It was a typical Friday night. I was eating pho out of a pot with friends at home while we reflected on our summer. Specifically, the casual sex we’d engaged in and found unfulfilling.
My issue with casual sex is perhaps best expressed by a conversation with my friend as we slurped our noodles. She’d been unable to land a second date. Pondering why this might be, she asked, “What if I’m just bad in bed?” While I was quick to refute the claim (there are no bad lovers, only bad listeners) she continued, “No, but seriously, how would I know?”
In long-term relationships, you’re afforded the privilege of an ongoing dialogue regarding your sex. This continual communication manifests in a general improvement of your sexual performance. However, for many of us who have casual sex, this is noticeably absent. You have sex once, maybe twice, and then never speak about it again with that person. This lack of communication leaves little base to improve upon.
Having ruminated on this, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to ask the people I have had sex with for feedback on my sexual performance.
The Google form has become a ubiquitous tool in administration and organisation. I thought it only fitting for it to be the means by which I asked for feedback from all of my previous sexual partners.
The reactions to receiving the form were largely positive; all were quite comfortable with the idea. That is, save for Bob1, who voiced his concern with the premise itself, saying he didn’t view sex in an easily compartmentalised way. After telling him this was spectacular fodder for the Google form, he filled it out.
On average, they rated the sex they had with me an 8.2. While a few explained the rating by saying it was “a lot of fun”, Tim waxed lyrical on his frustration with rating systems themselves. “Even if it were a good idea to shoehorn all the complex things we use [ratings systems] for… into a single number,” he said, “then they’re still nigh on impossible to do usefully.” Having insightfully noted this, he complied with the rating system.
I was especially keen to know their feelings on protection and who prompted its use. Alan in particular showed signs of amnesia about our use of protection (I had to be quite adamant about using a condom), saying, “It was mutual and I was glad.” Ironically, it was during sex with Alan that the condom came off inside and I had to fish it out of my vagina with my finger. We got another condom and continued. He rated me a seven and a half.
When I asked for specifics on what they did, or did not, enjoy, Tim was the only one who detailed – quite beautifully – a preferred method of performing fellatio: “One hand on the shaft, one on their testicles and sucking the head.” He rated me a seven – room for improvement, apparently.
I found this interesting given that while performing fellatio on Tim, I remember him repeatedly telling me how great I was at it. A perfect exemplar of the purpose of the Google form: you end up walking around thinking you’re ace at sucking dick when really you’re just a seven. To be fair, that rating improved over the course of my experiences with my most recent sexual partner giving me a nine. Practice really does make perfect.
On foreplay, the only respondent who noted more time could have been given was the one where adverse circumstances limited our time (hot tip: you’ll need to book a Fisher sound booth for longer than an hour). In comparison, the others – where we had both a bed and more time – all said that an adequate amount of time was given to foreplay, despite having spent less time on it.
The average woman takes 45 minutes to reach full arousal. Thus, if you’re having sex with a woman and not spending at least 30 minutes on foreplay, it could be longer.
One question that produced varied results was whether or not our sex was better or worse than they expected. While one said it was “fun and not overly serious”, Tim said it was, “about as good as I expected, which is to say good” and Bob disagreed with the terms of the question, again.
My final question was whether or not, regardless of any other factors of our relationship, they would have sex with me again. 85 per cent said yes, and Bob said no. His philosophical justification – that the question was absolutist and ignored how “decisions to not have sex can be entirely embodied in one party” – served as a reminder of why I’ve sworn off fucking2 philosophy majors.
Sex is not easily quantifiable or able to be neatly summarised. It is complex, nuanced and incredibly subjective. But when you are having casual sex, the absence of an ongoing dialogue can leave you feeling alone and clueless.
This was one woman’s pursuit to enable her own improvement as an Independent Woman. What resulted was an elaborate listing for the student newspaper advertising me, my 8.2 rating and a 10/10 Google form.
1. Perhaps unsurprisingly, anonymity was key to getting responses. None of the names are real as a result.
2. Used as both an adjective and a verb.