Many women suffer sexual pain, either chronic genital pain independent of lovemaking, and/or pain during it. The landmark “Sex In America” survey estimates that sexual pain afflicts 20 percent of American women—15 percent before menopausal, 33 percent after.
Until recently, many doctors dismissed women’s genital pain (dyspareunia or vulvodynia) as “neurotic,” which left them doubly wounded—in pain and put down. Some men don’t believe women’s complaints of sexual pain. A few even believe that sex should hurt women. Wrong.
At any age, new lovers can’t keep their hands off each other. But the “hot and heavy” period ends after a year or so, and sexual frequency declines. If both libidos subside identically, there’s no problem. But typically, one partner wants sex more than the other, and in long-term relationships, desire differences often become festering sores: “You never want to!” “You’re insatiable!”
For most men, libido is a “drive” that propels them toward sex. They want it and go after it. But a growing body of research shows that when many women, perhaps most, begin sexual encounters, they feel erotically neutral. Then, according to Rosemary Basson, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, if they enjoy the sex, they eventually experience desire. In other words, for many women, possibly a majority, desire is not the cause of sex, but its result.
Most people enjoy R-rated movies with steamy sex scenes. There’s a little bit of voyeur in all of us … and some occupations select for it for example, clinical psychology.
At the beach, the gym, or socially, many people occasionally enjoy wearing tight, form-fitting, or revealing clothing to show off some aspect of their bodies. There’s a little bit of exhibitionist in most of us, too.
But how many people are really deeply into watching sex or exposing themselves in public? That’s been a mystery but a Swedish study has investigated the issue, providing what, as far as I know, is the only real data on the subject.
Most men and women have heard of two sex problems that hit men below the belt, premature ejaculation (coming too soon) and erectile dysfunction (ED). But men may also develop a problem few have ever heard of, difficulty experiencing ejaculation and orgasm (E/O). When men develop E/O difficulties, they often believe they’re all alone, that no one else could possibly face this situation. Actually, E/O problems are fairly common.
If men made love the way most women prefer, both sexes would feel more sexually fulfilled—and many relationships would improve out of bed as well as between the sheets.
If men made love the way most women prefer, women would receive the leisurely, playful, massage-inspired, whole-body sensuality every sex survey shows they value for erotic enjoyment.
Over the past 40 years, many surveys have asked women if they’ve ever faked an orgasm, and consistently, half to two-thirds (53 percent to 65 percent) have said yes, at least once.
But men faking orgasm? That’s unheard of. Well, no, not exactly. Many sex therapists offer anecdotal reports, and a 1981 study of 280 college students (185 women and 95 men) showed the familiar rate among women (60 percent)—and faking by 36 percent of the men. But that was the only real study of male faking, until recently.
Everyone knows what goes where. And everyone knows that it feels most satisfying when the people share an emotional attachment, ideally love. But plenty of people who love each other have sex that ranges from blah to lousy. Why?
Quite often because one or both lovers ignore a key ingredient of great sex—leisurely, playful, massage-style caresses of the whole body, from the scalp to the soles of the feet and everything in between.
Would you like hot sex? Beyond a loving relationship, physical condition is key. Physiologically, enjoyable sex requires:
- A healthy nervous system to feel erotic pleasure.
- A healthy heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system) so sufficient blood flows into the genitals for erection or vaginal lubrication.
- Deep relaxation so the nervous and cardiovascular systems function at their best.
Until 1980, people (i.e. men) interested in porn had to visit the few thousand adult theaters peppered around the nation’s cities, suburbs, and rural areas. People talked about “trench coats” and “dirty old men.” Then home video arrived, and soon every rental outlet had an adult section. Viewing soared. Some men’s spouses became alarmed and a new term entered the lexicon, “porn addiction.”