Here at Health, we're always looking at new studies on sex and reaching out to experts for their insight on how to make things healthier and hotter between the sheets. Sometimes, however, our research into the topic turns up some pretty weird stuff. Not weird in a bad way, of course—more like weird as in surprising, funny, and OMG I had no effing idea.
In the interest of keeping you totally informed about sex, love, attraction, and sexual health, we're sharing some of the most who knew? sex facts we've ever come across. Use these bits of sexual info to boost your bedroom knowledge and pleasure.
The average sex session goes for 100 to 500 thrusts
Ever been in the middle of a booty session and thought, Hmm, I wonder how many thrusts that was? Yeah, neither have we. But apparently someone has, because researchers took the time to calculate that intercourse typically lasts 100 to 500 thrusts, according to a report in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
So if that's how long sex lasts in thrusts, how long does it go for in, well, minutes? A 2017 survey of 3,836 people conducted by UK-based dating website SauceyDates.com found that couples in the United States stay in the game for about 17 minutes and 5 seconds. (That’s just intercourse, not foreplay.) It might seem strange to time how long you last between the sheets, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see how you stack up!
You can orgasm in your sleep
Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be conscious to hit that high note. “Some women can have an orgasm during an erotic dream while sleeping,” ob-gyn Sherry Ross, MD previously told Health. How's that? Even though no physical stimulation is going on, blood flow to the genitals during a sexy dream can still increase like it does during actual sex—and that boost in blood flow can lead to orgasm.
You’re also in a state of deep relaxation when you’re in dreamland, and with no anxiety or stress interfering with the action, it's easier to reach that big O. “Orgasm exists in our minds just as much as it does in the clitoris or any other part of our bodies," Holly Richmond, PhD, somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist, previously told Health.
The female orgasm lasts three times longer the male orgasm
What can we say, women have some pretty serious orgasmic advantages in the bedroom. First of all, the typical female orgasm lasts about 20 seconds, Michael Reitano, MD, physician in residence at men’s health company Roman, previously told Health. That’s more than three times longer than the male experience, which clocks in at just six seconds. Women also have the upper hand when it comes to being able to have multiple orgasms and G-spot orgasms. Ah, it’s great to be a woman!
People love to think about Brad Pitt when they masturbate
Sex toy company TENGA surveyed 13,000 people between ages 18 and 74 across the world and asked which celebs they think about while they’re under the sheets solo. Beyoncé made the top five list for most-masturbated-to female celebs (obviously), along with Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, and Kylie Jenner. For the men people fantasized about, the list consisted of Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Cruise, and Chris Pratt. Did your celeb crush make the cut?
The clitoris is basically a tiny penis
When you’re just a little embryo, the clitoris actually develops from the same tissue as the penis. “We all have the same parts, it just depends on what hormones we have in our bodies that influence male versus female part development,” Natalya Lopushnyan, MD, urologist at Greater Boston Urology, previously told Health. When testosterone is released in a male embryo, that sexual tissue grows to become a penis. Without testosterone, that same tissue forms the clitoris.
The tip of the clitoris shows some resemblance to the tip of the penis; they’re both super sensitive and function in a similar way. “When a woman gets excited, the clitoris becomes larger and gets filled with blood,” Lopushnyan said.
Post-sex sadness is a real thing
Have you ever cried after sex, even really good sex? If the answer is yes, you might be relieved to hear that this actually is very common, and there’s even a name for it. Post-coital dysphoria (PCD) is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, anger, and distress after sex, most likely after orgasm, Ian Kerner, PhD, certified sex therapist, previously told Health. PCD can even happen after masturbating.
There isn’t enough research on PCD to know exactly why it occurs, but Kerner believes it has to do with surges in certain hormones. It can also come from past trauma stemming from a prior sexual assault. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the post-sex blues, seeing a therapist might be able to help you get to the bottom of it.
A strong sense of smell makes you more orgasmic
A small study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that people with more perceptive noses also had better sexual experiences. Women who had a strong sensitivity to odors also reported enjoying more orgasms than women who whose noses weren't as sharp.
The researchers found that sense of smell wasn’t necessarily linked to sexual desire or performance in the bedroom. But there was a positive correlation between a heightened sense of smell and having more pleasurable sex as well as more frequent orgasms. This suggests that body odors, like vaginal fluids and sweat, can enhance sexual experience.
You really can turn a guy on with your voice
A 2014 study by Albright University found that women were able to consciously manipulate their voices, while counting from one to 10, to sound more attractive. (When the guys in the study tried to do the same, they actually came off sounding less attractive. Sorry dudes.)
What kind of voice change makes a woman sound sexier? A deep, breathy voice, according to the researchers. Men are attracted to this kind of pitch not because they prefer women with lower voices but because when a woman drops her voice, she’s signaling she’s interested—a hint men certainly aren’t blind to.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter