- Dr. Peter Stahl is the senior vice president of men’s sexual health and urology at Hims & Hers.
- He says men frequently worry about how much sex they are — or aren’t — having.
- This is Stahl’s story, as told to Kelly Burch.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Peter Stahl. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Throughout my training as a urologist and years of working in men’s sexual health, there’s a topic that comes up again and again: Men want to know whether they’re having a “normal” amount of sex.
There’s lots of pressure, especially on men, to have what they perceive as a typical sex life. There’s an idea that people should be having lots of sex and certain types of sex. If they’re not, that can result in disappointment and stress, which can kill a libido.
That’s why it’s so important for people to know that there is no normal.
I’m glad to have data to point patients to
Of course, I can explain that again and again — but many of my patients didn’t believe me. That’s why I was excited to look at the results from a Hims & Hers survey on the sex habits and perspectives of Americans. Over 5,000 people participated in the 2022 survey.
As a medical doctor, I read lots of research. And I saw this report as a tool to help my patients. It’s one thing to say there’s no normal, and there’s another thing to follow that up immediately with data points.
For example, 75% of respondents said they thought other people had sex more than once a week, but only 54% of respondents reported actually having sex that often. Only 22% of respondents said that more sex would improve their sex lives.
All of this lends credibility to the message I’m trying to get across: There is no normal, and you don’t have to worry about comparisons.
A good sex life is one you’re happy with
A good sex life is one where both partners are happy, satisfied, and communicating openly. What that means for each person is extremely individualized. I know couples who have sex once a month and feel connected and fulfilled. For others, the physical connection of sex is integral to their week-to-week interactions as a couple. Some couples can’t have penetrative sex but are satisfied with other types of play.
Most of the time my patients know when they’re out of sync with their partners sexually. They might not know why, or how to fix it, but they realize something is wrong.
That’s where communication comes in. I’ve learned that you can’t separate the physical from the psychological when it comes to sex. As a urologist, I can treat a man’s erectile dysfunction medically — but at the same time, I’m going to refer him to other resources like sex therapy.
I would like all my patients to worry less about the sex others are having. Instead, they should focus on creating their own positive sex life: one where they feel actualized, happy with the sex they’re having, and connected to their partner if they have one.