Most of us don’t learn about sex and pleasure in any meaningful way. What we learn from our culture especially from pornography, the movies and magazines is limited, unrealistic and fundamentally flawed. Yet many believe this is how sex is and the messages filter into our sex lives from day one. When our sexual experiences don’t match up to this cultural fantasy, we blame ourselves or our partners; we’re/they’re not getting it right, there’s something wrong with us/them, we’re not good enough. I could go on.
I’d like to share with you the most common myths that my clients believe about sex, in no particular order. You may well recognise some or all of these. They’re the myths that greatly limit our sexual pleasure and cause pressure, worry and anxiety for many many people. My hope is that by reading these, you’ll start to see a different and more fulfilling way to experience your sexual pleasure, either by yourself or with others.
Myth 1 – You should know what to do: This is possibly the most crippling myth of all. The myth that we’re all naturally skilled and extraordinary lovers, as if we are born this way. That we should always know what to do and how to turn our partners on and if we don’t, then there’s something wrong with us. Through the media, we’re bombarded with images and words about the perfect sex life which set up unrealistic expectations and make you feel even worse. The article on ‘how to drive your lover wild’ means nothing when you’re sexual confidence is low and you don’t feel that you can talk to anyone about it.
Some people have a natural flair for cooking or dancing or sport whilst for others it takes time to build their confidence and learn the skills. But with time and practice everyone can learn to cook or dance or play a sport. It is the same with sex and there is so much you can learn. What are you interested in? What are you curious about? There’s a wealth of information about sex. You can research the internet, take a class, read a book or watch a DVD and practice, practice, practice! If confidence or sexual concerns are affecting you, sex coaching can make a difference. I’d love to hear from you.
Myth 2 – Sex always involves penetration with a penis and if it doesn’t, then it isn’t ‘proper’ sex: When we’re always striving to get to the perceived end goal of penetration it limits us. How about defining sex in its broadest sense, opening up to the vast range of sexual and sensual pleasure that’s available to us. It’s so much more than genital contact and may not include genital contact at all. It doesn’t matter whether you’re experiencing a sensual head massage or oral sex – as long as it’s pleasurable!
Myth 3 – Sex always finishes with ejaculation and orgasms and if it doesn’t then you have somehow ‘failed’: This is usually combined with myth two and the pressure to have a full erection. Research suggests that up to 75% of women don’t orgasm through penetration. Not all men ejaculate and orgasm. Ejaculation and orgasms is part of the spectrum of sexual activities that we can experience but when you feel you always ‘should’ end with them, it can create pressure and anxiety – not pleasure. You can have a fulfilling sexual experience without either.
Myth 4 – Your sexual arousal ‘should’ continue to increase until you orgasm/ejaculate: Our cultural model of sexual arousal is based on the way that early sexologists defined male arousal. You get aroused, you enjoy your arousal which builds and builds until you get to the point of no return and you have an orgasm/ejaculation. This can be associated with expectations that your arousal will also get stronger and stronger and that you need to go faster and faster to achieve this. This can be very pleasurable however we have taken this stereotypical view and applied to everyone. We all try and fit our arousal into this restricted model which limits how we experience our sexual pleasure.
Yes our pleasure can increase but also, it naturally ebbs and flows, as do erections. Our emotions, health, relationships, stresses, motivations, sexual stimuli on the day all affect our sexual arousal, as does our knowledge of our bodies and how our own arousal is generated and cultivated. It maybe that you choose not to have an orgasm/ejaculation. It maybe that your arousal feels softer and more relaxed and you want to go slowly. There are many more possibilities for our pleasure if we let go of how we perceive our arousal ‘should’ be.
Myth 5 – You should always know what your partner/s want: This could be called ‘telepathic sex’ where you’re expected to able to read your partners mind and always know exactly what they want and how they like it. This can get messy. We don’t actually know as we haven’t asked them, so we pretend we know or make assumptions about what we think the other person will like. Then our partners find they’re not enjoying it or wishing you could change it slightly but they don’t want to upset you or they think there’s something wrong with them for not enjoying it so they don’t say anything! There are many more versions of the ‘telepathic sex’ scenario.
When we go out for a meal, we don’t guess what our partner wants and order it with our fingers crossed. They decide what they fancy to eat on that day as it changes, just as our pleasure changes. One moment we might like it slow and sensual, the next raunchy and wild. Communicating what you’d like and how you’d like it transforms your sexual pleasure from good to great.
Myth 6 – Masturbation isn’t really sex, its a poor substitute to partner sex: Masturbation or my preferred term, solo sex, is perceived as something that is ‘less than’ partner sex, as something you do when you haven’t got a partner and when you get one, you stop doing it. Solo sex is having sex with yourself and isn’t comparable to having sex with a partner as they’re two different sexual activities.
Research shows that people who have regular solo sex (whether single or in relationships) are more likely to have better health, better relationships, more fulfilling sex lives and an overall increase in self-confidence. With solo sex, you continue to learn about your body, your pleasure and how it changes. From this place, you can teach another what you like and are more confident at communicating your needs and desires, which will enrich your sexual experiences.
Myth 7 – Sex is about putting on a great performance for the other person/s: That it’s your job to turn the other person on and that you ‘should’ look good or act in a certain way. This belief often comes from the media and how we perceive we ‘should’ be. Sex is about enjoying yourself and your partner/s. Enjoying yourself is to feel free to be who you are in your naturalness and to go with the flow of the your bodies and the experience.
Myth 8 – You ‘should’ naturally produce enough lubrication to have sex: There is a belief that women should always be able to produce enough natural lubrication for sex and if they don’t, either you can’t turn them on enough or something is wrong with them. We’re all unique and just as our vaginas look different, we all produce different amounts of lubrication and that can depend on many things – how aroused we are, age, medications we’re taking and many more. A good quality lubricant is an essential sex toy and can transform your sexual pleasure. It can be used by all genders and its great to use with a partner and also alone. It can change how you touch your genitals, inviting a more sensual touch and create new pleasurable sensations.
Myth 9 – Size matters: Only 55% of men are satisfied with their penis size. Many men worry that they are not wide enough or long enough. Penises in the movies and porn are always above average and men compare themselves to these. Whether you’re having sex with a woman or another man, our bodies internal anatomy is very different. Vaginas and anuses are different widths and lengths and some people prefer short wide penises, others slim penises. A sexual position with one person might be wonderful and not work with another and that’s totally natural. No two bodies are the same and when you come together, it’s about finding out what works for you both to get the best pleasure.
Myth 10 – There is a ‘normal’ sex: People frequently ask me if they are ‘normal’. They want to know if their fantasies, desires and genitals are ‘normal’, that what they do sexually is ‘normal’. They compare themselves to their perception of ‘normal’ and are worried if anything they do deviates from this. It’s healthy to have fantasies and desires and there are a huge spectrum of choices for your sexual expression and as long as its with consenting adults it is totally natural. What is ‘normal’ for one person may be a turn off for another and vice versa. There is no ‘normal’. Interest in a wide range of sexual activities such as role play, kink, fetish and BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sado-masochism) is far more common than you think!
I hope you’ve found this selection of myths insightful and that they’ve given you some food for thought. They may have even challenged your beliefs and offered you some different ways to look at sex. I’d love to hear how you found this article and any comments and questions you have. Please reply below or email me.
Sarah Rose Bright