What is normal Sex?

Normal sex is what is normal for you. We repeat: normal sex is what is normal for you.

What do we mean by this? We mean that just as there is no “right” way to cook or eat your dinner, there is also no “right” way to have sex. Whatever you and your partner enjoy together is right for you. It may not be right for anyone else, but who cares if you both enjoy it? We are saddened by the unrealistic depictions of sex in magazines and in movies, and the implication that if your experience doesn’t match this, then you are in some way inferior or abnormal.

But remember that sex, like having dinner together, is a mutual experience. You wouldn’t dream of insisting that your lover ate only your favourite food every night, would you? In the same way, you would be outraged if your partner never let you have your favourite food. You get the picture: normal sex, good sex, is a shared experience. Each partner learns what is sexually-satisfying for the other, so that they can both enjoy the experience. Of course, this can mean trade-offs from time to time. In general however, you both should be feeling that your sexual needs are being met.

Not all women have orgasms. If you’ve never had orgasms and would like to try, by all means seek out help to do so. But don’t be intimidated by magazine articles that imply that your sexual experience is inferior if you don’t climax. Remember the golden rule: if it works for you, if you are happy with your current sexual experience, then don’t worry!

A woman’s sexual desire is complex, and many external factors influence it. In order to have fulfilling sex, you need to be able to concentrate on what you and your partner are doing and feeling. A lot of women just can’t get the worries of the day out of their heads, and consequently they don’t enjoy sex. Men are often better at putting aside their other worries and concerns, and this helps them to concentrate on, and therefore enjoy, sex more easily. We girls need to learn a lesson from our men, and practice concentrating on sex.

A lot of women in long-term committed relationships tell us that they don’t have sex very often because they are not interested any more. These women seem to believe that they should have sex only when they have the urge, the way it used to be when they were younger. Unfortunately, this means that they have sex less and less, which can put a big strain on their relationship. This problem stems from an attitude that sex in middle life should be the same as in one’s twenties. If you think about it though, this makes no sense. Everything else changes, and not always for the worse! So try to accept that sex can be just fine, even if you don’t lust after your partner the way you used to!

Is it normal for sex to be painful?

No, even when sex isn’t particularly pleasurable, pain is unusual and usually means something is wrong and it’s time to see your doctor.

If you are experiencing dryness during vaginal penetration, this can produce a chafing feeling. Dryness is common when you are breastfeeding or after menopause and can be solved with some estrogen cream or suppositories and use of a lubricant.

Dryness can also occur when you have sex when you don’t want to or with someone you don’t love and trust. It means you are not adequately aroused. This sort of dryness causes bad sex and that can only be solved by looking at the relationship that resulted in this situation.

What about oral and anal sex?

As long as you feel comfortable, as long as it arouses you and as long as you are not embarrassed, it is all OK.

If you don’t like the idea of anal penetration: say so. It’s not for everyone. Don’t feel like you are being uptight and don’t be pressured into doing something you don’t like.

My partner gets turned on by things I think are a bit kinky.

Again if you are comfortable with something and as long as it isn’t harmful, it’s OK. If your partner wants you to dress up in black lace that’s one thing. If he or she wants you to do something that you consider violent or embarrassing, that’s another. It is OK to say no and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.

If you find something repulsive or embarrassing or frightening say so and don’t be pressured into it. If your partner isn’t listening then perhaps he or she is not the right partner for you.

Since I got pregnant I am scared that having sex will harm the baby.

In general, there is no harm in having sex during pregnancy. If there is any reason not to, your obstetrician will talk to you about it. Neither you nor your partner should feel scared about anything happening to the baby.

Is it normal not to want to have sex?

Yes, this is quite normal! When you are tired after a hard day at the office or looking after kids or just haven’t had enough sleep, it’s normal and OK not to feel like having sex.

As you get older, it is also normal for your sex drive to be less than it was in your 20’s and 30’s.

But if you don’t want to have sex because of relationship problems (which is also normal…no-one wants to have sex with someone they don’t love or even like) then it’s time to do something about your relationship.

How often should I be having sex?

There is no one answer for this other than as often as you feel like. Some couples have sex every day others once a week or once a month. It’s up to you.

Often there is a difference in how much a man and a women consider to be enough sex and mostly the women’s idea of how much is less than the man’s idea.

Let’s just say that a lot of couples who have jobs, kids and a mortgage consider that once a week is just fine!

If however, your sex life is zero and either you or your partner are not happy about that, then there is a problem and it’s time to talk it over with your doctor.

I have a vulval skin problem that has made it hard to have sex, but secretly I feel relieved that it’s given me an excuse to stop it.

If this is how you feel, be assured you are not alone. But ask yourself if you are really being honest with your partner and whether you can live with this.

If you can talk honestly about how you feel, would this make you feel better, or would you prefer to have an excuse: it’s up to you.

I love my partner/husband but I just don’t feel like having sex with him or her anymore. It's causing problems but I just can’t force myself. What should I do?

There are many reasons why your sex drive may have waned. Menopause, illness, medications, fatigue, depression.

If any of these things apply to you then there is a chance they can be solved or are temporary. You need to speak to your doctor.

If none apply then you need to do a bit of soul searching.

If you still love your partner it might help you to try to see it from his or her point of view.Particularly if your partner is male he probably strongly associates sexual intimacy with love, perhaps much more than you.

Can you meet him halfway?

Ask yourself honestly: do you ever withhold sex to manipulate him or punish him? Do you secretly resent the fact that you do all the work around the house while he sits in front of the TV with his feet up having a beer? If so, tell him! He can’t read your mind and it might not have occurred to him that you would like him to help.

Can the two of you work something out? Talking honestly is the first step. If may be very difficult at first, particularly if you have never discussed sex, but it could mean the difference between a happy life together and a life where you are both just a bit resentful.