Sex therapy in the 70’s set up a cultural construct that persists today, that people need to be shown “how to do sex better” in order to have a “satisfying sexual relationship”.
For further evidence, look no further than the media. In 2013, The Australian published an invitation for women to participate in a Women’s Health Research Program at Monash University, to test a new treatment that was being touted as “Viagra for women”.
But before we ask, “Do women need Viagra?”, it is worth considering:
“What are women’s (and their partner’s) expectations of themselves around sexual function?”
There may be a case for some women to benefit from drug enhancement, but the idea of relying on a drug for “better sex” erodes the values and meaning for individuals around intimacy, closeness and sexual function that is good enough, most of the time.
Pressure to Perform
Sexuality is such an emotive subject, carrying huge performance pressure for both men and women. Sadly this performance culture is perpetuated by advertising and internet porn, with unrealistic portrayals of sex that lead to similarly unrealistic expectations between couples.
A typical example is the way men are told through various advertising media that they are less masculine, considerate, loving or capable if they can’t “last longer” in order to satisfy their partner.
However, when we consider the fundamentals of the act of intercourse in a more primal setting (which essentially is to procreate), the perpetuation of the species relies on transfer of the male seed to the female as efficiently and quickly as possible!
In fact, statistics show that males lasting over 1 minute before ejaculation are normal, with average times to orgasm being 3-6 minutes (1). Why then the perpetuation of the idea that masculinity is tied into “how long he can last”?
Could it be the influences of social media, Hollywood and porn – which are then exploited by drug companies who make billions each year?
Do we need to “Do Sex Better”?!
If the general population use the media and/or pornography as a benchmark for their own sexual performance rather than real life norms, is it any wonder they require drugs to enhance their experience to match the perceived reality they are convinced is normal?
What is society saying to women in offering them performance-enhancing drugs? It is certainly controversial with some doctors seeing it as a breakthrough, while others are concerned about unrealistic “perfect sex” expectations.
Today, sex therapy and intimacy counselling are centred around:
- The promotion of understanding normal sexual function;
- Effective communication around sexuality, acknowledging what is working and exploring differences in expectation, language and expression of intimacy.
This is far more useful in enhancing one’s expression of sexuality, than popping a pill or even being taught “how to do sex better”.
Author: Julie Fickel, RN, PG Cert Health Science, PG Diploma Midwifery.
Julie Fickel is a midwife with a passion for supporting women and their partners.
With over 20 years in family health, Julie has developed skills around communication and supporting individuals and their families to cope with change, grief and loss; fostering resilience during times of crisis or distress and more recently trauma therapy. She worked for Lifeline as a telephone counsellor, and group trainer for 3 years, as well as facilitated women’s recovery ministry groups while studying pastoral care.
Julie has extensive experience in counselling couples in pregnancy, parenting and partnering. She has a special interest in perinatal women’s issues with additional training at Griffith University to provide counselling for pregnancy, parenting support, perinatal mental health (depression and anxiety), and perinatal trauma.