Debunking myths about marital sex

[NOTE: This week I plan to highlight some of last week’s sex trafficking and sexual abuse conference hosted by the Seminary. We had great numbers for the event but some readers aren’t local so I want everyone to get a bit out of the conference.]

Yesterday I was at Church of the Savior in order to speak on the topic of sex to their pre-marital class. One of the goals I have is to debunk a number of myths pre-marrieds might have about sex. So, here are some of the myths (in no particular order):

Marital Sex is best when couples achieve simultaneous orgasms

Few couples actually ever achieve this (less than 25%) and those who do report that it takes much effort. Good marital sex is about giving and receiving mutual pleasure. It is not a competition but an opportunity to love and serve each other

Couples should expect intercourse to last a long time

Contrary to media depictions, intercourse isn’t likely to last for long period of time. First, most males are likely to ejaculate within 3 minutes of vigorous thrusting. Sorry for the graphic nature of this but facts are facts. Believe it or not, someone has done the research having couples count thrusts. Average? 30. Second, vaginal tissues aren’t designed to withstand that amount of friction that would happen in a lengthy intercourse. It is essential for couples to realize that sex is much more than intercourse and orgasm. It starts with the relationship OUTSIDE of the bedroom. Trust and commitment lead to a capacity to be vulnerable with each other. It includes acts of service. If you count emotional intimacy and verbal foreplay, then sex does last forever.

Healthy couples have similar sexual desires

Actually, in every couple there will be one with higher sexual desire and one with lower desire. This is NOT a problem. Also, the one with the lower desire will control the sexual relationship (that person decides which requests for sex to say yes to and which to say no to) and this too is NOT a problem nor unfair. Couples do not get off track with differing levels of desire. They get off track when either one personalizes the disparity. For example, if the one who desires more sex assumes that a “no” to their request is personal and an attack then there is going to be a problem. If the one who desires less feels coerced or guilty for not wanting to have sex, then there is going to be a problem.

Marital sex will be boring if you are not always trying out new techniques

Sex can be exactly the same each time and yet not boring. What makes sex boring is the attitude and the attention span. If you are not “present” during sex, then it won’t be that exciting. If you are present and prepared to enjoy your experience, you likely will enjoy it. While trying new things in the bedroom can be good, those who believe they must try new things all the time may reveal that they are never satisfied and are on a quest for something beyond mutual pleasure. The lure of “new” and the quest for an over-the-moon experience may reveal addictions and/or unrealistic expectations.

Boring isn’t the biggest problem in the bedroom. Trust and vulnerability levels predict sexual pleasure far more than “new” and “exciting” ideas. So, levels of conflict, criticism, unwillingness to be influenced by one’s spouse, rigidity, unwillingness to listen to the fears/dreams of each other, and the tyranny of the urgent are more likely to kill intimacy in the bedroom than would boredom.

Good sex needs to be spontaneous

Actually, good sex is more likely to be planned. True, it can be spontaneous. But unlike the various erectile dysfunction ads, most people find that planning is more likely to get them in the mood than stopping in the middle of some house work and running upstairs to the bedroom.

Past sexual abuse or prior sexual behaviors will always hinder good marital sex

It is true that abuse and shame regarding past sexual experiences (wanted or unwanted) have an impact on one’s identity. These experiences have a way of changing us and do not usually disappear. However, a couple who has worked hard to build a trusting, safe relationship can find ways to express their sexuality that honors each other. Good communication will help non-abused spouses to understand how to help their loved one avoid triggers and to respond well when a trigger happens. Couples that demand sex to fit into stereotypes and limited forms may struggle more than those who are willing to be creative and broad in their definition of sexual expressions of love.

Want to kill your marital sexual relationship? Start comparing!

Comparing what you have to what you expected or what you think others have tends to make you jealous, fearful, hurt, disappointed, etc. Stop comparing and start noticing what God has given you and enjoy that.


Filed under marriage, Sex, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Debunking myths about marital sex

  1. Always risky to post a comment on the sex posts, but I’ve just gotta say…this is so RIGHT ON! Excellent post. šŸ™‚

  2. Thanks some of these I have come to realize in the 5 years of being married but this would have been helpful advice before being married. at the pre-marital course I had to attend (to be married at the Anglican church) all they talked about was communication (which we were fairly good at having had a long distance relationship for a couple of years prior)….I guess because a broad range of people were atttending they thought most people were already engaging in sex. I will pass this on to friends who are getting married- if I have the courage to broach this topic, that is!

  3. Emmy

    Having lived in a marriage for 12 years as the wife with the MUCH higher sex drive — I have to say I completely disagree with that point. It IS a problem when your husband never wants to have sex. The damage it does to one’s self esteem after years and years of rejection is unfathomable to most people — who can’t (a) imagine a man who doesn’t want to have sex and (b) can’t imagine being in a marriage where sex 4 times a year is the norm and (c) can’t imagine that those four times aren’t good because you spend most of the time trying to figure out why he was in the mood suddenly.

    That’s the problem with making grand statements like this — every person’s relationship is different. Every person’s level of being able to deal with something is different.

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