How the 'Best Sex Ever' Myth Is Ruining Women's Sex Lives

unhappy couple in bedFor a lot of women there's something oh-so-unsatisfying about most magazine articles about sex. How shall we put it? Well, if you ask journalist Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality, after a while all these articles make sex sound like a chore.

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Hills's book is about how sex has come to mean way too much for us. We expect too much from ourselves, sexually, and we expect sex to validate too much about our lives. "If you're married sex is important because it's the measure of your relationship," Hills told The Stir. "You have to keep it fresh and interesting."

There's nothing wrong with persuing variety between the sheets, mind you. But we do often get the message that a healthy marriage includes having sex regularly. Not only that, having AMAZING, trapeez-artist sex regularly. And, well, that can be a tall order, especially if you've got jobs, kids, and a lot of other things going on in your life.

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"You have to be sexy, skilled in bed, constantly be working on improving," Hills says. "We as women are constantly told that we need to be having sex and that having regular sex is part of maintaining your relationship with a man."

Well, what's wrong with that? Doesn't that sound like more fun for everyone? Not necessarily.

"It becomes a libido killer because it turns sex into a job instead of something that's fun for you," Hills explains. "It becomes another item on your to-do list."

Oof, as someone who regularly writes about how to have better/more sex: SQUIRM! I hate to think that my attempts are actually making intimacy feel more like a burden or a hurdle than something pleasurable for two people to enjoy together.

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Okay, so what kinds of sex advice would be more helpful, then? We asked Hills what messages she'd like to see more often.

  1. Think of sex as something you can do, not something you have to do. "Make adventurous sex a possibility rather than a set of demands," Hills says. Instead of feeling like you're failing your sex life if you're not trying all these positions, consider them options you can take or leave.
  2. Focus more on sensuality than on sexuality. Embrace a whole range of pleasurable activities that bring you two together -- as equally (if not more) important as intercourse. "How can we experience pleasure with our partners, and intimacy as well?" Hills posits.  Your bodies are capable of feeling pleasure all over, so broaden your idea of what intimacy can look like.
  3. Take the pressure off performance -- for both of you. Let go of those expecations to master 500 different positions several times a week -- or for him to go from zero to 60 and stay that way through endless jackhammer sessions. Relax and just do what feels good, whatever that is, even if it's rubbing each other's feet.
  4. Don't tell yourself you're "doing it wrong." We're made to feel like "vanilla" sex is boring sex. And there's nothing worse than that, right? Of course not -- if it works for you, it's not boring, and it's not "wrong." It's just what you like. Don't let anyone tell you what "good" or "bad" sex is. Only you and your partner get to decide that.
  5. Sex should be a joy, not an obligation. Sure, you may have to schedule it in sometimes if you want it. But if it feels like a chore you may want to reconsider your expectations. What else is something only you two can do together that makes you feel closer? What else feels good, physically? 

This actually sounds a lot like what some of the newer sex experts like Emily Nagoski have been saying. I sense the tide turning! We live in an age of options -- but that doesn't mean we have to choose them all. And we shouldn't feel like having a happy, sexually satisfying relationship looks the same way for everyone. We get to choose what works for us. Everything else just plain doesn't matter.

 

Image via Warren Goldswain/shutterstock 

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