Sexual myths are untrue assumptions or statements about sexuality that are propagated throughout our lives and our culture. These sexual falsehoods can carry prejudicial undertones of sexism, racism, and homophobia.
Some of these common myths include “Men only like curvy women”, “Men want sex every second of every day”, “women have no interest in sex”, “gays will have sex with anyone they meet”, certain races have certain penis sizes, certain races are frigid or hypersexual, and that certain sex acts are effeminate, gay, selfish, or immoral. Many distortions function as a way of controlling and defining others’ sexuality, their lives, and dogma. We need to look deeper into the assumptions that we hold about sexuality and why we believe them to be true. How did we come to learn these myths? How are they propagated in today’s culture and media?
While most sexual myths are stereotypes that we can laugh at, there are some that we know are untrue, yet we still allow ourselves to be unnerved by them. Certain myths are so ridiculous that we know they are fake. Yet, they can still cause a certain fear and apprehension about sexuality. For example, the myth that if you masturbate too much you will grow hair on your palms or go blind, still propagate an uneasiness with pleasure, that it is wrong, that you will somehow be punished for it. Throughout our lives, especially in our youth, we try so hard to conform to “normal” sexuality, formed through familial, social, and institutional rules, and it can be scary to discover that we may be outside of that box. That we may actually be wired a bit differently.
One of the biggest sexual myths today exists in the porn industry. Many young men and women are having trouble today because of the template for sex that porn provides and that many people strive to bring from the screen to real life. I am not discouraging porn, for many it can work as a breakthrough in sharing fantasies with one another, but it lacks a more educated and connected sexual experience that most find more of a turn-on. Some people even begin to measure themselves against the impossible standards of the porn industry, “why don’t I seem to be enjoying this?” “I don’t look like these girls on screen, he must not find me attractive” “She’s not screaming at the top of her lungs, maybe I’m not doing it right”.
What are some sexual myths that you’ve encountered about yourself and others? How do you feel about them? How they are portrayed in the media? Consider your own sexual stereotypes.
How have they affected your own relationships or sexual encounters? If you were to write down your own honest sexual narrative, what would it look like? What is happening in your love life so far, and what would you like it to look like in the future? Think about the answers to these questions and think about how sexpectations have effected your sex life, your self esteem, and your relationships.