Sex Experts Break Down Intimacy Myths And How To Overcome Them

Myths surrounding sexuality are nothing new, and they have long played a role in how we treat the sexes differently across cultures. Though (most of us) now believe in the female orgasm and that consent is not only preferable but necessary for any sexual act, there is still plenty of misinformation making the rounds, as we've seen in the tragically spot-on portrayal of confused teenagers in the series "Sex Education."

However, it isn't too late to figure out myth from truth, and you can find new perspectives on ethical sex-ploration that might just be game-changers in your personal life. Glam spoke with Angie Rowntree, founder and director of, a platform for adult entertainment with women's pleasure at its center, and she provided powerful insight into why myths around sex need to be addressed and amended. She told us, "Myths can lead to you sabotaging your relationship and your overall happiness–and often doing so under false pretenses." We also got in touch with sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, a resident sex expert at Lovers, a platform for adult toys, educational resources, and wellness tips. Both experts' lists of myths complemented and added to each other's, and we were left with a wealth of advice on how to keep our sex lives steamy and sustainable.

Myth #1: your partner won't want to try new things

Sexual myths are so prevalent there have even been studies on the phenomenon, such as a study published in Medicina Clínica, and its possible adverse effects. Of those surveyed, 16.9% viewed intercourse via penetration, aka coitus, as "normal" sex. However, Marla Renee Stewart shared the first myth that she would like us to remove from our belief system surrounding intimacy: "Your lover would not be into what you want to do (without asking the lover first)." It can be intimidating to discuss your desires with a partner when you haven't opened that door for communication. But finding a common language to speak with your partner about what you want is the first step in finding a path toward your sexual fulfillment.

Even if your partner isn't interested in pursuing your latest idea in the bedroom, talking about what you'd like to try can expand your sexual vocabulary and lead to new and exciting experimentation. Assuming that your desires are in some way wrong or unacceptable can stand in the way of true intimacy with your partner. Instead, the bedroom should be a safe space to be vulnerable where you leave damaging assumptions at the door.

Myth #2: there is a right amount of sex to have weekly

Marla Renee Stewart's next sexual myth may feel familiar to those who are used to measuring their relationships against cultural norms or expectations. Her next myth is that "you need to have sex at least 3 times a week to remain connected to your lover." On TV and in movies, couples may complain about irregular patterns of intimacy, or envy those who represent what they view as a "normal" sex life. But intimacy is an individual experience, and each relationship requires different forms of maintenance and closeness to thrive. 

This myth ignores differences in sex drives, as well as those on the asexual and demisexual spectrum who may rely more on other forms of intimacy to nourish their partnerships. Ultimately, if you and your partner feel good about the amount of sex you're having, there's no rule about what constitutes a good sex life.

Angie Rowntree also offers her own version of this myth: "All partnerships are the same and must have the same parameters." She explained, "Yes, healthy relationships all have certain qualities or traits in common; however, beyond those parameters, what ultimately works for the two of you might not be the same as what works for your friends, colleagues, and family members in their private life." She also emphasized the importance of not letting yourself get caught up in comparing your relationship to others.

Myth #3: we can't bring our whole selves into partnerships

Marla Renee Stewart also reminded us that we need to honor ourselves to fully honor our relationships. The myth? "You may need to sacrifice important parts of you if you want to be in a relationship." But being truly intimate with someone means being honest about our goals, passions, and needs, no matter what might be expected of us.  

Even if you feel self-conscious about whether you check all your partner's boxes, it's important to remember that you are both just people trying to build and maintain a connection. There will always be parts of your partner that bother you, and you may not share all of the same interests. But as Angie Rowntree reminds us, "Life is not an Instagram reel, and being hung up on an ideal will always make you miss the love and joy that is right in front of you."

Especially when it comes to outside perspectives on our relationships, we shouldn't buy into the idea that others' opinions hold more weight than our own experiences in a partnership. "No one knows what really happens behind closed doors when it is just the two of you...and we say that's a good thing!" Rowntree adds. "You honestly don't need anyone's "likes" or "hearts" of approval if you are in a happy, healthy relationship."

Myth #4: it's monogamy or bust

Our sexpert Marla Renee Stewart's next myth is one that our culture at large is still grappling with and that the media is only just starting to address: "True intimacy can only happen in a monogamous relationship." Though TV shows like "The L Word: Generation Q" and "Good Trouble" are exploring polyamorous storylines and depicting characters' lived experiences, there is still plenty of content that misses the mark when it comes to relationship models outside of monogamy. 

Just like we can have close ties with our friends and non-romantic relationships, we can find other forms of intimacy outside of our partnerships. This doesn't take away from any given relationship and, in fact, may help us feel held by our community rather than relying on a single person to meet all of our emotional needs.

Angie Rowntree also offers a version of this myth: "Intimacy is only for couples." She told Glam, "Guess who needs to be your lover before anyone else? YOU do!" Exploring our needs alone can help us figure things out before a partner is introduced into the equation. She added, "Your relationship status either way should never stop you from enjoying your own body and exploring your sexuality in a healthy way. By giving yourself pleasure (and orgasms) you affirm your own worthiness to receive pleasure — and can thus carry those good vibes (literal and figurative!) into the bedroom with your partner."

Myth #5: good sex comes naturally

Working hard on a relationship or your sex life doesn't mean a match isn't meant to be. Marla Renee Stewart's next myth is that "if the sex is bad, it can improve with more time." This may sound discouraging if things aren't satisfying at the beginning of a relationship, but the expert isn't telling you to give up entirely when you're left wanting more. Instead, working together and communicating are the only ways to improve an intimate dynamic — if we don't tell them what we want, we also shouldn't wait around for our partners to read our minds. As Angie Rowntree told Glam, "Better communication equals better sex and deeper intimacy."

Rowntree also advised us to turn our focus inward when we're struggling with sex: "Great sex starts with you loving your own body and learning about what gives you pleasure." She also made sure to recommend specific methods for learning about our pleasure centers and individual desires. "Thanks to any number of amazing products, it's easier than ever to begin a journey of sensual self-discovery. People who masturbate and know their own bodies generally tend to be more generous lovers too." If you're looking for penetration via a non-realistic toy, the snail vibe from Lovers might be the perfect way to explore internal and external stimulation simultaneously. Or if you're looking for innovative stimulation, you can check out the Womanizer Classic 2.0, which uses air pulsator technology to provide a new kind of sex toy experience.

Myth #6: grand gestures are all that matters

Sexpert Marla Renee Stewart notes that, unsurprisingly, prescriptive relationship advice may not always be our ticket to happiness. "Don't go to bed angry" may be a common platitude, but it may also mean smoothing over issues that required a deeper resolution. Angie Rowntree added her own perspective on the work necessary to keep a relationship healthy, even if it requires more energy and thought than we might think. Her next myth states, "Intimacy is self-sustaining when you are in a relationship, and you don't need to work on it." Rowntree explains, "This is probably the BIGGEST myth: after the "happily ever after" the work stops."

Actively choosing to be with your partner and working toward healthy communication can require giving each other more time to resolve a conflict, and Rowntree emphasized that love is not a passive process. "Yes, real life can serve up plenty of stress and grief," she told us. "And sometimes our intimate partnerships are impacted or changed — but that's why the best intimacy is the kind that evolves and adapts with you both. If you choose each other and choose to weather the storms of life, then why wouldn't you choose to also nurture the passion?"

Ultimately, expressing care over time may not require drastic changes to your relationship dynamic. But Rowntree also referenced another myth: "The "little things" you do for each other are not powerful." She amends this, saying, "When you do feel disconnected, often the "little things" are the breadcrumb trail that can help lead you back to each other's arms."

Myth #7: we should automatically know how to have a healthy relationship

Lovers' resident sexpert Marla Renee Stewart has passed on her sage wisdom and wants to make sure that folks know they aren't alone in trying to meet impossible relationship standards. "These myths dampen people's sex lives because they might feel shame, stigma, or unmet expectations that can cause anxiety," she explains. "Believing in any myths that keep you from reaching your full potential with your lover(s) can take a negative toll on your relationship(s) and cause unnecessary harm."

Thankfully, experts have our backs when it comes to undoing damaging beliefs surrounding our relationships. "You will have the freedom to establish what is good and right for you and your lover(s)," Stewart assures us. "Talking with your lover(s), establishing your wants and needs and desires, and allowing each person to pursue their own sexuality is one of the keys to a satisfying relationship that all parties would appreciate."

Angie Rowntree also spoke up about how we can work on ourselves to make sure we're in the best place to connect intimately with others. "If you become a good friend/lover to yourself first, you won't be dating and relating to your partner out of fear of being alone. Instead, you'll be confident, open, and emotionally available, which totally enhances your partnership for the long haul." So, you heard it here first: our intimate relationships only benefit when we trust ourselves instead of hearsay, and it's time to prioritize our freedom over fear.