of you and your bullshit.

If you’re still a bachelor, the same rules apply. It takes a lot more than good sex to impress or keep a woman interested, and good sex quickly turns lackluster after you’ve shown your worst traits. You shouldn’t assume that if you “dick her down,” she will always forgive you or overlook that you have no respect for women, no direction in life, or act like a teenager instead of the grown-ass man she signed up for. You may be able to get away with it for a while, but there’s always a more mature, caring, and available man who may not be Dirk Diggler, but treats her better. And of course, there’s always a chance you may come across the most dangerous woman of all — the woman who would rather be alone than with a bad man with good dick.

So, bring your A-game, fellas, not just your D-game. See you on the field.

3x New York Times bestselling author, copywriter, and columnist.

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