As mentioned in our previous post, we're going to address the topic of dwindling desire over the next few weeks. Today's post will address what I believe to be one one of the greatest culprits to dwindling desire--unrealistic expectations placed on ourselves and our sexual partners which are most often based on misinformation.
In my line of work, I hear an array of myths about sex. Naturally, we may chuckle at some of the misconceptions, but many of these myths can contribute to low self-esteem, relationship conflict, and may potentially compromise one's sexual health.
In the spirit of providing more accurate information, here is part 1 of 2 blog posts where I’ll cover sex myths that may be hurting your relationship.
Find out if you’ve bought into any of these:
We Should Be Having Sex (xx) Number of Times Per Day: This is probably the most common myth I hear. People often want to know the magic number of times they should be having sex each week. The truth is there is no magic number.
Forget what your friends told you, forget what you read in the latest magazine. Honestly, your friends may be lying or exaggerating about how often they’re having mind-blowing sex each week and magazines want to sell stories!
Instead, focus on figuring out what works for you and your partner.
Sex Should Always Be Spontaneous: Sure, spontaneous sex can be fun and exciting, but let’s be real—it can’t always be spontaneous--people have jobs and responsibilities!
You may be nostalgic about the “spontaneous” sex you had early on in your relationship, but in reality, it probably wasn’t completely spontaneous. Think about it--a certain level of planning went into the possibility of having sex—planning a date, personal grooming, the perfect outfit, setting the mood, etc.
Scheduling time for sex is not an indication of a relationship in trouble, so bust out your calendars and pencil in some fun!
All Men Want Sex Every Day: Okay, so maybe many men want daily sex (and I may add that so do some women), but assuming something is wrong if a man doesn’t want sex ALL the time is a disservice to men and can pose an incredible amount of pressure on the relationship.
Factors such as health, stress, and emotional well-being can impact a man’s desire for sex.
Expecting a man to be ready for sex at any given moment is just as damaging as expecting a woman to not be interested in sex. Find out what your partner wants/desires/needs and don’t assume you know just because he’s a man.
This applies both to heterosexual and same-sex relationships. What works for you, may not work for your partner!
Women Do Not Enjoy Sex As Much As Men: Lies!! As alluded in #3, plenty of women enjoy having sex and are comfortable with their sexuality.
To assume that a woman is not as interested in having sex or that she automatically loses interest in sex at a certain age is simply NOT TRUE.
What may be happening is she may not be finding pleasure while having it. Often women’s pleasure, particularly in heterosexual relationships, is overlooked. This MAY contribute to a disinterest in sex; pain could also be a factor (see our previous post on Female Sexual Pain).
Ask her if she's experiencing pleasure during sex. If you're a woman are you letting your partner know if you're not experiencing pleasure?
Communication, communication, communication.
My Partner Should Know What I Want: I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume your partner is not a mind-reader. Even if they are incredibly in-tune with you, even if you’ve been with your partner for years, you still need to communicate to them what you want/need/desire.
This speaks to the importance of knowing your body, knowing what brings you pleasure, and knowing how to communicate it to your partner.
They may never figure it out unless you guide them!
(Side note: If you are struggling to communicate with your partner for any reason including past traumas, consider working with a licensed psychotherapist/sex therapist to help you work through these challenges. Additionally, these myths are based upon the assumption that you are in a healthy, consensual, nonviolent, non-exploitive relationship. Healthy, pleasurable sex is never coercive.)
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve bought into any of these myths. The amount of misinformation surrounding sex is overwhelming.
No wonder it’s hard for people to talk about it!
Hopefully, this first set of myths debunked will help ease some of the pressure that may be impeding on how much you & your partner are able to enjoy being intimate.
In the spirit of opening healthy dialogues, I'll leave you with some fun inspiration from the 90's--Salt-n-Pepa's Let's Talk About Sex.
Check back with us soon for the remaining half of the myths we will debunk.
Remember, knowledge is power.
Sex--get to talking about it!!
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Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.