Sex - Are You Normal?

Worried you’re the only one in the world struggling with an embarrassing bedroom dilemma? Hardly—check out these surprisingly common scenarios.

By Sari Locker, Ph.D.

s a sexologist, people ask me a lot of questions. But the most common, by far, is this: “Am I normal?” Maybe you’ve wondered this yourself, if you’re grappling with some sexual issue. While I do occasionally hear about a problem that’s truly one of a kind, most concerns are much more common than you think—and many can be easily remedied with a few small changes to your habits or ways of thinking. Below are some of the bedroom dilemmas I’m most often asked about—and what to do about them.

Scenario #1: You worry you’ve had too many—or too few—sexual partners
According to the Durex Global Sex Survey, men have an average of ten partners in their lifetime; women six. People whose sexual conquests fall under that marker often worry
The important question is this: Are you and your partner satisfied with the amount of sex you’re having?
that their lack of experience leaves lovers unsatisfied. But that’s definitely not the case—great sex stems largely from effort and intimacy, not the number of notches in your bedpost or the techniques you’ve picked up along the way. If you’re concerned you’ve had too many partners, that’s not unusual either: Approximately 20 percent of people say they harbor regrets about the number of beds they’ve hopped into. Many people who are coping with this issue find that getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases can help put their mind at ease to some extent. It can also help if you remember that your past is your past—and that you’ve learned something from it: You can take things as slowly as you’d like for the rest of your life.

Scenario #2: You think that you and your partner aren’t having as much sex as other couples
Americans have sex an average of 113 times per year—that’s a little over 2 times per week. Still, that doesn’t mean having sex more or less often is a problem. The more important question you should be asking yourself is this: Are you and your partner both satisfied with the amount of sex you’re having? If you answer this question yes, then you have nothing to worry about, whether you’re doing it once a day or once a year. If, however, there’s a marked imbalance between the amount of sex you and your partner want to have, then it can help to have a discussion about what can be done to make sure both parties are happy. Maybe, for example, your partner’s so pooped by the time he or she goes to bed at night that you’re better off trying to initiate some fun in the morning. Or perhaps the low libido is caused by medication, stress, or some other factor (for more details see next section), which can be resolved by a visit to a health professional.

Scenario #3: You have a low sex drive
According to the American Medical Association, 30 percent of women suffer from reduced sex drive at some point in their life. While not quite as common for men, research has found that about 16 percent of them have struggled with this issue as well. For many people, reduced sex drive is a result of stress, depression, or psychological issues about sex. In those cases the best treatment may be talk therapy, perhaps accompanied by a generally healthier lifestyle. For others, it could be a physical problem, such as lowered hormone levels or medications you’re taking, such as birth-control pills and anti-depressants. People who have persistent libido problems should consider discussing the issue with a doctor, psychologist, or sex therapist. Whatever you do, don’t jump to the conclusion that it must mean you’re not
Great sex stems from effort, not the number of notches in your bedpost.
attracted to your partner. One’s sex drive is tied to an array of external factors, so no one should take it personally.

Scenario #4: You don’t reach orgasm during intercourse
According to research from the Kinsey Institute, a full 60 percent of women do not orgasm during intercourse. That’s because women usually need clitoral stimulation to reach their peak, and yet many traditional intercourse positions don’t provide enough of that kind of contact. The easiest solution is for the man (or woman) to manually stimulate the clitoris during intercourse. A position that also ups the odds can help, too: Try intercourse with the woman on top, since this allows her to control the angle, speed, and pressure on the clitoral area. Still other women find it difficult to reach orgasm during intercourse because of psychological issues (such as they are afraid to lose control in front of someone). Also, in some cases, medication such as anti-depressants may make it difficult for a woman to reach orgasm at all. In these cases, seeking the advice of a doctor or sex therapist can help. Also, remember that sex can still be entirely enjoyable by reaching orgasm in other ways (like through manual or oral sex or stimulation).

Scenario #5: You reach orgasm too quickly
According to research by the University of Chicago, approximately 29 percent of American men report that premature ejaculation (the inability to last longer than two minutes during intercourse) has been a problem during the past year. Numerous strategies can help keep men from reaching his peak too soon, the easiest being the “stop/start technique”: As you feel your arousal build during intercourse, take a break and switch to a less stimulating activity (like making out) until you feel it’s comfortable enough to continue. Men who feel really close to the point of no return can try the “squeeze technique,” which has achieved a 97 percent success rate: You (or your partner) firmly grasp the area just below the head of the penis for a few seconds, thereby preventing ejaculation. Finally, condoms can also curb the amount of stimulation a man is getting and help prolong the fun. Some research has found that when using condoms, intercourse lasts an average of three minutes longer.

Sari Locker is a sex educator, TV personality, and author of the bestseller, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. She has an M.S. in Sexuality Education and was the host of Late Date With Sari on Lifetime. Her website is
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