Archive for the 'Ask the Loveologist' Category

Outercourse – The Cure for Painful Intercourse

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

“Sexual pleasure in woman is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon.”   -Simone de Beauvoir

Driving my son and his friends in the car the other day from a basketball game I overheard the question that made me cringe decades ago, “ How far did you get?” said one to the other with an elbow to the ribs.  I shouldn’t have let on that I was listening, but I felt obliged to tell them that they were thinking about it all wrong.

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What Does His Infidelity Mean?

Friday, August 26th, 2011

I never thought  I would be the recipient of a letter that informed me that my partner was cheating on me.  I had heard that story before and have to say that I don’t know which way to turn, what to believe, or how to trust what he says… I feel like I am starting from square one again and although our relationship works so well in so many ways I am not sure how to think about this act of infidelity and afraid that it will make trusting him again impossible.  Any help?

Discovering infidelity no matter how it happens to you is one of the most emotionally jarring experiences many people face. It brings up a huge number of questions about oneself and relationship, in a myriad of ways –from feeling attractive, adequate, and worthy.  In addition to questioning your ability to trust someone else, it also can make you doubtful about trusting yourself and your own judgment. Infidelity is the one breach of trust that strikes a chord so deeply in most people that experience it, that many look back on it as the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

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Pain Down There?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

I have been having pain on my vagina for a long time and have tried all the over the counter medicines for infections I could  find. Nothing is helping and it hurts just to pee and wipe myself. Sometimes the burning is bad just when I sit for too long or wear jeans.  I can’t even think about being sexual and my boyfriend thinks I am making it up and it is all in my head because you can’t really see anything, but sometimes it is a little red and swollen.  I don’t know what to do. Any ideas?

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Teen Contraception: A Thing of the Past?

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I was recently talking to some of my son’s friends who are all graduating from High school and they were telling me that no one uses birth control anymore. The boys said condoms kill all the feelings and the girls believe that the rhythm method is effective and less toxic than the pill. I was shocked and had no idea that the safe sex talk has reverted to the plan B pill in their mind. Is this unusual or should the lack of sexual education we have offered our youth be ringing an alarm bell for us?

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Healthy Sexual Fantasies

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Recently I have been having crazy sexual fantasies while making love with my partner.  I don’t know if I should feel guilty or excited because when I just let them go, I get way more aroused and I can tell my partner is feeling it, too.  I can’t get myself to tell my partner and I wonder if this is some form of cheating on him. I am not always thinking of someone else, just other crazy scenarios.  Sometimes I am shocked by my own thoughts, like where did these come from?  What is your take on fantasies?  Do they hurt or help a relationship?

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Learning What Love Looks Like

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

I’ve never had any luck with relationships. Most of the time I either get restless within a couple weeks or the guy is a jerk and treats me poorly.  I’m tired of dating around and don’t get any real satisfaction from it.  But I’ve been dating my current boyfriend for about four months and he’s really great.  We do lots of fun things together, he’s supportive, kind, and actually cares about our relationship.  So why am I still unsatisfied?  I always thought that once I got a really good guy it would be easier to be in a relationship.  We haven’t had sex yet because I’ve had some less than stellar sexual experiences and haven’t felt very sexual lately.  But he’s been very patient and there’s honestly nothing I would change about him.  And I do have a tendency to become infatuated with guys I know I wouldn’t be able to have a real relationship with, so I find it hard to trust my own feelings which have lead me very awry.  So how do I know if he’s just not the right guy or if I am just bad at relationships?  How do I become more able to sustain a healthy, caring relationship?

Many people refuse being happy and satisfied in life.  In fact most people’s worst enemy is themselves and no where more so,  then in their intimate relationships.  Human beings have on average over 3000 thoughts per day and for many people a good 2500 of them are thoughts of unworthiness, doubt and self hatred. This negative thinking can come so fast and furiously that they work to make their outer world reflect the negativity inside.  It is a common and vicious cycle.

Bravo for your insight and ability to question the pattern you have witnessed playing out in your life relationships.   The most powerful tool we have for combating negative thinking patterns is the ability to bear witness. What we pay attention to multiplies so even if you can’t substitute negative thoughts with positive ones,  just the ability to witness and question old patterns can change your life.

Many people confuse the feelings of falling in love with the real work of ongoing relationships. You don’t have to feel infatuated with someone to be able to open yourself and your heart to be seen and be willing to do that for someone else.  You don’t have to be giddy to witness kindness and consideration and be able to reciprocate it. These are developmental skills that improve with attention. Growing a relationship with someone else has everything to do with how we feel about ourselves. Sometimes we can’t receive the kindness from a good guy because we don’t believe we are worth it. This is the same energy that will work to dismantle all the positive things that are working for you.

Get to the basics in listening and trusting your feelings. Don’t move towards the storyline that can easily confuse and lead you away from your real feelings. Trust the kind of questioning you are doing now and don’t make it more complicated than it is.  Healing your relationship history is intimately tied to your sexual history. Like many women you may have used sexuality to deal with issues that were emotional. Make sure that you build up a foundation of trust with who ever you are with that includes clear and positive communicating,  a sense of safety that comes from showing up for each other and having some good thoughts about the ways you are together before you bring the fire into it. Trust the basic truth that you deserve to be loved and it may look and feel different than you have let yourself imagine.

Curing Erectile Dysfunction

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

My husband has been having some trouble  maintaining an erection lately.  We have never had this problem before and he assures me that he is not fooling around with another woman and that he still wants me.  We don’t have sex very often anymore and I think it is because he is afraid it won’t work.   He won’t go to the doctor about it either and says he is not going to use any of those drugs that are advertised on television. Is there anything that I can do to help him?  I miss having a sex life and I know it is not helping our relationship either but he refuses to talk about it.

Thank you for asking this question.  Interestingly, most of the questions that I get about erectile dysfunction or ED come from the female partners rather than the men themselves. This is not surprising I suppose, given that 90% of men never seek treatment for this problem.  In a US survey, it was found that 2/3 of the men never raised the issue with their doctor for fear of embarrassing them or because they thought their sexual issues would be dismissed or not be treatable. In Worldwide studies, the incidence of ED is never less than 10% and often as high as 30% depending on the study demographics. It is estimated that ED affects 100 million men worldwide (18 million in the US) and that this number is expected to double by 2025.

The tragedy of this silent suffering is that not only can medical intervention frequently help with this condition, but ED symptoms are also early warning signs of a  variety of other illnesses that need diagnosis and treatment.  Erectile dysfunction can result from a wide variety of conditions, both psychological and physical. While aging is definitely the most significant predictor, a man’s overall health and well-being is also a big factor in its likelihood.  Other factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include cardiovascular disease, nerve or spinal cord damage, cigarette smoking, low testosterone levels, prescription medications, depression, stress and anxiety.

Getting and keeping an erection is a complex process that involves both psychological impulses, adequate hormones, a functioning nervous system and healthy vascular tissue of the penis. This is why seeing a doctor 50% or more of the time when these incidences  occur is so important. Figuring out what part of the process is causing the problem can provide a range of options to solve it. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as cleaning up your health habits: ie. Stopping smoking, eating well, maintaining regular exercise and reducing stress. There are also a wide range of alternative therapies that have helped many men improve their overall health and recover from ED symptoms.

Not surprisingly, avoiding sexual intimacy is also related to erectile dysfunction symptoms. In a Finnish study,  it was found that men who had sexual intercourse less than once per week were twice as likely to develop ED symptoms than men who had sex weekly. More frequent sex reduced the incidence of ED symptoms even more.  So the “use it or lose it” phenomenon of sexual functioning applies to both men and women and ongoing sexual inactivity can lead to disorders that can later make sexual activity difficult.

The first and most important thing that you can do for your partner is to get him to see a doctor to find out what is going on. Sharing some of the resources and information about this issue and how common it is might make it easier for you to discuss together.

Sexual pleasure can happen in so many ways that have nothing to do with intercourse, but they require communicating and touching. Encouraging him to love himself enough to seek the care he needs is a great way to rebuild the intimacy you want in your relationship.

Oral Sex Safety

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

My teenage daughter has become sexually active recently and in a passing comment she told me that all her friends think that oral sex is the safest sex they could have and that they feel like it doesn’t even count as real sex. What are the health risks associated with oral sex and are there any precautions short of “just say no” that can make a difference?

It is true that many teenagers consider oral sex “safe sex” and not the real thing.  A recent survey of over 12,000 teens aged 15-17 reported that more than 1/3 of both male and female respondents had reported both giving and receiving oral sex.  By the age of 18-20 the percentages jump to 2/3.  Another recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology surveyed a group of 10th graders about their thoughts and perceptions on sex.  The survey found teenagers were having oral sex more often than intercourse and with many more partners. The majority of the teens surveyed said they did not use condoms during oral sex.

The most commonly transmitted STD during oral sex is herpes.  The incidence of oral herpes is very high; more than 50% of a random sample have antibodies to the virus, indicating some level of infection. Both strains of herpes can live in the mouth or the genitals and can be passed between locations, especially during outbreaks. Other STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can also be passed during oral sex. Most STDs are curable with antibiotics, but can be tricky because the symptoms can resemble other illnesses like strep. Sometimes they can be entirely asymptomatic.

While there have been reported cases of HIV infection through oral sex, the risk is extremely low compared with unprotected penetrative sex. HIV-infected semen or vaginal fluid must enter through an open wound in the mouth. According to several studies, the risk of transmitting HIV through unprotected oral sex was so low, that in some studies the risk was reported at zero.

Perhaps the most significant health risk associated with unprotected oral sex is the spread of the HPV virus, which has long been associated with cancer growth in the cervix. The recent surge in throat cancers associated with the rise in oral sex practices have shown that men carry and transmit HPV as frequently as women, often times unknowingly through unprotected oral sex.   A 2007 study in the New England Journal of  Medicine showed that both men and women who reported having six or more oral sex partners during their lifetime had a nearly nine-fold increased risk of developing mouth or throat cancers. This is a new trend that reflects a change in sexual behavior over the last decade.  Oral sex is not risk-free and one of the most significant risks that young people face now is the risk of developing cancer.

One of the most basic preventive measures that young people can take is to give up the idea that oral sex is not real sex and save the act for real relationships. Just by limiting the number of sexual partners and not being pressured into ‘casual’ sex with an unfamiliar partner is an important way of reducing infection risk. Consider how many other partners your partner may have, or have had, and what their infection status might be, before putting yourself at any risk.

Unless you are intimate and know the health history of your partner, limit exposure to sexual fluids and ensure that no cuts or lesions are present in mouth or on genitals. Use barrier methods such as condoms (don’t use those with spermicide because it kills tastebuds) or dental dams.  Even saran wrap will protect against STDs.   Although many young people feel that barrier methods detract from oral sex, they are the best bet for  preventing STD transmission.

Your Sex Questions Answered

Friday, July 17th, 2009
I am a 55 yr old male. My spouse of 33 yrs have an excellent sex life. My question is lately I have a prolonged erection with no climax. The 15 minute plus sessions without reaching an orgasm are becoming somewhat frustrating and my wife is bagged by the end of the session. Is this normal as a passage of age and what can I do to reach an orgasm?
Delayed ejaculation can be caused by many things, including age and medications (often the two go hand in hand). Additionally, anything that gets in the way of arousal can negatively affect your orgasms. Common causes include relationship issues such as anger & resentment, or anxiety.

What to do…If medication and relationship issues are ruled-out, I recommend you try the below.

As we age, our sexual response changes. It’s not unusual to need more sexual stimulation to achieve erections and/or ejaculation. Try focusing more on pleasure than “performance”. After all, orgasm is what is reached at the peak of sexual arousal. So, make sure you are sufficiently aroused BEFORE you begin intercourse. In other words, spend more time in outercourse activities, such as kissing, manual and oral sex. Also, multiple stimulation can be an effective way to amp your arousal level. For example, kissing and/or having your wife touch multiple erogenous areas of your body (nipples, anus, balls) at the same time. Whether or not you ejaculate or have intercourse…your level of sexual pleasure is sure to increase.

Remember, sex does not always have to conclude with an orgasm. Change things up a bit, relax, and enjoy.

Q&A: How Much Sex is Enough Sex?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Question:

How many times per week does a couple have sex if they have a healthy sex life? I have been with my boyfriend for almost 6 years, and we have sex at least 3 times a week. He does not fel like that is enough… sometimes it is more than 3 times. I am not as sexually driven as he is. I am a woman, 41. I feel like what sex drive I do have, he is diminishing when he expects me to want to have sex every day. I am probably never going to want to have sex everyday, and this is really taking an emotional toll on me.

Answer:
Frequency is one of many issues that couples face in sustaining their intimate life. For some couples who asks and who doesn’t is even more important. Libido and sex drive is different as we age and depending on gender. There are some who argue that a waiting period between sexual encounters is a really good thing. This has been true for myself and many couples that I know of. Three times per week is a healthy average. Having sex everyday carries other dangers like boredom and inattentiveness. It seems like a conversation about emotional and physical needs could go a long way in your relationship.