Three common sex-and-love questions from men

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While in Austin last year, some friends and I went out to a club after dinner. I began chatting up a man in his early 30s. A fashion designer, he was in town to see one of his creations worn at a wedding earlier in the day. I then explained that I was in town for a conference of sex educators, counselors and therapists. Upon hearing this, he immediately asked, "Is it normal for me to not have any pre-cum?" For the next 30 minutes I listened to his stories and questions. I got a free drink, and he got a free pseudo-therapy session. (And if you're wondering, yes it's normal. Some men don't produce pre-ejaculate. Nothing to worry about.)

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It happens rather frequently. Once people learn that I am a "sexpert" - and that I'm non-judgemental (that's key!) - I become privy to their sexual fears, longings, musings, questions and fantasies. At some point in the conversation, they pause, look at me a bit startled, and say "Wow, I haven't told anyone about that EVER!" or "I cannot believe I'm sharing this with a complete stranger."

People long for open and honest discussions about sex. Asking Google, "Is it OK if I think about my old girlfriend while I have sex with my wife?" is a different experience than asking a woman sitting across the table from you. I love that exchange. Men can be quite vulnerable.

I venture to say that men especially enjoy hearing a woman speak frankly about sex. They don't shock me, and I don't shame them.

There are three common questions men ask me. The first two are elementary, but men must need the reassurance. The third question is a tough one; it's a question of the heart and has no easy answers.

How long is the average penis?
Short answer: The average flaccid penis is 3-4 inches and the average erect penis is 5-7 inches. A recent study of American men found the erect average to be right at 5.6 inches.

Longer answer: Unless his erection comes in under 3 inches (a micropenis), he's within normal range. Although erotic images and male machismo indicate otherwise, the majority of men are of average length. Of course, men don't want to be "average" - they want to be "oh my god, you're HUGE!" I remind them, however, that more women complain about a man being too big than too small.

How long should sex last?
Short answer: As long as you want it to.

Longer answer: How long does it last? The average sexual experience lasts 30-40 minutes, but only about 7 minutes of that is intercourse itself, and of that only a few minutes is strong, continuous thrusting. How long should it last? That's completely up to you. If you like it quick and dirty in under 5 minutes so you don't miss the train to work, that's cool. If you want to set aside two hours on Sunday afternoon for luxurious, soulful lovemaking, that's cool too.

I think men ask this question because they're wondering if they're satisfying their partners, but that, of course, is a question only their partner can answer.

How can I make my wife/girlfriend want to have sex with me?
Short answer: You can't.

Longer answer: The very way this question is worded points to the problem. Men speak in terms of convincing and coercing their partners to have sex for the men's benefit. Yet, in speaking to many men about this issue, I know that it's not completely selfish and it's not only about sex. When men talk to me about missing sex, it's not about orgasm (they can usually accomplish that without any help). What they miss is closeness and connection. They miss being wanted.

While there is no fool-proof way to get your partner in the mood, I can offer a few suggestions to at least improve the communication regarding your wishes to have more (or better) sex.

1. Think about what you're saying and how you're saying it. Are you pleading like a child? Are you bullying her? Are you giving her a guilt trip? None of these approaches are a turn-on.
2. Use your "I" statements. Accusatory "you" statements will immediately put her on the defensive. Change "You are never in the mood!" to "I miss sex with you." Change "You never initiate sex anymore!" to "I like when you initiate sex with me. It feels great to be wanted like that." She cannot argue with your feelings.
3. Change the focus from what you want to get, to what you want to give. If she feels like you're putting another task on her to-do list, no wonder she may be reluctant. Instead, inspire her and make her feel like sex with you is the great escape and indulgence that she deserves. In other words, make it a treat instead of a chore.

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