Most people have some sort of expectations about sex that they have learned from media, childhood upbringing, pornography, religion, and many other external influences. It usually isn’t until someone starts becoming sexually active that they realize their experience may not be aligning with what they assumed.
Sexual relationships are unique as everyone has different preferences, needs, and sexual experiences should be tailored to what is most fulfilling for all involved. On this episode of the Modern Intimacy podcast, Dr. Kate Balestrieri and Tatiana Fogt discuss common ‘sexpectations’ people tend to have about sex and how people can release themselves and others from any unrealistic expectations in order to have great sex.
Common Unrealistic Sexual Expectations
It’s not a bad thing to have certain desires or preferences for your sex life, however, if those sexual desires are rooted in unrealistic expectations that end up disappointing yourself and sexual partners, it can lead to unfulfilling sexual encounters and can be frustrating for everyone involved.
Unrealistic Expectation #1: Orgasm is the End Goal
Many people are taught that sex ends when everyone has “finished” or reached orgasm. The issue with this logic is that it’s not guaranteed that orgasm will happen every single time one has sex, and it can place a lot of pressure on the person trying to give someone an orgasm and also for the person receiving. Sex then becomes less about pleasure and more about a race to the finish line. When we allow ourselves to enjoy sex without the expectation of an orgasm, there is more opportunity for pleasure and exploration.
Unrealistic Expectation #2: Sex Should be Uncomplicated
Sex is anything but uncomplicated, but that doesn’t mean people can’t find curiosity, fun, and pleasure in the complexity of sex. Some common facets that can make sex a complicated experience can be history of trauma, presence of sexual dysfunction(s), body image concerns, mental health struggles, certain medications, relationship problems, and much more. Complexity isn’t a bad thing! It just means the people having sex are likely layered, nuanced people that come with their own experiences and histories to the table and those aspects can shape the needs and framework of sex.
Unrealistic Expectation #2: Everyone Should Know What They’re Doing
It’s okay to not know something about human sexuality or a partner’s sexual needs, but you don’t have to live in that unknown space. Asking questions about sex, doing research, educating yourself, and communicating with sexual partners are all ways you can ensure you are creating a fun and safe sexual experience for yourself and partner(s). If you feel overwhelmed with everything to know about sexuality, you could work with a sex therapist. Sex therapy can be a safe and informative space to learn more about how you can enhance sexual experiences for yourself and with partners, without shame or judgement.
Good sex can happen when we realize it’s okay to set expectations for ourselves and others aside and get more curious about our own sexuality and the sexual experiences/needs of others.
Tatiana is the founder, host, and sexuality educator behind Bedside, a charting podcast series unpacking the intricacies of modern love, dating, relationships, and all things sex. By chatting with sexperts, therapists, innovators, thought leaders & more she’s on a mission to make sexual wellness more accessible and approachable.
Her Secret Sauce: With a background in graphic design and branding Tatiana’s aim is to rebrand contemporary sex, love, dating, and intimacy to make room for what’s between the hyper-clincal and hyper-sexual narratives we so often see.
In this collab episode, Tatiana and Dr. Kate answer questions from their followers and talk about everything sexual health and wellness.
They cover it all from sex therapy, who is it for, having a daily pleasure practice, did you know pleasure and you are a definite priority? Watch out for Dismissiveness in your relationship: It is a definite sexual turn off, and hear about the whys and some tips about performance anxiety.
Kate and Tatiana also discuss why orgasm is not always the defining goal and so much more!!! You will want to hear their take on every juicy question.