Many people think sex is restricted to their genital response, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, a human being’s most sexual body part is their mind. When it comes to sex, barring medical factors, it really is all in your head. It follows that our perspectives on sex are largely driven by thoughts, memories, and mental misconceptions.
One of the biggest issues surrounding sex is size, and this is an inaccurate measure because size is objective. Most men think they would last longer in bed if their penises were longer when in reality, girth has a bigger impact on female sexual satisfaction than length.
The size issue affects women too. In certain cultures, women feel they would be more sexually attractive if they had bigger breasts, bigger bottoms, fuller lips, longer necks, or wider hips. In other cultures, the opposite applies. Smaller features are more desirable.
Both men and women are influenced by this size perception. Those who feel they aren’t large or small enough may doubt their sex appeal, and this can adversely affect their performance with their partners. Similarly, people who abide by these standards of sexual beauty may lose the desire for their partners if those partners no longer conform to pre-set dimensions.
Body image issues deeply influence sexual response in both men and women. Often, these self-perceptions are affected by portrayals in the media. When men and women compare themselves to the people on TV, especially in exaggerated sexual contexts like pornography and erotica, they can be left feeling inadequate.
One example is that erotic videos are heavily edited, a factor that viewers may not consciously think about. Videographers and sound experts use lighting, microphones, makeup, and stop-start editing to make body parts look larger, vocalisation sound louder, and sessions seem longer. The stars and their orgasms don’t last nearly as long as they seem to.
As we mentioned in the beginning, the biggest barrier to a successful sex life is the brain, and unfortunately, the more you think something might go wrong, the more likely it will. A woman who is worried about not reaching orgasm is more likely not to. A man acutely concerned about premature ejaculation is more likely to experience it.
In addition to mental misconceptions, challenges in communication can affect how we judge sexual performance. Men may believe women respond to sex in a certain way, and women may hold the same misplaced ideas about men in bed. When partners don’t share their expectations and preferences, a lot gets lost in translation.
A man may worry that his partner is not enjoying themselves because they are not reacting in the ‘expected’ way. A woman may feel undesired because her partner does not show his appreciation in the way she thinks men should.
These perceptions are moulded as much by experience as they are by the media and society. Talking to a doctor might help to weed out wrong perspectives and establish safer, healthier, more accurate perceptions and actions regarding sex.