Let’s Talk About Sex: A few common myths about everyone’s favorite topic
I’m always surprised at how often clients struggle with some aspect of their sexual relationship that is based on hearsay or pop-culture misconceptions. Most of us didn’t have enough sex education in school (except from friends in the locker room). Most people learned about love, sex and romantic relationships from television, movies, magazines (yes, that dates me), and now the internet. Maybe we all could use a little sex education (and deconstruction). Here are some common myths I often see in my practice:
MYTH #1: Men are horny; women have to “put up with it”. Women have just as much if not more sexual desire than men -- the main difference is that they want good sex and it isn’t a question of frequency. Women hit their sexual peak at around age 35, at which time they stop apologizing for their eroticism. The main difference, according to clinical licensed psychologist, author, and sex therapist Dr. David Schnarch (one of my all-time favorite couples therapists) is that women often report less desire in long-term relationships because they know the difference between bad and good sex. And, obviously, the ladies want the good stuff.
MYTH #2: Only men cheat and they cheat because something is lacking in the relationship. These aren’t always true. Recent research shows that women cheat almost as often as men do. According to psychotherapist, researcher and author Esther Perel, people often cheat to feel “alive” again or to unconsciously recapture something in themselves. Very often, cheating has nothing to do with a partner’s behavior, sexual prowess, or feeling in love.
MYTH #3: Women love getting unsolicited dick pics. Men, we know you love your penis and we might love it too but no one really wants an unsolicited dick pic. Only send it to your special lady if asked for. Not to mention, it should be obvious that it is more about the motion in the ocean than the size or the look of the ship.
MYTH #4: Men need oral sex, women don’t. And, if women ask for it they are slutty or deviant. Don’t underestimate the importance of good foreplay - especially for her. Men statistically need two minutes to warm up. Women need 14.
MYTH #5: Women want lingerie and love to wear it regularly. Men, if you give a woman lingerie understand that it is a gift for you and don’t give it to her for her birthday or any major holiday. She might not mind wearing it just for you but that is the key phrase - it is usually just for you.
MYTH #6: You’ll get sex right the first time. Or the fifth time. It’s all about mechanics, right? No, it’s all about the connection, communication and intimacy. I’m not saying you can’t have a fun one-night stand or satisfying sex with your friend-with-benefits. Of course you can. But if you want to have really great, mind-blowing sex (like the movies usually portray in a couple’s first sex scene in the library stacks) it’s going to take time and practice.
Myth #7: Sex is ALWAYS sexy, like in the movies. No, it’s not. It’s (often) noisy, smelly, awkward, slimy, funny, clumsy, boring, or any combination thereof. Just like anything else worth doing, it takes practice, time, consideration, and a sense of humor for it to be great for both you and your partner.
I encourage you to take your time, let go of expectations and think about what you want. Don’t be afraid to talk openly with your partner about any aspect of your relationship, especially about sex. As Dr. Schnarch always says, “Tolerate discomfort for growth.” Most of us would be willing to bear uncomfortable conversations for mind-blowing sex. Wouldn’t you?