What If The Sex Is Great? But The Relationship Sucks.

What if you're in sync in the bedroom and outside of it...eh, not so much.


Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

Thankfully, I got free from the whole "the sex is great but the relationship sucks…WTF?" cul-de-sac. And while it left me with a few skinned knees (no pun intended), I'm hoping that this will be a bit of a "beauty for ashes" kind of moment. I'm hoping that if you currently are in this exact type of situation that this read can help you to figure out what you should do about — it all.

1. How Did Things Begin?


Aristotle once said, "If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development," and when I say that there is so much truth to that right there, chile. Matter of fact, I was recently talking to a friend of mine who recently reconnected with someone from our college days. Back then, there was a young lady he messed with who had the biggest crush on him, he had zero emotional interest in and yet she still basically begged him to sleep with her. Hmph. One day, we'll have to get into the discussion of how, when a man is upfront with you about where he stands and what you can expect and you proceed with him anyway, he didn't "dog you out"; you simply lowered your standards. I'm telling you, self-accountability is where the big kids play.

Anyway, when he told me that she reached back out, all of these billions of years later, to try and strike up yet another sexual situation, only for him to say "cool, but I'm STILL not interested in anything serious" — first, I was really disappointed that she clearly has not evolved when it comes to him after almost three decades; then I found myself being kinda sorta thankful because that cyclic thing they are in is what helped to inspire the first part of this piece.

If you're caught up — or is it turned out? — in someone and you know that it has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than sexual chemistry or a man's technique and yet, you still can't seem to let ole' boy go, the first thing to ponder is how things began. Was it pretty much only his physicality that drew you in? Did you have sex faster than you probably should have? Can you even count on a full hand any real dates that the two of you have ever been on before? The reality is, more times than not, that the beginning is the foundation of things.

My friend and that girl don't have many places to go because they started off pretty foul because she wanted everything and he desired nothing but a way to get off; it's still that way. If you and the guy in your life — or is it just your bed? — don't seem to have much in common outside of sex, the way things started could reveal a whole heck of a lot about how you got to where you are.

2. Are You Even in an Official Relationship?


I believe I've shared before that a pattern I had with a lot of the men in my sexual past (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners") is I was friends with them yet not much more than that. On the friends tip, we were real friends in the sense that we talked/hung out often, knew a ton about each other and, with most, I shared a lot of their world with them (family included) too. So, there was a strong connection, even before coitus transpired. Hmph. Problem was, when you have sex with your friends (check out "5 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Having Sex with A Friend"), things can get really weird because, although the two of you may be close, you're not officially anything but friends. As a direct result, you may find yourself not really knowing what to do about the relationship after the get down goes down. Then ish can really get messy when you find yourself enjoying the friendship and the sex and yet somehow, there is still a…disconnect.

That's why pondering if you're even in an official relationship (which is not something you can decide on your own; "he" has to be on the same page with you) is so important too.

If the sex is great and the relationship isn't, there's a really strong possibility that what could be going on is you're not in a relationship at all and the awkwardness of that reality is what's causing all of the internalized distress.

So yeah, figure out if the two of you are in a relationship. If you're not, do you want to be? If so, the two of you need to have a serious conversation, sooner than later. If you are in a mutually-decided-upon relationship and things suck…well, it's time to go to my next point.

3. Take Sex Off of the Table. What’s Left?


A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good". One of the points that I made in it is, if you have to rely on make-up sex to "make things better" in your relationship, that is a red flag. That said, say that you are in a mutually-agreed-upon relationship and you're just not as happy in it as you thought you would be yet you stay because that man has a way of making you climb every wall in your house. If that's the case, do me a favor and, as difficult as it might be (because the sex is just that good), take sex totally off of the table. What's left? If you can't think of anything past kiddie-pool-shallow answers (you know, like "We like the same movies" or "It's not like we fight or anything"), you have some reevaluating to do…on a few levels.

For one thing, if the ah-ha moment that you discover is you're in a casual relationship and you don't mind being in something that is light, unintentional and lacks serious intention, then I guess there isn't too much to worry about. Although I will say that if that was the case, I doubt you'd be reading this all the way through. On the flip side, if you desire to be in the kind of relationship that evolves into something bigger and greater, as crazy as it might sound, you may need to literally take sex off of the table so that the two of you can see what else you've got going on.

Again, this is something that you need to discuss with him because, since you both decided to have sex, you both should discuss not having it anymore. And I will tell you this — if he's open to seeing what else you both have, there's a chance for growth. On the other hand, if he's totally not interested in a season of abstinence…I think you've kinda got your answer. This brings me to the next point.

4. Are You “Sexually Settling”? Think Hard Now.


Not too long ago, I was talking to a married male friend of mine about his thoughts on how men process sex overall. He said, "Shellie, sex is great, but we don't need it as much as y'all think if it means putting up with a lot of b — shit. We can pay someone to get off and there's no drama. The older men get, the more we realize that amazing sex is when you're with someone who you feel safe and peaceful with, there is a solid connection, and she gets off on pleasing you as much as you get off on pleasing her. Even we like to be into our partners."

Where am I going with this point? I agree with my friend, 1000 percent.

If you're able to have an abundance of orgasms with someone when the relationship is just "meh", think about how much better sex could be if you're truly in sync with an individual. Because here's the reality that, for whatever the reason, a lot of us do not want to face — you can find good sex many places; don't let the guy you're sexually hung up on cause you to think otherwise.

Not only that but for every day that you stick around, telling yourself that you're staying because the sex is so bomb, that's one more day that you're wasting when it comes to clearing the path to get the entire package. And if you're willing to waste time, just for some good "D", sis, you are most certainly sexually settling. You are basically saying that you don't deserve to be relationally happy and fulfilled both in and out of the bedroom. And that couldn't be further from the truth.

This leaves me with just one more thing to say on the topic.

5. Be Honest. Are You Turned Out? For Real.


There is one guy from my past who, we were never really friends. For a season, we spent a significant amount of time together and we had a fair amount in common, yet I never wanted him to be an intimate part of my life. He was too opportunistically creepy (I honestly don't know a better way to put it; he was just always trying to charm his way in and out of stuff) for that. So why did I allow him into my treasure trove? Because I had just come off of a relationship a few months prior, was emotionally exhausted and didn't feel like building anything substantial — not a friendship, not more than a friendship. Just wanted a sexual distraction (not saying that was smart; it was just my truth at the time). And how does all of this tie in?

You know, something that I try and drive home to my clients as much as possible is, you can't get very far if you're not willing to hold yourself accountable in your relationships. So, with all that I've already said, where I think this should end is, if the sex is great and the relationship sucks, it can never hurt to look within. What I mean by that is, is the sex good because that's where YOU are showing up and does the relationship suck because that is where YOU are putting in the least amount of effort? Are you so comfortable in the afterglow of orgasms that being sexually turned out is enough for you? And gee, if that's what's going on…is it enough for you?

Because here is something that I can assure you. If it's not enough for "him", he's somewhere getting whatever else he needs. Yeah, one day, I'll do a full piece on monkey-branching (folks who go to one person while holding on to another for safe measure) and how very few people stay content with being…discontent. For now, I'll just say, relationships don't just "suck" — they are a direct result of one or both involved parties not showing up. If you know that's you, what do you want to do about it? Is there enough, beyond sex, to try and make things work and last? Or do you need to come to grips with sex being all there is and that definitely meaning that you are on a timeclock because 98.7 percent of the time, lust, eventually, exhausts itself.

Again, I've been where some of you are. Where the sex is so mind-blowing that you're not really making the rest of your needs the priority that they should be. Yet you know how the old saying goes — if you're looking for a sign to do something different, this would be it. Sex can be great AND you can be in a good relationship too. It's your move. Time's a tickin'. Sis, moving forward, what's it gonna be?

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