Because sexuality is so personal and private, we don’t talk enough about it. Even in this age when we can pull up all kinds of info about sex on the web, it’s easy to get stuck in the caverns of our own minds, confused about sex and attached to beliefs that just aren’t true. If you never bring them out and discuss them, you’re apt to just keep believing them.

Since I hear more of the inner workings of people’s sexual minds all the time, I have a sense of the common misconceptions and myths people can harbor that keep them sexually dissatisfied, frustrated and disconnected. If you are in a relationship where you aren’t talking about sex, it’s very likely you are projecting these internal ideas onto your partner without even realizing it. If you want to change it, the first thing is to realize what you’re doing.

Three myths that keep couples sexually distanced and disconnected:

Sex Myth #1: I should be your sexual everything.

This misconception is more common than wheat bread and butter—the idea that your partner should easily meet all of your sexual needs. The truth is, no one can be your everything—and no one can be your perfect sexual everything. Sex is always a negotiation and since we humans have a whole variety of things that impact how we feel about sex and how much we are open to it, on any given day we might be on the same page with our partner about sex, but more often, we are not. That means we have to negotiate and find the Venn diagram of pleasure and desire. What do you feel like? How can I make you feel good? What can we try? How can we create a new adventure? If you have two people who bring sexual leadership to the relationship there will be a lot of options for how you might spark new adventure, exciting sexual experiences and creative sex. If one or both of you checks out and is not interested, the negotiation stops.

It’s important to realize that you can’t pressure your partner to be your sexual everything when trying to negotiate what you want. No one wants that kind of pressure and it sucks the life out of desire, which is the opposite effect you want to have. If you approach from that openness and place of potential discovery, see what opens up for you and your partner—without all that undue pressure.

Sex Myth #2: You are responsible for my sexual insecurity.

People are sometimes deeply insecure about sex. Since you have no real windows into the sex life of others, it’s easy to imagine you are not a good lover or to inflate all of your sexual insecurities by playing a false comparison game. When people get super insecure it’s pretty common to project their feelings onto those closest to them because the pain of the insecurity is too much. If you can blame someone else, you don’t have to feel that as much. Sometimes partner say crappy things that can hurt and there is work to do to move past it. However, it’s a trap to think that your partner—even if they’ve done or said crappy, insensitive things—is responsible for your insecurity and feelings.

Maybe your partner says something about your body or how your clothes fit that feels bad and you end up feeling unattractive or like you don’t want to be naked. It’s hard to let things like that go, and if you want to feel empowered in your own body and sexuality, you can’t give your partner control over it.

Or maybe you are insecure about your partner’s use of vibrators and your response is to make her feel bad about it, which is a projection of your insecurity. Why not be happy for her if a vibrator works well? Are you concern that the vibrator will replace you on some level? Have you unconsciously fallen into the belief that you should “do it all” for your partner and if you don’t wow her, you are inadequate? Does the vibrator provoke an insecurity about your own sexual skills? If so, that’s not your partner’s role to fix. But your partner can help you improve sex and feel powerful in sex by giving you feedback—but you’ve got to be open to it.

If you are feeling sexual insecurity, that’s normal to a degree. Learning to laugh about it a little or poke fun at yourself can help. If it’s a real sore spot, having an honest conversation about it and asking your partner for support in moving beyond it is a wonderful thing to do. Learning to communicate honestly and openly about your growth edges in sex will build the intimacy in your partnership. Keeping it to yourself just makes it worse, and allows your shame about it to grow. And projecting it onto your partner will only create a bigger chasm.

Sex Myth #3: If we have different desires we are sexually incompatible.

It’s incredibly common for couples to have different desires, sexual fantasies and wants. It doesn’t mean you are incompatible, it means you need to find your common interests and possible avenues for exploration. Nothing is wrong with you or your partner just because you want something different.

What often happens is that if a person wants to explore some new things with their partner, but they fear the partner won’t be into it, they hide the desire and don’t speak it at all. That doesn’t get you what you want and it doesn’t bring you closer to your partner. It’s true that sometimes people are judged for their sexual desires or fantasies. Hopefully you and your partner can do the work required to set up a relationship environment to create openness and an ability to share fantasies or desires that might be new, different or kinky. It’s critical that you both learn not to judge the other for what you each want—have some fun with your differing desires and see it as an opportunity to bring some new energy into your sexual life.

Authentic, vulnerable, raw sexual connection is one of the most beautiful parts of being human, in my opinion. The intimacy that comes when you really open up to your lover and are able to meet them fully, without the insecurity, judgment or projection, can be profound. If any of the above 3 myths have affected your relationship, I hope you’ll take steps in the next week to come closer to your beloved and have more of the juicy goodness you both want.