Myth or Fact: 6 Sex & Relationship Myths, Busted

By Dr. Jess Relationships the word myths spelled out with letter blocks

There are no universal rules when it comes to what makes for a happy and hot relationship – what works for some may not work for others. But there are some long-standing myths that can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and sex lives, so we’re here to break them down so that you can embrace more love, connection, and pleasure.

This list is obviously not exhaustive, so feel free to share your own myths in the comments below.

a couple having an argument

Myth: Happy couples don’t fight.

Fact: Some disagreements and arguments can help your relationship to be more functional, and the happiest of couples don’t avoid conflict.

You obviously don’t want to spend your lives engaged in battle, but you’re bound to disagree, and when you do, it’s an opportunity to enhance the relationship.

When you engage in conflict that leads to a positive outcome (e.g., feeling heard or understood), you may find yourselves feeling more connected and satisfied in the relationship. It’s a way to co-create a safe space for open communication, which has positive effects on your relationship during the short and long term.

Not only can smaller arguments help to ease tension and stave off more intense fights in the big picture, but disagreements can help you to better understand one another. For example, if you listen to your partner during a fight, you may learn more about their needs, triggers, boundaries, and expectations. Of course, you’re not required to meet their every expectation, but you may want to adjust some of your behaviors moving forward so that they feel more loved and validated. (And hopefully, they’ll do the same.)

Of course, how you engage in conflict matters. If you listen to understand, maintain positive interactions, work to resolve as a team, and identify a mutually desired outcome, you’re more likely to reap the positive benefits of conflict. If, on the other hand, you’re focused on winning the argument or proving your partner wrong (or belittling them), conflict is likely to erode the connection and cause harm in the short and long term.

Myth: The Clitoris is a pea-sized bump with 8000 nerve endings.

Fact: The clitoris is far more than a pea-sized bump. That little bump is just the head of the clitoris (or the tip of the iceberg).

The clitoris also has a shaft, legs, bulbs, foreskin, and more. A new study reveals that its dorsal nerve has over 10,000 sensory nerve endings (the 8000-figure came from a study of cow clitorises!), and there are likely many more nerve endings involved in clitoral erections.

That’s right, the clitoris gets erections too.

To learn more about the full clitoris, click here, and for some saucy techniques to pleasure to clitoris, see here.

Myth: Your soulmate will fulfill all of your needs

Fact: This is an unrealistic expectation. You are a complex human being, and your needs are varied. From the social, emotional, and intellectual to the sexual, practical, and spiritual, your range of needs cannot possibly be fulfilled by a single source.

This type of pressure can cause serious harm in a relationship and will inevitably lead to resentment and friction. Instead of assuming that your partner will meet your every need, talk about your hopes and expectations and be open to being flexible. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that your partner can (or ought to) give it to you, but hopefully, they’re open to your requests.

a loving couple standing together

Myth: Longer = Better (when it comes to sex)

Fact: The length of time you spend having sex doesn’t necessarily determine the quality of the experience, but variety, openness, and presence play more important roles.

The myth that marathon sex is inherently more pleasurable is simply inaccurate. Some people like sex to last a long time, and others would rather have a quickie – and for most people, it varies according to their mood.

There are, of course, many types of sex, but studies suggest that sexual intercourse (penis in vagina) only lasts a few minutes. Some research suggests that 7 minutes is average and other studies conclude that half of all experiences are under two minutes in length.

Based on my experience talking to happy couples all around the world, I’d suggest that sex play often lasts in the range of 10-12 minutes and penetrative intercourse lasts under 5 minutes. Of course, the range is huge – how you play on a lazy Sunday morning is likely going to be very different than how you engage at the end of a busy workday.

The bottom line: focus on quality, not duration.

Myth: You’ll need lube when you’re older.

Fact: Lube is for everyone, regardless of age, and the younger generations seem to get it as they’re using lube from the onset.

Lube isn’t (just) a solution to a problem, it’s an enhancement that makes all types of pleasure more accessible, varied, and intense. In fact, research confirms that using lube is a key component of hot sex. Those who use lube report higher levels of sexual function and satisfaction and experience more desire, arousal, pleasure, and orgasms.

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a shirtless couple cuddling in bed

Myth: Bigger = Better (when it comes to penises).

Fact: Penises of all sizes rock, and all are worthy of love and pleasure.

Do some people prefer a longer penis? Sure. Do some people prefer a shorter penis? Absolutely. The same goes for girth.

Size is a matter of fit. Bigger shoes on a smaller foot will not fit. The same applies to penises.

Please don’t worry about your size. Your size does not determine your pleasure or your partner’s. In fact, as someone who hears from thousands of folks every year, I can assure you that I receive far more complaints about a penis being too big versus too small, but you can always make adjustments (e.g., to angle, technique or position) to find the right fit.

Myth: Kinky sex is inherently rough and painful.

Fact: Kinky sex can be rough, but it can also be soft and sensual.

If you draw your impression of kink from what you see on TV, you may have the impression that kinky sex is violent and often ends in trauma and tragedy. But this simply isn’t the case.

Kinky tools might include canes, floggers, gags, and chains. And you might also add candles, feathers, fur, silk scarves, and massage oil to your kinky toolkit.

Just as you can get kinky with spanking, whipping, and restraining, so too can you play with sensory deprivation and gentle caresses.


Happy myth-busting! Don’t forget to share the myths we missed in the comments below.