Poor bedroom manners, bad hygiene, G spot ignorance... It only takes one small sexual slip up to flick our 'off' switch.
I was in bed with my 'then' boyfriend. We were having sex and he came first. Then, within seconds, he climbed off me, got out of bed, sat at his computer and started writing an email.
"Erm.... Hello? What about me?" I asked.
"Oh," he replied airily, "finish yourself off."
That, folks, was a sex deal-breaker for me.
Let me explain. In our relationships we have dos and don'ts. First we have the ideal list, the things we'd really like from our partner if we lived in a perfect world (do cook our meals, do buy us Chloe handbags and fabulous shoes, don't fart in bed, and don't consider your ability to burp the Match of the Day theme tune a talent worthy of Britain's Got Talent!).
Then there's the most important list - the list of what we require to make us happy with a man (sense of humour, kindness, generosity, intelligence, consideration, passion).
Finally, there's a sex list. Men aren't aware us girls have this list, but they probably have their own version (much smaller because sex is sex) with a couple of vital requirements that will turn them off. Our list means that if he doesn't deliver (or does deliver the negatives) then he's history, no matter how sexy he is. Our sex deal-breakers or SDBs are there to make us feel physically and emotionally satisfied.
SDBs are different for everyone. From a straw poll of my friends I found we all had our own particular issues. They included:-
'finish yourself off' (selfish = doesn't give a shit = see ya)
'very small penises' (they say size doesn't matter - but what can you do with a mini mushroom?)
'very hairy backs' (its nice to sleep with a man not a cuddly toy)
'condom issues' (no shag is worth dying for)
'not getting an orgasm' (What's the point???)
They were all different, but there was one constant, and we all agreed cleanliness is next to godliness. In other words, if you want a bit of this goddess, some cleanliness is in order.
My friend agreed. "I went out with a grubby guy, his flat was a mess, and the first time I stayed over I had to ask him to brush his teeth. He acted surprised, like I was asking a big favour. In the morning we had sex, then he went to work. He didn't even shower!!! He was dumped. I made an effort for him, so why shouldn't he?"
Another friend commented. "Orgasms should be as essential for the girl as the guy! He should try his hardest to help you have a good time in bed. If he doesn't care about you having fun then that says a lot about him as a person."
For the most part, we can train men out of their bad habits - teach him what pleases us and even drag him into the shower. But the most important SDBs are the deeper, more emotional ones. One of my deal-breakers is any reference to previous girlfriends or, more importantly, the wife, in bed. The old "it always worked for XXX" routine is deeply unattractive and shows a lack of sensitivity.
Another SDB is the booty call. I don't want to be the girl who comes to mind when he's sitting in the pub with his mates and thinks "I fancy a shag, I'll call Karen". Its to do with my self respect, and I think men should treat me like a princess. I'm not grateful to get a guy, I think 'lucky them' to get me!
I am a romantic at heart, and another SDB for me shows that. I clearly think I live in a film most of the time, I want the romance. If a man seems distracted or bored in the bedroom then they can bugger off. I want that 'world revolves around us' feeling when I'm having sex. Maybe that's why I date married men because I get that feeling all the time. I demand the attention, and single men can't keep up that momentum.
Our SDBs do change over the years. When I was younger, my checklist of dos included getting it often with lots of fun thrown in, now of course it is more about feeling wanted, cared for and secure. I'm after physical and emotional satisfaction as opposed to frequency and quality. Closeness and caring are essentials on the list now. 10 years ago, the don'ts list would have read 'short, ugly, teeny peeny and unadventurous in bed' but now, although I prefer my man to be attractive, I'm not as hung up on looks - experience has taught me that a pretty face doesn't necessarily mean sexy. Attitude and charisma and of course intelligence count for much more. And as for size? Well yes, a chipolata isn't going to bring tears of joy to my eyes, but I've learnt that 'bigger' men often rely solely on their size and make no effort, whereas 'smaller' men can be very attentive.
Of course I still want some adventurous loving, combined with the 'making love' stuff too. I don't want a man to be better acquainted with my cervix than my surname, but that probably comes with age, as I know myself better than I ever did, and I like myself more each day. My SDB list of don'ts would now read 'unreliable, selfish, disrespectful and not loving'. I now know what I need (and deserve) to make me happy and that includes the cuddles, the close friendship, the caring, the adoration and the respect.
So we know we have lists and why, but what do we do with that knowledge? If a man is guilty of an SBD or two, should we strike him out? Absolutely! When I was young I could compromise, but not when I'm older. There is no point wasting my time on a man who isn't going to make me happy. I prefer to smile about any relationship or friendship I have. If any man makes me frown or wonder what I'm doing there then I prefer to be away from it. Life is too short to hang on to a relationship that doesn't please you in every way.
You could say this was shallow, that deal-breakers are an excuse to avoid intimacy. But I disagree. They're a way of sussing out your compatibility with someone, of maintaining your standards and being true to yourself. You have to know what you like and expect because that is going to ultimately make you happy.
And if sex with a man isn't making me happy then I'm better off finishing it instead of finishing myself off :)