Sex is not the same as sitting for the ‘10-year series’

Posted On: May 19, 2010

This article first appeared on The Online Citizen where I am a contributor.

I tell my clients that sex is not the same as sitting for the ‘10-year series‘. For those who don’t know, the 10-year series is a colloquial term unique to Singapore where students refer to official compilation books of examination papers for the past years for the GCE N-levels, O-levels and A-levels, approved by the Ministry of Education and the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, respectively.

One should not compare sex with sitting for a school examination, but I am just about to. When you sit for an exam, there is a model answer. We are talking about absolutes – you are either right or wrong. There is a set of perfect answers and the goal is to get a hundred out of a hundred. You could do very well, well, pass or fail.

And you have guessed what I am going to say: Sex is not about that. There are no absolutes when it comes to sex. There is no right or wrong. There is rarely, if ever, a perfect lovemaking session. Sure you can have a great, fantastic, even mind-blowing lovemaking session, but it might never be perfect.

Why? Because we are all unique individuals who have different bodies, sexual responses, and preferences which (gasp!) might change on a day-to-day basis depending on many factors. These might include our stress, tiredness or fitness levels; general day at work; and even hormonal levels. Hence what you did right the last month, last week or even one day before, might not feel as good for your partner the next time you do it.

To get closer to a 9.99 out of 10 from a sexual experience, communicating openly with your partner helps; providing feedback is definitely encouraged, not to mention learning new sexual techniques through reading a book, watching an online video, or attending a workshop. Coincidentally, I believe I am the only person teaching sexual techniques in Singapore. The ladies who have attended these workshops have expressed surprise at the number of different ways to pleasure the male anatomy. Indeed, the ways one can pleasure sexually are indefinite.

So if sex is not the same as sitting for the 10-year series and there is no definitive answer, why do I get asked over and over again: Is it normal to desire/ want/ have sex X number of times a day? Is it common to do Y? What is the best way to get him or her to achieve the big ‘O’?

We are all different. There is no best way. What works with person A you were intimate with might not work for person B. Even with the same person, the experience will feel different — all things being equal — on a different day. The best way is what works for you and the person you are with. Ask, try, evaluate, then try again.

And remember, chill out – you are not sitting for an exam.


By Dr. Martha Lee, Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. A certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality, she provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops, and speaks at public events. For more information, please visit or email

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