Many people have erroneous beliefs about how sex should be easy. Since it often is easy in the beginning of a relationship, when we’re in the honeymoon phase, we can come to believe that this ease is what we should expect in our sex life. Or we may adopt the idealized view of sex that’s portrayed in most movies and media, where sex is easy, successful, and simple. However, good sex is a learned behavior, and making sex work with a partner requires effort and communication. Let’s look at two common myths that people hold about sex.

Myth: Sex is natural; it shouldn’t take work

Procreation is natural. Enough people have the urge to have sex that humankind hasn’t died out yet. But the ability to have collaborative, creative sex with another person is a learned set of skills. It isn’t “natural” to be intimate or to share a meaningful experience. When you add in the complications of real life—like kids, jobs, illness, and other stress, it makes perfect sense that your sex life is going to take work. It doesn’t mean you’re with the wrong person because sex isn’t coming easily. You may need to let go of the fantasy that you can just show up and automatically have good sex. Even if it seemed easy early on when there was all that new relationship energy, over time everyone’s sex life will need attention.


Myth: You and your partner should know what the other wants; you shouldn’t have to communicate about it

This belief falls into what’s called the “fusion fantasy” category—the idea that you will meet your soul mate, you will be perfectly attuned, and everything will be easy and natural because you found the right person. Unfortunately, this is a fantasy. It’s perpetuated in popular culture, movies, and TV, which can make you feel like something must be wrong when it doesn’t work out that way in real life.

Here is the truth: if you want something, you need to make that known; often, with words. Yes, you can read each other and might have some good ideas about what the other wants, but often you don’t have the required level of specificity. You do not instantly know how to please a partner. And what has worked with other lovers in the past won’t necessarily work with you and your partner now. You are the only person who knows what your sexual activity feels like and how it could be better. It is up to you to give the gift of that information to your partner. They also need to give that to you. You don’t have to talk through an entire sexual encounter, but you will have to communicate sometimes to get what you want.

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