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cosmo_big.jpgRecently I read an article that made me angry, "Five Traits in a Mate That are Not Deal Breakers".  The premise of this article is that many women have standards for men that are ultimately not helpful in finding a marriage partner.  This premise seems ok.  Oh, look at that, the author wrote a whole book on the subject.  Interesting, let's see what traits she thinks aren't deal breakers.

His Height
His Online Dating Profile
His Occupation
His Age
How he compares to "my type"

Ummmm, are you kidding me????  When were these five considered important standards in the first place???  Where is "do we get along well because we are aiming to live together for years?", or the practical, "we have similar goals and dreams regarding lifestyle and family," or even, "I really care about this person?"  Height?  Really????  You only want to marry a doctor or fireman or whatever? Really?  Well have fun being a beautiful couple on the surface and miserably matched in reality.

Ok, so there are a billion articles in women's magazines and other similar places that try to convince us that physical appearance, image, and "type" are crucial.  So why is a sex ed writer writing about this?  And why did I have such a strong reaction to this piece?  Certainly because it is based totally on heterosexist norms of what women need to look for in a man so he can protect her and impress her rivals (oops I meant friends!).  But also because the boiling down of people's hopes for lifetime partnership to such frivolous traits is the same thing we do with sex and perspective sexual partners. 

We are told our expectations of perspective partners should be about appearance stereotypes instead of connection, compatibility, or even personal idiosyncratic standards of attraction.  Look at the way the media sells sex.  It is all about hot bodies (which are identified as the ones unobtainable for most normal humans), game playing, and sexual tricks.  How many times do we need to learn fifteen tricks to blow him away in bed before we have some sex that actually blows us both away? 

Well, the secret is you can read these articles forever and it really won't help.  In the  best cases it can foster a sense of sexual adventure (never a bad thing). But in the end they still sell us the myth that good sex can only be achieved by conventionally beautiful people who know just the right tricks. I am here to tell you that this is bullshit.  Don't believe the myth.  Here are my five things to disregard when you are interested in having good sex.

1. How your body compares to the current ideal

Don't believe the myth that only the "beautiful" people are having hot sex.  The truth is that the myth of beauty as perfection is inherently flawed.  No one is ever perfect enough to fit this ideal. If you are setting your standards at perfection, you will never feel you have reached it.  Over-concern about how your body looks is a very efficient way to kill arousal.

2. The latest sex fad

So you just found out the perfect trick that promises to be "mind-blowing?"  Ok, how long does it take?  Two seconds?  Ten seconds?  Thirty if you do it twice?  I hope your sexual experiences are longer than thirty seconds.  What are you going to do to fill the rest of your time?  Please don't say, "memorize fifty nine more mind blowing sex tricks."
How attractive your partner would rate to anyone but you
I know we are all susceptible to the lure of status that a conventionally hot partner can bring with friends, family, and,in some circumstances, our career.  It is a sad thing (and often a sexist thing) about our culture that we rate other peoples' partner's in attractiveness and attribute admiration based on this.  But the bottom line is that most of the time, your friends, family, and colleagues are not sleeping with your partner.  You are.  Pick someone that YOU are attracted to.

3. The more fucked up the circumstances, the better the sex.

Sure, breaking taboos can be hot.  Spontaneity can be hot.  Novelty can be hot.  But fear isn't a turn on for everyone, and even when it is, there is always tomorrow....when her biker boyfriend that she was getting a revenge fuck on finds you in her bed. Boning in that church parking lot may become significantly less exciting and more disturbing as Sunday mass ends and the people dressed in pastel begin passing your parked car.

4. Playing the dating game

Sex myths say it is exciting to string people along, play jealousy games to make them more interested, or pretend to be less interested in them than you really are because it will make you seem more desirable.  But really, most of the time games end up confusing everyone.  They also leave very little time for finding out if you actually enjoy someone and just how much you enjoy their company.

Here are five things that actually make a difference in having good sex and lots of it:

1. Do you feel comfortable in and like your body?

If you do, you are likely to be more sexually adventurous because you are not constantly thinking of how your body might look.  You are also more likely to respond to sexual suggestions with an attitude of adventure instead of fear.  Other people will sense this about you and see you as sexier.  I cannot say enough about what liking your body does for perceived levels of attractiveness.

2. Do you know about anatomy as it relates to sexual pleasure and function?

If you are hoping to make her orgasm purely through vaginal stimulation you are likely going to be waiting a very long time.  If you are trying to find his prostate because the magazine told you it was the latest thing, but you don't know much about how to comfortably put your finger up someone's ass, your partner is not going to have their mind blown.  They are going to have a sore ass, and likely a sore disposition to match.

3. Can you ask for what you want?

Are you willing and ready to take the risk?  Can you do things like show your partner how you masturbate so they can help you cum or talk openly about your fantasies?  If not, you'd better hope they are very good at reading minds and bodies.  In fact, you should probably consider dating a psychic.

4. Do you have a good sense of adventure when it comes to what your partner wants?

Are you willing to keep a reasonably open mind?  Lots of times we don't know what we might find hot until we give it a try.

5. Can you be good to your partners?

Whether long term partner or random fuck buddy, the person who is considerate is the person who will have connected sex and returning partners.  Being good to your partners is about knowing their terms as well.  What do they want from the relationship?  Be honest about whether you can give that or not.

Don't believe the sex myth.  Spend time figuring out what works for you and your partners.  Learn more about bodies and sexualities.  And for god's sake, quit reading self help lists and go have some decent sex!

Write the Author: Laura Rad

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Kidder Kaper

Kidder has been theorizing and writing about human sexuality since 1993, when he began work on his primary goal: "Teaching the world to be unafraid to enjoy sex."


Laura Rad

Laura Rad has been educating herself and others about sexuality for over seven years. You can find Laura every week chatting with the crew of the Sex is Fun Podcast.


Gay Rick

Gay Rick is an HIV Educator and Co-Host on the Sex is Fun podcast. He is also a certified Hepatitis C Educator.



The in-house audio engineer.


John Stark

John writes a blog titled We Sleep Together. He is in his twenties, and has been in an open relationship for six and some years.



The Walrus is an avid SIF listener, married, and recently became a proud father. He spends his days working in IT, but has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional and conservative thoughts sexually.


Cooper Beckett

Cooper Beckett's life isn't like other people's. When he's not writing or podcasting at Life on the Swingset, he's living it up with his wife Marilyn as evangelical swingers, spreading the good word that "sharing is caring."


Beth Swings

Beth is an English rose, happily married and happily swinging in the UK and abroad. She has a full-time vanilla career which she loves. Beth counts sex and naturism among her many extra-curricular passions in life.


Mari Rose

Mari Rose and her family live in Colorado, love life and do their best to maintain balance and sanity and in this crazy, sexy, beautiful world.



Lorax runs everything behind the scenes at Sex is Fun. If she's not maintaining the website, gathering articles, or directing art you can find her wakeboarding or snowboarding with her husband.