Do you come here often? Wonder how much sex everyone else is really having? Spoiler: it’s probably not as much as you think
Wonder how much sex everyone else is really having? Spoiler: it’s probably not as much as you think, says Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth.
When I was in my 20s, I went to lots of parties and worked my butt off to earn a couple of dream jobs. I had a succession of lifeaffirming friendships, and flirted with some devastatingly handsome men. One thing I didn’t do, however, was have a lot of sex.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want sex, or that I couldn’t find someone to do it with – the opportunity just didn’t come around that often. At least, not in the way that I wanted it to: with someone I actually liked and whom I could trust not to be awkward about it the following week.
It’s a far cry from the Tinder fantasy of self-assured single women filling their plates at an all-you-can-eat sexual buffet, but stories like mine are more common than you might think. According to the 2013 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, one in five 25-44 year olds haven’t had sex in the past month; among those between 16 and 24, the number hovers around 40%.
“If you’re not in a relationship, it’s expected that you’ll be hooking up with people,” says Sarah, 25 – one of more than 200 men and women I spoke to about their sex lives for my new book The Sex Myth (Simon & Schuster, R287). “I’m single and haven’t had sex for three years, but I don’t have to be constantly on the search,” Sarah explains.
Then there are the sex surveys conducted to promote a product or a service (read: not exactly specific), which “massively overestimate how often people are having sex,” reveals social psychologist Dr Petra Boynton.
It’s no surprise then that many of us feel like we’re falling short when it comes to our sex lives – wondering if we’re sexy enough, sexual enough or if our relationships are up to scratch. And it’s the gap between expectation and reality that I’ve come to call ‘The sex myth’. What’s really ‘normal’ when it comes to sex? And does more sex equal a happier relationship? I sat down with 13 women for some no-holds-barred #realtalk. Here’s what they had to say.