A New Topic! This One’s For The Guys
This month’s new topic is… male sexuality!
I spent a lot of time last month thinking about the kind of world that I want to help create in regards to female sexuality, so I thought it would be interesting to flip to the opposite end of the gender spectrum and talk about issues related to men and sex.
So this month I’m going to talk about the things that we get wrong about male sexuality, and the things that men really want us to know about how it actually works.
This week we’re focusing on sex drive, and the 3 main myths about men’s sex drives.
We’re also doing something a little different this month. Both Xander and I are going to be writing the weekly blog posts together!
I’ll be sharing my perspectives as a sex therapist, and Xander will be sharing his perspectives as a man. We thought this would be a fun way to round out the conversation.
Myth #1 – Men always want sex
We have a lot of stereotypes about men wanting sex wherever, whenever, regardless of the circumstances.
We say that men have one-track minds, that they think about sex every few seconds, and that there’s nothing more important to them than having sex.
The truth: Men are so much more complex and nuanced than we give them credit for. There are lots of instances when sex is the last thing on a man’s mind, or when it doesn’t seem appealing to him.
A lot of my male clients tell me that they feel belittled by this myth.
I remember one client telling me that his wife would make jokes about him being as simple-minded as their ball-obsessed dog.
Another client told me that his partner would downplay the times that he wanted to connect with her, saying that all he wanted was to just “get off.”
Xander’s take: If you started having sex when you were a teenager, then more likely than not, your opportunities to actually have sex were fairly limited (e.g., having a willing partner, parents out of the house, etc.). So you probably jumped at each and every one of these opportunities.
Even in the next stage of life, most of us would still have somewhat limited opportunity for sex as you would likely be in college and/or have roommates.
In these stages of my life, because of the extremely limited opportunities I had (relative to today!) to have sex, you can bet that I felt ready to go whenever the possibility of doing it arose. And because of that, I truly believed the stereotype since I had yet to experience anything different.
Now, fast forward a few years to when more people tend to be in long-term relationships, living alone, or maybe even with their partners. At this point, opportunity for sex abounds! You’ve reached a point where you can have sex (nearly) whenever you like.
But re-read those final three words – you actually have to decide how often “whenever you like” is, not to mention factoring in your partner’s preferences as well!
I think we’d all be a lot better off if we could rewrite that stereotype to be, “Men (and everyone, for that matter) usually want sex when they don’t get to have a lot of it; when they do, everyone has a different appetite.”
Myth #2 – Men always have a higher sex drive than women
Most people believe that the man is always the higher sex drive partner in a heterosexual relationship.
The truth: It’s just as often that the female partner has the higher sex drive in a heterosexual relationship.
I’ve had plenty of experience with this personally.
As a sex therapist, I see the tremendous toll that this myth takes on couples where the female partner has the higher libido. She feels unfeminine, the male partner feels emasculated, and they wind up having even less sex than either of them would like.
Xander’s take: I can definitely say from experience that this is not true. We’ll go into more personal detail about this at a later date (so stay tuned!), but this myth can be quite damaging if it doesn’t get discussed early on in a relationship.
I think it’s really easy for something like this to happen: let’s say “Katelyn” assumes “Richard” has the higher sex drive because Richard is a man. If that’s true, Katelyn assumes that she should just let Richard be the one to initiate sex, since that is already going to be more often than Katelyn thinks she wants. When Richard starts to see that Katelyn is never initiating sex, he might start wondering if something is wrong. Thinking about this might cause Richard to stop initiating sex as frequently. I think you can see where this one is going… basically it’s a recipe for both partners to end up feeling unfulfilled!
For me personally, I tend to be pretty reactive when it comes to my sex drive. While I may not be thinking about sex all the time, if Vanessa says something about sex or I see her wearing something sexy, all of the sudden I can go from not even thinking about it to wanting it.
Initially, I felt self-conscious about the fact that I would sometimes need a little nudge. But discussing this together as a couple has been extremely helpful.
Myth #3 – Men can get turned on extremely easily
Most people also believe that men are ready to have sex at the drop of a hat. Not only do they want sex all the time, but their bodies are prepared for it with a moment’s notice.
The truth: There’s not always perfect alignment with what we want in our heads and how our bodies respond.
Plenty of men might feel the desire to be intimate in a certain moment, but need a little time to relax or unwind. Or they might need some kissing or caressing in order to get an erection.
A man might be really interested in having sex, but be unable to get an erection, or he might get hard but then lose his erection.
None of this would be a very big deal if we didn’t have this dumb myth about male sex drives. But since this myth does exist, we have an awful lot of men out there feeling emasculated and embarrassed by very normal, common bodily responses.
Xander’s take: Here’s my hot take – shit happens! Our bodies and brains are super complicated things and things don’t always happen the way you want them to.
We all do clumsy things occasionally without intending to – running into things, dropping things, saying things we don’t mean, etc. And there’s no expectation that this kind of stuff isn’t allowed to happen. So why should sex be any different?
I’ve had situations where I was extremely turned on, and part way through sex I suddenly lost my erection. I’ve had times where I realize I might be late to an appointment and all of the sudden I can’t get it up anymore.
What I do know is that beating myself up over these kind of situations and replaying them over and over in my head only tends to lead to them happening more frequently, so it’s better to just acknowledge your own disappointment, and remind yourself about all the great sexual experiences you’ve had (and will continue to have!).