In regards to sex there’s one question I get a LOT. The specific details vary a great deal from one person to the next, the underlying query is the same:
Am I normal?
The specifics of my answer will be different depending on the situation but my general opinion regarding sex, normalcy and whether the description applies to is more or less standard:
No. You are NOT normal.
I say that because as far I as can tell there no “normal” when it comes to sex. I have yet to learn of a sexual desire, appetite, aversion or practice that is truly universal or unique. To put it another way, not everyone is into the same sexual stuff as you. But whatever it is you are into sexually, you aren’t the only one. So, no I don’t think you’re normal, I don’t think that I’m normal and when it comes to sex I don’t even know what “normal” means.
I do; however, think it’s pretty normal to worry about being normal. We tend to check out the people around us and compare their behaviour to our own as a way of gauging what’s acceptable. We’re social, tribal kind of creatures. We influence one another. We seek each other’s approval and acceptance. I’m not an anthropologist, behavioural scientist or any other kind of “why human beings do stuff” expert. But I suspect one’s odds of surviving and thriving is a least a little bit better if they learn how to fit in with the folks around them
I think it’s also normal that some of us feel insecure when we don’t see others doing what we’re doing. For many of us, sexual acts happen privately and there are few opportunites to actually see how other people have sex. Yes, there’s porn but what you see on camera isn’t necessarily representative of your sexuality in-real-life. Which isn’t to say that we’d all feel better about ourselves if everyone started doing it in public. But I do think there’s a lot of sexual diversity happening behind closed doors. We just don’t see much of it.
What we do see a lot of is the sort of mass-market, media-fueled version of sexuality, which is kind of too bad because it represents a pretty narrow subset of sexual expression. It’s like “Here are six kinds of people and six sexual acts.” We see those types of people doing those types of things over and over again and it begins to seem like that is All Of Sex. It may seem to some of us, that if we look, feel or act differently, we’re doing sex wrong or there’s something wrong with us.
In our society certain sexual acts, certain sexual desires and sex between certain types of people are normalized. But that doesn’t make them normal. It doesn’t mean that that’s the type of sex that everyone else wants or has. It doesn’t mean that you should be having that type of sex. It doesn’t even mean that you have to have or want sex at all.
I get why people ask, “Am I normal”? I ask myself that question all the time. But ultimately I don’t know if “Am I normal?” matters as much “How do I feel?” Are my sexual experiences pleasurable? Do I feel safe, healthy and happy? Am I taking care of my sexual partner(s)? Is this working for me?
The breadth of human sexual experience and expression is too varied or standard practices. None of us is normal…which in a weird way means that we all are. So to answer the question, “Am I normal?” is that focusing on being normal is less important than honouring what’s right for you.