Dear Katherine,

My girlfriend and I have been together for almost a year. We get on great. She’s sexy, easygoing and funny. But sometimes her humor is a problem for me: sometimes, my lover doesn’t take me seriously in bed. During the most passionate moments she blurts out inappropriate remarks that crack her up but wilt my desire. One time she painted a smiley face on my penis and said, “Now we know all members present are really happy.”

How can I get my otherwise wonderful girl to get serious about serious matters?

Not Laughing in Maine


First of all, lighten up!

Sex is really just a sandbox for adults. Fucking and playtime even have similar rules: Be considerate and respectful of your fellow playmates. Don’t throw toys or get sand in your mouth or faces. Laugh, cry, stand on your head. Share.

In my opinion, the bedroom is a place to let your inner weirdo loose. Is she saying the Lord’s Prayer while climaxing? Is she yodeling? Is she calling you a fucking asshole? It’s all fair game, my friend, and chances are the weirder the things are that she’s saying, the better the time she’s having.

I think at the heart of your question is a fear of being laughed at. Totally understandable. It’s enough to worry about getting it up, whether it’s big enough and how your performance stacks up to the other roosters. But then to be met with giggles and smiley faces in the bedroom could be discouraging.

Let me help you turn your fear of being laughed at into a desire to be playful. Remeber, Mr. Maine: sex is your sandbox and it’s all about fun for you and yours.

Humor me by reading these tips on keeping sex fun and funny:

Be absurdly sexy.
As a matchmaker, I’ve spoken to innumerable people about what they want in a partner. Without fail, after “kindness” and “beauty” always comes “humor.” It sounds like you’ve been with this girl for a while—pay attention to what makes her laugh. For some it’s cat videos and photos of rabbits with pancakes on their heads. For others it’s dirty jokes. For still others it’s a penis smiley face. Humor establishes connection between people and connection is terrifically seductive. if you connect in laughter you’ll be more likely to connect in bed.

Laugh at yourself.
How else do you think Woody Allen ended up sleeping with some of the most beautiful women in history? How did Charlie Chaplin—a 5’5” tall guy with weird facial hair—marry more times than there are women in Seattle? When you demonstrate that you’re not phased by your own awkwardness, oddities or ugliness you set your partner at ease and give them the idea that you won’t judge them either.

Master the art of dirty talk.
Every romance worth reading has people arguing their heads off until they fall in love. Beatrice and Benedick, from Much Ado About Nothing are arguably the most modern couple in all of Shakespeare. They spend the entire three-hour play throwing barbs at each other before finally confessing their love and making out. In The Taming of the Shrew Petruchio slyly tells Katherine that he’s going to eat her ass in iambic pentameter:

Come, come, you wasp, i'faith you are too angry.

If I be waspish, best beware my sting.

My remedy is then to pluck it out.

Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.

Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.

In his tongue.

Whose tongue?

Yours, if you talk of tales, and so farewell.

What, with my tongue in your tail?

Spoiler alert: Petruchio gets the girl in the end. Brush up your classic humorists, babe, and you’ll have her laughing in no time—not to mention blushing from head to tail.

Get angry.
Look, to me there’s nothing sexier than somebody who can tease me. It you make fun of me and you want to sleep with me? Forget it, I’m done. I’ll fall completely in love and halfway into bed in minutes. Teasing somebody shows you really get them, that you see parts of them that others may not and that you’re into those parts. What sorts of things do you see your girlfriend do that are at once terrifically embarassing and wonderfully endearing? You should probably point them out to her. She’ll blush. You’ll laugh. You’ll definitely have sex. (My editor tells me that “women love assholes” is the elephant in the room in this tip, Maybe so. But I’d rather be with an asshole than somebody who doesn’t laugh at my jokes.)

Play tricks.
Your girlfriend played a little trick on you with her smiley-face art. She’s thrown down the gauntlet. How will you get her back? Hide all her clothes so she has to walk naked from the shower to the kitchen to yell at you? Take a naked picture and pretend you’ve accidentally posted it to your Instagram feed? Some people are very sexy when they’re pissed off.

All you had to do was ask.
Ask your GF why she thinks sex is so funny. Sometimes people make a joke out of things when they’re nervous or anxious about facing something “head on,” so to speak. You could open up an exceedingly interesting conversation.

Establish a man cave.
I have one and it’s glorious. It’s where I keep my stack of old Playboys, my misspent youth, letters from everybody I’ve ever slept with and a tumbler of scotch. But seriously, I believe that every person in a relationship should have some kind of space that’s their own. It’s where you go when you want to be you, not be laughed at or criticized or rejected and empathized with or anything. Go there when you feel like taking yourself seriously. Go to bed when you want to have a great time.

Are you worried she’s smarter than you?
I’m sorry to be the one to call you out like this. Humor and intellect are intimately related. It can be deeply disconcerting when somebody else gets the joke because it makes us feel like we’ve “missed” something. Relish in your ladyfriend’s wit. It’s not a threat to you at all. She just wants to play.

If all else fails…

Tickle her.
It’s a fine line between laughter and torture. Blur it.

Just the Tips is’s weekly advice column, with professional matchmaker Katherine Cooper. Have a question for Katherine about sex, love or dating? Shoot her a note at