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How do I know if I’m normal when it comes to sex?

Emily Nagoski
Emily Nagoski on behalf of Good In Bed
Psychology
“Am I normal?” is the question I get asked, in some form or other, more than any other when it comes to giving sex advice.

My typical way of answering the question is to say, essentially, “Yes you are normal, and here’s information that establishes the normality of your particular issue, but at the same time I recognize that your worry about being normal is separate from the actual issue itself.”

It takes more than normalizing statistics to liberate someone from the burden of fear. What can an educator provide?

Typical example:

STUDENT: I don’t have orgasms from penetration. What’s wrong with me?
ME: Nothing! Sounds to me like you’re in the 70% majority of women who aren’t generally orgasmic from intercourse. You’re completely normal.
STUDENT: …Oh.
ME: But you still feel like you ought to be having orgasms from penetration, huh?
STUDENT: Well my partner wants me to be able to, and I want my partner to be satisfied. And anyway, that’s, like, what everyone says is normal.
ME: Yeah. I know. But everyone is wrong. I wish the media and the culture and everyone hadn’t lied to you and your partner and made you feel broken. But they did and you do, even though you’re not. So what could I say that would help?
STUDENT: Well, you could tell me how to have orgasms from penetration.
ME: *sigh* …Okay.

So even if I tell a group of women how to increase their ability to have orgasms through penetration, all the while flagellating myself for the anti-feminism of reinforcing the norms, I’m still promoting women’s sexual pleasure, I’m still calling sex normal, I’m still giving women permission to be at choice around their sexuality.

Not perfect by any means, but progress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.