#Love & Sex
Cecilia, You’re Breakin’ My Heart
by The 4-Way Panel
Insecure about living up to her S.O.’s former lover, one reader writes to the 4-Way panel for advice. Our relationship non-experts talk confidence in the bedroom and intimacy outside the bedroom.
I’ve been in a fantastic relationship for five months and we’ve already shared so many special, honest moments. We have good sex, but it’s not the best part of our relationship; we are also intimate in conversation and in our time spent together.
He’s really into watching himself down there when we have sex and doesn’t kiss me very much during sex, either. I’m afraid I’m not connecting with him because of my insecurities and fear of being objectified and used again. To make matters worse, he got drunk one night and blurted out during a game of “I never” that a girl named Cecilia was his “best sex ever.” I tried not to let that get to me, but it did. We talked about it and he explained that it was an almost euphoric experience where he felt very connected to her, then he added, “she’s married now, anyway” as if that would ease my pain.
How should I deal with this? I think I’m falling in love with him, but how will I ever live up to this woman and their shared experience? Especially when I’m insecure in the bedroom and he seems not that into me anyway. Is connecting during sex important if you’re connected in other ways? —MS, San Francisco, California
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
I have to say, at first blush, this guy doesn’t seem to be such a great catch.
First, I’m confused about the “good sex” comment. If he’s not looking at you and not kissing you during sex, how can that be good for you? And do you think it’s “good” because he gets turned on when he’s watching himself and therefore if he thinks it’s good, then it is good? Do you see where I’m going with this? One person doesn’t get to decide whether or not it’s good; it’s a team decision. If it’s not working for both of you, then it’s not good. Period.
Second, anyone who’s insensitive enough to blurt out the name of the person he supposedly had the “best sex ever” with in front of the current person he’s dating seems like a bit of an ass, though maybe that’s just me being harsh.
But I’m less worried about the guy and more worried about you. It’s good that you recognize that you don’t want to be “objectified and used” again, but I think you should pinpoint the specific things in the past that made you feel that way, so you can avoid those when pursuing relationships and you don’t keep ending up with the same kind of men over and over again. You may not be able to get to the heart of that on your own, so you might need to talk with a therapist, or at the very least, a trusted friend who’ll be honest with you.
I’m certainly no therapist, but one thing I can tell you for sure is this: you’ll continue to have issues in your relationships until you get your internal issues worked out. So please do. You deserve to feel confident in a healthy, loving relationship, but that’s going to take some work on your part.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
Girl, we need to break this one on down into bite-sized pieces—there’s a lot to swallow here! You start out by telling us you’re having good sex, then you follow up by telling us you’re not connecting during sex. Which is it? If you’re having good sex, I would think you’re connecting and fulfilling each other’s needs and desires.
Then we’ve got this issue of him being into “watching himself down there” when you have sex. What? No wonder you’re not kissing that much! That’s a hell of a lot of coordination going on, to be able to look, balance, and kiss all at the same time. What is this guy, a gymnast?
Now, don’t think I’ve forgotten about your own “insecurities and fear of being objectified and used again” point. I would need to know the history of this one to be able to point you in a direction, but that’s a whole other question; write us again next month. I would say this, though: you know the difference. You may try to talk yourself into avoiding what’s right in front of your nose, but you know the difference.
But let’s move on to the “almost euphoric experience.” After you loosened your grip on his nuts for making that comment in front of you, did you ask him to explain why that was such a memorable experience for him? Perhaps there’s some way of pleasing him that you’ve yet to discover and that’s why he puts this experience high on the top of his list. Can you learn from it and try to please him in the same way she did? Perhaps. But if you haven’t asked him, or tried to think of a way to one-up that experience for him, Cecilia will remain a tough act to follow. Above all, have open communication with him and find out what he wants, and what you need, and go with it from there.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
This might sound strange coming from a man, but there’s more to a relationship than sex. There I said it; don’t make me say it again. But seriously, sex shouldn’t be the best part of the relationship. You say you have a fantastic relationship, that you have shared special moments, and the sex is good … so in the words of the Beatles, “let it be.”
I think you’re up in your head too much on some meaningless stuff. You’re stressing about a statement he made while he was drunk in a silly “I never” game. Take that for what it’s worth. Cecilia and he may have had great sex, but their relationship didn’t work out; she’s now married, and he doesn’t have any interest in pursuing her again. So what should you do? Yup, let it be. Btw, is this the same Cecilia who broke Paul Simon’s heart? What a tramp.
But I digress, you’ve got more important things to worry about—specifically, the dead weight of your insecurities and fears from the past. Your statement that “you don’t want to be objectified and used again” is a pretty big red flag that you have some issues with sex and relationships. You’re either in a victim mentality or you choose exploitative men. Either way, you’ve got to deal with this before you’re ready for a good relationship.
I’m down on my knees, beggin’ you please, to send Cecilia home and get some “Help,” to quote another Beatles song.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
You’re asking a lot of important questions, but before we can search for answers, I have a question for you. How do you intend to heal your fear of being used and objectified by men? Because if you’re waiting for a lover’s response to make everything magically okay, you may be disappointed. You must find a way, through therapy, reading books, exercise, etc, to help you feel secure in yourself—in and out of the bedroom.
Guys (okay, some guys, not all) will continue to objectify. And since you can’t control their behavior, you need to learn to work with yours. I feel this underlying need from you, like you want this guy to heal your issues. From what you wrote, it sounds like he has his own issues to contend with. Any guy who’s more into looking at his genitals than kissing you has some healing of his own to do.
Truth be told, we all have our issues. If you really have the honest connection that you say you do, just be honest with him. Talk to him about what you feel. But remember, just because you’re ready to look at your part in this doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be ready to look at his.
One more thing, you don’t have to live up to this other woman. That’s just a game. You need to live up to creating the kind of honest and real relationship that you want with this guy. And yes, a good sex life is part of that.