Sex: Fact and Fiction
What’s the average penis size? How fast is premature ejaculation? Exactly where is the G-spot? Grab a ruler and a stopwatch as the experts sort sex myths from the facts.
If you had an anxiety hiccup before you read the "erect" qualifier, consider it a metaphor for the danger of jumping to conclusions about penis size -- or about the primacy of the penis altogether.
"The idea that the penis is the most important part of your body underlies so many of men's sexual problems," says Cory Silverberg, a sexual health educator and founding member of Come As You Are, an education-based sex store in Toronto. "One of the biggest sex myths for men is the notion that we are our penises, and that's all that counts in terms of sex."
"It's a myth that using the penis is the main way to pleasure a woman," says Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex and relationships counselor in New York City whose book She Comes First offers a guide to "female orgasms and producing them through inspired oral techniques." In his book, Kerner cites a study that reports women reaching orgasm about 25% of the time with intercourse, compared with 81% of the time during oral sex.
OK, OK, Size Isn't Important. But How Can I Increase My Penis Size?
Despite the facts, the din of penis-enlargement marketing only seems to grow louder. ("Realize total and absolute power and domination in bed with your partner, with your new-found penis size and sexual performance" screams the ad for the Penis Enlargement Patch.) Men keep chasing after the mythical, mammoth-sized member.
Silverberg says male clients at his store, and in his counseling work, constantly ask him about penis pumps, whose powers of elongation, he says, are a "myth," although he adds that some men who've used them report satisfaction, a phenomenon he explains this way: "I think spending more time paying attention to our genitals will probably increase our sexual health."
Just the Facts on the G-Spot
If sex myths have such power over men's thinking about their own anatomy, they have even more sway when it comes to female partners' bodies -- especially the much-debated G-spot.
Named after a German doctor, Ernst Gräfenberg, who first wrote about an erogenous zone in the anterior vaginal wall, the G-spot was popularized by a 1982 book called ... The G-spot. This region behind the pubic bone is often credited as the trigger for a vaginal (vs. clitoral) orgasm, and even a catalyst for female ejaculation.
At the same time, the G-spot is commonly derided as perpetuating the myth ensconced by Sigmund Freud -- namely, that the clitoral orgasm is a "lesser" form of climax than the vaginal orgasm, which requires penile penetration. As Ian Kerner summarizes, "In Freud's view, there were no two ways about it: If a woman couldn't be satisfied by penetrative sex, something must be wrong with her."
The G-spot's existence is still debated, and whether it's fact or fiction depends on whom you ask.