Sexologist Reveals 2 Concerns That Are Way More Common Than You Realize - Exclusive

Sexy time, hanky panky, lovemaking — no matter what you call it, sex is often hyped up as one of life's greatest pleasures. Song lyrics coyly reference it, movies depict it in steamy scenes, and TV shows like "Sex and the City" highlight it right in the title. Even outside of entertainment and media, regular sex is often regarded as a sign of a strong relationship, and not having enough of it is said to drive some to cheat on their partners.


Clearly, sex matters to a lot of people, but it's not always as, um, arousing as we've been led to believe. One study by (via SWNSdigital) indicates that one in three Americans aren't satisfied with their sex lives, and most don't have sex as often or for as long as they want. The List asked Jess O'Reilly, sexologist and host of the "Sex With Dr. Jess" podcast, about common concerns that hold people back in the bedroom. She shared the top two that plague many couples — and how to fix them fast.

Penetration alone isn't enough for many women to experience an orgasm

In junior high sex ed, most of us were taught that sex is when a penis goes into a vagina and, well, you know what happens next. This definition clearly doesn't include the majority of non-CisHet couples. But on top of that, sticking to the basic P-in-V formula doesn't always lead to the most satisfying romps, according to sexologist Jess O'Reilly. O'Reilly says that one of the biggest concerns couples face in bed is not experiencing an orgasm from P-V intercourse. "The majority of women don't orgasm consistently from penetration alone. It's the norm — not the exception," she explains. According to NBC News, the belief that most women are satisfied from penetration alone is one major reason for the "orgasm gap," or the discrepancy between how often men orgasm and how often women do.


So how can couples solve this issue? The host of the "Sex With Dr. Jess" podcast suggests exploring other elements of pleasure, including external clitoral stimulation, full-body touch, fantasy, kinky play, and the use of vibrators and other sex toys. Working these into your foreplay repertoire both before and during penetration may boost the likelihood of having an orgasm.

Desire doesn't often strike spontaneously

Another myth that many people have learned about sex is that sexual desire is like a light switch. The idea is that if you hop in bed and strip down, you should be in the mood to get frisky. But Jess O'Reilly tells us that sexual desire isn't really that simple, and these expectations can make some concerned when they struggle to get turned on spontaneously. She says, "If you wait until you're in the mood for sex, you may never have it. This is because the desire for sex often needs to be cultivated; it doesn't just occur spontaneously. Once you realize that you can cultivate desire (rather than waiting for the mood to strike you), you can find ways to turn yourself on ... and then the desire for sex may follow."


Well+Good breaks down desire into two main categories: spontaneous and responsive. Unlike spontaneous desire, responsive desire involves physical arousal first, before it even registers in the mind. And as O'Reilly explained, it can require intentional nurturing before it leads to sexy time.

So how can you cultivate desire without waiting for the mood to strike? Men's Health suggests that couples take time to cuddle, kiss, and engage in other low-pressure forms of intimacy. This time together can build desire that, eventually, leads to the bedroom.