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Ask Bish – I’m not enjoying sex

Advice for some who’s not enjoying sex. What do we really mean by enjoying sex and how do we learn to have it?


I’m a 17 year old girl, and have been going out with my 16 year old boyfriend for about 6 months now. About a month ago we made the decision to become sexually active. He has since moved away for college, but I do see him fairly often. We are both each others ‘firsts’ and I love him.

Anyways, here’s my problem: since we’ve started having sex, I haven’t really enjoyed it. I have a fairly strong sexual desire, and do become aroused, but every time has been just so so. We’ve tried a few different positions and masturbating each other. He seems to enjoy himself, but he’s getting a bit down about my lack of enjoyment too…

I don’t know how to change this!! Is there something wrong/different about me? Is it that we’re just both rather inexperienced and don’t really know what we’re doing? He has also recently told me that he likes it when ‘I take the lead’ but I feel so inexperienced and out of my depth that I don’t know what to do!!

Please help!! Thanks


Try not to worry, there nothing wrong about you. Here’s some stuff for you to think about so that you can think about what enjoyment means and how you can start to enjoy sex a bit more.


Spend a bit of time, by yourself, thinking about how just how much you are enjoying sex. If you were to think about all of your sexual experiences on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being really not very enjoyable at all and 10 being really very enjoyable), what would that look like? Are the most enjoyable experiences with your boyfriend or by yourself? Are the most enjoyable experiences particular things you have done (eg masturbation, oral sex, grinding, penetration) or were they more enjoyable because of the context (eg time of day, how private it was, your feelings towards each other, what you had been doing before).

If you get really Sherlock Holmes on this word ‘enjoyment’ then you can probably start to come up with some answers for you about how to make sex more enjoyable. However it might also be a good idea to think about what enjoyment means for you. When we hear about sex or see sex in TV, porn, films it looks (and sounds) like people are having the best time ever – this can be confusing if what we are feeling is very different to that.

Sometimes sex can be exciting, thrilling and electrifying. Sometimes it can be nice, comforting, lovely and tingly.

It can be difficult to focus on what enjoyment means to you when there are so many external pressures on us telling us what we should be feeling. Your boyfriend is kinda adding to this pressure too by getting down about your lack of enjoyment. Truth is, sometimes sex can be exciting, thrilling and electrifying. Sometimes it can be nice, comforting, lovely and tingly.

If sex with your boyfriend is none of these things, and you’re scoring low numbers for all the sex you’ve been having together, then maybe you could think about not having sex with him for a bit.

Stuff you’re doing

If the sex that you’re having is penis in vagina, then you should know that this is usually more stimulating for the penis than it is for the vagina. The really sensitive bit of the penis gets loads of stimulation but the really sensitive bit for most people with vaginas isn’t the vagina but the clitoris. There’s more about this here.

Penis in vagina sex is usually more stimulating for the penis than it is for the vagina.

You mention that you’ve also tried masturbation too. There are lots of other things that you could try too, maybe you’re not so into stimulating your genitals or you are but need different kinds of stimulation. You can also have sex even if you aren’t actually in the same room (just don’t take pictures if you are under 18 as that is illegal). Have a look at this from me, which is all about how to work out what you are or aren’t into. You could do this by yourself and/or with your boyfriend.

How you’re doing it

It might now be so much what you’re doing but how you’re doing it. Maybe it’s the time of day, where you’re doing it, when you’re doing it. How much are you planning sex and is that having an effect on how much you’re enjoying it? Are you doing it because you think it’s something that a boyfriend and girlfriend should do when they see each other? One of the difficult things with a long distance relationship is not being apart but being together. There can be a big pressure to all the things that you miss out on doing when you’re not in the same place – same goes for sex. If you’re feeling any pressure to have sex at all it can make enjoying sex much more difficult.

Slooooow dowwwwwwwwn

Rather than just thinking about doing things in different positions or trying different kinds of masturbation try to slooooow right down and enjoy what is actually happening. Sometimes when I eat chocolate (Giant Buttons if you’re going to the shop) I open the packet, eat the chocolate and then seconds later there’s an empty packet on the table and I have a feeling that I haven’t enjoyed it. But sometimes I look at each one closely, smell it and let it melt on my tongue for ages so I can have the taste in my mouth for ages.

Sloooow down and pay attention to all of your senses so you can enjoy it more.

If when you’re having sex you’re just doing a thing and then doing another thing in the same way that I sometimes just inhale a bag of chocolate, then maybe that’s why you’re not enjoying it so much. If you slow down and pay attention to everything that is going on with all of your senses you might enjoy it more. This is not easy to do because there are so many things that can distract us from what is actually happening – how we should be doing it, how we should look, am I doing this right, is there something wrong with me etc etc.

You might find this gets easier with practice and is probably easier to do by yourself. However if you start to pay attention to you as well as your boyfriend then you might actually start to see those numbers increase. I think it might be good for your boyfriend to try this advice too.


You say that he wants you to take the lead more – this can be really really difficult when you are still trying to learn what it is you want to do. Perhaps he is asking you to take the lead because he doesn’t want to force you into doing anything you might not enjoy, which is nice isn’t it? Thing is, it’s made things more difficult.

It might help if you found out what taking the lead would mean for him- what would that look like, what might you say, what might you do, what might he do and say…. If you got into the habit of sharing your sexy thoughts with each other you might both become a bit more confident having sex with each other. You could message each other little stories about what you imagine doing with each other and how it may feel. Sharing your fantasies like this doesn’t mean that you actually want to do it, but it can be a way of thinking of yourself and the other in different and exciting ways. And of course it can be a turn on.

Because you are in a relationship maybe talking about this stuff might be easier because you can trust each other with that information. However because you are in a relationship talking about this stuff can be harder because you might worry they think you’re not ‘normal’ and there’s a lot at stake. Talking about this stuff can make your relationship stronger not weaker, but you do need to take a bit of a risk.

Advice from Gil Scott Heron

To kind of quote Gil Scott Heron, there are some things in life that can’t be learnt from books. You will learn more about what you do and don’t like the more you do it. Learn about sex from lots of different places but we also learn by doing. So try to be patient with yourself – it can take some time.

© Justin Hancock, 2015


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