Psychological theories exist regarding the development and expression of gender differences in human sexuality. A number of them, including neo-analytic theories, sociobiological theories, social learning theory, social role theory, and script theory, agree in predicting that men should be more approving of casual sex (sex happening outside a stable, committed relationship such as marriage) and should also be more promiscuous (have a higher number of sexual partners) than women. These theories are mostly consistent with observed differences in males' and females' attitudes toward casual sex before marriage in the United States; other aspects of human sexuality, such as sexual satisfaction, incidence of oral sex, and attitudes toward homosexuality and masturbation, show little to no observed difference between males and females. Observed gender differences regarding the number of sexual partners are modest, with males tending to have slightly more than females.
^ Kammerer-Doak, Dorothy; Rogers, Rebecca G. (June 2008). "Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction". Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 35 (2): 169–183. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2008.03.006. PMID 18486835. Most women report the inability to achieve orgasm with vaginal intercourse and require direct clitoral stimulation ... About 20% have coital climaxes...
The shaft of the penis consists of three cylindrical bodies of spongy tissue filled with blood vessels along its length. Two of these bodies lie side-by-side in the upper portion of the penis called corpora cavernosa. The third, called the corpus spongiosum, is a tube that lies centrally beneath the others and expands at the end to form the tip of the penis (glans).
"At first, many were understandably cautious about my Nike-style approach to their sex life; the 'Just Do It' advice ran counter to everything they had believed about how sexual desire unfolds...I could often see the relief on people's faces when they learned that their lack of out-of-the-blue sexual urges didn't necessarily signify a problem. It didn't mean there was something wrong with them or that something was missing from their marriages. It just meant that they experienced desire differently."
Maybe choice overload applies a little differently than Slater imagined. Maybe the problem is not the people who date and date some more—they might even get married, if Rosenfeld is right—but those who are so daunted that they don’t make it off the couch. This idea came up many times in my conversations with people who described sex and dating lives that had gone into a deep freeze. Some used the term paradox of choice; others referred to option paralysis (a term popularized by Black Mirror); still others invoked fobo (“fear of a better option”).
The academy enforces mandatory sexual harassment and assault prevention and awareness training through its office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Education, or SHAPE, program. Midshipmen participate in the program during every year they attend the academy. Midshipmen attend one fewer session every year, beginning with four during their plebe year.
The recession metaphor is imperfect, of course. Most people need jobs; that’s not the case with relationships and sex. I talked with plenty of people who were single and celibate by choice. Even so, I was amazed by how many 20-somethings were deeply unhappy with the sex-and-dating landscape; over and over, people asked me whether things had always been this hard. Despite the diversity of their stories, certain themes emerged.
Moreover, what research we have on sexually inactive adults suggests that, for those who desire a sex life, there may be such a thing as waiting too long. Among people who are sexually inexperienced at age 18, about 80 percent will become sexually active by the time they are 25. But those who haven’t gained sexual experience by their mid-20s are much less likely to ever do so. The authors of a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine speculated that “if a man or woman has not had intercourse by age 25, there is a reasonable chance [he or she] will remain a virgin at least until age 45.” Research by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld confirms that, in adulthood, true singledom is a far more stable category than most of us have imagined. Over the course of a year, he reports, only 50 percent of heterosexual single women in their 20s go on any dates—and older women are even less likely to do so.
At least for humans, this most basic of acts is anything but basic. As the pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey put it, the only universal in human sexuality is variability itself. From attraction to action, sexual behavior takes many forms. Human interest in sex is not a matter left to chance but more a built-in imperative; survival of the species depends on it. The decks are stacked in sex's favor, as a passport to bonding, to intimacy, to pleasure, and even to human growth and healing. Bodies and interests change over the course of time, and the complexities of physiology and psychology mean that most people experience a sexual problem at some point in their lives. Although sex can be one of the most difficult topics for partners to discuss, it's one that also stands to draw couples closer together. The moral and political implications of sex vary greatly from culture to culture, and even within cultures and over time; still, there is agreement on one certainty: It's why we're alive today and what future generations depend on.