Faulty Sexual Scripts & Male Sexuality
In my work as a sex therapist, part of the focus in sex therapy is uncovering the faulty sexual scripts that people have internalized about their sexuality. Sexual scripts are messages, myths, misconceptions, ideas, expectations & opinions about sex and sexuality that are usually passed on from one generation to the next. Some sexual scripts remain relatively unchanged throughout time. However, some sexual scripts shift with changes in social trends and ideas.
In this article, I am focusing on some of the faulty sexual scripts that I have found to negatively impact male sexuality, primarily in heterosexual relationships. It is also important to recognize that these sexual scripts are culture dependent and may not be universally applicable. By internalizing these sexual scripts and adhering to them without any conscious recognition of doing so, men tend to burden themselves with unrealistic expectations about their sexual performance. When the unrealistic expectations are not met or men see themselves falling short of their own unachievable standards for sexual prowess, depression and anxiety are common reactions. Such feelings of anxiety, shame, embarrassment and depressed mood further impact sexual functioning and the vicious cycle of sexual dissatisfaction & low self-esteem continues.
Below are some of the commonly occurring sexual scripts among men:
A man is always in the mood and ready for sex-
Problems with sexual desire are common among both men and women. Men are not always ready and in the mood to have sex. They are also impacted by stress, exhaustion, boredom similar to women. The belief that nothing is more satisfying to men than sex is also a faulty one. Men find satisfaction and fulfillment from a wide variety of activities and sex just happens to be one of those activities on a long list of fun things to do. Men are impacted by the burdens of life in the same way women are, but men are not expected to turn down sex. That is an unfortunate & unfair expectation because it leads to men feeling even more pressure to perform, a leading cause for several male sexual issues.
A man must satisfy a woman-
Men tend to take on the blame if their female partner does not orgasm. This tendency to take responsibility for pleasing their partner has its roots in the faulty sexual script about how a man is only as good in bed as is the orgasm of his partner. The truth is that men and women struggle with orgasm because of various reasons and not all orgasms are the same in intensity. It is also not necessary for men or women to orgasm every single time. At times, because of the pressure men put upon themselves about their partner’s orgasm, some women resort to faking orgasms which compromises the trust in the relationship.
The truth is size does not matter. The reason being that only the outer third of the vaginal wall consists of nerve endings that are sensitive to sexual pleasure and for most women, clitoris is the center for sexual pleasure. The vaginal canal is not an open space and it actually expands relative to the size of the object that is penetrating it. Often men compare their penis size to that of actors in a porn video, which is not an accurate representation of the average penis size due to camera angles etc.
Men always have rock hard erections-
Most men experience difficulty with erections at some point in their lives and the causes for erectile difficulties vary greatly- fatigue, depression, alcohol & drugs, lack of foreplay, relationship distress etc. The sexual script about men’s erections being rock hard at all times sets up men for feelings of shame and disappointment. The truth is that men are not sex machines that get rock hard erections at the push of a button- a lot goes into an erection and it is inevitable to not have a firm erection at one point or the other.
Intercourse is real sex-
I hear this one a lot and it is unfortunate because couples get stuck in a rut of infrequent & dissatisfying sex because of their belief that they are not making love if there is no sexual intercourse. The truth is that there is more to making love than penile-vaginal penetration. With the help of hands, mouth and sexual creativity, couples can explore many other ways of connecting sexually without being so dependent on intercourse. Variety is the spice of life after all!! Also, by expanding your sexual repertoire, you don’t run the risk of sex becoming boring or chore-like.
Written by: Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C. specializing in sex therapy, couples therapy & marriage counseling, premarital counseling, individual relationship therapy & LGBTQQI couples counseling at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay, in Dublin & Oakland.
If you or your partner would like to enhance your sexual connection or need help with a sexual issue or concern, sex therapy at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay can help. Dr. Clark has advanced & specialized training in sex therapy and she has helped many couples & individuals resolve their sexual concerns.
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