From performance anxiety to orgasms, we answer all the sex questions you’ve been dying to ask. You’re welcome!
S.E.X. Say the word and some of us immediately sink into our seats and get all awkward. Sure, sex is still a taboo topic but it’s such an important conversation to have. Especially if you’re exploring your sexuality alone or with your partner(s). We’ve done the deed for you and reached out to Relationship Counsellor and Clinical Sexologist Dr Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching for answers to all your awkward sex questions.
Sex education 101: All the answers to your questions
1. Why do I have a low sex drive?
The main reasons are usually physical, psychological or relational. Physical causes of low libido are usually attributed to hormonal imbalance. Other symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and an inability to concentrate. I’d suggest getting a medical check by an endocrinologist [a medical practitioner who diagnoses and treats disorders of the endocrine glands and hormones].
Under psychological causes, stress, anxiety, pressure to perform, negative attitudes and experiences towards sex and sexuality can affect your sex drive. For relational causes, guilt-tripping, blaming, shaming, abuse and even lack of emotional support can cause you to have low sexual desire.
2. Why can’t I orgasm during intercourse? Is there something wrong with me?
Not everybody can orgasm during vaginal penetrative sex. Some people find it easier to orgasm by themselves. Some can only attain orgasm through external clitoral stimulation using hand, oral sex, or sex toys. This is mainly because our clitoris is full of nerve endings and it’s easier to orgasm that way. It’s been reported that 80% of women can only have clitoral orgasms, so let go of the pressure to have vaginal orgasms. Pelvic floor squeezes, otherwise known as kegels, are believed to support greater orgasmic ease. Giving yourself space and time to experiment, and relaxing into pleasure, can also help.
3. How do I get my partner to try (and enjoy) anal sex?
Rather than feel the need to do that, ask yourself your reasons for wanting your partner to try and enjoy this. Is this for them? Or for you? Do you want your partner to try it because you want to try it? If so, it’s less about their yes, and more about your desire to try. Try saying something like, “I’d love to try anal sex” vs “You should try”. Separating this in your mind makes a difference because it leads to a different type of conversation – owning your sexual desires instead of making their sexual inhibition or resistance wrong. From that place of desire, both of you can explore further.
4. What can I do to help with performance anxiety?
Sexual performance anxiety deals with wanting to do well sexually. While it’s expressed as your desire to please your partner, it’s actually not about them at all. By focusing on your “doing”, you’re not present. You’re not really focused on them, and you almost always disconnect from them emotionally. Have an honest conversation about this anxiety and set some parameters or intentions for the session. For example, practice focusing on them, not you. When you can experience pleasure for pleasure’s sake, it’s wonderful. It’ll be easier to let go of the pressures.
5. Is it considered cheating if I masturbate to porn when I’m in a relationship?
Different people have different definitions of cheating. Ask your partner whether they consider masturbation to porn as cheating, and you’ll have your answer. Depending on their personal values and upbringing, some people will find the idea objectifying and offensive.
Most people I’ve met worry about whether masturbating to porn will lead to sexual difficulties or a lack of sex in the relationship. I suggest being on the same page with your partner on this matter because sex, just like any other topic, is one we should talk about to avoid any miscommunication.
6. Why does sex hurt sometimes?
It’s common for sex to hurt regardless of gender. If your vagina is not fully aroused, penetration can feel a little rough and lead to soreness. That may result in tiny tears at the entrance to the vagina that won’t feel good and can even be a conduit for infection. Extended foreplay can increase natural lubrication in the vaginal tissues before intercourse. There’s a misconception that sexual lubricants are only needed when there isn’t enough foreplay. Vaginal dryness is a common issue women of all ages face. Stress, lack of sleep, hormonal issues and more can cause dryness, regardless of your age.
7. What do I do if my partner’s penis is too big or small (to the point where it’s uncomfortable)?
Based on a study of over 15,000 people, the average penis length is 3.6 in (9.1 cm) while flaccid, and 5.2 in (13.1 cm) while erect. During arousal, the vagina naturally elongates and becomes more flexible, enough to accommodate pretty much any size. Even if you have no problem getting wet during arousal, it can’t hurt to supplement your natural moisture with a good quality sexual lubricant.
Experiment with sex positions where the person who’s fearful of pain can be in charge. Sex positions like woman-on-top, missionary and side-by-side sex [can help]. For people with smaller penises, some positions that allow for deeper penetration than others include doggy style and face-to-face. You can also consider penis extenders as sexual aids.
8. My partner’s not great at oral – what can I do to help?
That can mean a lot of things – their willingness, lack of stamina, lack of consistency, or lack of variety. Each can be addressed separately. Start off by sharing what their doing well, and what else you’d like to experiment with. Keep mixing up your praise and appreciation with one or two ways they can do better in giving you oral sex. All of us are sensitive to criticism but tend to be open to constructive feedback for improvement. With some patience and communication, they can most certainly improve.
9. I think I smell down there – what should I do?
Vaginas have natural odours, and each woman’s odour is different. Your vagina cleanses itself naturally. A healthy vagina’s typical scent may best be described as “musky” or “fleshy.” A menstrual cycle might cause a slightly “metallic” scent for a few days. Intercourse may change the smell temporarily. If you’re having a persistent, different smell than you’re used to, go to your medical doctor for a check-up. Bacterial vaginosis, which is an overgrowth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria, is the most common vaginal infection that causes a vaginal odour. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, can also lead to vaginal odour.
10. Why do women take a longer time to orgasm than men? How can I ensure both of us enjoy sex?
Orgasm and satisfaction are two distinct constructs. You can enjoy sex without an orgasm and not feel that it’s lacking. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women have fewer, less predictable, and more varied orgasm experiences than men. Dubbed as the “Orgasm Gap” in popular media, this has, in my opinion, little to do with the selfishness of the partner.
A longer time to climax has been linked to poor arousal and distress over orgasm difficulties. Age and relationship satisfaction are associated with a quicker time to orgasm, perhaps because women gain more sexual experience over time and feel happier in their relationships. My advice: do your best to please your partner but if they can’t get an orgasm, don’t make it about you.
About the expert
A born and bred Singaporean Chinese, Dr Martha Tara Lee is a relationship counsellor and clinical sexologist of Eros Coaching. She has a doctorate in human sexuality, a masters in counselling and two other degrees. In practice for 12 years, she’s also the appointed resident sexologist for sexual wellness boutique Pink Lifestyle and Clinical Sexologist of the Singapore Cancer Society.
Do you have an awkward sex question you want answers for? Send us a DM @honeycombers!