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Auntie SparkNotes: I Hate Sex and Relationships

Dear Auntie Sparknotes,

I’ll skip the preface. I have to two separate but related problems: sex and relationships.

Sex feels awful. Not emotionally, no, the issue lies more in the fact that sex feels like the physical equivalent of Spiderman 3: cringing profusely and desperately wondering when it will end. I know it’s normal to hurt at first, but I’ve had considerable experience and am never shy with communicating with my partner. Surely it shouldn’t still totally suck? The physical distress then causes emotional distress, where I get anxious at the thought of sex. It also comes with a feeling of missing out; after all, isn’t it supposed to be awesome?

Relationships are similar. Allow me to outline for you all my relationships: I ask them out. They say yes; I’m happy as can be expected. Then after a few lovely weeks, apropos of nothing, I start dreading seeing them. Thinking of them is a stone in my gut. I end up breaking up with them. Why does this happen? No idea, as it’s never caused by actual problems in the relationship. This causes a feeling of missing out as well, since, as stated, it should be great, right?

It’s worth noting that I have a strong preference towards women, or as I like to call it, homo-except-for-Chris-Evans-hot-damn-have-you-seen-dat-ass-sexual. As I have never slept with a female, that could be my answer: guys are no. And my relationships with women have been far more successful than those with men.

Obviously, I should stop having sex for the time being. I’m only 16, it’s quite advisable. When I want to, I’ll give it another shot. The same goes for relationships. I can also mostly limit myself to relations with women, and see if I decide that maybe dudes aren’t my thing. My main fear is that this won’t change, and that sex will still hurt and relationships will inexplicably fail, and I’ll live out the rest of my days with only some cats and a vibrator for company.

Well, sure! Except for the part where that’ll never happen, and the very suggestion is ridiculous. Not objectively, of course—there are some people for whom that outcome would genuinely be something to worry about (not to mention others for whom it would be something to aspire to!). But you, my darling Sparkler, are not one of those people—a fact I am sure of thanks to the following tidbit in your letter’s final paragraph, which is quite the example of what journalists like to call “burying the lede”:


And in the multiple decades of relationship-seeking, sex-having, life-living existence you have ahead of you, it is virtually guaranteed that your current feelings vis-a-vis the physical act of love will change… along with things like your priorities, perspective, and preferred pizza toppings. (Who knew that anchovy-jalapeno was the combination of the gods?!)

In short, what you’re going through now is not something you’ll be going through forever; it may not even be something you’ll be going through next year. And while the details may vary, the fact remains that very few people are good at sex or relationships at your age. This is a stage of life at which it is totally normal and natural to flail around and make mistakes and generally feel like you have no idea what you want or what you’re doing.

That said, it also sounds like you could stand to take a break from both dating and doing the bang-bang, for no other reason than that neither activity is bringing positive things to your life. And that’s fine; all it means is that this is an opportune moment to focus on things other than dating. But in the meantime (and in the likely event that you do eventually meet someone interesting enough to get naked with), it also sounds like you could stand to visit your friendly neighborhood OBGYN to make sure that everything is physically okay downstairs—because while most of the issues in your letter will almost certainly resolve themselves, the kinds of physical conditions which make sex painful or uncomfortable usually need a little help from a doctor. So please, get some… uh, before you get some.

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