There are many sex-related questions women never find out the answer to because they are too embarrassed to raise them.
Topics like masturbation, ‘unexpected noises’ and male partners faking orgasms can be intimidating topics to discuss, but sex experts can offer reassuring advice.
In an article for Women’s Health, a clinical sexologist offers clarity and reassurance to women about six rarely discussed sex topics.
Some ‘problems’ are in fact non-issues – but you can never know that unless you ask
1. Is it normal that my partner fakes orgasms?
We get so hung up on the degree to which women fake orgasms that we may forget men do it too. This can make their partners feel concerned they’ve done something horribly wrong.
In fact, quite a number of men admit to occasionally faking the big ‘O’.
A 2016 study published in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy found 30 per cent of North American men said they’d faked it at one time or another.
Clinical sexologist Dr Kat van Kirk told Women’s Health magazine that the issues that cause men to fake it are similar to those of women.
‘It’s a similar story to women. Ability to orgasm can be affected by alcohol, tiredness, stress and some medication,’ she said.
However, that doesn’t mean the sex wasn’t any good.
‘With his anticipation and the release of bonding hormones like oxytocin, the journey can be just as intense as the orgasm’, Dr Van Kirk says.
If the issues persists, it may be worth having a discussion and discovering how you can both reach the finish line.
2. Is it normal that I prefer anal to vaginal sex?
Perhaps surprisingly, women who’ve had some form of anal play say they have more frequent orgasms than those who don’t.
This is because that part of the body is loaded with sensitive nerve endings, according to sexologist Jessica O’Reilly.
‘The area is actually anatomically configured for mind-blowing orgasms, so if you’ve experienced that, there’s no surprise you want to go back for more,’ she says.
‘The super-sensitive nerve endings make it a responsive erogenous zone.’
Actual penetration is not necessary for those who are concerned about hygiene.
‘Start off with a small butt plug,’ O’Reilly advises. ‘Or use a vibrator around the entrance to really up the anal fun ante.’
3. Is it normal that my vagina makes noises?
Sudden noises, sometimes called ‘fanny farts’, are a normal, some might say unavoidable, part of vaginal sex.
Sometimes air is pushed into the vagina during sex, says GP Philippa Kaye, and is forcibly pushed out by thrusting or changing position, which causes the sound.
There’s nothing to worry or feel embarrassed about in this, she adds.
Masturbation, ‘weird noises’ and male partners faking orgasms all make up our common concerns about sex
4. Is it normal that my partner can feel my coil during sex?
There is no danger to you or your partner, says Kaye, although for your comfort you can ask your doctor to refit it.
If a partner is complaining that they can feel the coil. it is likely the coil was not fitted properly, she says.
It may also be that your partner’s penis is particularly sensitive.
5. Is it normal that I masturbate five times a week?
Women in general report masturbating less often than men – but that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy.
The 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) from Indiana University found only three per cent of women masturbated more than four times a week, for example.
The reasons why women do it less then men (17 per cent of whom reported masturbating the same) are unknown, but it’s been said to improve mood and vaginal strength.
Regardless, ‘masturbation is a common sexual practice among women,’ Dr. Kelly Suschinsky said.
‘Women masturbate for a variety of reasons – to feel sexual pleasure, cope with stress, help them fall asleep, or to have a sexual outlet while their partner is unavailable.
‘As long as it’s not causing a problem in your relationship or interfering with your wider life, then just enjoy it.’
6. Is it normal that I’m straight but when it coes to porn, I only get turned on by girl-on-girl?
Research has shown that porn viewing habits are not reflective of secret sexual lusts in women.
A study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto found that, while male arousal matched their sexual orientation, women showed little preference between different types of porn.
In other word, women were equally aroused by watching heterosexual sex as by female-only sex, regardless of their sexuality.
‘In fact, the research found that both women who were attracted to men and women who were attracted to other women reported that they were most sexually aroused by the videos that showed women-only sexual activities,’ the researchers say.