A second look at old unquestioned ideas about sex that may be negatively impacting your sex life.
Myth 1: Lube is For old people
Actually, lube is for anyone who wants to have a lot of sex. Or sex in a short amount of time. Or anal sex. Or sex with a condom. Or sex when they are feeling a bit stressed and their body is not keeping up with their libido. Or for anyone taking antihistamines… You see where I am going with this, right? Artificial lube is a great thing for your sex life and it will serve you to get comfortable with it.
There are so many reasons why a woman’s body may not lubricate as quickly or as much as she might like, and these reasons are not limited to menopause or post menopause. As I mentioned earlier, simple medications like antihistamines can impact one’s vaginal lubrication, as can stress, exhaustion, distractions. And men’s bodies don’t provide lubrication at all, so artificial lube is important for men as well.
One reason lube has gotten a bad reputation is that people have used it poorly. A little goes a long way – start experimenting with a drop or two. You want to avoid having so much lube you no longer feel any friction. Also experiment with different types, there are a lot to chose from now. Treat it like a sex toy or enhancement, which it is, touch and rub while you apply it and soon you will find lube is for good for you too.
Myth 2: Once I learn some tricks, I am a great lover.
Sorry, to burst this bubble for you. I know there is a lot of appeal in the many books and articles out there promising to teach you the moves to be a great lover or how to turn on any man or woman – some even have diagrams. While it is good to know anatomy and common erotic zones, the problem with these articles and the idea of learning sex moves, is that it ignores that fact that being a great lover means being in tune with your partner. Sex is not a choreographed activity, it is an improvisational dance that asks you to listen and respond to the other participants.
So what skills will make you a better lover? Work on listening and observing body language. Work on being present to your own experience and pleasure so that you can share that with your partner. What really works for one partner may not work for the next. And our bodies, moods, and erotic appetites constantly change, so what really turned your partner on last week may be different this week. And that is great because it is one of the things that keeps sex fun and exciting. But you will miss it if you are on automatic pilot doing your moves.
Myth 3: Sex Without an erection is no sex at all.
Well first, there are many lesbians out there with hot, satisfying sex lives who would disagree with this. But let’s say you do include a penis or two in your sexual play. It may be that penetrative sex is your preference, your favorite part of the sexual interaction. And you may prefer a hard erection for your penetrative play. However, there is so much more to sexual interactions than just your favorites and, in fact, there may be new favorites to discover if you don’t limit yourself to one kind of sex.
Many of us have been heavily influenced by the cultural definition of sex = penetration. “Foreplay” is considered all the stuff you might do to get to the penetration. Oh and let’s not forget the other part of this cultural model – once the erection is gone, sex is over. Well, that is only one model of sex and, come to find out, it is a pretty limiting one. Great sex can include intercourse, or not, it can start with “foreplay” or finish with “foreplay”, it can include one person orgasming right away and one person later, or not at all. There is no real reason for sex to start in one way and end in another – we have completely made that up. Our bodies are available for physical pleasure and our minds and hearts stay available for closeness and connection whether there is an erection in the room or not. And men, in case you are wondering about your own satisfaction without an erection, did you know that you can still orgasm without an erection? Your penis still feels sensation and pleasure.
Let’s try this: sex = playing, touching, licking, laughing, connecting, rubbing, kissing, talking, looking, in any order or selection you and your partner feel like that day.
Myth 4: Toys are for when you don’t have a partner.
Certainly sex toys are great for when you don’t have a partner available. And many people’s time between relationships has been improved by the growing selection of sex toys out there. However, toys work just as well when you use them as part of play with a partner and they can open up whole new ways to be sexual with each other. They can allow some people who learned to orgasm masturbating with a toy, to share their orgasm with their partner for the first time and possibly to learn new paths to orgasm with different types of stimulation. Toys can allow for experimentation and discussion of what feels good where; they are a great learning tool.
Also, masturbating privately, even when you have a partner, can enhance your sexuality with your partner. How could that be? Well, sexual satisfaction and orgasms can serve to increase your libido and to keep sex on your mind. If you know how to satisfy yourself, it is empowering and that feels sexy. Also for many people, knowing how to bring themselves to orgasm feels like a learned skill and, like other skills, practice can make it easier.
Can sex toys do things that the human body can’t provide? Sure, some of them offer very intense stimulation but that is no reason to make them the enemy. Including sex toys and mutual masturbation in your partnered relationship can enhance your sex life by opening new doors and also by letting your sexual pleasure be more out in the open, more self empowered and more fun to share.
Myth 5: Scheduling sex is unsexy.
We’ve got a half hour if you rush in the door after your hour long commute and I wash up after taking the dog for a walk but before I sit down to pay bills and you scrape together dinner. Ugh, not sexy. Trying to cram sex in to a busy schedule is hard to feel sexy about. However, scheduling time to have a relaxed sexual encounter can be very sexy and great for your love life.
If we think about the many people engaging in affairs, one pattern that is common in these encounters is that the people involved have to plan their sexual interactions. So why is the planned scheduled sex time so often hot for people in those scenarios, but not hot for two people living together fitting time into their calendars. One reason, is that people who really feel like they can’t have sex whenever they want, tend to look forward to it as something special. They may fantasize throughout the week, prepare for it in some way, primp to look and feel attractive and sexy.
Also, with clear external reasons getting in the way of sex, it actually can make it easier to show that you are making sex a priority. Let’s face it, no one is going to feel good about scheduling sex with someone who is clearly preferring to watch Real Housewives than make time for sex. If scheduling sex begins to feel like a battle or power play, then it will probably not increase your sex drive.
So make your scheduled sex time something to look forward to by planning enough time and privacy to feel relaxed and so that you can connect. Think about it throughout the week, what will you wear to feel sexy? What new thing might you like to try or talk about? Remind each other that you are looking forward to spending sexual time together, so that when it is that time in the week you already feel like the sexual interaction has started. And be mindful of the message you are sending when you sit down with your partner to pick a time that will work. Take time before to look at your schedule on your own and decide what times you can clear and what events you may need to give up to create time for your sexual relationship. Don’t make this your partner’s problem, be ready to offer some times up without treating it like a big compromise.
Remember waiting and planning ahead can be sexy, if you make it sexy.
Melissa Fritchle, LMFT is a Holistic Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist and Gender Specialist in private practice in Capitola, California. She is also a vibrant sex educator and writer who speaks to people about positive sexuality and relationships worldwide.