Having bad sex just isn’t an option anymore. Nope. Too often we simply accept that women won’t always enjoy sex. It’s something we give little notice to in our culture. And to be frank, it’s utterly ridiculous. This archaic thinking is rooted in sexual stigma and a lack of anatomical understanding.

“Our sexuality is as part of our lives as is eating and sleeping. Sexuality is an important aspect of our well-being, and in a healthy romantic relationship, it’s as vital as love and affection,” Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN and women’s health expert, tells Healthline.

Good sex comes from ridding yourself of sexual shame, owning your desire, and understanding the clitoris, leaning into that pleasure therein.

If you know what brings you to orgasm, you’ll know how to show your partner how to do the same.

It’s important to know your body, what it likes, and how it works. If you aren’t sure what makes you tick, you can’t exactly expect a partner to magically figure it out.

It’s absolutely possible to never have bad sex again. Here’s how.

It all starts with the right mindset

The saying goes, “If your heart’s not in it…” But when we say “heart,” what we really mean is brain.

Dr. Ross tells us that for a woman’s sexuality, the place we have to look first is the mind. The brain is our most powerful sex organ besides the clitoris (and trust me, we’ll get to that). “Intimacy, sex, and orgasm all begin with desire. If you don’t have any desire, you will not be able to have an orgasm. Plain and simple, mission will not be accomplished,” says Dr. Ross.

There are many issues that hinder and block our ability to connect our minds to our bodies: Body dysphoria, a lack of confidence, and sexual shame are just some of the factors that can leave sex feeling more obligatory than amazing.

When you feel those initial stirrings, those first moments of sexual spark, don’t shy away from them. Breathe into your body. Begin by entrenching yourself in a sexual fantasy. Don’t have one? Watch a little porn or read an erotic story to center yourself. Here are some suggestions.

Focus on your breath and everything your partner is doing to you that feels good. Consider this an entire experience of mind, body, and soul — even if it’s a casual encounter.

Masturbate for better sex

You may not have considered this before, but touching yourself is how you improve your sex life.

“Masturbation is a vehicle for understanding your body. The less you go for drives in your body’s ‘town,’ the scarier exploring it will be. Fear is the main ingredient of shame. Once you know that town, quite literally, like the back of your hand, then and only then, do you have the agency to invite another in for a visit,” Mal Harrison, a sexologist and director for the Center of Erotic Intelligence, tells Healthline.

Spend time with your vibrator or your hand. Experiment with different pressures, positions, and rhythms. If you know what brings you to orgasm, you’ll know how to show your partner how to do the same.

The clit should be involved always, always, always.

Harrison even encourages parents to teach their children the normality and importance of masturbation for overall health. “If you don’t encourage your daughter to masturbate and get her access to whatever toys she wants to try, then how can you expect her to understand and own her agency?” she says.

Focus on the clitoris

OK. Let’s not beat around the bush (pun intended). Research says many women don’t achieve orgasm from penetrative sex alone, and a recent survey found that 1 in 3 women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. So, we have to stop pretending that run-of-the-mill, penis-in-vagina sex is going to produce a female climax. It just isn’t realistic or based in fact.

The clitoris is the powerhouse of female orgasm. It contains over 8,000 nerve endings. Without manually (with a hand or toy) or orally stimulating the clitoris, orgasm is highly unlikely. So, if you want to stop having bad sex, get the clit involved.

“During penetrative sex, most women need the clitoris stimulated at the same time unless they are in touch with their G-spot,” Ross says. By the way, the G-spot IS a part of the clitoris, too. The clit should be involved always, always, always.

If you’re not getting the clitoral action you need, speak up! Do not fake orgasms. If you fake an orgasm, you set unrealistic expectations and create inaccurate guidelines for what brings you pleasure. “Don’t go along with someone who isn’t 120 percent into respecting you and focused on you having a great time. Otherwise, pleasure inside the bedroom will likely be zero,” Harrison says.

Remember, sex isn’t shameful

It’s amazing. It’s healthy. It’s beautiful.

Sexual shame is one of the main reasons we experience bad sex. We’re told sex is dirty and gross. This kind of thinking completely warps our perceptions of both ourselves and our pleasure.

“People are afraid of sexuality because it’s not commonplace to discuss freely and openly. The more we speak about it, the less power shame will have,” Harrison adds.

We have to talk about it until we are blue in the face. We must normalize sexuality. Only then can we have better sex. Good sex shouldn’t be an anomaly. It should be the gold standard we all expect, every single time.


Gigi Engle is a writer, sex educator, and speaker. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Marie Claire, Glamour, Women’s Health, Brides, and Elle. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.