Beliefs About Sex
We all have underlying beliefs about sex, about ourselves, our bodies and how it “should be.” But most of us think of these as FACTS, not beliefs. If left unexamined, these beliefs about sex can rob us of freedom, ease and pleasure in our sexual journey.
Have you ever stopped to consider how your beliefs about sex have shaped your experience of intimacy? Do any of these sound familiar?
- “A real man has a penis as hard as steel and 12 inches long.”
- “I have to know he loves me before I ‘put out.’”
- “Guys should always get an instant erection.”
- “I’m supposed to be sexy and seductive all the time.”
- “If we do it on the first date, he’ll think I’m a ‘slut.’”
- “If I don’t get hard right away, she’ll think I’m not really ‘into her.’”
- “If he really loved me, I wouldn’t have to tell him what I wanted. He would just know.”
- “I can’t let him see me with the lights on.”
- “I wonder if my penis is too small.”
- “Fat girls don’t date.”
- “If I can’t make her have an orgasm, she’ll go elsewhere.”
- “I wonder if he’ll think my breasts are too small.”
- “If I don’t last long enough, she’ll think I’m incompetent as a lover.”
- “I can’t bring up the condom (safe sex) issue. It might ruin the mood.”
- “He probably just wants to use me and move on.”
- “Sleeping together before marriage is sinful.”
- “I didn’t shave my legs! What if he tries to touch my legs?”
- “If she’s not in the mood, she must be seeing someone else.”
If any of these thoughts sound remotely familiar, I have good news. You’re not alone! We ALL have underlying beliefs about sex running through our heads, whether we recognize them or not. From the seemingly arrogant guy at the bar to the fitness instructor at the gym – we are all human. Therefore, we all have concerns about our bodies, our performance and our attractiveness to others. The problem is most of us spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) trying to cover these up. And we walk around thinking that we’re the only ones!
These types of underlying beliefs about sex have a significant impact on our experience of our own sexuality and our capacity for pleasure. Are you willing to examine your own beliefs about sex that could be robbing you of sexual fulfillment?
Where did you get your primary messages from? How did you form your beliefs about sex?
What was modeled for us in our own families growing up has a tremendous impact on our view of “normal.” If faith was a part of your upbringing, this undoubtedly also impacted your understanding of reproduction, sexuality and your corresponding values. Have you stopped to consider what messages you received growing up and whether they are actually true for you now? Was sex something that was freely discussed in your childhood home, or was it a taboo subject? If it wasn’t discussed, did that mean that it was “bad” or “shameful?”
What messages have you absorbed from the media? What does the media portray about attractiveness, seduction and sexual freedom? Are these messages from modern day media even realistic? Are you left feeling empowered and confident or inadequate and dissatisfied?
Do you have the kind of sexual experiences that you want? If not, how much could this be related to your (unidentified) beliefs about sex? Do you see yourself as an exquisite, erotic creature deserving of pleasure and satisfaction? If you don’t, are you willing to open yourself up to that?
EXERCISE #1 – For those who enjoy a dramatic flair
Try this: Identify one concern, thought or belief that actually bothers you. (It doesn’t matter whether it’s logical or true. Just pick something that’s come up for you more than once or twice.) Some examples might include, “My breasts are too small” or “I’m too heavy to be sexy.” Choose only one for this exercise.
Then stand in front of the mirror and pretend to be as insecure as you possibly can. Adjust your body language, your facial expressions and your tone of voice to reflect this pretend persona of insecurity. Imagine the most awkward kid from middle school, then try to outdo him/her in your pretend role. Then, repeat the belief while looking in the mirror at least ten times. Exaggerate. Try different tones of voice. Contort your face into various expressions. Repeat the thought/belief at least ten times as dramatically as possible.
Remember, you are not being “yourself” in this exercise. You are PRETENDING to be far more insecure than you actually are. Exaggerate the insecurity as much as you possible can to the point where it gets comical. You may even find yourself laughing towards the end.
What you’ll notice is that it is impossible to take yourself (and your belief) so seriously when you exaggerate your insecurity. Your perspective will shift from, “I can’t let anyone else see this flaw about me” to “I’m not THAT insecure. I may not be perfect, but I’ve got a lot of attractive features.”
You will realize that you have amplified the severity of the concern more than you realized. Your partner may not even notice or be aware of the issue you’ve been fixating on! Hopefully this will provide some level of relief so that you can relax and “turn down the volume” in your head and enjoy the moment with your partner.