7 Stigmas About Sex That Experts Wish Would End
There are a lot of social stigmas around sex and sex toys. Too many to list in one place, actually. But to break down these false beliefs and help people have happier, healthier views on sexual pleasure, we have to start somewhere.
Here at Jack and Jill Adult, we asked several relationship and sex experts which sexual stigmas they wish would go away…like now.
Masturbation is Unhealthy
If you’ve been around us for any amount of time, you know we’re in the masturbation-is-good camp. But unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. “Touching one’s own sex organs for pleasure has been stigmatized since the early Puritan and Victorian eras as being a sin of the flesh and self-indulgence and debilitating disease,” states Dr. William Kolbe, author of The Rejuvenating Power of Masturbation.
“There is now a plethora of scientific and medical evidence indicating that solo and paired sex is one of the healthiest and most available forms of exercise for people. Masturbation can be considered one of the most efficacious means to discover one’s own sexuality including what makes you feel good inside and out, leading to stronger levels of self-confidence and happiness.”
You Need to Have “Enough” Sex
Too many people believe there’s a certain amount of sex they should be having says Azaria Menezes, sex and relationship coach. “Oftentimes couples have this certain socially accepted number per week/month they think they should be having when in fact the number of times a couple has sex is irrelevant. In relationships, couples go through “seasons” in their sexuality. Sometimes its good to reignite a little passion back into your sex life but don’t get hung up on the idea that there should be a certain amount of times that you should be having sex. What truly matters s the quality of the sex when you do have it and finding a balance between both partners’ desires and needs.”
STDs Mean You’re “Bad” in Some Way
The common stigma regarding sexually transmitted diseases is that getting one means you’re a slut or that you’re ‘dirty,’ states Tantra coach, Michelle Martinez. “This is harmful because the stigma of these assumptions causes deep shame among people who do happen to get an STD — and shame does not keep the virus from spreading. In fact, the stigma and shame make it so hard to talk openly and honestly about one’s STD status that a person may be less willing to get tested.”
Martinez continues. “Not only that, but it creates such a fear in people that otherwise amazing relationships are cut short because someone is too afraid of getting the virus themselves. It creates a dating culture in which people are more concerned with what they can “get away with” communication-wise — focused on how much they have to disclose or not, and when — rather than encouraging and fostering habits of honesty, openness, and compassion toward one another from the very beginning of an intimate relationship.”
There’s a Right Age for Sex
Ever thought you might be too old to have sex, if not now, then when reach a specific age? That’s a stigma Dr. Graham Stevenson, intimacy coach, wishes would end. “Too many believe sex is really for young people and inappropriate for mature elders. In reality, the best sex is when you’ve learned a bit more about life, couldn’t care what others think, and have decided to enjoy life before you die. It’s never too late to start!”
Yes, older people have sex, and some of it’s the best sex of their lives if you ask them.
Anal Sex = Gay
“There’s a certain stigma or cultural taboo that floats around that often stops straight men from exploring anal penetration,” says Menezes. “Oftentimes they fear that they might be perceived as homosexual or emasculated. This idea is extremely damaging to the straight cis males’ perception of anal pleasure as it can bring up a lot of shame on asking their partners to explore this with them or fear of being viewed as bisexual or gay or rejection from their partners as well as the false narrative that it’s wrong to be viewed as gay or bisexual.”
She continues, “Being gay is an identity, and it does not have anything to do with an anus. Your anus does not have a sexual orientation. In fact, if more cisgender men explored their anus they would find themselves in the possibility of experiencing exquisite pleasure.”
Orgasms are Required
Certified sex educator Suzannah Weiss states, “Many [people] assume that sex is good if you’ve had an orgasm and it’s bad if you haven’t. But many people have trouble orgasming and still enjoy sex. If your partner has trouble orgasming, you should make an effort to help them get there. But if they can’t, it doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying the sex, and getting upset about it can create shame for them.”
Sex Toys Don’t Help You
From the idea that “sex toys are bad” to “sex toys can hurt your sex life,” we’re very aware of the stigma surrounding sex toys, and of course, we think those need to die a fiery death. One bit of disinformation about sex toys is the impact of vibrators on the body. Weiss states, “There’s a myth out there that vibrators desensitize you, but research actually shows that women who use vibrators have more orgasms.”
She goes on. “There’s also a misconception that vibrators will replace or undermine a partner, but [sex] toys aren’t there to replace people; they’re just a fun addition that adds variety.”
All aspects of sex from how often you do it to who you do it with to the tools (ahem, sex toys) you use have been stigmatized in one way or another. And all of it leads to doubts, unhealthy beliefs, and bad sex. And no one wants that!
Okay, now it’s your turn. Which sexual stigma do you wish would die a fiery death and never be used to shame anyone ever again? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!