Ask anyone who’s survived a bad relationship or two, and they’ll tell you the same thing. They’ll say they should have seen it coming because all the red flags were there right from day one. With any luck, they go into their next relationship a little better prepared.
Not all relationship red flags have to do with the other person not supporting your goals or not wanting you to see your friends, though. Some of them make themselves apparent in the bedroom, so it pays to be aware. Here’s a look at some of the most common sexual red flags and what you should do if you spot them.
They have an unhealthy attitude toward your orgasm.
A good relationship partner understands that sex is about both people involved. They want to please you, and they care whether you’re having an orgasm as often as you wish. Avoid people who don’t care whether you get off and can’t be bothered to try to help you get there.
You’ll also want to be careful of people who seem obsessed with getting you there no matter what. A partner should be able to listen when you tell them it’s just not happening tonight without taking it personally. And no one should ever shame you or imply something’s wrong with you if you can’t orgasm through penetration alone, need a sex toy to get there consistently, and so forth.
They insult your body (or you worry they will.)
Even supermodels aren’t as perfect in real life as their flawlessly airbrushed photos might make them appear. Real people usually have flaws. They have cellulite, stretch marks, and armpit fat. Anyone lucky enough to be in bed with you should be mature enough to accept that, especially since it’s unlikely they’re perfect themselves.
It’s just as big a red flag if their actions outside of the bedroom make you feel like you can’t trust them to love your body as it is. Do they often make weird or unsettling comments about other women’s bodies? Do they practically break their neck staring at every stone goddess that walks by when you’re out together? If so, you’re probably right to wonder about their priorities.
They shame you for what you do or don’t like in bed.
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping things on the vanilla side if that’s what you prefer, there’s an entire world of sexual flavors out there to try. A particular partner may or may not be into exploring everything on your list, but they should never make you feel ashamed of what turns you on or laugh at any of your fantasies.
On the flip side, they shouldn’t pressure you to do things you’re not comfortable with, either. If your partner ever makes you feel like you can’t say “no” to something they want in the bedroom, that’s a big sexual red flag, run the other way. Their respect for you as a person should outweigh their desire to do whatever it is they have in mind.
The chemistry isn’t there on your end.
Sometimes a particular partner looks good on paper, but things never really come together when it’s time to get closer physically. Are you sometimes put off by kissing or making out with them for reasons you don’t totally understand? Maybe you don’t feel as excited as you usually would about the idea of being intimate with them or can’t get into things without pretending they’re someone else.
If not exactly a huge red flag, it’s still a subtle signal from your body that you’re not that into someone. Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but it’s still significant. Life’s too short to spend it with someone in your bed who makes you feel lukewarm at best about the idea of having sex with them.
You can’t seem to agree when it counts.
No two people will be exactly alike when it comes to their sex drives and bedroom preferences, but you should at least feel like compromise is possible. If you’re just so darned different that the two of you are basically taking turns feeling unsatisfied, that’s a sexual red flag and it might be time to rethink some things.
Are you in the mood to get down and dirty multiple times a week (or even per day) while they’re happy with only a couple of times a month? Is their absolute favorite bedroom activity something you find barely tolerable at best? Are they good at listening when you try to open specific topics up for conversation? If not, it might be a sign you’re not that compatible after all.
Relationships may not be all about sex, but the state of your sex life and the health of the rest of your relationship often go hand in hand. If things aren’t right in the bedroom, and you can’t seem to find any common ground with your partner, it might be time to reconsider.