So many of us want to fit into the "norms" of society, even in the privacy of our own bedrooms. We want to know we are not having sex too often (would we then be over-sexed) or too little. We want to know where we fit in.
But there is no "normal" sex life. The best measure of whether or not your sex life is successful, is whether or not you and your partner are satisfied. Whether sex happens several times per day or once a month, if you and your partner find pleasure in one another and are communicating together about your needs and wants, then your sex life is normal. The question that should be asked is not, "Is my sex life normal?" but instead should be, "Am I (and my partner) satisfied with our sex life?"
According to Dr. Alice Y. Chang, M.D. (Brigham and Women's Hospital), in an article entitled, "Am I Sexually Normal?" [2003, July 1, IntelHealth], if you wonder if your sex life is the best it can be or if you believe you (or your partner) may have sexual dysfunction, there are a number of questions you can ask:
- Are you sexually active?
- If no, does that bother you or your partner?
- If yes, then do you or your partner have a question, problem or concern about your sexual activity?
- Have there been any changes in your sex life?
- Do you have any discomfort or problems with intercourse?
- Are you having any difficulties such as decreased vaginal lubrication, pain with intercourse or diminished sexual desire?
Dr. Chang suggests talking with your health care professional if you answered "yes" to any of the above questions.
Sex, like any other part of our relationship, requires work, commitment and communication. We must listen to our partner to find out what they expect and want from a satisfying sexual relationship. Just as important, we must communicate our needs and our wants with our partner. By doing so, we can learn how to satisfy one another and increase our pleasure.
There will also be times that our sexual desire will lessen. This might be from stress or from physical changes, such as menopause. Sometimes, sexual desire will wane for short periods of time, but for extended loss of desire in sex, you may want to talk with your doctor. This could be caused by stress or it could be the sign of physical illness, STDs, thyroid problems or be a side-effect of medication.
Age can also play a role in sexual desire and ability. According to The American Cancer Society, more than half of men over 40 years old have trouble at some time with having or maintaining an erection, sometimes this problem interferes with a man's ability to have a satisfying relationship. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused from physical causes or from stress. Treatment is available for ED and is very effective. Women also have sexual desire wax and wane due to hormonal fluctuations.
The desire for sex, however, is normal and for most people continues throughout their lives. Sex is more than just a physical act. Sexual intercourse can satisfy our desire for closeness and intimacy.
"What is a Normal Sex Life?"2007, Sept 9, Author Unknown, American Cancer Society
"Am I Sexually Normal?", 2003, July 1, Alice Y. Chang M.D., InteliHealth