Cultural restrictions and social taboos aside, our attitude towards pleasure remains clouded by more hearsay and less facts because most often we do not ask the right questions or are not sure whom to ask. There’s a plethora of information available, but its likely that we look for the answers we hope to find.
Relationship Counsellor and Clinical Sexologist, Dr Martha Tara Lee (www.eroscoaching.com) describes sex as “union” and one that helps strengthen the emotional bond of a couple. “Sex involves the expression of physical love. It is about the joy of life as well as the intimacy of connectedness. Intimacy lies more with the ability to share one’s fears, dreams, and pains. Without honesty, patience, and the ability to be vulnerable, it is not possible to let your partner know who you really are and what you really want.”
Ridding ourselves of certain misconceptions about sex and keeping it real could open doors to a meaningful relationship and enjoyable, satisfying sex, she says. To begin: 8 common myths about sex.
Myth #1: Partners have to be in sync with one another
Truth: That's probably derived from the romanticised idea of "we are one" therefore we need to be alike and the same in everything, bordering on idealism and enmeshment.
We are not one. You are two different individuals with two different bodies, personalities, and even sexual desires. There is no such thing of being in sync. one should know it is not possible or even feasible. What does work is understand and appreciating each other's differences (not just sexual drives) - finding ways to turn your differences into a strength. This might include getting good at communicating your sexual needs, wants and desires, and working as a couple in loving and fulfilling each other within the constraints (such as time and space constraints) because life is hardly, and in fact, never ideal or perfect.
Myth #2: A marriage without sex is doomed
Truth: Love and relationships are two of the most complicated concepts to define. Lots of different events and circumstances can come into play, which can enhance, destroy, or confuse feelings of love and commitment.
Partners do not always have the same level of emotional connectedness, or the same sexual interests. A relationship can become unhealthy or even abusive. A pregnancy changes the relationship between parenting partners, as do the natural changes in our bodies as we age. A person's physical and spiritual connection to their partner can wane. Adding to all these, the toils of everyday life can take over your love and sex lives.
When couples have different sleep cycles, sexual drives, coping strategies in life, the lack of sex can happen. The lack of sex is not an issue until it is an issue for one person in the couplehood.
Myth #3: A "real man" can last all night long
Truth: This myth would have you believe that if a man is not capable of maintaining a cucumber-hard erection and performing all night, he is an incompetent lover.
Men typically reach orgasm 5 to 10 minutes after the start of penile-vaginal intercourse, taking into account their desires and those of their partners.
A good erection is dependent on how good the blood supply is to your penis. Hence, men who have any kind of vascular problems have high chances of their erection being affected. Smoking affects the blood vessels making them less pliable and less compliant. Avoid smoking, fatty foods and cholesterol-rich foods. Exercising and eating healthy are good things. Whateevr affects the vascular system affects your erection.
Myth #4: Bigger is better
Truth: This has to be the most well-known myth, especially since guys tease or insult each other about being small in size. The penis is a symbol of male identity, sexuality, and masculinity, which is why size is often fussed over among men. The notion that a larger penis equates to someone who is more masculine has, in turn, led to men to think or feel that bigger is better.
Size has little to no relation to sexual performance. If he asks you what you think of his penis, know that he is actually asking for reassurance. Encourage him to appreciate his body for what it is - healthy, functioning and perfectly normal.
Myth #5: Your vagina is your most powerful sex organ
Truth: This is patently false. Your mind is your most powerful sex organ, and your skin is your largest one! The brain programs our sexual function, our reproductive behaviour and our sex drive. Hence, it has the potential to be our most powerful tool for accessing mind-blowing sex. This applies to both men and women.
We can use our minds to fantasize about anything - even the impossible or seemingly unattainable. Fantasies are healthy and normal as long as you can separate them from reality and accept (and sometimes appreciate) that you may not be able to fulfill them. For many, fantasies should remain the way they are - fantasies - as reality creates potential for letdown.
Myth #6: You need a penis for sex to occur
Truth: There are tremendous anxieties revolving around the hardness of a penis as well as how long it stays that way. The assumption is that the man's penis is central to a woman's sexual satisfaction. Ironically, the penis is just a small part of what might be needed to have a wonderful sexual experience. There, sex should be viewed as more than just penetration.
Orgasms are a very individualistic thing - there is no one correct pattern of sexual response. Whatever works, feels good, and makes you feel more alive and connected with your partner is what counts. Men will do well in focusing on making her feel important, loved and cared for, and establishing an intimate, emotional, physical, and mental connection, rather than on the tool.
Myth #7: You can tell a man's size from his body parts
Truth: There is a myth based on the premise that you can tell how big someone's penis is by measuring their feet, hands, or nose. There is no scientific proof of a correlation between body part size and penis size.
It is true that there are certain genes that control the development of the limbs which also control the development of the penis in the embryonic stage. Yet, when it comes to fully-developed males, there is no absolute relation between the size of the penis, and the size of the limbs or other body parts.
Myth #8: Zero sexual desire = zero sexual arousal
Truth: Sexual cycles are a real phenomenon, but it doesn't mean one should only have sex when they feel like it.
It is possible to feel sexual arousal without sexual desire. In the case of two partners on different sexual cycles, it has been proven that when one partner may be horny and wants sex (spontaneous), the other partner can get horny after starting to be sexual (responsive). Just because one is slower to the party (possibly for the boy to catch up) does not mean there is lack of sexual attraction or that there is anything wrong with the person or relationship.
This article was originally published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.
See also: 7 SEXIEST TIPS TO GET WEDDING OR HONEYMOON NIGHT-READY