Look inside yourself for a moment. Go to that special, dark place where you hold all your most treasured self beliefs. That place where you suspect that if push came to shove you could win MasterChef, or write a song that's way catchier than the closing minute of Hey Jude – and even that really good bit that goes "nanana naaah heeeey juuuude." And now that you're examining all the things that you privately believe you're good at, ask yourself, am I good at sex? Really?
It's a big question, because comprised within are several tightly wound layers of ego, history, and a capacity/incapacity for self reflection. In short, you can tell a lot about a person by how good they think they are in bed.
So we asked some people around Melbourne.
VICE: Hey David, are you good at sex?
David: Yeah, most of the time. Although sometimes I cum way too soon. Depends on the foreplay and how rushed it all is. I definitely don’t have a 100 percent amazing strike rate.
I don’t think anyone does! But you say it depends on the foreplay – how?
Well, if a girl does some, like, hand stuff or is blowing me and then says something like “I need it in me” and just jumps on, well let’s just say I’m not going to last long.
But how does she know if you’re almost there?
Some people just can’t wait.
That’s boring. So, you enjoy foreplay?
Foreplay is half the fun! Sometimes even more than half.
Rosie, are you good in bed?
Haha… well… I actually have a funny story about that. My last time, I actually ended up in hospital.
Yeah his dick was a little bigger than expected. I ended up needing stitches. I still haven’t been able to have sex since. I’ve had to have eight weeks of abstinence. I think I’m on week six or seven?
You poor thing! Did you have to go to the hospital? Like, what happened?!
Yeah, I couldn’t figure out what had happened. We were having sex in the bathroom, right? And it just looked like a murder scene, honestly. It sort of got to a point where I was like this probably isn’t normal, I should go to hospital. Then it just wouldn’t stop bleeding, so I had to call an ambulance and everything.
Was it a one night stand? Or partner?
Neither. But it was our first time having sex.
I’m sorry, this sounds really traumatic. What was the guy’s response?
He was good. Did all the right things, came to hospital with me and stayed and waited overnight and took me home after.
Okay wow. I’m so sorry.
It’s still fairly early for me. I just think I need more experiences to really know what I’m doing.
Ben, 43 (only agreed to this interview on condition he could use a photo from his own personal collection – ladies)
Ben! Are you good in bed?
Look, I love sex. So, I hope that’s an indication that I’m doing something right? Twenty-five or so years of practice and a genuine intent for my partner to enjoy sex as much as I do, makes me feel as though it’s a thing.
It's a thing? As in yes?
Haha, yes. I believe I am good in bed.
Has anyone ever complimented you on sex afterwards?
Yes and there’s even been a few times when I’m sure it was genuine!
Self-deprecating – love it. But I mean, why say it if it wasn’t genuine?
We all tell little white lies to make people feel good, right? I’m guilty of that crime.
Absolutely. Are you dating anyone right now?
Hey girl. Question: are you good in bed?
I’d say so! I feel very confident during sex. It took me a fucking long time to get to this point though.
What makes you confident during sex?
Well, I’m still super young so I’m really just learning to be comfortable with my body. I think having older lovers helps speed it up, there’s less judgment or it’s like they’ve seen more body types or something which made me less conscious of how I look during sex.
That’s interesting, so older people are more accepting you find?
Yep. It helps me to be more engaged, selfless, and passionate in bed. Someone told me after sex once that I was the most sexually confident and self-assured person they’d been with. That’s far more meaningful to me that great blowjob feedback, because it kind of showed me how far I’ve come…
Also, kind of highlights the maturity of the lover too, right?
Exactly! But also I used to only have sex in the dark—on a skinny day—but now I actually like how I look on top.
Yes! Powerful stuff. Blowjob compliments aren’t always bad though, right?
Oh of course not. They’re still fun and totally ego-boosting. For me, it’s just accepting the fact that sex can get weird and every experience is as unique as the person you share it with. My body is worth worshipping even if it doesn’t look like Emily Ratajkowski’s.
Hi Chris. Are you good in bed?
I don’t think I am. But I think that works in my advantage.
In what way?
Well, it means I’m always getting better and better you know? I’m consistently learning what my partner enjoys and using it to turn me on, which honestly makes the sex better every time.
If someone thinks they’re good at sex, do you think that usually means they’re not?
I’ve been with a lot of people who say they’re good or even great. But usually they don’t know (or care) that good for them isn’t always good for the other person. You know? They’re selfish lovers.
Oh, I know. But do you ever find that concentrating on your partner’s needs mean that yours get ignored?
No. I am open to learning about other people, especially if it’s someone I’m going to be with – and be having sex with – for a long period of time. Sex to me is when you know the other person super well and via their quirks and kinks and turn-ons, you can discover new things about yourself and play with them. Literally.
Are you good in bed?
Honestly, it depends who I am in bed with – some people like very “different” stuff. It also varies between whether I’m in a relationship with that person like how comfortable I am. When I’m comfortable it gets better, because I know what they like and dislike. I wouldn’t say there are any standout qualities that make me either good or bad, it’s more about whether we have a connection I think.
Have people told you you’re good before?
Yeah, of course. But, in some circumstances, I know I haven’t been very good. One night stands are so different from an ongoing thing.
So, you prefer relationship sex to single sex?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying one night stands aren’t fun! They are. Sex is a learning experience for me, though. So, the more you have with one person, the more you learn. I think I will learn so much more as I get older. I still feel a little inexperienced in a way. Sex is this huge part of life and it shouldn’t be an egocentric thing. It should be about pleasuring both parties. Everyone should enjoy, no?
Totally. Selfish assholes still exist though! Were you ever selfish in bed?
Yeah, a lot of people are selfish. I was a bit like that at the start, which definitely wasn’t good. But now I’m a bit older and have had more sexual partners, I’ve started to realise that it’s generally just better if you give a shit about the other person.
Hey Shannon, are you good in bed?
Yeah, I am. Quite good.
That is a straightforward, confident answer to a difficult question! Why yes?
What prompted me to say yes, is that I am a giver and a receiver. I reckon if you are too focused on one or the other, then you can’t do a really good job.
That’s a good point, actually.
Well, how can you be good if you’re not enjoying it? You’ve got to have a bit of both.
So, if you were to rate yourself?
Yeah look… I’d give myself an 8/10.
A solid eight! Very good. Have other people’s opinions influenced that?
Probably less so as I’ve gotten older. Definitely.
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This article originally appeared on VICE AU.