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I (male) am in my early twenties and so is my current girlfriend, we have been together for close to a year. Up until recently, our relationship has been mostly problem free.

However, some days ago, she has mentioned to me (while we were talking about sex but without me asking her about this directly) that the best sexual experience she ever had was with an older man who she only had intercourse with once but who remains one of her friends that she talks to every couple of weeks. She quickly added that she does not and never had any romantic feelings for this man and that she does not consider him to be more physically attractive than me.

This has been troubling me immensely (maybe unreasonably so) the past few days because I feel that this comment was unwarranted and hurtful because she also did not offer any explanation as to why I do not provide the same level of satisfaction, denied any obvious physical or emotional explanations I suggested and reacts dismissive or even offended when I try to bring this topic up again (i.e. "I don't like it when you're insecure").

I have an uneasy feeling about this particularly because for me (and so I assumed almost all women), sex and love are strongly connected such that I fear that she might not be as emotionally attracted to me as I had thought.

I would like for her to stop talking to this person because they do not seem to be very close anyways and until she offers an explanation I feel like I will otherwise start suspecting that there was (and maybe is) more going on between them than she wants to admit to me.

What I would like to know is the following:

  • How can I make my girlfriend understand why this has hurt my feelings?
  • How can I tell her that I would prefer if she did not stay in touch with this friend without coming off as controlling?
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    My original post contained two more questions that were edited out for being primarily opinion-based. Because these points are important to me I would appreciate it if someone could point out how I could reformulate them or ask related questions that do meet the criteria listed in the help center. – Kabal Feb 21 at 13:48
  • Hey Kabal, welcome to IPS! I feel like you are asking two very different question in this post. It might be better if you could split them in two different posts. Also, since you are new, you might be interested in reading our FAQ about "How do I write a good question?" – Ælis Feb 21 at 14:12
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    Could you expand on your reasoning for not allowing her to see this person anymore? – AsheraH Feb 21 at 14:48
  • @Ælis: you're right, these seem to be different questions. I asked them together because the same background information semed relevant to both. – Kabal Feb 21 at 15:14
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    I understand why you choose to ask them together but it would still be very preferable if you could split them. – Ælis Feb 21 at 15:55
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(Addressing only the first question, as Erik above has already given a good answer to the second.)

How can I make my girlfriend understand why this has hurt my feelings?

I'm not sure if this is really the right question, as in you comments and background info you seem to be more concerned about the fact that your gf hasn't given any explanation as to why the other man was a "better" lover. So perhaps a better question would be, How can I open a line of communication with my girlfriend about how to improve our sexual experiences?

First off, has your gf ever given you any feedback before on how to improve sexually? Based on your description, I'm going to hazard a guess that she is one of those people who is reluctant to give pointers to partners for fear of awkwardness or embarrassment.

The best thing for you to do is to openly ask her (at some relevant time, perhaps after you've shared some sexual tidbit about yourself that she didn't previously know) "Hey, is there anything in particular you want me to do for you?". Don't mention the other guy at all, just focus on you and her. Hopefully she mentioned the bit about him as a subtle way to open the door for you guys to communicate more about sex, and will be happy that you opened this line of communication.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the quality of sex is something to be worked on over time, not just "oh he's good/not good in bed". You've been together for less than a year, it's highly unlikely that you've managed to learn every sexual quirk about each other. Sex will get better faster if you openly discuss it, even though it might be a little awkward at first. Also, even though you say you have a lot of experience, as someone in his early twenties the amount of experience you have is quite likely to be less than a significantly older person. The best thing is to focus your efforts on improving the sexual experience for her specifically (because people are different!), rather than hope that the random experiences you've had happen to apply to her as well.

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How can I make my girlfriend understand why this has hurt my feelings?

Tell her what you told us.

I have an uneasy feeling about this particularly because for me (and so I assumed almost all women), sex and love are strongly connected such that I fear that she might not be as emotionally attracted to me as I had thought.

Then tell her you want to have a more honest/in-depth conversation about the topic, if that'll help you. But also make sure you understand why this has hurt your feelings.

It seems your hurt comes from the realization that you are not the best lover your partner has ever had, which does make you sound insecure. It also seems like you think that quality of sex is linked to depth of love, which it is not. Sex is a learned skill, and people who have a lot of experience often outperform those who don't have it. That's not really a problem though; she seems to love you enough to help you get that experience.

You're better off asking her for confirmation of that part. I've had a lover who had tons of experience, and she was very good at reaffirming that even though I'm not very experienced, she loved me deeply and that mattered way more to her than the better sex she had with some other guys.

It's also why I say you should make sure you understand where the hurt is coming from. It appears to be an insecurity on your end.

How can I tell her that I would prefer if she did not stay in touch with this friend without coming off as controlling?

You don't. Trying to tell a partner who they can or cannot have as a friend is a huge red flag in terms of controlling / toxic behavior and you probably don't want to go there.

Especially since the problem exists within you, not between the two of them. They don't seem to be doing anything wrong.

If you suspect something is up between them, you're better off just bringing that up in conversation. Ask her about the kind of (friendly) relationship she has with the other man. And then decide if you trust her, or if you don't. Trying to control people because you don't trust them is counterproductive.

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  • I think I agree with your answer to the second question, I will not ask her to stop seeing him. But I am still unsure about the first question. My distress does not solely stem from my own insecurity, I feel more upset about the fact that she is not really helping me understand what it is that makes me a worse lover. In her words the other guy behaviour in bed was "very similar" to mine and she is not able to formulate any sort of advice for what I can do to improve her experience. This is very frustrating to me, especially since I do have (or so I thought) a lot of experience myself. – Kabal Feb 21 at 16:33
  • @Kabal Have you told her how her dismissal frustrates you? – Pyritie Feb 21 at 17:36
  • @Pyritie Yes, she says I should stop talking about this. – Kabal Feb 21 at 17:44
  • @Kabal That's a little alarming. – Pyritie Feb 21 at 18:59

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