In this enlightened age, many of us still believe certain falsehoods to be true about sex, which can be really unhelpful to our sex lives.
Read our top ten common sexual myths to see how knowledgeable you really are.
‘Good sex has to be spontaneous’ – FALSE
Spontaneous sex can be great, but scheduling in sex can help to get you in the mood. All the anticipation and mental preparation can help to boost your sexual desire.
‘If you ejaculate before sex, you won’t come quickly’ – FALSE
Although ejaculation may occur more quickly when you have not had sex or masturbated for some time, it is not necessarily the case that ejaculating before sex will prevent premature ejaculation. It may be more helpful to learn to control your arousal through masturbation exercises. Practise recognising the point before inevitable ejaculation, and then lower your excitement.
‘If her vagina feels dry, she’s not aroused’ – FALSE
During sexual arousal, natural lubrication is produced from the entrance of the vagina as well as internally from the cervix, but lubrication also changes from minute to minute and is affected by many factors, such as monthly hormone changes, the effects of menopause as well as medication. The vagina can also become dry from friction during intercourse. So don’t assume that if she’s not naturally lubricating enough, she’s not turned on. Equally, if her vagina does feel lubricated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is aroused.
There are many lubricants available on the market to help with the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
‘You can’t enjoy sexual intimacy without an erection’ – FALSE
Most men suffer with erectile difficulties at some point. Although erectile dysfunction can be a sign of underlying medical conditions, it can also be caused by anxiety, particularly from worrying about whether you will get a strong enough erection for penetrative sex. However, you can experience sensual and sexual pleasure from touching and exploring each other’s bodies without the need for an erection. Allow yourself the opportunity to tune into the pleasurable sensations you can get – you might enjoy it.
‘Size matters’ – FALSE
Many men worry that their penis is not big enough and many women think their vagina might be too big or small. However, during sexual arousal, both the vagina and penis lengthen and stretch and eventually settle back down again. Comparing your own genitals to those of porn stars probably isn’t helpful and if you spend too much time worrying about size, you won’t get to enjoy the pleasures of sex.
‘You are responsible for your partner’s sexual pleasure’ – FALSE
Although it is important to treat your sexual partner with respect and be guided by what they tell you about their sexual likes and dislikes, ultimately you have no control over their most powerful sex organ…their brain! If your partner is distracted, they will find it more difficult to become aroused. If you take on all responsibility for their sexual pleasure, you are likely to forget about your own and won’t be able to enjoy the moment. Obviously, you should only have sex if you both want to. Of course, what you do in bed will affect your partner’s experience, but thinking that you are fully responsible for their arousal could lead to performance anxiety. Communicate with your partner during sex to discover together what you both find pleasurable.
‘Sex isn’t the real deal without penetration’ – FALSE
Great sex doesn’t have to end with penetration. It doesn’t even need to include penetration. Try taking penetrative sex off the menu occasionally and you might be surprised at how arousing it can be. You might find yourselves being more adventurous and sensual. Use your hands, mouth, lotions, fabrics and massagers to enjoy touching each other with. Get creative!
‘Anal sex is only for gay men’ – FALSE
It is a common misconception that all gay men have anal sex and that heterosexual people don’t. Gay men don’t all engage in anal sex, as there are many other ways to have sex. Anal sex is not for everyone and is not without its risks. The anus does not self-lubricate and the tissues can easily tear, so plenty of lubrication is necessary, along with patience, relaxed muscles and condoms to protect against HIV and other STI’s.
‘Good sex has to end in orgasm’ – FALSE
Although orgasms can provide intensely pleasurable sensations and release tension, sex can still be enjoyable and sensual without them. When sex becomes too goal orientated around genital stimulation to orgasm, other pleasures tend to get lost, such as feeling connected to your partner and enjoying other physical sensations from touching and being touched.
However, if you think you have an orgasmic disorder like anorgasmia or delayed ejaculation, which is causing distress, you may wish to consider getting help from a qualified psychosexual therapist.
‘You can’t get an STI through oral sex’ – FALSE
Although STI’s are more easily transmitted through genital contact, STI’s such as herpes simplex, gonorrhoea and syphilis can also be passed through oral sex.
Someone can have an STI without symptoms, so don’t assume that it’s not there if you can’t see any evidence, as it could be. Unless you are sure that you and your partner are free from STI’s, play it safe by using a condom to cover the penis or a dental dam to cover the vulval area or anus. (A dental dam is a latex or polyurethane square barrier.)
Charlotte Simpson is an Accredited Psychosexual Therapist and Relationship Counsellor in Private Practice in North West London.