People have always wondered how much sex everyone else is having. Overall, Americans fall into three groups: those who have sexual intercourse at least twice a week (one-third); those who engage in sexual intercourse a few times a month (one-third); and those who engage in sexual intercourse a few times a year or have no sexual part­ners (one-third; Laumann et al., 1994). Newer research has found that the national av­erage for frequency of sexual activity is about once a week (Robinson & Godbey, 1998).

Most heterosexual couples engage in sexual intercourse almost every time they have sex, and when most of us think about “sex,” we think of vaginal intercourse (Sanders & Reinisch, 1999). Sexual intercourse involves inserting the penis into the vagina. However, there are a variety of ways in which couples perform this action. We will dis­cuss the various positions for sexual intercourse shortly.

It is important for couples to delay vaginal penetration until after lubrication has be­gun. We discussed the sexual response cycle earlier in this chapter, and how, during arousal, the vagina becomes lubricated, making penetration easier and providing more pleasure for both partners. Penetrating a dry vagina, forcefully or not, can be very un­comfortable for both partners. If the woman is aroused but more lubrication is needed, a water-based lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly) should be used.

Heterosexual Sexual IntercourseMany men believe that women want hard and fast thrusting during sexual inter­course. One man explains:

I believe women want huge, hard ramming. Part of me thinks that if I do it real slow, she’ll be totally mine. But when I’m having sex, I listen to my primal self, and my pri­mal self says I must do it hard, and not just at the climax either—because there’s some guy out there who can do it even harder, all night long. I never fantasize that I can do it more “feathery” than the next guy. (Jake, 1993)

Pornography helps reinforce the idea that women like thrusting to be fast and rough during sexual intercourse. Video after video shows men engaged in hard and fast thrusting—and women asking for more. In reality, many women like a slower pace for intercourse. It can be very intimate and erotic to make love very slowly, circling the hips, varying pressure and sensations, while maintaining eye contact. Men, too, enjoy a woman who can move her hips, squeeze the penis with her vaginal muscles, and vary the pace and strength of intercourse.

Some women do not find thrusting during sexual intercourse comfortable; in this

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of sexual intercourse. ensure that both partners are happy with the pace of intercourse.

Although many men try to delay ejaculation until their partners are satisfied with the length of thrusting, it’s important to point out that longer thrusting does not always mean that a woman will be close to orgasm. If intercourse lasts for too long, the vagina may become dry, and this can be very uncomfortable. Couples should communicate what is best for them.

Each time a couple engages in sexual intercourse, there are a variety of needs, feelings, and desires the partners bring together. They may want to stretch out the time and make it last longer, or they may desire a “quickie.” Various ointments have long been sold to men to allow them to lengthen their thrusting time. However, these are often counterproductive in that they tend to psychologically separate the man and his penis and may desensitize the woman’s genitals as well. In Chapter 14 we will discuss erectile dysfunction.

Подпись:Подпись: There are many ways that couples engage in sexual intercourse.The majority of couples do not have eye contact during sex­ual intercourse, regardless of their positions (Schnarch, 1997). Schnarch proposed that eye contact during sexual intercourse in­tensifies intimacy, and this is difficult for most couples. In addi­tion, over time, we have learned to close our eyes during intimate interactions (such as kissing, making love, or oral sex). To in­crease the intensity of sexual behavior, try keeping your eyes open (it’s not as easy as you might think).