It was over 14 years ago that Tanya Meeson assumed the name Dorothy Black and became a sex columnist.She didn’t know then that her biggest takeaway would be quite the surprise. ‘I didn’t realise that the biggest takeaway from all the research and interviews, experiences and conversations, would be that sex is not about sex,’ Tanya writes. And so the sex myth busting began. Here are the top three Tanya wants you to read.
When we talk about sex
Let’s start with how we talk about sex. Sure, there’s a mechanical foundation to sex as a biological act. But in terms of what makes us humans – sentient, emotional, social creatures – sex is actually about so much more. Tanya explains:
When we “talk about sex”, what we are really talking about are our relationships with ourselves and others, our relationships with our bodies and pleasure, our boundaries, personal power, social context, politics, self-knowledge, and curiosity.’
Of course there’s no surprise that these subtleties often don’t feature when we think about ‘sex’. Sex’s PR has been superficial, unkind, limited and problematically conservative. It is still branded not just as sinful but taboo too. It breeds an unhealthy perspective as well as sex myths that have no business keeping us shy and scared of sex and sex talk.
SEX MYTH #1: NORMAL IS A THING
In real life, there is no such thing as ‘normal’, and definitely not in sex and love! There is no ‘normal’ sex, no ‘normal’ amount of sex, or ‘normal’ sexual drive. Individual preferences, the ebb and flow of life, and social context all differ from person to person. This will all impact what your ‘normal’ is. Or rather, what your preferences and reality are. You can only know what someone likes and needs by asking them and vice versa.
SEX MYTH #2: MEN WANT SEX, WOMEN WANT INTIMACY
The need for sex and intimacy is not sex- or gender-specific. The need for touch and connection, pleasure and play, is part of being human. How much and in what form is up to the individual and, unfortunately, deeply influenced by social conditioning.
SEX MYTH #3: SEX MEANS INTERCOURSE
This old heteronormative definition of sex is long past its sell-by-date. Today, ‘sex’ is an umbrella term for all forms of physical intimacy we used to solely think of ‘heavy petting’ or foreplay. This goes hand-in-hand with remembering that orgasms, high pleasure and intimacy come in all sorts of forms – don’t be ashamed if actual intercourse isn’t your favourite.