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8 of Your Most Common Questions About Sex

Sex therapist Laura Berman reveals the answers to your most intimate questions and shows you how to spice up your sex life.

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Laura Berman Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo

It happens at my speaking engagements, of course, but also at cocktail parties and PTA meetings, even in department stores: People who've learned that I'm a sex therapist have tons of questions for me. Some just want to hear more about what I do, but most are concerned with very specific issues — things they've been wondering about but haven't felt comfortable asking (until they run into me shopping for shoes!). I'm happy to answer, if time and the setting permit. Not only does it keep life interesting, but it also fits my mission: reminding people that honest, authentic, and straightforward communication about sex is vital for healthy relationships. Here are questions women most often ask, in order of frequency:

1. Am I Normal?

People want to know that their drives, responses, fantasies, or bodies aren't somehow weird — probably because so many of us learned as kids that sex is dirty and our bodily needs shouldn't be discussed. As adults, we crave assurance that we're OK. The answer is yes — of course you're normal! As long as your sex life isn't harming anyone and you're safe, there's no reason to be concerned about the shape of your desires, or your genitals. "Normal" encompasses a broad range of behaviors and bodies. You don't have to feel embarrassed or ashamed about uninhibitedly enjoying and exploring your sexuality. A first step in loosening those inhibitions is embracing this broader definition of "normal."

Sometimes I sense that the unspoken question is really "My sex life is unfulfilling; is that normal?" It's certainly common, a sad reality for many. I believe this is because most women don't know how to ask for what they want in the bedroom (more about that later). Some aren't even sure what they want. Accepting yourself as normal, with a right to an uninhibited sexual self, will start you moving toward the sex life of your dreams.

2. How Often Do Most People Have Sex?

The fear: that everyone else out there is having way more sex than you are. Relax. Research has shown that most long-married American couples have sex once or twice a week, provided illness, pregnancy, travel, or a major issue like financial stress doesn't get in the way. For new couples, sex happens more often, but the frequency will gradually decrease over time.

3. How Do I Tell My Husband What I Need in Bed?

Your partner isn't a mind reader, so you have to speak up and be clear about what you want. Be honest, but not accusatory. You might say something like, "I love having sex with you and I want it to be the best it can be. That's why I want to..." ("try a new position," "have you touch me there," "take our time" — whatever you need). Or try to frame your request as a compliment. If you'd like more foreplay, for example, you might say, "Honey, I was so turned on last night; I love it when you take your time with me before sex. It shows how much you care about my pleasure, and it felt amazing." Your partner will be offering more foreplay than you can handle!

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