So one of the reasons that Cherry, Lisa and I founded 'The Hotbed Collective' was because we felt like women are often made to feel shamefaced when it comes to talking about their sex lives. It all feels a bit cringe. A bit awkward. Sometimes our secrets only get unearthed when we're super-drunk and then the next day we wake up feeling embarrassed. One of the issues is that we feel like WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE THINGS.
The good thing is that once you start talking about sex and sharing, it tends to feel less loaded. Everyone has had bad sexual experiences (and I'm putting serious things like rape/assault to one side for this discussion as they definitely don't belong in the 'awful' category for obvious reasons).
So here's 10 AWFUL experiences that actually happened (and I don't feel great about sharing them but am hoping they may resonate with you and help you realise that sex is about light, shade and all the stuff in-between).
1. A boy tried to have sex with me through my tights
This boy didn't notice that I had thick, black tights on. I was inexperienced enough not to know what was happening. I found it confusing until I met another boy who told me to take my tights off (up until that point I'd thought sex was something that could actually happen fully clothed).
2. Someone bit me on the arm in a nightclub and I had to get a tetanus injection
I am classing this as a sexual experience but it might not have been. It was the dance music era. I didn't ask him to bite me but I kind of thought it was cool in a Studio 54/Prince/bonkers way. It was painful and I cried and it wasn't good.
3. I nibbled someone's ear and some of their skin came away in my mouth
It was a big piece. I had to swallow it. I felt sick for for a long time afterwards. I am not a prude when it comes to nibbling but I don't actually want to eat human skin and have to digest it etc.
4. I went down on a man with a penis that smelt bad and didn't say anything
I feel like people (men or women) rarely talk about bad smells and sex but this happened and I went ahead anyway. I feel like now I would say something and understand why people often suggest a shower before sex but... there you go.
5. I had sex with someone whilst my best friend was in the bed asleep next to me
This was actually the 'tights incident' so I justify it because I was wearing clothes and we weren't in retrospect having sex as he was just dry humping me on top of my Marks & Spencer 150 Denier tights.
6. I did it in a hospital car park
I feel like everyone has to try sex en plein air at least once but maybe NOT on the floor of a hospital car park with a guy called Dobby, who then blanks you for months afterwards and makes you feel really used.
7. I didn't have the guts to kiss a girl in a room full of girls kissing
Back in my clubbing days, it was fashionable to go back to someone's house and put on some Portishead or Massive Attack and for the girls to start kissing in front of the boys. Whenever this happened, instead of joining in, and exploring this whole exciting area of my sexuality, I would get the hoover out and start tidying up or I'd make a large pot of tea. In fact whenever something sexually adventurous (and let's face it girls kissing isn't that adventurous nowadays), I usually start to tidy up or get the urge to prepare and eat a plateful of Heinz Spaghetti Hoops on toast ( I actually went to 'The Torture Garden' and the first thing I did when I got home was eat Spaghetti Hoops. My body craved comfort and 'normality').
8. I lied about kissing girls to impress people
I am pretty sure that I have told people I have kissed girls to make myself appear more imaginative/open minded/not a Spaghetti-hooped loving, numpty.
9. I once got felt up by my friend's boyfriend whilst we all slept in the same bed
This wasn't my fault. I didn't reciprocate. It made me realise that many men (not all of them) are chancers and will try anything if they think they can get away with it.
10. I have told people sex was good when it wasn't
I feel like I need to share this as it's oftentimes something women do. Why did I do it? Because I didn't want to hurt the other person's feelings and wasn't totally sure what GOOD sex felt like (without tights/biting/trying to impress people). The problem is that when we say it's good, and it's not we are actually creating more bad for everyone else out there. So something has to be said. Even if it's just 'meh'.
So there you go. I'm feeling uncomfortable and am off to do some hoovering.
(If you want to share some of your experiences awful and otherwise, then get busy and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)