Sex and Relationships

Sexual Dysfunction

Answers to questions about sex therapy and sexuality

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Answer page #8

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8/4/98 Q: (paraphrased from 2 e-mails) I am a grad student in Psychology and I am unsure about my attraction to other males. If I am homosexual, can it be cured?

A: I am conflicted about answering your emails because I wish not to diminish any motivation you might have to sort this out in person with a sex therapist. The volume of your information raises more questions than it answers, and I am a slow typist....

Homosexuality was declassified as a "mental illness" by the joint commission of the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations after decades of vigorous attempts to "cure" homosexuality (and total failure).

I take the position that there are three primary sexual orientations -- homosexual, heterosexual, and pedophile. But I also embrace Freud's assertion that we are born pan sexual and that society channels our behavior. Bisexual men are really no different from "purely straight" guys from the perspective of being attracted to other people and acting on it. In a committed monogamous relationship, the bi guy is attracted to guys and gals, where the straight guy is attracted only to gals. If the relationship commitment is to monogamy, each guy can fantasize but not touch. They BOTH commit to their partner and agree to not have sex with others.

My opinion is that you are in some torment and that your quality of life would be remarkably improved by competent sex therapy. Check with a clinical psych professor to see if such therapy is available for graduate students.

Please let me know what happens.


8/4/98 Q: Dear Doc, > When my boyfriend and I make love he does not act like he enjoys sex. It takes him a long time to have an orgasm that is when he has one. I know that I know how to satisfy a man because I have been told by several of my past partners that I was the best they ever had. He also says that sometimes he does not feel me especially when I am very lubricated. Also he never has had an orgasm when I am performing oral sex on him. I talked to him about this and he says he has never been able to have an orgasm when anyone has performed oral sex on him. He is 27 years old (my age is 34 and very attractive ,I turn heads everywhere I go so it is not like I am not desireable) and we have gone 10 days without sex and I tried to initiate sex with him just about every day , he just refused and said he was to tired. However, I discovered he was on the internet every minute I was away from the house looking at hardcore porn (mainly nude teenagers). I have talked about all of this with him and he says he is satisfied with his sex life and if he is not worrying about him not having orgasms all the time or any of his other problems then I should not worry about them either. Maybe you could help me understand what is going on with him because it is making me feel very inadequate. Thank You >

A: I am literally fascinated that you question your adequacy when you say that former lovers say you're the best they had, and that you "turn heads" everywhere you go.

How easily we accept differences in height and hair color but not in capacity for intimacy and frequency of sexual contact. This man has a limited ability to be intimate and uninhibited, and his behavior suggests that he prefers to be sexual with a partner much less often than you do. That does not make him a "bad person" -- that makes him different from you and potentially incompatible.

There is never a "perfect" relationship; there are always trade-offs and negotiation. If you two are "close enough", fine. If not, then EACH of you would have a better quality of life with another partner!

Please tell me what you think.


8/4/98 Q: The disguised question is whether her guy is bisexual or just curious or having a fantasy. They have a long distance relationship, both are around 40 years of age, and she signed into a gay chat room under an assumed name, and he asked her if she (pretending to be a guy) would be sexual with him ... said he wanted to know what it was like to suck a man ... So she feels bad about the deception, but asks the Sexdoc's opinion about confronting him with what she did.

All of the above.

We are born pan sexual (all sexed) and socialization steers us toward heterosexuality. In the dark a man doesn't know the gender of the mouth on his penis, nor a woman the gender of the tongue on her clitoris.

Men and women are curious about same-gender sexual contact and many people experiment. The "problem" here is his lack of honesty. If he informed you that he was curious and planned to experiment with sex with a man, you could decide whether you wanted to wait or terminate your participation in a relationship with him. You're a "consumer" who is being lied to.

I suggest that you confront him with what you did (in the chat room) and ask what his plans are, so you can decide what your plans are. If that confrontation destroys the relationship, I suggest that you thank him for clarifying his honesty and respect for you this early in the relationship and before it got complicated by legalities such as marriage, and that you intend to search for a more honest person.


8/4/98 Q: Dear Doc, > My girlfriend and I want to include the use of a dildo as part of our sexual >activities, but we are only 18 and are still living with our parents. We >don't want our parents to find a dildo in our rooms and we are too embarrassed >to purchase one in a shop. We can't order through the mail because we are >scared our parents might find out. So I was wondering if it's okay to >substitute a dildo with a small cucumber wrapped with a condom? Will it feel >the same, and is it safe? I have never heard of anybody trying this method >and i am really tempted to try it. Please give me your feedback ASAP. Thanks >alot. > >

A: Dear Readers: This is one of those questions that is so wonderful it PROVES that I don't make the questions up!

Yes, you can use prectically anything that won't break or scratch. Whatever you use make sure that it isn't sharp enough to puncture delicate tissues internally. I suggest a piece of BUBBLE PAK -- the plastic sheets of packing material that has little pillows of air. Experiment. Roll it as tightly as you can to the desired diameter, then cut length and width. While one of you holds it tightly, the other can install rubber bands at each end and as many in the middle as necessary to keep a uniform shape. Cover that with a condom and you've got a safe, soft, comfortable, and temperature-neutral (cheap) dildo!

Use your imagination and try different things, but YES DO cover them with a condom and make sure the recipient is lubricated enough. Have Fun!

I'd appreciate hearing from you about what you do with this information, and other readers are invited to contribute their suggestions. What have other people tried? (Besides hot dogs.)


8/4/98 Q: Dear Doctor, >I have been dating my boyfriend for about 3 months now and we have a >sexual relationship.(All safe of course) And here in the last month or >so we have been trying new things. One is role playing. We put our >selves in different situations like being just friends and trying to >tell eachother that we like eachother, things along that line. My >question is, is that normal? Would that be considered "Spicing up a >relationship"? It's not that we're bored with eachother, we just like to >put on new roles. >Sincerely, >Curious girl > >

A: Dear Curious Girl,

That's called FUN! There are books written on the subject to help people feel comfortable doing that!

Go wild with your fantasies, and make them varied: Biker and hitchhiker, Private school headmistress (master) and the naughty school boy (girl), doctor and patient, pilot and flight attendant -- by the way, don't assume gender for these -- either of you can be either role. . ENJOY!


8/4/98 Q: Dear Dr. Fitz: Someone told me that it is dangerous blowing air into the vagina. Is this true? What can happen? My husband has never done it, but I would like to know the facts. > > thanks > > IF > > >

A: YES IT IS DANGEROUS! Don't ever let anyone do it. The "air" can pass through internal membranes into the circulatory system and cause an air embolism -- a "ball" of air -- that can make your heart valves lose hydraulic suction and fibrillate. Then you die from lack of oxygen to the brain.

Clear enough?


8/4/98 Q: I had unprotected sex with a woman and now I hear that she has had >Herpes for some time now. I plan on confronting her, but my question >is: how long do I have to wait before I can be tested to see if I'm >o.k., and can my family Dr. perform the test(s)? > >Thanks! >Mark

A: Dear Mark:

I have bad news. There is no test for herpes. The only way you'll know if you have it is if you have an outbreak. Stress brings on outbreaks; the stress of wondering if you have herpes might precipitate an outbreak.

I strongly suggest that you go to a library to look at pictures of what an outbreak looks like.

You might not have it or it could be in your spinal cord, dormant (I know, that's a disgusting thought), and not appear for years. And, you could have contracted it from another partner years ago, maybe even "JUST" orally, and it hasn't shown up yet.

Sorry about that.


8/4/98 Q: >My girlfriend and I have been dating for over a year and have been >sexually active for six months. We were both each other's first. My >girlfriend has never had an orgasm. I have tried everything to bring her >to climax yet nothing works. I asked her if she has ever masturbated >before and she told me she tried once but can't understand how she could >turn herself on. We are very open in our relationship and can talk about >anything. I have asked her to try to masturbate so she could bring >herself to orgasm and then teach me how to but I don't think she will >gather up the courage to do so. Is there anything else I can do to help >convince her to try masturbation or techniques I can do in bed to bring >her to climax. I have tried direct clitoral contact but she pulls back >and says it's too much sensation. Please help me please her. > > >

A: Get her a copy of Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D.'s book "For Yourself" and tell her to read it page by page, in order, and to do every exercise even if she thinks it's too easy.

Let me know what happens.


7/30/98 Q: >Dear Sex Doc: > I am a 19 year old female and have been having sexual intercourse with my 21 >year old boyfriend for over a year now. When we first had sex, we were both >virgins and we both have not had sex with anyone else since then. I have a >few problems, or questions, though. First, I experience a sharp pain which >lasts for only a few seconds when he enters me during sex. This happens every >time we have sex. Is this a problem? Also, when he exits me after he >ejaculates, I receive a cramping sensation in my abdomen, again for a few >seconds. I rarely achieve orgasm, but when I do I do not experience these >pains, only when I don't achieve an orgasm. Could these problems be caused >because my boyfriend is too large for me? > Also, I have not had the desire to actually participate in sex since before >I had sex with my boyfriend. In the beginning, the desire was there, but now >it is completely lacking. Is there anything I can do to create desire for >myself? > I would appreciate any help you can provide me. Thank you very much. >Sincerely, >Elizabeth > >

A: Dear Elizabeth:

If your body is ready for penetration (after lubrication your vagina "tents" -- expands internally), and you are lubricated enough, and your boyfriend enters you -- read "dilates your introitus" (the opening into the vagina) -- SLOWLY, you should experience no discomfort. Experiment. If you do all that and you still have the pain, please consult your OB-GYN.

Desire is very complicated. If you have discomfort-free intercourse and other pleasureable sexual sensations, we expect desire to be there. Deal with the pain matter first. If you have pain-free sex for a month and your desire still hasn't returned, please consult a sex therapist.

Thanks for a great question -- I know many other readers will be interested.


7/30/98 Q: >Dear Dr. Fitz, > > I was so happy to find your web page and that you actually answer >questions! Thank you for being there. > > The background to my problem is as follows: I am 48 and my boyfriend is >47. We have been living together for a year now. This is a rekindling of >an old relationship, we were in relationship for about 3 years ten years >back, and lived together for about a year then. We have remained friends >all this time and have maintained contact. We began living together this >time about three months after he ended a not great relationship with >another women in a very traumatic way. He loved the last woman very much >but she was much younger than him (29) and quite unhealthy (lied a lot >etc.) He feels he is still not over this woman and states that he >believes he is very slow to heal emotionally. He claims he has always >loved me and loves me deeply still. > > The problem is that he is no longer very interested in having sex with >me. He says he isn't interested in sex period anymore. We have sex about >once a week, and it is very perfunctory, i.e.. no foreplay, not much >deep kissing, not much communication. He finds this satisfactory, I do >not. I am willing to be patient. I am reading books on how to excite men >sexually (typical female approach!), he tolerates my experimentation but >isn't ever very excited by it. I enjoy touching him and loving him, we >cuddle a lot and he is affectionate lots but it rarely escalates to >having sex. Although he had sex with his previous partner about every >second night, he says he felt forced to and developed resentment about >it. I am careful not to pressure him, I want us to redevelop a >satisfying and spontaneous sexual relationship. However, I spend a lot >of time being sexually frustrated and frustrated with the problem in >general. > > We have of conversations about sex and love. It's pretty clear to me >that he separates the two, while I, again a typical woman, do not. >I could be much more patient about this problem except for one major >glitch, and that is that he spends about one hour every day looking at >hard-core pornography on the internet. I really don't buy that he isn't >interested in sex if he is looking at pornography daily, and, at least >some of the time I'm sure, masturbating. > > I find this a complicated problem, I'm not sure what is affecting what. >I get very upset about his watching pornography because I judge it as >very ugly and totally lacking in love. But mainly I get upset about it >because he is interested in it and not in me. I am quite open to having >sex in different ways and positions or whatever, but inspite of watching >people on the net having sex standing on their heads in weird and wild >contortions, he sticks pretty much to straight and conventional >positions. > > I personally feel that watching those hard young bodies daily (he likes >the teenage sites) colors how he sees me. I am carrying around about 10 >extra pounds which I am trying to lose. He says my weight isn't a >factor, I don't believe him. > > So, to try to summarize, this man has been hurt a lot by women and has >a lot of anger. He admits he hasn't healed emotionally. In spite of >this, he feels he loves me and wants to be in this relationship with me. >He believes with time, his ability to be emotionally more available and >more interested sexually will return. > > I believe that he is "content" with me but there is no passion there >which I deeply resent. I believe that his lack of passion is exacerbated >by his relationship with pornography on the internet. > > I would like to know what clinical studies show about the effect of >pornography on relationships. I would also love to hear your experience >with this problem and if you have any advice for me. > > Thank you so much for your time! > >Susan > >

A: Dear Susan,

His intra-psychic problem is causing the two of you interpersonal problems. Please do not embrace the illusion that you can solve this problem without outside help. He has been wounded by this former woman and for better or worse he's taking it out on you. You can't be the solution because you are symbolically (as a woman - significant other) part of the problem.

In the interest of time (yours in life) I strongly suggest that you seek professional help. And keep in mind that the longer this goes on as status quo, the longer it will take in therapy to fix it.

Please let me know what happens.


7/30/98 Q:>Dear Sexdoc, > > I just wanted to know if a guy's "pre-cum" has any sperm in it. >My boyfriend and I have been having intercourse using condoms for the >past few weeks, but one night we did it without one. He pulled out >before he orgasmed, but he's pretty sure he left some pre-cum in me. >I'm not worried about disease as much as I am getting pregnant, I just >wanted to know if there was any signifigant reason to worry. Thank you >for listening. > > Hope >


There are sperm in the clear solution that lubricates the urethra (wouldn't want to damage the sperm) and neutralizes the traces of uric acid left there. That's why there's the joke:

"What do you call people who practise "Coitus Interruptus" (the medical term for withdrawing before orgasm)"?

Answer: "PARENTS"

Sorry but you have reason to worry.


: Dear Doc: I've been married 10 years. I think our sex life is fine, I feel and think he disagrees. We are faithful, infidelity isn't an issue. It's pornography. Shortly after the birth of our son, (a few years ago) I discovered he had been making 1-900 calls, hence the porno junk-mail. I confronted him expressing my feelings of disparity. He apologized and said it wouldn't happen again (it hasn't) Thru the course of our marriage he has hidden tapes and magazines thinking I don't know. He knows I don't like pornography. I have no use for it and think it's all just unrealistically insipid. When confronted, he has apologized and said he'll stop bringing it home. His rebuttal: "I'm just looking for something different for us to try" PLEASE! Every movie is the same and you can only re-write the same sexual fantasy so many times. It's all fake! He'll lay low for awhile, then start again. I find myself constantly checking his hiding spots, to see what kind of new fantasy crap he's got now. . then feel guilty and distrustful for doing it and try justifying it by thinking "he promised me. " Just yesterday I found he's getting into internet porn. This bothers me more because of our children. This entire issue makes me feel totally inadequate, unattractive and undesirable. I've been treated for depression, and this doesn't help. I'm an attractive blonde, blue-eyed woman. I am not a Holy roller wanting all porno burned. I'm not a nagging bitch that "won't leave him alone". Just a woman married to a wonderful man that wishes it would stop. I've tried ignoring it and letting it be, but can't. It really hurts me, but what hurts more are the broken promises. Why does he feel the need to live in Porno Fantasy Land? Maybe I'm the one with the problem. Any suggestions? Thanks, D.M.

A:  Dear D.M.: I am reminded of the retort by an attractive woman in therapy when her husband volunteered, with some embarrassment, that he admired certain anatomical aspects of women on the street. She said "Honey, I don't care where you get your appetite, so long as you eat all your meals at home."

At the risk of being unpopular, I ask you and all readers to pause for a moment to consider "Where is the harm?" There is "harm" in the expense of 1-900 calls, but if you each have discretionery spending money, better it is spent from home on the phone than in person, with the risk of disease and the destruction to the integrity of the marriage.

You say it started "shortly after the birth of our son". I speculate that your sex life diminished and/or that some of the time and attention you used to spend on your husband started to be spent on your son (as it should have been!). Many men have difficulty with adjusting to displacement by a helpless and demanding infant. You can't legislate his thoughts or fantasies, and demanding that he not look at tapes or magazines will only frustrate his need for sexual stimulation -- causing him either to resent you for it or to search for more furtive ways he can satisfy his interest without you finding out about it. The internet porn concerns me most of all because of the police "sting" operations that entrap people not trafficing in the sale of pornography.

I encourage you to investigate why this makes you feel totally inadequate, unattractive and undesirable! Has he threatened to leave you for a magazine or a tape? You can provide him with all the variety in the world within the duality of your relationship, but you cannot provide variety in partners. For centuries it has been known that men are stimulated by (dare I say genetically pre-disposed to?) visual depictions of sex, and that women are eroticized by romantic, abstract implications. That you have no use for it and consider it all unrealistically insipid confirms your genetic predisposition. That your husband is internally rewarded (otherwise he wouldn't do it) by looking at tapes and magazines speaks to his response to the material and to his apparent satisfaction with only the fantasy of other women. Thank God he's alive! That fidelity is not an issue speaks to his integrity.

Pro-actively my suggestions are that you sit down together, acknowledge that you are diffeent people; re-affirm your mutual conviction to be sexually monogamous with each other; review your respective sexual appetites; agree on how often you will be sexual with each other; agree that there is no withdrawal from the marriage if and when each of you is sexual by yourself, whether by looking, touching yourself, or otherwise achieving an orgasm; and establishing a signal system for privacy. If you want to spend your private time on the phone or reading a romance novel while taking a bubble bath, so be it. If he wants to spend his private time in the bedroom with tapes, magazines, and kleenex, that's his prerogative.

If you can work this out together to your honest mutual satisfaction, great! If not, please, for your sake and the sake of your quality of life, see a therapist!

As always, the author of this question and all other readers are invited to comment.

One day later "D.M." writes back:

Dear Doc :

I just read your reply. I agree with some things. When you ask the unpopular question "Where is the harm?" I feel like the "harm" is being done to me. No he won't leave me for a tape or magazine. After reading your reply, if I sit down and reflect on myself, and to answer to your encouragement . . . I think what bothers me most of all is the fact this situation makes me feel like I am not attractive to him and that it's the porno that turns him on. . . not me. I don't think he realizes how much this revolts me into not being as sexually active as he thinks I should be. That is a really big issue. This is deep.

The Sexdoc Responds: Where is it written that a wife is and must be the most attractive sexual object, and that it's not O.K. for the porno to turn him on? It's not mutually exclusive! The porno, as well as stuff on TV, women on the sidewalk, at work, etc., can and probably do turn him on. I hope that he does have an active imagination, and that he undresses all kinds of women in his imagination. That's the kind of man who stays sexually active with his wife! Please differentiate between "not attractive" and "differently attracted". He is attracted to you and wants to make love with you. That does not mean that he cannot be powerfully attracted to someone else with whom he would not be physical! Remember the old saying: "A breast in the mouth is worth all the tits in any magazine." Or was that "A bush in the hand is worth all I can't touch.?

With most women I think that touches a nerve and unfortunately it's genetic. I have heard it before. . . . Men are designed to be hunters and gatherers. With the desire to have many attractive women to bear their offspring. While women look for the stability and riches in a man as a provider. And that's that. I like your "genetically pre-disposed" line. Porno must be a "guy thing" because I just don't get it.

I know from therapy that you are going to hear things you don't want to. We would all love to hear what we want. Fortunately for you otherwise you would be out of a job (ha ha). I'll think about discussing this with my husband - could be good. . . then on the other hand. . . . .I'll have to think about it. This issue between us has been going in circles for years. Thank you for your time. Sorry for rambling. Please reply. I have not checked out your site fully, so if there is a place for replies feel free to place it there too. Thanks, D.M.

The Sexdoc continues: It is a judgment call as to how much flexibility and lenience there is in a relationship. Is looking at magazines OK but making 1-900 calls not? Is oral sex with a prostitute OK but vaginal intercourse not? If "monogamy" is defined as physical contact exclusively with each other, does that mean that lap dancing (contact prohibited) is OK? I suggest that you and your husband talk about all that I identified before (above), that you acknowledge that you can't compete in visual attractiveness with some of the women in magazines (that's a fact of life!), and that you accept the idea that your husband will get turned on by unattainable images. Play fantasy games! Tie him up and tell him that you're this month's Playmate, sent by his wife, and that you're going to fuck his brains out. In other words, go with the flow and benefit from his stimulation. You can't successfully fight it. I hasten to add that I am not saying that there are not limits to whatever he wants to do. But be more flexible and less rooted in reality. Aging will take its toll. Fantasy makes it possible to turn back the clock in your imaginationS -- both yours and his. Ask him what turns him on about the picture and incorporate it into your lovemaking. If it's "the red-head's big tits, tell him to close his eyes, imagine he's in bed with her, and put your breast in his mouth! Reactions?

About a week later, D.M. writes again:

I imagine from your perspective it can be difficult to help treat a problem with out knowing a little about the person. But on the flip side, you need to look at the "problem" objectively and it's advantageous because you offer an impartial opinion. I want to say that my husband and I have a great relationship. The kind our friends envy. One glitch is that I have always had difficulties putting my feelings/emotions into words and talking about what's bothering me. I have been that way all my life. I let things build until the dam breaks. He has been my rock and has helped me change that a great deal. He always knows when something is bothering me. Then manages to drag out what ever it is and make me talk. For this I am ever grateful.

After your first set of comments, then my reply, I wanted to see your response (if any) before deciding what I should say, if anything. I went home that night and my mind kept running. I started feeling guilty and somewhat ashamed that I had invaded his privacy (so to speak) as you said. Being guilt ridden, I thought. . . OK. . I'll have sex to justify my guilt. Oh no. He knew something was up. I was not ready to talk about it, but he insisted we do. After lots of words and tears, I gave in and gave him a copy I made of our conversation to read. Instantly. . . he knew why I had "been acting weird" in the days prior. He said he had no idea I felt this strongly about it. With lots of reassurance from him that I am all he wants and will ever want, I felt better. He also added that he was the one that felt inadequate because I never initiate sex anymore and amid the porno, he was looking for "that one little thing that would drive me wild" and make me change and initiate more and find him more desirable. This went on until the wee hours, only getting a few hours sleep, but resolved a lot.

The next day, I read your second response. Quite honestly I was mad at you for justifying his actions and "sticking-up" for him. As though everything he was doing was OK and I was the self-righteous one. That should be less rooted in reality. Frankly I like reality. Not this insipid crap about men needing porn to satisfy their weak Neanderthal way of thinking, which in (most) mans world, is a reality. From a genetically female point of view, men are/can be weak creatures by giving-in to the manipulation of women the will never have. I'm not out for blood by "man-bashing", this is simply a true observation. With that off my chest, I did more thinking. I apologized for "snooping" and admitted I felt ashamed for doing it. He apologized for the broken promises. As for the internet porn, he said it was strictly a curious novelty. Admitted it was weird and some stuff was extremely expensive. I told him how I felt about it and that it was just plain disgusting. We agreed mutually on many things. He respects my feelings and in turn I will try very hard to respect his privacy if he finds that it's absolutely necessary. Many hugs and tears later we both felt better. Now that things are in the open and neither feels as if we are sneaking behind the other's back. There is relief. I am happy to say that we have had sex every night since. I can't tell you the last time we made love three days in a row let alone six. Mostly of my doings. All this week I couldn't wait to go home get our normal family routine over, put kids in bed. . . then go to bed ourselves, and hours later finally decide we should sleep

Thanks for kicking my ass enough to help resolve my issues or what ever clinical "thing" you want to call it, even though I was mad at you (not any more) and thought you completely took his side and left me in the cold feeling like it was all my fault with out every really saying it. Even though you didn't agree with me one iota, thanks. I am curious to see what opinions (if any) other people had. Feel free to send me stuff if you want. I don't work for a huge company anymore, so the "Woman's Lunch Table" is not a place I can go anymore and talk girl stuff to administer self-help. I am curious to validate my feelings of displeasure in regard to porn with expression from others who may feel/felt the same as I do and what they did/didn't do about it. I know I'm not alone in this.

Sincerely, D.M.

Dear D.M.: I am sure that many readers will appreciate the follow-up. I am delighted that you were able to communicate so effectively. Please learn from this to deal with things as they come up rather than letting them build until the dam breaks! Best Wishes and thanks again for sharing. I will forward any comments I get from readers to you.

Q:  I am a healthy 32-year old female, sexually active in four long-term relationships since age 18. I have never had an orgasm during intercourse, and have been having orgasms only recently when my current lover gave me a vibrator. I have tried valiantly to incorporate the vibrator into our lovemaking, but I cannot stand for him to even stroke my leg while I am using the vibrator.

Note: The Sex Doc infers that the question is "How can I achieve orgasms during intercourse.

A: You are between "not common" and "rare". I suggest that you obtain a copy of "For Yourself" by Barbach and go through it page by page without skipping ahead.

60% of women do not achieve orgasm from penile thrusting. 90% of women achieve orgasms using a vibrator by themselves. A major milestone would be intercourse "doggy style" with penile thrusting vaginally from the rear while you touch yourself clitorally with the vibrator. Because you are recently orgasmic I suggest gaining more experience by yourself -- in different positions, etc.

Strive to incorporate your partner in graduated tiny steps -- with him just in the room, them beside you, then touching you anywhere you are not distracted, building up to his active participation -- maybe holding the vibrator while you direct him? That's the kind of progressive desensitization that some therapists use in sex therapy. If you can't do it on your own, you might find it a contribution to your quality of life to see a therapist in person.

NOTE:  This also invokes the myth that "The only REAL SEX is penile-vaginal intercourse." Back in the days when procreation was paramount, that was very self-serving. Now adays, however, with excess population, I suggest that you consider "taking turns" or other simultaneous but non-penile-vaginal activity as damn fun!

Q:  (male author) The first time I had intercourse I was very aroused, my girlfriend got on top and rode me for 20 minutes; then doggie style for 15; then she rode me again for 10; then she did oral sex on me and masturbated me; still I did not have an orgasm. So I masturbated myself to ejaculate. Is there something wrong with me?

A:  Nothing that experience won't cure. The anxiety of the first time can suppress orgasm in either gender. Don't worry about it!

Q: In 1990 I discovered that my wonderful husband had been having sexual laisons with other women since we met (1981), sort of a "single married man". It took a long time but 4 years of counseling helped us restore our relationship But I contracted herpes from him and have suffered almost monthly outbreaks before suppression therapy with Zovirax. Our sex life is down to 3 -4 times a year and he says he cannot get rid of the guilt from his betrayals and the disease......can guilt really steal a healthy highly sexual mans desire so completely? I am feeling so in need of the attention I used to get from him and I feel my self-esteem being terribly effected. I just turned 50 and that in itself is hard enough on the ego. He doesn't seem to think further counseling will help. What do you think?

A:   Yes, guilt can massively interfere with sexual desire. With any given problem, the older patient will take longer to respond to treatment (psychotherapeutic intervention) than a younger patient -- older patients are more "comfortable" with current ways of dealing with life. The longer a problem goes on, the longer it takes to "fix" it -- the more "etched in the stone" of memory and brain it becomes. I know of no more effective behavior change for what you describe than psychotherapy. But neither of you should expect a "magic bullet". Today is the proverbial first day of the rest of your life. Yes, I think that further counselling would likely help.

Q:  How important is regular marital sex when the couple loves each other, touches and fondles and says kind words, but the actual sex act is lacking?

A:  Society says variously that you MAY have sex only after marriage, and that you SHOULD have sex if you are married. It is a question of compatibility! I have had couples in therapy whose mutually desired frequency of intercourse was once every six weeks (in their mid-forties), and couples who always make love twice a day during the week and three times a day on the weekends. Society and religion conspire to say that you SHOULD BE GUILTY if you have sex before marriage and that you SHOULD BE GUILTY if you don't have sex after marriage (presumably to make more babies so the church will have more followers -- no birth control. etc.). It's a mater of taste, preference, and if it is done with no ulterior motive, accept your individuality and your compatibility! Now if one of you wants to make love more often than the other, this is called a "sexual desire discrepancy" and you probably would benefit from talking with a sex therapist about it.

Q:  Have penis pumps been proven to do anything -- especially for premature ejaculation?

A:  Penis pumps temporarily entice blood into the corpora cavernosa of the penis. If a constriction device strangles the ability of the blood to return to the body, the blood will stay trapped in the penis; without circulation the blood, hence the penis, cools off affording a rather "cadaver" feel to the cold penis. This is a temporary solution at best. It does nothing for PE.

Q: My boyfriend wants to shave my pubic hair. I am nervous. Is there a soothing lotion I can use afterward? Does it really enhance sexual pleasure?

A:  A straight edge or safety razor in hands unaccustomed to shaving the pubic region can nick causing bleeding and pain. Unless your boyfriend is a hospital orderly who does this 10 times a day, I suggest using an electric razor (moustache clipper part first, then beard part). For many people it is explosively multi-orgasmic the first few times you are stimulated with anything after being shaved -- feathers anyone? But it can be extremely distracting just walking around with panties (or no panties) because your body is not used to such direct contact -- without the buffering of the pubic hair. And GROW BACK IS A BITCH! Most people complain about the irritation of the stubble. Ask around -- get testimonials from your girlfriends. It might be exciting for your boyfriend, but most women do this only once (although some maintain shaved pubes for yours). Let me know what happens! Any comments from other readers?

Q:  I am a 13-year old boy. I masturbate every day. My parents do not know. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If I should stop, how? Please get back to me on this ASAP. Thank you very much. (male author)

A: There is nothing physically or psychologically "wrong" about masturbation. In fact, there are health benefits -- the pleasurable feelings release chemicals from your brain that give you a sense of well-being and strengthen your immune system (An apple and an orgasm a day kep the doctor away?). Your parents might know if you ejaculate into your underpants or on the bed sheets; if so, use kleenex. The only "bad" thing about masturbation is being told that bad things will happen to you if you do it. It will not cause blindness, insanity, or the inability to sire children when you are older. When I was 13 an older boy walked up to me with several of his friends and said "Hey Bill, did you know that beating off makes hair grow on the palm of the hand you use? Being right-handed, I immediately looked at my right palm while saying "I don't believe you"! Catching on a split second later I kept my hand travelling to the left as though I was trying to catch a fly, but it was too late: they were laughing, pointing at me, hooting, and walking away, all at the same time. I was made!

Q: I would like to know if it is uncommon to want to get into the pants of your X-mother-in-law. I find myself strongly attracted to her, so much that I think about her all the time. I'm presently going to visit her and I wanted to know if I should act on this or not? I would like your advice on how I should let her know that I've wanted her for a long time.

A:  It is NOT uncommon to be attracted to your mother-in-law, "X" or not. Most women role model off their mothers, so it comes as no surprise that what attracts you to your wife also attracts you to her mother. BUT: As with many things like this, the fantasy is usually better than the reality. Plus, you might be harboring some unconscious wishes to still have the "good parts" of what you liked in your wife (sex, for example) without the "bad parts" (accountability and/or responsibility, for example) -- and believe that you can have that with your former mother-in-law. If her husband is still with her, you might put her in conflict around adultery. And where can this go? What if she offers to leave her husband to live with you? I suggest that you tell her that you think that she is spectacularly attractive, and that if things had been different, you would have asked her for a date. Let her be flattered (all women love that) but think of you as positively as possible, not a source of either conflict or guilt. As a final note, assuming that she is about as old as your own mother, you need to anticipate how you might feel in three months and to consider what her body might be like that you might find disappointing (and hence destroy the fantasy).

Q:  I am a 26-year old virgin guy who has been masturbating since I was 15. I would like to get married soon. Will frequent masturbation affect my ability to sexually satisfy my marital partner when I marry? I ejaculate in 2-3 minutes. Is that premature ejaculation, will it affect the sexual satisfaction of my partner, and will it happen before she has an orgasm? How do I give myself enough confidence? How will it be possible to have a satisfied married life? Does masturbation affect the hardness of the penis when erect? It starts not getting as hard as before. Does masturbation bring impotence? Do I need to see a doctor about this? Is it normal?

A:  Masturbation is perfectly normal. It keeps the prostate pumping out liquid, it oxygenates the penis (although nocturnal erections do that, too), it becomes "old hat" if performed the same way every time (hence eventually, less excitement = less erection), and it does not cause erection dysfunction. The time to ejaculation in intercourse is only partially predicted by time to ejaculation during masturbation (coming quickly by yourself usually means that you'll come quickly with a partner; being able to last long by yourself means that when you get over the extreme excitement, novelty, and different sensations of vaginal intercourse, you'll likely know how to "slow yourself down" to last longer).

The questions about your partner and her satisfaction are unanswerable until you have one -- but that and your reference to "enough confidence" illustrate your eagerness and your lack of experience. Slow down, take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time! Confidence comes from experience, which you don't have yet. Get it.

Q:  What does a herpes outbreak look like in a woman?

A:  Go to the library and find a picture. A picture is worth a thousand e-mails (or something like that).

Q: I am orgasmic in only the missionary position. How can I train my body to be orgasmic in other positions?

A:  Only about 40% of women are orgasmic during penile-vaginal intercourse in ANY position. The best advice is to use a vibrator on your clitoris in other positions to give it the stimulation it needs to achieve orgasm. A few women find that they can associate other positions with orgasm, but it's very few. Your sex nerves just need more stimulation.

Q:  My girlfriend and I have decided to not have sex. We both like it when I finger her during passionate kissing. When I go deep I find many "things" in there. If I rub the bone towards the top, can I hurt her?

A: First, will all readers please say "intercourse" when they mean it; the Sexdoc considers fingering during passionate kissing very sexual indeed. Anyone who finds many "things" in there hasn't taken the time to look at an anatomy book. Go to the library and get an idea of what structures your fingers are contacting. I suspect that your girlfriend might like your "rubbing towards the top" because that's the approximate location of the G-spot. Be careful to not scratch with your fingernails, and take her feedback as your guidance.

Q:  At what age does a woman lose interest in sex?

A:  There's no "age". Some women, often to their distress, lose interest upon: a) first intercourse, b) becoming pregnant, c) delivery of the first child, d) discovering that their husband is having an affair, e) the onset of menopause, f) starting their period, g) any of a number of idiosyncratic reasons. Many women continue to have an active interest in sex until death or severe impairment.

Q: I am 72 and sometimes have erectile difficulties during intercourse, but rarely, if ever, when I masturbate. Could Viagra help?

A: My Urologist friends say "yes". I suggest that you call for an appointment with a Urologist, who will probably have to examine you before prescribing anything.

Q:  Can impotence be caused or influenced by a) a vasectomy, b) high coffee consumption, or c) intense fantasy and masturbation?

A:  First:  Please call it Erection Dysfunction ("ED")! Impotence sounds like total weakness. Some men feel less "manly" knowing that they are shooting blanks, but the only influence of a vasectomy is psychological. There is no systemic (body) connection between a vasectomy and ED. I am not a medical doctor, but I am unaware of any relationship between ED and coffee consumption. Intense fantasy and masturbation are my domain as a psychotherapist, and good fantasy can inspire a full-blown erection in many a young man, and masturbation keeps the plumbing in good order. If you masturbate to ejaculation then attempt intercourse before your refractory period is met, you'll have trouble attaining an erection, but that's not ED; that's just "too soon after you had an orgasm).

Q:  About 80% of the time I am heavily petting with my girlfriend, I discharge this fluid from my penis that is not semen. I am 22 and a virgin mind you. What is it, is it normal, and what does it say about me?

A:  Yikes! Our sex education system is failing! Relax!!!!! Because the urethra serves the dual purpose in males of transporting both urine and semen, and because traces of uric (and other) acid(s) remain in the urethra, and because acid kills sperm, the male human body is equipped with a "cleansing" agent the clears a path for ejaculate. It is a clear fluid produced by the Cowper's gland, and it is chemically "basic" which neutralizes acid. It is also quite slippery and is presumed to initially lubricate the urethra to facilitate semen passage. It is normal and it says that your body is functioning correctly. p.s. Some men have such a volume of Cowper's discharge that they wear a condom for the sole purpose of avoiding a wet spot on their pants (embarrassing). NO ANSWER WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT: There are SPERM in that secretion, folks, so don't go nuzzling the tip of that oozing penis near your honey's honey pot unless you are willing to get pregnant!

Q:  I have noticed that my semen is not as white as usual and I have seen traces of blood in it. Am I infected and to which specialist should I go for consultation?

A:  Even if the sexdoc were a medical doctor, he couldn't diagnose via e-mail! A Urologist is the most likely specialist although a General Practitioner would know either the problem or if a referral was appropriate.

Q: Can you get AIDS from cum going into the rectum? Can having anal sex rupture anything? Can a doctor tell that you ever had anal sex during a routine examination?

A:  The last time I taught Human Sexuality I was asked this first question. AIDS is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency VIRUS ("HIV"). Can you catch a cold from kissing? Only if the person you are kissing has a cold or flu virus that gets transmitted to your body. Anal sex is cited in HIV transmission because if done too quickly or without sufficient lubrication, it can cause tears in the skin from teeny tiny to visably noticable. Those openings in the skin are what allows the H I Virus to get into the recipient's body. It ain't cum up the butt that does it. The rectum is pretty pliable, and penises aren't very sharp, so punctures or ruptures are extremely unlikely. I guess under certain circumstances it could happen, like if you were impacted with hard fecal matter and a particularly long and large penis rammed in suddenly ... Can a doctor tell if you "ever had" anal sex? If you were stretched to the point of damage to your anal sphincters (the curcular muscles that open to allow stool out or a penis in), yes, but under normal circumstances, no. I have had patients tell me that they have vaginally lubricated during a rectal exam, but that was regardless of whether they enjoyed anal sex or not.

On the topic of "can a doctor tell ...", however: your dentist or hygienist can notice a particular pattern of broken tiny blood vessels in the back of your throat if you have been giving oral sex to a penis ...

Q:  Is there any test for herpes? Does it make a newborn blind?

A:  I have answered this/these questions on the HIV/Herpes page .

Q: My girlfriend seems like she likes sex but she will do it only in the missionary position and with a minimum of foreplay. I have tried to interest her in other positions or other ways of deriving sexual pleasure, but she won't try. Any suggestions?

A:  When I hear stories like this I think of patients I have had who exhibited the same behaviors, and of their reasons. So please keep in mind that these are broad generalizations and will not apply to all cases of this behavior. The core formula for the majority of women I have known who do this is "Sex before marriage is a sin. I believe that guys I'm interested in won't 'stick around' unless they get sex. So I've got to 'put out'. And if I don't enjoy it much, it won't be as much of a sin. I'm only doing it for his pleasure and needs, not for my own. I have to do it or I'll be left behind -- unpopular."

I hope that many readers will see the fallacy of this situation. It's based either on assumptions or on a bad relationship in which some guy threatened her (put out or I'm outa' here) while trying to normalize it (Hey, there are plenty of girls out there and they all do it. They have to if they want any kind of real boyfriend!). Unfortunately it often develops into a cycle of self-disrespect, fear of being alone, gratitude that her boyfriend is with such an unworthy person, confirming the relationship by making sure the sex is taken care of, and then feeling the shame and self-disrespect all over again.

Breaking out of the pattern requires examining the underlying assumptions and beliefs, and helping this woman to see herself as valuable independent of sex. Communication is essential, and many couples find it difficult to get into the underlying reasons for this.

Any discussion of this situation would be incomplete without at least entertaining the least complicated reason: it could be that she believes that all sex except that which comes closest to procreation, is dirty. Thus, no foreplay, and no festivity (so I guess "doggie style" is out, right?). The solution to this, too, is communication.

Any comments?

Q: I really like doing it "doggie style". Is there something wrong with me? I'd also really like to feel it in my ass, but the one time I tried it it hurt so much that I literally cried.

A: There is nothing wrong with "doggie style" except our puritanical overlay that it is somehow being like an animal (the word "beast" comes to mind). For many couples it is especially appreciated because the angle of the penis makes the head rub against the G-spot (in those few women who have one that responds to stimulation), bringing the woman to orgasm more quickly than usual and often more explosively, and leaving the man feeling especially competent as a lover because of his partner's response. For men who endeavor to put off their climax until their partner's, it's also a bonus because if the lady comes sooner than usual, so can this guy.

As far as experimenting with anal intercourse goes, please see the rather extensive step by step protocol I included on my page titled "anal sex". (return to my home page, scroll down to Sexdoc Links and click on it there).

Q:  Dear Dr. Fitz: I suspect that you get plenty of questions like this, and that the best answer is "go to therapy" but we can't. We're in Taiwan and will be here for three more years; American-style sex therapy is not available here. The problem is that with my husband and with a man I was engaged to previously, I did everything to please them sexually, but soon lost all sexual interest in them. My husband and I got married before this started with him, so now I feel like I married under false pretenses. Our sex life has dwindled from 7-10 times per week to now only 3-4, and he has to fight for that. When he pressures me I want sex even less, then he's really frustrated. Any help will be much appreciated.

A:  What is operative for you is obscure and, as you suggest, is most quickly and completely addressed in competent sex therapy. If you can muster substantial motivation and self-discipline, you might find a solution by going step by step through the exercises in For Yourself, the two Hendricks books, the two Brauer books, and anything you can find by (the late) Helen Singer Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D. on Inhibited Sexual Desire and Disorders of Sexual Desire. If communication needs help, both of you would be well-advised to go step by step through When I Say No I Feel Guilty. Please see the link to Books on my home page. p.s. Lots of people have told me that they got these books quickly from Because you're on the internet and out of the USA that might help. And, I would appreciate your feedback as to how things are going and what's working or not for you. Will you calendar letting me know? Best Wishes.

Q: My wife is never horny. She is 28 and is aroused about once per month. She has bad PMS 2-3 weeks every month. We have sex maybe 2X per month. What can we do?

A:  This sounds seriously biological, not psychological. My best advice is to start with an OB-GYN and be open to a referral to an endocrinologist.

Q: My husband and I have been together for 4 years. Just recently he has started to masturbate in the morning before I wake up. This wouldn't bother me so much but he never seems interested in me anymore. Is his hand going to be more important than me for the rest of our lives?

A:  I hear anger in the sarcasm, and I hear blinking neon lights that say

If this happens before you wake up, are you positive? How long is "just recently"? 5 days or 5 weeks? He never seems interested? This question exemplifies why relationship therapists claim that the single-greatest cause of strife in relationships is lack of communication. At worst, I speculate that this man is being passive-aggressive in both withholding sexual pleasure, intimacy, and releasefrom you. At best, he does not have sufficient relationship and communication skills to approach you directly and assertively. So suffer in silence or approach hin directly. How about finding a comfortable time in private with, say, an hour without interruptions, and saying (after the preliminary "can we talk" dialogue) "Gee, Honey, I've been missing our intimate sex time (or whatever you call it) together. Is something wrong? Can we work together to figure out how to put that back in place?" And if you can't communicate, negotiate, and compromise to your mutual satisfaction, sooner rather than later get thee to a therapist.

Q: When my girlfriend and I make love, we always use protection, except for the first 3 or 4 minutes. Even though she's on the pill, exactly how dangerous is this? I never come close to ejaculating. I have heard that there is some degree of "leakage". Please help!

A: If she is on the pill and takes it faithfully, the protection (by which I suspect you mean a condom) is not necessary for pregnancy reasons (valid use to reduce the risk of transmitting disease, however). THE DANGER is for those not on the pill or if she forgets to take it. The clear liquid that comes out of a man's penis while he is sexually excited and before he ejaculates comes from Cowper's Gland, and serves two purposes. First, it is chemically basic, and tends to neutralize the remnants in the urethra of acids that are excreted in urine. Second, it tends to lubricate the way so the ejaculate can be more forcefully ejected into the vagina. The problem is that that clear fluid contains sperm, and can cause pregnancy. That's why there is the old joke (which I am sure will be new to some of you): What do you call people who practise Coitus Interruptus (a real title -- means withdrawing the penis immediately before ejaculation)? Answer: "Parents". Do all you sophomores out there get this message? TELL YOUR FRIENDS 

Q: My boyfriend and I are having problems orally stimulating each other. I can't make him come (and almost gag trying) and he can't find my clitoris to save his life. Please help.

A: Start with the idea that what you are going to do is educational, not romantic. Give him a flashlight, spread your legs and your vaginal lips, and with a hand mirror so you can see, point out all the appropriate body parts to him. Tell him exactly and precisely what feels good on your clitoris. While he is stimulating your clitoris give him frequent feedback -- harder, slower, faster, softer, longer strokes, etc. If necessary, demonstrate while he watches intently so he can learn what is most pleasureable. In regard to you orally pleasuring him, two thoughts: First, wrap your hand around his penis at the base and take into your mouth only what is above your hand (if you still gag use two hands around the base, like gripping a baseball bat). Second, please cruise my web pages for comments I have already made about pleasuring a man orally.

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