Sex can be tricky — not so much the act itself, but the psychological impact it can have on our mental state. That’s why Reader’s Digest talked with nine sex therapists, to find out some of the common questions they are often asked. Here are four that many of you can probably relate to.
Am I normal?
Cyndi Darnell, a sex and relationship therapist based in New York City.
“The most common question I get is some variation on ‘am I normal?”
“Sex is under-taught, so most of us gleaned what we know from well-meaning friends and pop culture. As a result, we’re left to fill in the blanks ourselves and can feel isolated. People feel afraid to ask for help or worse still, do not know who to ask!”
Is ‘sexting’ cheating?
Sara Stanizai, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Long Beach, CA.
“Boundaries can be blurred when people communicate with friends or acquaintances on Kik, text, direct messages, Snapchat, and other platforms.”
“I tell my clients in this situation that the flirter has to be open about the communication and what they’re getting from it. People who keep these kinds of secrets often feel immense shame about their needs and about the secrets. If they can share that part of themselves with their partners, they have an opportunity to become more open and connected, which can actually bring the two of you closer.”
How many times a week should we have sex?
Dr. Dori Gatter, psychotherapist and relationship expert.
“Usually one partner wants to know this in order to prove to their spouse that they don’t have enough sex; meanwhile the other partner is waiting for my answer, convinced it will prove they are normal.”
“‘If we take the time to peel back the many layers of what this is really about, interestingly enough it usually comes down to the same need for both partners: the need to feel loved, seen and validated. Men need to have sex in order to feel loved, seen, and validated. Women need to feel loved, seen, and validated in order to have sex. Quite the conundrum. It is an age-old issue that presents itself to this day in pretty much all of my couples sessions.”
Why can’t I orgasm?
New York City sex therapist Cyndi Darnell.
“In the vast majority of sex acts, procreating isn’t the motivator—people have sex for all kinds of reasons! But for many women, exploring pleasure remains a taboo, so it remains an obligation rather than a pursuit of enjoyment. Until women experience themselves as sexual beings—whose role is not solely to procreate or perform for their partners—women’s sexuality will continue to be viewed as mysterious and unreliable, when in fact, it’s perfectly normal.”