Warning: Adult content
While some men think they're Don Juan and Casanova all rolled into one, the truth is much more disappointing, writes Nadia Bokody.
This is it. The moment I've been waiting for.
He's kissing me gently. I'm savouring the scent of his earthy cologne. It all feels so magical. We might have only been dating a couple of weeks, but at this moment, it's like we were destined to be together.
Fast-forward six minutes, and he's rolling off me to go to sleep. I've literally had longer trips to the mailbox than the time it took this guy to finish.
If you're a woman reading this, chances are, you didn't need to imagine any of it. You were already flashing back to your own vivid memory of an eerily similar encounter.
Here's the thing every female friend I have secretly acknowledges: Most men suck at sex.
The number of women I know who wait for their partner to take a post-coital shower so they can finish the job themselves would fill a football stadium.
And yet, the number of men who use my inbox and comments section to boast about what generous, brilliant lovers they are, would seem to suggest there's a cognitive dissonance occurring here.
If you think I'm saying all of this because I hate men, you're wrong.
Not only do I love guys – including the one I've been in a relationship with the past three years – I've devoted most of my career to helping them.
Sure, I talk and write about the female sexual experience, because I'm dedicated to destroying the stigma around it. But more so, I do it so we can all – blokes included – open our eyes to what's really going on here, do something about it, and start having better sex.
The truth is, guys have been short-changed just as much as women when it comes to sexual education.
There is no class in school, or discussion had with parents, where boys learn about detailed anatomy and the highly sophisticated, often deeply individualistic way women experience pleasure. In fact, there is only one reference point for all of the above: Porn.
As someone who regularly consumes X-rated content and encourages couples to use it as a catalyst for conversation around sex, I'm not here to demonise porn. In fact, I've given seminars and written at length about the health and relationship benefits of consuming it (that's for another column).
But I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't also point out that porn is a terrible teacher.
Trying to learn about female sexual pleasure via porn is like trying to learn about relationships by watching Hollywood rom-coms (spoiler alert, ladies: your partner will never appear outside your window clutching roses in a limo playing La Traviata).
Research by Public Health England suggests at least 42 per cent of women are having crappy sex. As someone who has women from all over the world open up to me about their sex lives, my guess is, the real number is higher.
Many of these women are incredibly accomplished, confident people, who are nailing it in every area of their lives, and then bankrupting themselves in the bedroom. Because, in case it wasn't apparent already, women aren't taught about what sexual pleasure should look like either.
What we know – but don't say – is that most of what our husbands and boyfriends are doing isn't working for us.
So, if you're ready for a truth bomb now, gents, here it is.
Women don't want sex to be a race to the finish. We'd also really appreciate it if you could stop twisting our body into as many physically torturous positions as possible. A few minutes to relax would be great, thanks. And if it wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience, a few minutes of foreplay wouldn't go astray. At least 15 minutes before you collect $200 and pass GO would be ideal.
This all isn't to say women don't need to take any accountability here. Because the truth is, if you want a mutually fulfilling sex life, you need to stop waiting for your partner to mind-read you.
Will your new-found honesty hurt his ego? Probably. But, from speaking to men about sex almost as much as I do to women, I can also say, he'd rather take the hit than keep denying you pleasure.
Shrouding sex in shame and silence is hurting all of us. It's hurting our marriages, our physical and mental health, and our sense of who we are. Because when we don't communicate about something as important as our pleasure, we lose a little piece of ourselves.
So let's all get real here, even if it hurts a few egos: The sex up to this point hasn't been great, guys.
But I'm telling you because I know for a fact you're capable of a whole lot better, when you have the right information.