It’s a question we all ask ourselves – how can I improve my sex life?
Based on Justin Lehmiller monumental two-year study of sexual fantasies involving more than 4,000 people from all walks of life his new offers an unprecedented look into our fantasy worlds and what they reveal about us.
He wants to help you to understand your own sexual desires and how to attain them within your relationships, but also to appreciate why your partner may have sexual proclivities that are so different from your own.
We asked him to answer a few of our questions.
The number of calories burned during sex will vary considerably from person to person depending upon their body, the specific activities they partake in, and how long sex lasts.
However, as a reference point, a 2013 study focused on young heterosexual adults found that men burned 101 calories and women burned 69 calories on average during a 25-minute sexual romp.
This translates to roughly 4.2 calories per minute for men and 3.1 calories per minute for women.
It’s worth noting that this same study found that men and women burned more than twice as many calories as this when riding a treadmill for a similar amount of time.
So sex certainly burns calories and therefore it definitely counts as a form of exercise; however, for most people, sex probably isn’t a replacement for going to the gym
2. Is sex good for you?
Increasingly, research suggests that sex is good for us both physically and psychologically.
In terms of physical benefits, there is — of course — the fact that sex is a physical activity that burns calories. The benefits go far beyond this, however.
Some research has found that having an orgasm stimulates the immune system.
This fascinating effect might explain, in part, other studies finding that men who orgasm more often have a lower risk of prostate cancer and tend to live longer.
In terms of mental health, studies have found that sex is a stress reliever.
On days couples have sex, they both report feeling less stressed the following day.
Not only that, but people are happier at work when they’ve had sex the night before.
On top of all of this, there is also research finding that sex may be good for the health of our brains. Animal studies have found that sexual activity is linked to neuron growth, while human studies have found that sex is linked to better memory.
In short, the data suggest that sex just might be good for us in a whole host of ways!
3. How often should couples have sex?
I hate to break it to you, but there is no “right” or “correct” frequency with which everyone should be having sex.
The truth is that different people can be content with very different sexual frequencies.
Some people want it every day, while others are fine with doing it just a few times per year.
It may also surprise you to learn that more sex won’t necessarily make you happier.
In fact, sex and happiness are only related to one another to a point — and, according to the research, that point seems to be about once per week.
Once couples reach that frequency, more sex doesn’t seem to make them any happier. In other words, the once-per-day couples aren’t necessarily any happier than the once-per-week couples.
What you don’t want to do is force yourself to have sex simply because you think you “should” be having it more often. That’s unlikely to turn out well.
In fact, in a study in which couples purposively tried to double their sexual frequency, they were less happy and had less desire for sex in the end. In short, have sex because you and your partner want to have sex — not because you think you need to do it just to keep up with your friends or neighbours.
4. Why do people have sex?
People have sex for a wide range of reasons.
Consider this: in a study in which young adults were asked to generate a list of al of the reasons they’d had sex, researchers ended up with a list of 237 distinct reasons.
Men and women reported relatively similar reasons for having sex, but by and large, the single most common reason was pleasure.
In other words, the biggest motivator for sex is the fact that it feels good.
Other common reasons include showing affection and expressing love, having fun, and developing closeness or intimacy with a partner.
It’s uncommon, but there are some very dark reasons for having sex, too.
For example, some people have sex because they want to hurt someone else, such as when someone cheats on a partner because they know it will lead to a breakup.
There are also some people who say they’ve had sex because they want to punish themselves, and — disturbingly — a few who have done it because they wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease.
5. How long does sex last on average?
How long sex lasts depends, to some extent, on what you count as “sex.”
After all, this is something that different people define in very different ways!
For people who define sex as penile-vaginal intercourse only (a very narrow definition), research has found that we’re talking about 5 to 6 minutes.
That’s about how long it takes for the average man to ejaculate.
Note that heterosexual women say they would prefer for sex to last longer than this.
In fact, women say they’d like for intercourse to last about twice as long as it usually does, probably because they often take a bit longer to reach orgasm than men.
Now, if you expand your definition of sex to encompass foreplay, the numbers are much higher.
Typically, people say their sexual sessions last 15-30 minutes.
However, lesbians are the exception to this, with research finding that they spend the most time on sex of anyone: 30-45 minutes on average, with about 1 in 5 lesbians spending more than an hour on it.