Yes Yes Yes And: Fail More, Fail Harder

Yes Yes Yes And is my ongoing feature on the parallels between improv and sex. Yes, I am a nerd. Enjoy.


When I’m in the mood to get reeeeal esoteric about comedy, I listen to the Backline podcast. And Rob Norman and Adam Cawley, ever men after my own heart, always serve up exactly the joke-laced philosophizin’ I’m craving.

One truth-bomb I’ve heard Rob drop in multiple episodes is that failure is good for your improv. The harder you fail, the more you get out of your comfort zone. The more you fail, the more you learn. Rob says, when he gets into a place of stasis with his improv, where he feels like he’s playing the same characters and relying on the same schtick all the time, the cure is failure. Doing something badly – whether on purpose or by accident – can be the shake-up you need to see your blind spots, fix your issues, and do better.

Well, guess what? That applies to sex too.

There’s this shitty cultural idea that sex should be seamless and wonderful from the get-go. You’re supposed to be able to read your partner’s mind and give them exactly what they want, because sex is “dirty” and talking about it is “unromantic” or “kills the moment.”

Fuck that, dude: communication is key. And sexual failure is also key. Because you could sit around all day talking about likes and dislikes, turn-ons and turn-offs, but there are some things you’ll just never learn until you get messy and try ’em.

My sexual “failures” are some of my funniest and most treasured sex memories. The times I choked on cock and had a mid-blowjob coughing fit… The time I tried to get bossy in bed and discovered I can’t even convincingly pretend to be a domme… The time I faked an orgasm when someone fingered me for the first time because I was too scared to give directions… It’s all taught me so much.

And even the less-than-funny failures were beneficial to my sex life in the long run. For every consent-disrespecting douchebag I’ve made out with, my resolve and self-respect have grown stronger. For every boundary I’ve loosened to impress someone cute, I’ve either expanded my limits or hardened them where I needed to. For every kink I’ve explored, I’ve deepened my knowledge of my own sexuality in one way or another.

You might recall that I recently had my first threesome, and while it was far from a failure, I learned soooo much from it about how I operate as a sexual person and what my patterns are. (More on that in another post, I promise.) I would’ve never stumbled on those realizations if I hadn’t tried something scarily new to me and kinda (arguably) fucked it up. At least, parts of it.

So, don’t be afraid to fail at sex sometimes. When you do something badly, you learn how to do it better. Or – at the very least – you have a good long laugh with your partner. Either way, you win.