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men in bed

The pressures on men in bed – and the fun in breaking through them

Relationships

Performer, director and 'kink concierge' Sophie Cohen on breaking through masculine stereotypes for better sex lives and all round well-being

Ah, the cultural narrative surrounding men’s sexual prowess—what a tangled web we’ve woven! From the idea that men are perpetually ready to perform like circus acrobats in the bedroom, to the view of men as eternally insatiable sexual beings – guys these days are under pressure to be more machine than man. But let’s set the record straight: these expectations are as realistic as a donkey riding a rainbow.

So, where did this unrealistic view of men’s sexual nature come from? Why are our expectations on men so high? Perhaps we should blame it on the patriarchal playbook. Men are “supposed” to be the alpha dogs—strong, stoic, and always ready for action. There is a cultural view of men as the “aggressors” of the heterosexual bedroom dynamic; anything less is seen as a chink in the armour of their masculinity. From childhood, boys are fed a steady diet of messages telling them to suppress anything remotely feminine, like “emotions” or “the ability to show vulnerability”. It’s like they’re handed a checklist at birth: “Must be tough. Must be dominant. Must never cry.”

Let’s kick things off with a reality check: those myths about men being insatiable sex machines, in the face of female passivity? Yeah, they’re about as accurate as a horoscope written by a cat – and they’re ignoring the truth. Female desire has been being minimised in our imaginations for centuries – back in the day, women who didn’t display enough sexual desire were labelled as “frigid” and those who showed too much were slapped with the “nymphomaniac” and shipped off the nearest sanitorium for lobotomies and electroshock therapy. While it might seem that men have  been handed the keys to the pleasure corvette, there have really been no winners, because squashing female pleasure and desire is what has led to all this pressure and expectation. 

But enough about the joys of the past, let’s not get lost in the history books. We’re here to talk about how to up your game in the bedroom, not dissect the rise of patriarchy! Let’s talk about the here and now. What can we do to undo this knot of pressure and expectation? Can we help men to chill out, listen to their real desires, and let sexual exploration take its course? And what can we do to let men fully understand their sexuality without feeling like they’ve got to race to a finish line or perform like a porn star

Let’s address the elephant in the room: the “steam boiler” model of male sexuality. You know, the idea that once the engine starts revving, there’s no stopping it until it blows a gasket? Yeah, total bullshit. It’s like saying women owe men sex just because they happen to have a pulse. Spoiler alert: nobody owes anyone anything when it comes to getting down and dirty. Every guy is different, and everyone gets turned on by different things. The truth is that when it comes to desire, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some folks are like fireworks—ready to explode at the slightest touch—while others need a bit more coaxing. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Whether you’re a spontaneous ignition or a slow burn, there’s no right or wrong way to rev your engine.

Men also face a real “pressure cooker” of performance anxiety. Manly dudes are supposed to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, right? But that couldn’t be further from the truth; everyone needs time to get in the mood, get warmed up, and get going. We have to be more comfortable with the idea that  pretty much all human experience includes insecurity and nervousness – men can feel just as insecure as anyone else. And you know what? That’s literally fine.. Communication is key – and vulnerability can be sexy. If you’re having trouble keeping the lights on or holding back the floodgates, talk to your partner. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the honesty.There’s no shame in reaching for a little blue pill or slipping on a cock ring. And let’s not forget about the joy of toys – vibrators aren’t just for women. Embrace the magic of technology and let your inner sex-cyborg shine.

And what is the outcome of all this pressure? When men are focusing on how to appear dominant, how to seem totally masculine, and how to be the “director” or “initiator” of a heterosexual hook-up, what is the end result? They might not hear the whole range of messages that their partners are putting out – and they might miss the secret signs that could direct them to better sex. When the pressure is off performance, we end up with a whole load of extra space for listening, sharing, and creativity. When you’re not asking “what does she think of me?”, you can ask “what is she thinking about?” I have worked for almost two decades in the sex industry, and the thing I have really noticed is that the men who make their women happiest in bed are rarely the ones who are solely focused on their own stamina or “prowess”. I promise you, take the pressure out of the pressure cooker, and see what else you might be able to rustle up.

So, in conclusion, let’s ditch outdated stereotypes. Let’s embrace a more realistic view of male sexuality, so that we can all have better sex. Whether you’re a marathon runner or a sprinter, there’s no wrong way to cross the finish line – and the journey is really the important part. The only performance that truly matters is the one that leaves you and your partner smiling like Cheshire cats. So go forth, my friends, and may your bedroom adventures be as wild and wonderful as you are.

As Artistic Director of House Of Vixens Sophie Cohen is performer, film maker, stripper and Kink Concierge. 

Her next class helping people become more relaxed and confident about sex and sexuality will be held at the five-star Mandrake Hotel on Wednesday, 1st May. In Kinks & Beyond Sophie and her class will cover popular kinks through practical skills as well as psychological lessons. Participants will be helped to uncover their allure and discern if they resonate in a welcoming and safe environment. Go to https://www.themandrake.com/mandrake-salon-classes for more info and to book.

Mandrake suite

Sophie also offers 1-2-1 private lessons with couple or singles where participants can take the time to really get to the root of their sexual questions, curiosities and concerns. Email info@houseofvixens.com for more information.

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