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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Sexual Mythology

Written by  Michael Tobin

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"You and your husband are alone in a cabin for the first time since your marriage. He is nibbling on your ear. Do you (a) nibble back, (b) tell him the toilet is running, (c) ask him to kill the mosquito that's buzzing in your ear, (d) think about how disgusting it is to have his saliva stagnate inside of your ear or (e) tell him if he's hungry, he should go make himself a sandwich?"
(A and b are from Erma Bombeck, c, d and e are our additions.)

Why is it that after a few years of marriage the fire burns out?

How is it that the same guy who used to stay up intently listening to every word you said, now falls asleep before you finish saying it?

Let's face it. It happens to almost all of us-- what begins as passion, ends in habit. So, is it too late to blow on the embers and rekindle the fire?

Let's try to answer these questions.

First, we need to understand what a sexual relationship is. Sex is communication. Like any dialogue between two people, sexual communication can be stimulating, intimate and deeply satisfying or it can be dull, distant and demoralizing. The way out of the boring trap is by learning how to listen and respond to your partner. Understanding what your partner needs and knowing how to meet those needs are the keys to successful sexual communication.

Myth #1

To get there, we need to let go of our misconceptions and false beliefs about what is good sex. Number one on the false belief list is what I call the Myth of the Big Bang. In other words, it's either a thundering explosion of sexual excitement or, forget it and let's play scrabble. With the Myth of the Big Bang there's no place for discovering what your partner needs or learning how to pleasure each other. There's just the assumption that two bodies should automatically create sexual fireworks. Sorry, but like everything else in marriage good sex involves conscious effort and communication.

Myth #2

Closely related to the Myth of the Big Bang is the Myth of the Big Stick. We all know that one -- a real man stays erect for hours, has orgasms at will and is perpetually on fire. If there's a woman out there married to such a sexual impresario, tell him we'd like to offer him a job as our on-line, lay advisor on sexual relations. Personally, I'm always interested in learning about supernatural phenomena.

Okay, so now let's get down to the real truth about the real man. The average time of a real man's erection during intercourse is approximately ten minutes. The average man needs at least two hours of recovery time following orgasm in order to achieve a second orgasm. The average real man has no idea about the three F's of sexual pleasure: flirtation, foreplay and fantasy. Your basic, real man doesn't understand that it's okay to ask his wife what he can do to fulfill her sexual needs. Most of us real men are scared to death about being lousy lovers and all of us real men, to some degree or another, suffer from performance anxiety.

Myth #3

The third myth is the Myth of the Big O. That myth states that a woman who doesn't achieve orgasm is a sexual failure. Like with the Myth of the Big Bang, it becomes an all-or-nothing phenomenon. It's either orgasm or frigidity. The couple becomes so intent on her achieving climax that neither of them are able to relax and enjoy themselves. Their mutual tension is, in part, the reason she's unable to let go and experience full sexual pleasure. A truth about sex is that if you stopped worrying about orgasm and started paying attention to giving and receiving pleasure, you would very likely achieve sexual satisfaction and maybe even orgasm. Another way of saying it is-- the more you let go of something, the more you get it.

The Dance of Sex

A sexual relationship is like a dance. You can either step on each other's toes or you can glide gracefully as if your were being guided by some force greater than both of you. It takes practice and experience to dance as if you were one body; it takes understanding, dialogue and time to create sexual unity.

The understanding part of the equation is that men and woman move to the beat of a different drummer and experience pleasure differently. A man becomes sexually aroused more quickly than a woman and is more focused on genital pleasure. A woman needs time and emotional contact in order to experience strong sexual feelings. Both partners need to learn about each other and understand each other's respective needs.

Through dialogue a couple can learn what each other's needs are and how to meet those needs. There's no avoiding it. If you want to rehabilitate a dull sexual relationship, you need to tell and show your partner, "I need to be touched here and in this way. This is what turns me on." Also, don't be afraid to ask your partner what he or she needs.

Good Sex?

You want good sex? Be prepared to take the time to make it happen. There are no quick fixes to sexual fulfillment. It takes patience and practice. Commit yourself to do it and I'm certain that you'll rekindle the embers and bring passion back into your lives. I don't know about you, but I love to see an old married couple that still has the hots for each other.

SEXUALITY EXERCISE

Complete the following phrases:

  1. In our sexual relationship, I am satisfied when you....
  2. In our sexual relationship, I do not like it when....
  3. In our sexual relationship I wish you would....

Note

  • Both partners are to complete the phrases as fully as they wish.
  • Share your answers with your partner.
  • Remember when communicating about the delicate area of sexuality to be sensitive and open. Try not to be reactive and argumentative.
Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:29
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Michael Tobin

Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of WholeFamily.com. He's  been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.

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