Imagine spending eight hours a day thinking and talking about sex. That’s Debby Herbenick’s job as a Ph.D. and sex educator for The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington.Here, Herbenick corrects four major myths that could hurt your sex life.
Men can’t fake orgasms
“They can and do. In a University of Kansas study, 25 percent of men admitted to faking it—some even did it during oral sex. No, guys can’t falsify ejaculation, but they can fake their moans and movements. Why do they? Like women, they are tired, stressed or simply having difficulty climaxing but want their partner to feel good about the experience.”
You can’t have sex when you’re very, very pregnant
“Unless your doctor vetoes it, you can have sex right up until you go into labor. In fact, research has shown that it may lower the risk of preterm delivery. Some women even have their first orgasms while pregnant, perhaps due to changing hormone levels. Positions are key, though: Many pregnant women find spooning and woman-on-top are best.”
Oral sex is 100% safe
“HIV transmission through oral sex is rare—but you can get STDs like oral gonorrhea and herpes. And a new study found that women who’ve had six or more oral sex partners are more likely to get oral cancer, probably due to infection by human papillomavirus, the virus that causes cervical cancer. Using a condom—try a flavored one—can help protect you.”
Women masturbate only when they’re single
“Not true! In a recent study, more than 40 percent of women who were living with a partner said they’d masturbated within the last month. And there’s a bonus: Women who masturbate often report having more satisfying sex with their guys than women who don’t.”
Good sex is long and slow
Few of us can afford the luxury of leisurely sex. (Frankly, most of us secretly think it sounds like more work after an exhausting day.) And holding out for the ideal moment can lead to infrequent or, even worse, vacation-only sex. The solution? Embrace the quickie. Think of it like a sex snack, sure to boost your energy and put you back in the mood. For extra excitement, break out of the bedroom: Five-minute romps are perfect for unusual locations, even if that just means your shower or sofa.
You must have sex three times a week
Having sex regularly nourishes a relationship, sure, but don’t get too caught up in the counting. Most happy couples don’t have sex every day or even two or three times a week. What’s important is that you both are satisfied with the frequency. If that’s not the case, start a discussion outside the bedroom by saying something like, “We don’t have sex as often anymore, and it worries me.” And remember: There’s more to a healthy sex life than just sex. Get your RDA of intimacy by cuddling, holding hands, and spontaneously hugging and kissing.
You both need to be in the mood
It’s normal for sex to be a little ho-hum for one or both spouses up to 15% of the time. Any number of factors can throw things a bit off-kilter: timing, your mood or his, the amount of foreplay, life stresses, you name it. Rather than postponing until the planets align, have sex when you can—and don’t interpret an off night as a sign of a failing relationship. If your man seems disengaged, just be affectionate and look forward to next time. To keep things exciting, make a point of venturing out of your comfort zone occasionally with new positions, locations, and sexy videos.
However, if one or both of you is never, ever in the mood anymore, consider seeing a therapist or medical doctor to rule out any underlying health problems.