I often have clients that come into my office and tell tales of dissatisfying sexual experiences. Sometimes these are due to lack of experience, but often these situations are due to unrealistic expectations and/or a lack of knowledge. Let’s face it, while we see sex all over in television, music, magazines; it is still taboo to overtly discuss sexual intimacy issues. And we often see and hear on the television or in movies is unrealistic, we fantasize about how easy these images make it seem. When reality does not mesh with the fantasy, this can cause distress in the bedroom. So let’s tackle some of those common myths:
1. Bigger is better. This pertains to both penis and breast size. Bigger is not necessarily better. Just like penis’ have different lengths, girths, shapes and leans, so do vaginal canals. Some vaginas have a shorter or tighter canal which can lead to pain during sex with a penis that is longer or wider. While the vagina is made to stretch, sometimes the pain can be enough to prevent the woman from wanting to have sex. However, there are multiple exercises that can be done to help couples facing this situation. While the size of breasts may not necessarily cause pain for the partner, they can cause pain for the woman with the large breasts. And believe it or not, there are those out there who prefer smaller breasts. And while a partner may enjoy their significant other’s breast, they do not fall in love with that person’s breasts but with the person themselves. In these situations, we work more on helping someone to accept their own body image and not focus on feeling insecure over breast size.
2. Having sex for a long length of time is preferred. Length of time for having sex is a preference and there are those out there who do enjoy marathon sex or being able to have sex for a long length of time. However, most women do not prefer to have sex for too long. In fact, I often hear the following sentence, “Anything longer than 15 to 20 minutes and I start thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, just get it over with already.’” Too long and women can become dry and sex can become painful or even several orgasms can become intense and painful. And bear in mind the majority of women are unable to orgasm from penetration, but from clitoral stimulation. The average length of time it takes for a woman to have an orgasm is about seven minutes. The average length of time it takes for a man to have an orgasm after penetration is about 3 minutes.
3. Foreplay isn’t that important. Foreplay is extremely important! However, foreplay is not just the few minutes before penetration. Foreplay takes place every day. Flirting with your partner on a regular basis is a great way to continue to have foreplay with them. Believe it or not, even doing the dishes or making dinner for your significant other can be a form of foreplay. Even daily kisses good morning or good night are a part of foreplay. That is because all of these things rend themselves to having a secure emotional bond, which enhances sexual intimacy.
4. I must orgasm every time. See number 5.
5. I must get my partner to orgasm every time. I decided to put numbers four and five together since the information for both is going to be the same. Sometimes couples come in and describe insecurities related to the inability for themselves or their partner to have an orgasm. Sometimes one of the partners has never had an orgasm and sometimes orgasms are rare. However, it is important to know that 75% of men have orgasms every time, while only 29% of women have orgasms every time. Furthermore, 1 in 3 women struggle to have an orgasm. Again there are multiple reasons this happens from lack of clitoral stimulation to stress and/or anxiety. Stress and anxiety also often play a big role in males that struggle with erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia.
6. Only those with multiple partners have sexually transmitted infections or STI’s. There is a huge misconception that those with an STI must be promiscuous. However, the facts are there are STI’s that stay dormant that one does not even know they have. Some people can be born with certain STI’s. And a person can contract an STI from their first and only partner. STI’s are a problem, but many people are not knowledgeable on the facts of STI’s and stigmatize these infections. For example, perhaps one of the most stigmatized STI’s is herpes. However, about one in five Americans have genital herpes.
7. What you see in pornographies is how sex should be in real life. Pornographies are made from fantasies. A fantasy, by definition, is not real. Porn can be a fun tool to use in the bedroom, but there are also numerous amounts of research that show that too much pornography can lead to poor body images and unrealistic expectations in the bedroom (see the notes on size and longevity, for example).
8. Masturbation is dangerous or dirty. Masturbation is a natural, healthy way to explore one’s own body. This can help you guide your partner to how to please you and increase communication regarding ones sexual intimacy. However, there are some recent studies that have shown that porn addiction is linked to masturbating to an extent that one becomes accustomed to one’s own hand and/or toy in order to have an orgasm. This can lead to some struggling to have an orgasm with one’s partner. The possibility of this happening is still somewhat low, but it is something to keep in mind.
9. If my partner does not want to have sex with me, there must be something wrong with our relationship. If your partner consistently rejects sex, this may be a sign that something is wrong; however, more often than not, there is something external effecting sexual desire, such as stress and lack of sleep.
10. The G Spot. Okay, okay so this one is still up for debate. Some people swear by its existence and others have tried to prove that it does not exist. Named after Ernst Grafenberg, M.D., who studied urethral stimulation, the zone is often said to be located about 1-3 inches up the front of the vaginal wall opening. Some hypothesize that it is part of the female prostate while others believe it to be an extension of the clitoris. Either way it is described as feeling slightly rougher than the surrounding vaginal walls and containing a plethora of nerve endings. Ultimately, the facts are that if this spot does exist it is in slightly different places for various women and it is highly possible that some women may not have this spot at all. Whether one is able to “find” it or not on themselves it does not mean that there is any dysfunction for that person.