Is It Normal? Am I?

Is It Normal? Am I?

As you may know, I have been answering questions about sex and relationships for more than 35 years. I have received questions from every possible demographic in all possible media – radio, TV, print, online, and from live audiences. I have written here before on a very common area of concern: “what is the right way?” (*see below for links): What is the right way to have a relationship?, What is the right way to have sex?, and What is the right way to be in order to have a good relationship and good sex? What is even more common than the One Right Way question but underlies it is some variation on the “Is what I think, do, have or am normal?”

If a person believes that s/he is not doing it the right way, whatever it is, that everyone else is doing it some other way, what the fear boils down to is that “I must be abnormal in some way.”

My immediate internal response to that is “So what? What if you are more something than others of your sex, your age, your education or geographical area, or less something? What’s the big deal? Everyone is unique in some way.”

If you know that the average height for men in America is around 5’9 1/2” or the average dress size for women in America is 14, you only have to look in the mirror to know immediately whether you are below or above average. Most people are, if average means the statistical halfway point. Also, whatever it is, may change somewhat as age or life circumstances do.

Often “Am I normal?” concerns have to do with one’s body: “One of these (feet, breasts, testicles) is larger than the other”. Anything that there are two of on the human body are not going to be exactly even. One of anything is likely to be different than the other.

Even more of concern about the human body are genitals. With men it’s penis size and shape, with women it’s labia size and shape. The answer to most people’s worries about this is your whatever is likely to be within the normal range for that part. The majority of penises are between 4” and 6.5” erect while the girth and angle of erection may vary. There is a larger variety in shape and color for women’s vulvas but they are all recognizable as a vulva by anyone who has ever looked at women’s genitals.

“Am I normal in my sexual fantasies, desires and practices?” often accompanies the “Am I normal?” anxiety. With the advent of the Internet it can be only a matter of minutes for most to find out that whatever it is that’s causing the distress is not unique to you, that there are others in the world that share your proclivities.

So some of the “Am I normal?” worries can be alleviated by education. Others may take more than just basic information and in those a psychotherapist or a men’s or women’s group might be helpful in normalizing concerns and in coming to terms with what is. Some things can be changed; others must be made the best of. Whatever you are, have, think about or do be assured you that you are not alone in the universe and that there are likely to be people who admire and desire whatever it is you are worried about. Does that knowledge help?

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