One view is that women have become less empowered about sex and more inclined to satisfy their man. Not around here, buddy!
Women in their twenties are having bad sex. So says an opinion piece in the New York Times and so says a recent poll, which found that twentysomething women reckon that less than half their sexual experience have been “great”. That equates to a lot of ‘bad sex’.
Me, I don’t believe in bad sex. Not the same way I don’t believe in Mayan prophecies or the Book of Revelation. Rather I don’t believe in having it. Why would you bother? There are other things to do – read a book, eat chocolate, masturbate, whatever. Hell, I’d rather do the ironing than endure unhappy sex.
Obviously it’s not all chandeliers and champagne chez Sexton – only on Tuesdays and Saturdays – but I have only had bad sex a handful of times. And by a handful I mean exactly that – five times.
So what is bad sex? Women, unfortunately, are not guaranteed an orgasm every time we have sex. It’s obviously more satisfying when we do but because of its erratic nature, I wouldn’t use the lack of an orgasm itself as a yardstick. But if you don’t orgasm because a lover is selfish, inconsiderate or because you just weren’t enjoying the whole experience, that’s bad sex.
The first time I had bad sex I was in my early twenties. It was a Saturday morning and I was asleep in bed next to my boyfriend. Said boyfriend woke me up with nefarious purposes in mind and we engaged in cuddly somnolent early morning sex. Lazy, sure, but still good until he came, rolled over and went to sleep, without making me orgasm or even noticing that I hadn’t.
What annoyed me was not so much the lack of orgasm but that my pleasure had seemed inconsequential to him. As I lay there, awake and unfulfilled, I ran through the four stages of anger: annoyed; frustrated; infuriated; and hostile. The fact that he was snoring didn’t help.
Now you don’t know me, but if you did you’d be aware I’m a relaxed, easy-going kind of gal. I don’t lose my temper often, but when I do, it’s explosive. So you can imagine the shock on my boyfriend’s face when his normally mild-mannered female friend woke him from his slumber spluttering with righteous anger.
He offered to rectify the situation immediately, but by then I was too ticked off for any kind of sexual stimulation. Instead he did penance by making me a full fry-up for breakfast and the path of young love once again ran smooth.
Writing in the NYT Anand Giridharadas ponderously opined that the popular HBO show Girls tells us something important about contemporary sexual relations.
“The daughters of the sexual revolution are depicted without much agency: Far from being conquerors, initiators, even equals, the girls of Girls are reactors, giving in to an ex who changes his mind, or a gay man wanting to try something, or a financier seeking a threesome…” writes Giridharadas.
Does Girls reflect the 21st century female sexual experience, as Giridharadas suggests? Presumably not since there are plenty of young women who are not white, college educated and middle class; nor thankfully as narcissistic as the cast.
The point is that nobody has to put up with bad sex – and if you give up ‘agency’, well that’s your own fault. I don’t, which is why I’ve had so few bad sexual experiences. My desires are a primary concern of all my sexual interactions. If I’m not keen, it’s not happening! Refuse to pay attention to my needs, and you’ll hear about it!
Of course there are times when sex sometimes just doesn’t work. It’s nobody’s fault if the personal chemistry doesn’t translate into sexual chemistry, or if things go flaccid because you’re tired or have been drinking. It happens – but why see something through to the bitter end if it is not pleasurable?
Giridharadas argues that if women are having bad sex then men are at fault. We are, he writes, living in “a sexual dystopia…. Men now reliably get what they want, while women must often content themselves with scraps.”
I don’t think that’s fair. Do men always get what they want? Not according to my twentysomething male friends, who seem to be having disappointing sex on a regular basis too. Interestingly, my thirtysomething friends, both male and female, have far less complaints.
As you age, you become far more attuned to your body’s sexual needs, and less self-conscious about stating them. But very few of my thirtysomething friends would have put up with bad sex ten years ago, so why the change?
I suspect that the answer lies somewhere in the messy and contradictory attitudes to sexuality in contemporary culture. We live in a world that both celebrates and condemns sexuality, particularly female sexuality. There seems to be far more ‘slut shaming’ going on in 2013 than there was in 2003. What’s more, in the last ten or fifteen years minor differences between men and women have been vigorously reasserted into a depressing Us versus Them battle of the sexes.
Alternatively, twentysomethings may have lower expectations, or be just too damn polite to risk hurting a lover’s feelings. Whatever the reason, it is worth remembering that bad sex is not the norm – and if you’re putting up with it, then I’m afraid it’s partly your own fault.
Sex should be fun, pleasurable – and most of all it should make you feel good about yourself. If it doesn’t, do something – or perhaps, someone – else.
Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait comes with praise from Sebastian Barry and Marian Keyes, among others.Read More
UnderCurrent are a group unlike any other in Ireland. A mix of cabaret, musical theatre, burlesque, physical comedy, banter and dance, they are also the only performance troupe in the country composed entirely of LGBTQ members.Read More
The progenitors of Britpop came to Marlay Park in Dublin yesterday – and the crowd lapped it up. Report: Anne SextonRead More
Anne Sexton gives her take on Conor O'Callaghan's debut novel.Read More
This four-piece cut their teeth busking in Temple Bar, but their journey is just beginning.Read More
With women being given jail sentences for using the abortion pill in Northern Ireland, three activists decided that it was time to act – and made a startling confession to the PSNI.Read More
First Dates offered a glimpse into the way people behave when they are looking for a romantic liaison - and maybe some sex into the bargain. But how different was the TV version from people's pursuit of a good time - and what does the history of dating tell us about how we view this ritual?Read More
Teenager David Beattie has written a powerful and insightful account of growing up trans in Ireland.Read More
The ‘dating’ app makes great claims in relation to the numbers using it. But are people hooking up and having sex successfully through it? Now, that is a very good question…Read More
Make no mistake, casual sex can be brilliant, wonderful, even life-affirming. But in the fuckzone, things are different. Because this is where a woman is just a piece of pussy or a man is no better than a dick or an asshole on legs...Read More
Since the release of his acclaimed first novel, The Spinning Heart, Ryan has established himself as one of Ireland’s most talented writers.Read More
Eighties Ireland: in a country where divorce was impossible, unmarried mothers were treated like pariahs, gay sex was illegal and condoms could only be bought on prescription, finding the joy in sex was not easy. But the excitement of it was no less real.Read More
Glenn Patterson’s latest novel tells the extraordinary story of John DeLorean’s time in Belfast – a saga of federal agents, undercover sting operations and alleged cocaine trafficking.Read More
The introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 was one of the most regressive pieces of manipulative political chicanery in the history of the Irish state. Repealing it is essential to establishing a regime in Ireland, which respects the reproductive rights of women. Let’s end the evasiveness by making it an election issue…Read More
It may be highly illegal, but Irish women - including TD Ruth Coppinger - are willing to risk jail by taking the abortion pill all over Ireland. Anne Sexton and Julia Schimkus travelled to Galway with the pro-choice activists...Read More
Life is a drag for Miss Panti - but wonderfully so!Read More
Anne Sexton chats to Hanya Yanagihara, whose second￼ novel A Little Life has been the subject of truly rapturous reviews...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
...Or, in a different situation, you might ask, why didn’t he leave her? Abusive relationships are unfortunately common – and both sexes are victims. But perhaps you have to have lived through one to really understand the cruel dynamics at work...Read More
Acclaimed author Glenn Patterson continues his exploration of the Northern Irish psyche in his latest book, which cherry-picks his finest non-fiction pieces from the last decade.Read More
The crass outlook of pick-up artists is insulting and fails to recognise each individual's unique attractivenessRead More
There are no rules as to how much you reveal to prospective sexual partners. But it is probably true that – most of the time anyway – honesty is the best policy...Read More
Before the gay marriage ‘Yes’ vote had people dancing in the streets, before civil partnerships, before gay people could publicly identify as such, Senator David Norris was waging a brave and often thankless fight on behalf of minorities in Ireland. In his first major interview since the referendum he recounts his long struggle with prejudice in Ireland...Read More
With her second novel Tender dealing with homosexuality, emotional abuse and mental illness, Belinda McKeon reflects on the repressive, oppressive culture of mid '90s Ireland and the perverse pleasure she takes in pushing readers' buttons.Read More
It may be the name of a cocktail, but it is also a reasonably popular pastime. So is public sex a good idea? And how are you best to go about it?Read More
Every now and then, they come out of the woodwork: people who believe that thinking, talking and writing about sex in a positive way is a sin and should be punished. It is a bit scary when someone like this tracks down your email address just to tell you...Read More
As the results came in, crowds gathered in Dublin Castle to hear them. It became on of he biggest and best parties Ireland has ever seen...Read More
The novel is about an Irish family and all their problems in life from 1980 on and written in episodic style.Read More
It is vital to gay couples that the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage should be passed. But an even bigger prize is the feeling that we are living in an open, inclusive society that a resounding victory would inspire. So, make sure to get out and vote ‘Yes’...Read More
When it comes to sex, men have it far easier and far better than women. In fact, there are ten good reasons why a sex change might just be the best option...Read More
A lot of concern has been expressed in conventional media about ‘hook-up’ culture. Curiously, however, the impact of social media and online mate-seeking sites seems to be that people are having less sex rather than more. Something will have to be done about it, is all we can say...Read More
It is an invitation that most people would find extremely difficult to turn down. But there are those who prefer giving head one at a time to the classic 69. Which side of the great oral sex debate are you on?Read More
When Hot Press ran a competition for a columnist to write about sex, the competition was pretty hot. In the end, we chose a certain feisty, red-headed female, who wrote with wit, verve and style – and whose name just happened to have the word ‘sex’ in it. Clearly it was a role that she had been destined to, um, perform...Read More
And there’s nothing wrong with that! Indeed, while sexual conservatives try to claim otherwise, the reality is that men and women are really very similar in their appetites for sex, porn and all the rest...Read More
That was the implied message in Teleflora’s 2012 Valentine’s Day ad, which featured the model Adriana Lima. Is that really what romance is all about?Read More
That’s bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism to you and me. Oh, and there will also be copious face- sitting; lots of gay sex – some of it within marriage hopefully; and vibrators that know what you like. Bring it on!Read More
During the Graham Dwyer murder trial, members of the Irish BDSM scene were sometimes depicted in unflattering terms. So what is BDSM all about?Read More
Cowboy landlords, substandard living conditions and ever increasing costs are just some of the problems facing people in rented accommodation, and many of those in difficulty are afraid to speak up.Read More
But not always in a good way! Because someone out there apparently thinks that sex toys specially designed and packaged for Christmas are, like, a good idea! Starting with the Barack Obama dildo…Read More
It’s a tough one. The man you want just happens to be hooked up — with your best friend. If you really want him, there’s only one way to go about it. But should you dare?...Read More
As Ireland emerges from a period of economic turbulence, there are now a myriad of ways to get a foothold in the jobs market.Read More
That’s a question that more or less everyone has had to ask themselves at some time in their lives. Because, modern mating methods notwithstanding, getting regular sex is still a minefield for a lot of people to negotiate…Read More
It doesn’t make sense to start blaming social media for what is a horrible crime. Because the truth is that women are entitled to go about their lives free of the fear of rape…Read More
It may be a cliché but there is a lot of truth to the notion of “a healthy body, healthy mind.” As Bressie notes in his emotional fitness tips, the food you eat affects your mood, and physical activity promotes the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.Read More
Time spent overseas volunteering shouldn’t be treated as a holiday and is only worthwhile if you are prepared to put in some hard graft...Read More
That, as they say, is a bold statement. But new research has indicated that the association that has often been made between casual sex and lower self-esteem is really a product of prevailing religious-based orthodoxies. Having sex will not cure depression. But as an aspect of a holistic approach to our well-being, it can play a vital role…Read More
She has chronicled the seamy side of Dublin in her novels. Now crime writer Tana French turns her attention to the privileged elite of south DublinRead More
Everyone else seems to be! However, the recent celebrity Hackergate scandal throws up a multitude of intriguing questions about the wisdom of recording DIY porn...Read More
We all know how enjoyable a bit of role-playing is – especially when it comes to sexual matters. So get down on your knees: our resident sexpert Anne Sexton is about to give you a lecture…Read More
Is it the Yanks with their enthusiasm; the Aussies with their frankness; or the Germans with their, umm, precision? And how do Irish men compare with their international peers? Anne Sexton road-tested males of eight different nationalities (not in the last fortnight, you understand) and is delighted to offer her educated view on the subject...Read More
It makes a huge difference to your sexual development – and ultimately to your sexual happiness – if you can talk about things openly with your mother...Read More
They have a long and distinguished history, and nowadays come in all shapes, sizes and colours – but the basic latex cock ring beats the rest hands down, where making sex better for women and men alike is concerned.Read More
A debate is currently raging about the idea of ‘Enthusiastic Consent’. That’s when you say ‘yes, please’ to having sex with someone else. But should that be required under the law? It is, as they say, an interesting one...Read More
The beloved drag queen deals with the serious business of "Panti-gate" and more in hilarious fashion in new show High Heels in Low PlacesRead More
Whoever you had sex with, and whatever he or she looked like, there is someone out there in academia who wants to try and explain it. But the fact is that sex is – thankfully! – far more complicated than your average bit of social research allows. The question that really matters is: how can we all have better sex?Read More
There are those who might say that it is an unholy combination. But from the pill through LSD to Viagra, chemical agents have made a huge difference to our ability to enjoy ourselves sexually...Read More
And you know it. So should you tell the wife or girlfriend who is being cheated on? Or would you let a bloke know if his wife was having it off with someone else? It's an interesting conundrum indeed...Read More
Social awkwardness can be endearing in moderate quantities but, come on guys, let's not overbake the pudding here...Read More
If so, then read on. For what follows is a primer in how to escape the clutches of the very scary and decidedly horrible breed known as MRA pick-up artistsRead More
It's only February - and already a series of controversies on sex and sexuality have erupted. It is you might say, a sign of the times...Read More
Is giving a gift on Valentine’s Day the ultimate expression of love or just a way of getting into someone else's underwear? A good question: now read on, for a happy ending...Read More
While the basics remain constant, the sexual climate is likely to get even better over the coming 12 months. But with apps emerging to measure every aspect of performance, there may be a few downsides too...Read More
A winner of the Booker Prize for 2007’s The Gathering, Anne Enright is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Irish authors. During a recent Q&A at the Write Touch competition, run by HOT PRESS in association with ALCATEL ONETOUCH she discussed the creative process, the pressures faced by female writers – and the subject matter of her next novel.Read More
There are some things which even a well-known sex columnist won’t do (perhaps Paris Hilton shouldn’t have either). One of the most important sex lessons we all have to learn is to respect other people’s limits…Read More
Though his debut novel suffered multiple rejections, Donal Ryan has nonetheless received widespread critical praise – not to mention several awards – for his books The Spinning Heart and The Thing About DecemberRead More
The cliché is that men are responsible for 95% of sexual harassment and rape cases. But the truth is very different...Read More
Being healthy, fit and trim is not only good for your bodily well-being – it will also make you a more attractive person. Let Hot Press be your guide to toning up and shedding pounds in time for Christmas.Read More
Well, the last thing they want – and this may go for blokes too – is to feel that they are being hounded into a ‘relationship’ on the basis of a single encounter. Never forget that there really is an art to seduction...Read More
She’s as quirky in person as on the page, with firmly held – and loudly expressed – thoughts about the sexuality of middle-aged women. Little wonder Irish-Canadian author Anakana Schofield is drawing curious glances from the moment she strolls into a quiet Dublin hotelRead More
Poet turned novelist Justin Quinn explains how his middle-class Dublin upbringing informed his best-selling new bookRead More
It is an interesting question. The problem is that not everyone is agrees on the answer! So let’s get it out in the open…Read More
The world of classified ads is a curious one. If you are advertising your wares, is it best to big yourself up – or to play down your (fabulous) attractions? Well, there is one way of finding out…Read More
onathan Byrne, Events Manager at NUI Galway’s College Bar, gives us the lowdown on the hip happenings across the city...Read More
Born and raised in Galway, the award-winning and uber-talented Julie Feeney is the perfect candidate to give us a whistle-stop tour around the City of Tribes. An artist as innovative and artful as the city that she calls home, Feeney salutes Galway as a place of inspiration and constant intrigue as she runs the rule over the best places to eat, drink, be merry, shop for clothes, take in beautiful music and escape for quiet reflection during your trip to the beautiful west.Read More
Ireland’s cultural heart and party capital has something for everyone. Anne Sexton heads to Galway and reports on the sights, sounds and can’t-miss highlightsRead More
But the question of when, where and using what paraphernalia is an open one. Well, not too open, hopefully…Read More
Anne Sexton looks at the options available to third level students experiencing mental health difficultiesRead More
Anne Sexton talks to Paul Chaney of punk band Control Freak, who are attempting to highlight the ongoing issue of suicide in IrelandRead More
Well, join the club! There are more gorgeous arses than ever before on public display. And what’s more, being bootylicious is now increasingly regarded as the sexual ideal. So where do I fit into all of this?Read More
She’s that rarest of literary creatures: a respected author who dabbles in science fiction. Margaret Atwood discusses her latest dystopian tour de force and explains why – boo, hiss! – she won’t be writing about dinosaurs and spaceships any time soon.Read More
That is what women are taught to believe. Which might just explain behaviour that can seem stand-offish and suspicious. But we all need to go beyond the stereotypes to have any hope of addressing a noxious culture in which women are routinely blamed in the wrong, when they are attacked.Read More