Better, betterer, betterest in sex

Posted On: July 26, 2010

This article first appeared on The Online Citizen.

Is it possible to get better, ‘betterer’ and ‘betterest’ when it comes to sex?

A certain Singapore minister was cited in the media as saying, “If you’re the best today, strive to be better. If you’re better today, strive to be ‘betterer’ and if you’re ‘betterer’ today, strive to be ‘betterest’ so that over time, Singapore’s service standards can just keep getting better, ‘betterer’ and ‘betterest’.”

I couldn’t stop myself from cringing and rolling my eyes when I read this. He probably thought he was endearing himself to the man on the street with his Singaporean twist to the English language. Instead, his statement had the opposite effect and offended many Singaporeans.

His message on service excellence harkens back to the maxim that has been drummed into us from when we were young school children:

“Good, better, best;

Never let it rest

Till your good is better and your better is best.”

What a way to live your life! It’s not enough to be good. Don’t even think about taking a breather, much less stopping to pat yourself on the shoulder for a job well done. You have to hurry up and be the best!

This, further, brings to mind the ‘Planting Rice’ song which we were made to memorise in school:

“Planting rice is never fun,
Bending over ’til the set of sun.
Cannot sit, cannot stand,
Plant the seedlings all by hand.

Planting rice is not fun,
Bending over ’til the set of sun.
Cannot sit and cannot stand,
Plant the seedlings all by hand.”

Personally, I have never planted a single grain in my life, and I am fine with that!

In my mind’s eye, I associate this fixation of better, ‘betterer’ and ‘betterest’ with the act of planting rice – bending over all day, unable to sit or stand. I am stuck in this perpetual position of discomfort, too afraid to stop for fear of losing out, and having too much at stake to give up. It is the living dead on Earth.

We are too busy being the best boss, manager, employee, worker, and colleague, etc. Why limit your attitude of excellence to work? At home, it’s about being the ideal son/ daughter; husband/ wife; father/ mother; and brother/ sister. The list of roles we play and the responsibilities we owe goes on. No respite!

No wonder we drag our feet to work, worry about money, and yell at the kids, and. We need to beat this relative or that neighbour in becoming ‘Betterest’ in the quickest amount of time!

Inundated with messages of Better, ‘Betterer’, ‘Betterest’, that control every facet of our lives, is it any wonder that we have sexual difficulties?

We find it difficult to:

* Talk about sex with our partners;
* Discuss sex with our kids;
* Not think of work during sex;
* Surrender ourselves to pleasure;
* Embrace our sexuality;
* Enjoy sensuality;
* Let go;
* Climax;
* Orgasm;
* Relax.

Even if you managed to do all that, you can’t just turn over and sleep just yet! Remember: You can always be ‘betterer’! So we want to last longer, have more intense orgasms and have it all! Why stop at five seconds? Or five minutes, for that matter? You want to be the ‘Betterest’ lover possible, don’t you?

If you’ve read this far, I think you are beginning to get the drift of what I am getting to. Is it really important to constantly strive for ‘betterer’? Does it really matter you are the ‘Betterest’ lover of the world? And just who decides?

In our fixation for Better, ‘Betterer’, ‘Betterest’, we might lose the plot altogether. That is: Sex involves the expression of love physical. It is about the joy of life as well as intimacy of connectedness. So quit keeping score in bed. What’s the fun in that?


Dr. Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit or email

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