|Get answers to those sex questions you've always been too shy to ask with our columnist, Kristen Mark.
Does size really matter?
The topic of sex can make us squirm and blush, but we all have questions and things we wonder about sex. Does size really matter? Shouldn't I feel more? Am I doing this right? If you have doubts about prowess or performance, orgasms, or any other sexual health topic, you are definitely not alone.
Q: I feel like my penis is too small. What is the average length? Does size actually matter?
The average length of a flaccid male penis ranges from 3.1 inches to 4 inches and the average length of an erect penis is 5 inches to 7 inches. There is little relationship between flaccid size and erect size. However, the penis of men whose flaccid penis size is near the lower end of the average tends to grow more when erect than the penis of men whose flaccid penis size is near the high end of the average.
Regardless of measurements, penis length doesn't really matter when it comes to the physiology of heterosexual penetration. A woman's vaginal canal contains lots of nerve endings that are receptive to touch. However, the majority of these nerve endings are in the outer one-third of the vagina, so 5 inches is plenty long to reach and stimulate that section.
Q: I get very little pleasure out of penetration alone, but when I touch myself while he is inside of me, I am able to have an orgasm some of the time. Is this normal?
Many women are unable to reach orgasm with penile penetration alone. Depending on the position you and your partner are in while having sex, the penis alone may not be able to sufficiently stimulate zones on your body that bring you to orgasmic climax. A common solution to this is manual clitoral stimulation or partner clitoral stimulation, a widely encouraged way to enhance your sexual pleasure.
However, if you are concerned about this and would still like to orgasm without manual stimulation, experiment with different positions to see how your bodies fit together. Aim to find a position where the pelvic bone of your partner rubs against your clitoris. Have fun with each other and explore what feels best for the both of you.
Q: What does an orgasm feel like for women? I'm not sure if I've had one or not.
There are different ways to measure what an orgasm feels like, and it is a very difficult sensation to put into words for many women. However, physiologically speaking, you will experience increased blood flow to your genitals, colouring and swelling of your genitals, a strong tension throughout your body, and then rhythmic muscular contractions that expel the blood back into the other organs. This will feel like you're having a muscle spasm through your whole body, with concentration in the genitals, but the intensity is different for everyone. Some women experience a pulsating sensation in their genitals; others experience a full-body muscular spasm.
Also, some women find there are marked differences between clitoral orgasms and G-spot orgasms (also known as deep orgasms). Clitoral orgasms are usually more like the sensation described above, and G-spot orgasms are a deeper, sometimes more intense feeling that may resemble the need to urinate right before occurring. Also, a feeling of release has been said to accompany the G-spot orgasm. However, some research suggests that it is false to think there are different types of orgasm for women and that although there are different methods to reach the orgasmic plateau, the physiology of an orgasm is identical regardless of the site of stimulation.
Q: Do orgasms for my boyfriend and me feel the same? What is the difference in an orgasm for a guy and a girl?
There are a lot of similarities in the experience of orgasm in men and women, such as general spasms, emotional intimacy, a feeling of ecstasy, and pleasurable satisfaction, although the intensity of these feelings may differ between women and men. The primary difference is that men experience "shooting sensations," where this has not been widely reported by women.
However, it is quite difficult to define what an orgasm feels like and many people report having difficulty coming up with the words to describe the sensation. Although self-reports are most valuable for this type of personal experience, there are other ways of assessing the experience. Physiologists have observed objective signs such as bodily sensations, endocrinologists have looked at hormones and neurotransmitters, and brain imagers have looked at activations in the brain. All of these investigations suggest the physiology of an orgasm is very similar between men and women.
Q: I am 6 months pregnant with a boy and the topic of circumcision came up with my husband the other day. Is it necessary to circumcise our son?
Male circumcision has received a lot of attention recently. Circumcision is a surgical procedure where the foreskin of the penis is removed.
A lot of people are posing questions about whether the surgery is necessary, and a concrete answer to that has yet to be reached. Male circumcision is designed to eliminate a site where smegma (a thick secretion that collects beneath the foreskin) may accumulate. However, with proper hygiene, this is not an issue for most people. Research has shown that circumcision may reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other bacterial infections. On the other hand, research has also indicated that a man with an uncircumcised penis may have the ability to experience more pleasure during sex than a circumcised man.
Currently, approximately 25% of babies are circumcised in Canada; this is down from previous years and continues to decrease. However, in Ontario, around 50% of babies are circumcised compared to only 20% in the Maritimes. Ultimately, it comes down to the preference of you and your partner, but it is certainly not necessary for the health of your son.
Q: How do I have a G-Spot orgasm? How do I know if I've had one?
The G-spot is a large area composed of the lower anterior wall of the vagina, the underlying urethra and surrounding glands. It can be reached by applying deep pressure on the area using two fingers. It will have a different texture than the rest of the vagina. The rest of the vagina may feel like the soft tissue on the cheeks inside your mouth, the G-spot will feel more similar to the roof of your mouth. You may experience initial feelings of discomfort and perhaps the urge to urinate, but this will be followed by pleasure, swelling, and intense orgasm. Some women experience ejaculation when they reach orgasm through G-spot stimulation. Be patient, and have fun with it!
Q: I've heard about how the prostate is supposed to pleasure my boyfriend - how do I get to it, and can you explain how this works?
The prostate is located right below the bladder and is rich in nerve endings. It plays a role in the production of seminal fluid for the urethra. It lies very close to the rectum and can be reached through the anus. Many men have found this spot to be quite pleasurable through rectal penetration (by a finger, sex toy, or the penis of a partner). Some men do not find pleasure in this experience, and this can be due to stretching of the anal sphincter or lack of relaxation.
Others however, experience their best climaxes when being stimulated anally, it is described as being "just more intense" than an orgasm they have without the extra stimulation. This is because the prostate is directly connected to the kegel muscle, a muscle that stretches from the base of the penis back toward the anus and is believed to be responsible for both the length and intensity of orgasm. Make sure you are careful when stimulating the prostate, as it can be bruised or the sphincter can be torn if you are rough, and that can be painful.
Q: Is it normal for me to fanaticize things that don't involve my partner?
Fantasy is very healthy and is often suggested by therapists to intensify orgasm during intercourse with a partner. Fantasy helps direct and define erotic goals, provides an escape from dull or oppressive environments, brings novelty and excitement to the relationship, and allows us to plan and anticipate future situations. However, fantasies don't reflect dissatisfaction with real life and most people don't act on their fantasies. In fact, those who engage in more frequent sexual activities or whose sex lives are more satisfying, tend to engage in more erotic fantasy. Of women in their 20s, approximately 49% think about sex once a day or more. In general, 46% of men and 11% of women think about sex several times a day. In short, it is very normal for you to fanaticize outside of your romantic partnership; in fact, it is healthy and may even serve your sex life with your partner well.