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Twisted or just kinky?

In this month's Sexploration, columnist Brian Alexander counsels a man wondering about the difference between fetish and perversion, and also answers reader questions about nymphomania, the famed G-spot and pornography.
Fred Birchman /
/ Source: contributor

In this month's Sexploration, columnist Brian Alexander counsels a man about the meaning of perversion, and also answers questions about nymphomania and the famed G-spot and advises a woman who fears her husband prefers porn to her. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here.

Q: When does a fetish cross the line into perversion? – Ken

A: Oh, Ken, Ken, Ken. Never read Kinsey have you? Some pretty kinky stuff was going on behind the closed doors of American suburbia in the 1950s, yet some people still think any position other than missionary is perverted.

If you like to dress up in latex and dance to techno music, does that make you perverted?

Or if you have secretly purchased 200 pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes, and gratify yourself while watching them rotate on a spotlighted pedestal as Johnny Mathis records play in the background, does that make you perverted? Well, maybe it does actually, but is that a bad thing?

That’s really the question you ought to ask. Have you missed a job interview because you walked by a window display of women’s foundation garments and could not tear yourself away? Have you tried to trick your wife into having her nipples pierced with stainless steel bars even though she feels faint when putting on her earrings? Then maybe your fetish is bad. If it alienates you from society and interferes with your life, imposes unwelcome burdens on others, or leads to illegal behavior, you should seek help.

But the range of human sexuality is huge, Ken, so if you can afford those Manolos and you aren’t hurting anybody, including yourself, spin those records big boy.

Q: My libido is out of control. I have been this way since I was 16 and now that I am married, I worry that my libido is going to get me into trouble. Is nymphomania a state of mind? Is it treatable? - Evelyn

A: Several thousand men in cyberspace are now looking for Evelyn’s phone number. But they will be disappointed. Nymphomania doesn’t really exist.

True, there are medical conditions that can suddenly create a spike in desire, including brain injury and hormone malfunctions, but you, Evelyn, have fallen into the pop culture myth of thinking that being highly sexed means you are a nymphomaniac. You just like sex a lot. Count your blessings.

But watch yourself. If you seriously think your desire could lead you to cheat on your husband, you have a problem. Should your concern turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecy, you’ll be in for sadness and heartache. So try directing all that energy toward him. Be creative. Get him to be creative. Enjoy harmless fantasies about mysterious strangers, if you like. Just channel that energy so it doesn’t come back to shock you.

Q: I am always hearing about the G-spot. Some believe it exists, others don’t. My girlfriend orgasms through stimulation of the clitoris, but I would like to try a different approach, too. Plus, after she orgasms, her clitoris is too sensitive to touch. I would like to make her orgasm multiple times and I was wondering if a G-spot orgasm first would be sufficient and then I could follow up with clitoral stimulation. If so, how do I reach this famed G-spot? – Dustin

A: Geez, Dustin, relax, buddy. You are putting way too much strategizing into this.

Your girlfriend comes. Hooray. Whether or not there is a G-spot -- and experts do disagree on whether it exists -- is almost irrelevant. Dr. Alice Mark, Ob-Gyn at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital, stresses that every woman’s sexual response is a little different. “For some women, licking their armpit causes orgasm,” she says. Any “vaginal” or “G-spot” orgasm is not going to be much different than a clitoral orgasm.

And if you want to give your girlfriend multiple orgasms (and how nice of you) try simply waiting a while. “Has he ever tried kissing her,” Dr. Mark asks. Yes, have you? Lay there and talk about sweet things. Fondle. Let her touch you. In a few minutes, she’ll probably be right as rain.

Q: I finally fell in love. Now I feel my fiancé has a problem with porn. He won’t stop watching it, e-mailing for it, sneaking around and lying for it, even though it hurts my feelings. Are my feelings misguided? Why does he need to watch other women to get sexually excited at the risk of hurting my feelings? We watch porn every single night. Help.

A: Porn is like double cheeseburgers. Every once in awhile, there’s something especially satisfying about a double cheeseburger. But eat them as a steady diet, and you get to be a fat, lazy, heart attack waiting to happen.

I am not opposed to grown-up porn. It has its place. But as this and other questions I’ve received recently prove, some men seem to use it as a substitute for intimacy, and that creates hurt feelings. Stop it, guys, or you’ll wind up sitting in a dark room by yourself instead of enjoying a real life with real women.

I am especially worried that you two are just engaged. Right now you ought to be shagging each other like bunnies, not watching others do it on DVD.

So I suggest that you talk calmly, rationally, to your fiancé and explain (if this is how you feel) that you do not object to his occasional use of porn, so he has no need to lie about it to you. On, say, one day each week (or whatever you feel you can enjoy -- not just tolerate, enjoy), you will be happy to indulge with him. The rest of your sex lives should be devoted to exploring each other, developing the love-making skills to create excitement, romance and variety. If he won’t commit to that compromise, he’s telling you he favors Jenna Jameson over you.

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, 2003).