Sex Therapist Says There's One Stereotypical Phrase She Never Wants To Hear Again

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Stereotypes add unnecessary complications to already complex relationships. Sex therapist Vanessa Marin is on a mission to debunk such myths, helping individuals forge stronger connections in the process.

One particular stereotype has become a thorn in her side — and it's time to expose and address it.

The gender-based stereotype Marin never wants to hear again is this:

"Men are like microwaves, and women are like ovens."

"As in," she explains, "men are always ready to go and women take a long time to get turned on and heated up."



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This oversimplified comparison not only fails to capture the richness and diversity of individual experiences, but also places an unfair burden on women, suggesting they take longer to get turned on — an assumption that does not necessarily hold true.

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1. It's not true for everyone and is generally unhelpful.

"There are plenty of women who get turned on quickly and easily and plenty of men who need a little bit of time to warm up," Marin states.

This phrase lumps everyone into the same category, ignoring the rich tapestry of individual uniqueness and diverse experiences. Human sexuality is complex and multifaceted. Attempting to categorize individuals with sweeping generalizations based solely on their gender oversimplifies the intricacies of human desire.

It's an oversimplification to suggest that everyone, based on gender, fits neatly into predefined molds of arousal.

Marin adds, "It also really varies from day to day. Certain times it might feel really easy to get turned on and other times it might feel next to impossible."

2. It puts way too much pressure on women.

Comparing women to ovens, insinuating a lengthier arousal process, places an undue burden on them that goes beyond mere metaphorical implications.

This analogy not only oversimplifies the complexities of female sexuality but also fosters an environment that unfairly expects women to conform to a predetermined timeline, creating adverse effects on their mental and emotional well-being.

The metaphor of ovens suggests a prolonged and gradual heating-up process, which implies a need for patience and extended time. It fails to account for the diversity of women's experiences and the dynamic nature of desire.

Women, like men, exhibit a wide range of arousal patterns, and reducing them to a singular narrative undermines the individuality of their sexual responses.

The implicit message that women should take longer to become aroused can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, creating a sense of performance anxiety. The pressure to conform to this perceived norm may lead to diminished self-esteem as women grapple with societal expectations that do not align with their personal experiences.

"It's yet another way that we make women's sexuality seem so much more complicated than male sexuality, when the reality is, that just isn't true," says Marin.

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3. It neglects men's varied experiences.

Men have diverse experiences too, and categorizing them as uniform "microwaves" oversimplifies their complexities. This broad idea not only misses how different each man can be but can also add confusion to relationships. Men, just like women, have all kinds of feelings, likes, and ways they get interested in sex.

Saying all men are like microwaves suggests male arousal is always a quick and simple process, but in reality, how men respond to things in the bedroom is more complicated and varies a lot.

When we stick to the idea that men are always like microwaves, we set up expectations that aren't real. This can make things frustrating in relationships because people might think men should always be ready to go, just like a microwave. But in truth, things don't always happen that way, leading to disappointment and unhappiness in relationships.

Also, talking about men as microwaves can make it tough for couples to communicate openly. If we're stuck thinking about stereotypes instead of understanding what each person wants and likes, it can create problems in how we connect with our partners.

4. It reeks of outdated ideas.

The phrase reinforces outdated gender norms by assigning specific roles based on stereotypes. Embracing diverse experiences and breaking free from these old-fashioned ideas is essential for fostering healthy, fulfilling relationships.

Marin explains that the phrase presents an emotional-physical conundrum. "Some people like to feel emotionally connected before having sex and other people like to have sex as a way to feel emotionally connected," she says.

She continues, "If you're an emotion-first person, it's going to feel like you're an oven that needs preheating because you're wanting something to come before having sex."



It's crucial to shed light on and evolve our views of harmful stereotypes. Marin and fellow sex therapists advocate for a more nuanced and individualized approach to sexuality.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to sex, except for the fundamental importance of consent.

"Let's stop with the harmful gender stereotypes and just start respecting what each of us needs to feel open to intimacy," Marin suggests.

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Deauna Roane is a writer and the Editorial Project Manager for YourTango. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.