A survey by the condom company Trojan recently found that Los Angelenos are the most sexually active people in the U.S., but not the most satisfied. Trojan paves over the statistics with generalities geared to perpetuate condom sales. The company missed an opportunity to explore why sex is important for our physical and emotional health.
Los Angeles does have more sex
The baseline for normal frequency of sexual activity for Americans 18 and older is 120 times per year, according to Trojan. Los Angelenos had intercourse an average of 135 times over the course of a year. Yet the satisfaction rating was only 75 percent. The most satisfied major U.S. city in the survey was Philadelphia (82 percent).
What does it mean?
Los Angeles also earned top marks from Trojan for “sexual adventurousness,” but that alone fails to add significant shades of meaning to the Trojan survey. Trojan’s view of sex and health stops at preventing pregnancy and the spread of some STDs, which is as obvious as it is ingratiating.
Sex is not only a procreative engine; sex propagates good health. Increased pulse rate, circulation, hormone production, nerve sensitivity and muscular control are key physical effects. A Queens University sex study from Belfast, Ireland, points to just a few of the physical and mental health benefits of having healthy sex:
- Improved sense of smell
- Reduced heart disease
- Weight loss
- Reduced depression
- Pain and stress relief
- Defense against colds and flu
- Increased bladder control
- Dental hygiene/healthier teeth
- Better prostate health
What does ‘having healthy sex’ mean?
A benefit analysis of sex is interesting but fails to explain the key emotional elements that countless sex therapists link to “good, healthy sex,” that magical place where bodies, minds and hearts intertwine in spiritual communion. Sex therapist Ian Kerner suggested on “Today” that while it may be possible for both men and women compartmentalize sex solely as a physical release, emotional intimacy have roots that run deep through the experience. “Bad sex,” which an anonymous author on the blog The Frisky uses to refer to lack of intimacy or emotional comfort, can easily become a deal-breaker in a relationship.
The politics of dancing
Knowing the difference between good and bad sex only scratches the surface. From the Kama Sutra to Christine O’Donnell and far beyond, human societies have pondered the spiritual and political implications of sexuality for thousands of years. Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing writes regarding sexual freedom in her book “The Golden Notebook”:
“(Sex is freedom), we say, yet the truth is (men) get erections when they’re with a woman they don’t give a damn about, but we don’t have an orgasm unless we love him. What’s free about that?”
Lessing’s account doesn’t take into account the politics of same-sex and transgendered relationships. Information about sex is important, but progressive sexual attitudes can be freeing. Trojan may want us to believe that the U.S. is sexually liberated, but the largely Puritanical response by Americans to such events as the Dominique Strauss-Kahn IMF sex scandal tell a decidedly different story.
A second opinion — and a third
The Frisky: http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-dealbreaker-really-bad-sex/
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-sex-survey-20110616,0,5426954.story
Shine from Yahoo!: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/sex/does-bad-sex-have-to-be-a-dealbreaker-2225169
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