Sexpectation vs Reality
Ahh yes, did the title catch your eye? Glad to hear it. As someone who had very distorted sexpectations of herself as a young teenager (I thought I was going to have one sexual partner and be exclusively heterosexual with him after our wedding*) it is increasingly clear to me that in this digital generation we all have some awfully interesting ideas surrounding sex, that can often be far from reality. Thanks, porn – love your work. (Disclaimer: I am not actually an appreciator of the pornography industry: I don’t think they’re getting it quite right in their depictions of sex.)
* I know and respect a decent amount of people who have done this successfully, or plan to live this way – I realise it’s important to some people, but it simply isn’t realistic for everyone.
It’s important to remember that porn stars are paid actors: pornography is their job and it is a performance: the things they do for the camera aren’t necessarily always pleasurable or comfortable in practice. Real talk – sex with someone you care about is so much better than porn stars reading a script and going at it for profit. Pretty unsurprising, right?
Four Myths about Sex that Pornography Circulates
1. If she’s hesitant to engage in a sex act initially, she just needs a little more coaxing and she’ll come around.
In reality: If a person is hesitant to engage in a sex act, they are likely feeling conflicted or unsure for good reason. Perhaps gently ask them how they’re feeling or move on to something else. Feeling pressured to engage in sex is never a fun time.
2. Sex is over when the man ejaculates.
In reality: What about the female orgasm? I know, what a concept.
3. Men should always be dominant, sometimes to the point of aggression, and women should be submissive, sometimes to the point of helplessness or victimisation.
In reality: It’s pretty normal if someone is generally more dominant and the other more submissive. However, when one person becomes aggressive, it is important to realise that this is a step too far. (n.b. I’m not discussing BDSM here: that’s totally fine and dandy as long as both parties are enjoying themselves.)
4. Women pleasure other women purely for the sexual gratification of a male onlooker.
In reality: In most cases, women engage in sex with each other in order to make each other feel good.
Regardless of whose genitalia you’re into, the crux is the same: we must give respect and we deserve it in return.
Four Top Tips for Sexy Times
1. Don’t let anyone (friend/potential sex partner/the internet troll in the YouTube comments) shame you for sex you have or haven’t had. For one, abstinence is a respectable choice, and sexual intercourse as a concept should never be entered into lightly. (The French call it la petite mort for a reason… *insert winky face here*) Additionally, it is also okay to have multiple sex partners at once as long as everyone is consenting. For two, having or not having sex does not change you as a person. At all. You are not any less valid if you are a virgin, nor are you less valuable if you have had a lot of sexual partners. (N.B. having a dry spell? If you aren’t getting any, nobody owes you. Sorry!)
2. If you’re not into it, let them know. You are absolutely within your rights to say, “Ouch, this is uncomfortable” or “Stop” or “Can we try this instead?”. Yeah, it can be awkward at first, but it will mean you both have a better experience. It’s not only within your rights to do this – it is also consent 101, and the logic can be applied to non-sexual contexts easily. For example:
• Can we watch Shark Boy and Lava Girl instead? I don’t like thriller movies.
• Please don’t film me crocheting these doilies!
• Stop plaiting my hair – I prefer pony tails.
3. If a sexual partner (regardless of whether you just met or you have been sexually active together for years) does not listen to you/respect your words, you may want to consider ending the sexual relationship. You are not obligated to give sex if you don’t want to, even if you have in the past. We all deserve to have healthy romantic and sexual relationships, and this is achieved through good communication.
4. Try to relax and enjoy yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but in my view, having a good sense of humour and communicating well are fundamental to healthy sexual relationships.
Let’s go a bit deeper and analyse a musical masterpiece that I’m sure we’re all familiar with. In the 1997 classic Barbie Girl, Ken raps to Barbie, requesting that she make a move on him. Ken offers: “Kiss me here touch me there, hanky-panky”, to which Barbie responds, “You can touch, you can play if you say, I’m always yours” – Hang on, maybe Barbie is catching feels at this point? Anyway, I hope it ends well for the two of them. As we can see, consent is evident in this dialogue. Barbie is letting Ken know explicitly that he can “touch” and “play”. However, Barbie’s ultimatum that follows this is a little intense for my liking and I can see her getting hurt if her expectations of Ken’s love do not match up to the reality. The more I delve into the lyrics of this the more uneasy I feel about the fact that this was played at school discos throughout my childhood. What a year to be born in, Abby! I think I just ruined this song for all of us. I apologise.
In somewhat embarrassing summary: good times in the sheets? Sounds like a treat!