When you think of how sex is portrayed on TV and in movies and porn, it’s pretty unrealistic. Most of these (heterosexual) participants are thin, attractive, young and unmarried (to each other, at least). Only recently married couples have been portrayed having sex. This sets us up to believe we should have a certain body type and a certain age-range is ideal. But even more potentially damaging is what this portrayal suggests about sexual connection. This repeated image (read: ideal) is promoting myths about sex and how females and males should “perform”. And it’s all unspoken and subconscious. So, what are the 3 most common myths about females and sex that are most damaging and what is the truth?
Myth #1 “Sex is defined as penis in vagina intercourse and both partners have an orgasm this way.”
Believing this is a problem for a few reasons: it’s heteronormative for one, thus leaving out vast groups of people. Secondly, if things don’t work this way (all the time or some of the time), it sets people up for disappointment or worse.
Let’s say the female is the type who doesn’t have an orgasm with penile penetration alone. Again, if we consider the vast number of examples of heterosexual sex in the media, she is led to believe there’s something wrong with her or her body. What if what she really finds arousing is oral sex or her partner fingering her or penetration at the same time as clitoral stimulation? For women and men who believe this myth, they can believe they are inadequate, which can lead to feelings of failure, shame, hurt, or even anger.
Truth #1 Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm.
In fact, only about 4% of women can have an orgasm by thrusting (intercourse) alone!!! 4%!!! Here’s the rest:
19% of women rarely (if ever) have orgasm with a partner
34% of women have an orgasm with direct clitoral stimulation alone
43% of women have an orgasm with intercourse PLUS direct clitoral stimulation
(Where is (and what is) the clitoris anyway? It’s an organ whose sole purpose (at least what we know to date) is sexual pleasure. The tip is the only part that’s outside the body which protrudes above the vaginal opening (and above the hard to find urethra). The part outside the body is covered by a protective hood of skin and is chock full of sensitive nerve endings.)
Myth #2 “Sex should be passionate and intuitive. In a good relationship, my partner should know what to do, exactly what I like, and how to touch me.”
In movies, we see highly passionate people falling into bed together. Rarely a word is spoken. No one is giving guidance, stating preferences or giving feedback (for softer or harder touch, faster or slower, up or down, to stop doing this and start doing that). Porn perpetuates this myth even further. Sure, women moan and ask for it harder, but rarely is any other helpful information exchanged. If you’re not guiding your partner’s hand or penis or sex toy or telling them what you like, how will they know what feels good to you? Without this exchange, the male partner is left guessing (or worse – just focused on their own pleasure).
Truth #2 Good sex does and should include verbal and non-verbal communication.
After all, you are connecting. Women should tell their partner if they need clitoral stimulation to become aroused. And many men will need to know exactly what that means: how to touch and with what (a penis, finger, hand, vibrator et cetera), how much pressure to use, how fast or slow, and when to start and stop.
Myth #3 “If a married person masturbates, it’s a sign the relationship is in trouble.”
It can be easy to think that if our partner is masturbating, it must be because they are sexually unsatisfied, or unhappy in the relationship. This can lead to insecurities, or even to feelings of mistrust between partners.
Truth #3 Masturbation is a good, healthy way for us to experience our sexuality.
It can be fun or an escape or stress relieving or relaxing. By doing it, we learn about our body and what type of touch arouses us. Plus, the more sex we have the more we want to have sex. I’m using the broad definition of sex here: Any contact (including self-contact) that’s both connecting (to the sexual side of ourselves or to our partner) and pleasurable.
BTW, here are a few more myths: Having children shouldn’t change sex between a couple. Sex should be spontaneous, not planned. I shouldn’t need a drink to let my inhibitions down and be sexual. Fantasizing about others is a bad sign for my relationship. We/I shouldn’t need lube.
If you or you and your partner are struggling with these myths and they’re impacting your sex life, don’t suffer in silence. Sex can be a pleasurable and beautiful part of our lives so reach out to get help. Call us at 908-246-3074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an individual or couples appointment.