Conversations about sex are happening more freely and frequently than they once did. But even as we become more comfortable discussing certain topics, there are others that still make some people a little bashful.
We asked sex educators to share the seemingly “weird” or “embarrassing” questions they actually get asked all the time. If you, like so many others, have wondered about some of these things, you’re definitely not alone ― so there’s no reason to be embarrassed.
Below, sex experts reveal seven common questions and their answers.
1. What comes out when I squirt? Is it just pee?
People have a lot of questions about squirting, and that’s understandable; even scientists are perplexed by it. First, a little bit of background: squirting occurs when fluid is expelled through the urethra — the same tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body — during sexual arousal or orgasm.
It is sometimes known as “female ejaculation,” although it can happen to anyone with a vagina. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, some experts believe squirting and female ejaculation are distinct processes. Because research on female pleasure is lacking, this is still being debated.
“The studies that have been done have been on really small samples,” said sexuality educator Susan Milstein, a clinical assistant professor in Texas A&M University’s department of health and kinesiology. “Here’s what we know: Both female ejaculate and squirting come from the urethra. Squirting tends to be quite a bit of fluid at one time, and chemically it’s pretty similar to watered-down urine. Female ejaculate tends to be less fluid and thicker.”
The thicker substance is thought to come from the Skene’s glands, also referred to as the “female prostate,” and contains high concentrations of prostatic-specific antigen (PSA), a protein also found in semen.
2. Am I masturbating too much?
Sex educator Francisco Ramirez often gets questions from people wanting to know if their masturbation habits are “normal.” He assures them that any frequency — whether it’s often, occasional or almost never — is OK.
“Unfortunately, long-standing shame around masturbation has led many of us to be somewhat skeptical, or uncomfortable, about masturbation, especially frequent masturbation or instances where solo sex is more common than partnered sex,” he said. “But there’s nothing wrong with masturbating multiple times a day.”
The caveat, however, is if your masturbation habits have begun to interfere with your day-to-day life: your relationships, your job or other responsibilities. If that’s the case, then it could be an issue worth addressing.
“But otherwise, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Ramirez added. “Besides feeling good, masturbation can improve our sleep, decrease our stress levels, relieve our menstrual cramps and enlighten us with unique insights into what feels pleasurable to each of us.”
3. Will my vibrator desensitize me?
A common masturbation question that sex educator Eva Bloom gets from people with vaginas: Can using my favorite sex toy cause a loss of sensitivity that will make it impossible to orgasm again?
Good news: The answer is no. Any clitoral numbness you might feel after a session with your vibrator is temporary. So let those good vibes roll.
“When you orgasm using a specific method repeated for an extended period of time — using a vibrator or a specific hand motion, for example — it can become temporarily more challenging to reach orgasm in other ways,” said Bloom, who runs the YouTube channel “What’s My Body Doing?” “To solve this, simply mix up your masturbation technique!”
If you do experience a lasting loss of genital sensitivity, your sex toy probably isn’t the culprit. Make an appointment with your OB-GYN to rule out any medical conditions. Stress, untreated mood disorders and substance use issues can also affect sexual functioning, OB-GYN Sherry Ross previously told Health.com.
4. Do my weird sexual fantasies mean there’s something wrong with me?
People have a tendency to read into their fantasies and judge themselves for what turns them on. Some may be interested in safely exploring taboo desires or activities with a consenting partner. But for most people, fantasies are just, well, fantasies, said clinical sexologist and sexuality educator Lawrence Siegel. Just because a person enjoys entertaining a certain erotic scenario in their head doesn’t mean they have an interest in acting on it in real life.
“Having fantasies, no matter how bizarre they may seem, are safe outlets and do not necessarily represent a real-life desire to engage in the behavior,” Siegel said. “Inside your head is for you and you alone.”
However, if the content of your fantasy is disturbing or feels intrusive to you, Siegel recommends talking to a sex therapist so it doesn’t lead to unwanted behavior.
“Even while engaging in sex play with a partner, if the fantasies are being used to increase enjoyment with the partner, there really is no issue,” he said. “If, however, the fantasies are becoming the focus with the partnered play and are actually preferred over the partner, this might be something to explore with a sex therapist.”
5. Is there anything I shouldn’t be putting in my butt?
When folks interested in exploring anal play ask Ramirez this question, he prefers to focus on what’s OK to put in your butthole first: sex toys that are specifically designed for anal insertion, a penis or a well-lubricated finger.
As for what you shouldn’t be inserting up there? Well, a lot of things, actually.
“Let’s start with most scented products or other chemical irritants, as well as lubricants with ‘numbing characteristics,’” Ramirez said. “It’s important to be able to feel sensations during anal penetration so we can be aware of pain, for example.”
And steer clear of sex toys or other household objects that are not intended for anal use — lest you make a visit to the emergency room.
“Sex toys designed for anal insertion will often have a flared base,” Ramirez said. “A flared base on an anal sex toy is a must — we don’t want anything getting lost inside!”
6. If I enjoy butt play, does that mean I’m gay?
This is a question Milstein often gets from straight men after a female partner fingers them anally and they discover they like the sensation.
“Physically speaking, it’s no surprise that they enjoyed it,” she said. “When I used to work with men who were about to get a digital rectal exam as part of a prostate cancer screening, I would warn them that there was a good chance they would get an erection during the exam. Why? Because the male G-spot is right by the prostate gland, and the easiest way to stimulate the prostate gland is by inserting something into the anus.”
As for the “gay” part: Deriving pleasure from a specific sexual activity doesn’t say anything about your sexual orientation.
“Our culture often associates anal play with being gay,” Milstein said. “Being gay is an orientation. It means that you find men attractive. Liking a finger in your butt doesn’t change who you’re attracted to, just the kinds of behaviors you enjoy.”
7. How can I make my penis bigger?
In a porn-dominated world that has made exceptionally large penises seem like the norm, it’s no wonder men are constantly searching for ways to increase their size.
But none of the countless products — from pills to creams to pumps — that claim to enlarge a penis can actually make it bigger.
“My advice is simple: Don’t do it! There is not a shred of scientific evidence to show any of these things are effective,” Siegel said. More invasive experimental procedures, like injections or surgeries, can be costly, come with considerable risk of complications and may offer only modest results.
Anxiety about penis size is common, but Siegel wishes more men would realize the average length is probably not as big as they think it is. (A 2015 study of more than 15,000 men found that the average erect penis is just over 5 inches).
And chances are your partner doesn’t care as much about the size as you think they do.
“It’s a cliche, to be sure, but the prevailing wisdom of it’s not the size but how you use it is still the standard,” Siegel said. “And, perhaps, the most important message for these men is simply: You are more than just a penis!”