When sex isn’t great – Here’s what you need to know
More and more women are complaining that sex with their partners is anywhere between not quite perfect to totally frustrating. Whether with a partner or simply engaging in casual sex, Centennial and Millennial women are reporting that sex isn’t great. Many can clearly define what the issue is while others find the cause of the dissatisfaction difficult to isolate. Many attend therapy but most women don’t and think they will become sexually satisfied with time– yet they rarely do.
In many instances, the issue is not so much indefinable or elusive but uncertainty seems to stem from the benchmark in which we are comparing sex.
Disappointed with sex. Find out why?
Gen Z/iGen/Centennials(born 1995, currently 23 years and under) and earlier born Millennial’s(born 1977 to 1994, the generation is currently 24 to 41 years) may have limited data on exactly what the body is capable of doing sexually and what sex should look like.
In contrast, later born Millennial’s and Gen X women (born 1965 to 1976, 42 to 53 years) have experienced more decades in which to:
- Benchmark what sex should be like
- Figure out likes and dislikes
- Develop a picture about what’s reasonable sexually and what’s not
That’s not to say that younger women can’t communicate sexually because they can – clearly and unashamedly. It is to say that younger women may not have all the information they need and being given more, may result in better decisions.
In the early days of my private practice, men presenting with delayed ejaculation (DE), (requiring prolonged stimulation to reach ejaculation or cannot ejaculate at all) were relatively rare. Going back 50 years, it was difficult to find clinical subjects for study participation who qualified for a diagnosis of DE. Today men with DE make up a significant part of my overall client base. It would appear that through recent decades DE has risen significantly. These clients are now commonplace in most sex therapeutic settings, including infertility clinics. There are many reasons for the rise, including the increase in self-pleasuring and porn. When sex isn’t great, Centennial and Millennial women often report that sex goes on for an extended period of time. Ergo, the extended foreplay or thrusting time is seen as the benchmark of normal, albeit unenjoyably. Remember, the male partner sees his own arousal timeframe as normal and will tend to argue this point. Women do report feeling pressured by men into believing that ‘longer lasting sex’ is normal, desired “by most women” and one even should be grateful for such a platinum experience.
On the flipside, later Millennial’s and Gen X women may recognise the same timeframe as unique to the individual and not across the board ‘normal’. They may therefore be more likely to communicate their dissatisfaction and recommend their partner seek treatment. Later Millennial and Gen X men who have Acquired DE (didn’t always have it) may also be more likely to accept their condition as not the norm and if in a committed relationship, may be more open to seeking treatment.
Other reasons for an unfulfilling sex life
There are many changes to sexual benchmarks such as this that have evolved over the past decades. Others include:
- An increase in the amount of stimulation, time or techniques required for arousal due to the introduction and increased use of porn
- An increase in pressure or speed of foreplay techniques due to the development of unique masturbation styles
- An increase in a sense of entitlement resulting in less sexual negotiation – a drive to get one’s own needs met regardless of what the other person wants and needs
One starts to ask the question of what is normal and what’s not? Of course, normal is the ‘norm’ at the time, a current social construct but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s doable for the body or pleasurable for the individual.
If you’re a Centennial or Millennial woman and you think sex isn’t great, you need to know that it may not be an inadequacy on your behalf. It may be more about what’s happening with your partner(s) and the way you’re navigating it. You can only have the information that’s presented to you during the time you’ve been on this planet and there is likely to be more to the story.
If you think sex isn’t great, attempt to find out exactly what’s going on so you can make a decision that best meets your own needs and results in you experiencing a satisfying sex life.