Myths & Truths about Sex in Long-Term Relationships
In therapy sessions, psychologists and clients regularly have to work through often harmful myths or perceptions about sex. We get together with psychologist Fani Traikou to bust some of the most common myths about sex in long-haul relationships.
Myth #1: It’s only good sex if you’re having a lot of it
Truth: A lot of sex can be unpleasant or even bad sex! Quantity does not necessarily mean quality, and good sex comes in different packages. One couple’s “regular” may be different to another’s, and depends on the individuals within the relationship. You and your partner might have sex less frequently, but enjoy a satisfying and enriching sex life. This is also why it is important not to compare – to friends, to past relationships, to celebs in media ‘reports’ – and to understand what is right for you as a couple.
Myth #2: All couples in long-term relationships eventually stop having sex
Truth: Some couples may have sex less frequently over time for different reasons (e.g. due to health issues or the demands of starting a new family). This does not mean their sex life is over. Remember, less sex doesn’t have to mean bad sex [see Myth #1] and many couples reinvent their sex life over the years. If you are having no sex at all, however, it may be worth seeking professional support to understand why, and what has changed in your relationship.
Myth #3: Sex during the first stage of a relationship is always best
Truth: Sex can become even better when intimacy between a couple increases. The more we know each other, the better we are able to please each other. More profound orgasms also tend to happen more often in relationships of tenderness and love.
Myth #4: If a couple has stopped having sex, they cannot start again
Truth: If two people wish to be lovers again, they most certainly can be. This may happen naturally or it may take some conscious effort and help from an appropriate specialist (e.g. doctor, psychologist).
Myth #5: Sexual abstinence means there is a problem in the relationship
Truth: Lack of sex comes up in relationships for various reasons. It is not necessarily the result of a deep-seated problem. It helps if couples can distinguish relationship problems from external factors like problems with their health, kids or jobs. When we understand the reason for our sex challenge, we can find the right solution for us and have sex return to the relationship.
Myth #6: Infidelity means lack of interest in the current relationship
Truth: People cheat for different reasons. Some people are unfaithful when they feel isolated or unappreciated in their relationship. They may hold a (often unconscious) belief that cheating will make them appear more interesting and desirable to their current partner.
Myth #7: Sex with a new partner will be better
Truth: People in long-term relationships may believe that sex with a new partner, or someone else, will be better. This is often not the case. Good sex is based on various factors (including context, thoughts, emotions and mood of lovers). We cannot really predict what will be a good sexual experience. Sex is important, and for some it can be a deal-breaker. However, if you’re considering ending (or starting) a relationship because of sex, it’s always worth looking at the relationship holistically before taking a decision.
Myth #8: Talking about sex in counselling is awkward and embarrassing
Truth: If you are facing sex-related challenges in your relationship, please rest assured: there is the right kind of support available to you, whether you seek individual or couple’s counselling. If you feel awkward or vulnerable, or have never discussed sex in therapy before, it’s okay – we understand (and you are not alone!). A professional counsellor will create a safe space for you and ensure that you discuss only what feels comfortable, at your own pace and on your terms.
Though sex is not the only ingredient to a happy relationship, it is an important one and can reveal a lot about a relationship. If there is love between you and your partner, your relationship deserves the chance to be rekindled. Distinguishing ‘myth’ from ‘truth’ is a wonderful first step to understanding – and even reimagining – your sex life.
Feel free to join the conversation below. We love to hear your thoughts!
If you like this article, subscribe to our newsletter and share the article with a friend you think would appreciate this frank discussion about common sex myths.
© Vivian Chiona, Expat Nest
Photo: AimPix / Shutterstock