How Much Sex Do "Normal People" Have?


How much sex do "normal" people have? Well, that depends on who you think is normal. Is normal the popular kids? The nerdy kids? The ones who appear chaste but are probably über kinky behind closed doors? Or … is the amount of sex that you have, dear reader, considered what is "normal"?

This is a small manifesto, if you will, for everyone to feel a little bit happier regarding personal sexcapades. Perhaps you are having sex with other people, perhaps you are not. If you are completely satisfied with your sex life — congratulations and you are the exception to my theory! You are, as it were, abnormal. This is the part where no one believes me.

A friend of a friend, who teaches sex education in Texas, and I were talking about this a little while ago. She mentioned that one of the most surprising facts she teaches her students is that contrary to popular belief, not "everybody is doing it." These young women are anxious to hurry up and get naked because they are fearful of being left behind by their peers; while of course a good portion of the teenage population is sexually active, the numbers are not as rampant as one might think.

If I had to make an educated guess about "normal" people sex in "average American culture" (whatever that is), I would say:

1. People are having sex.

2. That sex is of all kinds, ways, and flavors.

3. Probably they wish it was different/better/more (but heaven forbid we ever talk about that!).

The thing is, even though we don't talk about it nearly as much as this sex educator wishes we did, we are so over sex. We're surrounded by it every day. The fun part of the 21st century, however, is how easy it is to be a perv (sorry parents, prudes, and pre-teens — cover your eyes!). The Internet is a buffet for sexploration. You don't need my help in finding all the gnarly nooks and crannies, but I will tell you there is something for everyone (whether you want it or not), the world of consent is murky, and there is secrecy.

The secrecy of desire is a nuanced one. Sexuality is personal, and as the personal has become political and public there is pressure to broadcast, to assimilate, to abstain from some and indulge in other. There is shame associated with sex and desire, especially if you are too young, too single, too committed, too faithful, too unattractive, too [ fill in your inadequacy ] to merit indulging in desire.

People are indulging behind closed doors, however. From more than one corner of the Internet has emerged a theory that for this generation, anal is the new oral; this is to say that oral sexual relations used to be a much larger and more private hurdle (particularly between heterosexual couples) and that now, the internet is rife with Steak and BJ Day Memes and the new trendy way to enter the house of someone you are truly close with is through the back door.

Let's say, however, that one partner in a couple expressed interest in engaging in such activity and the other balked. What to do? Do you break up because of sexual incompatibility? Perhaps you try the "new" phenomenon of the open relationship (assuming we forget the history of cuckoldry altogether).

Open relationships are becoming more prevalent as people try to avoid the seeds of splitsville. I have been dismayed to learn, however, that many of these relationships are accompanied by parameters that are much closer to a "don’t ask, don't tell" policy with only one partner partaking in what would formerly have been known as... infidelity. One friend said his partner's stipulations were "don't fall in love with anyone else, don't rub it in my face, and don't get anyone pregnant."

This is the sort of sex normal people are having — or not having, but choosing not to (out of martyrdom or selflessness or fear of solitude or resignation to a lower libido or acceptance of a partner's desires). Sex is also used as a means of leverage, bartering, and manipulation, which mostly makes me want to weep. 

My question is — can normal people have better sex? If that's what we want, anyway. Let this be a plea to all who read this to:

1. Always establish consent. Yours and theirs.

2. Communicate what you want. It'll help you get it.

3. Love yourself better. Let’s see more self-care, people! You know what I’m saying.

Strive to be having the kind of sex you imagine everyone else must be having because the grass is always greener. If you're having that kind of sex, then probably it won't matter whether you're normal or not. You’ll be happy.