Men and women alike often insist that a person's arousing body parts are not the most vital factors for couples when it comes to engaging in pleasurable, meaningful sex. After all, they point to other factors that are in their control, such as ability, confidence and feelings of love.
But according to a newly published review of human anatomy studies, physical attributes may have a greater influence over the sexual experience than previously thought.
"Sexual experiences are assumed to be in your control based on your attitude: your confidence, your ability to trust, your openness," the review's lead author, Elizabeth Emhardt, said in a press release, before following with this hypothesis: "What if variations in sexual anatomy actually set the foundation for differences in sexual experience, and we aren't in control of our sexual experiences as much as we once thought?"
It's common for many to measure pleasurable sex by using orgasms as a guide. And past studies have shown the ways that our anatomy -- our physical composition -- affects the number and quality of our orgasms. This recent review may reveal how the differences in people's sex organs lead to different levels of satisfaction. While studies have shown how our body parts and overall anatomy plays a role in poor sex, this review reveals how anatomy could also explain why some people have pleasurable, rewarding sex.
For men, the body's nervous system -- including both "at rest," or parasympathetic system, and the "fight or flight" sympathetic system -- plays the greatest role in erections and ejaculations. The review found that optimal sex function for men lies, therefore, in a balance between these two nervous systems.
Past studies have pointed to penis size as another important factor for sexual satisfaction in men.
“Many men live lives of misery and shame, or undergo harmful and unproven interventions, due to a false belief they are abnormal," Dr. Gordon Meir, said the co-author of one study.
The review found that females especially rely on physical anatomy for sexual satisfaction, with the most important factors listed as the location of the clitoris and the angle the penis enters the vagina.
It is important to find the causes of sexual satisfaction in both men and women, even if the causes, such as physical anatomy, are out of the person's control.
The review also found that frequent sex and orgasms meant better mental health, lower blood pressure and even greater life expectancy. Thus, in determining that anatomy really does play a major role in sexual satisfaction, the review opens the way for therapeutic, as well as other treatments, to help people with different anatomies deal with their differences.