Talk sex and carry on
TV sexologist says communication is key to good sexual health among couples
What does it take to sex up Singaporeans?
A recent survey of 300 people showed that one in three Singaporeans has sex less than once a month.
According to Dr Colin Teo, President for the Society of Men's Health Singapore which conducted the study, the ideal frequency is once a week or once a fortnight. The head of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's Department of Urology points to stress, lack of privacy and sexual dysfunction as chief causes.
But US sexologist Logan Levkoff feels that lack of communication is the real reason for such poor stats.
In an interview yesterday over the phone from New York, she told The New Paper: "I believe that how people view sex is a result of many factors, such as the role models that they have grown up with.
"For example, if someone grows up with parents who are not affectionate people, they too, will learn not to be affectionate.
"And in some countries, cultural norms also dictate behaviour which presents certain challenges.
"My point is, what you don't do in public doesn't mean you don't do in private."
The 38-year-old added: "My advice to Singaporeans or anyone who feels like they can't talk about sex is to first talk to their partners about it.
"I'm a big believer in acknowledging what makes me uncomfortable.
"A lot of people must first start by admitting that they are not comfortable talking about sex, but tell their partners that because they care about them, they must talk about it.
"They have to tell their partners what they want and need. Prioritise sex and make time for it."
Dr Levkoff is one of four experts - including a psychologist, a sociologist and a spiritualist - who matched three pairs of strangers on the controversial US reality TV series Married At First Sight and had these couples wed at first sight, believing that they had created the perfect match.
Each episode then tracks the progress of the newlyweds.
Dr Levkoff's role was to determine each couple's sexual compatibility based on her interviews with them. The topics included sexual values, sexual health, relationships with role models while growing up and confidence about sex.
Married At First Sight airs from Wednesday to Friday at 10pm on Lifetime (StarHub Ch 514).
Dr Levkoff said the three couples faced challenges after marriage, such as the lack of physical attraction, trust and the lack of dependency on one another. The show chronicles how the experts handle these problems.
Internationally recognised as a leader in the field of human sexuality, Dr Levkoff is the author of three self-help books.
She received her PhD in human sexuality, marriage and family life education from New York University and her master's in human sexuality education from the University of Pennsylvania.
For over a decade, the faculty member of the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work's Sexual Health Certificate Program has designed and implemented sexuality education programmes, with her work with teens and parents being profiled in numerous publications.
She revealed that she had been giving sex advice since she was 15, back in the 90s when Aids and HIV were the biggest health scares.
After she witnessed her parents trying to explain sex to her and her sister using two bananas and two condoms, she began studying sex education and became a peer HIV/Aids educator in the North Shore University Hospital's Aids Education Program in Manhasset, New York.
Said Dr Levkoff, a married mother of two who became a certified sexologist at 23: "My patients range between seven and 90 years old so it tells you how important sex (and its education) is.
"Young or old, the questions are similar, the most common one being 'Am I abnormal'?
"My answer to this is that (for sexually active adults in committed relationships) there should be no rules when it comes to sex.
"We shouldn't wait for someone to magically turn us on. It's up to us to speak up."