When It Comes To Sex, "Average" and "Normal" Don't Mean the Same Thing

When It Comes To Sex, "Average" and "Normal" Don't Mean the Same Thing

People email me with questions about their sex lives all the time. More often than not, these questions boil down to the same theme: "Am I normal?"

A lot of folks asking these questions have already researched the answers and, often, they've discovered that they differ from some statistical average reported in the media. It's the realization of this difference that prompts many follow-up emails to me. For instance, I sometimes hear from men who worry that they're masturbating and/or watching porn "too much," as well as people of all genders who worry that they aren't having "enough" sex with their partners.

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What's Normal When It Comes To Sex?

What's Normal When It Comes To Sex?

Virtually every day, I receive emails from people around the world who have questions about their sex lives. More often than not, these questions can be reduced to the same underlying theme: "Am I normal?

Many of the people asking these questions have done a little research on their own and discovered that they differ from some reported statistical average--and it's often the realization of this difference that prompts many of these emails. For instance, I sometimes hear from men who worry that they're masturbating "too much," as well as people of all genders who worry that they aren't having "enough" sex in their relationship.

While averages can be a wonderful thing in the sense that they provide a handy way of summarizing large amounts of data, they can also be misleading and dangerous, especially when people start comparing themselves to those numbers and make the mistake of equating "different from average" with "abnormal."

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A Guide To Becoming Literate In The Science Of Sex

A Guide To Becoming Literate In The Science Of Sex

Although sex is a topic about which many of us are inherently curious, there are surprisingly few reliable sources out there for learning about it, especially sources that are grounded in scientific research instead of arbitrary notions of sexual morality. That is precisely the reason I started this blog in the first place. However, in order to get the most out of the sex research I share on this site (not to mention the research you might come across elsewhere in the media), it is vital that you first become literate in the science of sex. That is, it is important to understand and appreciate what sex research can and cannot tell us. To that end, below are six things you should keep in mind any time you sit down to read the latest write-up of sex research.

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How Many Calories Does Sex Burn? On Average, 101 For Men And 69 For Women

How Many Calories Does Sex Burn? On Average, 101 For Men And 69 For Women

Much has been said and written about how many calories human beings burn during sexual activity. Physicians estimate that the average caloric expenditure during sex is probably a lot lower than most of the claims that have been tossed around in the popular media. However, no one has actually scientifically studied exactly how many calories we burn when we have sex…until now. A new study published in the journal PLoS ONE finally gives us some hard numbers to consider and directly compares sex to another type of exercise.

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5 Myths About Homosexuality Debunked By Science

There are countless myths and stereotypes about gays and lesbians spanning everything from their mannerisms to their sex lives to the nature of their relationships. In this article, I will review five of the most common myths and evaluate them in light of what scientific research has to say.

MYTH #1: Gay men sleep around a lot more than straight men.

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Sex Question Friday: How Much Is Too Much When It Comes To Sex And Masturbation?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week, I’m answering two related questions that come up pretty regularly in my Human Sexuality course:  

How much sex is too much sex?

How much is too much masturbation?

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Sex Question Friday: What’s Your Number?

Sex Question Friday: What’s Your Number?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a college student who wanted to know more about how many sex partners people have during their lives. This is actually one of the most common questions I hear in my Human Sexuality course, so I definitely have an answer!

How many sexual partners do men and women typically have in their lifetime?

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I'm Different From The Sexual Average: Am I Still "Normal?"

I'm Different From The Sexual Average: Am I Still "Normal?"
When it comes to sex and relationships, the popular media loves to discuss these topics in terms of statistical averages. For example, what is the average number of time couples have sex each week? What is the average penis size? What is the average age at which people get married? Averages are a wonderful thing because they provide a handy way of summarizing large amounts of data and tell us something about the most common attitudes and behaviors among certain groups of people. However, averages can sometimes be misleading and dangerous, especially when people start comparing themselves to those numbers and make the mistake of equating below/above average with abnormal. When someone perceives that they differ from average, it is all to easy to start feeling insecure or inadequate (e.g., “Am I having too little/too much sex?” “Are my genitalia too small/big?”). As I explain below, such concerns are usually not warranted for several reasons.
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Is Masturbation Bad For Your Health?

Is Masturbation Bad For Your Health?

“Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century it was a disease; in the twentieth it's a cure.” – Thomas Szasz

One of the most common sexual topics people are curious about is masturbation. Specifically, people often wonder whether it is possible to do it “too much” or if touching oneself will “cause problems.” The basis for these concerns likely stems from the fact that masturbation has historically been viewed as an immoral activity that can cause negative health effects, including everything from blindness to hairy palms to insanity. These warnings about the dire personal and moral consequences of self-stimulation persist even today. But is there any truth to them?

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