According to people who know about these things, the average woman has sex anywhere from a few times per week to a few times per month. We did the math and figured out that, per year, that adds up to ...
Uh, actually we had a little trouble with the math.
But we do know this: Women have sex a lot Ã¢â‚¬” but still understand relatively little about what's really happening between the sheets. No, we don't mean where the body parts go. We mean more vexing matters. Like why do some things turn us on and some things turn us off? Why do our bodies work the way they do? And, of course, why do men have nipples?
Fortunately, there are people who know about these things Ã¢â‚¬” and we talked to a batch of them. Don't consider your sex education complete until you know...
Why We Sometimes Cry (or Laugh) After Sex
Perhaps it's your partner's insistence on humming Celine Dion songs during intercourse, but more likely it's a physiological reaction. "An orgasm instigates the release of powerful hormones, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and oxytocin, all of which rile the emotions," says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., author of Everything You Know About Love and Sex Is Wrong. The good news: You should consider giggles (or tears) a reassuring sign about the status of your relationship. If getting physical with someone can move you that much, it's probably because you have a profound, intimate relationship.
Why Boots Make Us Feel Like Bad Girls
There is an indescribable transformation that takes place when a woman steps into a pair of knee-high boots, whether they have chunky soles or spiked 3-inch heels. Images of Wonder Woman, go-go dancers, and rock stars flash across our subconscious, not to mention soldiers, revolutionaries, royalty, and pirates. In short, we feel and look like a badass. "There's an enormous amount of symbolism in the tall boot that we register immediately," says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a sex therapist based in Athens, Georgia. "Because of their historical associations, boots give us a feeling of added protection while at the same time increasing our sense of power Ã¢â‚¬” and that translates into a very sexy feeling that's almost predatory." Grrrowl!
Why We're Not the Only Ones in the Relationship with Nipples
In the very first stages of life, every fetus starts out as a female. "Males only become males with the addition of greater amounts of testosterone, which suppresses the development of female sex organs," says Sandor Gardos, licensed sex therapist and founder of mypleasure.com. Hard evidence for that fact can be found about a quarter of the way down Johnny Depp's chest in the form of two round, pinkish milk ducts. Nearly all mammalian embryos are decked out with mammary tissue from the get-go in preparation for future motherhood. So behind Johnny's nipples lie the dusty, unused pipes and machinery that would have been used to breastfeed little Johnny Jr.
Why the Clitoris is Like an Iceberg
Simple, really: You see only the tip. Attached to that euphoric pink knob (which, by the way, packs 8,000 nerve endings Ã¢â‚¬” twice as many as the penis) is a shaft three times its size. During arousal, this shaft fills with blood and pushes the knob out from under its hood. And that's not all. Attached to the base of the shaft are two arms that descend in a wishbone shape down the sides of the labia and back toward the thigh muscles. There are also two "bulbs" of erectile tissue located on either side of the vaginal opening. The going theory is that they help transmit sensation from the vagina to the clitoris. During the last stages of arousal, the domino effect sets in and electrifies just about every nerve ending below your belly button.
Why Their Balls Get Blue
You've no doubt heard a guy complain of having "blue balls" after a night of frantic groping that didn't go all the way. He wasn't kidding. "It's possible for the scrotum to appear slightly blueish if a man has been aroused for a very long period of time," Gardos says. During arousal, blood fills the entire genital area and stays there for as long as a person remains turned on. The longer it's there, the less oxygen it has, and blood with less oxygen is more blue than red. The result: azure-tinted testicles.
Why He Wakes Up with a Woody
There it is again, all up-and-at-'em at 7 A.M. It's a wonder you bother using an alarm clock. "Men tend to awake with an erection in the morning because that's when their testosterone levels peak," Gardos says. Physically, his upstanding member is just as sensitive as ever, but because he isn't psychologically turned on, he may not feel any urge to put it to use. And if you do get it on in the early hours, expect a quickie Ã¢â‚¬” all that testosterone usually leads to a quick resolution.
Why Fat, Hairy Men Display Their Bodies Proudly on the Beach (But We Won't Even Have Sex with the Lights On)
There you are enjoying the sand, sun, and sound of the waves, when along strolls a Jack Black look-alike in a Speedo. As your eyes accidentally meet, he smiles and winks. He couldn't be more comfortable with his pudge and bulges. Meanwhile, you refuse to sit at a 90-degree angle for fear of a half-inch roll of fat appearing in your midsection. "There's a core contingent of guys who were taught to believe that a man's looks aren't anywhere near as important as his money or status," Dr. Brame says. In other words, when Donald Trump looks in the mirror, he sees the male equivalent of Beyonce staring back. Because these plus-size guys don't associate their self-worth with a six-pack, they don't care if the lights are on, the sheets are off, and the flesh is everywhere. But rather than criticize them for being out of shape, let's salute them as a dying breed of human who has yet to crack under all that pressure to look perfect.
Why Heidi Klum is Hot To Men and Women
If lingerie models in lacy G-strings make you think of more than a Victoria's Secret sale, you're not alone. Plenty of women find feminine curves sexually alluring. It has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. It's actually a preconditioned gut reaction. "As we grow up, both men and women are taught to view women's bodies as sexual symbols," Dr. Schwartz says. "When we see an attractive woman in a bikini or an actress in a tight dress and high heels, our brain instantly associates those images with sex." For a lot of us girls, though, it prompts a flood of far less sexy thoughts like, "I wonder if she does yoga or Pilates?" that often causes that spark to quickly fizzle.
Why We Should Dial "O" on the Pink Telephone
Beating the bishop, waxing the dolphin, spanking the monkey Ã¢â‚¬” there's no end to the euphemisms for male masturbation. So why not for women? "Society is more permissive with males, both in what they can do sexually and how they can talk about their sexual behaviors," says Yvonne Fulbright, author of The Hot Guide to Safer Sex. Indeed, most boys start stimulating themselves silly by age 13. Girls are slower to start exploring and hardly ever talk about it openly until they're well into their 20s, if ever. But there's hope, as women start to loosen up and make light of what happens when they're alone and horny. "Every year more and more women are browsing for vibrators as comfortably as they would beauty products," says Claire Cavanah of the sex boutique Toys in Babeland. Some slang terms she's hearing for female masturbation: polish your pearl, pet your bunny, water your flower, paddle the pink canoe, tiptoe through the two lips, and dial "O" on the pink telephone.
Why This Magazine Isn't Packed with Viagra Ads
When a woman pops a Viagra, it has the same physical effect as when a man takes one. Blood rushes to her genitals, causing vaginal swelling that's identical to arousal. The difference is that when a guy gets a hard-on, he instantly craves sex. Getting a woman in the mood is far more complicated. "Very few women have sexual difficulty because of a lack of blood flow," says Jed Kaminetsky, M.D., clinical assistant professor of urology at New York University. "The two most common problems are lack of desire and difficulty with orgasm, and they involve everything from relationship issues to self-esteem to hormone fluctuations." So forget the miracle pill for now. We'll have to continue to make do with dimming the lights and downing a martini.
Why Sex Leaves Us Soaring, Not Snoring
Women complain about guys passing out the second sex is over. But don't whine Ã¢â‚¬” gloat. For him, the rush ends abruptly. For you, sex isn't over even when it's over. "It can take us anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to come down from an orgasm," says Fulbright, "with bodily changes including reduced breast swelling, the clitoris returning to its normal position, a shrinking uterus and 'deflating' of the vagina, and a return to our resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and breathing." Talk about a full-body workout.
Why Our Peak is Harder to Reach Than Theirs
The Seinfeld episode in which Elaine coins the term "sponge-worthy" isn't far off: Every guy might not be orgasm-worthy. "There's a very interesting new idea about female orgasm called the 'upsuck theory,'" says Deborah Blum, author of Sex on the Brain. The gist is that when a woman climaxes, the muscles of her vagina pull upward, helping semen to reach her uterus and increasing the odds of pregnancy. Some evolutionary biologists suggest that the female orgasm acts as a quality-control mechanism, preventing women from having children with men they don't feel strongly about. If sex with a certain guy hardly ever ends in fireworks, perhaps it's nature's way of saying he's not what you want in a husband and father. If you go off like a cannon every other night, you just might be dating Mr. Right.
Why You Can Finally Stop Looking for Your G-Spot
It's named after Dr. Ernst GrÃƒÂ¤fenberg who, in 1950, reported that some of his female patients experienced intense pleasure when an area on the front wall of their vagina was stimulated. Since then, large numbers of women have reported having "G-spot orgasms." The only problem is that scientists can't quite figure out what's causing them. "One camp of experts believe that the G-spot is the place where the roots of the clitoris crisscross the urethral sponge," Fulbright says. "Others believe that, similar to the male prostate gland, it's its own entity." And then there are those like Terrence Hines, Ph.D., who, in an article published in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2001, described it as "a sort of gynecologic UFO: much searched for, much discussed, but unverified by objective means." Either way, what's important to know is that the area around the front wall of the vagina isn't always an erogenous zone. So if you've gone looking for your G-spot but haven't felt so much as a tingle, that's perfectly normal.
What Our Bodies Have in Common with the Liver of a Shark
Let's discuss vaginal lubrication for a moment, shall we? Turns out it's comprised of a daunting list of ingredients, from water and lactic acid to squalene, which can also be found in sharks' livers. "Each component contributes to maintaining the delicate balance between yeast and bacteria inside the vagina," Gardos says. (He had nothing to add about the shark thing.) As for where it comes from, the answer is through the vaginal walls. "The action is similar to sweating," Gardos says. "The walls of the vagina are constantly emitting moisture to keep the tissue healthy, and during arousal that amount increases." Some women get soaked, others are just slippery enough for action. A lack of lubrication is typically caused by hormone changes, dehydration, or a guy who hasn't grasped the importance of foreplay.
Why Our Wildest Fantasies Involve Gladiators
There you are, innocently strolling along in a field of poppies in a sheer white dress. Suddenly you're surrounded by a small army of Russell Crowe look-alikes who haven't had a woman in years ... From there the fantasy goes beyond what any R rating would allow. How is it that something that, in reality, would be so shocking could seem so enticing in our imaginations? "Because fantasies, no matter how wild they get, always remain within our control," Dr. Brame says. "Therefore there's no real threat, so you can safely surrender to the illusion." Contrary to what you would think, the fact that rape fantasies are fairly popular among women makes a lot of sense to sex therapists. "Women are often made to feel guilty or shameful for wanting or enjoying sex," Dr. Brame says. "In a rape fantasy, you aren't responsible for what's happening, and that alleviates the guilt."