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10 myths about male sexuality that people completely misunderstand | Joe Kort

10 myths about male sexuality that people completely misunderstand | Joe Kort
10 myths about male sexuality that people completely misunderstand | Joe Kort

In recent years, there has been a growing movement among sex therapists and researchers to understand the larger context between men and sex – not what male sexuality “should be,” but rather how it manifests itself, where its roots lie, and how to deal with the conflicts it brings. This is being done not only to improve therapy for the men themselves, but also for couples.

We have long known that women are quite far ahead of men in terms of emotional access and vocabulary.

In the past, we therapists have tried to help men catch up with women in this regard, and that’s important, but now we’re asking ourselves how we can help women understand where their men are right now, rather than waiting for them to catch up.

RELATED: 5 things women really should know about men’s deepest desires

To encourage this new emphasis, I’ve compiled this list of the top ten myths about male sexuality.

The 10 biggest myths about male sexuality

1. Men who have sex with other men are gay or bisexual.

Not necessarily.

We now know that many men are attracted to gay sex – but not to men. This certainly confuses many people, but as therapists we now know a lot more about men’s sexual fluidity.

I wrote about this at length in my book, Is My Husband Gay or Bi? A Guide for Women Concerned About Their Men. Simply put, some men have no desire to be associated with gay culture and honestly consider themselves neither gay nor bisexual. However, they are erotically attracted to the idea, or sometimes the practice, of seeking out other men to have sex with.

It is not that unusual and deserves a more detailed investigation than I can offer here.

2. Bisexual men are more likely to cheat.

Absolutely wrong.

Bisexual men can commit just as much as any straight man or woman. The myth is that bisexual men can’t make up their minds and are therefore prone to cheating. That’s like saying that a straight man who is sexually attracted to redheads and brunettes but decides to marry a blonde will sneak off to have sex with a redhead whenever he can.

In our culture, many people think that bisexuality is just a gateway to homosexuality, but that’s not the case. It’s a legitimate sexual orientation. It’s true that some gay men start out thinking they’re bisexual, but I think that’s largely due to the cultural taboo around being gay.

Further proof: Some bisexual men do not disclose their sexual orientation to women they are interested in (even though they would never cheat on them) because they fear that if they reveal their fantasy life to them, the woman would not be able to have a relationship with them. Studies show this.

3. Men are too focused on sex.

Men and women express their affection for each other in different ways. In general, women express their affection through relationships. Men do it through sex.

Research shows that we generally stop touching boys when they are 8 years old. We teach them to reject feelings, emotions and emotional vocabulary because they are considered “too feminine”. Therefore, they may end up expressing themselves mainly through sex, violence, sports or work.

Therapists need to help men break down their sexual desires into emotional and attachment language and develop a non-sexual narrative about what they really want – like closeness. He wants that, but doesn’t know how to meet his needs other than through sex.

4. Men who watch porn become obsessed with it and then prefer it to sex with their wives.

David Ley wrote a great, well-researched and humorous book about it called Ethical Porn for Dicks: A Man’s Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure. He cites research that clearly shows it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Men enjoy both porn and sex with their partners and do not substitute one for the other. Period.

5. If a man wants anal sex, it means he is gay or bisexual.

Many people think so, but a man’s anus has no sexual orientation, it only knows that it enjoys pleasure.

Our culture has decided that anal sex is synonymous with being gay, but being “gay” is more than just a behavior. It’s not about what you do sexually, it’s about who you love, an identity.

That would be like saying that gay men who don’t like anal sex are actually straight but don’t know it yet and their butts will have to tell them at some point. Can you imagine that conversation?

“I have to tell you something… I am heterosexual.” Fritz Klein wrote a groundbreaking book on this subject entitled “The Bisexual Option.”

RELATED: What happens when “the other woman” is a man?

6. It is sick when a man wants a lot of sex.

Ridiculous.

This is no more pathological than women wanting a lot of romance. Sex is his love language. Women wanting romance are rarely considered pathological, but that’s exactly what we do when we judge men by how they receive affection.

Instead of saying, “She just doesn’t want it as much as you do,” he hears, “There’s something wrong with you.”

7. Sex addiction is an official diagnosis.

No it’s not.

I’ve had women come into my office and say, “I’d rather have a man who’s a sex addict than a pervert” – meaning that he has sexual fantasies that they or the therapist don’t approve of or understand. So the therapist is falsely labeling a client as a sex addict just because they’re struggling with fantasies they don’t fully understand.

The diagnosis “sex addiction” does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) because – contrary to claims to the contrary – there is no scientific evidence for its existence.

8. If a man cannot get an erection or loses it during sex, it means that he is not interested in his partner.

This is a common misconception among women. They take these things personally and it is hard for some women to understand that for the most part it has nothing to do with them.

He may have lost his erotic orientation for numerous reasons – too much alcohol, too much worry about his work or finances, his age, health problems, or even untreated emotional problems due to sexual abuse in his past.

The more fuss the couple makes about their problem, the more likely it is to remain a problem. The therapist’s job is to reduce the anxiety about it and find out why he has lost his ability to maintain an erection.

9. Men with unusual fantasies will always feel the need to live them out.

Not true. They may want to, but that doesn’t mean they are obligated to, or that they can’t control themselves.

Women can be perverted too, although men are more likely to be perverted because they are allowed to live out their sexuality in ways that women are not able to. Women may be more emotionally developed, men may be more sexually developed. The guy might say, I have perverted (non-normative) fantasies, and the woman and the therapist might interpret that as a loss of control, even though such fantasies are just normal for him.

The therapist’s job is to normalize and educate the couple about the wide range of activities and desires that make up a healthy sexuality. Michael Bader has written a good book on this topic: “Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t Understand It… and Neither Do Men.”

10. Watching porn makes men want to cheat on their partners.

In fact, watching porn can prevent men from cheating on their partners, and in certain cultures and communities, it has even been shown to reduce violence.

Many men who come to my office report that they watch porn because they have a higher sexual desire than their partner and that porn satisfies them so they don’t have to pressure their partner. When they feel like they want to live out a sexual fantasy, they can watch porn to replace searching in the real world.

The aim of my work is to challenge gender bias against men and end the shaming of their sexuality.

In my experience as a therapist, helping men and women understand the landscape of male sexuality is critical to reducing conflict in all romantic relationships.

RELATED: How child abuse affects a man’s sexual orientation for the rest of his life

Joe Kort, Ph.D., LMSWis founder and director of the Center for Relationship and Sexual Health. His latest book is Is My Husband Gay, Straight or Bi?