Think you know a thing or two about sex? You may be right, but you may also be wayoff-base. Read on to see what widely accepted “truths” can use a bit of a refresh. Once you arm yourself with this intel, put it into action. She’ll thank you—and you’ll thank us.
Myth: Sex is better when you’re young.
Reality: Sure, sex when you’re young may be faster and more athletic, but most sexually active older adults report having the most satisfying, emotionally rewarding sex of their lives. “There’s less emphasis on quick orgasms and more focus on sensuality, creativity, and emotional connection,” says sexuality education consultant Melanie Davis, Ph.D, CSE. So don’t envy the young too much—you could very well be having a much better time.
Myth: Condoms take the fun out of sex.
Reality: The correct condom can enhance sex for both partners. A survey by luckybloke.com found that 68 percent of men select the wrong size or shape condom. When they sampled a variety of condoms and found the ideal fit, their pleasure skyrocketed.
Myth: Intercourse alone can bring a woman to orgasm.
Reality: Roughly 75 percent of women never orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone; they need direct clitoral stimulation. “If couples want to climax simultaneously during intercourse, the best bet is for one of them to use their fingers or a vibrator to bring some joy to the clitoris,” Davis says.
Myth: Men are not naturally monogamous, but women are.
Reality: Wishful thinking, guys. “Women are heavily socialized to restrict their sexual attraction to one guy at a time, but women’s biology and personality are both well-suited to multiple partners—more so than men’s,” says relationship coach Deboarah Anapol, Ph.D.
Myth: Women are less interested in sex than men.
Reality: Fortunately for men, this is not true. “Women can become disinterested as a result of childhood abuse, unaddressed relationship issues, or demands of children and work,” says Anapol, “but a sexually satisfied woman is a happy, loving woman.”
Myth: Men must ejaculate to experience sexual pleasure.
Reality: A very common belief for women, who may focus on trying to get you to that point. But ask any man who has learned to separate orgasm from ejaculation and he will tell you there are many benefits to non-ejaculatory orgasm. Re-assure her that it’s not your only goal, says Anapol.
Myth: A man must have an erection to enjoy sexual play.
Reality: Foreplay does not require an erection, and the process of arousing the woman and turning her on can be very pleasurable in itself, if the mind is not preoccupied with performance demands, says Anapol. “Most women like foreplay even without intercourse,” she says. “In fact, some women prefer foreplay to intercourse and generally enjoy it more when it’s not experienced as a strategy to get somewhere else as quickly as possible.”
Myth: The bigger, the better.
Reality: The size of your penis isn’t as big of an issue as you might think. “Compatibility of size is the real barometer,” Anapol says. “A big penis and a small vagina are not a happy combination. Further, knowing how to use the penis skillfully is more important than size.”
Myth: Most marriages do not survive an extra-marital affair.
Reality: Research actually demonstrates the opposite—up to a point. “The easiest type of affair to recover from is the male high opportunity/low involvement affair, and the most challenging is the female comparison affair,” says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., professor of psychology at American University and certified sex therapist. “The key to recovery is to create a genuine, coherent meaning of the affair and to rebuild the trust, intimacy, and sexuality bond,” he says.
Myth: The closer, more intimate, more loving the relationship, the better the sex.
Reality: Boredom is the bigger enemy. “The challenge for couples is to develop a shared sexual style which integrates intimacy and eroticism,” says McCarthy. Too much intimacy and closeness can cause the spouse to de-eroticize the partner and relationship.
Myth: Less than 10 percent of women experience sexual pain.
Reality: The number is a lot higher, gentlement. “Data on women indicates 30 percent deal with some level of sexual pain,” McCarthy says. So when she registers discomfort, take it seriously.
Myth: If the woman hasn’t experienced a G-spot orgasm or had multiple orgasms, this is a sign of sexual inhibition.
Reality: Every woman is different. “Performance-oriented goals to have the ‘right’ type of orgasm subvert healthy female and couple sexuality, and can cause secondary orgasmic dysfunction,” says McCarthy. “Acceptance of the woman’s sexual voice, including her orgasmic pattern, is healthier for the woman and couple.”
Myth: Any man can learn to control his ejaculation.
Reality: Some guys are simply hardwired for quickies. “If you have trouble lasting more than a minute during intercourse, you’re not likely to be able to rock like a porn star no matter how many exercises you do,” says New York sex therapist Stephen Snyder, MD.
Myth: The most important thing a woman wants in bed is a man who can bring her to orgasm.
Reality: Women want men who make them feel desired. “If she wants great technique, she can get a vibrator. From you, she wants real passion,” Snyder says. “If just being around her turns you on, then show her. Women dream of that.”