Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What Is “Sex”?

Cozy couple lying in bed under the sheets

When you think of the word “sex”, you might immediately think of putting a penis in a vagina (PIV sex). That’s how it was explained to us in our horrible cringe-worthy sex ed classes taught by our middle school gym teacher and that’s what we see most widely talked about. However, when you really think about it, sex is so much more than just inserting part A into part B.

Think about it. Is that all anyone does when they have sex? Probably not. After all, the possibilities for sexy activities are pretty much endless. Sure, you’ve got other penis-centered stuff like hand jobs or blowjobs, but what about all the other things? There’s cunnilingus and fingering and making out and butt stuff and kink and so many different kinds of sex toys just to name a few.

While we’re talking about different types of sex acts, why do we refer to activities that pleasure penises as “sex”, and activities that pleasure vulvas as “foreplay”? People who have vulvas usually require clitoris stimulation in order to reach orgasm, yet so many types of clit-focused sex, including cunnilingus and the use of vibrators, is reduced to foreplay: the seemingly second place activities leading up to the “main event” of PIV. Looking at it in this way, defining all sex as inserting part A into part B leaves out so much of vulva pleasure. It falls right into our weird culture that values women’s pleasure less than it values the pleasure of men.

And what about couples that don’t even HAVE a penis? Lesbian women have sex, and their sex is just as much sex as heterosexual couples’ sex (say that five times fast). This applies equally to people who may avoid penetrative sex for other reasons. This could be because of trauma, gender dysphoria (when someone feels uncomfortable with their body because of societal norms that say men have penises and women have vaginas), or simply personal taste. Defining sex as all the activities instead of just penis-in-vagina penetration means we get to include more identities and preferences in the conversation.

But even if we did take a look at a couple comprised of a man with a penis and woman with a vagina, there are so many reasons why these two people may not choose penetration. For example, what if he has difficulties getting or keeping an erection? What if she has vaginismus, a condition where the vagina’s muscles clamp down and refuse penetration? What if they feel too nervous about the possibility of pregnancy? What if they don’t have protection available? Broadening what “sex” means allows people who don’t fit the mold of “normal” (read: PIV) sex to feel more normal and valid.

Finally, expanding the definition of sex also means expanding the definition of safer sex. Everyone knows about condoms, but what about a dental dam (a piece of latex meant to be draped over the anus or vulva to prevent the spread of skin contact based STIs)? Or gloves? Or lube, which, by lubricating sensitive tissues, prevents microtears that could be sites for STI transmission? Safer sex is so much more than just condoms, and everyone’s sex deserves to be safer regardless of what activities are being performed.

Sex can be whatever you want it to be. It’s so much more than just putting one body part into another. It’s even more than body part combinations in general. Sex is about emotions, pleasure, exploration, safety, vulnerability, and so much more, and those feelings have no body parts. Summing the vast expanses of what sex means to people to one single act is erasing so many ways of expressing these emotions. So, let’s call sex what it is, people consensually giving themselves sexual pleasure, and leave out the specifics of their actions. We’re all just finding our own personal sources of pleasure, and isn’t that the point of sex after all?

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Is Porn An Acceptable Form of Sex Ed?

Perfect, sexy body, belly and breast of young woman wearing seductive lingerie. Beautiful hot female in underwear posing in sensual way

In 2012, studies indicated that just 10% of young adults first learned about sex through porn. By 2018, that number has risen to 60%. With so many young people are discovering sex in porn, you have to wonder just what they're learning and whether it might be harmful.

Why Porn Is Bad Sex Education

There are many arguments against porn as sex education. Let's start with the way that actors look: large breasts, butts and penises prevail. Toned bodies and white skin are predominant. If you look closely enough, you'll see just how symmetrical everyone is. What we see in porn is definitely not a mirror of our own bedrooms and the world at large.

If you look just a little deeper, you can see a distinct lack of discussion about consent and safer sex. Sometimes a scene jumps, and you see a condom, but you won't see actors switching condoms after 30 minutes use like you're supposed to or even pinching the air out of the tip of the condom when first putting it on. Who needs lube when you have spit? Like anything that might increase a woman's comfort or pleasure in porn, it's an afterthought. Women fake orgasms, and both men and women phone in their performances with fake, loud moans and direct eye contact with the camera.

Porn can also condone unsafe sex habits or introduce people to activities such as anal sex or BDSM that can cause injury when done wrong. Although, porn does not shoulder the blame alone. Popular book and movie series Fifty Shades of Grey has inspired people to try they hands at BDSM without proper education, and injuries from sex toys and activities sored.

The list of problems with using porn as sex education goes on and on, much like the sex, which doesn't address the reality of erectile dysfunction or refractory period. After many position and activity changes, it's finally orgasm time. If you thought at least the man's orgasm was real, think again. Many times, the “money” shot is simply a mixture of components. Yogurt and hair conditioner are both common culprits.

In the end, we shouldn't be surprised. Porn is about looking – and sounding – good for the audience, typically a male audience. It's not about actual pleasure or the sometimes awkward realities of sex with another human being. It doesn't teach us how to explore our bodies safely, and watching porn is often done in private, a shameful secret. Is that what we want to educate people about sex – that it's something to hide and feel anguished about?

Sex educators the world over argue that porn doesn't make good sex and, and you may already agree with the sentiment, but many people do rely on porn to teach them about sex. Even some medical students counted porn among sex education according to one survey published in the July 2018 edition of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Why is this?

It could be that porn has become ubiquitous. You can easily search for porn on the Internet and even inadvertently run across porn while searching for an otherwise innocuous term. Social media is also full of images and videos, even when the terms of service specifically prohibit sharing content that depicts sex. Porn is everywhere and, well, sex education isn't.

When Sex Education Fails

Depending on where you live, the people who are responsible for sex education might be providing you with false information. In the United States, only 13 states require that sex education must be medically accurate. Some policies may forbid teachers from teaching about the positives of sex, instead relying on scare tactics to dissuade teenagers from having sex. While it might sound reasonable that focusing on the of STI transmission or pregnancy might reduce how many teens have sex, those states that focus on abstinence-only education actually have higher rates of teen pregnancy.

These classes don't discuss negotiating sex, how to ensure you receive pleasure, providing and respecting consent, the healthiness of masturbation, or how exploration can improve your sex life. Just nine states require education about LGBTQ+ identities. That's only two more than actively discourage non-mainstream sexual and gender identities. Even if kids don't wind up as teenage parents, it's unlikely they'll be having quality sex or have a healthy self-esteem about sex.

And that's if they get any education at all. Three U.S. States require parental permission for students to even learn about sex, and 37 states allow parents to remove their kids from classes that teach about sex.

Kids know it, too. Many are quick to give a failing grade to the sex education – if any – they had. And it's not just the younger crowd. Ask any group of people whether they had satisfactory sex education when they were younger (if you're brave enough), and the lack of response paints a grim picture. For all the technology in the world, we still haven't developed a way to teach comprehensive sex education.

When sex education is lacking but porn abundant, it's no wonder that people are seeking answers on screen. They've got questions that have been ha answered adequately or perhaps accurately. No one is teaching them how to filter the images on screen and to examine them critically.

It's no wonder that men think they have to thrust like jackhammers and having erections that last for an hour or that women find themselves trying to look like porn stars and pretending to have orgasms even though no one has thought to stimulate the clitoris. Thanks to porn, some people believe that sex should always be hardcore or acrobatic. And some studies indicate that greater use of porn correlates to more risky sexual behavior.

Don't misunderstand Porn isn't without its value: as erotic entertainment, not education. It can arouse and inspire, but if people continue to seek porn as sex education, they're unlikely to have the best sex possible.

And it's not like there aren't any examples of satisfying, comprehensive sex education. In the Netherlands, for example, diversity, communication, pleasure, and health are taught to students as part of a pragmatic sex education program that even allows students to ask all their own questions about sex.

If we can give students the knowledge they actually want – and need – about sex, they won't have to resort to porn to get answers. They'll not only have a roadmap to follow for the rest of their lives, but they'll be better prepared to discuss sex education with their own children when the time comes.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How Often Do People Normally Have Sex, Pt 1 - Sex Statistics

 Attractive couple sharing intimate moments in bedroom

Here's a question that sex educators often get: How often do people normally have sex? Of course, they might hear other variations, but the inquiry is always about frequency and normalcy. It's pretty common to wonder how often other people have sex, especially when you cannot see into their bedrooms.

Sex Survey Says..

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior is among the largest sexual studies ever performed. In 2010, researchers from the University of Indiana polled 5,865 adults about their sexual behavior. This gives us some great insight into how often people have sex.

Let's start with women. These numbers apply to married women specifically.

  • Women between 18-24 are the most likely to have sex 2-3 times per week (35.3%), followed next by women who have sex four or more times weekly (23.5).
  • This shifts for women in their mid to late-twenties: 47.7% have sex a few times to month per weekly.
  • Over half of women in their thirties (50.2%) have sex several times per month.
  • That number slips for women in their forties (46.6%) but still remains the most common sexual frequency.
  • Over one-third (36.2%) of women in their fifties have sex more than once per month. At this point, women are about equally as likely to not have sex in the last year (22%) as there are to have sex a few times per year (23.7%).
  • By the time her sixties roll around, a woman is about equally as likely to have sex a few times per month (25.9%) as she is to not have had sex in the past year (37.9%). 
  • Over half of all women in their 70s (53.5%) haven't had sex in the past year while a quarter have sex just a few times a year.

How does this look for men who are married?

There is no age group in which more men report having sex four or more times per week than other frequencies. Younger married men have sex more frequently than their female counterparts, and fewer men report having no sex in the past year for every age group below 70. However, the group sizes between men and women usually differ only by a few percentage points, and the largest groups are the same between men and women.

Another study finds that 18 through 29-year-olds have sex an average 112 times per year. This drops to 86 for the thirties crowd, and 69 times annually for folks in their forties.

You might also be surprised to learn that millennials are having sex less than any generation over the past sixty years. One study looked at Gen Yers born in the 90s and found that they had less sex in their twenties than previous generations. The trend continues for those people who are currently in high school. They're not having as much sex, and they aren't as into dating, either.

Another study found that American adults have less sex overall than they once did. Specifically, comparing rates from 2000 to 2004 and 2010 to 2014 revealed a drop in sex by nine times per year, and it was almost doubled for married couples!

This might look bad for people who are married. After all, married people were having more sex than singles just a few years ago according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.

Frequency doesn't just differ between the sexes and age groups. Straight couples are more likely to have frequent sex than same-sex couples, especially lesbians who are most likely to say they never, hardly ever or occasionally have sex more than twice per week.

Just in case you were wondering, couples report being happiest when they crawl between the sheets once every week.