How can I get my lover to hurry it up? Is oral sex safe sex? Any advice for a 35-year-old virgin? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here.
Q: Is there a way to get a man to orgasm faster? My husband takes forever. Sometimes he doesn't climax at all because we both run out of energy. We're both nearing the big 4-0, and he's on medications I know contribute to the problem. But I feel bad when I've had several major orgasms and he hasn't had a one.
A: Women reading this have their jaws open, saying, “Wait! Not fast enough? Several major orgasms?!” and wishing they had your problem.
SSRI anti-depressants are one common cause (SSRIs are even used to treat men who pop off too quickly), but marital problems, stress, a variety of psychiatric conditions and hypogonadism (which causes low testosterone) can put a cork in it, too.
Some men on SSRIs have benefited from taking impotence drugs like Viagra. And they can ask their therapist whether a different drug, or a lower dose of the same drug, might treat depression without shutting off their love machine.
Sex coaching and psychotherapy have helped some men with delayed ejaculation, too. And make sure your husband is in good shape. The healthier you are, the better the sex.
Some cheaper, non-medical suggestions: Prolong foreplay. Tease. Seduce. Build up the sexual tension before the main event. Drizzle some warm oil on Mr. Penis, give the little guy a nice rubdown and see what happens. Your husband won’t have the pressure of worrying about how long you can hold out and if it works, he can then please you.
Finally, stop feeling guilty. Your husband must love you. He no doubt feels great satisfaction from your pleasure. Sex is about being close to another person, after all, not just orgasm. Enjoy it.
Q: How does "safe sex" apply to oral sex? If a woman is performing fellatio on a man, should he be wearing a condom? What about during cunnilingus?
A: Oral sex can spread sexually transmitted diseases, either from genitals to mouth or vice versa. Among the threats are herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis B, gonorrhea and possibly even HIV.
And a new study out this month in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that germs harbored in the mouth can cause nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), a sort of catch-all term for an infection of the urethra.
Bacteria like chlamydia and possibly viruses like herpes simplex 1 (the cause of cold sores) are the culprits in NGU, according to the study, led by Dr. Catriona Bradshaw of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in Australia. These germs can live harmlessly in our mouths until they wind up in our urethras where it’s all warm and cozy. It’s even possible that you could be married for decades, utterly faithful, and still give NGU to your spouse depending on what’s living in your mouth.
So should guys always wear a condom and ladies a dental dam? If you're in a monogamous relationship and are sure of your partner's STD status, probably no. But you should use protection if you have a new partner, if there's any question about a partner's HIV status or if you're otherwise in a risky sexual situation.
At the very least, avoid oral sex when you have cold sores, observe good oral hygiene and be sensitive to what happens when you pee. If you notice burning or a weird discharge or other strange symptoms down there, visit a doctor.
Q: I'm 35, a woman, and have never had sex. As if I'm not enough of a freak, I'm very overweight. So if I lose weight and finally have the opportunity to have sex, how and when should I approach this bit of news that I'm a virgin? What are the odds of finding a man who is going to be OK with this?
A: Umm, like, 100 percent. Not that you have to tell a guy at all, but really, for a guy “virgin” is to sex as “ocean-front property” is to real estate.
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).
Sexploration appears every other Thursday.