Sex is the oldest and most stimulating of the activities that we as unrestricted adults can enjoy, but unfortunately, it’s rarely a simple uninhibited and libidinous romp around the bedroom because, past trauma, parental messages, beliefs and attitudes mean that some of us may get little pleasure from sex.

In this article I will discuss the most common myths I encounter in my therapy sessions with adults, I will address female ejaculation, sex during pregnancy and more.

PENIS SIZE – Myth: The bigger his penis the better

Whether his penis is short, fat, long or skinny, pleasurable sex does not depend on his size. Some men obsess about this, especially if they rely on pornography for comparison, which paints an unrealistic picture of the average man.

Thinking this way suggests that as a woman your sexual pleasure is totally reliant on a man and his “Manhood”. As they say, it takes two to tango — a stimulating and steamy sexual encounter takes a shared approach.

FACT: An average erect penis length is between 5 to 6 inches, and an average flaccid penis length ranges between 1 and 4 inches. See Kinsey Confidential for further information.

HER ORGASM – Myth: A woman must always orgasm

Women don’t always have orgasms during sex but that does not mean that sex is not pleasurable for us. It is not uncommon for women to seek therapy complaining of lack of orgasm, or for a man to approach me worried because he can’t “make” his partner have an orgasm.

FACT: Women are more likely to orgasm when they engage in a variety of sex acts and when oral sex or vaginal intercourse is included. Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse. (NSSHB, 2010.)

TIP: Try to stop thinking about the orgasm and stay in the moment, focus and enjoy the sensual strokes you give or receive from your partner. Converse and show each other how and where you enjoy being touched. For some, fear of losing control in the presence of a partner inhibits sexual enjoyment – Try to let go.

SELF PLEASURE – Myth: Masturbation will cause you problems

No, it will not! However the mind is a powerful thing, and what you do alone can make you feel guilty. I have met men and woman who have experienced great shame because they indulge in the pleasure of masturbation. Because you are not in a sexual relationship does not mean you can’t be sexual or intimate with yourself. There are, in fact, benefits to masturbation. By masturbating you become familiar with your body and will be able to transfer this familiarity to sex with a partner.

FACT: 5% of men and 11% of women have never masturbated (Janus & Janus, 1993) – Yes, it is as low as that!

THE SQUIRT – Myth: All woman squirt

I get a few enquires about female ejaculation, I believe this is fuelled by porn. According to Betty Dobson an American sex educator, the squirting phenomenon is the release of fluid (urine) it is not ejaculation neither is it an orgasm.

LICK OR SUCK – Myth: Oral sex is safe sex

Oral sex is a great way to give your partner sexual stimulation, however, the fact remains that there are some who do not like giving or receiving oral sex. Some clients have complained to me about their partner’s odour and strange taste, whilst other clients admit to being turned on by their partner’s uniqueness.

FACT: You can still acquire sexually transmitted infections via oral sex, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Syphilis and HIV to name a few. Use a Dam, a protective barrier between yourself and your partner. See here.

TIP: If the odour is an issue I advise couples to take a shower together, before sex. Something as simple as this can make a world of a difference.

REPRODUCTION – Myth: If you pull out before ejaculation you can’t get your partner pregnant

Oh yes, you can! When a penis becomes erect it produces a fluid other known as precum, this fluid moistens the head of the penis and is produced on arousal. The fluid travels through the vas deferens, a shoelace like tube that runs through the penis. This is the same route that sperm takes. As sperm can live for up to three days, and if you have sex two days running (lucky you)! It’s possible that remaining sperm will mingle with the precum, meaning your withdrawal method is not so safe. Do you have a latex allergy? Then have a look at these latex-free condoms.

EROTIC FANTASY – Myth: Women don’t really think about sex

As men and women both have imaginations, it’s reasonable to assume that like men, women think about sex just as men do. However, it may be that women think about sex in more romantic terms, even with a little added BDSM. Blame it on 50 shades!

FACT: Women fantasise more often about taking a submissive role or being dominated while men have more fantasies about taking a dominant role, doing something sexual to their partner, or having multiple partners. Men also tend to have more explicit and visual imagery in their fantasies, whereas women tend to use more emotional and romantic imagery (Leitenberg and Henning 1995).

SENIOR LOVE – Myth: The older you become the less you desire sex

It is something that a lot of people don’t want to think about. Seniors ‘at it’! Well, with the 70’s and even 80’s being the new 50, there is no reason at all that today’s ‘Seniors’ should not have a fulfilling and fruitful sex life. With more time and less stress to contend with this is the time when resurrecting a sex life is not only possible but also likely to lead to new discoveries. OK, it’s true that bodies age but concern about how we look fades as well, so that should all be good! Sex in later years is not as much about age as it is about desire. And these days the older generation are feeling free to enjoy every aspect of life, including sex. Read Better Than Ever by Bernie Zilbergeld click here.

PREGNANCY – Myth: You should avoid sex whilst pregnant

Many women who are going through an uncomplicated pregnancy can continue to have sex right up until their water breaks or until they go into labour. The baby cannot be hurt by making love, it is well protected in the uterus, and the closeness of making love will be good for you and your partner. There are some circumstances when you might need to modify your activity or stop having sex for some or all of your pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife would be on top of anything that meant that sexual penetration had to be put on hold and should let you know that. See youtube video for further information. It’s like anything else, do what feels right for you. Some women report that sex feels different when they are pregnant. Some find it more pleasurable, at least at times. Keep the lines of communication open with your partner and together you will be able to work out what is best for you both.

Fact: Orgasm might cause some mild uterine contractions and nipple stimulation might too, but this will be short-lived and harmless.

Common myths I encounter in therapy, with some added facts! Spread the word, if you dare.

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