The number one question people have about sex is “Am I normal?” The second most common question asked is “Is my partner normal?”
It is never helpful to frame sex in terms of normal or not normal as if there was some universal standard or universal truth about normal sex. There is a wide range of normal.
In fact, the messages that we get about sex from adolescence, our family, our religion and popular media are what really frame what we consider normal as adults. If you get a lot of messages that were negative about sex, sexuality or your body, this may affect how you view and deal with sex as an adult.
However, when looking at what is normal in terms of the human sexual experience there are some commonalities according to Dr. Marty Klein, PhD, licensed U.S. marriage therapist, sex therapist, author and lecturer:
- People have sex when they are tired. The unfortunate reality is that people find it difficult to create a space for fun, interesting and satisfying sex. Having sex when a person is tired makes it feel like a job or work and can create problems for people.
- People believe intercourse is sex and everything else is fore play. Many people have a hierarchy about sexual acts and if it doesn't conclude with intercourse it is somehow a failure.
- People feel awkward or self-conscious about their body. This is very normal for both sexes, not just women. The fact that people are self-conscious can create problems for people’s ability to stay focused on enjoying themselves or their partner.
- Another thing that is normal and quite common for adults to masturbate, even when they have a very sexually satisfying sexual life with a partner. This is very true for both men and women.
- Another fact about masturbation is that partners keep it a secret from each other.
- Masturbation is often people’s primary form of sexual expression even in a loving satisfying relationship.
- A lot of people have never had sex sober. Many people engage in sex when they are altered through drugs or alcohol.
- Many people don’t know what their partner likes in sex. People will know all the details about what their partner likes in food, hygiene, sports, restaurants, physical activity ect.., but they will not know what their partner likes in sex.
- People worry about reaching orgasm and what is a good orgasim. All organisms are good organism no matter how you achieve it or how your body experiences. An orgasm is an orgasm.
A lot of what creates difficulties around sex for people are their firm and rigid beliefs about what is right or wrong, good or bad, deviant or normal behavior. These beliefs can be based in the biological realities of sex, but are often not. Many of our beliefs about sex and what is normal comes when we are adolescents. What is most helpful for couples struggling with sex is to really look at and evaluate their beliefs about sex. If you need help doing this together or individual a professionally trained marriage counsellor or couple counsellor can help you do this. Everyone deserve to have a positive and life affirming sexual experience with another consenting adult.