Six myths about healthy sex

It doesn't have to be spontaneous, mind-blowing—or even that frequent.
Health.com // Health.com

Ever wonder if everyone is having lots of perfect sex… except you and your partner? Most of us question how our sex lives stack up. But the reality is, the two of you don't have to experience Earth-shattering orgasms to have healthy intimacy.

In fact, chances are your sex life is in better shape than you think—even with the occasional off-night or dry spell. Here, six top myths you shouldn't buy into.

--By Jennifer Berman, MD, for Health.com

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Myth #1: You both need to be in the mood

It's normal for sex to be a little ho-hum for one or both spouses up to 15% of the time. Any number of factors can throw things a bit off-kilter: timing, your mood or his, the amount of foreplay, life stresses, you name it.

Rather than postponing until the planets align, have sex when you can—and don't interpret an off night as a sign of a failing relationship. If your man seems disengaged, just be affectionate and look forward to next time. To keep things exciting, make a point of venturing out of your comfort zone occasionally with new positions, locations, and sexy videos.

However, if one or both of you is never, ever in the mood anymore, consider seeing a therapist or medical doctor to rule out any underlying health problems.

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Myth #2: The best sex is spontaneous

It's a fact of modern life: What we don't schedule, we don't do—and sex is no exception. Expecting it to just happen spur-of-the-moment could lead to long dry spells, whereas penciling it in on your calendar is a show of commitment; plus, it gives you both something to anticipate.

I advise my clients to establish a weekly time for intimacy, meaning anything from sex to cuddling. Choose a time you can both commit to easily, without exhaustion or daily responsibilities getting in the way. Devoting that time should take you back to those eagerly anticipated first dates.

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Myth #3: You must have sex three times a week

Having sex regularly nourishes a relationship, sure, but don't get too caught up in the counting. Most happy couples don't have sex every day or even two or three times a week. What's important is that you both are satisfied with the frequency.

If that's not the case, start a discussion outside the bedroom by saying something like, "We don't have sex as often anymore, and it worries me." And remember: There's more to a healthy sex life than just sex. Get your RDA of intimacy by cuddling, holding hands, and spontaneously hugging and kissing.

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Myth #4: Good sex is long and slow

Few of us can afford the luxury of leisurely sex. (Frankly, most of us secretly think it sounds like more work after an exhausting day.) And holding out for the ideal moment can lead to infrequent or, even worse, vacation-only sex.

The solution? Embrace the quickie. Think of it like a sex snack, sure to boost your energy and put you back in the mood. For extra excitement, break out of the bedroom: Five-minute romps are perfect for unusual locations, even if that just means your shower or sofa.

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Myth #5: "Make-up sex" is unhealthy for a relationship

Make-up sex is normal—and generally healthy, too. Not only can it be madly passionate, but it can also sustain intimacy during tough times.

Besides, it's natural to feel turned on after an argument. In the heat of battle, adrenaline and dopamine (your hormone of desire) levels rise, giving you that excited feeling. This rush can be a good substitute for foreplay, so you can get right to it.

One caveat: If it always takes a blowout to get you two connecting, then you should seriously consider talking to a couples counselor.

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Myth #6: It's always men who initiate sex

Research shows that as many as one in five men has a low sex drive. Despite those stats, we continue to think of men as the highly sexual ones.

Keep in mind that certain drugs, including common blood pressure pills and antidepressants, can sabotage sex drive. And it's not uncommon for men over 40 to experience a dip in testosterone levels, another challenge to the libido. (A doctor can diagnose this with a simple blood test and possibly prescribe testosterone-replacement therapy.)

If your partner has a low sex drive, gently bring up the issue when both of you are relaxed, not after a failed attempt to initiate sex. Together, agree on a set number of times a week or month that feels right. And when the moment arrives, help him get in the mood.

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