There are two kinds of people in the world: people who have embarrassing sex stories, and people who lie about not having embarrassing sex stories.

Sex makes you vulnerable. It is also inherently ridiculous. You smoosh your silliest looking body parts against someone else's silliest looking body parts, make funny faces, and generate awkward sounds and smells. Everyone who has sex experiences it that way. Literally everyone. Full stop. Maybe you tried on a sexy new outfit and your partner didn't like it. Maybe you gave a lap dance, and fell off the lap. Or you stripped down to your skivvies, only to discover that you forgot to shave one leg. (And yes, since you're wondering, these aren't random examples, these are scenes from my glamorous life.)

The key is bouncing back, and not letting fear of rejection rule your sex life. Here's how to laugh it off, and come back feeling sexier than ever.

My Stupid Sex Story

I'm getting married in six months, and I live with my fiance. Cohabitation is awesome when your roommate is your best buddy, your video game rival, AND your sexual partner all wrapped up in one dorky guy. It also means that you occasionally get lax about trying to be sexy for each other. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about how our dirty talk had turned into, "Hey babe, I don't have work and the cat's not staring at us, wanna fool around?" So, I decided to do something special for him. I got dressed up - well, down - to the nines. Black fishnet stockings and panties, a lacy demi-cup bra, black stilettos, the whole nine yards. I pulled out that lipstick that I can't wear in public because it makes me look like I'm in heat, and even managed a smoky cat-eye with some glittery eye shadow. I thought I looked like, maybe not a stripper, but perhaps a fancy escort who doesn't officially give handies, but totally gives handies. I loved it, and I couldn't wait to see my man's jaw drop.

Picture this: I'm all stretched out on the bed, posed like a Playboy spread, when the fiance walks in and stops dead, eyes wide.

He looks me up, looks me down....

.... and giggles.


He asks me, "What are you doing?"

I smile very sweetly, give him my sultriest bedroom eyes, and purr, "I'm doing my taxes, obviously. My accountant should be here any minute. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I'M DOING??!??"

He seemed to realize that this was not the reaction I was looking for when I stomped out to the bathroom to remove my makeup and swear at our cat. I was as red as my favorite slutty lipstick.

How could I have been so STUPID? WHY did I think for a second that my innocent-as-the-day-he-was-hatched Catholic choir-boy of a fiance would be into this sad little burlesque wannabe getup?

I was humiliated. My chest hurt and there was a lump in my throat. I was angry enough to slap a nun. I wiped off about $30 worth of Sephora product and hate-wore my rattiest old sweatpants and granniest of panties before stomping back into the bedroom.

What Makes Us Vulnerable?

Why did I react that way? It was such a benign moment that my fiance still had NO CLUE what he had done wrong. Like when a puppy chews up a stiletto and tries to figure out why you're yelling because he's not *quite* yet grasped the nuance between a Laboutin and a strip of rawhide. He couldn't quite put his finger on where things went sideways.

But I know why I freaked out. I made myself vulnerable, and felt rejected. Sex does that sometimes - to just about everyone. When you're vulnerable, fear is driving. Fear of rejection, fear of experimentation, fear of not being good enough or desirable enough ... all of these fears are making your decisions. I had wanted so, so badly to turn him on and make him forget everything but me. When he laughed, even with such an innocent laugh without any ridicule or malice behind it, it cut me to the core because I wasn't in on the joke. I had been dead serious, and he didn't realize it.

Fear exists to protect us. Fear has its place, but it is a shitty bed-mate.

The Key to Bouncing Back

So, I stood there in my shittiest pajamas with a red scrubbed face and a scowl you couldn't smack off with a 2x4 when I shoved the bedroom door open with every intention of giving him the silent treatment until he either apologized or I died of pure spite.

There on the bed, I found him stretched out in his best draw-me-like-one-of-your-French-girls pose. He wore only his dress shoes with socks pulled up to the knees, those boxers he doesn't wear because they're too tight, and a tie.

I was completely frozen for a full half minute before I began to laugh so hard I almost peed myself.

The answer, it turns out, is to laugh it off. Sex was never meant to be taken too seriously. Now, taking care of your body and your partner's body? That you should take pretty damn seriously. The sex act itself? No way. Sex was meant to be laughed at. That's why fifth graders have been drawing penises on their desks since we first emerged from the primordial ooze. Penises and vaginas are objectively hilarious. Seriously, even medieval English poems are full of dick jokes, and they literally jailed people for having sex when they weren't supposed to have it.

When it comes to sexual embarrassment, the best course of action is to forgive yourself, forgive the other person, and let it go. That might not be possible right away. My ego was sore for a few days afterwards, and it took more than one heart-to-heart conversation to heal my wounded sense of intimacy. It took even more time for me to open up to him with a performance like that again. Yet with time, we turned a rough patch into a fun thing by shopping for lingerie together.

The Takeaway

Embarrassment happens to everyone. It has nothing to do with how sexy or sexually skilled you are. If you don't treat sex like it has to be serious while you're having it, you leave room for fun. Then you can explore in safety with your dignity intact. Sex is supposed to be fun. Sometimes, it's funny. Oh, and laughing is totally sexy.