Why Is It Bad?
This idea is used so that people don’t have to go through the awkwardness of explaining sex to someone else, or worse, to cover up the fact that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Originally, the statement was meant to make people feel less shame about wanting sex. Over time it took on a completely different meaning. Instead of putting people at ease this “advice” leaves people feeling powerless or ignorant.1 A person may feel like they have no control over their sexual fulfillment or that something is wrong with them and they are doomed to never enjoy sex, since it should “just happen” but it’s not happening. They might feel stupid like they should “just know” and they don’t. This ends up causing more shame instead of less.
What You Should Do Instead
As the title of one of Dr. Leonor Tiefer’s books states Sex is Not a Natural Act. To think sex will come naturally is to limit ourselves to the first kind of sex we ever have. And the truth is, most people’s “first time” sucks. Humans as a species, need to learn almost every skill we have. Even the most basic survival skills like how to make shelter, how to prepare food or find food that is safe to eat, how to walk, and how to speak. None of these skills come naturally, why should sex be any different?
Sex is more like an art form or a craft. Sure, if you want to take the lazy route, you can find a tree that fell over and call the log on the floor a chair, or a big rock in the field and call it a table. But none of that is the same as exploring your tastes in furniture and honing your skills in carpentry so that you can build the table that’s perfect for you. So too with sex.
If you want to have the best sex you can have, you need to put in some work. Learn what your options are and what you like. Learn what expectations and assumptions you are harboring and decide what you want to do about them. And PLEASE, learn to communicate about sex openly and without judgment. These are all parts of the foundation for a fulfilling sex life.
See you next week.
1Tiefer, Leonore. Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays. Westview Press, 1995. 73. Print.