Does a fish know it’s wet? Much like a fish swimming in the ocean with water as a lifelong given to their conditions, women are often floating in a sea of cultural myths that go unchecked. These myths hold you back from feeling deserving and confident in your full sexual expression.
Here are few that make me want to jump up and down with a sign that says “Don’t believe it!”
· Women have a lower sex drive
· Kink = trauma
· Seniors aren’t having or shouldn’t want sex
· Masturbation means you’re not into partnered sex
· Sex isn’t good if it doesn’t look like porn
· Straight or femme, queer women are supposed to be submissive
To these I say an emphatic NOPE! None of them are true. However, we are products of our environment, and therefore so many of our beliefs regarding our sex lives are shaped by history, tradition, community held beliefs, and we can’t forget…patriarchy. I’m here to say no.
Let’s unpack these myths that ruin a perfectly good sex life and make you self-conscious, doubting, embarrassed and downright avoidant to sex. I’m guessing many of them go unexamined because when and how have you been given the space and context to question them? Below I’ll give a brief response to three of the aforementioned myths.
Women have a lower sex drive
It’s true that many sex therapy clients are women who come in with “low desire” or male/female couples where the woman gets pegged as the problem for ambivalence regarding sex. To this, I say, “Do you like the quality of sex you are having?” Often women have put up with mediocre sex for years and don’t feel like doing it anymore. They have better things to do, and sex feels like an obligation—another way they are expected to give. And so if they enjoyed the sex more, they likely would want the sex more. Now there are techniques to help make this happen, however, sex is also largely relational, so it might also improve as the quality of the partnership deepens.
Kink must mean the person has trauma
Don’t yuck someone else’s yum! Kink means a lot of different things: fetishes, BDSM play, or non-monogamy. Some women are only into kink, while for others, it can one of the ways they like to engage in sexual play. Women (and men) come to kink in a variety of ways: through partners suggesting it, porn, erotica, and their own fantastic imagination. Kink is largely about power, control, domination, and sensation play. It requires exceptional communication and doesn’t have to include sexual touch. Kink is not always the product of trauma. Rather, it’s often a playful, creative way to express needs.
Masturbation means you’re not into partnered sex
This is like saying that if you like angel hair marinara, you must not like spaghetti Bolognese. They are both delicious red sauce pasta, however, the latter has a more complicated flavor profile. And sometimes, you might feel like something quick and light, while other times, you are craving something hearty and filling. Masturbation is its own thing. It’s you dropping into your body and mind without the spectatoring that often comes with partnered sex. You don’t have to look good, smell good, reciprocate touch. You can be selfish and slow or quick and done. You control what happens next and for how long, and how hard. It’s a delightful example of self-care.
Partnered sex is something very different and quite enjoyable. It (ideally) involves foreplay and coordinated touching between you and your other. There is action and reaction which wake up the mind and senses differently (to hear them moaning, for example). Partnered sex is another type of expression and asks for mindfulness and presence in a different way than solo sex. Both are worthwhile and have a place in your life. They aren’t competitors. In fact, I find that the more sex women have, the more they want. Often, I see masturbation as helpful for female clients to warm themselves up and to know what they like sexually so they can ask for it in partnered sex.
For a more detailed discussion of these and other cultural myths, join my upcoming Pleasure Circle—a 6-week, online, small group for women who want a better sex life. We will unpack the obstacles that get in the way of your best sex life and empower you to have the sex you want. Pleasure Circle starts March 2 and runs 6 consecutive Thursdays. Message me for a brief screening call to see if it’s a good fit, and I’ll share a limited-time discount code.
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