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Are You Sexually Normal -- and Does That Matter? -- Part 1

By Dr. Marty Klein Expert
 
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In my 20 years as a sex therapist, people continue to ask me one question more than any other. The most common sexual question is "Am I normal?"

* Americans are concerned--virtually obsessed--with the normality of their sexual fantasies, preferences, responses, frequency, secrets, turn-offs, problems, and bodies. The fear of being sexually abnormal interferes with, and even prevents, pleasure and intimacy.

This fear and its consequences are the basis for the many versions of "Am I normal?", such as:

* "I'm afraid I take too long to climax."
* "How long should a man be able to keep an erection?"
* "How often do most other people our age make love?"
* "Am I weird if I enjoy oral sex more than intercourse?"

People forget that "normal" can mean many different things: what is statistically common; what everyone agrees is typical; what authority requires; what is considered moral; and so on. Concepts of sexual normality have changed even within our own lifetimes--for example, society's ideas about homosexuality, the clitoris, and sex as a 'wifely duty.' Since "normal" can mean so many different things, it is clearly an arbitrary social construct.

WHEN IT STARTS--CHILDHOOD

Our concern about sexual normality starts in early childhood. All children are sexual beings: kids have sexual feelings and curiosity, get sexually aroused and lubricate vaginally, and seek and enjoy erotic satisfaction, including orgasm.

A variety of subtle and explicit lessons teach children that sex is bad, however. And as sexual beings, learning that our sexuality is bad means learning that we are bad. As children, we learn to fear being discovered as sexual, and to mistrust our sexual energy, curiosity and desire.

Throughout childhood, all of us are exposed to a wide range of sexual negativity. Messages include "Don't feel sexual;" "Don't touch your sexual parts;" "Your body should not be a source of pleasure;" "Wanting sexual contact with anyone else is wrong;" "Having sexual thoughts or feelings is sick;" and, ultimately, "You are not a sexual being" and "Do not express your sexuality in any way."

Add a Comment1 Comments

lynnMarie

Very Interesting.

How much our childhood affects our adult lives.

I am asexual-I have had no desire in over 10 years-I am 51 now.

My friends/Doctors say it is not normal to have no desire.

I am single so it really doesn't bother me,

I can see where my childhood did affect the sexual choices I did make in my younger life.

Nice to find a place where you are comfortable talking about such things.

and NO it DOESNT MATTER

April 28, 2009 - 4:53pm
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