Think about the last time you brought someone home from a bar, or from a second or third Tinder date, or from any other situation in which you find yourself flirting with a foxy stranger. Did your bodies fall magically into place as if you inhabited some GD erotic fantasy world? Or did figuring out your sexual rhythms take some finesse?
If the latter, you will probably not be shocked to learn you’re not alone: According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults—conducted by One Poll and Pure Romance—six in 10 people launch a relationship with bad sex.
Fortunately, according to the study, 71 percent didn’t think one less-than-satisfying romp determined the relationship—and, on average, it took 4.5 bad sexual encounters before people called it quits.
But what does “bad sex” entail, exactly? By the survey’s metrics, a number of factors contribute. Among the participants who identified as men, 41 percent cited lack of orgasm; 36 percent named lack of foreplay; and 29 percent said it sucked when their partner wouldn’t reciprocate oral sex, when the speed was too fast, or when they couldn’t get hard because they’d been drinking.
Meanwhile, 44 percent of woman-identifying participants reported that sex was bad when they didn’t finish, or, perhaps relatedly, when the experience went by too quickly; 37 percent classified dirty sheets as a deal-breaker; and 33 percent called out partners who wouldn’t go down on them. But, for this group, the single more widespread complaint—lodged by 57 percent of participants—was an inadequate amount of foreplay.
But there is hope—even if the first go-round proves awkward and bumpy and almost exactly like Seth and Summer’s first union on the O.C. (if that’s something anyone else still thinks about).
People rebound from bad sex all the time! Especially when they open up to their partners about what gets them off. Forty-six percent of participants said that they vocalized their needs, and that it helped; a further 72 percent showed partners new sex positions and how they liked to be touched. Some 48 percent of participants said they’d heated things up with sex toys, and overall, 71 percent said that things had improved with time.
So there you have it: Numerical evidence that the first time isn’t usually the best time, but most people are willing to give subpar sex a second shot. And the ones who won’t—well, you probably don’t want to be with someone who’s quick to judge and only in it for the orgasms, right?