Duane Hoffmann / MSNBC
By msnbc.com contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 6/8/2006 8:39:06 AM ET 2006-06-08T12:39:06

Can a guy train his brain to prefer a plump woman? Should a 50-year-old man still be having nocturnal emissions? And what can one expect when marrying a virgin? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here .

Q: At one point I had several girlfriends simultaneously, one of whom was overweight. She is smart and funny and when we were first dating we would make love three or four times in one night.

She has since moved in with me and our sex life is now a dud. I used to think she was hot because she was different, not like the gym-fit women I normally slept with. But now I have become very turned off by her large belly and pendulous breasts. 

How do I recalibrate my brain from thinking she was hot because she was different, to she’s hot because I love and respect her? And why don’t Playboy and other men’s magazines make the middle-aged soccer mom with stretch marks, saggy breasts and an oversized butt the new female ideal? 

A: You’re blaming this on Playboy? Oh, brother.

The women in Playboy look the way they do because that’s what most men like. A truck load of science with terms like “waist-to-hip ratio” and “facial symmetry” explains why. Cultural preferences do change a bit over time — in the 1950s we liked 'em rounder. Now we like 'em firmer — but the basic dimensions are pretty consistent.

Of course, some guys are thrilled by BBW women, some skinny women, some tall ones, some short ones. And the Web is full of exhibitionist sites where middle-aged guys send in photos of their middle-aged wives saying, “Look at my hot wife!”

Because beauty is a multi-dimensional thing, every woman can be beautiful to somebody. But if you do not find your girlfriend attractive, don’t blame media.

Men (women, too) can temporarily ignore our usual preferences when we are playing around for the short term and that’s what you were doing, playing. Now you’ve bought in for a long-haul exclusive and you can’t deal.   

Can you recalibrate your brain? Maybe if you truly love her. Try focusing on the qualities that appeal, and get your head out of the past. But if you can’t manage, do not keep her hanging. Let her find a guy who can.  

Q: This is a bit embarrassing, but I am in my mid-50s and still experiencing nocturnal emissions. My wife and I have been married 36 years. What's going on? I thought this was supposed to go away.

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A: Not necessarily. Men can orgasm in their sleep very late in life, often in response to erotic dreaming. Those dreams may reflect scenarios you would like but don’t get (or don’t want because they’re just too freaky) in real life.

Q: I am a 35-year-old male and I am going to marry a 29-year-old virgin. Will we experience any sexual problems (i.e. unequal sexual urges, difficulty in penetration, lack of sexual desire, etc.)? Please advise.

A: Well, probably. Why should you be the only married couple on the planet who’s immune?

But if you think it has anything to do with her being a virgin (Really? A 29-year-old virgin?) you’re mistaken. Assuming you have a long life together, you’ll face sex hurdles. Hopefully, they’ll be low and easily overcome. That’s where love, communication and laughter come in.

Mazel tov!

Brian Alexander, a California-based freelance writer, is working on a new book about sex for Harmony, an imprint of Crown Publishing.

Sexploration appears every other Thursday.

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