Should You Call It off If the Sex Is Bad?

Playing Does Bad Sex Mean a Relationship is Doomed?

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A viewer wants to know if she recently started dating someone and the sex was bad, is her relationship doomed? Psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow joins The Doctors in the audience to help answer this question.

Dr. Dow says our brains are like snowflakes. Some of us are sensation seekers while others are sensation avoiders. The seekers love the feeling they get from a rush of dopamine and on a first date they may be great in bed. Sensation avoiders, however, may be better later on, when they get more comfortable. Dr. Dow says if the sex isn’t good the first time but the conversation is and you felt a connection, don’t count that person out! 

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Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra shares that in one survey about first sexual encounters with a new partner, 53% of people said they were worried about how their body looked and 50% of people said they worried about pleasing their partner. She shares another study that says 6 out of 10 relationships that started out with bad sex continued forward. 

Dr. Dow adds that as a relationship grows, it’s a learning experience. In the beginning, the neurotransmitter dopamine spikes and serotonin, a feel-good upper, goes down but in a relationship, those neurotransmitters change places. As you learn about your partner, you learn what really turns them on. You’re not going to discover this on the first date!

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ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says he’s shocked to read the statistic that 3 in 10 Americans would call it off if the first time wasn’t good. “You could be giving up on your future spouse, or the love of your life! One strike is a lot of pressure,” says Dr. Travis. Dr. Batra adds that apparently, people will tolerate 4.5 sexual encounters before they break it off.

The Doctors all seem to agree that sex can improve over time. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again!