From judging ourselves, to setting up unrealistic expectations, to sticking our heads in the sand, virtually all of us needlessly complicate our relationships with our own sexualities.
Sometimes these beliefs come from within, and other times they are the product of our simultaneously sex-obsessed and sex-negative culture. As a professional sex therapist, I see my clients bumping up against the same sexual myths over and over again. Below I’ve compiled the 8 false beliefs that I see most frequently:
I’m not normal
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. People think they’re abnormal or strange for the widest array of reasons – for not being able to orgasm, for being able to orgasm too quickly, for not wanting sex enough, for wanting sex too much, for disliking certain acts, for liking certain acts, and so on. Let me put it simply: there is no use to trying to define “normal” when it comes to sex. There are an endless number of ways to express your sexual identity (that’s part of what makes my job so fun!). Focusing on what brings you true pleasure and excitement when it comes to sex is going to be way more fruitful than trying to compare yourself to the Joneses.
Good sex just magically happens
I blame this one on the way sex is portrayed in movies, TV, and books. Sex typically looks effortless and perfect every time (just once could we get a fart or a hilariously bizarre orgasm face?). The reality is that having consistently great sex requires effort, presence, creativity, and even a sense of humor. But working on getting better at sex isn’t the same as working on getting better at math; sex is fun, and improving your sexual skills can be incredibly fun. Don’t believe me? Give it a shot! I love surprising people.
My partner and I should orgasm simultaneously
Ditto to blaming the media. In reality, simultaneous orgasm is incredibly rare. Sure, it’s fun when it happens, but actively striving to reach simultaneous orgasm typically spoils the mood. While one partner is desperately trying to hurry the eff up, the other is desperately trying to think about baseball. It’s so much more fun to fully soak up the sensations moment-by-moment and let your orgasms come naturally.
My partner should be able to get me off even if I don’t know how to get myself off
I see this one mostly from women. Ladies, I understand how difficult it can be to take responsibility for your own pleasure. We’re constantly being shamed for even acknowledging that we’re sexual beings, and we’re taught to be embarrassed of our bodies. It sure would be nice to have a partner who could swoop in and give you everything you never even knew you needed, but that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on one person. Learning how to get yourself off is one of the most empowering and enlivening experiences you will ever have. Don’t miss out on it.
The sex is bound to get routine and predictable in a long term relationship
We’ve all heard the tale: the honeymoon is over, the romance has faded, the spark is gone. While it’s true that the frequency and intensity of sex has the tendency to taper off in long-term relationships, it’s far from an an inevitability. With a little bit of intention, creativity, and experimentation (and perhaps the assistance of a super cool sex therapist) you can keep the fires burning for far longer than that puny three-month honeymoon period.
Guys always want it more
Over the last few years, I have increasingly seen women in heterosexual relationships having higher sex drives than their male partners. I’m seeing this cause all kinds of issues – men who feel emasculated, women who feel trapped, and reluctance from either partner to initiate sex. The gender dynamics that get stirred up deserve their own article, but the bottom line is this: it really doesn’t matter who wants it more. I’ve never seen a relationship where both partners wanted sex at exactly the same time. What matters is how the two of you navigate the natural differences in your sex drives.
I’ve lost my mojo and I can’t get it back
Our level of sexual desire typically changes for a reason – hormone fluctuations, medical issues, relationship problems, stress, life stages, etc. More frequently than not, the culprit behind a decreased sex drive is the fact that you’re having bad sex. If you had to eat plain, boring old oatmeal every day for breakfast, would you be surprised if you gradually stopped craving breakfast? If you’ve noticed yourself desiring sex less and less, don’t give up hope! A little investigative work and some skills building are typically all it takes to get your engines revving again.
You only go to sex therapy if things are really bad
Man, I really wish I could change this one. While it’s true that people have traditionally gone to sex therapists to cure sexual problems, I’m trying my best to banish that outdated model of sex therapy. I want people to recognize that my brand of sex therapy is approachable, unintimidating, and a whole lot of fun. I’m working from a positively-rooted place where the emphasis is not on correcting your “deficits”, but on helping you recognize your incredible potential. I’m working with clients who value their own pleasure, who want to feel more alive and connected, and who recognize that learning how to be good in bed is rewarding and a total blast to boot. It all boils down to this: you are never going to get to a place where you can say, “well that’s it, I’ve totally mastered sex, there’s nothing left for me to learn.”
Time to fess up – do you recognize yourself falling prey to any of these misconceptions? Are you ready to shut the door on these myths and step into the most exhilarating, fulfilling sex of your life? Then check out how I might be able to help you!