Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Some Sex Myths Debunked

While browsing the net to find something to write about, I found a couple of sites that debunked myths about sex, particularly those about infidelity. Following is a list compiled from two sites that squared pretty much with my own experiences.

Men want more sex than women do

Of course, the first thing I'd ask is "which man and which woman"? But even in general, this is an erroneous statement that does not take other factors into account. Because the average woman does most of the housework in addition to a paid job, women tend to be too tired for sex more often than men. Hormones also tend to make women want more sex at certain times of the month, where desire for men tends to be spread out more equally.

Sex therapist Ian Kerner also made the interesting statement: The idea that men want sex more than woman is absolutely a myth. As a sex therapist, the main issue I work on is mismatched libido, and believe it or not I meet way more sex-starved wives than husbands. In fact, a recent study in the British publication the "New Scientists" has revealed that married men have lower levels of testosterone than single men of the same age.

Hmm, I knew I stayed single for a reason!

If you're truly a great lover, you should know how to please anyone

Experience is indeed helpful for successful sexual encounters, in that one tends to build up a wider repertoire of sexual techniques, but it's not the only component that goes into pleasure. Perception (level of attraction and/or emotional response), attitude, and communication are also factors.

Happy couples have good sex most of the time
This myth is closely related to my tendency to get bored with too much familiarity; to lose the spark when a partner gets too familiar. It's also true that different people have a different concept of what they consider "good sex"

Ian Kerner said: "In my experience, there are often two sexual types: "thrill-seekers" and "creatures of habit." The former always wants more, more, more, and new and different experiments. The creatures of habit likes things the way they are: in a bed for example, a few reliable moves that lead to mutual satisfaction. The best relationships are when thrill-seekers are paired with thrill seekers and creatures of habit are paired with creatures of habit."

Naturally, I'm the first type, the "thrill-seeker", and I would venture to guess that those in this category tend to me more non-monogamous in nature than those of the second group.

Men sleep around more than women do
This is true to some extent, but it's traditionally been more a matter of opportunity, rather than an inherent difference in desire between the sexes. Because of reliable birth control, which minimizes the risk of unwanted pregnancy, the likelihood for women to engage in casual sex has approached that of men in recent years.

But because women are still judged more harshly for promiscuity than men, women also tend to underreport the number of lovers they've had, while men tend to overreport. iVillage sex expert Tracey Cox pointed out that "a recent study found women only tend to remember significant lovers, who were part of relationships, forgetting (somewhat conveniently) one-night-stands or holiday flings."

You shouldn't have to plan sex - it should be spontaneous or something's wrong
This is a problem common with monogamous couples -- and it's one of the reasons why I avoid monogamy. It's what I call the "in a rut syndrome".

Tracey Cox said, "Anyone who expects to be spontaneously turned on by their partner 10 years and two kids in, really is kidding themselves. The human nervous system is programmed to become desensitized the more of the same stimulation it gets. Considering most of us have sex in exactly the same way and it's with the same person, it's no wonder we have to put a bit of thought into it to keep sex good."

If my partner had an affair, it means he or she doesn't love me/Affairs happen only in unhappy and unloving marriages.
While affairs can happen for this reason, more often this isn't so because extramarital sex usually isn't about love, but rather a desire for variety and for the thrill of "forbidden" sex. It's closely related to the "rut syndrome" mentioned above.

Tracey Cox said: "It doesn't necessarily mean your partner doesn't love you - but it does mean he or she doesn't respect you if you had agreed to be monogamous [emphasis mine]. While some affairs do mean something is missing from your relationship, a lot of affairs are just about sex. A certain kind of sex. Sex on the sly, a bit on the side...If you're the type of person whose moral values mean you don't see extramarital sex as something wrong, you could easily have affairs and still love your partner.[emphasis mine again]

Ian Kerner said: "Sexual attraction isn't always just about love. It's about passion, unpredictability and spontaneity - qualities that are hard to maintain in a long-term relationship, but that can be found quickly through infidelity...We have to understand that love and sexual attraction do not necessarily go together, and sometimes work against each other. In the end, human beings require newness, novelty, intellectual and emotional engagement. That's what fuels the expansion and development of a relationship and when those qualities start to wane people start to think about how to get it elsewhere."

This is strongly correlates with why I personally find monogamy unworkable for myself.

A person having an affair shows less interest in sex at home.
Not necessarily. Sometimes it's actually the reverse that happens as the straying partner will sometimes bring home new techniques and passion is often multiplied by having more than one partner. I know my primary lover and I tend to have better sex during times when I've been seeing a new lover.

The person having an affair isn’t “getting enough” at home.
This myth is sometimes used to "blame" the partner of a straying spouse, but it's often untrue. Again, the "rut syndrome" comes into play here, as well as a simple desire for variety.

In conclusion, it seems to me that a key to avoiding sexual problems is to avoid getting into sexual ruts. It's a built-in flaw of monogamy, that can be responded to in two major ways.

For those like me, one can simply opt out of monogamy altogether and seek variety openly, which ironically tends to delay the onset of the "rut syndrome" longer with a particular partner.

Those committed to monogamy, however, need not despair, but they'll have to work harder to maintain passion over the long term of the relationship in order to avoid ruts and the affairs that can spring from them.


1 comment:

The Blogger Exposed said...

While I'm certainly no libertine, I can't see anything to disagree about in this post! Seems pretty straight-forward and accurate to me.

Of course, I did write a post lamenting that my husband refuses to engage in a passionate rendez-vous on our trampoline, so possibly I'm not the average "housewife" either! ;)