Therapists do not know everything. That is why we consult, refer and continue to take classes and receive training even after we have been seeing clients for a while. (CLICK HERE for other surprising facts about your therapist) Human beings are complex! Effective therapists must make sure they are well informed about all aspects of human life because we never know what topic will come up during a session.
Recently, I had the pleasure (no pun intended) of attending the Houston Chapter of the Southwest Sexual Alliance’s presentation on “Why Do Couples Avoid Sex & How Can Therapists Help Mend The Gap?” where presenters Jane Bintz of the Center of Change and Well-Being and Eliza Boquin of the Relationship and Sexual Wellness Center shared facts that even surprised a room full of sex- positive therapists!
Here are 5 facts that will give you a better understanding of sex and your body.
1. Erection during penetrative sex averages 2-7 minutes.
That’s right guys. 2-7 minutes. So, before you start worrying about erectile dysfunction because you can’t keep it up, understand that the majority of men have a hard time (again, no pun intended) lasting more than 10 minutes. Jane Bintz explains, “At times, I will hear my male clients say they need to last for hours in order for sex to be great when in actuality it’s very normal for the actual thrusting of penetrative sex to average around 2-7 minutes. This is one of the reasons why foreplay and outercourse are so important.” Outercourse is any intimate/sexual activity that does not involve penetration. Foreplay or outercourse can extend sex without the fear of losing an erection. This is also why variety in sex is valuable. Changing positions and other sexual acts give your penis a break from the same penetrative motion.
2. Vaginal pain of any kind is not normal.
Maybe you like a little pain with your pleasure and that is ok, but vaginal pain during intercourse is definitely something to check into. There are a number of causes of painful sex ranging from the relatively harmless and easily remedied (lack of lubrication) to the more serious and life changing (menopause). Some women even suffer from vulvodynia which is chronic pain in a woman’s external sex organs. Regardless of the cause, pain down there is not normal and may require that you speak to a doctor especially if this is a reoccurring experience. Chains and whips may excite you, but vaginal sex should be mostly pain free.
3. 90% of men have experienced premature ejaculation at least once.
Before you roll your eyes in disgust guys, I want you to think back to your very 1st time (Yes, I did start singing Betty Wright’s “Tonight is the Night”). It is likely that sex wasn’t the all-night event you hoped it would be. According to Bintz, erectile difficulties such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction are common particularly if it’s a guy’s first time or if he has had too much to drink. “Often this can be mistaken for ongoing erectile issues when it was really only circumstantial,” Bintz cautions. “It may only happen one time in a man’s life.”
Furthermore, men might also experience waxing and waning, or losing an erection but gaining it back at another point during sex which can happen as many as five times in a 45-minute pleasure session. “Part of the problem [with this] is that as soon as an erection is lost, many men give up [in] frustration and disappointment,” Bintz elaborates. “So I really like to encourage men not to give up right away and try again.”
The 90% includes all occasions where ejaculation was quicker than 60 seconds, so you can’t discount your experience just because it was your first time or you had a little too much to drink. This isn’t meant to shame anyone as much as it is meant to show some empathy for those still struggling with these issues. That goes for you too ladies. Stop making jokes about that one minute man you experienced (and there goes Missy Elliot).
4. There are 2 types of sexual desire and both are normal.
Men, have you ever gotten a spontaneous erection in the middle of the work day? Women, have you been minding your business and suddenly feel a throbbing in your pants? That would be spontaneous sexual desire. Your body showed signs of arousal and then your brain processed that as desire. This is best shown in movies when a couple looks at each other and immediately head to the bedroom for an intense sexual session. While it makes for good TV, this isn’t the norm when it comes to sexual desire. Most women experience responsive sexual desire. This is where certain behaviors (kissing, rubbing, unzipping of a dress) leads your mind to think sex is next even before you are aroused. As you move into the act, your body begins to respond. This is why many sex experts tell women with “low desire” to start the act of sex (foreplay, penetration with lube) because desire will often times follow.
It takes time for women to get in the mood and it takes more time for her to reach an orgasm. Do you see the discrepancy? If men hold an erection less than 10 minutes and it takes women more than 20 minutes to orgasm, there is a reason so many couples aren’t satisfied with their sex lives. This is why understanding that there is much more to sex than penis in vagina intercourse is so vital to the success of a sexual relationship. This is also why foreplay was invented! Foreplay can include a multitude of acts, including but not limited to, oral sex, anal play, manual stimulation, massages, and fondling. When treated as a welcomed part of the sexual experience as opposed to the thing you do to get to sex, foreplay can greatly enhance the quality of any sexual escapade. So, the next time you and your partner are about to get busy, make sure you enjoy the ride instead of focusing on the destination.
Many of the facts presented here point out the differences between the sexual health of men and women as well as the lack of knowledge that leads to concerns about sexual health. Both men and women should make an effort to understand their own bodies and the bodies of their partner so that they have a better chance of creating the sex life they desire.