There are countless myths that people hold about sex. In previous blog posts, I have talked about the misconception that sex should never take work, and that partners should inherently know what the other wants sexually. Myths like these are perpetuated by popular culture, movies, and TV shows, which can make you feel like something is wrong if sex isn’t magically perfect. Porn is another pervasive source of sexual myths, especially relating to how sex should look and feel. Let’s look at two common myths that people hold about sexual performance.

Women should orgasm through vaginal penetration alone

Less than one third of women can or will orgasm only through the stimulation that happens during penetration. Most women require additional stimulation of their clitoris to reach an orgasm. You wouldn’t know this by watching love scenes, however, since they rarely show anything but women appearing to climax through intercourse. If you are expecting a vaginal orgasm and you’re not one of the one third of women who experience that, you’ve set yourself up to feel like a failure. And if you’re a partner who holds that expectation for your female lover, you may feel like at least one of you is inadequate.

If you or your partner are in a female body with a clitoris, you’ll likely need to provide other stimulation, like fingering, oral sex, or a vibrator. And it will typically take longer than it does for a man to reach an orgasm. Don’t hesitate to explore theses other ways of pleasuring yourself or your partner.


Men should last a long time

This belief is about how long a man should be able to thrust in intercourse before having an orgasm. Again, what is portrayed in media and pornography would have you believe that men should be able to have sex indefinitely. The reality is most men will reach orgasm in two minutes or less of thrusting.

It is possible to develop at least some control over ejaculation, but that will likely involve slowing down or pacing to control the level of stimulation. It’s also possible to learn to climax without ejaculation, allowing men to continue in sex and even have multiple orgasms, but that will take effort and dedication.


Here is the truth: the portrayals of sex that we see in movies, television, and porn are just that, portrayals. Actors performing for a camera do not present the realistic sexual experiences of most couples. The vast majority of women need additional stimulation beyond vaginal penetration to orgasm, and the vast majority of men will orgasm within two minutes of thrusting. To really enjoy our sex lives, it is important we that release the sexual myths we are holding that set ourselves up for failure and come to understand what sex means for us in real life.

You might also enjoy: 

Sexual myths spawn unrealistic expectations

Pornography is a caricature of sex

Your expectations are the problem

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