I have two boyfriends whom I love very dearly, but neither of them is actually very good in bed.  I do have another friend who is really good, though, and my boyfriends have been okay with me sleeping with him in the past, especially when we all first started to become sexually active. However, it’s been a while since the three of us have seen any action, and I kind of find myself craving the company of this other friend again, but I’m afraid my boyfriends’ feelings will be hurt if I call him over instead of doing them.  I really don’t want to tell them that they don’t sexually satisfy me, because they already have self esteem issues and might think that they’re “not good enough” for me, which isn’t true at all.  What’s the best way I can bring this up without hurting anyone’s feelings or making them feel unwanted?

You “really don’t want to tell them,” but the thing is, healthy relationships require clear and open communication. Fortunately, there are ways to talk about this that don’t come off as cruel or shaming.

First, think about what you like in bed that is missing from your sex life with your partners. Is there something your friend does that really gets you going? Is there something your partners do that you don’t particularly like? It is okay to get idea from porn, erotica, your personal fantasies, or other partners! Then, see if you can frame them in a way that is a positive suggestion, rather than a criticism:

  • I read an erotica/saw a porn where they tried [sex thing], and it was really hot. Would you be interested in trying that?
  • It was really sexy that one time you did a little bit of [sex thing] - do you want to do more of that?
  • When you do [sex thing], it really doesn’t do it for me. Is that something that you get a lot out of, or could we take it off the table?

If it’s less an issue of wanting to do/not do something, and just general technique, you can also communicate about that:

  • I like my [sex part] to be touched like [this] - when you do it so [fast/hard/slow/soft/dry], it doesn’t work as well for me.
  • Last time, you did [sex thing] for long enough that my [sex part] was a little raw - could we try to switch it up more frequently so it’s more comfortable?

Be sure to communicate during sex as well! Let him know what’s working, guide his hands or other body parts to the angles/speeds/techniques you like, and don’t be afraid to ask for him to go slower/harder/faster/gentler.

You could also suggest doing mojo upgrade together!

It might take some effort on your part to get back into the groove: sometimes people can get stuck in a loop of not seeing their partner as sexy, so it’s harder to get revved up for sex, so the sex isn’t as fun, and so on. Try experimenting with different types of condoms, lubes, and toys. Try writing erotic fantasies back and forth with each other. Watch porn or read erotica together beforehand to get in the mood. 

If, through all this conversation and experimentation together, you discover that the issue isn’t general good-at-sex-ness, but a particular thing you enjoy that you share with your friend and not your partners - if, for example, he’s very submissive and knows exactly how to tap into your inner dominant, while your other partners don’t really enjoy or do power-exchange, that’s another conversation to have! But first, start from a perspective of teaching, guiding, and learning together and see if you can’t boost your “awesome sexual partners” count from one to three.

Of course, if you’re fundamentally incompatible and just really don’t ever enjoy having sex with your partners, if sex feels like a chore or you feel pressured, you don’t have to stay in a sexual relationship with someone who you don’t want to have sex with.