If you’ve ever felt as though the sex you’re experiencing isn’t meeting the expectations you’ve set based on what you see in the movies, you’re not alone. We hate to break it to you, but the thing about Hollywood productions and TV shows depiction of sex is that it’s not reality, it’s actually quite broken.
So many women feel as though their sexual experiences aren’t living up to what they’re seeing on the big screen - they aren’t getting swept off their feet and not everyone is orgasming. The fact is, 1 in 2 women will suffer from sexual dysfunction in their lifetime, and it’s detrimental to a lot of people with vulvas who don’t see this represented on film and television.
Let’s dive into the four things Hollywood gets wrong about sex.
1) Responsive Desire
The big screen portrays sex as a spontaneous rush of desire that you can’t ignore, but in real life, oftentimes this lightening strike of desire isn’t happening. When there’s stress in your life like kids, chores, work, etc. that stress shuts down our body’s desire pathways. Basically, it puts a break on the pleasure centre in our brain.
How do we address this? We need to stop thinking of desire as something that will happen to us, but instead as something that we need to cultivate. Think of it this way - you may not want to go to the gym, but you know that once you’re there you’re going to feel good and energized.
2) The Arousal Cycle
Hollywood teaches us that sex follows a linear process. First you kiss, then you get turned on, then you have penetrative sex, followed by mutual orgasms. Arousal cycles don’t work like this. The truth is, we can get turned off at any point in the cycle. In movies you may watch a scene where the characters are getting hot and steamy but then an interruption happens and the moment ends as quickly as it began.
How do we handle this? We need to normalize interruptions. A sexual experience may not be linear, but it is normal, that’s why we call it the arousal cycle. Make an effort to initiate sex after an interruption, and learn that desire ebbs and flows and is possible to get back after an interruption.
3) Penetration is the Only Way to Have Sex
If you’ve been a reader or listener to The Pleasure Collective’s work before, you’ll already know how wrong Hollywood’s got it here. Penis in vagina sex is NOT the only way to have sex. Sex isn’t just penetration. It can be so much more beyond the patriarchal idea of what is considered “sex”.
We need to change and expand our definition of what sex is. Some pleasurable alternatives to painful, penetrative sex are:
4) Sex is Sex is Sex
Movies and TV treat sex as a separate entity. A couple fighting or who dislike each-other can still have great sex according to Hollywood. But that isn’t the case in reality, it’s more nuanced than that. Sex, especially for women, is tied to safety, relationship security, etc.. In order to have great sex, we can’t just have great sex. We have to look at our relationship with our partner, the relationship we have with ourselves, our communication styles, self-esteem, etc.
Cultivating Fulfilling Sex
We need to start making an effort to have the kind of sex that’s worth having, not just the kind we see on screen. To do this, we need to find out the type of sex that we actually want and learn how to ask for it.
The Pink Canary offers an in-depth look at the patterns and cycles of sex and how you can start making the changes for better sex and a better relationship. It’s a reminder to stop trying to make our bodies function like they do in the movies, but instead the best way for us.
Listen to episode #36 of The Pleasure Principles Podcast on Apple and Spotify to learn more about cultivating fulfilling sex, and register for our free live Better Sex event on Friday February 11th at 1pm EST here.