Prevention & Recovery

Sex facts: Answers to the most common questions

Sex facts: Answers to the most common questions

Photography by Julia Noni/Trunk Archive Image by: Photography by Julia Noni/Trunk Archive Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Sex facts: Answers to the most common questions

Fact or fiction: A man's desire for his partner decreases over time.
Fiction: Research has shown that, in a relationship, a woman's desire actually decreases while a man's remains the same, says Robin Milhausen, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. There are lots of reasons why a woman's desire may lag behind her male partner. Many women have busy careers yet play a more active role in child rearing, for instance, leading them to feel too busy or tired for sex.

"This decrease in desire is tiny, but over time it adds up," says Milhausen. Some women may feel they have a diagnosable sexual dysfunction that requires medication, but Milhausen says that's often not the case. "If your body can respond to thinking about someone new [for example, the idea of a new partner or a celebrity fantasy], then you may not have a generalized dysfunction," says Milhausen. "It's likely more of a relationship issue—something to do with routine and lack of surprise."

Fact or fiction: Foreplay is important for both partners.
Fact: Blood flow is necessary for men to have sex, but blood flow is also necessary for women to achieve climax, says Milhausen. Couples should take the time to engage in foreplay, and lots of it.  "We assume men don't want a lot of foreplay and that women do," says Milhausen. But in research done by Karen Blair, PhD, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, women and men in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships reported wanting more sensual activities such as holding hands, being held and kissing.

Blair's research also found that everyone wants more cuddling. A study done at the University of New Brunswick showed that, on average, women and men both want around 18 minutes of foreplay, but get only 12.

Fact or fiction: Few women have orgasms regularly during sex.
Fact: It might seem like everyone is having orgasms all the time, but at least one-third of women have difficulty achieving orgasm, and only one-quarter of women have orgasms regularly during sex. "Typically, women have orgasms with clitoral stimulation, and during standard intercourse they often don't get that," explains Milhausen. (Interestingly, women in same-sex relationships are the most likely to report multiple orgasms.)

New research shows that a woman's ability to achieve orgasm via intercourse may have to do with the distance between the clitoris and the vaginal opening—if they're close together, penetrative sex may provide more stimulation to the clitoris, both internally and externally. If you're not able to hit your peak, Milhausen suggests prolonging foreplay, asking your partner for manual stimulation, or adding a vibrating toy to the mix.

Spice it up:
Good vibes
Invented by a Canadian couple, the We-Vibe is the world's best-selling couples vibrator. Use it to help you both hit a high note.
We-Vibe 4, $160,

Double duty
A massage oil that doubles as a lubricant is the perfect way to prolong foreplay.
K-Y Touch 2-in-1 Warming Oil and Personal Lubricant, $22,

Surprise discovery
Using lasers in a clinical trial to help treat overactive bladder disease and pelvic pain, a urogynecologist inadvertently created the first adult pleasure device that utilizes both lightwave technology and vibration to enhance arousal.
Afterglow, US$250,

For more sex facts, check out the results of our 4th annual Canadian Living Sex Survey.

This content is vetted by medical experts

This story was originally titled "Bringing Sexy Back" in the May 2014 issue.
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Prevention & Recovery

Sex facts: Answers to the most common questions