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What is Normal??

-Most of us, at sometime, feel that we are not normal!

If we are female we worry abut the size of our breasts, that we have too much pubic hair, that our vulva (vaginal lips) are asymmetrical, whilst, if we are male we become anxious particularly about penis size, especially if our flaccid penis is much smaller than that our friends.

Big variations in size and shape are seen, with the penis ranging from two inches to six inches (5 to 15 cms) when flaccid, which probably represents 99% of men. Erections similarly may vary in size from 4 inches to 9 inches (10 to 22.5 cms) in the majority of men. Such variations when flaccid is related to the amount of blood flowing through the penis in its resting state, because most of the blood by-passes the organ when a man is not sexually excited.

Frequency of intercourse, too, depends on the needs of both partners, and whilst some couples may have sex three times a day or night, others may be content to have intercourse once a year! So long as both people are happy and satisfied then there is no reason to regard the pattern as outside the range of normality.

As can be seen from these examples there is no such thing as “normal” to describe shape, size or behaviour, there is just a range within which most people fall, and many of us need reassurance that we are not abnormal or peculiar, in the way we are made, look or act.

Fantasies and dreams, too, can create problems. Masters & Johnson reported in 1979 to 50% of heterosexuals have homosexual dreams and fantasies, whilst for homosexuals, heterosexual fantasy is equally common. Such fantasy does not mean that a change of orientation is likely, and during adolescence, when we have doubts about ourselves, such ambivalence is quite common.

On the whole, men become sexually excited relatively quickly when young, and a film, book, the sight of a naked body, or other visual stimulus is sufficient to trigger an erection, but with increasing age a great deal more time is needed, and often a more active and co-operative lover. Such changes with age, or when a relationship has lasted for some time, are to be expected.

On the other hand, women nearly always needs a more prolonged period of love play of pleasuring than men, and in young or inexperienced woman, an hour or more may be needed for her to become fully aroused. The process of female was first described by Masters & Johnson in 1966, and the need for such prolonged “foreplay” is now regarded as “the norm”. However, there is often a period, early in a relationship when on 10 or 15 minutes are required to get the woman really excited. After a relationship has lasted for four, five or more years, a considerable time may need to be spent on pleasuring.

On the whole, women respond to a wider variety of stimuli than men, anything from romance to the ambiance of their situation, and including actions such as thoughtfulness or caring; sensuality and many other factors may be involved, rather than the major part of the arousal being due to visual stimulation, which is often the case for men.

If you have doubts or uncertainties, then talk to somebody experienced in dealing with such matters. Approach your family doctor, the Family Life Movements, the Family Planning Association or other suitable person or organisation.

Your general practitioner is probably the person best placed to comment on physical matters, and will usually be aware of the wide range of normality, so will be able to reassure you most effectively b

- Ageing - AIDS
- Anorgasmia - Barrier Methods of Contraception
- Frigidity - Genital Herpes
- Impotence - Loss of Libido
- Masturbation - Miscarriage
- Post Natal Depression - Pregnancy
- Premature Ejaculation - Retarded Ejaculation
- Sex and Disability - Sexual Activity during and after Pregnancy
- Smoking and Pregnancy - Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- Syphilis and Gonorrhoea - Termination (Abortion)
- The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device) - The Pill (Oral Contraceptive Pill or OCP)
- The Rhythm Method of Birth Control
or Natural Family Planning
- Tubal Ligation
- Vasectomy - What is Normal??

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