1. That you don’t need anyone but each other.
In a recent Playboy interview, Dan Savage mentioned that he receives emails from countless heterosexual women who are concerned that they’re “not enough” for their mate, often after they catch them watching porn. Savage says he always tells these women, “You aren’t enough for him, and he’s not enough for you either.” Although somewhat shocking, the realization that no single person can fulfill your needs doesn’t have to be upsetting. On the contrary, it’s equalizing.
2. That if someone loves you enough, they won’t even want to cheat on you.
People want to believe that fidelity is easy if you’re madly in love with someone. That if your significant other feels strongly enough towards you, they will never even want to stray. While romantic on the surface, this notion puts pressure on couples to maintain passion at all costs, which can be an exhausting mandate. The truth is, love doesn’t immunize people against temptation.
3. That monogamy isn’t a sacrifice.
There is so much evidence—both scientific, and right inside that seedy mind of yours—to support the argument that we humans aren’t programmed to commit to one person for our entire lives. If monogamy were natural, why would so many religions have to threaten serious punishment (even death in some cases) to enforce it? The thing is, accepting that monogamy is a sacrifice makes it an even nobler choice. So don’t feel bad that you have to try hard to stay faithful.
4. That you should have sex like porn stars once you’re with the right person.
These days, we all grow up watching a fair amount of pornography. But men and women alike can be intimidated by what they see. Women tend to fear that guys will expect them to moan and groan and perform like porn stars, while men fear that women need a 10-inch cock to be truly satisfied. It’s tough to remember, but porn is primarily entertainment, brought to you by actors and actresses. So it’s not really a tragedy that you’re never going to have porn-style sex.
5. That you should never have sex if you’re not in the mood.
It’s great when two people wake up alongside each other craving morning sex. But more often than not, one person in a relationship will be slightly more in the mood than the other. Even if your libidos are similarly matched, you won’t always want sex at the same time. It’s unreasonable, then, to wait around until you’re both up for it. The good thing is that giving into your partner and faking arousal to start often leads to feeling it sincerely. So don’t be bashful or worried if you find yourself faking it until you make it once in a while.
6. That cheating is never acceptable.
No one likes to admit it, but sometimes cheating is necessary—and it can even be beneficial in some cases. If someone communicates that their needs aren’t being met and their partner continues to refuse them sex, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. If neither party wants to end things for whatever reason, it might make sense for the sexually starved person to do whatever they must to get what they need, even if that means straying. People tend to be better partners when they’re carnally satisfied, so it follows that in some cases both halves of a couple stand to benefit from one person’s philandering.
7. That true love = 100% honesty.
Our egos are fragile, and they need to be tended to on an ongoing basis. Flattery helps, but we also require protection from the truth sometimes. If you can sense that the person you love feels extremely sexy wearing a particular outfit, for instance, there’s no harm in telling them that they look hot even if you think the opposite. In the same vein, if it’s going to make someone feel insecure to know that you’ve slept with a certain person in your everyday life (or want to), keep it to yourself. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, telling outright lies and omitting the truth can be quite civilizing.
8. That there’s something wrong with your relationship if you have terrible thoughts about the person you love.
Even people who are madly in love with each other are bound to dislike certain aspects of their partner’s character, or to be vexed by their significant other’s behavior on occasion. Especially after the honeymoon phase passes, it’s silly to expect someone to be enamored by every single thing you do or say. We’re all likely to entertain some disturbingly negative thoughts that would do irreparable damage to our relationship if vocalized. If you could crawl inside the mind of the man or woman you love and respect more than anything in the world, chances are you’d be upset by some of what you saw or overheard. Recognizing this means owning your humanity—nothing more, nothing less.