Be Your Own Sex Superhero

Sick of waiting for him to realise this girl is (definitely not) on fire? Come to your own rescue with our tips for fighting bedroom awkwardness. Because problems between the sheets can be fixed.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Sick of waiting for him to realise this girl is (definitely not) on fire? Come to your own rescue with our tips for fighting bedroom awkwardness. Because problems between the sheets can be fixed.
Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

PROBLEM: He goes limp when he sees a condom.

Picture this: It’s hot, it’s heavy and it’s happening. You reach out for the glove of love only for him to recoil like a small child when confronted with a large dog. How can a man be afraid of 0.07mm of latex. How?!

Best not to: Shrug your shoulders and have sex without using one.

Superhero solution: “It’s not the condom that’s the culprit. He’s had a negative thought that’s distracted him,” explains Elaine George, director of Sexology Australia. “He might be worried about getting you pregnant or stressed with something at work – your man has this whole subliminal thought process going on inside. It’s a selfperpetuating thing, too, so you need to be understanding, reassuring and not focus on it.” And if he insists it really is all to do with the condom? “The age-old ‘it doesn’t work with a condom on’ whinge. I can assure you that it does – it just takes a little getting used to,” says sociologist Amanda Robb. “So don’t let him talk you into going bareback if you’re not ready or haven’t been tested. It’s a condom or nothing at all when it comes to safe sex. Try using the condom in foreplay instead. Begin by placing it on when you’re engaged in foreplay so he can begin to adjust to the stimulation with a condom on. Always take charge and be safe.”

PROBLEM: You have a higher sex drive than him.

Picture this: You’re showered, buffed, moisturised and are wearing nothing but a towel. You sidle up to your beau only to be shrugged off in favour of the football/Xbox/sleeping. Wait… sleep? Is he kidding?!

Best not to: Cry hysterically and then accuse him of having an affair.

Superhero solution: Sex therapist Christina Spaccavento tells us that: “If he’s saying ‘no’ more than you would like, you need to find out why. Do you like sex at different times of the day? Is there something about your approach that isn’t working? Is he just overworked, stressed and tired? It’s normal that a couple’s sexual desire won’t match up exactly, so negotiate frequency and the time of day to make you both happy.”

And Désirée Spierings, director of Sexual Health Australia agrees. “It’s not uncommon after the honeymoon phase is over for the couple to be left with mismatched libidos,” she says. “The main thing is for your partner not to feel pressured to have sex. As soon as he feels pressured, he won’t be able to get aroused. Suggesting non-threatening intimate encounters (think: massages and foot rubs) is the best remedy to get his desire to kick in and for him to want to have sex. And chances are, this will result in a less negative impact on the relationship.”

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PROBLEM: He’s a bad kisser.

Picture this: Just the mere sight of your guy bending over to pick up his keys for work in the morning leaves you weak at the knees, but his kiss goodbye is sloppier than a McDonald’s milkshake.

Best not to: Dramatically wipe your mouth dry with your sleeve when he pulls away, then begin to crack a few jokes about “drowning” in his affection.

Superhero solution: You don’t want to break up with a boy just because he sucks at kissing. So just man up and take charge of your destiny. Désirée explains: “You need to be his teacher. Only you know how you would like to be kissed, so the best way to teach him is by showing him without telling him what you’re doing. It’s important not to ever mention anything while he’s kissing you because it will kill the moment. Start by telling him what you’re enjoying while you’re teaching him – so he learns through positive reinforcement. Just remember that practise makes perfect!”

PROBLEM: He just can’t get it up.

Picture this: Hot partner: tick. Foreplay: tick. A man not so ready? Not quite...

Best not to: Say to him: “Don’t worry, no hard feelings! Seriously, I’m confident something else will come up later!”

Superhero solution: Amanda says: “There could be many reasons your man can’t maintain an erection. However, the cause often lies outside the bedroom. Things like heavy drinking, smoking, medication, a high-stress job or anxiety are all culprits. Try bringing up the link between erectile dysfunction and the common causes in a non-judgemental way. He’ll be relieved that it isn’t about a faulty performance, but something non-sex related, which is hopefully very easily addressed.”

PROBLEM: He finishes a little too fast.

Picture this: You’re just getting started and he’s raced right to the finish line. Heck, you’ve had bowel movements that have lasted much longer than this.

Best not to: Start calling him Speedy Gonzales and then take to issuing him with fake speeding tickets.

Superhero solution: “Sex is very much a learned behaviour,” says Désirée. “On average, men last seven minutes, so it’s not normal to expect a man to last much longer than that. A solution is to increase the frequency you have sex. Additionally, try to stopstart the sexual intercourse process. So while he’s thrusting, stop moving and hold him while he stays inside you, then start again.”

PROBLEM: His apartment has paper-thin walls and his parents can hear everything.

Picture this: Candles, music, the scene is set. Only, you can’t relax because you’re still living with your parents while you wait for your HDB flat to come through.

Best not to: Start screaming, ‘Yes! Yes, that desk looks great there! Now move the bookshelf!’ No-one is ever going to believe you’re actually moving furniture.

Superhero solution: “Most couples are going to have a better love-making session when they have 100 percent privacy,” says Elaine. “The mind plays an important role here because as long as the couple is ensured privacy, they need to learn to let go of the rest. To enjoy the added variable, they need to muffle their sounds of ecstasy instead of amplifying it.” But if the problem is the hardware? “If it’s a loud bed frame, move your shag session on to the floor,” says Robb. “Use a yoga mat, or get up against the wall. If your sex life is lacking due to your fear of being heard, improvise and enjoy trialling quieter places to have sex.”

PROBLEM: He takes waaaaaay too long to finish.

Picture this: You thought the chafing you got after that half marathon last year was bad. Well, that was a picnic in the park compared with this drawn-out grind.

Best not to: Check your watch. Sigh audibly. Reach for the remote and turn on the TV to see what’s good on HBO tonight.

Superhero solution: “Take the lead by seducing him into a ‘quickie’,” Amanda suggests. “Initiate sex when he’s least expecting it, and be clear in stating how you want it quick and fast. A lot of the time sex is habitual, so when in need of a good tweak, we need to break up the pattern and recondition how it happens. I can assure you, if you take him by complete surprise and decide to jump him on the couch while he’s watching The Big Bang Theory, he’ll be so sexually excited, he’ll master the quickie straight up!”

PROBLEM: The two of you can’t get in a rhythm.

Picture this: You’re both bouncing around like a couple of kids in a ball pit, but you couldn’t be less in sync if you were a dad at a One Direction concert.

Best not to: Say: “Wanna just give this a miss and go for pizza?”

Superhero solution: Désirée explains: “Think about this – when we see a couple dance the tango while thinking about their steps, it can be an awful dance to watch. It doesn’t flow and you can even see them thinking ‘left, right, left, left right’. But when a couple dances the tango from their hearts, they just feel the music; they’re not thinking it, and it’s beautiful to watch. It’s the same thing with sex – if you’re thinking about what you should be doing or not doing, or about the rhythm, it just won’t flow. So, you can begin by enjoying how his touch or his kiss feels on your body and take your brain there. Before you know it, you’ll be dancing in the bedroom.”