What’s sexually normal? That’s a question most of us ask ourselves at one point or another. Small wonder; our society doesn’t make it easy to find basic information, even though talk about sex is everywhere. Funny how “normal” is just another word for “average.” The former sounds better than the latter! Still, it is, um, “normal” for people to wonder about these things.
How often do most couples have sex?
There’s a lot of variability from couple to couple. It is typical for couples to have more sex early in the relationship, and for the frequency of sex to decrease as the relationship goes on. Surveys show that most heterosexual couples who have been together for a few years and are between mid-30s and early-40s typically have sex 4-8 times a month. Comparable statistics for same-sex couples are tougher to find, but my clinical experience is that frequency is probably similar.
So are the things that interfere with sexual frequency: work stress, health problems, medications (especially antidepressants), etc. Sex often becomes less frequent (but no less pleasurable) as we get older.
What about masturbation and porn?
Almost all men masturbate, regardless of whether or not they are in a relationship. Women are less likely to pleasure themselves, which is something of a shame, since masturbation is one of the ways we become more knowledgeable about our bodies and more comfortable with our sexuality. Maybe because of the gender differences, women sometimes are uncomfortable when they find they find a male partner masturbates without them, maybe feeling it implies a criticism of their sexual attractiveness or proficiency. That’s usually a source of unnecessary anxiety.
There’s a similar difference in interest in porn: men are much more frequent consumers of it. Anyone familiar with porn can pretty quickly see that it is aimed at men. Women as a group have less interest in it, though of course some women enjoy it quite a bit.
In the internet age, porn is easy to come by, so to speak. In fact, the ease with which it is available can itself be a problem when the search for more and more erotic stimulation becomes compulsive. How much is too much? Learn more about sex addiction.
Is my penis small?
If your standards for “normal” come from watching porn, you might think so. There’s a reason these guys are in movies.
The average length of an American erection is about 5.25 inches, give or take a quarter inch or so. You can be an inch or two shorter than that and have no trouble physically satisfying a partner. Most preoccupation with size is all about the psychology of it. We connect size with power, and power with pleasure. That’s unnecessary. As someone once said: it’s not the size of the pen, it’s the penmanship.
Have a question about sex? Email me and I’ll try to address other issues in future blog posts.