My boyfriend thinks he’s amaz­ing in bed

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■ A few months ago I started go­ing out with a great guy. The prob­lem is, he thinks he’s fan­tas­tic in bed and is al­ways mak­ing self con­grat­u­la­tory com­ments about it. But the truth is he’s not tak­ing the time to get to know what I want, be­cause he thinks he knows it all al­ready.”

>> Brag­ging is an age-old strat­egy em­ployed by peo­ple who are afraid of not mea­sur­ing up. In­stead of ask­ing for feed­back, they at­tempt to bluff their way through any­thing that threat­ens them or might make them feel awk­ward. In the bed­room it might mean us­ing phrases such as, “that was re­ally great, wasn’t it?”, which de­mands an af­fir­ma­tive re­sponse, whereas the an­swer for, “how was it for you?” could go ei­ther way.

You say that your new boyfriend is a great guy, and I hope he is. But it’s worth point­ing out that this brag­ging could be a way of con­vinc­ing him­self of his self-worth. Some­times the eas­i­est way for some­one to feel su­pe­rior is to make their part­ner feel in­fe­rior, and this cre­ates a toxic and un­healthy re­la­tion­ship. If you start feel­ing un­der­mined and be­gin ques­tion- ing your­self, run for the hills.

Al­though brag­ging about prow­ess might im­ply a wealth of sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence, the op­po­site is of­ten true. Your new man might have had lots of ca­sual part­ners, but show­ing off is much more com­mon in men who have not had many, or any, long-term re­la­tion­ships. You can only re­ally learn about in­ti­macy when you are emo­tion­ally in­vested in a part­ner. If you don’t feel that con­nec­tion, you are not go­ing to waste your time ed­u­cat­ing a sex­ual part­ner who is obliv­i­ous to his in­ad­e­qua­cies. Sex is a lan­guage with­out words, and if you don’t feel you un­der­stand a part­ner and, more im­por­tantly, don’t care enough to try, it is of­ten eas­ier to bail.

If no one has chal­lenged your boyfriend on his self-con­grat­u­la­tory sex­ual ban­ter, he has no rea­son to be­lieve it is not ef­fec­tive, and it is hu­man na­ture to as­sume that what works with one part­ner will work with an­other. This is of­ten a big mis­take. In the ab­sence of good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, car­ry­ing as­sump­tions about ex­per­tise over from one re­la­tion­ship to the next will not re­sult in a good sex life.

The good news for your boyfriend is that you clearly like him enough to try to see be­yond his goofy ar­ro­gance. Since his brag­ging prob­a­bly masks feel­ings of in­se­cu­rity, a di­rect chal­lenge is not the best ap­proach. In­stead, fo­cus on com­mu­ni­cat­ing what you want from him. When it comes to sex, women are not bril­liant at be­ing ex­plicit, of­ten be­cause they feel shy, but also be­cause they are afraid of com­ing across as bossy or di­rec­tive. How­ever, leav­ing men to work out your re­sponses by them­selves is un­fair. They might know the ba­sics, but they won’t know the nu­ances. So ad­di­tional guid­ance is help­ful.

Give your man a per­son­alised tour of the most sen­si­tive parts of your body. De­scribe the pre­cise forms of stim­u­la­tion that you en­joy and give him feed­back when he gets it right.

I sus­pect that, once you be­gin com­mu­ni­cat­ing your likes and dis­likes more clearly, his more ir­ri­tat­ing be­hav­iours will dis­ap­pear. Af­ter all, once you be­gin voic­ing au­then­tic and un­prompted ap­pre­ci­a­tion, there will be no need for him to boost his ego.


is a lan­guage with­out words

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