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Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit www.CollegeSexTalk.com Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit www.collegesextalk.com/questions.htm and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: www.my-secure-site.com/collegesextalk/ or E-Mail

Am I Addicted to Sex?
Are Guys Always Ready for Sex?
Arousal
Body Image
Breaking Up
Can a Woman Regain Her Virginity?
Can Pre-Cum Get My Girlfriend Pregnant?
Can you get genital herpes from someone with a cold sore giving you oral sex?
Casual Sex
Daily Masturbation
Dating Dilemmas
Dating Dilemmas - 2
Desire for Sex
Dose It Matter if I'm Circumcised
Does pot (marijuana) enhance sex?
Does sex before the big game weaken you
Exactly how does female ejaculation work?
How do I get a larger penis?
Is It Platonic?
Love
Masturbation
Men and Intimacy
Multiple Orgasms
Orgasm
The "Other" Sex: Understanding Men and Women
Penis Length or Width?
Premature Ejaculation
Products to increase the sex drives of women
Rape/Sexual Assault
Ready to Have Sex
Sexual Fantasies
Sex Life has Cooled Down
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sowing Oaks
Thoughts/Fantasies
Understanding the Other Sex
What are the chances of pregnancy if he pulls-out?
What does the inside of a vagina look like?
What is the percentage of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in college students?

Exactly how does female ejaculation work?


Q from a Male, junior student at U.W-Milwaukee

Do women do it every time they climax? Or does it work otherwise? I ask because with past women, there was difficulty realizing exactly when they did reach orgasm, because sometimes there weren't many clues, just a lot of heavy breathing and the like. Please help a concerned, considerate guy find the light.

Dr. Caron's Response: In terms of the first half of your question, female ejaculation is associated with the G-spot. In terms of the G-spot: Some experts claim there is an area on the wall of the vagina near the front that, if stimulated, produces intense arousal and orgasm. According to these experts, the Grafenberg spot is located in the front wall of the vagina, just under the bladder, an inch or two into the vaginal canal and about halfway between the pubic bone and the front of the cervix (are you still with me?). A woman (or her partner) may find the Grafenberg area or spot by inserting her finger into the vagina and pressing toward the pubic bone. When the area is stimulated with a finger, it may be easier to detect the G-spot. Tiny and soft before stimulation, the spot swells and becomes more defined when stimulated. A woman's first reaction to stimulation is usually a strong urge to urinate. This initial reaction is quickly replaced by strong and distinctly sexual pleasure. Associated with stimulation of the G-spot is female ejaculation of a fluid from her urethra during orgasm. There are many unanswered questions about the G-spot, including: Why are some women able to find their G-spot and others are not? What is the connection between the G-spot and ejaculation? Where is the ejaculate stored before it is released? How common is the experience among women? Estimates are that 10% of women have experienced ejaculation. What is the nature of the fluid? It does not appear to be urine.

In terms of the other half of your question relating to how to tell if she reaches orgasm: I think the best way to know for sure is to ask her directly.... and being the concerned considerate guy that you are, you might be able to find out what makes her feel good or able to reach orgasm, and what you might be able to do to help facilitate the process, etc. Remember - for most women, it is not stimulation of the G-spot, but rather stimulation of the clitoris, that is essential and most efficient for reaching orgasm. Perhaps she could show you how she likes to be touched. Best wishes!

Understanding the Other Sex


Q from a Male, Sophomore student at the University of Maine: Why do most girls say they want to have relationships with nice guys but go out with jerks (and keep going back to them when they treat them like dirt)?

A: Often, our past experience - even as children - preconditions us to feel more comfortable, more at home, in destructive relationships. People who have grown up with damaging experiences often can change the direction of their lives with the help of counseling. Of course, not every woman seeks this type of relationship; but for those who do, counseling and psychotherapy are often helpful.

Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Syracuse University: Why do men use women for sex and how can a woman tell if a guy is using her for sex before she sleeps with him?

A: Not all men use women in this way. Many guys want to have sex only within the parameters of a meaningful relationship. A meaningful relationship is not an instant achievement; one doesn't develop a meaningful relationship at a single party, in a casual conversation, or because you bumped into each other in a bar. Friendships take a while to build, and develop best on a basis of shared interest and experiences. If there is no meaningful relationship and no friendship, there may be no way for you to tell why another person wants to share a sexual relationship with you.

Breaking Up


Q from a Female, Junior student at University of Florida: I broke up with my boyfriend over a year ago, but I can't stop thinking about him. I've dated other guys, but nobody seriously. Will I ever get over him?

A: Probably. One year isn't really a long time to still be thinking about your old boyfriend, especially when you haven't established another serious relationship. It's important to look at why you still think about him. Is it the relationship with him that you miss, or just having a relationship? Why did you break up? Often times it can be easier to remember the good times with your boyfriend, while forgetting why the relationship didn't work out. Remember: One of our tasks in life is learning to let go. It's hard.

Premature Ejaculation


Q from a Male, Junior student at Connecticut: wants to know....I've suffered from premature ejaculation ever since I began having sex at age 16. I'm 20 now and it only gets worse. Upon insertion, I have no control over what happens. It's hurting my relationship now and I'm afraid it will hurt me for the rest of my life. Is there a cure? Something that can fix it?

Dr. Caron's answer: Premature ejaculation is also called early ejaculation. When a man ejaculates before intromission, at the point of intromission, within 2-5 thrusts, or within a minute, almost all couples will identify this as premature or early ejaculation. I think it is important for you to know that it is the most common male sexual dysfunction, especially among younger men. Fifty percent of young males report early ejaculation and one-third of adult males report they ejaculate more rapidly then they would like. So I guess what I am saying is that you are not alone.

I hope you have been able to talk openly with your partner about how you are both feeling - rather than trying to "sweep things under the rug" or pretend nothing is upsetting you! Some couples find that while the man may ejaculate too quickly the first time they attempt intercourse, they can then resume lovemaking-touching-playing around, and his second erection lasts much longer. How are you coping with this? I ask because I wonder how you have dealt with this so far. I also hope your partner is not taking this personally - as a disappointment or some kind of rejection. That will be important to discuss as well. The other area to look at is expanding your definition of sexual activity beyond "penis-insertion- into-wherever" - and look to other activities that are mutually pleasing, such as oral sex. If sex ends with your ejaculation, I can see where it would be a major problem.

Early ejaculation is commonly a physical issue that can be corrected with some "re-training" and awareness. I really discourage "do-it-yourself" techniques such as wearing two condoms, using a desensitizing cream, biting his tongue, or thinking negative thoughts (such as how much money you owe). These can be harmful in two ways: 1) These techniques serve to reduce arousal and can cause erection difficulty rather than lead to ejaculatory control; and 2) You end up isolating yourself from your partner, which leads to further emotional alienation and can destroy the couple's bond. THE KEY ELEMENT IN LEARNING EJACULATORY CONTROL IS TO IDENTIFY THE POINT OF EJACULATORY INEVITABILITY.

Most often early ejaculation is due to lack of knowledge, attention, or skill. It is often a result of early sexual experiences (rapid ejaculatory response learned through masturbation/partner sex). If you were to go to a sex therapist for assistance, the treatment would focus on helping you learn to identify the point of "ejaculatory inevitability." In my own sex therapy practice, one procedure that I recommend is the "stop-start" technique, developed in the 1950's by Dr. Semans. This technique asks the male to practice penile stimulation to the point prior to ejaculation, first through masturbation and later with his partner. The male with early ejaculation signals his partner when to stop so that his arousal level can subside. Stimulation is then resumed after a pause, and the process is repeated at least three times before allowing ejaculation to occur. It is important for you to enjoy your own sensations and to learn to identify the various levels of arousal that you experience. You need to learn to accurately identify the point of ejaculatory inevitability. This exercise should be practiced 2-3 times per week. For most men I see, ejaculatory control can be learned in 8 to 20 weeks. I strongly recommend reading The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld - it has excellent suggestions and greater detail on this technique. Best wishes!

Sowing Oaks


Q from a Female, Senior student at Tufts University: wants to know....My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 3 years. We met in college and have been together since he was 18 and I was 20. We are very much in love. For the most part, we have a great relationship and one day, want to get married. Our friends, and even our parents think that we were meant for each other. He has, in the past, had trouble being100% faithful to me (he hasn't had sex with other girls, but sometimes gets drunk and kisses them) This has hurt me a lot, and I know he feels very badly about it. We both blame this on the fact that he hasn't had anytime to really be a crazy-single-college student, because for his entire college career, he has had a girlfriend. Recently, he broke up with me. He told me that he loves me more than anything in the world and because he wants to be with me forever, he needs this time to be single for a while and date other girls. I've always known this is what had to happen. I have a hard time trusting him, because I do know that this one day was going to happen. It just breaks my heart to think of him with other girls, because I love him so much. We tried not talking, but we both are miserable without each other. Even though we are both going out on dates with other people - we talk from time to time. It's very hard for both of us. I know that I don't want anyone else but him - all other guys pale in comparison to him. He says the same to me, but I still wonder why he has to do this. I'm wondering what the healthiest thing is to do? Should I move on? Should I wait for him? Should I be proud of the fact that he had to "courage to step up to the plate and be a man" or be mad at him for giving into temptation and following the crowd of college guys?

Dr. Caron's Answer: You know the expression that goes something like: "he wants his cake and to eat it too!" I cannot help but feel that you are in the midst of such a situation. On the one hand, you recognize this person as wonderful, loving, and a good match for you. You even say you want to get married one day. Yet on the other hand, you recognize he is not ready to "settle down" so to speak, that he is not sure about your relationship, and that he has an interest in knowing and being with other women. It is painful to look at. Just your reference to his unfaithfulness in terms of kissing serves as a major flag for me - and for you. I also question the idea that others see you two as "meant for each other" - perhaps this has been true - but for now, it does not seem helpful to know that he "loves you" but needs to be with others..... if he loves you and is sure about that, then WHY would he need to still be looking around? Perhaps your relationship has run its course, served its purpose for both of you while in college - but now that you are a senior, maybe questions are being raised about the future? He just does not sound sure about having a relationship with you or ready to be in such a serious commitment. Perhaps the fact that you are a bit older and wiser makes your views differ in this regard? To be honest though, I must point out that the whole situation sounds sort of sexist... implying that as a male he needs to sow his wild oats... while you wait in the wings hoping.... UUUUGGGHHHH. If it is really so hard on both of you (not just you), it would seem like he would stop wanting to see other women. I do think you need to be honest. I think a relationship is a lot like flying - the airplane moves forward or it lands - it does not stay motionless in the air.... I would strongly suggest you take control of the situation, instead of waiting for him to decide whether or not your relationship is on or off, and let go. You are right in thinking that maybe one day things can work out.... but they may very well not work out. You need to take care of you. It is a painful place to be when you wait for someone else to let you know if your relationship is "a go" or not. I do think sitting down with someone to discuss your situation more completely would be helpful - you need support and someone who can objectively sit and listen to you and offer input. And one last thing: you say you do not want anyone else but him, but have you had time to really look around? And what if he decides in the end he does not want you - where would that leave you? You say other men you have met pale in comparison. Well, I believe that there are many compatible people for us in the world -if we open ourselves up to the opportunity to meet and appreciate others, we have the ability to love many others.... there is not just one person for us to love. There are many. When your heart is ready, you will see what I mean. Best wishes.

Casual Sex


Q from a Female, Junior student at U. of Oregon: How do I know if I'm promiscuous or just normally enjoying sex with several partners?

A: Promiscuity is a label that some people use to describe the behavior of those who have sex with a variety of different partners on a casual basis. Because of the double standard, it's more often used in a negative way to describe women. Clearly there are some people who enjoy sex with a variety of partners, and prefer to avoid getting emotionally involved. According to Gina Ogden, author of Women Who Love Sex, if a person engages in this kind of behavior in a responsible, nonexploitative manner, taking appropriate steps to reduce risks of disease and pregnancy, and emerges from them without negative feelings or conflict, there is no particular reason to judge the behavior as a problem. Sometimes, however, having multiple sex partners may be motivated by something else. Many of us have probably seen people engaging in random sex for reasons that are not always positive such as an unsatisfied personal life or lack of self-respect. Certainly some people feel a need to prove themselves. Multiple sexual encounters may also represent a means of escape or retaliation for a troubled relationship. In these cases, the person has the potential of creating more serious problems. Hopefully they can take a moment to look at their motives - talk with someone about what is going on and develop more appropriate ways to deal with these stresses. I suggest you look at your motives for having sex and decide.

Dose It Matter if I'm Circumcised


Q from a Male, sophomore student at UNC: Does it matter whether or not I'm circumcised to a woman?

Dr. Caron's Answer: You raise a really good question. I think it's fairly common for men to worry about the look of their penis -especially when it comes to circumcision. I read somewhere that about 80% of American males have a circumcised penis, whereas 80% of European males have an uncircumcised penis. So if you are uncircumcised, your partner might not be used to seeing a penis with the foreskin still intact. I do think it would be important to mention the difference and assure her of the normalcy of it all. Most women do not find things like penis shape or size to be an issue when it comes to the sexual interaction. It's important to know there is no relationship between circumcision of a man's penis and his ability to have sexual intercourse or to excite his partner. An uncircumcised penis will not make a woman have an orgasm any more than a circumcised one will.

(Editor's note: Actually, less than 70% of U.S. males are circumcised, and in California, it's less than 40% while in Great Britain only 0.4% are circumcised. One of many reasons not to be circumcised is the loss of the man's sexual arousal over time. There are over 18,000,000 impotent men in the U.S. and another 16,000,000 who lack sexual desire. )

Arousal


Q from a Female, Senior student at Syracuse University: What can I do when I want to make love, but my partner isn't "in the mood"? How can I get him in the mood?

A: Loving relationships thrive on mutual respect. I am not sure that you can make anybody feel romantic and sexy just because that's the time you're feeling romantic and sexy. Generally, "turn-ons" for men include caring, touch, warm shared feelings, and the interest in mutual respect.

Desire for Sex


Q from a Male, First-Year student at University of Oklahoma: Can being in good physical condition increase your desire to have sex?

A: There are many positive benefits to being in good physical condition. Feeling fit helps us feel better about a lot of things. We often feel better about ourselves when we feel we look our best. Being in good shape often leads to positive feelings about life; our desire for many things increases.

What are the chances of pregnancy if he pulls-out?


Q A student from a junior female University of Maine student wants to know....I am rather ashamed to say that my ex-boyfriend and I used to have sex all the time and we never used any sort of birth control. He would always pull out of me before he ejaculated, and luckily, I never had a pregnancy scare. What are the chances of getting pregnant doing this?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Withdrawal (aka "pulling out," coitus interruptus, “pull and pray”) is probably the oldest method of contraception. The Bible contains many references to contraceptive techniques, including withdrawal. The story of Onan, for example, implies knowledge of the withdrawal method. This method means that the man removes his penis from the vagina before ejaculating. Withdrawal has a first-year failure rate among typical users of about 20%. That means about 20 in 100 women using this method in their first year will get pregnant. The biggest reason for failure is that the man does not withdraw in time. Even if the penis is withdrawn just before ejaculation, some ejaculate may still fall on the vaginal lips, and sperm may find their way to the fallopian tubes. If a man does not withdraw in time and the woman believes this is her fertile time, emergency contraception should be used to prevent pregnancy. By the way, it used to be thought that there was a risk of pregnancy with withdrawal due to sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluids ("pre-cum"), but new research suggests this is not a risk.

Because of its unreliability and high failure rate, withdrawal is considered an ineffective method of contraception. As Robert Hatcher, author of Contraceptive Technology says, "it is a considerably better method of contraception than no method at all." What is interesting to note is that more than half the couples around the world use withdrawal to prevent pregnancy - it is free, does not require a doctor's presciption, is always available, and is better than nothing at all. One has to wonder though, with all the effective methods available to us here in the United States, why someone would resort to using such a risky method to prevent pregnancy.

Can you get genital herpes from someone with a cold sore giving you oral sex?


Q from a female senior at Miami University of Ohio wants to know.....

Dr. Caron's Answer: Yes. Genital herpes infection is caused by exposure to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) through sexual contact. HSV-1 initially was associated with oral infection (cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth) and HSV-2 with genital infection (blisters on the penis or vulva). Over the past 30 years, however, the increased popularity of oral sex has led to transferring HSV-1 from the mouth to genitals. The two viruses are not different clinically, as both cause the same painful symptoms. A 2-12 day incubation period follows transmission of the virus. There is no cure, but there is treatment to speed the healing of the painful blisters. It should be noted that outbreaks of genital herpes caused by HSV-1 are usually less recurrent, produce less viral shedding, and in general are less of a problem for the person (and their partners). An estimated 50 million people are presently infected with genital herpes caused by HSV-2 in the U.S. - if you add in the percentage of those with genital herpes due to HSV-1, the percentage is even larger. You should know that the virus can be easily spread by even a quick, casual kiss and thus it should not be assumed that a person with oral herpes got it from performing oral sex. By the way, not all mouth ulcers are caused by the herpes virus; they can also be caused by bacteria, allergic reactions, or autoimmune (canker sores) responses. However, "fever blisters" and most cold sores are herpes.

Men and Intimacy


Q from a woman at the University of Maine: Why is it that men have a harder time being close? Why isn't intimacy as important to them as it is to women?

A: I think it is just as important, but for some men it is more difficult to show or express. Keep in mind that, even today, many men do not get the opportunity to build "intimacy skills" while growing up. Women tend to have more practice in this area. Little girls are allowed to stay close and connected to their mothers - while boys are "pushed out of the nest" so to speak. Girls are allowed to touch each other - while men can touch only in specific situations (for example, during sports or during sex). Research has indicated that women are more likely to call a friend "just to catch up" - while men talk to each other about doing things. It's more acceptable for women to share feelings; many men are still being raised to think it's "unmanly" to cry or say they feel hurt. It takes time to unlearn some of these messages and to recognize the benefit of feeling free to express yourself and feel close to someone. Developing intimacy takes time. Fortunately, more and more men are recognizing their desire to develop this ability.

Body Image


Q from a Female, Sophomore Cal State -Fullerton: Why are women made to feel unattractive if they are average-looking as opposed to model-looking.

A: If by "average-looking" you mean the majority of women, then logically the majority must be attractive since they attract others and the human race continues. If only people who look like models were attractive, the birth rate would drop precipitously. Not all men look for the same characteristics, despite the messages from the media about the ideal female form. In fact, over time the ideal changes. I have a friend who's rosy gentle curves would make her an ideal in the 17th century. Relax and look for a guy who's ideal is not the media stereotype.

Dating Dilemmas


Q from a Male, First-Year student at UMass-Lowell: I want to be able to date others while at college, but I have a girlfriend back home. I'm not sure I want to break up. Should I just go ahead and date people here and not tell my girlfriend?

A: It sounds like you need to decide what you really want in relationships with others. It's difficult to have a relationship built on deception - with either your girlfriend at home or the women you would like to date here at college. If you really want to date other women, you need to be honest about your feelings and tell your current girlfriend. In the long run, you won't be doing her (or you) any favors by being dishonest.

Q from a Male, Senior student at Cornell University: There is a woman who likes me as "more than a friend" who I would like to keep as "just a friend." How can I tell her without hurting her?

A: You may not be able to save her from hurt. She is responsible for her feelings. If you are able to talk with her directly, I might suggest starting by expressing how important her friendship is to you. Emphasize what you like about her and what makes her an important friend. If she can hear that, she may be able to hear you when you explain that you would like to keep the friendship platonic. If you don't talk to her about the situation, but instead choose to let the tension continue, at some point she may feel led on. Talking to her and being honest now will save her (and you) a bigger hurt down the road.

Dating Dilemmas 2


Q from a Female, Junior student at the University of Maine: My boyfriend is going to another school that is pretty far away so I only get to see him on the weekends. When we have sex, he gets really tired very easily. I was wondering if it was because he hasn't had sex in a long time or if it was because he is cheating on me?

A: I guess the place to begin is to ask him directly. It could be he is just tired. However, if it's not "tired" that you're sensing, but instead it seems to be a lack of interest or enthusiasm, I would want to have a serious discussion with him about how you're feeling and how he's feeling. Perhaps there is some other stress in his life, maybe he's just preoccupied with school, or perhaps he has questions about your relationship. Then again, he may just be tired. What seems clear from your question is that you sense something has changed, and you see it played out in your sex life. It also sounds like you need answers and reassurance from him that it's nothing more than that. You're right to follow your "gut feelings" and question if there is a problem in the relationship! Best wishes.

Q from a Female, Junior student at the University of Chicago: I recently started dating a guy that I have been friends with for about a year. As friends, I had explained to him that after a very painful breakup of my last relationship, I wanted to go slowly in establishing a new relationship with someone else. He said he understood completely. The problem is, now that we have begun dating each other, everything I thought we discussed about going slow, etc is out the window. He calls me a lot, asks me out 2-3 times a week, and if I'm not home he jokingly wants to know what I was doing. I do like him a lot and enjoy his company. I even feel comfortable kissing him, but at this point that is all. I feel that if things keep going as they have been, it will get out of hand - what could be a good relationship will end just because it is going too fast too soon. How should I handle this situation? I hate to use the old cliche, but I do need some space until I know just how I do feel about him. Is there a way to go about it without hurting him?

A: It sounds like you're feeling smothered by your friend. It also sounds like you need more time to recover from your last relationship before you enter a new one. In addition, it sounds like it's time to have a heart-to-heart talk with your friend. Unfortunately, it may be hard for him to hear you say how you are feeling. But in the long-run, it will be easier for him to accept your honesty now rather than string him along until you are to the point where you can't stand to be around him. Hopefully, he will be able to accept your feelings and understand that you need more space as well as his supportive friendship. Good luck!

Q from a Male, First-Year student at UMass-Lowell: I want to be able to date others while at college, but I have a girlfriend back home. I'm not sure I want to break up. Should I just go ahead and date people here and not tell my girlfriend?

A: It sounds like you need to decide what you really want in relationships with others. It's difficult to have a relationship built on deception - with either your girlfriend at home or the women you would like to date here at college. If you really want to date other women, you need to be honest about your feelings and tell your current girlfriend. In the long run, you won't be doing her (or you) any favors by being dishonest.

Q from a Male, Senior student at Cornell University: There is a woman who likes me as "more than a friend" who I would like to keep as "just a friend." How can I tell her without hurting her?

A: You may not be able to save her from hurt. She is responsible for her feelings. If you are able to talk with her directly, I might suggest starting by expressing how important her friendship is to you. Emphasize what you like about her and what makes her an important friend. If she can hear that, she may be able to hear you when you explain that you would like to keep the friendship platonic. If you don't talk to her about the situation, but instead choose to let the tension continue, at some point she may feel led on. Talking to her and being honest now will save her (and you) a bigger hurt down the road.

Q from a Female, Junior student from UCLA: I am seeing a man 21 years older than I am - he's 40 and I'm 19. He's also married but isn't in love with his wife. They are going through marriage counseling because she found out about us a year ago. We started our relationship over the summer again. He says he'll know by next summer if he is going to stay married or not. Should I wait or should I just move on.

A: This may be difficult to hear, but you should know that most men in this situation don't end up leaving their wife; if they do, they end up going back to her. I'm curious about what you see in him. He's married, he's 21 years older, he’s not able to make clear decisions about relationships, and by having an affair he hasn't been honest with his wife. What attracts you to him? What are your hopes and dreams for a relationship? I think it's important that you look at your motivation for such a relationship. Can you talk to someone about this?

Q from a Male, First-Year student at UMass-Lowell: I want to be able to date others while at college, but I have a girlfriend back home. I'm not sure I want to break up. Should I just go ahead and date people here and not tell my girlfriend?

A: It sounds like you need to decide what you really want in relationships with others. It's difficult to have a relationship built on deception - with either your girlfriend at home or the women you would like to date here at college. If you really want to date other women, you need to be honest about your feelings and tell your current girlfriend. In the long run, you won't be doing her (or you) any favors by being dishonest.

Q from a Male, Senior student at Cornell University: There is a woman who likes me as "more than a friend" who I would like to keep as "just a friend." How can I tell her without hurting her?

A: You may not be able to save her from hurt. She is responsible for her feelings. If you are able to talk with her directly, I might suggest starting by expressing how important her friendship is to you. Emphasize what you like about her and what makes her an important friend. If she can hear that, she may be able to hear you when you explain that you would like to keep the friendship platonic. If you don't talk to her about the situation, but instead choose to let the tension continue, at some point she may feel led on. Talking to her and being honest now will save her (and you) a bigger hurt down the road.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Q from a Female, Senior Texas A&M: What are the symptoms of genital warts?

A: Genital warts are determined by visible inspection. HPV (human papilloma virus) causes genital warts, which is a very common virus, infecting about 1 out of every 4 sexually active people. The warts typically appear on the genitals as soft, pink, painless single or multiple growths resembling a small cauliflower. In men, they may appear on the penis, foreskin, and scrotum, and within the urethra. In women, they may be found on the vulva, in the vagina, and on the cervix. The warts begin to appear 1-3 months after contact and are diagnosed visibly at a health clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections. They may be removed by freezing, burning, dehydration with an electrical needle, or surgery. Although such treatments may remove the warts, please be aware that they do not rid the body of the virus - so there may be recurrences.

Q from a Female, Senior student at the University of Maine: Can you get genital herpes from someone with a cold sore giving you oral sex?

A: Yes. Genital herpes infection is caused by exposure to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV 2) through sexual contact. HSV 1 initially was associated with oral infection (cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth) and HSV 2 with genital infection (blisters on the penis or vulva). Over the past 30 years, however, the increased popularity of oral sex has led to an almost equal probability of transferring either form from mouth to genitals and vice versa. The two viruses are not different clinically, as both cause the same painful symptoms. A person with blisters on the mouth cannot only transfer the virus to another person’s genitals, and vice versa, but a person with herpes can transfer it to other parts of his or her own body by touch, including the eyes, as well (this is called autoinoculation). A 2-12 day incubation period follows transmission of the virus. There is no cure, but there is treatment to speed the healing of the painful blisters. An estimated 20-30 million people are presently infected with genital herpes in the U.S. You should know that the virus can be easily spread by even a quick, casual kiss and thus it should not be assumed that a person with oral herpes got it from performing oral sex. By the way, not all mouth ulcers are caused by the herpes virus; they can also be caused by bacteria, allergic reactions, or autoimmune (canker sores) responses. However, “fever blisters” and most cold sores are herpes.

Multiple Orgasms


Q From a first year student at Duke: I was wondering, my boyfriend is able to give me great orgasms, but I always hear about multiple orgasms. Are they possible? He's tried, but after I orgasm, my clitoris is so sensitive that I have to tell him to stop. Also, it happens to me, but I never hear anyone talk about it...is female ejaculation common?

A: Multiple orgasm refers to experiencing more than one orgasm during a single episode of sexual activity. In fact, one of the most frequently quoted findings of Masters and Johnson (the famous sex researchers from the 60's) is their report of multiple orgasms in many of the women they studied. This phenomenon was seen in only a few of the men they studied. Because of this, some have interpreted this to mean that women are "more sexual" than men. And, believe it or not, others have suggested that women who are multi-orgasmic are sexually superior to other women who have only one orgasm at a time. The reality is the quality of the sexual interaction is more important than the quantity. Only a small percentage of women say they have experienced multiple orgasms - either through masturbation, partner stimulation, or sexual intercourse. For some women, the ability to reach multiple orgasms requires some "backing off" from stimulation of the clitoris as you reach orgasm. As you describe, the clitoris becomes so sensitive it may be impossible to endure continued touch. One suggestion is to continue stimulation around the area, but not directly on the clitoris, and then re-building to a second wave of orgasm.

In terms of the G-spot: Some experts claim there is an area on the wall of the vagina near the front that, if stimulated, produces intense arousal and orgasm. According to these experts, the Grafenberg spot is located in the front wall of the vagina, just under the bladder, an inch or two into the vaginal canal and about halfway between the pubic bone and the front of the cervix (are you still with me?). A woman may find the Grafenberg area or spot by inserting her finger into the vagina and pressing toward the pubic bone. When the area is stimulated with a finger, it may be easier to detect the G-spot. Tiny and soft before stimulation, the spot swells and becomes more defined when stimulated. A woman's first reaction to stimulation is a strong urge to urinate. This initial reaction is quickly replaced by strong and distinctly sexual pleasure. Associated with stimulation of the G-spot is female ejaculation of a fluid from her urethra during orgasm. There are many unanswered questions about the G-spot, including: Why are some women able to find their G-spot and others are not? What is the connection between the G-spot and ejaculation? Where is the ejaculate stored before it is released? How common is the experience among women? Estimates are that 10% of women have experienced ejaculation. What is the nature of the fluid? It does not appear to be urine.

Thoughts/Fantasies


Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Ball State: I have never had sex with someone of the same sex, but have often admired their bodies. Is this unusual?

A: No, this is not unusual. All of us can admire human bodies (both male and female) with pleasure. A trip to an art museum demonstrates that the human body has great beauty. It would be sad if one could only see the beauty in only half the people.

Q from a Male, Senior student at Bowdoin College: I have been seeing a woman for 3-1/2 years. This was the first sexual relationship for both of us. We are both very much in love, but here's the problem: I think about relationships with other women, specifically these two other women I am friends with. I think of these other women everyday and everyday I feel guilty. It's driving me crazy. I often fantasize about having sex with these other women, and sometimes even when I am making love to my girlfriend. I feel very badly about this. I can't stand the idea of hurting my girlfriend. My feelings of guilt and confusion are effecting my concentration and I often become depressed. Help!

A: It's not unusual for both men and women to have sexual fantasies about others when engaged in sex. That's not something to feel guilty about. Of greater concern is the sense of conflict which emerges from your letter. Because your girlfriend is your first love and such a significant relationship, it may be difficult for you to understand that other relationships may be even better. I would suggest that you take advantage of the nearest counseling center to talk over this problem to gain insight on yourself. I understand that you are confused and distressed by your sense of disloyalty and I believe you can much profit by talking these matters over with an experienced person.

Rape/Sexual Assault


Q from a Male, Senior student at University of California: When does "NO" mean "YES."

A: NO means no, no way, negative, no thanks, not now; it never means "Yes." If you are referring to a situation where a woman says "no" to sex or sexual intimacy, yet seems like she may be willing to go further, ask her. Many women have grown up with the message that it's not okay to say "yes" to sex - if she does express her interest in sex she's labeled or seen as "easy." If you're not sure what your partner wants, talk about it. You have to have her consent. It is important to know that having sex with someone who says "No" is against the law.

Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Minnesota: How can a women say "NO" to a guy and convey to him that she really means it?

A: A simple "NO" will usually suffice. It is easier to say "No" before you are both sexually aroused. It helps to be clear with yourself first about what you are wanting and what your limits are.

(Note: Only Yes Means Yes. Why initiating the first or hundredth sexual contact with someone, many of us were trained to plan the game, flirting, teasing, etc. And, as men/boys, if we pulled out of the game, rumors might spread that we must be gay. The old "If a Lady say "No" she means maybe. If a Lady says "Maybe" she means yes. If a Lady says "Yes" she's no Lady." was the training that many of us - men and women - grew up with. What we know is that sex is no game. And that there are strick laws that say so. More than one man has ended up in prison for playing the old game. So, if she is playing "The Game" and won't clearly say yes, talk about it but don't pursue. In fact, if she can't talk about sex and wanting to be sexual with you, then consider moving on. Editor)

Masturbation


Q from a Male, Sophomore student at the University of Maine: Could a person like masturbation so much that they wouldn't want to have sex with a partner?

A: Masturbation does seem to have certain advantages over intercourse. It is simple, can be done quickly, and you don't have to worry or be concerned with the desires and needs of a partner. Also, some people find the intensity of orgasm from masturbation to be greater than that of orgasms they have through intercourse. Regardless of all of this, most people still prefer partner sex over masturbation because of the many rewards partner sex provides in addition to orgasm. If a person always (not just occasionally) preferred masturbation over partner sex, it would likely be a symptom of difficulty in interpersonal relationships. The masturbation would not be the cause of the problem.

Is It Platonic?


Q from a Female, Sophomore student at MCC: wants to know: I have recently found a new boy friend after many years of waiting for one and constantly being under stress for my past two years at college for various reasons. I really love the guy that I am with and I want to share everything with him. However when I was spending the week with him for spring break I have found that my sexual desire was virtually non-existent. And this feeling has been there for awhile. And it is becoming a real problem because I want to be with him and be satisfied by him sexually. My non-existent sexual desire has made me not even want to masturbate to see what turns me on. The only time when I am in the mood is when I have to take the extra energy to get into it, which is very tiring within itself, and the other time is when I am extremely drunk. Please help me with this problem that is plaguing my sex life.

Dr. Caron’s Answer: What do you want to do? It sounds to me like you may have a fine platonic relationship -- One that you enjoy being with, but you do not share sexual experiences. How does the man feel about this? Is this something he is happy with? I believe men and women can share friendships that are not sexual; although, I think this is relatively rare. I suggest you sit down together and discuss the relationship openly and see if you are in agreement. He may not be the right person for you to have a sexual relationship with. I think the feeling of pressure you relay can certainly effect things. Can you talk to him about this? Maybe by sharing some of your feelings with him, you can begin to have an open, honest discussion about the relationship.

Are Guys Always Ready for Sex?


Question from a first year female student at Antioch College Are guys always ready for sex? And why do most guys stop after they are satisfied?

Dr. Caron's Answer: In response to your first question: It's hard to generalize; some men are and some men aren't. There are women who like sex as much as men, and some women who like it more than men. In response to your second question, some men stop after they are "satisfied" because that's what they have learned. The message has been that sex ends with his orgasm. If you are experiencing this in your own relationship and it is a problem for you, you need to communicate this to your partner. He may not realize that his self-centered behavior bothers you. There are other ways of experiencing sexual enjoyment together where you can both feel satisfied.

Question from a Male, Senior student at University of Alabama: Almost four years have passed and I haven't been asked out by a female yet! On the other hand, I have asked out a few dozen women and have been turned down by all. I am average height, weight, looks, and intelligence. I have many hobbies and interests. Well, here I am. What's going wrong?!?

Dr. Caron's Answer: I don't know. Do you have a friend that you feel close enough to? Maybe you could ask him for his opinion. One suggestion is: If you think you would enjoy knowing someone better, you may want to begin with a few minutes of shared conversation or some minor shared time together rather that a real date. If the "vibes" are good you might want to consider something longer, like going for a walk. Before you get around to asking for a date, you should have some basis for shared experiences that allows both you and the other person to determine whether you are likely to enjoy sharing an entire evening together. The best dates are often those that start from a friendship.

Taking Responsibility for STDs


Q from a Male, Junior student at Princeton: What do you do when you find out that you have a sexually transmitted infection and your partner won't get tested?

Dr. Caron's Answer: This is a very serious situation. Have you tried to find out why your partner won't be tested? Is it fear? Shame? Denial? Is she/he afraid to know that they may be infected? Are there issues of who gave this disease to who? Is there an issue of faithfulness? Maybe your partner has no symptoms - do they realize some people show no signs when infected? Why is your partner willing to risk being infected (and the potential damage to the reproductive organs) and also willing to risk passing it back to you if you continue to be sexually involved? If your partner won't be tested, how can you continue in a sexual relationship? Why is your partner willing to risk disease and possibly infecting others (you and future partners)? I can only imagine how this has impacted your relationship. While you cannot force your partner to be tested, you can decide if you want to continue to participate in this relationship. You need to seriously think about this relationship and stand firm on your desire to take care of yourself.

The "Other" Sex: Understanding Men and Women


Q from a Male, Sophomore student at the University of Maine: Why do most girls say they want to have relationships with nice guys but go out with jerks (and keep going back to them when they treat them like dirt)?

A: Often, our past experience - even as children - preconditions us to feel more comfortable, more at home, in destructive relationships. People who have grown up with damaging experiences often can change the direction of their lives with the help of counseling. Of course, not every woman seeks this type of relationship; but for those who do, counseling and psychotherapy are often helpful.

Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Syracuse University: Why do men use women for sex and how can a woman tell if a guy is using her for sex before she sleeps with him?

A: Not all men use women in this way. Many guys want to have sex only within the parameters of a meaningful relationship. A meaningful relationship is not an instant achievement; one doesn't develop a meaningful relationship at a single party, in a casual conversation, or because you bumped into each other in a bar. Friendships take a while to build, and develop best on a basis of shared interest and experiences. If there is no meaningful relationship and no friendship, there may be no way for you to tell why another person wants to share a sexual relationship with you.

What is the percentage of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in college students?


A question form a Female, Sophomore at Northlake wants to know....What is the percentage of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in college students?

Dr. Caron's Response: Let me start off by saying there are nearly 15 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States and most (two-thirds) of those occurring among those younger than 25. Some researchers have estimated that, among sexually active college students, about one in three will contract an STD by the time they graduate. I also want to point out that the U.S. has the highest rate of STDs in the industrialized world - it is 50 to 100 times higher than other industrialized nations... WHY? Many people point to a lack of prevention efforts (i.e., lack of education about the diseases and low condom use). Not long ago, I heard a person from the Centers for Disease Control speak at a conference on this very issue. They said that an analogy for how the U.S. is dealing with this issue would be that they are screaming "FIRE!" and everyone is just sitting around ignoring them. It is an epidemic. Just think about the estimates of the number of cases: Chlamydia, with 3million new cases a year, is as common as the common cold. Trichomoniasis: 5 million new cases; Gonorrhea: 650,000 new cases; HPV which causes genital warts: 5.5 million new cases a year; Genital herpes: 1 million new cases; Hepatitis B: 100,000new cases a year; and Syphilis: 20,000 new cases a year. I should also point out that HIV is a very real and active problem on college campuses.

I am very concerned that things are only going to get worse before they can get better due to our current administration's "war on condoms" - which is trying to convince people that condoms do not work. Take for example what happened to the Centers for Disease Control website: A fact sheet on condoms was removed and, eventually, replaced by one that emphasized that condoms may not work. How could this happen in America - that such misinformation could be allowed to spread - despite cries from credible health organizations who know that condoms are our best defense against diseases? Until we take our collective heads out of the sand and really take a look at the seriousness of the issue, I don't see much hope for lowering the rates. By the way, such misinformation about condoms will lead to not only an increase in disease, but also an increase in pregnancy. Only when we are willing to educate young people about the seriousness of these infections, and encourage all people who are sexually active to use latex condoms every time, will we see a reduction in the numbers.

Can Pre-Cum Get My Girlfriend Pregnant?


A question form a Male Senior at Northwestern wants to know....I recently had sex with my girlfriend on the first day of her period. After a few "in and outs" I decided to put on a condom. I don't know if I had precum, but now I am worried about pregnancy. I would like to know your thoughts about this.

Dr. Caron's response: Thank you for your question. I want to start by saying you have a right to have concerns, but the risk of pregnancy as you describe the situation is quite small. The first part of your question has to do with whether or not unprotected intercourse on the first day of a woman's period is risky - in other words, could she be ovulating? Please know that most women ovulate and then later (days or weeks later) have their period. Knowing this was the first day of her period would mean that most likely no egg was available to meet your sperm. The second part of your question relates to the discussion of pre-cum and possible presence of sperm in this fluid - which some have suggested could contain sperm if the male had ejaculated just a few hours before and not urinated in between sessions. The presence of sperm in the pre-cum is a remote possibility. Many people have been told that pre-cum might contain sperm - but the new studies show that there is no sperm in pre-cum. The risk of pregnancy with withdrawal has to do with not pulling out in time...not the pre-cum. While we can say anything is possible - in this case, it is unlikely that there was a risk of pregnancy. Best wishes.

Am I Addicted to Sex?


A question form a Male, First Year at Cosumnes River College wants to know....I was wondering why I am so addicted to sex. I have to have an orgasm everyday in order to satisfy myself. I get really angry if I don't have sex. I need sex to relieve my anger. Please help me! Is it normal to feel this way?

Dr. Caron's Answer: I think lots of people find orgasm to be a great way to relieve stress. It sounds like you may be one of those people. As far as calling it an addiction, I am not sure I would jump to such a label. If it feels healthy and normal for you to orgasm each day, then great! Just because you like something, doesn't mean it is necessarily a problem. Having said that, I guess the bigger question you raise has to do with the context of the orgasm - that is, your partner. If you were talking about enjoying masturbation each day, I would say not to worry.... but you imply that this involves someone else in a sexual interaction. If this is true: How does your partner feel about this? It sounds like sex has become a demand, rather than a mutual experience of pleasing one another. Is there an issue of needing to prove something or reassure yourself within the relationship? The response to no sex that you label as anger (versus just being a bit edgy or agitated) is inte!

resting and one I would encourage you to explore with someone one-on-one, such as a counselor. Why anger? Looking at the issue of anger seems like an important place to begin that conversation. Best wishes.

Sex Life has Cooled Down


A female grad student from the University of Maine wants to know….When our relationship started over 2 years ago, my partner and I had a great and active sex life---for the past 6 months or so, things have died down a lot. Is there anything we can do to get our sexual desires back? We both take antidepressants, which is likely a contributing factor.

Dr. Caron's Answer: First of all, I need to say that this is one of the most common questions I receive from couples who have been together for several years. It may be reassuring to know you're not alone. There are lots of possible reasons for low desire. Please know that a person's sexual desire (or "sex drive" as it is commonly referred to) moves up and down throughout the course of his/her lifetime. There are many things that seem to impact on our sexual desire. Low sexual desire has been associated with such factors as depression, anger, stress, habituation to a sexual partner (the novelty and risk are gone), fear of loss of control, religious orthodoxy, sexual assault, medication side effects, conflict, and fear of closeness. You are right that anti-depressants can have an effect. Talk to your doctor about this and about possible changes in the type of medication. However, if you have both been taking them all along, this would suggest that it may be something else. The most common reason for low desire is ROUTINE! Anything that is routine, which happens over and over again in the same exact way, becomes boring or stale. Even sex. For too many couples, sex becomes a routine that happens at the end of the day, when you're both exhausted, just before falling asleep. If you believe your low desire is related to routine, then I would suggest talking with your partner about how you can "spice up" your relationship. It's important to make things different: changing your positions, places, and times; adding little surprises; doing the things that used to turn you on which have now fallen to the side. It's important to find ways to vary your experiences - this means communicating and negotiating with your partner. I should also point out that some therapists believe that relationship issues are the most important factors contributing to desire problems. Some people experiencing low sexual desire say they are very unhappy in the quality of their relationship with their partner, particularly in the expression of affection. This may be something to look at? It is true for you? If there are things that are upsetting you, it may be time to settle those having a conversation about what is happening in your relationship outside the bedroom will be important. Sometimes those issues get taken into the bedroom with us and it is hard to put them aside and just enjoy the pleasure. Finally, I just want to say that if you and your partner are comfortable with the relationship as it is and neither of you have a need to be sexual right now then fine. Trying to live up to someone else's expectations of what should be going on sexually in your relationship can actually cause more problems. You two need to figure out what works best for your relationship. Best wishes.

Sexual Function/Problems


Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Tennessee State: Me and my boyfriend have been together for 4 months. When we have sex I can't come. I think I can do it but I'm not sure, this upsets my boyfriend as he thinks I don't get pleasure from sex with him but I do. Can you help me??

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm early on in a sexual relationship. It takes time to get to know what is possible when the two of you are together. It sounds like you need to spend some time finding out what is pleasurable for you.

Are you comfortable touching your own body? Once you know what feels good - you will be better able to point your partner in the right direction. It's also important to know that most women need direct stimulation of the clitoris for orgasm to occur.

As far as penis-in-vagina sex: this tends to be an ineffective method for many women to reach orgasm. The clitoris is located too far from the vaginal opening to receive adequate stimulation from thrusting alone. It is not surprising to hear you have not reached orgasm this way. Your boyfriend needs to know this and be educated as well.

I suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with your own body. One book that has been helpful for many women in your situation is, For Each Other, by Lonnie Barbach (see suggested books on my website). Her book discusses female anatomy, pleasure, and touching, as well as how to communicate your needs and desires to your partner. I think your boyfriend would benefit from reading this with you.

Remember: Every woman is unique. The only way he will know how to please you is if you understand yourself. Best wishes!

Q from a Female, Senior student at Miami University: I am never able to fuly attain an orgasm. Whether with my boyfriend, or while masturbating, I always reach the point where I feel an orgasm coming, and then my body becomes completely numb for a few moments. After, I feel overly sensitive, as though I've just had an orgasm.

What can I do to stop "freezing" and start feeling the orgasm? I've had orgasms in the past, but not in a few years. I've never experienced anything sexually traumatic, and my relationship with my boyfriend is very fulfilling, so what could the problem be?

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm. It takes time to get to know your body and how it works - what feels good and what is a turn-on. You say you reach a point where things become numb. One suggestion is to move toward orgasm more slowly. Another is to stimulate the area around the clitoris ­ rather than directly. In fact, some women find that direct stimulation of the clitoris is way too sensitive, and they shut down. So try to begin by gently stimulating the area around the clitoris, and then "back off" every few minutes before returning to stroking your clitoris. Allow yourself to build toward the orgasm. The other suggestion is to purchase a vibrator (sold as body massager in most stores), and use that either alone or with your partner to explore what feels good. One book I would recommend is For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach. It may offer you some valuable insight.

Products to increase the sex drives of women


A question form a Female, Sophomore at University of Maine: I have been seeing 2 commercials for Vasoplex and Climatique on TV and I was wondering if you knew much about them and if they work. Both of these products are supposed to increase the sex drives of women. I was also wondering where you put the substance to increase the drive and what it actually does?

Dr. Caron's Response: These products are basically lubricants with menthol - so when you apply them directly on the clitoris, they provide an interesting sensation. I have not heard a lot of positive comments on either of these products, or on others like them. You may want to check out their websites for details on the chemical make-up and read testimonials by users. In terms of increasing a woman's sex drive, it is interesting to note that one's interest is not usually heightened with something found in a tube..... but rather by looking within the context of her world and her relationship. In other words, if a woman finds herself with a low sex drive, it may be more useful to look at what is going on in her life - such as being tired, stressed out, or burned-out; or by looking at what is going on in her relationship - perhaps she is in a relationship that lacks connection, trust, honesty, and/or commitment. So before ordering a magic pill or lubricant, it may be important to look at these other issues. Many people find their sex drive or turn-on’s are based on caring, touch, warm shared feelings, and the interest in mutual respect.

Does sex before the big game weaken you


A question form a Male, Senior at University of Toledo: Is it true that "sex before the big game" weakens you?

Dr. Caron’s Answer: Most experts disagree with the athletic tradition of sexual abstinence before a big event. The prevailing advice is not to disturb your regular sex pattern. For instance, if you normally have sex 2 times a week, then continue to do so the week prior to your important event. This may help your athletic performance by keeping you relaxed. According to studies, relaxed athletes show greater aerobic capacity, less fatigue, and more speed than tense ones.

Sexual Fantasies


Question from a freshman female at Michigan State University: hi i fantasize very frequently about having sex with this guy i have a crush on. I feel embarrassed about thinking about this. i bought lubrication and want to buy condoms even though i may not use them. i try to hide these feelings and im ashamed and so embarrassed. where do you suppose this feeling comes from? should i feel this way?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Most people have sexual fantasies. Some studies have shown that as many as 75% of us fantasize as a way of getting interested in sex or to add a little extra. The great thing about fantasy is that you are in control. So you have nothing to feel embarrassed about or guilty about. You also should feel good about you ability to plan ahead - in case something sexual were to happen. However, my question for you is: what do you want to do about this attraction? It sounds like you are interested in getting to know the person better - and pursuing something romantic. How do you intend on doing that? I think that is a question for you to pursue - and maybe come up with a real plan to let this person know you are attracted/interested in them. Attraction to another person is a complex phenomena, based on prior experiences, unconscious needs, and cultural heritage. Generally speaking, people who share similar interests are more likely to develop friendships!

Consider what it is about this person that you find attractive. Are you attracted to this person because you know that you share similar interests, in which case you have a basis for conversation. Or, are you attracted to this person by some relatively superficial quality, such as looks or status, that gives you little insight into the real person. Think about it - best wishes!

Does pot (marijuana) enhance sex?


Question from a first-year male at the University of North Carolina wants to know.... Does pot (marijuana) enhance sex?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Some people report increased interest in sex under the influence of pot. It has been found to lead to relaxation and lowered inhibitions and therefore when used in moderation enhances sexual activity. Used in really high amounts, however, can have the opposite effect - leading to loss of desire for sex and inability to reach orgasm for some people. The only thing desired at this point is food.

Body Functions / Body Parts


Q from a Male, First-Year student at Bowling Green: Which is better in a penis: length or width?

A: You may have heard the quote, "It's not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean." The vagina is quite adept at accommodating to penis size and many women actually prefer stimulation around the clitoris and vaginal opening to deep thrusting, which some women may find painful. Pleasant stimulation doesn't require a large penis (in width or length) and can be achieved by hand or mouth. The size of a man's penis seems to be more important in the locker room than in the bedroom.

Can a Woman Regain Her Virginity?


Question from a female senior at University of Conneticut wants to know....I was watching an old episode of "Sex and the City" recently and they brought up the topic of women regaining virginity after a year of not having sex. I am guessing sex in this case is sexual intercourse. I have asked a few of my friends about this topic and all of them have given me huge grief about it. Is it not true that the vagina regenerates itself and therefore virginity can be almost physically regained?

Dr. Caron's answer: I have heard more and more people ask about this - and I believe it is due to the rise in "reclaim your virginity" and "secondary virginity' programs that are springing up in conservative corners of our educational system. No-I'm not aware of any vagina regenerating itself (whatever that means!) or the hymen "growing back." By definition, after experiencing sexual intercourse you would not qualify as a virgin again even if you didn't have sex for 1 or even 10 years -celibate maybe, but not a virgin. A virgin refers to someone who's never had sexual intercourse. The hymen (a thin tissue membrane that covers part of the vaginal opening) has been regarded throughout history as proof of virginity. Yet the absence or presence of a hymen is unreliable as an indicator of a woman's virginity or non-virginity. Some women are born without a hymen, others have a hymen that has been stretched or torn through normal exercise or insertion of tampons/fingers.

Sexual Function/Problems


Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Tennessee State: Me and my boyfriend have been together for 4 months. When we have sex I can't come. I think I can do it but I'm not sure, this upsets my boyfriend as he thinks I don't get pleasure from sex with him but I do. Can you help me??

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm early on in a sexual relationship. It takes time to get to know what is possible when the two of you are together. It sounds like you need to spend some time finding out what is pleasurable for you.

Are you comfortable touching your own body? Once you know what feels good - you will be better able to point your partner in the right direction. It's also important to know that most women need direct stimulation of the clitoris for orgasm to occur.

As far as penis-in-vagina sex: this tends to be an ineffective method for many women to reach orgasm. The clitoris is located too far from the vaginal opening to receive adequate stimulation from thrusting alone. It is not surprising to hear you have not reached orgasm this way. Your boyfriend needs to know this and be educated as well.

I suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with your own body. One book that has been helpful for many women in your situation is, For Each Other, by Lonnie Barbach (see suggested books on my website). Her book discusses female anatomy, pleasure, and touching, as well as how to communicate your needs and desires to your partner. I think your boyfriend would benefit from reading this with you.

Remember: Every woman is unique. The only way he will know how to please you is if you understand yourself. Best wishes!

Q from a Female, Senior student at Miami University: I am never able to fuly attain an orgasm. Whether with my boyfriend, or while masturbating, I always reach the point where I feel an orgasm coming, and then my body becomes completely numb for a few moments. After, I feel overly sensitive, as though I've just had an orgasm.

What can I do to stop "freezing" and start feeling the orgasm? I've had orgasms in the past, but not in a few years. I've never experienced anything sexually traumatic, and my relationship with my boyfriend is very fulfilling, so what could the problem be?

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm. It takes time to get to know your body and how it works - what feels good and what is a turn-on. You say you reach a point where things become numb. One suggestion is to move toward orgasm more slowly. Another is to stimulate the area around the clitoris ­ rather than directly. In fact, some women find that direct stimulation of the clitoris is way too sensitive, and they shut down. So try to begin by gently stimulating the area around the clitoris, and then "back off" every few minutes before returning to stroking your clitoris. Allow yourself to build toward the orgasm. The other suggestion is to purchase a vibrator (sold as body massager in most stores), and use that either alone or with your partner to explore what feels good. One book I would recommend is For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach. It may offer you some valuable insight.

Penis Length or Width?


Q from a Male, First-Year student at Bowling Green: Which is better in a penis: length or width?

A: You may have heard the quote, "It's not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean." The vagina is quite adept at accommodating to penis size and many women actually prefer stimulation around the clitoris and vaginal opening to deep thrusting, which some women may find painful. Pleasant stimulation doesn't require a large penis (in width or length) and can be achieved by hand or mouth. The size of a man's penis seems to be more important in the locker room than in the bedroom.

Love


Q from a Female, Sophomore from Penn State: How can I get an athlete to fall in love with me?

A: Nobody can make another person fall in love with him or her. Love is a gift - not something you can negotiate.

Q from a Female, Sunior at Indiana: I have never really had a good relationship. One minute I'm head-over-heels in love with someone and the next minute I'm not interested at all. I wonder if I can ever find that special someone.

A: The secret to finding someone to love is first finding someone to like. A true love relationship takes time - it's not something one jumps into lightly. Take a look inside yourself. Spend time thinking about what you really want in a relationship with another person. What things do you bring to the relationship? What do you hope to gain? You may want to spend some time talking with a counselor about these issues. It's important that we think through our dream about what makes a love relationship - then maybe it can become a reality.

Question from a Female, Senior at the UNCW: What does it take to keep my fiancé from cheating online?

Dr. Caron's Answer: One place to start is to talk with him about his motivation for cheating online. Perhaps he sees what he is doing with another person via a computer as quite innocent. Whether it's in person or online, the reasons people "cheat" are varied and complex. Sometimes such relationships are motivated by a desire for excitement and variety. Some may be motivated to gain evidence that they are still desirable to others. In other cases people may be unhappy with their current relationship. If emotional needs aren't being met in the relationship, cheating may seem inviting. In some cases, having a relationship with someone else may provide just the impetus a person needs to end a relationship they no longer wish to be a part of. A person may also be motivated to "cheat" by a desire for revenge. It would be helpful to have that conversation with him and understand what he is thinking.

It will also be helpful to talk with him about the impact it is having on your relationship with him. The effects of "cheating" can vary. When the cheating is discovered, the "betrayed" person may feel devastated, or overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, rejection, extreme anger, resentment, shame, and jealousy. It is important to know that while some relationships in which a partner "cheats" end, it is possible for couples to move past the cheating and have a successful relationship. In some cases, the discovery may motivate a couple to search for sources of the problems within their relationship, a process that may actually lead to an improved relationship. If both partners are willing to make a commitment to the relationship, it is possible to rebuild the foundation. Trust and honesty are key components for a successful relationship. It will take time.

Finally, you refer to him as your fiancé. This implies you are planning a long-term commitment. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that it's difficult to have a deep and meaningful relationship built on a major lie. In your case, it sounds like he says he is committed to you but at the same time he is forming relationships with others online. If he truly cares about you then he needs to sort out what matters more to him, and whether or not he's ready for a single committed relationship. If he cannot sort out which one is more important to him (you or the online relationships), he probably is not ready for a committed relationship. The sooner you find that out, the better. Best wishes.

Sex Life has Cooled Down


A female grad student from the University of Maine wants to know….When our relationship started over 2 years ago, my partner and I had a great and active sex life---for the past 6 months or so, things have died down a lot. Is there anything we can do to get our sexual desires back? We both take antidepressants, which is likely a contributing factor.

Dr. Caron's Answer: First of all, I need to say that this is one of the most common questions I receive from couples who have been together for several years. It may be reassuring to know you're not alone. There are lots of possible reasons for low desire. Please know that a person's sexual desire (or "sex drive" as it is commonly referred to) moves up and down throughout the course of his/her lifetime. There are many things that seem to impact on our sexual desire. Low sexual desire has been associated with such factors as depression, anger, stress, habituation to a sexual partner (the novelty and risk are gone), fear of loss of control, religious orthodoxy, sexual assault, medication side effects, conflict, and fear of closeness. You are right that anti-depressants can have an effect. Talk to your doctor about this and about possible changes in the type of medication. However, if you have both been taking them all along, this would suggest that it may be something else. The most common reason for low desire is ROUTINE! Anything that is routine, which happens over and over again in the same exact way, becomes boring or stale. Even sex. For too many couples, sex becomes a routine that happens at the end of the day, when you're both exhausted, just before falling asleep. If you believe your low desire is related to routine, then I would suggest talking with your partner about how you can "spice up" your relationship. It's important to make things different: changing your positions, places, and times; adding little surprises; doing the things that used to turn you on which have now fallen to the side. It's important to find ways to vary your experiences - this means communicating and negotiating with your partner. I should also point out that some therapists believe that relationship issues are the most important factors contributing to desire problems. Some people experiencing low sexual desire say they are very unhappy in the quality of their relationship with their partner, particularly in the expression of affection. This may be something to look at? It is true for you? If there are things that are upsetting you, it may be time to settle those having a conversation about what is happening in your relationship outside the bedroom will be important. Sometimes those issues get taken into the bedroom with us and it is hard to put them aside and just enjoy the pleasure. Finally, I just want to say that if you and your partner are comfortable with the relationship as it is and neither of you have a need to be sexual right now then fine. Trying to live up to someone else's expectations of what should be going on sexually in your relationship can actually cause more problems. You two need to figure out what works best for your relationship. Best wishes.

What does the inside of a vagina look like?


Q from a Female Sophomore from the University of Maine wants to know….

What should the inside of your vagina look like? and why would a person have secretions running out of them? it turns to white stuff sometimes - is this normal?

Dr. Caron's Answer: The inside of the vagina resembles the inside of your mouth. It is warm, moist, and has folds of skin. Next time you have your gynecological exam (generally recommended when you turn 18 or when you become sexually active -whichever comes first), ask the nurse to offer you a mirror to take a look. In terms of the moisture and vaginal secretions you experience: yes, that is normal. It is mucus from the cervix and it changes throughout a woman's monthly cycle. If you monitor this closely, you will notice a marked change in the quantity and consistency of cervical mucus it changes from being white and sticky right after your menstrual period to clear and slippery like egg white for a few days - and then back to white and sticky just before your period. The easiest way to monitor your cervical mucus is to insert a finger high up into your vagina each day and note the color and consistency of your mucus. By the way, when the mucus is clear and slippery like egg white (usually only lasting a day or two), this is a signal that you have ovulated. This is part of the Natural Family Planning method of birth control, where you monitor cervical mucus, along with your basel body temperature, to more accurately determine the time of ovulation. By using this method, you know when to have intercourse if you want to become pregnant, and when to avoid unprotected intercourse if you do not want to be pregnant.

How do I get a larger penis?


Q from a Male Senior from Salem State wants to know….

How do I get a larger penis? I think most women look for that.

Dr. Caron's Answer: I am not aware of any exercise or surgery that truly works to increase a man's penis size. If I did know a way to increase a man's penis size, I would not be a college professor I would be a billionaire, since it appears so many men have anxieties about the size of their penis. Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld (author of The New Male Sexuality), says "penises come in a variety of shapes and sizes….and about the only thing most penises have in common is that they are the wrong size or shape as far as their owners are concerned." The average size of an unerect penis is 3-4 inches; the average size of an erect penis is 5-7 inches. Frequent intercourse or masturbation does not cause a penis to get larger. Penis size is not related to height, weight, or race. I realize there are a few men who are paying thousands of dollars each to have their penises made thicker by liposuction, however all the major medical associations have issued warnings about the safety of this type of procedure. Wait! Before you go searching the Internet for this type of service, please think about this: Most women say penis size is not important to them in a sexual relationship. They are more concerned about their male partner taking his time and his total response to her during sexual intercourse. The quality of the entire relationship (not the size of the penis) appears to be the most important factor in sexual enjoyment and satisfaction.

Daily Masturbation


Q from a Male Senior at Michigan State wants to know….

Friends and I were debating on whether it is healthy to masturbate everyday. I think one can, but they disagree. What can your expert knowledge advise us?

Dr. Caron's Answer: You are correct in thinking that a person can masturbate everyday; some people do. It's important to recognize that masturbation has been a source of social concern and censure throughout history - leaving many people misinformed and feeling pretty guilty and ashamed. Many of these negative attitudes are rooted in the early Judeo-Christian view that sex was only for procreation. While today we see more positive attitudes about masturbation as a normal sexual behavior, a common concern which still exists has to do with "doing it too much." But how much is "too much"? Once a day might feel like too much to one person, while once a month might seem like too much to another. The definition of "healthy and normal" varies from person to person. A lot depends on how the person feels about masturbation: Do they feel horribly guilty or ashamed? Does it interfere with other important tasks that need to be accomplished? One might guess that if a person were masturbating so much that it significantly interfered with school work, there would be cause for concern. But, in that case, masturbation would be an indication of a problem, rather than it being the problem itself. For example, someone who is experiencing intense emotional anxiety about adjusting to college may use masturbation as an attempt to release the anxiety or as a form of self-comforting. The problem is the source of the anxiety (adjusting to college) rather than the masturbation. In another example, if a person always (not just occasionally) preferred masturbation over sex with a partner, it would likely be a symptom of difficulty in interpersonal relationships; the masturbation would not be the cause of the problem. For most, masturbation is an on-going love affair that each of us has with ourselves throughout our lifetime.

Ready to Have Sex


Q from a Female Junior at TWU wants to know….I have been dating my boyfriend for 2 1/2 years. I think that I am ready to have sex, but have always been told to wait till I am married. I do ont want to disapoint my mother by going through with it, but I do love my boyfriend, and I am almost positive that I am ready. Any thoughts?

Dr. Caron's response: The right time varies from person to person, depending on your values and beliefs. Some people feel the only appropriate time to become sexually involved is after the couple is in a committed relationship (e.g., married) while others feel no commitment is necessary, in fact knowing their sexual partners name may not even be important.

If you are unsure if this is the right time to become sexually involved, you may want to spend time talking this over with your partner. If you are unsure, it is always better to err on the side of waiting, rather than doing something you may regret later. Certainly, any sexual relationship should be based on mutual consent. Some other guidelines indicating you might be ready for sex include:

  • You're ready for sex if you're not trying to prove your love, increase your self-worth, prove you're mature, or rebel against parents or society;
  • You're ready for sex if it will be an expression of your current feelings rather than an attempt to improve a poor relationship or one that is growing old;
  • You're ready for sex if you can discuss and agree on an effective method of birth control and share the details, responsibilities, and costs;
  • Finally, you are ready for sex if you can discuss sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and provide protection.

Deciding whether or not to become sexually involved is an important decision, a choice we make for ourselves. It should be a responsible one and it's yours alone. Not something your mother makes for you, or your partner. No one should force or push you into it. Don't wait until the last minute to decide; there are lots of things to consider. You decide!

Getting Pregnant


Q from a Female First-Year student at UNCC wants to know….Can a woman get pregnant at any time, or is there a time when she can't get pregnant?

Dr. Caron’s response: You get pregnant when an egg and sperm meet ­ so both need to be present for this to occur. Most women ovulate (release an egg) in the middle of their cycle. For example, if a woman menstruates every 28 days, she typically ovulates on or around the 10-16th day before the start of her next period. The egg lives only 4 to 24 hours after ovulation. Sperm are most active within 48 hours after ejaculation. So, one way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid having intercourse around the time you ovulate. (of course you can also use birth control pills that stop ovulation completely ­ no egg = no way to get pregnant).The problem is trying to determine when you ovulate. For some women the signs are more obvious. For example, some women experience a twinge on one side of the lower abdomen during ovulation, called mittleschmerz (German for middle pain). Around the time of ovulation there is an increase and a change in cervical mucous secretions. The mucus becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy (like egg white). It is at this time that a woman can most easily become pregnant. If you really want to understand your body and your ovulatory cycle, I suggest learning natural family planning (there are books explaining this); this method teaches you how to chart your temperature and mucus changes in order to predict ovulation. You can also buy an ovulation-predication kit at the drug store; but this can be a bit expensive, as it requires you to check your urine daily for the presence of hormones. Best wishes!

Orgasm


Q from a Female Graduate student at Boston University : I am only 22 years old and I have no desire for sex. I went out with a great guy for 3 and a half years. He was my first and he tried everything he could to pleasure me. We experimented and nothing worked. I could never get off except for an outer orgasm after he rubbed the outside of my vagina. Other than that, sex didn't work and I hated to do it because it never pleasured it. What can I do? I think I may be one of those women who just cannot get off. I want that full body experience, but I can't and it drives me to hate sex. Again, what can I do? Is there a particular way I should try to have sex? Am I doomed to never have that ultimate sexual orgasm that I hear so much about? Thank you for your help!

Dr. Caron's response: You say you do not reach orgasm from the act of intercourse but you can reach orgasm by stimulating the outside area around the clitoris. Despite what you have heard about some "ultimate sexual orgasm," you need to know that for most women, intercourse just doesn't do much. The equivalent for men would be to rub his thigh and ask, "Did you come?" For most women, clitoral stimulation is needed for orgasm to occur. When it comes to intercourse, the clitoris is located too far from the vaginal opening to receive adequate stimulation from thrusting alone (the clitoris is found in the folds of skin outside and above the vaginal opening). It is not surprising to hear you have not been able to reach orgasm this way. Many women are unable to reach orgasm solely through penetration of the vagina. Most couples find it helpful to incorporate techniques for making sure the clitoris is adequately stimulated either before, during or immediately after intercourse. I should also point out that some men (your partner included) may not realize that the clitoris is strategically located outside and above the vaginal opening. For many women, stimulation around this area is essential for reaching orgasm. Such stimulation does not require intercourse or a penis. It's going to be important for you educate your partner about this and then gently show him. He won't know unless someone tells him. Many men (and women) have been told that "real sex" means "penis-in-vagina" only; many of us recognize that sex involves much more than this. Best wishes.

Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Tennessee State: Me and my boyfriend have been together for 4 months. When we have sex I can't come. I think I can do it but I'm not sure, this upsets my boyfriend as he thinks I don't get pleasure from sex with him but I do. Can you help me??

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm early on in a sexual relationship. It takes time to get to know what is possible when the two of you are together. It sounds like you need to spend some time finding out what is pleasurable for you.

Q from a Female, Senior student at Miami University: I am never able to fully attain an orgasm. Whether with my boyfriend, or while masturbating, I always reach the point where I feel an orgasm coming, and then my body becomes completely numb for a few moments. After, I feel overly sensitive, as though I've just had an orgasm.

What can I do to stop "freezing" and start feeling the orgasm? I've had orgasms in the past, but not in a few years. I've never experienced anything sexually traumatic, and my relationship with my boyfriend is very fulfilling, so what could the problem be?

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm. It takes time to get to know your body and how it works - what feels good and what is a turn-on. You say you reach a point where things become numb. One suggestion is to move toward orgasm more slowly. Another is to stimulate the area around the clitoris ­ rather than directly. In fact, some women find that direct stimulation of the clitoris is way too sensitive, and they shut down. So try to begin by gently stimulating the area around the clitoris, and then "back off" every few minutes before returning to stroking your clitoris. Allow yourself to build toward the orgasm. The other suggestion is to purchase a vibrator (sold as body massager in most stores), and use that either alone or with your partner to explore what feels good. One book I would recommend is For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach. It may offer you some valuable insight.

Are you comfortable touching your own body? Once you know what feels good - you will be better able to point your partner in the right direction. It's also important to know that most women need direct stimulation of the clitoris for orgasm to occur.

As far as penis-in-vagina sex: this tends to be an ineffective method for many women to reach orgasm. The clitoris is located too far from the vaginal opening to receive adequate stimulation from thrusting alone. It is not surprising to hear you have not reached orgasm this way. Your boyfriend needs to know this and be educated as well.

I suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with your own body. One book that has been helpful for many women in your situation is, For Each Other, by Lonnie Barbach (see suggested books on my website). Her book discusses female anatomy, pleasure, and touching, as well as how to communicate your needs and desires to your partner. I think your boyfriend would benefit from reading this with you.

Remember: Every woman is unique. The only way he will know how to please you is if you understand yourself. Best wishes.

Q from a Male, Senior student at Western Kentucky: When I am having sex with my girlfriend, I am unable to hold back my orgasm for longer than a few minutes. Is there something I can do to last longer and better please my girlfriend?

A: It sounds like what you may be experiencing is premature ejaculation (which is also called early ejaculation). When a man ejaculates before penetration, at the point of insertion, within 2-5 thrusts, or within a minute or so, almost all couples will identify this as premature or early ejaculation.

I think it's important for you to know that it is the most common male sexual problem, especially among younger men. Fifty percent of young males report early ejaculation and one-third of adult males report they ejaculate more rapidly then they would like.

I really discourage "do-it-yourself" techniques such as wearing two condoms, using a desensitizing cream, biting your tongue, or thinking negative thoughts (such as how much money you have borrowed for college). These can be harmful in two ways: 1) These techniques serve to reduce arousal and can cause erection difficulty rather than lead to ejaculatory control; and 2) The man is isolating himself from his partner, which leads to further emotional alienation and can destroy the couple's bond.

The key element in learning ejaculatory control is to identify the point of ejaculatory inevitability. Most often early ejaculation is due to lack of knowledge, attention, or skill. It is often a result of early sexual experiences (rapid ejaculatory response learned through masturbation/partner sex). If you were to go to a sex therapist for assistance, you would l find that the focus would be on helping you learn to identify the point of "ejaculatory inevitability."

In my own sex therapy practice, one procedure I use is the "stop-start" technique, developed in the 1950's by Dr. Semans (that's right, Dr. Semans). This technique asks the male to practice penile stimulation to the point prior to ejaculation, first through masturbation and then with his partner. The male with early ejaculation signals his partner when to stop so that his arousal level can subside. Stimulation is then resumed after a pause, and the process is repeated at least three times before allowing ejaculation to occur. It is important for the male to enjoy his sensations and to learn to identify the various levels of arousal that he experiences.

You need to learn to accurately identify the point of ejaculatory inevitability. This exercise should be practiced 2-3 times per week. For most men I see, ejaculatory control can be learned in 8 to 20 weeks. Another great resource is the book, The New Male Sexuality by Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld (listed under recommended books at my website), who talks about this issue in greater detail.

© 2008, Sandra L. Caron

Resources
Related Issues:
Sexuality, Gay/Bi/Trans, Teen Sex , Talking With Kids About Tough Issues
Journals - on Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Periodicals -Gay/Bi
Books
Sexuality, Gay/bi, and Transgender.

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Sex is much bigger than genitals. It's a matter of sensory awareness, living in the physical world and reacting to it in a sensory way. - Camille Paglia



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