PIV sx IS normal sx

Myth-busting Monday:  PIV1 sex is “normal”, or some related qualifiers, such as  “satisfying” or “what most people want”.


Maybe?  But really, I am more comfortable stating a blanket no (I prefer less assumptions and challenging this one leads to more communication and consideration of options…keep reading).


Everyone is entitled to their own experience and a diversity of wants2.  However, the cultural emphasis on “real” sex as being only PIV or P.in.something, is so limiting that for some, it leads to mediocre, uncreative, rote sex (ie sex not worth desiring3).


Penis centric sex is emphasized, in part, as a cultural remnant of bias and privilege, based on who’s lived experience was idealized and universalized as well as who was doing the defining of “normal” (historically, mental health and sexological research was constructed around cis/hetero/white men – those with enough financial and educational backing to do the asking, studying, and critiquing/pathologizing of others).


This type of sex, PIV-centric, is what most of us have experienced in encounters (assuming the people under consideration have a penis or are interacting with someone that does). This is also the experience that is often represented in media, adult-oriented or otherwise (albeit through indirect messaging).


But there are so many other options out there, even for penis-havers.  Tantric, energetic, sensual, kinky, non-gential, play/toy, and creative-based.  Our imagination is the limit, so why are we so stuck in the old way of doing things?4


The focus on penetration is problematic, as those with vulvas often cannot orgasm from penetration alone, so they miss out on some of the pleasure of an experience.  Further, some individuals might not like penetration (for a variety of reasons, from pain, trauma, disability, or ….they just don’t). The focus and centering of the penis leaves behind those without that organ and also puts a lot of performative pressure on those with one.


So what do we need to do?  If it isn’t working for you, de-center PIV as being the goal, the only, the real, The sex.  If you are a creator, craft content with additional experiences and views (oh, how I wish I had the financial cushion to write and craft adult entertainment that challenged this.  Even ethical and feminist porn falls short here.  Please, someone with money, step up). Learn from trained sexuality educators, counselors, and therapists.  Educate others – write about it, talk about it to friends, communicate with sexual partners and challenge them to step outside of presumptive (re: noncommunicative), normative (and often mediocre) sex.


Good luck to us all on our journeys of self-discovery and myth-busting.


  1. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/love-sex/sex/a18192164/cant-orgasm-penetration/ This article defines PIV and also discusses why/how it can still be pleasurable even if the person being penetrated does not orgasm.
  2. Sex positivity is the direction we are all moving toward as a culture. This means that we acknowledge and accept human diversity of practices. We don’t yuck someone else’s yum – if a certain practice works for you, great.  My point here is that we often center a certain experience or practice as opposed to  tapping into personal desires.
  3. Read more about “low desire” here: http://ignitewell-being.com/low-desire-means-there-is-something-wrong-with-you/ 
  4. http://ignitewell-being.com/queer-up-your-sx/


If you are interested in learning about non PIV practices for your encounters:on 12/15/21, we have a Toys For Santa workshop to discuss toys for penis-havers – sign up by emailing me. And stay tuned for upcoming, related workshop offerings for 2022.




The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT), RYT500, sexuality counselor and educator (she/her/they); copyright protected, please cite accordingly.  The picture is from Pexels.


For more offerings that support sexual well-being, please see: http://ignitewell-being.com/events-and-services-summary/   For more information on my offerings or to work with me directly, please email ignitewellbeing.naperville@gmail.com


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