A few months ago, a friend mentioned in passing that he was going on a date later that evening with a woman he’d matched with on Tinder — a woman that he was connected to through only one friend: me. “So, what’s she really like?” he had pressed. My advice, unfortunately, was useless; other than an obligatory Facebook friendship, I hadn’t spoken to her since she dropped out of Model United Nations back in the 11th grade, and even then we’d spent much of our years at an openly nerdy college prep school at each others’ throats. (“She’s probably great now…much better at med school than Crisis Simulation, I’m sure,” was all I’d been able to offer.)
“Do you think she’s a little inexperienced?” Cole had asked, when explaining why they had stopped seeing each other a few days prior after a few dates. “Why, was the sex that terrible?” I asked, doing little to mask the schadenfreude in my voice.
Within 20 minutes, she’d tried out 13 different positions, brought out six different sex toys...
“No, actually it was great. That was the problem, it was way too great,” Cole shot back. “You know how first-timers always feel pressure to go full porno? That’s what it was like. The very first time we had sex, within 20 minutes, she’d tried out 13 different positions, brought out six different sex toys, and bruised my ball sack with a very vigorous blowjob. I’m grateful, really, but if sex was the SAT, she was gunning for a 1600, while I could barely get the 800 just for showing up.”
Cole’s gripe may seem unrealistic, but he’s not wholly off base; it stands to good reason that perma-overachieving Kareena, a class salutorian, had an overcompensation complex. A 2013 study run by Cosmopolitan found that 67% of women feel pressured to have sex like porn stars, thanks to the ubiquity of online pornography these days. While porn has many an intrinsic benefit, including, yes, the possibility of picking up new, shiny sex moves for the boudoir repertoire, it also sets an unreasonable bar that’s impossible to meet. Throw in a student who’s only earned one B in her life and an unyielding need to win, and watch how quickly things disintegrate.
These days, sex itself has become a constant one-upping of each newly calibrated bar. “How many shots of my tits can I sext before they all look identical?” my friend Monica had lamented about a text flirtation she was engaged in with a coworker. “They are identical, because surprise, they’re still my tits, but with each selfie, I feel worse about not having sprouted a third boob yet, just to shake things up a bit.”
The partners who are best in bed have one, maybe two, excellent go-to moves.
But when I started asking around to friends who have great sex what their over/under on positions was in bed, variants of the same reply kept cropping up: the partners who are best in bed have one, maybe two, excellent go-to moves; not an armory of orgasm-inducers storming freshly waxed genitalia like it’s the beaches of Normandy.
I’m admittedly biased. When a post-college comedian boyfriend tried to initiate morning sex on a particularly groggy morning, my wholly sincere “Can I just lie here with my eyes closed while you do your thing?” became the closing joke of his act for two years after we broke up. I was once rightly accused of my “move” being “Hey, can we take a break for a few minutes?” and falling asleep. But all that laziness is a luxury I can afford because, as stated above, I am truly excellent at one move in bed, and that’s all that matters.
“When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who used to run his tongue up and down my ear in a non-slobbery, non-gross way most high schoolers cannot fathom or execute. I’ve pulled that move on every guy I’ve been with since,” swears my friend Alison, a fellow subscriber of the 'doing one thing extremely well' theory. “You need confidence and subtlety to pull it off. Drooling down someone’s neck is kind of a boner killer. I did it to a guy I was hooking up with in college freshman year, and he came straight onto the sheets of my twin extra long dorm room bed. With great power comes much laundry.”
While some moves fell into the more traditional camp (“I’m just incredibly good at riding a cock in reverse cowgirl,” shared one friend who I later realized was just a hidden overachiever), most were unexpected; nearly all were as chaste as they are sexy: not a single porn-star reminiscent move in the bunch. One friend swore by licking the sensitive skin below her husband’s nipples, while a different male friend strongly advocated for casually placed fingers in buttholes to reach peak memorability. All told the same story, however: as stupid or vulnerable as their move made them feel, it worked like a goddamn charm every single time.
“I’m just incredibly good at riding a cock in reverse cowgirl.”
Routine placates us, but it also allows us to excel with the most minimal of effort. My own move — nothing special on face, but one that’s yielded more than one man levitating more than half his body off the bed as he orgasms — was born out of knowing that I’m the type of girl who gets charley horses from exertion in bed, and needed to find a way to compensate. It was almost a decade ago that a well-meaning friend told me the most important advice she could give: “always, always make sure to treat a dick like an ice cream cone, especially the head. ” Suffice it to say, no one complains about my occasional mid-sex naps.
Cole did end up seeing Kareena one more time, after realizing he was the only man in the world to scoff in the face of enthusiastic sex. Within seven minutes of aggressive foreplay, she had bruised his scrotum, leading to one embarrassing visit to a neighborhood urgent care, and an inevitable breakup. Maybe one day she’ll find her own signature move, one that will result in fewer co-pays. “So did you tell her that her aggro lovemaking is what scared you off?” I emailed.
“I did not, but I did leave her with a Harry Truman quote I hope she one day understands,” he sent back. “After all, the C students really do run the world.”
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