V i v i a n  S o n g
Freelance writer
Freelance writer
Sexual healing

Published in the Toronto Sun and Sun Media papers May, 2009.

Part 2 in a 3-part series

When Isabelle Hemard was young, making love was just for fun.

She says she never really needed anyone. But now that she's 43, those days are long gone.

Hemard is a single, childless, divorcee looking for love. While she doesn't sit at home in Toronto belting out the single woman's anthem made popular by the movie Bridget Jones' Diary, she admits in a frank and refreshingly honest conversation that no, she doesn't want to live, all by herself.

"I've had my share of one-night stands -- now I'm interested in being emotionally attached. It's hard to find that."

According to 1,003 women polled in our Sun Media/Leger Marketing sex survey, Canadian women have had an average of seven sexual partners.

Respondents in Alberta are the most prolific, averaging 10 shagging partners, compared to the Maritimes which reported an average of three.

While there is no reason to doubt respondents weren't forthright in this anonymous online poll, Vancouver-based psychologist Marelize Swart advises women that when it comes to playing the numbers game in a relationship, honesty isn't always the best policy.

"Oh no, absolutely not," Swart answers breathlessly when asked if women should divulge the number of partners who've boinked them to their current man.

Little white lies are permissible here, she says.

"What is the reason you want to confess you had 60 partners? What is the goal? You have to think about the consequences. Besides I wonder if we ever tell the truth," Swart said.

Hemard credits her French background for her liberal views on sexuality. She voluntarily shares that she lost her virginity at the age of 14 while growing up in France and is comfortable in her skin.

"Sex has never been an issue, We're very open-minded."

That doesn't mean she's a sexual libertine. Like the 44% of women polled in the sex survey, Hemard is looking for "Mr. Right," a man who has had long-term, emotional relationships over "Mr. Right Now" with multiple notches carved in his gold-plated buckle belt.

Interestingly, our survey also revealed that when it comes to the mattress mambo, more women preferred their sex vanilla than rocky road, as the missionary position took the top spot over woman on top, doggy style, spooning and standing up.

But as most of us know -- specifically around 70% of us -- the missionary position is unlikely to ring our bells and make us hit the high note. The male and female parts just don't "align" that way, experts say.

"The missionary position is effective for men and gets them off efficiently," said Pega Ren, a sex therapist from Vancouver, B.C. "But it's not so good for women."?

But it's less the physical contact of this position that appeals to women and more the emotional connection it affords, Swart said.

"Most woman enjoy the missionary position because it's so intimate and honest. You can look lovingly into each others eyes and it's very close," she said. "I often encourage open-eyed sex to encourage a sense of intimacy."

While anatomically, more women experience orgasms "riding the bull," most women feel more vulnerable in this position as their bodies are on full display and they have to control the pace of the romp, explains Robin Milhausen, an associate professor and sexologist at the University of Guelph.

"It's the most fulfilling sexually but also the most risky," she said. "It takes a very confident woman to choose that position."

In Canada, the more sexually-confident women are those under the age of 35 and Quebecers, about one-quarter of both groups preferring to be on top.

A further analysis of the same survey question found women who are dissatisfied with their sex life are more likely to prefer the missionary position, than those who reported they were satisfied.

"If you have the same meal all the time, even if it is a good meal, you won't look forward to it for very long," Ren said.

"If there's not much experimentation going on, sex will get boring."

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