F.Birchman / MSNBC.com
By msnbc.com contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 12/22/2005 1:05:25 PM ET 2005-12-22T18:05:25

What's the best way to bring sexual fantasies to life? How should you handle a lover who's always in a big rush? And how many sexual partners should a middle-ager have had? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here .

Q: We are a couple in our mid-50s. We have just met and we want to have experimental sex. We are bored with the routine. What can we do to spice things up and fulfill our fantasies? Should we go to a sex shop? One of my personal fantasies is to have sex on the dunes in Cape Cod.

A: Just met? How can you have a routine? Was this a first-date conversation over pasta pomodoro? Did one of you try to fill the gap in the conversation by saying, “Ya know? You’d look great in a leather harness”?

However it came up, you are apparently ahead of the game. Surveys show that many (some say most) couples do not share fantasies.

And you two are already talking. If you need a little prompting, buy a copy of Nancy Friday’s "My Secret Garden," an old standby, but still a good source, and check out some of the Victorian erotica I mentioned in the Sexploration gift guide .

Remember, though, the reason people don’t share fantasies is fear of what the other person will think. So if he says he’d love to see you walk into a bar wearing platform heels, a thong and mousetraps clipped to your nipples, don’t panic.

Bringing fantasy to life can be tricky. Many couples say they wish they could be more “adventurous,” but one couple's adventurous might mean escaping the missionary position, while another couple might come home at dawn wearing each other’s underwear. Define it for yourselves.

Your dunes idea is quite normal. Survey after survey says sex in a public or semi-public place is about the most popular fantasy there is. Many Americans try it at some time or other. We like the naughty fear of being caught. We at Sexploration should warn you though (and never mind how we know), sand and sex do not mix. Think really big blanket. Oh, and have a lawyer’s number handy in case you do get caught.

Start exploring with the tame fantasies first, and work your way down the list. You’ll eventually arrive at a point that’s just a tad more than you can tolerate.

One little bit of advice, though. Beware of making your relationship about the fantasies. Don’t forget to just make love to each other once in awhile.

Q: My boyfriend seems to only like quickies. He thinks I take too long. I take at least 20 minutes and require a little foreplay. He thinks there’s something wrong with me because his last girlfriend could have multiple orgasms in under 20 minutes. I am really disappointed. Any advice?

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A: You mean besides getting a new boyfriend?

Explain these facts to him: 1) You are not his previous girlfriend and he’s a schlub for ever bringing her up. 2) You’re normal. Some women can orgasm quickly (we recently heard from a worried guy who could make his wife climax almost instantly by hugging her or stroking her back — like that’s a problem) and some women can’t reach orgasm at all. 3) There is such a thing as oral sex.

There is, however, something to be said for the occasional quickies like the Leno’s-already-over quickie, the I’ve-only-got-20-minutes-for-lunch quickie, and the no-really-the-kids’-bus-driver-is-never-late quickie. They can be ways to express intimacy without the time and pressure of a DeMille production.

Q: What's the average number of sexual partners that a man of 49 should have had? A woman of 39?

A: In sex, as in golf, you should try to shoot your age.

OK, OK, I’m kidding.

I assume this question arose between you and somebody you love, that there were cocktails involved, which addled your brain, making this conversation seem like a good idea, and that one of you blurted out a big number and now there are hurt feelings.

So here’s my answer: The number of lovers each of you should have had is precisely the number it took to discover each other.

Now kiss and make up.

Brian Alexander is a California-based writer who covers sex, relationships and health. He is a contributing editor at Glamour and the author of "Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion" (Basic Books).

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