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When a lover issues sexual ultimatums

What should you do when a partner is using emotional blackmail to get sex? Are there any good alternatives to Viagra-type drugs? Sexploration answers your queries.
Duane Hoffmann / MSNBC
/ Source: contributor

What should you do when a partner is using emotional blackmail to get sex? Are there good alternatives to Viagra-type drugs? And what's the best way to disclose a sexually transmitted disease? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here.

Q: My husband says he has to have sex four to five times per week. If I don’t cooperate, he tells me I don’t love him or that he'll find someone who will give it to him all of the time. Is there something wrong with me or him? I am attractive and in great shape. I work 40 to 50 hours a week and bring home the same amount of pay as he does. I clean his house, take care of his child and have dinner ready every evening. And I still usually find time just for him on a few occasions each week. What more can I do?

A: Wait! A woman who brings home money, cleans the house, cooks AND has sex with her man multiple times each week — let's let that notion sink in...

O.K., if you’ve been reading Sexploration you know some people can’t get enough sex, and some hardly want it at all. Sexual desire varies. Working out the difference is part of marriage. Sorry.  

But he is wrong to use emotional blackmail. You might suggest he read therapist Joy Davidson’s recommendations that were discussed in an earlier Sexploration column and start pitching in around the house.

With any luck, this will leave you feeling more like sex, and might I suggest avoiding quickies and focusing on quality not quantity?

Reward his new helpfulness with take-your-time-sex, the kind of sex that has a plot, a second act, a big finale and leaves you both lying there like lumps of Cool Whip. After a couple episodes like that every week, maybe he’ll back off and you’ll have the cleanest kitchen on your street.

If that fails, and he is still issuing ultimatums, you may have a deeper problem than his rampaging libido — like his lack of respect for you and your relationship. Then you may need some professional counseling.

Erection pill alternatives?
Q: I’m 62 and have erectile dysfunction. I was delighted when Viagra and friends came to market but then I developed angina, which precludes my taking any of the Viagra-type drugs. What’s a guy to do?

A: I spent a lot of time researching this and was surprised at just how many possible alternatives there are.

Prostaglandins, alpha adrenoreceptor antagonists, apomorphine, nitroglycerin (you’re probably already familiar with that one) and other drugs have all worked. Some are injected into the penis. Some are taken as a suppository into the urethra. Some are swallowed or applied as a patch or cream. Of course, there are implantable devices, too.

But not everything will be safe for you, so make your urologist and your cardiologist your best friends. You'll probably need some trial and error, and patience, to figure out what’s best.

Responses to our risky sex report
Apparently our has started some people thinking. Here are some of the questions we've received:

Q:  I'm a 37-year-old single female with herpes. I just started dating someone new and we are getting closer to the discussion about safe sex. I am unsure how to approach the topic and tell the truth. I’m scared. Any advice?

A: I don’t blame you. Fear of rejection is scary. But I once interviewed a guy who struggled with this very issue and he told me something beautiful. While he wasn’t happy about his herpes diagnoses, he felt it had enriched his intimate life.

“I’ve had to learn how to have a real discussion with women before I sleep with them,” he said. Sometimes he was rejected, and that hurt, but most of the time he wasn’t.

Be sure you are educated on the facts of herpes, including treatments, so you can educate the person you are dating. Then open a bottle of wine, take a deep breath, and begin.

Q: How do I let down an HIV-positive potential lover and still prevent emotional hurtfulness when I'm HIV-negative?

A: No matter how it’s said, rejection hurts. Whatever you do, do not make up a story like, “Gee, my grandmother in Tbilisi suddenly took ill so I have to move there for six months.”

Before you reject this person, however, be sure you know the real risks. HIV “discordant” couples (one positive and one negative) can live happily — and sexually — without transmitting the virus to the uninfected person. Talk to an HIV specialist in your city to find out how.

Q: I looked at my ex-boyfriend’s penis once and it had little white bumps on it! We broke up a year ago. My best friend says the bumps were herpes, but I haven’t had any symptoms. Is it necessary to get tested after all this time?

A: Is your best friend a doctor? No? Then why are you listening? The “little white bumps” could have been genital warts, herpes or just weird little white bumps. Get tested. 

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.