Martha Kauppi, marriage and sex therapist, and founder of the Institute for Relational Intimacy, notes that basic psychoeducation is an integral part of helping partners negotiate the most intimate aspects of their relationship.
The following are 12 essential facts about sexuality among the many her clients have found helpful:
- Fewer than 30% of women reach orgasm from penetration alone; if this is the “problem,” it is a “problem” a lot of people have.
- There is no “right” amount of time or “normal” amount of time to reach orgasm.
- Men take on average 3-5 minutes of direct penile stimulation to reach orgasm
- Women take on average 25-30 minutes of direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. Many people have a mistaken idea that clitoral stimulation is not necessary and 5 minutes should be long enough.
- For many people, willingness is sufficient to begin a sexual interaction.
- Many women never experience explicit desire, but instead only are aware they want to have sex once the activity is under way. The percentage of women for whom this is true goes way up after menopause.
- Nothing is a problem if it doesn’t cause distress.
- Distress is often caused by the meaning made about the thing, not the thing itself (with the exception of pain).
- All sexual intimacy may be considered to be “sex.” If “sex” has to be PIV (penis in vagina), there are MANY people who rarely or never have it. Referring to PIV as “sex” and everything else as “foreplay” pathologizes perfectly normal, healthy, and satisfying sexual encounters.
- Comparison is futile and not helpful. Sexual function, preference, desire, and every other aspect of sexuality is individual to the point that comparison is meaningless. Also, people lie about sex a lot.
- Everyone’s orgasm is one’s own responsibility, not someone else’s. Anyone may decide to have or not have an orgasm. If they decide to have one, they should be prepared to make that happen for themselves or in collaboration if they want to avoid anxiety, performance pressure, and disappointment. Assuming or assigning control over someone else’s sexual response is bound to create complications.
- This goes equally for self-pleasure. Making meaning about self from a partner’s desire to self-pleasure is a frequent cause for conflict, resentment, and confusion. Making an ultimatum about someone else’s sexual expression often backfires.