They say it takes 10,000 hours to truly become good at something.
According to the few studies that have been done on the topic, sex lasts an average of less than five minutes.
This just measures penetrative sex, though. So, obviously it’s a very limited - and heteronormative - view of the act. If we add on foreplay, clearly an important aspect of sex, we can bump that up to 30 minutes. That means you must have sex 20,000 times in order to become a “master.”
The average couple has sex once or twice a week.
Let’s be generous and make that an even twice a week. That means it takes 208 years of constant, average sexual activity before anyone can say that they, at least by this measure, have truly become a master of sex. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable in this field, but I am pretty sure I will never hit this mark and neither will you.
So ... is there anything we can do to get better at sex?
While this statistic can seem pretty defeating, there are measures to cut down that time to something a bit more reasonable or realistic. You don’t need 200 years of practice.
Forgive the bad pun, but you need to take matters into your own hands. Yes, for some people this includes masturbation. But it’s also much more than just that. Being curious and open about sexuality will do way more to improve your sex life than 10,000 hours - or even 100,000 hours - of doing the same thing over and over again.
We All Start Somewhere
When I first started having sex, as I assume is true for most people, the encounters I had were not particularly great. That's not to say they were terrible - sex was fun and exciting. But no one ever had much of an idea of what was going on and, oh boy, did it show. I had never masturbated, and my sexual education in high school pretty much came down to, “Don’t do it, sex is bad. If you have sex, you will become gross, unlovable, and probably die a horrible and painful death from some previously undiscovered STI.”
In college, I sought more sexual knowledge, much like many others do. Surprisingly enough, I found quite good information through a sexual education program put on by the campus ministry. Trust me, I was as surprised then as you probably are now, especially since it was a campus ministry in the middle of a region known as the “Bible Belt.”
After that, things improved, but I was still very far from anything that would constitute as a satisfying sexual life. This was, however, the first time that I realized the concept of unknown unknowns when it came to sexuality.
I had never sought out information about sex before. Just learning how much more there was out there was eye opening.
I still wasn’t particularly knowledgeable or interested in sex, but at least I knew there was more than penis plus vagina makes a baby.
The Sex Ed Journey
After years of thinking that sex probably wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and maybe it just wasn’t for me, I started to actively seek out information and the full and comprehensive sex ed that I never received when I was younger. I read books and articles. I found a sex-positive community in my city. I began an endless series of questions and conversations. I learned about different relationship styles, kink, anatomy (what I was taught in school was far from accurate or comprehensive), and helpful variations of things I already knew. Some things weren’t really for me. Some things I quite disliked, and that was fine.
At the end of the day, no matter if it was something that I was head over heels in love with or not, knowing what was out there gave me the ability to actively search for the things I wanted. Once I knew what my options were, I was able to find similar things and consequently, find the right path.
Sexual education isn’t something that you get once when you are 15 and then you are done forever. It’s a continuous process throughout your entire life. The point of sex and sexuality is not to try to be the best in the world, or to be more experienced or kinkier than everyone you know. The point is to be open and try new things and to have fun. Once you know what's out there, chances are, you'll never look back.