Day 6: Avoid These 7 Mistakes Couples Make
As I’ve coached couples and individuals, and from my own experiences, I’ve noticed a few common mistakes people make that undermine our ability to get the most out of sex. I want to share with you a few of these mistakes and how to avoid them so that you can enjoy great sex and deeper intimacy!
- Being too outcome oriented. By this I mean you’re having sex to reach a goal or finish line, like a football team driving down the field towards a touchdown. A common symptom of this is placing too much emphasis on her orgasm for the reason to engage sexually.
I see this same principle play out watching my son play tennis. He’s a pretty good tennis player, but he gets far too outcome oriented. He gets preoccupied about winning the match and his ranking during the middle of the game that fear and anxiety creep in, causing him to freeze and goof up. When he messes up, he fears losing, which fuels his preoccupation about his need to win the match, causing him to lose focus on the game at hand, and so the cycle continues.
Couples do this same thing sexually. They get so preoccupied about a certain outcome that they miss all the beauty, wonder, and amazement of arousal as it unfolds and builds. They’re too busy thinking about the destination that they miss out on the scenery along the way. And great sex is far more about the scenery than hitting a destination.
- The belief that every encounter should be amazing. Couples get in trouble with unrealistic expectations. In movies, books, Instagram, and definitely in porn, you may be led to believe that every sexual encounter should be amazing. But that’s not reality. The reality is that sex is messy and can be awkward at times. Sometimes you might get a knee in the face while trying to switch positions. Sometimes he’s just not going to be able to get his member up and in the game.
My unscientific guess is that 5% of all encounters are earth-shattering. About 5% – 15% of encounters are going to be duds. And there’s a lot of in-between that’s just “good enough” sex. And yes, my friends, “good enough” sex is “good enough” and that’s just fine 🙂
- The belief that it’s pleasurable for him, and it’s a duty for her. If you think back to your earliest sex ed classes, chances are sex was taught from a male-centric perspective: he puts his penis in her vagina, and with a bit of thrusting and friction he ejaculates in connection to orgasm. And that’s how babies are made.
But that story leaves out her pleasure: that women have as much, if not more sexual capacity than men. Without believing sex is great for her too, she may believe that she’s a receptacle for his pleasure, and she has a duty to perform. Women and men need to realize that sex is there to bless both people and can be super pleasurable for both husband and wife, not just for the man.
- Misunderstanding differing desire levels. A few years into my marriage I mistakenly thought something was wrong with my wife because she didn’t walk around exuding the same desire for sex as I did. Nothing was wrong with her at all. It’s just that we have differing levels of desire, just like every other couple on the planet. You will always have a higher desire spouse and a lower desire spouse. And this principle applies to more than just sex: you’ll have a higher desire spouse and a lower desire spouse for cleanliness, spending vs saving, parenting, in-laws, etc. Accepting that I just have the higher desire in our sexual relationship felt liberating.
- The belief that pleasurable sex should be easy without effort. Ha! If only anything of value was easy and effortless: building a business, exercising faith in God, taking care of our health, running a marathon, or scaling Mt. Everest. Really good sex takes a lot of discipline, time, patience, skill, and a copious dose of empathy. But I can assure you it’s well worth the effort.
- The belief that orgasm should come naturally for her. Frankly, men tend to have an upper hand when it comes to learning how to orgasm. They go through development touching their penis many times a day, such as when using the bathroom. It’s natural to know what kind of touch feels good. Many women in general don’t take the time to explore and touch themselves in a similar way, so learning how to orgasm isn’t a natural response for her. The fact is, orgasming is a learned skill and something you get proficient doing. Some women pick up on it quickly, while it takes more effort, patience, and practice for others.
- Misunderstanding anatomy & physiology. Oh how I wish I knew earlier in my marriage that the sexual pleasure center for women is the clitoris, not the vagina! We could have enjoyed years of more pleasurable sex by having a better understanding of how pleasurable sex works!
I heard of a couple in a sex therapist’s office. They were there because she hasn’t ever experienced an orgasm. After asking a number of questions, it finally dawned on the sex therapist that their sexual encounters were about 5 minutes long. The therapist explained to the couple that on average, it takes a woman at least 20 minutes of stimulation before she can experience orgasm, and often longer than that if she’s still learning how. This was a revelation to the couple, and with a few adjustments to the way they made love, they were both able to enjoy more pleasurable sex.
There are other things about our anatomy and sexual response that if we understood better would make sex better. The Intimately Us app has an in-depth Anatomy section that will be a good start for learning the basics. Try out some things at home and do your own exploring!
Can you relate to any of these mistakes? What other misconceptions or myths have you experienced? Leave us a comment below! We love hearing from you.