Sex: What's normal? AOL Love & Sex Coach, Ian Kerner, addresses what's typical in bed.
Being normal in the bedroom is quite overrated (if you ask me). Regardless of how much truth there may be to that statement, everyone likes something a little different in the bedroom. This can sometimes cause people to question whether or not their bedtime romps are considered odd (or meet the definition of normal, whatever that may be). Make no mistake; if your online porn collection is getting more action than your significant other, then it might be time to ask yourself if your sex habits need some adjusting but that doesn’t necessarily make you abnormal. However, I think everyone's sex life would improve significantly if we rid ourselves of these social "norms"—at least while behind closed doors. Simply put: Don't knock it, until you try it. No matter what it is that you like there is never a need to feel ashamed; with a trusting and equally open-minded partner and communication, you can take your bedroom experience to the next level. While all of this may be true, inquiring minds want to know what the societal norm is in the bedroom, so we spoke with Ian Kerner, Ph.D., AOL Love & Sex Coach and author of "She Comes First" to find out if there really is a sexual "norm" to get the scoop.
I don't make any noise while having sex
As women reach orgasm, they become more and more focused and can end up internalizing their pleasure. A person who is quiet during sex might be on the verge of having an orgasm, while someone who's shouting and moaning might just be faking it, says Kerner.
I like certain sexual positions
Some women can only reach orgasm through certain sexual positions that stimulate the clitoris. If you get bored, try experimenting with different variations on the position that works most often for you. If you're not sure your partner will be up for extended oral sex or adding to your sexual repertoire, try expressing your desires through a sexual thought or fantasy that also conveys the hint that it's something you want to try, says Kerner.
I masturbate every day
Masturbation can be a hallmark of an eroticized person with a healthy libido. "But as men get older, they require fewer orgasms and less sex," says Kerner. So you need to look at where you are in terms of your own sex life. "If you're masturbating more than you are attending to your partner and her needs, then it's really a detractor," he says.
If you think your sessions of self pleasure are becoming too frequent and interfering with the pace of your normal life, you may want to consider that you're addicted to sex. For more information, check out this post to learn what sex addiction is and how to know if you have a problem.
I participate in phone sex
If you're in a long-distance relationship, participating in sex over the phone is a healthy way to satisfy each other. "Some people never go there," says Kerner. "But if your partner is interested in sexy talk over the phone, that's a positive thing." If couples have no outlet for their mutual sexual desire, feelings of disconnect and vulnerability can arise.
I talk dirty while having sex
As men and women become aroused, neurochemicals released in the brain help lower inhibitions. "The closer you get to arousal, the more someone might be open to talking dirty or spanking," says Kerner. As couples get into their own groove and become mutually turned on, their heightened state of arousal can become sexually explosive. If you or your partner shouts something offensive that takes you out of the moment, before becoming morally judgmental you should evaluate how it made you feel and then discuss it with your partner.
I regularly watch porn
Masturbation and self pleasure is a healthy expression of anyone's sexuality, but spending more time watching pornography and less time with your mate can leave you tuned out and turned off, says Kerner. As men reach their 30s and 40s, the refractory period, or time between erections, starts to widen. "So a guy who wants to let off some steam and enjoy an orgasm could be detracting from his desire to have sex," he says. Bottom line: if you have a good relationship and a good sex life, casual self-pleasuring shouldn't be a matter that needs to be pushed. Otherwise, you could end up ruining a perfectly healthy relationship.
I have strange sexual fantasies
Sexual fantasies can run the gamut from tame and shallow to intermediate and deep-end kinkiness, says Kerner. Men's fantasies tend to be more sexually explicit than women's, which are more emotional and romantic, according to the Journal of Sex Research. If you're interested in acting one out, begin by verbally communicating your fantasy to your partner in a nonjudgmental, sexy way, says Kerner. Start with something more subdued before moving on to some of your "deep-end" fantasies to gauge how your partner will respond.
Is my penis size normal?
Get out your rulers. According to the British Journal of Urology, the average erect penis is about 5.5 to 6.2 inches long and approximately 4.7 to 5.1 inches in circumference. Just because your member may not fall within those measurements doesn't mean you're not an excellent sexual partner. Bottom line: size matters less than knowing what you're doing. "A guy can have a very large penis, but that doesn't mean he can contribute to the satisfaction of a woman," says Kerner. "He could be ill-clitorate and not know how to stimulate the clitoris." So instead of spending your time worrying about size, make sure your technical skills are up to par and you'll do just fine.
Is my vagina normal?
Just like penis size for men, vaginal smells and appearance can be a source of shame and embarrassment for women. "Everybody's vulva is different, and no two labia are the same," says Kerner. Women should feel comfortable and attractive unless their partner is indicating otherwise, he says. Even clean vaginas can have a mild odor, but vaginal discharge or abnormal feminine odors can indicate you're not using proper hygienic methods or that your pH is off, meaning an infection is present.
Sex only lasts for a few minutes
"There's nothing wrong with good, efficient, satisfying sex," says Kerner. As long as orgasms are being exchanged on an even playing field and one partner isn't being left unsatisfied, you have nothing to worry about. "But if sex is becoming your version of Ambien, try spicing up your life inside the bedroom," says Kerner. Role-playing, trying new positions or experimenting with sex toys are easy ways to turn up the heat. Just remember to ease into anything outside your normal routine to ensure you both feel comfortable and safe.
I have sex only once a week
"Sex changes over the course of a relationship," says Kerner. "As you move from the hot and heavy infatuation period and move into the attachment phase, sex ruts and slumps are pretty rampant." As a general rule of thumb, having sex once a week at minimum is good practice and will help you stay tuned in and connected to your partner. Even if you're not in the mood, put your body through the motions and let your mind catch up. "Sex is its own aphrodisiac," says Kerner. "If you just do it, you feel good."