The Nature Of Relationships, Love and Sex
Popular culture has brought into being a whole collection of myths around sex and human sexuality – and in particular, our attitude towards sexual pleasure.
For one thing, many of us still have the belief at some level that pleasure is essentially male-centric. In other words, that sexual interactions between men and women are somehow all about male sexual pleasure.
Let's look at some of the most common myths and popular culture, and see how much basis they have in reality.
1 Orgasm Is the Goal of Sexual Intercourse
Of course one of the reasons for this belief is that men are very focused on the achievement of objectives – and when it comes to sex, the objective (orgasm) can be extremely rewarding!
Perhaps with that level of simplistic analysis, it's no surprise that men enjoy sex because the orgasm is their reward.
But as many women would confirm, sex is really a journey from one place to another (not necessarily reaching the goal of orgasm), a journey which encompasses sensuality and experiences of communication, connection and intimacy along the way.
Can these things be rewards in themselves? Yes, they can. The problem is that most men don't see it that way.
But at the end of the day what's most important is to ensure sexual intimacy feels pleasurable to you in a way that suits you.
And your attitude to intimacy matters here: if you intend each sexual encounter to be a new adventure, and give up the expectation of orgasm as the outcome, then you can take a completely new view of making love.
For one thing, and this applies in particular to women, if you can't reach orgasm, then the disappointment and sense of failure is much reduced – simply because your sexual interaction is no longer goal-oriented but is now simply a journey of sensual experience.
And if you can move to a place where you can allow the wave of energetic pleasure to flow through you without expecting any particular outcome, you can heal emotional wounds and experience your body's capacity to provide you with pleasure more easily (compared to a situation where you're constantly thinking "Am I about to come?")
2 Multiple Orgasms Are Better
This is simply not true. Just as men may find their penis can't be touched after they've come because it's too sensitive, many women find their clitoris and vagina is too sensitive to receive more stimulation after they've reached orgasm. On the other hand, plenty of women do like to experience two or more orgasms in a session of lovemaking.
To generalize about our experiences is both unhelpful and unproductive, because our sexual experience, while it has things in common, is certainly different between different individuals.
3 Men's Sexual Desire Is Insatiable (And Needs Regular Quenching)
While it may be true that men feel more driven by sexual impulses than women, the old cliché about men thinking about sex every few seconds is simply not true.
For example one study at Ohio University revealed that male students thought about sex around 19 times a day while the women thought about about sex 10 times.
But having said that, men reported more thoughts about feeling and satisfying all their needs (for food, shelter, money, achievement, etc, etc) than women did, so this discrepancy may not be a specific aspect of male sexuality, but a way in which the male mind works – men, for some reason, may have more concern about getting their needs met women do.
4 Ridiculous Myths about Penis Size Abound
You only have to look on the Internet to see how crazy our obsession with penis size has become – "bigger is better", "racial differences abound", "penis size is an indication of male power"… And many more.
In particular the adolescent belief that you can use shoe size, finger size or nose size as an indication of penis size is particularly ridiculous.
The reason we seem to be so obsessed with penis size is that there is undoubtedly some kind of unspoken belief that the size of a man's penis is related to his masculinity or male power.
But as any woman who's made love to a man with an enormous penis can tell you, that is simply not true.
Masculinity is a quality that derives from a collection of male traits, values and behaviors such as loyalty, strength, courage, conviction, sensitivity, vulnerability, certainty, inner strength, having a mission and purpose… and many more.
While it may be true that a man's self-esteem is to some extent dependent on his penis size, there's no reason to assume that a man who's well-equipped in the "understairs" department is going to be a better lover, better able to father children, or more dominant and masculine, than any other man.
5 Orgasm Has To Be the Product of Intercourse
Let's quash this myth once and for all!
In fact it turns out that only 10% to 15% of women can experience an orgasm easily and regularly through sexual intercourse.
All the others reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation. Even a percentage of the women who reach orgasm during intercourse are only doing that because their clitorises are being stimulated by the particular position the couple are using for intercourse – for example the coital alignment technique is very good in this respect.
There's no question that vaginal stimulation can enhance a woman's experience of orgasm and make it a broader, more emotional and perhaps "deeper" experience, but the reality is that for the majority of women clitoral stimulation is necessary to reach orgasm.
And that means intercourse is not likely to make a woman come – and as a man, if you're with a woman who claims to be coming as you thrust into her, you really need to consider the possibility that she's faking it.
The reality for most couples is that women reach orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris by a partner's fingers or tongue and lips – and a highly recommended strategy for couples to ensure that both partners enjoy an orgasm is for the man to stimulate the woman to orgasm with fingers or mouth before he enters her.
That's a pretty good recipe for sexual satisfaction for both the man and woman.
6 He Comes First
Leading on from 5 above is the male-centric view of intercourse which suggests that it's about the male orgasm, and after that's happened, intercourse basically comes to a halt.
Once you move beyond this patriarchal viewpoint, it's clear there's no reason on earth why making love (by which I mean having some kind of sexual interaction with your partner) should favor either the male or female orgasm unless the partners have agreed that's what they want.
Female orgasms are just as important as male orgasms, and the reluctance of some men to take the time and effort necessary to make their partner come is more a reflection of a selfish attitude rather than some inherent and unavoidable difference in sexual needs between men and women.
7 Faking Orgasm Is OK
But it really isn't OK, on many levels.
To start with, if a woman's faking orgasm, she is denying herself pleasure, and perhaps she's doing that because she wants to ensure that her man is satisfied.
In which case the question might be why she's putting his needs before her own? If she's simply doing it to get sex over and done with, then there's a more serious issue about why she's not enjoying sex within the relationship.
Of course all couples have some kind of dynamic that keeps them together which goes beyond intimacy, either emotional or physical. I'm thinking here of things like trading sex for protection or financial support, which is one of the most obvious exchanges in our male-female relationships.
But for a relationship to really aspire to strength and equality, then the couple needs to be respectful of each other's needs, and where these are not being met, they need to educate their partner in how they can be pleasured.
8 Sex Should Be Clean and Neat
We have nothing to thank the media for, particularly film and television, in representing sex as a simple, straightforward process which leads to orgasmic harmony and pleasure as the couple lie in each other's arms after climax.
The reality, which we all know after a few experiences of intercourse, is that sex can be messy, awkward, embarrassing, challenging, very rewarding, intimate, full of fluids, and many other things as well. To fully accept your humanity and sexuality, you need to embrace all of those different aspects of sex as part of the fun.
9 Sex Needs To Be A Profound Experience Every Time
But of course it doesn't, not really.
Sex can be a quickie, or it can be a deep and soulful interaction, and it can last just as long as you want it to last.
We know that men reach orgasm on average within 5.4 minutes of penetration, while women prefer intercourse to last between 10 and 13 minutes, so there is a discrepancy and disparity there in expectation and reality.
What's most important is for a couple to be able to enjoy the best sexual pleasure they can - so where those statistics might reveal something important is in the discrepancy between women's vision of ideal intercourse (10+ minutes) and men's ability to last longer than 5 or so minutes in bed.
This does suggest that men might increase their partner's enjoyment of intercourse – and therefore perhaps also their motivation to engage in it – by learning how to increase their sexual endurance and last longer in bed.
Now read much more about sex on the other pages of the site - you can see the menu on the opposite column of the page.