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5 Common Myths about Sex and Sexuality





1. It's Normal and Okay for Sex to be Painful

Sex is not supposed to be painful. For anyone. Period.

(Unless you’re playing with pain intentionally because it brings you pleasure).

Unfortunately most people with vulvas experience painful sex at some point in their lives. This is partly due to the harmful myth that sexual pain is normal for female-bodied people.

If you are experiencing sexual pain, know that you don't have to endure it! The pain can be treated and/or managed. It might be a simple fix (like using lube), but likely it is something more complex. If lube does not do the trick, please talk to your health care provider.


2. Porn is Harmful and Dangerous

Porn tends to get a bad rep. It is widely viewed as immoral, exploitative, harmful, and dangerous. But in reality, porn use is a normal and healthy aspect of many people's sexualities. According to data, most people (85%) who watch porn do so without any negative consequences.

Problematic porn use tends to be a symptom of deeper issues, such as loneliness, depression, relationship problems, shame, or unexplored conflicts with one's sexuality. Healing requires self-inquiry and reconciling porn use with one's values as opposed to abstinence.

You should be mindful as a consumer of anything (not just porn) about what it is and where it comes from. You might avoid buying clothes from fast fashion industries that don't pay their garment workers living wages. In a similar vein, you should also be mindful of the kind of porn you're watching-- is it legal? consensual? non-exploitative? You might not know the answer, and this is when you turn to ETHICAL PORN.

In addition to being legal, consensual, and non-exploitative, ethical porn recognizes the diversity of sexuality, veering away from the "by men for men" industry. Click here for a list of ten ethical porn sites.


3. Most Women Can Climax from Penetration Alone

It’s no secret that in heterosexual relationships women are having fewer orgasms than men. There are multiple reasons for this, but the biggest is the cultural misunderstanding that women/vulva-owners can and should be able to climax from intercourse alone.

Multiple studies have shown that most women/vulva-owners need direct external clitoral stimulation to climax.

Everyone has different preferences and you need to find what feels

good for you! If it’s clitoral stimulation great! If it’s penetration great! If it’s all of the above or none of the above or something else entirely great!



4. Men Want Sex More Than Women

There is a cultural myth that heterosexual cis-men want sex more than heterosexual cis-women. This is not what I see in my practice. Sometimes I see this dynamic; but just as often I see the reverse. I see women that are confused and upset that their partners turned down sex or aren’t initiating “enough.” Sometimes I see them putting pressure on their partners. No one should feel pressured to have sex if they don’t want to. I see men that feel shame that they are not always in the mood and feel pressured to want sex more.

This cultural myth is helping no one. I take the sexological research that is out there on desire with a grain of salt because the concept of desire is defined vaguely and in different ways across studies. Also the surveys used to assess desire are highly subjective. Men are more likely to exaggerate sex drive whereas women are more likely to understate sex drive. There are studies out there showing that men have higher sex drives than women. There are also studies showing that men and women have equal levels of desire. (Unfortunately studies on desire outside of the gender binary are lacking). Here is what I know to be true: desire is complex and hard to measure AND if there is a difference between the sex drives of men and the sex drives of women, then it is MUCH smaller than what society portrays.




5. Blue-balls Only Occur in Male-Bodied People

Blue-balls refers to the feeling of pain of discomfort that occurs when a male-bodied person experiences an extended period of arousal and then does not orgasm. What you probably don't know is that female-bodied people experience a very similar phenomenon, sometimes referred to as blue-vulva or pink pelvis. Both male-bodied people and female-bodied people have erectile tissue, either in the penis or in the clitoris, which is mostly internal. This erectile tissue gets engorged with blood during arousal. When the blood builds up and is not released via an orgasm, someone might experience pain or discomfort in the genitals.

If you experience blue balls or blue vulva, it is nobody's responsibility but your own to relieve that discomfort. You can do so by masturbating or waiting for some time to pass.




References


“Blue Vulva Syndrome: Know Its Symptoms and Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD,                                    www.webmd.com/sex/what-is-blue-vulva-syndrome. Accessed 22 Jan. 2024.

 

Daspe, Marie-Ève, et al. “When pornography use feels out of control: The moderation effect of

relationship and sexual satisfaction.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 44, no. 4, 15 Feb.        2018, pp. 343–353, https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623x.2017.1405301.

 

Ley, David. "Ethical Porn for Dicks." YouTube, YouTube, 3 Mar. 2017,

 

Ley, David. “What Is Ethical Porn and How Do We Know It’s Ethical? With Dr. David Ley.”

YouTube, YouTube, 30 Mar. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=12df4NsJUGI.

 

O’Brien, Vanna. “10 Ethical Porn Sites You Can Actually Feel Good About.” 10 Of The Best

Places To Find Ethical Porn Online, www.refinery29.com/en-au/best-ethical-porn-for-women. Accessed 29 Jan. 2024.


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