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One distraught reader says her man's undies make him look like a scrawny teen.
By msnbc.com contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 1/18/2008 12:48:34 PM ET 2008-01-18T17:48:34

Any advice for a woman who's repulsed by her guy's undies? Can sex give you hives? And should a couple be worried if their cat and dog are engaging in monkey business?

Sexploration answers your most intimate queries. Got a question? E-mail us .

Q: My boyfriend insists on wearing briefs, which I find a huge turnoff. I’ve subtly expressed the idea that other underwear might be a lot sexier, but that didn’t get him to change. Then I told him I am among the 96 percent of women who do not prefer briefs (according to a women's magazine I read), but still, no change. I even suggested boxer briefs. I am really turned off by the tighty whities because they make him look like a scrawny teen. What should I do?

P.S. I find thongs extremely uncomfortable but sometimes wear them for him anyway, and I never wear my granny undies when he’ll be around — I often wear sexier string bikinis.

A: Every couple I know has this dilemma. I have my own sad story of my favorite blue sweat shorts — my preferred work outfit — involving a ceremonial funeral pyre and much keening and moaning from me, accompanied by gleeful giggling from my wife.

A friend tells me that her husband has never complained about her underpants, but detested a pair of green shorts. Another friend’s girlfriend wears those long flannel nightgowns by Lanz. “They make her look like an Amish grandmother!” he says.

Wardrobe conflicts do require a little compromise. I mean, who wants to see Levi’s and flip-flops every day? That’s what my wife said, and she’s right.

Most people I have known addressed this issue by taking the initiative rather than hectoring. An old girlfriend once purchased a set of tight T-shirts for me, working under the delusion that I had magically developed rock-hard pecs that were somehow hiding under my oversized dress shirts. But I accepted the gift and wore the T-shirts.

So, this being Thanksgiving time and all, why not buy your boyfriend a few pairs of boxer briefs, call them his Thanksgiving gift, and demand he try them on before sitting down to turkey?

When he does, compliment liberally with something like “Wow! Those make your package look awesome! Your stuffing is better than the oysters and cornbread!"

Q: The last time I had an orgasm, I got hives right after we were done and they went away in about five minutes. Is that called a “sex flush”? When I brought it up to my ob-gyn she didn’t seem too concerned.

A: You probably did not have hives. According to the National Institutes of Health, hives, or urticaria, are usually raised, reddish welts that often itch and do not typically go away after just a few minutes.

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Hives can be caused by allergies, and medical literature documents semen allergies, though these are thought to be rare. One can also have allergies to latex, some oils and a few other accoutrements that you may have handy around your bed.

But since the reaction was very short-lived, you probably did have a sex flush caused by blood rushing toward the surface of your skin, your clitoris, your chest. This can be especially pronounced in light-skinned people and those who blush easily.

If you become uncomfortable from this reaction, or it worsens with time, consult another doctor.

Q: I know you usually deal with sexual issues as they relate to humans, but I have a question about intra-species homosexuality. My girlfriend and I own a neutered 4-year-old male cat and a neutered 5-year-old male pug. Lately the cat has been mounting the pug and exhibiting classic cat-mating behavior. The pug doesn’t seem to mind, and the cat is obviously enjoying himself. Should I be worried and try to stop them, or just let them get their kicks and not worry about it?

A: Veterinarian Melissa Bain, an assistant professor at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine in Davis, explains that cats, being cats, will even mount stuffed toys, “and there is not a whole lot of difference between a pug and a stuffed toy.”

Pugs are notoriously relaxed dogs. “They say, ‘Yeah, whatever,’” Bain says, and so the pug just may not care, and since it won’t harm the cat there's probably no harm no foul.

Still, Bain recommends bringing this up with your vet. Some conditions, like tumors, can jump-start the production of sex hormones, prompting the mounting behavior.

MSNBC.com columnist and Glamour magazine contributing editor Brian Alexander’s book, “America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction,” will be published Jan. 15 by Crown/Harmony Books.

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