Does It Matter If You're 'Sexually Normal?'


Does It Matter If You're 'Sexually Normal?'
The desire to be "normal" is understandable. But it can really undermine your sexual experience.

Join Dr. Klein for a live interview on Valentine's Day about his new book Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex--and How to Get It. Have a question you want answered about what's happening in your bedroom? Join our live chat at 5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT for answers to your most common sex and intimacy questions!

In my 31 years as a sex therapist, people continue to ask me one question more than any other. The most common sexual question is "Am I normal?"


Americans are virtually obsessed with the normality of their sexual fantasies, preferences, responses, frequency, secrets, turn-offs, problems, and bodies. The fear of being sexually abnormal interferes with, and even prevents, pleasure and intimacy.

You’ll probably recognize some of the many versions of "Am I normal?", such as:

• "I'm afraid I take too long to climax."
• "How long should a man be able to keep an erection?"
• "How often do most other people our age make love?"
• "Am I weird if I enjoy oral sex more than intercourse?"

People forget that "normal" can mean many different things: what is statistically common; what everyone agrees is typical; what authority requires; what is considered moral; and so on. Concepts of sexual normality have changed even within our own lifetimes---for example, society's ideas about homosexuality, the clitoris, and sex as a 'wifely duty.' Since "normal" can mean so many different things, it’s clearly an arbitrary social construct.

Our concern about sexual normality starts in childhood. All children are sexual beings: kids have sexual feelings and curiosity, get sexually aroused, and seek and enjoy erotic satisfaction. A variety of subtle and explicit lessons teach children that sex is bad, however. Those messages include "Don't touch your sexual parts;" "Wanting sexual contact with anyone else is wrong;" and "Having sexual thoughts or feelings is sick.”

Next: How our childhoods influence our sexual life as adults...

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Dr. Marty Klein


Dr. Marty Klein is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist.

In his award-winning books lectures, newsletter, and therapy, he helps men & women understand and accept themselves and their sexuality, reducing their feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, and isolation.

Dr. Klein's new book is Sexual Intelligence. Psychology Today says, "Read this book if you want to improve your sex life." To connect with Dr. Klein, see his provocative newsletter.

Location: Palo Alto, CA
Credentials: MFT, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Infidelity / Affair Recovery, Sexuality
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