Monday, August 31, 2015

Near Daily Sex

We counsel married couples to 'aim for near daily sex', but what does that mean exactly?

It doesn't mean that we make love every night, seven days a week and 365 days a year! It is rather a mindset, in that our default expectation each day is that we will be making love. 

Life happens, and circumstances intervene, and some nights we are just plain tired, so in practice we probably average only 4-5 times in a normal week, and sometimes one of us is sick or travelling and we go a whole week or more without making love, but the mindset is still important - rather than our default expectation being that we will not make love unless something special happens to put us in the mood, we expect that we will make love unless something extraordinary intervenes to stop us being intimate.

And that mindset is with us through the day, so we consciously build margin into our day so that we will have the time and energy left to make love, and we think about what we want to do that night, which helps to prepare us by building anticipation and desire, and we make sure that we head up to bed early enough, and together. And C is in the habit of wearing matching and attractive lingerie every day, with the expectation that I will be undressing her later!

As I have blogged before, many (most?) women in a long-term relationship, C included, do not regularly experience spontaneous physical desire or arousal ('horniness') in the way that us guys know it. So if we waited for C to be physically 'horny' before making love we would have a whole lot less sex. But once we start making out, she quickly gets into it and gets mentally turned-on and then her physical arousal follows, from which point she wants and needs sexual release as much as I do. Aiming for near daily sex means that C is in the mindset to start making out with me even though she is probably not 'in the mood' to start with, and to see where it goes, which is usually in the right direction!

And this becomes a habit. In case you think near daily sex is only for the first passionate years of marriage, we have been married 19 years and it is part of the entrenched fabric of our marriage relationship. 

So the narrative is one of us asking if we can skip a night when we are not up for it, rather than one of us begging to do it.

Research says that it takes 66 days for a behavior to become a habit, so I challenge you to commit to 'aiming for near daily sex' for the next 66 days, and see what happens in your bedroom narrative.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds and the impact on male sexual response

This has been a surprisingly tough post for me to write, as it is very personal, but my calling for this Blog is to share on intimacy in marriage based on my personal experiences, so I feel that I have to share, even if it has taken me a while to get round to posting on this topic.

My doctor put me onto an SNRI, Lexamil (Lexapro) about two years ago as I was going through a particularly stressful period at work that was triggering episodes of anxiety and panic attacks. It worked a treat for the anxiety, but over time I started experiencing adverse side effects that began to impact negatively on my sexual response. The side effects crept up on me slowly, so like the frog in the old experiment that stays sitting placidly in a pot of water over the stove as it is heated slowly to boiling point until the frog cooks, it took me a while to put two and two together and realise the cause of the problem.

The Lexapro did not impact my libido or my ability to achieve and maintain a firm erection, but rather the intensity of sensation in my penis and eventually my ability to reach orgasm. Over time the sensation slowly became less and the intensity of my orgasms decreased, until eventually I started to not be able to reach orgasm every 2nd or 3rd time that C and I made love. This happened especially when we made love on consecutive nights or more than once in a day, which is not a problem I have ever had before. When I did orgasm, it took much longer and I really had to focus to get there, or I would get close and then 'lose it'. It got to the stage where I was sometimes not even able to orgasm from oral sex or even while masturbating.

In the beginning I think C enjoyed the extended sessions of intercourse, given her rare ability to orgasm again and again (and again and again...) for as long as intercourse lasts, but she also eventually became concerned by my increasing inability to orgasm when we made love. She likes to feel me ejaculating inside her, and while making love was still pleasurable it somehow made sex feel 'incomplete' for both of us when it did not end with my orgasm.

When I eventually made the connection to my medication and started to do some research, it all became clear that the Lexapro was the culprit. In fact, I discovered that this class of SNRI's is used as the primary treatment for men suffering from premature ejaculation! As one internet commentator put it 'it felt like my penis had been anaesthetised' and that exactly described my experience.

I think the fact that it did not impact my libido or my ability to easily achieve a firm erection is why it took me so long to identify that there was a problem and what it was. If either of those items had been affected you can bet I would have been doing my research much earlier!

When I eventually spoke with my GP he was horrified that I had not discussed this with him earlier. We agreed to stop the medication, given that my stressful work issues had largely resolved by that stage, and to see how I went without it. My anxiety has been fine and the panic attacks have thankfully not recurred, so I have stopped the Lexapro and have not switched to another class of SNRI or SSRI medication that does not have sexual side effects, which is the other treatment option for those experiencing this side effect of Lexapro.

Stopping SNRI's had a lot of its own side effects though. As the medication is stored in the gall of the liver, it can take up to 3 months to exit the system. I experienced a number of the withdrawal symptoms that are listed for Lexapro, including dizziness, difficulty in falling asleep and vivid dreams. These wore off quite quickly though over 3-4 weeks, while my sensitivity and ability to orgasm also recovered quite quickly over the same period.

Happily, the sensation in my penis and my ability to orgasm have been fully restored and are back to being as they were. It was fantastic to get the sensation back and for a period making love felt like new all over again - I had forgotten how amazingly intense a good orgasm can be! It is not something I take for granted anymore!

So if your doctor prescribes an SNRI or SSRI for you, please consider the possible sexual side effects and discuss them with your doctor before you start taking them. And if you are experiencing any of the side effects that I had, or start to experience these, please chat to your doctor sooner rather than later, as there are alternative treatment options available.

Related older post: Hormones

(Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and am not qualified to give any healthcare related advice; I am writing here purely from my own experience. Please do not start or stop taking any prescription or over the counter medication without first consulting with your GP!)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Some open survey links - I would love your input

With Facebook's new sharing policy, it has become increasingly difficult for me to collect survey responses from my Facebook followers, which is where most of my respondents used to come from.

So I am listing here on my Blog, which averages around a thousand hits a month, all my recent surveys that are still open because I do not yet have enough respondents and data to publish meaningful findings for them.

A lot of the findings and comments to date are interesting, so I just need to get enough additional respondents to be comfortable that the published findings are statistically relevant.

If you have a couple of minutes please fill out a couple of them, they are all very short.

Lights on or lights off? -

Wives, when in the your monthly cycle is sex best for you? -

Hubbies love breasts but we know very little about your intimate relationship with your breasts and what you experience, like and don't like when it comes to the role of your breasts in intimacy. Wives, please help educate us! -

Kissing after oral sex - do you or don't you?

As soon as I have enough respondents, usually over 100 but ideally 200, I promise to write blog posts to publish and share the findings.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Horrible Sex!

So last night C and I had horrible sex. We should have given up about 3 times through the process, but we are too stubborn and were both determined to soldier on and not give up - neither one of us wanted to admit it was horrible and not working!

The point is, sex is not going to be wonderful every time for anyone, no matter what the movies want us to believe. I read once that for every 10 times a long-term couple make love, 6 times will be 'nice' and satisfying, 2 times will be blow your mind fantastic sex that leaves you gripping the sheets and gasping for breath afterwards while your world slowly stops spinning and as you start to focus again you look at each other in amazement and simultaneously go 'Wow!', and the other 2 times will be horrible. For us last night was one of those 2 times!

To start with, C was in the mood and I was stressed and grumpy, so she gave me some time to chill. By the time I had relaxed and was ready to go, C was tired and battled to get back into the mood. But we have had an unusually long break for us - almost 2 weeks - since C had thrush from antibiotics following a spider bite and then was on straight after that, and we felt like we were long overdue and had to break our drought, so instead of just calling it quits, we persevered. But we just weren't in sync and everything was off - our kissing, touching, everything just wasn't working like it usually does for us. Then I wanted C to be on top, and she wanted me to be on top - another sign we were both too tired and should just have called it quits - but by that time I was aroused and after a two week break stopping at that point would just have been painful (literally), so we settled for missionary and eventually managed to grind out our respective and rather resentful orgasms before rolling to our opposite sides of the bed and falling asleep.

Why am I (over)sharing this? Because some readers think that those of us who blog about sex in marriage have easy and amazing sex lives and that we are somehow special and different and thus not relevant because we don't have the same struggles with intimacy that they do. But that is not true. Even though we are sex positive in our relationship, and have lots of sex, most of it pretty good most of the time, we also go through our ups and downs. We are selfish, we fight, we take out our stress on each other, we go through high and lows and sexual dry spells and amazing spells and long ordinary spells of quiet intimacy in between.

But we persevere, and we forgive and we move on, and most of all we never give up on our sex life or on each other. We aim for 'near daily' sex and although we don't generally get there, or manage to keep it up for very long when we do, it is always our goal, and we both work hard to get back to it.

This morning when we woke up, we both smiled sheepishly and said 'sorry about last night', and we both know that tonight, or tomorrow night, or the next, we will have one of those blow your mind fantastic sessions that leaves us gripping the sheets and gasping for breath afterwards while our world slowly stops spinning, and that as we start to focus again we will look at each other in amazement and simultaneously go 'Wow!'

Monday, January 5, 2015

Results of Survey - Sexual boundaries before and in marriage

Results of Survey - Sexual boundaries before and in marriage

This post presents the results of a survey that ran some months ago. The survey sought to analyse a couple of things – the average age at which respondents first tried different sexual experiences, the number of partners with whom respondents have engaged in different sexual practices, whether different things were tried before marriage or kept for the marriage bed, and the prevalence of cheating through engaging in different sexual experiences with others post marriage.
I must point out that this survey was poorly answered in relation to other surveys that I have authored. I only had 75 respondents, of which 30% (23) were female and 70% (52) were male. I usually like 200 or more responses, and a better spread of male and female respondents, to share the results of a survey, but have decided to present the findings anyway as they illustrate some interesting patterns. The spread of respondents across age groups was fairly even, from 18-64 year olds. Most respondents (63%) were married between the ages of 18-24 and 33% between 25-29. Only 4% were married after the age of 30, which in itself is interesting.

Summary and key take-aways
If nothing else, the statistics below on the age of first sexual experiences should have parents of pre-teens, tweens and young teens rushing off to have a frank and open discussion about intimacy and sex with their children. I think as parents we think we can delay ‘the talk’ until the mid-teens, but this is far too late as the data below illustrates. You need to be starting to have age-appropriate discussions with your children from an early age, and you need to include a discussion on orgasms, masturbation and the dangers of pornography in particular with your children from under the age of 10 (gasp!).

I remember experiencing my first orgasm at the age of 11 and thereafter discovering masturbation long before my parents thought to leave a rather basic teen guide to sex (‘where babies come from’) on my bedside table, that did not address at all masturbation, orgasm or any of the other physical or emotional aspects of puberty, sex or relationships that I was grappling with at the time. I muddled through a rather perplexing year until I managed to track down a more comprehensive text at our public library that shed light on my experiences and reassured me I was not abnormal after all!
Pornography is rampant, and for many tweens will be their first exposure to sex, together with all the negative implications that this brings – including a focus purely on the physical and not the emotional and spiritual aspects of sex and intimacy, the degradation of women and a lack of consideration for the woman’s pleasure, and violent and extreme forms of sex, or at best the ‘Hollywood myth’ of simultaneous orgasms from intercourse, being presented as the norm.

Couples are engaging in sexual activity before marriage as a norm rather than an exception. Only 40% of respondents waited until after marriage to engage in intercourse, while many more engaged in oral sex (70%), genital stimulation (85%) and breast play (87%) before marriage. As church leaders and counsellors, and especially in pre-marriage counselling, we need to acknowledge this fact and we need address it with dating and engaged couples, rather than assuming purity to be the norm.
The number of sexual partners in the responses to this survey were lower than the statistics I have seen quoted in other wider surveys. Again, the small population size, and the fact that most respondents are likely to be practicing Christians, may well have skewed the data in this regard.

My final take-away was the prevalence of infidelity, with roughly 20% of respondents admitting to having engaged in various forms of sexual activity with someone other than their spouse since their marriage.
Age of first sexual experience:

First Orgasm
10% of male respondents had their first orgasm before the age of 10, 27% between the ages of 11-12, 35% between the ages of 13-14 and the balance of 28% between 15-16 years old.
17% of female participants experienced their first orgasm before the age of 10! 12% between the ages of 11-14, and then a big jump to 30% between the ages of 15-16. 19% between 17-21 and the remaining 12% as adults over the age of 21.

First Masturbation
15% of male respondents started masturbating before the age of 10, 31% between 11-12, 30% between 13-14 and the remaining 24% between 15-16.

The female respondents were more widely spread. 13% of female respondents started masturbating before the age of 10, 17% between the ages of 11-12, 17% between 13-14, 26% between 15-16, 7% between 17-21, and the remaining 12% only started masturbating as adults. 4% of female respondents indicated that they do not masturbate.
Interestingly, the percentages for the ages of starting to masturbate and the age of first orgasm do not correlate for the female participants, indicating that for a portion of the women, they started experimenting with masturbation for a while before first achieving orgasm.

First exposure to pornography
20% of male respondents were exposed to porn before their 10th birthday! A further 23% between 11-12, 17% between 13-14, 23% between 15-16 and the rest between 17-18. No male participants have had no exposure to porn or were only first exposed to porn as adults.
There was a big gender differential here, with 21% of female respondents indicating that they have never had exposure to porn. 9% of the women first saw porn as 11-12 year olds, 13% as 13-14 year olds, 8% as 15-16 year olds and 22% as 17-18 year olds. The remaining 25% were 18 or older.

Again, as parents this is a sobering statistic, and we need to consider whether we want our childrens’ first ideas about sex to come from porn or from us.

Age of first sexual experiences with a partner, number of partners, stage of relationship, and cheating:

For these, to avoid too much detail, I have not differentiated the male and female statistics, and I have not provided the percentages for each age group, but just the median age and any numbers that really stand out for me.

French kissing
20% of respondents first tried this at 12-13 years of age and a further 20% at 14-15 and 27% at 16-17. The median age was 16.
The median number of partners that respondents have done this with was 3-5. 22% have only French kissed one person, and 26% have kissed more than 10 partners.

32% of respondents did this with their husband/wife for the first time before dating exclusively and 58% while dating exclusively. 4% waited until they were engaged, and 5% until they were married.
21% of participants admit to having kissed someone other than their spouse since they have been married.

Breast play
19% of respondents first engaged in breast play at 14-15 years, 27% at 16-17 years and 19% at 18-19. The median age was 16.
The median number of partners was 3-5. 28% have only done this with one person, and 13% with more than 10 partners.

18% of married spouses engaged in breast play before dating exclusively, and 53% while dating exclusively. 17% waited until they were engaged, and the remaining 13% until after marriage.
18% of respondents admit to having engaged in breast play with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.

Genital stimulation (3rd base)
12% of respondents first engaged in genital stimulation at 14-15 years, 31% at 16-17, 21% at 18-19 and 11% at 20-21. The median age is 16-17 with 54% of respondents having engaged in genital stimulation with a partner before turning 18.
The median number of partners is 3-5. 31% have only done this with one person, and 14% with more than 10 partners.

13% of married spouses engaged in genital stimulation before dating exclusively, 50% while dating exclusively, and 22% while engaged. Only 15% waited until after marriage.
22% of respondents admit to having engaged in genital stimulation with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.

Mutual masturbation
30% of participants have never masturbated together with, or in the presence of, a partner. The percentage of teens engaging in this practice is also low based on the responses, with only 14% doing this before the age of 18. 26% tried this for the first time at 18-19, which is also the median age amongst those that have engaged in this practice.
The median number of partners for mutual masturbation is 1. 30% have only ever done this with one partner. 10% of respondents have done this with more than 10 partners.

6% of married spouses engaged in mutual masturbation before dating exclusively, 37% while dating exclusively, and 9% while engaged. 21% waited until after marriage.
16% of respondents admit to having engaged in mutual masturbation with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.

Oral Sex
15% of respondents have never received oral sex, and 7% have never given oral sex. I think this mismatch is down to having twice as many male as female respondents, with more men than women willing to give oral sex. This is evident from the male respondents, with 6% saying they have never given oral sex, but 18% never having received it.
Amongst the sample, oral sex amongst teens is quite low, with only 20% having received oral sex and 11% have given it before the age of 18. The most common age for first experience with oral sex is 18-19, with 30% receiving it and 34% giving it for the first time at this age.

I then had a look at any gender differences with first time oral sex.  For the women respondents, 18% received oral sex for the first time before the age of 18, and 30% between 18-19. For the men, 20% received oral sex for the first time before the age of 18, and 30% between 18-19. 13% of the women respondents gave oral sex before the age of 18 and 30% gave oral sex for the first time between 18-19; while for the men, 10% gave oral sex for the first time before the age of 18, and 35% between 18-19.
These statistics are roughly equal and thus quite different to what I have read from other studies, where the prevalence of oral sex amongst teens is much higher, and where it seems that there is more pressure on young women than men to provide oral sex. Again, the limited size of the population for this survey, and probably also the Christian base of respondents, has possibly impacted the data here.

The median number of partners for giving oral sex to is 2. 43% of respondents have only ever given oral sex to 1 person. 12% of respondents have done this with more than 10 partners.
6% of married spouses engaged in oral sex before dating exclusively, 45% while dating exclusively, and 16% while engaged. 30% waited until after marriage.

20% of respondents admit to having engaged in oral sex with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.
First intercourse
No respondents in the sample had intercourse before the age of 14. 4% were 14-15, 10% 16-17 and 35% 18-19, which is also the median age. 12% were 20-21, 19% 22-24 and 15% 25-29.

The median number of partners for intercourse is 1. 50% of respondents have only ever had intercourse with 1 person. Only 3% of respondents have had intercourse with more than 10 partners.
7% of married spouses engaged in intercourse before dating exclusively, 46% while dating exclusively, and 7% while engaged. Only 40% waited until after marriage.

19% of respondents admit to having engaged in intercourse with someone other than their spouse since they have been married. Of this 18%, 7% have had one other partner since marriage, 6% have had 2 other partners, 3% have had 3 other partners, and 3% have had 5 or more other partners.
Anal sex
57% of respondents have never tried anal sex. Amongst those who have, 22% were 18-19 the first time they tried it, 22% were 20-21 and 26% were 22-24. The remaining 30% were evenly spread over the older age groups surveyed.

The median number of partners for anal sex to is zero. Of those who have had anal sex, over 70% have had only one partner. 5% of respondents have done this with more than 10 partners.
No married spouses engaged in anal sex before dating exclusively, 16% did it while dating exclusively, and 6% while engaged. The other 20% only tried this after marriage.

6% of respondents admit to having engaged in anal sex with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.
S&M and Group Sex
Just under 80% of respondents have not engaged in these practices. Of those that have, all were 18 years or older when they first tried it. The median age for those that have tried it is 22-24.

Of the 21% who have engaged in S&M, the median number of partners is one. Of those who have engaged in Group sex, the median number of partners is 2.
5% of married spouses engaged in S&M while dating exclusively, 3% while engaged and the other 15% after marriage.

Of the married couples who have engaged in group sex, 2% tried it while engaged and 5% after marriage.
No respondents who have engaged in S&M have done so with someone other than their spouse since they have been married.

It does not make sense to present this metric of infidelity for those engaging in group sex – the question also did not differentiate as to whether or not the spouse was included in the group or was aware of the activity.
Bi-curious and gay sex
84% (62 of the 74 respondents) of respondents have not experimented with gay sex. Of those that have, there was a pretty even spread from the 12-13 years old category through to the 30-39 years old category for first time experience. Of the 12 respondents who have experienced gay sex, 11 were men and one was a woman.

Of the 21% who have engaged in gay sex, the median number of partners is more than 10.
5% of married respondents admit to having had gay sex since their marriage to their current spouse.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sexual boundaries pre and post marriage

Speaking to young married Christian couples, it is apparent to me that even among Christian youth, sexual mores before marriage are different now to what they were when I was a teenager and a twenty-something. Which got me to thinking about how sexual experiences have changed over the past 40 or 50 years.

The 60's and 70's were a generation of 'free-love' and currently the 'hook-up' culture seems prevalent among the youth. I'm not sure how to classify the 80's and early 90's when I was growing up and discovering my sexuality, and the limits of what I as a Christian was comfortable doing sexually before marriage, but I suspect that this time period was somewhat more conservative than the periods before and after it (though I'm not sure why this was).

The particular items that come to mind for me when I compare the current environment to what I grew up with include:

- ease of access to pornography. I was first exposed to pornography around 17 years' old, on grainy videotape, but with the internet, smart phones and cable, children are now generally exposed to porn in their pre-teens or even earlier. This has a profound effect on their early sexuality and often a profound negative impact on their understanding of and expectations for a normal and healthy intimate relationship with their spouse.

- views on oral sex. In my day, oral sex was viewed almost on a par with intercourse. Pre Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, sexual relations included intercourse and oral sex! Nowadays, it seems that oral sex is regarded as more akin to kissing. In fact, I have even heard it said that teenage girls regard giving oral sex as less intimate an act than kissing!

- hook-up culture. I kissed my fair share of girls in my youth, not all of whom I was seriously dating at the time, but that was generally as far as it went. These days it seems that our society is far more permissive in its view of what is acceptable within a casual hook-up or fling. As a result, young married couples, including many Christian couples, come into marriage more sexually experienced, but also with more sexual baggage and potentially sexual hurts that they need to deal with.

Alongside preaching to our teens and to young dating couples the value of waiting for marriage to explore intimacy together, we also need to be aware of the reality for many of them, and to be able to deal with the sexual issues that they bring into marriage. I suspect that it also means that we need to start speaking to our pre-teens much earlier than we think about issues like pornography, mutual masturbation and oral sex.

To gather some data to see whether my perceptions above are valid, and whether other trends are also  evident, I have designed a short 5 question survey. Once I have sufficient data, I will blog the results and an analysis of the changing trends across recent generations. To be able to do so, however, I need a good spread of respondents of various ages, from late teens and newly weds to those that grew up in the 60's. And ideally also a good spread of men and women.

Please take 5 minutes to complete the survey using the link below:


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Results of survey - how long sex lasts (2/2)

This is the second part of feedback from the survey looking at how long sex lasts. The first part looked at how long couples typically spend making love, while this blog examines the findings relating to how long husbands and wives respectively take to orgasm from different types of stimulation.

The premise of the survey, and the original blog post that introduced it, is that there is a wide range of experiences and no 'normal'. Although there are trends evident from the data below, it is important to look at the wide range of responses on either side of the most common response. Almost all the categories show a normal distribution on either side of the mean. So, for example, where the largest group of wife respondents who can orgasm that way indicated that it usually takes them 5-10 minutes to orgasm from intercourse, there is also a significant percentage that take 10-15 minutes and 15-20 minutes, and on the other side a significant percentage that take 3-5 minutes and 2-3 minutes. Each couples experience will be unique.

163 husbands and 97 wives responded to the survey at the cut-off date, giving 260 respondents in total. But each respondent answered for them and their spouse, so effectively we have responses for 260 husbands and for 260 wives.

Orgasm from intercourse

A significant number of wife respondents (70 of the 260) are unable to orgasm from intercourse, and require other forms of stimulation to reach climax.

If we look at just those able to orgasm from intercourse, then a clear trend becomes evident, that on average, husbands orgasm from intercourse quicker than wives. The largest group of husbands indicated that it takes them 3-5 minutes to orgasm from intercourse, and almost as large a group orgasm within 2-3 minutes. A significant number of husbands orgasm within 1-2 minutes.

The largest group of wife respondents on the other hand indicate that it takes them 5-10 minutes to orgasm from intercourse. Almost as significant a group take 15-20 minutes.

I do wonder whether the large number of wife respondents who cannot orgasm from intercourse maybe have husbands who orgasm too quickly for them, thus denying them the extent of stimulation that they require to reach orgasm in this way.

A potential technique to manage this mismatch for those couples who do experience it, is to stimulate the wife in other ways first until she is close to orgasm or until she has orgasmed already, before commencing intercourse. Once a women has orgasmed, she reverts to an 'orgasmic plateau' just below the threshold of orgasm, from where it is possible for her to reach orgasm again more quickly and easily.

The graph above just converts the bar graph to a line graph, which makes the trend and the differential more obvious.

Orgasm from a vibrator

Fewer respondents than I expected use a vibrator. Of the 260 respondents, 144 of the wives and 220 husbands do not orgasm using a vibrator. For wives who battle to orgasm from intercourse or other forms of stimulation, a vibrator can provide a useful and fairly easy path to orgasm. Some wives can only orgasm with the help of a vibrator. When used together by couples, they can be an integral part of a loving and intimate sexual relationship.

The graph above looks only at those respondents that do use sex toys. The one below shows the same thing, but as a line graph. These graphs show that it takes husbands and wives very similar lengths of time to orgasm using a vibrator, ie 3-5 minutes. Many wives orgasm from clitoral stimulation rather than vaginal or G-Spot stimulation, and thus a vibrator which provides more direct clitoral stimulation gives these wives a quicker route to orgasm than intercourse. If we compare intercourse above to the vibrator responses here, the time for the largest group of wives to orgasm goes from 5-10 minutes to 3-5 minutes.

For those men that have never tried it, and are wondering how a husband can orgasm with a vibrator, the easiest way is just to hold the tip of the vibrator against the underside of the head of the erect penis. It take a bit of patience, as the sensation can start off seeming like not much, but it then kicks up in intensity pretty quickly, and can give a very different orgasm. Men's orgasms are pretty much all about friction, and an orgasm that does not result from friction can be a novel experience.

Orgasm from manual stimulation

If we exclude those that do not orgasm from manual stimulation, in the graph below, then it is interesting to see that the largest group of male and female respondents take the same time to reach orgasm, namely 5-10 minutes. Again, as noted in the introduction to this blog post, the distribution of responses is normal around this mean, and shows a wide distribution of responses, from 1-2 minutes through to over 20 minutes, for both husbands and wives.

The same graph converted to a line graph, shows this correlation even more clearly. Husbands are distributed slightly towards the faster end of the scale, and wives slightly towards the longer end.

Orgasm from masturbating

A large number of the wife respondents (124/260) and a surprising number of the husbands (58/260) do not masturbate, or do not orgasm from masturbating.

For those that do orgasm from masturbating, the husbands on average orgasm faster than the wives. The largest group of husband respondents orgasm in 2-3 minutes, while the bulk of the wives are spread pretty evenly over the 2-3 minute, 3-5 minute and 5-10 minute categories.

Orgasm from oral sex

Again, a fairly large percentage of the husbands and wives that responded to the survey do not orgasm from oral sex. This does not mean that they do not have oral sex, for example as foreplay but not to the point of orgasm, but just that they do not orgasm from this. This is the way that the question was asked.

Interestingly, when it comes to oral sex, the experience of husbands and wives is very similar. In both cases, the largest group of respondents indicated that they orgasm within 5-10 minutes and the second largest group within 3-5 minutes. The line graph below shows this clearly. Again, on average, the husbands are marginally faster than the wives, but not significantly.

Number of orgasms in a typical lovemaking session

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of husbands orgasm only once in a typical session. But husbands do typically orgasm. 10% of wives do not typically orgasm. The majority of wives orgasm once, while a fairly significant percentage (34%) typically orgasm 2 or more times. The survey did not explore how the orgasms are achieved.

Simultaneous orgasms

There was a wide spread of responses to this question, with the responses being almost evenly distributed amongst the various options. Simultaneous orgasms are, however, clearly not the norm, whatever Hollywood would like to have us believe.


Again, the responses here showed a wide variation. I would encourage everyone to use lube, every time, even if you think you do not need it. It adds markedly to the experience, in terms of comfort and sensation, and provides protection against chafing for both partners' sensitive bits, especially if your lovemaking is physically intense or goes on for a while. Also, a silicone based lube is great for making love in the shower, pool or hot-tub, where the water would otherwise dissolve and wash away the natural feminine lubrication.


While the above statistics are interesting, I must stress again that everyone is different, and that there are a wide range of responses on either side of the averages above.

Also, I have not yet analysed in any detail, the differences between individual married spouses - ie in the 260 couples comprising the respondents there will be couples that are perfectly matched and couples that are widely mismatched in terms of the time that it takes them to orgasm with different forms of stimulation.

This most often causes challenges when it comes to intercourse. A number of husbands orgasm within 3 minutes or less of commencing intercourse, which can be a challenge if their wives require 10-15 minutes of penetration to orgasm in this way. This can be managed, however, and many couples learn how to do this effectively, either by bringing the wife to orgasm first through other forms of stimulation, or through engaging in sufficient foreplay to have the wife close to orgasm before they commence intercourse, so that she does not require much additional stimulation to reach orgasm, or by adding additional stimulation during intercourse, such as applying a small vibrator to the clitoris, or through engaging in additional other forms of stimulation after the husband has had his orgasm, in order to ensure that his wife is also satisfied.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Results of survey - How Long Sex Lasts (1/2)

First of all, apologies that the results of this survey have been so long coming. The way I set-up the survey made it difficult for me to separate the husband and wife responses for some of the questions, and it took me a while to figure out how best to resolve this. I have done that now, but have in the end decided to split the results into two separate posts anyway, this first one for the more generic questions, and then a second and separate post for the bits comparing the relative times that it takes husbands and wives to orgasm from different forms of stimulation.

The survey was very well supported with 264 respondents at the cutoff date. Of these, 166 (63%) were husbands and 96 (37%) were wives, so we have good representation from each gender. The age of respondents, and the length of time for which they have been married also showed a good spread, as can be seen from the graphs below, and means that we can draw reliable conclusions from the data presented.

The first questions in the survey explored how many times per week couples typically make love, and how many times per week this typically leads to having full intercourse. The average in both cases is 2 times per week, which was also the most selected category.

Over 20% of respondents make love less than once per week, and in retrospect I should have provided more options to explore this further, ie how many are less than once per month, etc.

Very few of the respondents (<5% in total) make love more than 4 times per week, and those that do fall into this category are strongly correlated with the newlyweds in the sample.

The two graphs above also show that the overwhelming majority of lovemaking episodes culminate in full intercourse. I have plotted the 2 series above on the same graph below to illustrate this further - the correlation is very evident.

The next series of questions explored the length of time that couples typically spend making love. First up, how long a typical lovemaking session lasts, start to finish. There was a wide and fairly even distribution of responses to this question, with the 11 - 30 minutes range accounting for over 65% of the responses.

When it comes to foreplay, there was again a wide range of responses, but 3-15 minutes accounts for 67% of the responses. 6-10 minutes was the most common response and the mathematical average comes in just over that at 11 minutes.

The length of time spent on intercourse also shows a wide distribution. My rationale behind this survey was to show that there is no normal, but rather a wide distribution, and that what many couples think is the normal, based on conditioning they have grown up with from the media and porn, is actually well outside the range of most couples' actual reality. I think that the data bears that out.

The average time spent in penetrative intercourse is 7mins. 79% of couples fall into the ten minutes or less categories, with 29% of couples in the less than 4 minutes range and 50% of couples in the 4 to 10 minute range. Not many men can tolerate more than 10 minutes of uninterrupted stimulation from penetration without climaxing, and many women would become chaffed and uncomfortable were they to try! The idea that couples can go for half an hour or more is another myth fostered by porn (and clever editing splicing a number of takes together to make it look like one uninterrupted scene).

The majority of couples use 1 to 2 positions in a typical lovemaking session, and a fair percentage use 3. Interestingly for me, 2 positions came out slightly ahead of one as the most common, at over 40% of respondents.

The last batch of questions explored how couples would classify the nature and spread of their lovemaking, in terms of the percentage of sessions that they would classify as (1) a quicky for just one of them, (2) a quicky for both of them, (3) a 'normal' session, and (4) a long, romantic, 'moonlight and roses' session.

The data shows that many couples (over 50%) never, or very rarely, have a quicky to pleasure just one of them, or even for both of them. Between 20-30% of couples never have quickies at all, and a further 30-40% have then less than 20% of the time. I think I will have to devote a future blog post to the joy and benefit of quickies!

Interestingly, for those that do have quickies, it is more common to have them for the benefit of both couples, than as an opportunity for the one to quickly pleasure the other. I would have expected this to be the other way around, for example as in the case of a wife orally or manually pleasuring her husband when she is on her period or otherwise not in the mood for a full session of intercourse.

Also worth noting, is that 10% of respondents have a quicky for just one of them 60% of the time or more. This suggests couples with markedly different sex drives where the lower drive spouse offers a quicky to bring relief to their higher drive partner.

As expected, a 'normal' session is just that, with 64% having a normal session more than 60% of the time.

The hectic pace of modern life is very evident though in the exceptionally low percentage of time devoted to long, romantic, 'candlelight, wine and roses' lovemaking sessions. 30% of couples never do this, a further 50% do it less than 20% of the time, and only 4% do it 40% of the time or more. Just as there is a role in a healthy sexual relationship for quickies, I think we should make more effort to devote an extended period to at least one lovemaking session per week, or even per month. Taking the time to plan by stocking up on candles and massage oil, to connect over a bubble bath or glass of wine, to indulge in extended foreplay or a massage and then to take time pleasuring each other and cuddling afterwards expresses in a profound way the importance that we attach to our spouse and our intimate relationship, and is a worthwhile investment from time to time.

The other questions in the survey explored the relative time that it takes husbands and wives to reach orgasm from different forms of stimulation, and I am working on a separate blog post to cover those issues.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How long sex lasts

For most couples today, especially Christian couples who have not been promiscuous before marriage, the 'ideal' against which they judge themselves sexually is unfortunately built around a combination of their exposure to sexual scenes in a combination of Hollywood blockbusters and Porn. The reality is that neither provides a realistic basis for comparison and unfortunately leaves many couples feeling that they are abnormal or inadequate and that they (of worse, their spouse) are failing to live up to what they mistakenly believe to be 'normal'.

In reality, loving sex in a longstanding, monogamous marriage is not beautifully choreographed and does not result in simultaneous orgasms after mere moments like in a Hollywood romance, nor does it require the husband to be able to thrust away mercilessly for 20 minutes or more in a wide variety of exotic positions like in Porn.

While there is no 'normal' or 'abnormal', but rather just what works for you as a couple, I think that many couples will benefit from an understanding of what many Christian couples similar to themselves regard as their 'typical' sexual encounter.

The reality is that the 'average' man climaxes within 3 minutes of commencing intercourse, and the 'average' wife can quite normally require 15-20 minutes or more of stimulation to reach her climax. Within that average, there is a wide standard deviation, with some wives able to orgasm within a minute or two of penetration if sufficiently aroused beforehand, and others unable to orgasm at all from penetration alone no matter how aroused they are or how long their husband is able to continue thrusting.

While many men conditioned by exposure to porn believe that they are not 'manly' enough if they cannot delay their climax and sustain an erection long enough to be able to continue intercourse for 20 minutes or more, in our experience C would be chafed dry and raw and be very unimpressed if it took me that long to climax, no matter how much lube we employed!

So, in an effort to debunk the Hollywood and Porn myths, and to provide comfort to couples that they  do indeed fall into the very wide band that is 'normal' when it comes to marital intimacy, I have designed a survey to gather data on how long foreplay and intercourse 'typically' lasts.

I would love to get 200 or more responses to the 20 questions in my survey, to provide some statistical validity for the findings, which I will share and analyse in a follow-on blog post, so please help me out and complete the attached survey, which is designed to be suitable for both husbands and wives:


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Survey - Reduced Penile Sensitivity

One of my previous Blog posts, 'The Angle of his Dangle' continues to get a lot of hits, so it seems there is an interest in posts addressing issues around mens' sexual health. I have been catching up on my reading over the holidays, and have read a couple of very interesting articles on 'Reduced Penile Sensitivity' or RPS. As input to a planned Blog post on RPS, I have designed a short survey to collect some data from my readership to incorporate into the article. Please complete it for me:\

Monday, October 14, 2013

Best sex tip we've received

Best sex tip we've ever had? When we were going through the baby and toddler years, and were really struggling with the marked change for the worse in our intimate relationship, another sex positive couple from our small group, a couple of years older than us, told us 'just hang in there, don't give up, it will get better if you just stick with it', and that was the right encouragement, at the right time, for us to keep making an effort.

We had to schedule weekly sessions for a while, and C was uncomfortable and battled to orgasm for almost a year each time after nasty episiotomies, but in time it did get better, and now, after 16 years of marriage, we are having as much sex as we ever have, and it is as good, if not better, than it has ever been (so, Miley, as an aside, your theory about life being over at 40 is way off base!).

In our counseling, we come across too many couples who eventually just gave up in the child rearing years of their marriage. It became easier to just not try, than to deal with the emotional issues that come with this change in the dynamics of their intimate relationship, and the result is that either the husband has put up a wall to protect himself from the feelings of rejection, or the wife has put up a wall to protect herself from the feelings of inadequacy and guilt, or both have withdrawn, and this becomes a lasting pattern, that is very hard to come back from. Many never do, and resort to being parents, and maybe friends, but no longer lovers.

So rather tough it out, schedule Thursday night nookie in your diaries, have a glass of wine, break out the lube (our other favourite tip), deal with the leaky boobs, do your kegels and even if it is not the greatest sex you have ever had, see it as an investment that will return great dividends in years to come. 

And give yourself enough time, as much as you need. Cilla Lee, from the popular HTB Marriage Course, reckons that it took her until her youngest child was 2 years old before her body, hormones and libido were fully recovered from the years of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and lack of sleep. Husbands, you may need to find deep reserves of patience, and wives don't feel guilty or abnormal if you are not 'back to normal' within 6 months, let alone the oft touted 6 weeks!

Finally, find a couple in your church that you trust and that you are comfortable speaking to about intimate issues, and ask for their counsel when you need it. We are eternally greatful that we had such a couple at a tough time in our marriage. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The link between marital and sexual satisfaction - and how this differs by gender

The results of the latest 'Happy Hubby' survey are in, and while there were fewer people than usual who completed the survey (summer holidays?), the respondents included a good spread in terms of their gender, age, years married and with and without young children in the home, so I think my results are valid. And they do support the hypothesis that I was testing, that men and women have a very different psychology when it comes to the relationship between sexual and marital fulfillment.

Broadly put, for the majority of the wives who responded, their degree of satisfaction with their overall marriage relationship directly influenced their sexual relationship with their spouse.

For the majority of the husbands on the other hand, their degree of satisfaction with their sexual relationship directly influenced their overall marriage relationship.

What then is the take-away from this? Simply put,

- Wives, if you want to improve your overall marriage relationship with your husband, then give adequate attention to his needs in the bedroom, and

- Husbands, if you want to improve your sexual relationship with your wife, then give adequate attention to your marriage outside of the bedroom.

It seems that the old adage holds true: "Women need to feel loved to want sex, and husbands need sex to feel loved."

(I know that there are wives who are the higher drive in their relationship, and for whom a lack of adequate intimacy is negatively impacting their overall marriage relationship, so the above is a broad generalization, but like most generalizations, it will hold true for many couples.)

To give the supporting data from which I drew the above conclusions:

I asked respondents to choose the best option from a choice of 4 alternatives:

- My level of satisfaction with my overall marriage relationship positively influences my intimate relationship with my spouse.

- My level of satisfaction with my overall marriage relationship negatively influences my intimate relationship with my spouse.

- My level of satisfaction with my intimate relationship with my spouse positively influences my overall relationship with my spouse.

- My level of satisfaction with my intimate relationship with my spouse negatively influences my overall relationship with my spouse.

The male respondents overwhelmingly (75.6%) selected the third and fourth options, showing that their take on their intimate relationship with their spouse impacts their overall marriage relationship, more than vice versa.

The female respondents on the other hand primarily (60%) selected the first and second options, showing that their take on their overall marriage relationship impacts their desire to be intimate with their spouse, more than vice versa.

Other stats from the feedback for the stats junkies (like me!) out there -

The respondents on the whole rated their satisfaction with their overall marriage relationship high, at an average 8.04 out of 10 (Wives 7.53 and Husbands 8.24).

Overall satisfaction with their sex life rated lower, at only 6.46 out of 10 (Wives 6.73 and Husbands 6.35).

Satisfaction with the frequency of sex rated lower still, at 5.98 (Wives 5.73 and Husbands 6.08).

The average number of times that respondents are intimate is just over 2 times per week. The distribution varies quite widely, however, with:

23% of respondents intimate less than once per week,
21% intimate once per week,
17% intimate 2 times and another 17% 3 times per week,
14% 4 times per week,
4% 5 times per week and another 4% 6 times per week.

Overall satisfaction with the quality of intimate encounters was pleasingly high, at an average of 7.21 out of 10 (Wives 7.33 and Husbands 7.16). A full 43% of respondents (46% of Wives and 40% of Husbands) scored this question a 9 or 10 out of 10! The lower score for the overall level of satisfaction with intimacy thus seems to relate more to quantity than to quality, and should thus be quite easy to fix!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Follow-up post: Reader question - is masturbation within marriage a sin?

A reader has asked whether masturbation within marriage is sinful, following my Blog post of earlier this week - 'An intimate gift for Hubby'

My view on this issue is as follows:

The scriptures are silent on the topic of masturbation, with no explicit or analogous references to the practice. Genesis 38: 3-10, the Sin of Onan, is sometimes claimed to purport that masturbation is sinful, but this interpretation is incorrect. After Onan's brother Er was slain by God, his father Judah told him to fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law to Tamar, by giving her offspring. However, when Onan had sex with Tamar, he withdrew before climax and "spilled his seed [or semen] on the ground", since any child born would not legally be considered his heir. So God slew him. His sin was therefore not the spilling of his seed, but rather his disobedience to God by refusing to fulfil his obligations under the law - he was happy to have intercourse with Tamar, but he refused to allow her to become pregnant.

We thus need to apply our own judgement in deciding whether masturbation is an acceptable practice. 

My view is that for married couples, masturbation is harmful where it negatively impacts your intimate relationship with your spouse, for example where associated with the use of porn, where you would rather masturbate than make love with your spouse, or where excessive masturbation takes away your ability to make love with your spouse.

Masturbation involving your spouse, for example masturbating together, watching each other masturbate, sharing phone or FaceTime sex when separated by work or other travel commitments, etc is not in my view sinful or harmful to your intimate relationship. Rather the opposite, it can be very arousing.

A slightly more contentious area is married people masturbating without their spouse involved. My view here is that this is again okay where it does not negatively impact your intimate relationship with your spouse, as described above, where it does not involve the use of porn, where any accompanying fantasies are of your spouse and are not prompted by lusting after someone else, and where your spouse knows about and is comfortable with the practice.

Related Blog posts:

Talking to your children about masturbation

An intimate gift for hubby

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An intimate gift for Hubby

Wives, if you want to give Hubby a really intimate and special treat, allow him to watch you masturbate, all the way to orgasm. But if you are going to do this, then you can't be self-conscious; if you are shy, as many women understandably are about being watched, close your eyes, pretend you are alone, go to your happy place, and go for it just as you would if you were on your own. 

When C does this for me, I don't want her to put on a show, or to try and act like an over the top porn acctress, I want her to allow me in to her private world to share how she truly likes to pleasure herself - I want her to do it for me the way she does it for her, and not the way she might think I want to see.

A nice ancillary bonus, wives, is that he will likely learn quite a bit about how you like to be touched, and how this changes as you approach and reach orgasm.

And husbands, if your wife is willing to do this for you, accept her gift with the gravitas that it deserves - this is an intensely private part of her that she has likely never shared with anyone before, and she is really opening herself up, and making herself totally vulnerable by doing this for you. It is an ultimate expression of Trust and Intimacy for her, and should be treated accordingly. You can't pressure her to do this, it is a gift that must be freely given. And if it is, then watch quietly, and respectfully, learn what you can, and afterwards take her in your arms, snuggle,  and thank her appropriately. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Angle of his Dangle - Survey Results

This is a follow-on to my previous blog post, summarizing the results of the penis survey included in that post.

127 respondents completed the survey. Of those 71% were men and 29% were wives answering for their husbands. The respondents were primarily in the 25-44 year old age group (74%) with 6% being younger than 25 and the remaining 20% older than 44.

86% of respondents are circumcised. Interestingly, the circumcision rate in the US has been falling steadily over the years, with only 56% of baby boys now circumcised in the US overall (although this varies widely by state, with 2007 data showing 15 states with rates over 75% and 5 states with rates below 25%). In Europe the rate is now below 10% and in Africa it is over 70%.

91% of respondents said that the natural angle of their fully erect penis is between 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock. Of these, 64% are above the horizontal (22% are at one o' clock and 42% at 2 o'clock) and 27% stand horizontal at 3 o'clock.

Of the 9% below the horizontal, 4% point at four o'clock, 2% five o'clock and 4% six o' clock when erect.

As Paul Byerly of TMB pointed out in his comment posted on the original blog, this angle is genetically determined "The angle is determined by how the root of the penis (the almost half of the total that is inside the body) is situated. This cannot be changed, it is what it is."

In response to the question as to whether the natural angle has declined with age, a large majority of respondents indicated that this is not the case. Those that had experienced a drop mostly pointed out that this was due to factors such as injury, surgery, erectile dysfunction or lifestyle illnesses such as obesity or heart disease that impact their ability to achieve a fully firm erection anymore. One respondent indicated that since he had started treatment for his ED with Viagra, his original angle was fully restored.

As to the angle that the erect penis can comfortably bend down to, to comfortably accommodate various positions for intercourse, there is quite a wide and evenly distributed range. 81% can comfortably go below horizontal to four o' clock or lower. Many of the 19% (me included) that indicated that 3 o' clock or less was their maximum angle without discomfit noted that this does to some degree limit the positions that they can comfortably use for intercourse. Positions that were noted as being problematic include reverse cowgirl, scissors, side by side and oral sex.

For those that have greater flexibility, there was a fairly normal distribution, with 26% going down to four o' clock, 25% to five o' clock and 20% to six o'clock. A full 10% can bend down beyond the vertical to beyond six o'clock. Not surprisingly, none of the more flexible respondents indicated any problems with various lovemaking positions.

Some respondents did however indicate that penis size is a limiting factor in their choice of positions, with deep entry positions being uncomfortable and even painful for wives of those on the large side and spooning and rear entry being potentially problematic for smaller men.

Curvature returned some interesting data with less than half of the respondents (47%) having a straight erection. 20% are concave (upward sloping), 19% curve to the left slightly, 12% curve slightly to the right. 4% have a pronounced left hook, but interestingly none have a pronounced right hook (probably just an anomaly brought on by the relatively small sample size). 4% are convex (downward sloping).

Finally, 97% consider themselves to be 'growers' (smaller when flaccid and increase proportionately more in length as they become erect) with only 3% considering themselves to be 'showers' (proportionately larger when flaccid and increase less in length as they become erect). While the other stats above in this survey fairly reasonably mirror what I have found in the research available on the Internet, this stat is somewhat off. Other research indicates that around 80% of men are growers and around 20% are showers. The accepted definition is apparently a ratio of greater or less than 1.7 : 1, ie the ratio of the erect to flaccid penis length, so someone who is 3 inches flaccid and 6 inches erect would have a ratio of 2:1 and be a 'grower', while someone 4 inches flaccid and 6 inches erect would have a ratio of 1.5 : 1 and be classified as a 'shower'. (Sex Ed should explain all this to teenage boys, thus preventing years of angst for millions of boys brought on by comparing their flaccid selves to the 'shower' that they likely share the locker room with!)

The takeaway for me of all the above is that there is really no normal or ideal penis - they vary quite widely across all metrics and on the whole all still manage to get the job done!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The angle of his dangle

This is a blog post that I have been in two minds about posting, but part of the point of my blog is to share based on my personal experience and to deal with the issues that others may shy away from, so here goes. Maybe someone has been grappling with the same issue and will be glad to know that they are not alone, or that their DH is quite normal after all!

Penises stand to attention at different angles, which for the sake of simplicity we can describe using the hands on a clock face, the hour hand representing the erect penis and the minute hand in the hour position the stomach when the man is standing up. The conventional wisdom is that in young men, the erection stands up at a high angle, so roughly at one o' clock, and that as one ages, the angle gradually increases, to three o' clock (90 degrees) or lower.

In my experience though, and based on some Internet based research I have been doing, age is not the   only issue at play here, and different guys of all ages display different levels of angle, firmness and flexibility, which has nothing to do with their extent of arousal. This can impact the ability of couples to achieve certain positions, or at least to do so comfortably. I have seen pictures of erect penises pointing down below the horizontal and even some that can be pointed straight down, ie at close to 180 degrees. I recall seeing a picture once of one at something like 270 degrees, ie pointing pretty much backwards! Clearly, this type of flexibility allows a wide variety of positions to be achieved, as the possible angles are so wide.

I have always been a high angle kind of guy, and even at 42 I have not seen much if any change in my 'angle'. I sit at somewhere between one o'clock and two o'clock and even when applying pressure, cannot comfortably go to three o'clock, let alone below. This definitely limits our choice of positions that we can comfortably use. So something quite simple like reverse cowgirl can be uncomfortable for me if C leans forward towards my feet rather than back, and the position where you see the couple lying 'head to toe' is beyond my ability to even conceive, requiring as it does an almost 6 o'clock or 180 degree angle between stomach and erection to achieve penetration. Oral sex requires C to approach me from the side of my head and not from between my legs, and 69 only works for us with C on top, as she would get a very stiff neck if we were side by side or she was underneath (yes, this post was conceived while writing my Position of the Week last night on Facebook on the 69 position).

The point of all this is that not all positions will work for all couples, so don't feel bad if they do not all work for you and your spouse. Experiment and see what does work, but don't feel bad about ditching something that is uncomfortable for you or your partner. And as always, don't rely on porn as your sex guide, and don't expect to be able to do everything that you see on tape.

For Christian couples and especially wives who are not experienced when they marry, realise that everyone is built differently and again do not compare your spouse to a picture or diagram that you may see in a Christian sex guide or on the Internet. In addition to the angle, penises vary widely in length, thickness, the size of the head or glans in relation to the shaft, whether circumcised or not, and in the angle. Don't assume that all penises are 'straight' either - they can bend like a banana, some quite alarmingly, to either side, or up or down (concave or convex). Chances are that DH's equipment works just fine for you - after all, God has brought you together, and I can't imagine Him making the error of a design defect in how your unique parts are designed to fit together!

(Please take a short, ten question survey to gather some data related to the above. I will share the results. Http:// )

UPDATE: link to post summarizing and analyzing the survey findings: