Performance issues? perhaps not.
In my practice I speak to many clients who come to see me with sexual issues that are mainly due to simple misunderstandings. It is sad, really, that a few incorrect beliefs can cause such frustration.
In a way, it’s not that surprising, because few of us have received proper sex education. Most schools only teach students how to prevent pregnancies and avoid sexually transmitted infections, not about sex and pleasure.
In our search for information what happens instead is we may turn to the internet and for many of us porn has become our sex educator. It is mostly hard-core images that give us unrealistic expectations; we forget that porn is a fantasy performed by professionals with unrealistic porn-star bodies. We see women with designer vaginas who have several orgasms and men with large penises who last forever.
The most frequently asked question by both young and older women is; “Why is it so difficult to have an orgasm with penetrative sex?” They feel very guilty when they tell me they often fake it to avoid disappointing their partners. Some women have great difficulties having an orgasm at all. As I’ve explained in previous blogs, only about 20 per cent of women achieve an orgasm by penetrative sex alone.
News presenter Jessica Rowe wrote a funny article in Sunday Life recently about her first lover, who was not able to give her an orgasm. “I became an expert at making the right noises but was always left feeling there had to be something more” she said.
Betty Dodson, an American sex educator, author and artist, is known as the first pioneer in women’s sexual liberation. She conducted the first masturbation classes for women in the ’70s and wrote two books, Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving and Orgasms for Two: The Joy of Partner Sex.
She is an amazing woman, extremely funny and at 84 still very active. Betty and another sex educator, Carlin Ross, 40, have a terrific, free educational site where they answer questions from the public about sexual issues. Solo sex must be healthy as it keeps Betty looking very young!
It’s not only women who have anxieties about not having an orgasm during partner sex; men often worry that it’s their fault and can start feeling inadequate. This short video by Betty and Carlin: How Do I Orgasm During Partner Sex is a MUST-SEE for both men and women.
Another question my clients often ask is: how much sex is normal? There is no real answer; people have the most sex when they are initially attracted to a new partner, usually several times a day. But when this phase wears off and normality sets in, twice or three times per week is the norm, depending on age. After some years this can change to two or three times a month. The best way to a fulfilling, happy sex life is to communicate and negotiate.
Again porn can affect both men and women, some want to look and behave like the porn stars they admire. I talk to men who believe they have a sexual problem when they really don’t. They complain their erections only last about five minutes and their partners would like them to last longer. Both the men and their partners were unaware that between three and six minutes is the norm for most men.
Then there is the belief that men want sex more than women. In my experience as a therapist, this is untrue. Many couples I’ve seen have complained of the opposite dynamic, with the woman feeling frustrated over her partner’s supposed lack of interest in sex. Called “mismatched libidos”, this problem can easily be solved with some sex-therapy counselling.
Overall, there are no set rules for having sex and no medals for best performance. But a few facts can make all the difference.
Matty Silver is a Sex Therapist and writes for the lifestyle section of the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. Though she’s Downunder, she writers about issues we all face. We’re pleased to have her join us and share her thoughts and articles.
Reprinted with permission from Matty Silver. All rights to the article and pictures below to the author and/or photographer. See original article.