There are a lot of sexual myths in the world that create unrealistic expectations, leading to feelings of disappointment and failure. I’m going to describe the myths that show up the most often in my work with couples. I want to correct the most common sexual myths that get in the way of good sex for couples. I am going to start with some myths about sexual desire.
Myth: you and your partner should want to have the same amount of sex
The reality is that one of you is always more interested in sex than the other, at least over time. Which of you wants more sex and which wants less may switch, too, as life goes on. You can be the higher desire partner in one relationship, and the lower desire partner in another, too. Having a discrepancy in how much sex you want is not a problem. It can become one if you don’t deal with it well, however. There are typical ways that people get caught in the traps of a desire discrepancy, which I’ll write about in later posts. However, you can dispose of the idea that something is wrong just because one of you has a higher libido or interest in sex.
Myth: Men want more sex than women, and they’re always ready to go
In roughly half of the (heterosexual) couples I see in therapy, it’s the woman who wants more sex than her partner. And in gay and lesbian couples, there is still one partner with a higher desire than the other. The sexual expectations that are based on gender can put a burden on you and your partner. There is nothing about gender that determines what your sexual interest is or should be.
If you’re a man, you might feel a lot of pressure to be the sexual driver in the relationship—which can be very stressful if that’s not how you feel. It’s unrealistic to think you’d be ready for sex at the drop of a hat over your entire lifetime. Your desire can ebb and flow, and you are just as likely to need some time to switch gears or get aroused, even more so as you get older.
There’s also nothing to say that a woman can’t have a high sex drive or a strong interest in sex. If you’re a woman who has ready access to her sexual desire, you may be judged for that, and at the same time, you might be judging a male partner for wanting less. You may not fit the stereotype of someone who needs romance and seduction to be interested in sex. You could feel frustrated that you are the initiator of sex in your relationship, believing that a man should be in that role. If you’re partnered with a woman with a high libido, you may feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
We are all just people, with varying levels of interest in sex. If you have easy access to desire, enjoy that, whether you are male or female. If you struggle to feel desire, there is nothing wrong with you, no matter your gender. I’ll write about cultivating sexual desire and methods to evoke it in future posts.
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Pornography is a caricature of sex
Your expectations are the problem
Sexual expectations – treat sex like growing to the playground