Just say no (to awful sex)

Maria Yagoda tells us what Nancy Reagan really meant when she told us just to say no.

Guys at Yale are bad in bed. I know Yale has taught us to discuss issues with nuance and complexity, but I feel really comfortable with this blanket statement: Guys at Yale are bad in bed. Like, really bad. Like, I’d-laugh-if-I-weren’t-crying bad. Like, maybe-I’ll-just-eat-this-sandwich-instead bad.

Before I continue, it’s important to make some clarifications. Because of the limits of my experiences and those of the women I’ve talked to, this applies to straight guys exclusively, and mainly the single ones (as relationships often force men to be better at sex). I will also allow for maybe 20 to 30 guys at Yale who are mediocre, and maybe a handful who are skilled.

A big part of the problem is Yale’s hookup culture. Now, the only time I think it’s useful to lament or even talk about Yale’s “hookup culture” is when it comes to the pervasiveness of terrible sex. Fact: Hookups simply aren’t conducive to mutually pleasurable sex. Neither are Yale men. The remarkable scarcity of nice-looking, not-evil and socially adjusted straight single males (NLNESASSM) is a real issue on Yale’s campus, particularly in light of the abundance of nice-looking, not-evil and socially adjusted straight single females. Guys are rare commodities, and they are all too aware of it. This is why they get away with a lot. I don’t understand the economy, but having read the business section a few times, I have a sense of how supply and demand works. Because the demand for NLNESASSM is so high, the meager supply of NLNESASSM will always be desired, sought after and shamelessly hit on, regardless of their sexual performance or effort. Thus there is no incentive for them to improve, particularly when the whole experience will be over in a few hours and they’re not trying to date the girl, or even friend her on Facebook. Female pleasure is pushed aside. Besides, if a guy can continually get with girls without making them orgasm, why would he try? Especially when he’s tired and drunk, or the girl is faking because Durfee’s closes in 15 minutes and she wants one of those hummus-pretzel containers. Take note, females: faking further exacerbates the problem by causing men to wildly overestimate their abilities.

I must note that there are men, however few, who legitimately try to satisfy their ladyfolk. But trying is not always enough. Just because it’s cute and charitable that you put in the half-hearted effort to blow me — everyone knows that vaginas are weird and disgusting, while penises are majestic and delicious — does not mean it will feel good, or even bearable. Yet unfortunately, in real time, I probably won’t have the balls to tell you I hate it. Which is part of the problem.

This brings me to communication. Hookup culture has resulted in a lack of communication on both sides, and this only perpetuates bad sex. Girls are scared to say what they want — if they even know what they want, which would help if they had a vibrator — and guys are scared to ask what girls want and sometimes even to listen. Because in the context of a short-lived romp, both parties already have low expectations: the guy is thrilled to put his penis in a real-live naked girl, and the girl is thrilled simply to have found a NLNESASSM, who, as the acronym dictates, is sort of attractive, nice, and socially competent.

How do we deal with this problem? To start, men need to be held accountable. I know that American masculinity is fragile. I know that sometimes it’s hard for men to take feedback or criticism when it comes to their sexual prowess, or anything. But get it together. This, for example, is unacceptable: One of my girl friends was hooking up with a guy and decided to slowly turn on her side for some good-old fashioned spooning sex. The guy was so confused and taken aback by her initiative that he lost his erection and couldn’t precede forward. Now imagine what happens when women vocally communicate what they want. Yale men — and I imagine most college-aged men — are just too fragile to handle it.

Also, I encourage guys to start thinking less of their abilities and to stop doing weird shit. For example, a close friend was making out with this guy who pinched her really hard in the stomach. She said, “Ow!” and he said, “Shhhh, you’ll like this.” Then he proceeded to do a lot of strange things with his finger in her ear, and she was revolted, though stayed largely silent.

Yale women too often perpetuate the problem by not standing up for what makes their vaginas happy — by faking orgasms, by silently tolerating atrocious oral sex, and, perhaps the most rampant offense (which I practically invented), by seeking and continuing to have unsatisfying sexual relations with NLNESASSM. (A friend of mine had terrible sex with a guy for months because the cuddling was so good). And as a result, NLNESASSM consider themselves to be much more sexually competent than they actually are, which is entirely unhelpful and probably led to little Bush’s failed presidency.

I urge women to start Saying No to Awful Sex (Thank You!), or SNASTY. SNASTY is the only way to improve Yale’s sexual climate and female sexual pleasure. Sex is not something that should be tolerated, endured, or, in the case of menfolk, taken for granted. I’m not trying to say that God wants you to stop fucking around. What I am trying to say is — and I think He would agree — that no sex is better than bad sex. Let’s be discerning. Let’s send a clear message to men who suck at sex that we’re SNASTY, and they’re going to have to work a little harder.


  • Branford11

    I guess it’s ok to print this???

    And next we’ll have “Yale Women are Ugly and Impossibly Neurotic”? Or something…? Seriously WTF

    • Frashizzle


    • uncommons

      this column shows such a double standard its sickening. no way a column like this about women would ever be published.

      • ohno

        Oh Lord. An article like that doesn’t need to be published because it’s all we ever hear anyway. I’ve been told by dude-friends since freshman year that Yale women don’t measure up to the hookups they could have had at state schools, not enough of us care about what we wear, are not slutty enough, you name it, we’ve heard it. The dominant societal message about looks and sex, especially at Yale and universities in general, is about the ways women don’t measure up.

        Sorry this article isn’t afraid to point out the fact that most dudes at Yale think they’re blessing us with the honor of making out with a real live Yale Man at a party. To quote one of my suitemates, “I’m sick of pretending sex with you was the best two minutes of my life.”

    • twentytwelve

      I loved this article and I would love Yale Women are Ugly and Neurotic… hilarious :)

  • joematcha

    Maria, Ms. Yagoda if you’re SNASTY

  • bchick102

    This is brilliant. Also, Branford11 is a perfect example of a bruised male ego. Spot on.

    • Goldsmith11

      a bruised male ego or sensitive to flagrant double standards and harmful “journalism”

      save this crap for your journal next time yagoda, keep it out of the news

      • Frashizzle

        Agreed. This seems more like something that Rumpus would publish.

        • 1yale3

          Hit the nail on the head. Clearly, Ms. Yagoda just wants to raise her campus profile so that she can be considered for 50 Most…

  • Frashizzle

    Men and women at Yale are made for each other. Physically, we’re mostly C-listers at best… and we all think that the other sex at Yale is particularly unattractive.

  • koalahug

    At first I just thought to myself that the author must have been really unlucky, because my boy Yalie has become mindblowingly fantastic. But you’re absolutely right that communication is indispensable and it is not really the guy’s fault that some girls just stay silent for no apparent reason…

    Do this, not that. Touch here. Keep going. Done.

  • Frashizzle
    • koalahug


  • Inigo_Montoya

    When did Weekend become Cosmo?

  • teusz16

    (Hopefully) NLNESASSM approving of this article, trying to SNASTY.

    Edit: forgot about the single part of the acronym, actually NLNESASTakenM, but still SNASTY

  • watson

    THANK YOU for writing this. Since coming to Yale, I’ve been surprised by how immature certain parts of our sexual culture are. Communication about (and during) sex is awkward and difficult, but we are intelligent people who should be able to navigate the ins and outs of this discussion to make sex awesome. Unfortunately, as you point out, we aren’t.

    But your message loses effectiveness by making it a fight of girls against boys. “Men need to be held accountable,” of course, but women do too. You for some reason place most of the blame for lack of communication on to the shoulders of men. Female climax is sometimes confusing simply because, in comparison, male orgasm is incredibly obvious. Therefore, female communication is perhaps more important than anything else when it comes to satisfying sex. And don’t underestimate how interested men are at making their partner feel pleasure! Most men are hugely concerned with whether or not their partner orgasms, and the insecurity that springs from that uncertainty is directly a result of women not telling men what they want.

    Telling “men that they’re going to have to work a little harder” unnecessarily polarizes what is simply a silly lack of communication from all involved. Just tell your partner what feels good and ask what you can do better — and that’s true for everyone, guy or girl.

    • joematcha

      Not a disagreement, just an FYI: cumming and orgasming can happen independently for men, so it’s not obvious all the time.

    • YorkWalker

      Actually, I disagree that male orgasm is “incredibly obvious.” I can’t even count the number of times that a guy stops moving while we’re having sex and I don’t want to say, “is that it?” because of the male ego thing–but I really don’t know! Because a good fuck is probably taking a break to build it up more and increase my pleasure, while in most cases, the guy has come and for some reason still has his penis inside me… This is not just the case at Yale, certainly.

  • ChrisPag

    Sort of tangential comment: after four years at Yale, I’m beginning to suspect the “hookup culture” (let’s call it folks who are interested in and seek out casual sex more than occasionally) is actually smaller than we sometimes make it out to be. Are there particular demographic patterns to the students within that culture? Maybe, who knows.

    Otherwise, Watson’s comment above echoes friends of both genders, but as an abstinent Catholic who was not single for most of Yale anyway, I //really// do not presume knowledge.

  • 81

    “A friend of mine had terrible sex with a guy for months because the cuddling was so good”

    What’s the problem here?

  • watson

    yeah, calling chicks ugly is a super good way to solve s—!

  • The Anti-Yale

    “Lust disguised as love”. These words appear in a recent Reflection article published at Yale Divinity School. This anachronistic phrase is a handy lever with which to pry open that can of worms in Mercantilia known as “The Generation Gap”.

    LUST IS DEAD. Succinctly stated that is the single most stunning accomplishment of the American sexual revolution.

    Oh, lust lingers on in the guilt-ridden consciences of the Jimmy Carters and the James Micheners, but for our younger generation it is as antiquated a notion as a chastity belt or or an S-shaped love seat. It connotes thwarted (NOTHING is thwarted anymore) carnal desires and feelings of guilt, notions of sin, over same. It suggests a bifurcation of the human personality into profane and sacred thoughts-actions.

    But the avatars of the Age of Aquarius (the post medicl age) have wedged a third category into this dualistic scheme, one which subsumes and neutralizes both of the others: PLAFULNESS . . .

    From an article entitled “Sex at Yale”

    Holy Smoke (1976-80)


  • clydefroggery

    The key is communicating what you like, either by talking or giving a reaction. Both people need to do this right from the start, otherwise it will be awkward later. If you don’t then it’s your own fault. Don’t be shy about it.

  • River_Tam

    Ms. Yagoda is going to want this pulled off the internet in a few years when she grows up and this becomes professionally embarrassing for her. Oh, the Yale bubble…

    • penny_lane

      Unless she goes the “Chloe Does Yale” route…

  • bchick102

    Internet trolls, unite!

  • penny_lane

    I love how taboo talking frankly about sex still is in American culture. It’s the most natural thing in the world, but we can’t even talk about it. Damn my Puritan ancestors.

    This kind of thing needs to be said, and said more. Making an effort to satisfy your partner is a sign of necessary respect. If you’re with someone and you don’t care if he or she has a good time, you are being disrespectful, potentially even degrading. In fact, if you’re checking to make sure your partner is having a good time, and responding in kind, the whole consent issue becomes rather moot, doesn’t it?

  • penny_lane

    I wish I could flag your user name for moderation. It is just not okay. At all.

  • silliwin01

    “The remarkable scarcity of nice-looking, not-evil and socially adjusted straight single males (NLNESASSM) is a real issue on Yale’s campus, particularly in light of the abundance of nice-looking, not-evil and socially adjusted straight single females.”

    Stopped seriously reading the article here, as this statement destroys any credibility she may have had.

    • YorkWalker

      I disagree. Pick a dining hall, any dining hall: there are more attractive women there than there are attractive men.

  • stilesbetch

    can people stop being such huge assholes to this girl for writing a hilarious, witty and undeniably true article about sex life at yale? hop off your computer, go to toads and try it out for yourself. this girl’s got it point on

  • The Anti-Yale

    .”I’m not trying to say that God wants you to stop fucking around. What I am trying to say is — and I think He would agree — that no sex is better than bad sex.”

    Not quite.

    As Thornton Wilder said:

    Nature’s purpose is to fill the earth with a much protoplasm as it can as fast as it can.

    < < Genesis 1:28 >>
    God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

  • blackjack

    As a homosexual male outside of either of these demographics, I just want to say: this article is hilarious. Yes, it’s a little ranty. Yes, men are the victims of her frustration, but the real enemy hears is poor communication rewarding poor behavior. I believe all the other flack is designed to break the taboo and open discussion. Don’t fight the criticism.

    //the hook up “culture”: 20% of the people having 80% of the sex.//

  • The Anti-Yale

    “the real enemy here is poor communication”

    Poor communiction between the sexes is the human condition. That’s why “I Love Lucy” is still funny.

    Don’t fix what ain’t broken. You’ll make life a sociology text-book—–and a BORE.


    Btw—this article IS funny, and for the same reason Moliere is funny and Aristophanes is funny (and Holden Caulfield is funny) —–Men are clutzes:

    “I read this book once at the Whooten School, that had this very sophisticated, suave, sexy guy in it. Monsieur Blanchard was his name, I can still remember it. It was a lousy book, but this Blanchard guy was pretty good. He had this big chateau and all on the Riviera , in Europe, and all he did in his spare time was beat women off with a club. He was a regular rake and all but he knocked women out. he said, in this one part, that a woman’s body is like a violin and all, and that it takes a terrific musician to play it right. It was a very corny book –I realize that –but I couldn’t get that violin stuff out of my mind anyway. In a way, that’s why I sort of wanted to get some practice in, in case I ever get married, . Caulfield and his Magic Violin, boy. It’s corny, I realize, but it isn’t TOO corny. I wouldn’t mind being pretty good at all that stuff. Half the time, if you really want to know the truth, when I’m horsing around with a girl, I have a helluva lot of trouble just FINDING what I’m looking for, for God’s sake, if you know what I mean. Take this girl I just missed having sexual intercourse with, , that I told you about, It took me about an HOUR to get her goddam brassiere off. By the time I did get it off, she was bout ready to spit in my eye. ( Salinger, p. 93)

    Holden Caulfield

    The Catcher in the Rye

  • twentytwelve

    After four years at Yale, I made a YDN account today to comment on this. First of all, YDN commenters are so f—— serious business… this article is hilarious, lighten up. Secondly, this is the single funniest, truest YDN article I have ever read. I am laughing my butt off and crying a little on the inside. So funny.

  • 13

    This is just sad… I really feel sorry for this poor girl. Let me clarify: If the sex you’re having is bad no matter who it is with, you’re the cause of it.

  • oxycontin


    But seriously, “the abundance of nice-looking, not-evil and socially adjusted straight single females.” Are you sure you go to this school?

  • anon

    Props to Yagoda for coming out and saying this. It’s tough to get good at sex if you’re not getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t, particularly because it’s so much more about compatibility than about developing a particular skill. If you’re going to participate in/perpetuate a hook-up culture, we need to be aware of the fact that bad sex is an inevitable consequence of it, at least until people start to talk about sex openly and honestly.

    One criticism though: when “not-evil” is your standard, you can’t really complain if the guy doesn’t care to get you off.

  • domlawton

    This is hilarious, well done. And SNASTY should really be everyone’s life motto. If it’s not going to be any fun, don’t do it.

  • Branford73

    I appreciate this humor piece. It reminded me of a truism I heard from another woman author. She didn’t blame her guy for being bad in bed, she blamed his prior girlfriends for failing to train him properly. So, women of Yale, do your sisters a favor and teach your lame bedmates how to get you off. Most guys really do want to know how. Experience only makes lovers better (of either sex) if something is learned.

    BTW, use your BF Skinner: positive reinforcement works best. Rather than telling him, “Don’t do that,” tell him “Try this instead.” Also, when he’s in the right spot or doing what you like, don’t give him the silent treatment.

    I won’t bore you with all the usual common complaints guys would have about inexperienced women, just two: you’re not required to lie still or to maintain silence while having sex.

  • Justagirl

    This article is incredibly distasteful and repulsive. I am disappointed that the News would run such a thing. Leave this stuff to Rumpus and people’s drunken late night conversations. “Yale women too often perpetuate the problem by not standing up for what makes their vaginas happy.” I mean seriously. You call this journalism?

  • tjhotdogs

    Poorly written, cliché-riddled, hackneyed and in extremely poor taste. And YDN thinks people will pay money for this dribble? A friend of mine, not from Yale sends me the link to this and says “this is your school?”

    This is embarrassing, and a terrible choice of pictures to go with the article (sex article with kids in the pic?). Maybe James Franco was right all along.

    -Josh Ray BK ’13

  • The Anti-Yale

    “Yale women too often perpetuate the problem by not standing up for what makes their vaginas happy.” I mean seriously. You call this journalism?”

    Residual Puritanism is alive and ill at Yale.
    This isn’t “journalism”, it’s humor.
    Personification of body parts is a respected, age-old, literary technique.


  • ethanjrt

    The arrogance that informs this piece is just mind-blowing.

  • YaleMom

    Maria Yagoda is my Sexual Yoda! GRRRL POWER!

  • The Anti-Yale

    Many of the critics seem to have male post-names. Is their outrage the dying gasp of a gender which sought to control what females think, say, and even “feel”?

    The denigration of promiscuity among females and the obsessive beatification of fidelity is a euphemism for males’ continued attempt to perpetuate the reproductive slavery called marriage.

    “Marriage, that mighty and majestic magic box by which fornication is transformed into fidelity” is a way for males to have it BOTH ways:

    You be loyal and bear my children, and look the other way when I play around and we’ll call this marriage, but don’t you dare play around or embarrass males by writing satires about male and female carnal needs.

    Stay in your PLACE woman !

    This sound like Joe DiMaggio, who struck Marilyn Monroe after she disgraced his manhood by filming the air-duct scene in “Some Like it Hot” (?) in which her white dress is blown upward around her legs revealing the reproductive area of her body.

    Monroe had the guts to divorce him.

    Yagoda has the guts to divorce male fantasies about power over and control of women, even power over their carnal desires.

    Brava Yagoda!


  • ThommyJWiseaus

    I suspect that the reason both men and women here may be bad at sex is because a large percentage of us are virgins or have had roughly one previous sexual experience. Nobody is good at sex to begin with. So instead of just saying no to awful sex, let’s give each other some practice in the most loving and communicative way possible.

    • The Anti-Yale

      “If you want to know the truth, I’m a virgin. I really am. I’ve had quite a few opportunities to lose my virginity and all, but I’ve never got around to it yet. Something always happens.” (p. 92)

      Holden Caulfield
      The Catcher in the Rye (1949)

      Some truths never change.


  • Mikelawyr2

    Her dad was a Guy at Yale (and a nice guy too).

    Her perspective is so limited, she goes away to school (propelled in part by her legacy status) and gives her own father the back of her hand.


  • GTurmin

    Hey Maria.. You and any of your girlfriends want good sex, just come over to Quinnipiac.. Plus if you come over here you would avoid all the piss and puke that gets left on your campus.

  • Sasquatch

    The problem is not men.
    The problem is that hook ups (due to their length) do not allow the partners time to understand each others needs and wants.
    Everyone has different sexual urges, desires, etc.
    Some girls want it REALLY ROUGH and you hurt some girls if you go too hard.
    It takes time to figure out what your partner wants and (b/c they have more complicated genitals) women rarely get satisfied in a 1 night stand.
    Blaming the dude is unfair.
    Women: Say what you want.
    but really to get what you want you need to fuck ’em more then once.

  • medavinci

    I wish people would use common sense. There are girls willing to give it up for anyone. In high school, they were nerds. They get to yale and are having sex with people who also couldn’t get anyone in high school. I once heard a girl wearing her Yale apparel on a metro north train calling the nurse’s office to ask about birth control issues. She spoke so loudly (wanting the whole train to know she was having sex) that people were repulsed. Brag privately. No one wants to hear about your sex life while flaunting the school’s name!

  • lily

    I’m very amused by this piece. Nearly a decade ago, when I was a student at Yale, I could have written something quite similar when I didn’t have the maturity to realize how ridiculous it is to assert that “Guys at Yale are bad in bed.” Honestly, nearly everyone at Yale (whether male or female) and at practically every other college across the country is bad in bed! You are so young and most of you (whether you want to admit it or not) are sexually inexperienced. Trust me, it gets better as you get older and the author is correct that those who are dissatisfied with their sexual partners should speak up. Being open and honest about what works for you sexually is the only way to get what you want. Despite the truth behind this piece, I’m glad I didn’t write something like this when I was a Yale student–and my past experience as a Sex Week organizer suggests that I really could have written a piece like this–because I would have been very embarrassed to come across it on the internet today.

  • stateschoolboy

    SNASTY ladies of Yale – as a student at the University of Minnesota I would just like to note that my college is free – yes completely free (who wants a spouse who can put them through grad school?) and I am open to constructive criticism and initiative in bed. That is all. Oh and occasionally we get to beat Harvard in hockey.

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