When I was a teenager most of my friends had girlfriends. I was more of a late bloomer, actually, I may have even been a never bloomer. Not long after my friends started dating they started having sex. That’s when I felt left behind. It was as if they had graduated into manhood and I was still a boy. I’m not sure why exactly my mark of manhood was having sex, probably the culture, TV, and media, but the reality is that that is a lie. It was one of the myths about sex I believed and it almost caused me to make decisions with lasting consequences.
Social researchers Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker expose nine myths about sex and relationships among emerging adults in America (ages 18-23) in their book, Premarital Sex: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, And Think About Marrying. We, at All Pro Dad, added one of our own. So, here are 10 myths about sex and relationships.
1. Myth: Long-term exclusivity is a fiction.
Truth: Half of all marriages last a lifetime, and extramarital affairs are not as common as assumed.
2. Myth: The introduction of sex is necessary in order to sustain a fledgling or struggling relationship.
Truth: The quicker sex enters a relationship the sooner the relationships fails, and most relationships fail.
3. Myth: Boys will be boys. That is, men can’t be expected to abide by the sexual terms that women may wish to set. You may not want the double-standard to be there, but it’s there.
Truth: Women may enjoy sex as much as men, but they do not think and feel the same way about it. Generally, they “set higher standards for their relationships.”
4. Myth: It doesn’t matter what other people do sexually; you make your own decisions.
Truth: The actions and attitudes of others affect your decisions: “if a critical mass of men and women enjoy an extended series of sexual relationships and expect sex fairly promptly within them, it becomes quite difficult for a minority to do otherwise.”
5. Myth: Porn won’t affect your relationships.
Truth: Because more and more men are viewing porn regularly it “cannot but shape sexual market dynamics.” And studies have shown that the tandem of porn and masturbation actually “reduces the value of intercourse” because it is much more physiologically satisfying than masturbation alone. “Porn becomes easier, and so must women (on average).”
6. Myth: Everyone else is having more sex than you are.
Truth: You are less conservative than you think –”most still overestimate how much sex is actually going on around them.” The authors write about this phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance, “it happens when individuals within a group begin to believe that their own private attitudes, beliefs, or judgments are more conservative and rare than the public norms they see displayed by others.”
7. Myth: Sex need not mean anything.
Truth: This myth can occur broadly between the sexes, but exists especially among women. It is emotionally challenging for women to engage in casual sex and to experience a broken sexual relationship.
8. Myth: Marriage can always wait.
Truth: Most emerging adults still want to get married – eventually. They put off marriage for years and years and thus the marriage market “does not grow deeper and more impressive with age.” Thus, the authors encourage “men and women who’ve met someone who is ‘marriage material’ to think twice before rejecting the notion that they’re just not ready yet.”
Every major sex study shows greater sexual satisfaction from married couples who respect each other than those engaged in simple, casual sex.Truth: In most cases, cohabitation does not last. “It overwhelmingly leads to either marriage or breakup within a few short years.” It is also more advantageous to men than to women as it gives them “more stable access to sex, without the expectations or commitments of marital responsibilities.”
10. Myth: Sex in marriage just isn’t as great as extra-marital sex.
Truth: Every major sex study shows greater sexual satisfaction from married couples who respect each other than those engaged in simple, casual sex.