The concept of sexuality is something that there’s a lot of turmoil about, to be perfectly honest. Recent decades have not only seen advances of women in many careers and breaking down many barriers, but also an explosion in awareness and recognition of the rights of those whose sexuality does not conform to traditional, conventional, or longstanding norms. How people view various forms of sexuality and what is legally permitted and not go a long way in how society defines itself, and the many different opinions, philosophies, and schools of thought often conflict with one another in many areas, be it the dating scene, the world of politics, and even courtrooms.

Even though much of the attention, news, and conversation seems to be dominated by things like female sexuality and the LGBT community, male sexuality is not as simple as it might seem. Understanding it is necessary for many men to know their comfortable place within this complicated world, and even women should learn about it so they can get along better with the people in their lives. While it is often up to each male to define himself, it helps everyone to know the following 12 myths and misconceptions about modern male sexuality:

1) Men aren’t naturally monogamous, even though women are:

This is a very common stereotype in modern society, but it’s a dangerous one. DNA testing and genetic research have shown that human genders are like most other animal species in that neither sex is more monogamous than the other. Social monogamy does seem to happen on a seasonal level, but not permanently. Women are very pressured to be monogamous, but their biology and personality are both well-suited for more than one partner. In fact, masculine individuals often have a deep-seeded desire for a simple life, and monogamy accomplishes that much easier than having more than one partner.

2) Men can’t change:

The assumption here is that people will never change. To borrow everyday parlance, “men are dogs and will always be dogs” so women looking to have a relationship with them need just to accept it.

This is so untrue. People certainly have changed. Compared to the people of two generations ago, they’re certainly far less sexist. Back then, a lot of men honestly believed that their wife should not work, except possibly to stay busy or the family wanted a little extra money. In new couples, many men have an expectation that their partner has their career and even would like to have some sense of equality within their marriage. Many people have also gotten used to the idea of women paying some of the dating expenses.

There’s sometimes even an expectation that as men age they will still be as interested in women as in their youth, perhaps even turning into creepy old men. However, the male sex drive does decline with age, and while menopause is not as apparent as menopause, it does happen.

3) Maleopause is just sad:

Urban myths and cruel jokes abound about middle-aged men suddenly buying motorcycles or having midlife crises involving depression and questioning their place in the world. Unfortunately, this is not helpful to people who do go through this. If they have an unfulfilled sexual appetite but are wanting to stay faithful in a monogamous, lifelong relationship, their heart and head and hormones might all be going in different directions. For that matter, if they were raised to be the breadwinner and ‘man of the house’ and find themselves making less than their spouse, it might likewise tear them up. Even if they crave an equal relationship, subconscious parental expectations embedded in their minds since childhood can be very hard to overcome.

4) Real men don’t cry:

As feminism has exceptional women in society, it’s proven that just because a person might be a little emotional sometimes does not mean they are not capable of being mature adults or successful professionals. This has had some impact on men, as it is now more socially acceptable than ever for people to cry and not be chided as weaklings. Many corners of society still have expectations about this, with exceptions listed as their favorite sports team winning or funerals, but for the most part, men shedding tears is a good thing. They’re either tear of joy and happiness, or they’re not repressing their emotions.

5) Gay men aren’t real men:

One of the most insidious ‘traditional’ views on male sexuality is that ‘real’ people wind up with a woman. This is very unfair to people who try to deny their nature, as sexual orientation is rarely a choice. They wind up wasting years of their lives and sometimes a lot of the time of their wife and kids living a lie. While not all gays feel comfortable living an ‘out’ lifestyle, it’s never healthy to be dishonest and force themselves into a straight lifestyle when it’s not who they are.

6) Men have more interest in sex than women:

The species might not still be around if this were true. Women might get disinterested in sex because of relationship issues, stress, abuse, rape, and even body image issues, but they inherently want sex too. What’s likely leading to this discrepancy is that male sexual potential is easier to awaken, as their sex organs are far less mysterious. Modern technology has found a solution for this recently as this blowjob machine is taking over the world.

7) Men are always interested in sex:

Some women are proactive and pursue men for sex, rather than waiting for a man to initiate. The assumption is that men are always a few seconds away from an erection and ready to get it on. While a male might not need as much physical stimulation or foreplay to move towards ejaculation, the truth is that sometimes, they’re just not in the mood. Nor will they sleep with every person they can.

8) Men have to ejaculate to enjoy sex:

Most people have not learned how to separate their orgasm from their ejaculation, but the ones that have to swear by the power of non-ejaculatory orgasm.

9) Real men are sports fans:

This is one stereotype that men sometimes do to each other. Finding out a guy does not follow any sports makes him look weak in the eyes of some, but in truth, some people just aren’t sports fans.

10) Men don’t like or need foreplay:

Even if people don’t need extended foreplay to get an erection, it does allow them time to get in sync with their sexual partner and establish an emotional connection. Many men were enjoying having this component of lovemaking.

11) All men watch porn and go to strip clubs:

There’s a general idea that an entire seedy underworld exists that all people go to when their women aren’t around or watching. While it is true that many men will do such things when they think they can get away with it, there are men that either doesn’t participate in such things at all as a matter of choice, or they don’t do it when they don’t have tacit permission from their partner.

12) Bigger is better:

In truth, size only matters regarding fit and how confident a man is about himself. Physical and sexual compatibility with their partner, as well as skill in what they can do with their bits and parts have much more impact on sexual satisfaction with their partner than actual size does.

Now that you know these 12 myths and misconceptions about modern male sexuality, you can have informed discussions about this topic with anyone you’re comfortable talking about it with.