There are some really unhelpful beliefs in society about sex, that might be unwittingly killing your desire.
Do you recognize any of them?
Myth One: “Sex is about penetration”
We all know the drill right? Women need longer than men to get warmed up for sex- say about 20 minutes of foreplay- so set your clock, get heavy petting, and soon she’ll be warmed up enough to get going.
Well, this is kinda true, but there’s more to it.
Firstly, let’s put this concept of foreplay to bed (literally) and take a read of this article about how the term foreplay should die in a fire.
Foreplay is problematic because it suggests other sexual acts (cunnilingus, fellatio etc) are always the preamble to the main (best) event.
Being sexual and what that means to you. Sex as whatever that means e.g. partnered or solo. Sex drive is not about sex as PIV, but about sexual feeling towards self.
Which is really, penis in vagina sex.
Instead, (as Coffee and Kink argues) sex should be seen as an umbrella term for ALL sexual acts.
So foreplay- get in the bin.
All sexual acts ARE sex.
In first time hookups, (Wednesday Martin) straight men have over 3 orgasms for every 1 orgasm a straight woman has the orgamsm gap!
Sex for men more pleasurable because culutruee so more likely to want it.
Men rewarded for sex at school women shamed for it. Women taught good girls wait so if we feels desire she might not know how to turn that into action
What are we supposed to desire? Not just piv
Most people have high interest in connection just not always piv, emotional connection about interests not about the plan/day. Human need for meaningful touch (seperate from sex). Strrss relief hot and sweaty as crave release.
How is this killing your desire? Problem with being goal oriented
What is sex? Linear goal oriented process lust heavy petting ending of orgasm. Many women dont expeirmeve it this way. Less linear more circular. Women can begin an encounter not with lust but with other things- curiosity etc. Finish with multiple climaxes. Or satisfaction without climax- all options are normal!
New definition of sexuality- about our relationship to the senses. Slowing down, listening to the body, coming into the present moment. Sex isnt profane. Its sacred.
When we talk about sex, we think sex can be ANYTHING that involves sexual play. This can be solo sex, partnered sex, dirty talk, sexting, fantasising… We steer clear of thinking about sex as only about a penis in a vagina, and
Put in link to philosophy for myths bit
Sex can be about emotional pleasure, sensory pleasure, and relationship pleasure. Intercourse is only one way to have fulfilling sex. Touching, kissing, and other intimate sexual contacts can be just as rewarding for both you and your partner.
When we shift our thinking around sexuality, from being goal-orientated to something that will grow and flourish over time, the most amazing experiences will emerge. It’s really not about whether you have a G-spot, or clitoral, or vaginal orgasm – says the sex and relationship consultant Pamela Madsen, founder of Back To The Body, sensuous retreats for women -. Organic sexuality is the opposite of everything we have been taught about sex, which is getting it done quickly and quietly. This is all about intentionally trying to slow down, opening to pleasure in all the parts of your body and letting go of the idea that you have to get anywhere.
Add myths from philosophy into myths post too and link back to it e.g. women less sex drive, only older women have a low SD
PIV sex- the ultimate unhelpful heterosexual script p.86- the shoulds of social convention.
PIV sex- priviliegded in all of the models. Female sexual dysfunction- e.g. K Gurney writes that DSM category of sexual dysfunction of men coming too soon, but not of women- as this doesn’t interryt PIV- successful completion of “what constitues 2normal2 sex”
It’s about WHAT SEX MEANS TO YOU. This is the journey- what does it mean to us? (good sex as more than just the abscense of a sexual problem)
What is sex? KG- sex is physical but also psychological (whats going on in our minds) or relational (how we’re connecting with another)- sex as an enactment of society/culture (p.60)sex is biopsychosocial phenomenon. can’t seperate them out. About knowing self and what makes sex good for you in all those areas.
Being “good at sex”- Karen Gurney book, sex isn’t like a learned skill (e.g. playing the piano) but rahter “like creating a piece of music and playing it in synchronicyt with another musciian who has created their own piece. The skill is in listening and harmonising, not simply playing the instrument”
How we see sex on TV- not a couple that negotiates sex as one feels like it and the other doesn’t. Its normal to have sex thats less erotic, more negotiated, less sparky. Also sex shown as bit of kissing, PIV & quick mutual orgasm (with very little obvious clitoral stimulation). Exposure to “how sex looks”- impossible goals shown.
Sex is always about a penis in a vagina,
Foreplay comes before sex.
Myth two: “Sex just happens”-
For many of us, sex does “just happen” at the beginning of a relationship.
We can’t get enough of it because of the intrigue of someone new.
However- fast forwards ten years and two kids, and the mystery is all but dead.
Sex can feel like effort.
However, the truth is- you have to make time for sex to happen, and plan for it.
I don’t mean plan for it like how many sex therapists say “sex is like exercise- no-one likes it at first but after you’ve done it you feel better” whilst advising you to schedule in nights of the week to have sex.
I mean WTF- sex should be GREAT, not be something you’re dreading or booking in like a smear test!
Instead, to bring sex back into your relationship it requires you to plan time to keep yourself and your relationship well so that sex becomes something that you remember fondly and naturally make time for.
This means firstly getting in touch with your sexual side- understanding what turns it off, e.g. tiredness, stress, anxiety, bloating.
And instead looking after yourself (eating well, exercising, socialising, laughing, learning) so that you keep yourself feeling healthy rather than feeling like you’re running on empty.
It also means taking time to understand how your sex drive works, and allowing yourself time to fantasize and know what gets you hot.
Planning for sex means reducing your busy schedule if that’s making you feel exhausted or irritable so that you have time for the possibility of sex.
It means scheduling in date nights to increase the health of your relationship to reconnect (not necessarily involving sex).
It means going to a relationship counsellor if that’s what you need, or working together on conflict resolution.
It’s about working on yourself to speak out when you’re upset rather than building resentment.
Sex doesn’t “just happen” just as a healthy relationship doesn’t just happen. It’s a three part delicate balance like the picture below. But the more you know to place effort in other areas of your life, the more sex will come.
Myth three: “Your partner turns you on”
OK you got me- this one is partly true.
However, us women have been socialised FOREVER that we should be passive about our sexuality.
Sex is done on us, in us, to us.
The man penetrates- we just lie back and think of England whilst it happens.
This notion of our neglected sexuality has left us stranded without our secret weapon…..
Knowing how to turn ourselves on!
By this I mean, cultivating our own sexuality outside of our relationship with our partner.
If you think of your sex drive as you would a boiler in winter- it needs to be kept on low at all times instead of being fired up only when needed- it becomes so much easier to feel more connected to that sexual part of yourself because it’s already simmering away under the surface.
Yes we can touch ourselves, but it’s so much more than that.
You don’t need to put in effort to find that part of yourself when needed- like lost house keys behind the sofa- you already know where she is and how to reach her.
Don’t wait for your partner to turn you on.
Know exactly what you like and how. Take responsibility for your sexuality and then you’ll either be ready to go on your own or you can instruct your partner to suit your own tastes.
That way, your partner which will only ever enhance your experience not make your pleasure dependent on them and their skill!
I’d love to know what you think- did you believe these myths too?
Myth 4- women want sex less . Men need more sex than women.
actually link to men wanting it more as more likely to get pleaaure from it!
Bateman study in 1948 of fruit flies (Wednesday Martin)- based entire theory of sexuality for men and women on this (males benefitted more from copulating again and agina, for females made little diference). Eggs less expendable than sperm? Only males benefit from multiple mating. Females were “one shot” sexual beings wanting quality over quantity- one guy with great genes and wanting young. But males boat loads of inexpensive sperm would want to naturally spread themselves around. Monogamous social bheaivour and all the qualities presumed to go with it (dmure, choosy, reticient and retiring) were essentially female behaviour. “Men stray while women stay because of genes” . Sexually passive coy females. disinterested and exclusivity craving females. Studies into bonobos, gibbons, chimps, macaques and other primates showed women often bred strategically, often, and craved sexual varieyt (even getting listless and depressed if keepers didnt’ bring in new males). Sex with multiple patertners has a variety of benefits (hedge against male infertility, increase chances of concieving) also non-procreative benefits (e.g. depleting the sperm available to rival females, trading sex for frienssihp or resources) but mainly sexual pleasre.
Susanna weis tweet- be clearer its not that women like sex less its the sex that they’re having!
Sarah Barmak TED talk- W experience more shame when talking about sex and sexuality rather than less sexual interest
Men want more sex than women- false, any studies show men come out with higher desire because it’s measured around how men experience desire (diff from women)- also men socialised to report higher desire because they should, same as women report less (find out more on desire course). KG- “although desire is dependent on biologically processes in part, it is largely a psychological event underpinned by pshycial fctors, not the other way around”
Myth 5- desire fades over tiem
Although a drop in desire from first few months or year is common for many couples, this doesn’t need to lead to sexual or relationship satisfaction. Decline in desire also doesn’t happen for eveyrone over tie, so we know time isn’t the KEY factor/reason for low desire levels. Other relational factors pick up speed instead (our brakes). “A decline in sexual satisfaction in a long-term relationship is not a given”.
Myth 6- women’s desire decreases as they get older
Age doesn’t define a woman’s sexual desire – says Walker Thornton, an American former executive director of sexual assault crisis centres and now a sex educator for older women with sexuality-related issues, author of ‘Inviting Desire, A Guide for Women Who Want to Enhance Their Sex Life’ -. Those numbers don’t stop us from doing all the things we want. And experiencing heightened pleasure. All the things culturally perceived to be for ‘young’ people. We are only limited by our imaginations. It’s time to acknowledge that women of all ages can experience sexual desire. Our capacity for desire is much stronger now than in our earlier years. Why? Because I’ve learned to tap into the thoughts and behaviours that allow me to create desire. Because I know that pleasure includes far more than traditional intercourse. Because I’ve learned to express what I feel and to ask for what I want. And, because there is currently a man in my life who wants all of this as well.
Wetness or hardness not good indicators of arousal
Sex is about male pleasure/partners pleasure is more imprtant?
supposed to feel good
It shouldn’t hurt (unless you want it to)- bar for women is REALLY low
E.g. thinking that sex “just happens”,
you should feel sexual desire randomly and frequently for your long term sexual partner
Good sex should ” just happen” and that this desire should prompt you to have sex whenever the whim takes you.- everyting perpetuats this myth, TV, society, films, music
How much sex everyone is having. What is normal? 3 times a week Karen Gurney- estimation of frequency a standard people believe is the average, assumption that frequency is a good indicator of a good sex life. What is “common” in a relationship (who decides what is normal”)- possibly add to desire course. (frequency easier to count)-Natsal- average person has sex a little less than once per week (or 3 times per month- twice per month for women 35-44). Frequency is almost meaningless. How frequently you want sex and how frequently you have sex are different things. Quality of sex has huge implications for desire.
It’s impossible to have a happy sex life in a long term relationship/sex declines in a relaitonship over time.