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!