Paul Joannides is the author of the Guide
To Getting It On!--the Universe's Coolest and Most
Informative Book On Sex. You can contact him at
by clicking on the cover of the Guide that appears on
his web site. All columns are the property of Paul Joannides
and Goofy Foot Press.
I want to thank you for putting the graphics and articles on huevos (testicles) in your book. www.goofyfootpress.com/ballcheck.html I've had testicular pain recently, so after reading up on testicular exams in your book I gave myself an exam. What I found is alarming--a lump on my left testicle. Well, I'm getting an ultrasound tomorrow and am scared shitless. But, I probably would have ignored the pain altogether if not for your book.
I'm a healthy, 26-year-old male athlete who had not been doing testicular exams. Please pass on the message to your readers to check their balls!
Sincerely, Lumpy in Boulder
I asked Lumpy to explain more and to update me on his situation. He emailed the following response. PLEASE NOTE, Lumpy only checked his balls out because he was in pain. Most problems, including cancer of the testicles, don't give you any pain. You'll only discover them by examining your testicles with your fingers, which is important to do once a month. Finding ball problems early is the key to successful treatment.
I woke up one morning two weeks back with an ache in my left testicle. The pain resembled that of having blue balls, only the ache wasn't accompanied by any sexual frustration. The pain seemed to originate on the top of my left testicle. Again, it wasn't a really sharp pain, but a constant dull ache. When I'd had blue balls in the past, I found that all I had to do was take a nap. I wasn't sure what this pain was, but I figured sleep would cure my ills.
It didn't. I woke up the next day and the next, and on and on without any change in my condition. I began to fear for my balls and for myself.
So one night, I did a testicular self-exam while lying in bed. I'd learned about the importance of doing it in high school health, but I felt it was impossible that something serious could ever happen to my boys. So, aside from keeping them clean, I never gave them a good once over.
What I found frightened me. I discovered a hard lump on the top of my testicle, underneath the epidermis.
The next morning, I made an appointment to see the doctor. The doc checked out my testicles, felt that lump, and immediately called in a request to get an ultrasound by a urologist. He explained that often times these lumps are benign, but better be safe than sorry.
Two days later, I showed up at the hospital for the ultrasound. When I saw that the technician was a female, I immediately began worrying that I would get an erection during the procedure. Fortunately, she was quite professional and I never felt uncomfortable.
I disrobed, put on one of those three arm hole hospital gowns that wrap around you, and situated myself on an examining table. She came in a minute later with a tube of warm gel and a device that looked like an inverted T.
I rolled up my robe and she placed one towel under my balls to elevate them, along with another over my penis. A bed sheet covered my legs, so the only flesh she could see was my testicles.
She squirted on a bunch of warm gel on them and proceeded to move the ultrasound device. I could instantly see something on the monitor, although I had no idea what I was looking at. The picture is black and white, and aside from the balls themselves, which were pretty clear, I couldn't make out what was what.
She went back and forth, doing one testicle and then the other, while stopping periodically to save and label the image (i.e. top left testicle ).
I didn't see the lump on screen and finally mustered the nerve to ask her if she saw anything. Oh yeah, she said, and then she pointed it out to me. It was black in color and on the top of the left testicle. She said it looks to her like a cyst and that they are usually benign. A urologist will examine and interpret the results tomorrow.
All in all, the procedure only lasted five minutes. It
was very professional and very noninvasive. Hopefully, the
next step will be noninvasive as well!
I'm a guy. I work on cars a lot and truly enjoy doing normal things that normal guys do. But when my girlfriend kisses my nipples, my whole body nearly explodes in a sexual way. Do you think it's possible that I was a woman in a former life? Max
Only if you start worrying about cellulite on your thighs when you see the Victoria Secrets commercials. We used to ask men a question about having their nipples caressed on our sex survey and you wouldn't believe how many guys said they really, really enjoy it. Of course, none of them checked "Straight" in the sexual orientation box...
Just kidding, Max, but that's what you're worried about, isn't it?
Just so you'll know, there are plenty of women who don't
like having their nipples sucked, and I wouldn't accuse them
of being men in a past life. So maybe if you keep your
girlfriend's motor running smoothly she'll keep tweaking
your titties and life will be good. What more can a guy ask
My fiancee is a very petite woman. When we have intercourse, she experiences some discomfort in quite a few ways. She has described it to me as if, during penetration, her skin is being stretched. "Like the skin between two fingers if you try to spread them too far." During intercourse she also feels pressure on her bladder and lower intestine, which is far from enjoyable. To be graphically frank, she says that it feels as if she has to go to the bathroom. She says she wants to be able to just "jump me" whenever she wants, but knows it's going to hurt.
We've tried all sorts of positions and it doesn't seem to make a difference. It's not really a problem of depth as much as width and volume. (From what I read in your book, I have an average-sized penis.)
Dear Readers & Jay,
One of the nice things about receiving questions by email is that I can email back questions of my own to the sender, so I have more data and sound like less of a fool when I finally write the Naked Truth. So here's the extra information I was able to receive from Jay after asking him several specific questions:
Prior to being with Jay, his fiance had two sexual partners over a decade ago. With both of her previous partners, she didn't experience any pain, and intercourse was "normal and fun." She estimates that both of her previous partners were about 25% smaller in length and width--their penises, anyway. Jay says,"We measured me once, and when fully erect I'm roughly six and half inches in length, and the point of greatest circumference is about six inches."
"She goes to the gynecologist once a year and everything checks out okay. However, she tells me that she has always been tempted to ask the doctor to use child-sized instruments, as the exams themselves can get uncomfortable. She never mentioned the intercourse symptoms to her doctor, but will next time. Just to give you an idea... when she buys clothes, she buys kids size 12. Although certainly a fully-developed woman, she has the actual body size of a preteen."
"We used condoms at first, and the friction of the latex was very uncomfortable for her. She uses birth-control pills now, and we often use lube liberally. It does help a bit, but it still hurts her going in, and thereafter. Without lube, it is definitely worse. We do seem to make progress at times, which is one of the reasons she never mentioned it to her doctor. When we first started having intercourse, she would be sore for five days our so afterwards. But with time, that got less and less. Now she is fine the next morning. We are particularly gentle these days, so it could be a combination of things."
"She is certainly tighter than the other women I have been with sexually. Penetration is quite a challenge at times. To me, it seems like the first inch or so is very snug; even after we've been having intercourse for awhile. Beyond that first bit, I feel nothing unusual compared to the other women I've been with."
"She thinks that the feeling is being caused by me literally pushing on, or bumping into, her organs. She doesn't recall ever experiencing the 'have to pee' feeling with her other partners and would pretty much always reach orgasm with them. On a particularly deep stroke, she also feels the urge to have a bowel movement."
Okay, now I have the kind of information that allows me to make a reasonable suggestion or two.
Nature was definitely kind to Jay, but his penis is not so big that it should cause problems. In fact, a number of women who respond to our sex survey at www.goofyfootpress.com say they wouldn't mind if their partner's penis were wider (not longer). The healthy vagina of an adult woman, even if she still wears kid's size 12, is usually elastic enough to allow a baby to pass through it--not that intercourse should feel like childbirth.
This leaves us with a couple of possibilities. One is the possibility that Jay is a clumsy lover, although I don't get that sense. It seems as if they are able to communicate well and that he is receptive to her suggestions, but I would have to hear from her on this.
In looking at possible physical causes, it would be helpful to isolate where in the vagina the pain is coming from. Is it from the ring of muscle around the outer part of the vagina, is it just beyond that, or is it down near the cervix? One way to do this is to slowly insert into the vagina a round object that's similar in circumference to Jay's penis--ideally it would be one that's shaped like a ball at the end with a narrow handle. Another way for a physician to recreate the symptom might be to gently stretch the vaginal opening with his or her fingers.
After isolating the location of the pain, her doctor might then consider some of the following causes:
A vaginal infection or adhesions under the clitoral hood.
A low grade vestibulitis. This is a chronic unexplained pain in a woman's vulva that can cause a feeling of rawness or irritation in the vulva. It can definitely impact your sexual enjoyment. There can be a number of different causes and it can have different kinds of symptoms. Here are some resources to check out:
c). A tearing of the introitus or vaginal opening that has healed and caused entry to be more difficult.
d). Menopause can cause intercourse-related issues. (I'll be writing an entire column on this in the next couple of weeks.)
e). It would be helpful to rule out chronic constipation as contributing to the "full feeling".
f). Some forms of Sjogren's Disease can cause vaginal dryness and inelasticity, although this is not a very common disease and I simply mention it as something to rule out. Sjogren's Disease is when the immune system attacks various glands in the body that produce moisture, usually the mouth and eyes but sometimes the vagina as well. Here are some sites with information:
Mind you, I am not a physician, and these are only a couple of physical causes that a competent gynecologist might explore. Also, don't be surprised if he or she does a pelvic ultrasound and/or a CT scan.
Once you are able to rule out physical causes, then it's helpful to consider the interplay between the mind and the muscles in the vagina. It is possible for signals from the mind to cause the muscles around the vagina to lock so tightly that you can't even fit a tampon or finger inside, let alone a penis. Since this week's column is already longer than usual, I will begin next week's column with a discussion of this kind of problem, whose medical name is vaginismus--which is Latin for "Ain't stickin' that in here!"
For women readers who have other questions about discomfort between their legs, a very helpful site for information on vaginal or vulvar problems is run by the University of Michigan's OBGYN Department. It offers advice on everything from vaginal itching to pain during intercourse. Go to www.med.umich.edu/obgyn/vulva/#diseases and scroll to the bottom of the page for a listing under "Diseases of the Vulva." I don't know why they use such a negative sounding heading such as "diseases of the vulva" when the site is so helpful and friendly.
(Special thanks to Joe Marzucco from the Department of
Urology at Kaiser in Portland, Oregon, for consultation on
this week's column.)
This is a continuation of last month's column, where a reader and his girlfriend were having intercourse distress. For most of us, 'intercourse distress' means not getting any, but for this couple, the woman says that during penetration it feels as though her skin is being stretched, "Like the skin between two fingers if you try to spread them too far." Oowie Ouch and then some! We were able to determine that while her partner was blessed with good girth, it's not the sort of penis that the average woman is going to scream "Not on your life" when his boxers hit the floor.
The reason I did a two-parter for this question is because we needed to consider some of the possible physical causes for her discomfort before considering some of the mental or emotional causes. Physical causes can range from adhesions under the clitoral hood, yeast infections, or herpes sores to chronic constipation, vestibulitis or even changes associated with menopause.
Now, what in the blazes could make a woman unconsciously tighten the ring of muscles around her vagina so that intercourse is difficult if not impossible? And could these muscles tighten to such an extent that she can't even fit a tampon inside? From the archives of my own private practice, I recall one woman who would answer "The Catholic Church" and "You Betcha!I couldn't even get a tampon in there." It was as if the pope had sent a bishop to sit between her legs.
So we know one cause of vaginal gridlock during intercourse can be from a harsh religious upbringing. Another cause can be something as seemingly simple as an intrusive exam or a vaginal infection that once caused painful intercourse. The reason I say simple is because you would think the mind would be able to know "That was then and this is now," but the mind/body interaction is seldom that simple. The human mind has so much control over the body that it can create hysterical blindness or paralysis where the person actually feels that he or she is blind or paralyzed. So don't for a moment think that the mind isn't creative and powerful enough to tighten up a couple of muscles between your legs if it is trying to protect you from painor from what it assumes will cause pain.
Until recently, it was believed that some sort of sexual abuse or serious trauma was necessary to trigger such a response. And while this can certainly be true for plenty of women who have the problem, there are others who have never had any kind of experience that would be considered traumatic. In exploring your own past, you will need to decide if the causes may have been major or minor. If the causes were minor, it is possible to relieve the symptoms by using a series of vaginal dilators. With this process, you begin by inserting whatever size dilator you can comfortably fit in your vagina, and then slowly and gradually move up in size over time.
The best resource I have found on using vaginal dilators is Ellen, co-owner of A Woman's Touch. A Woman's Touch is a very classy sexuality store that is owned by a physician and a social worker. They have designed their very own vaginal dilators and Ellen is the most knowledgeable and easiest person you will ever find to discuss this with. She can be reached at 608.250.1928. The Web Site for A Woman's Touch is www.touchofawoman.com
Two other resources on how to use sexual dilators are:
1. From the Web Site of the Department of OBGYN of the University of Michigan www.med.umich.edu/obgyn/vulva/s&p.htm . The dilator part is at the end of this page, but I found it helpful reading the entire page.
2. The Marriage Builders Web Site of a Dr. Harley who seems to have written about six dozen books. He talks about using fingers and candles instead of buying dilators, which is helpful if you don't have the money. I don't know enough about Dr. Harley to say any more, other than the part he's written about dilators seems competent www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5049a_qa.html
The "frequently asked questions" page that's listed on the first yahoo site is also very helpful www.freetown.com/Uptown/WalshTarleton/1051/index.html
As you can see, there are no easy answers, but plenty of
good resources. The two of you will need to explore the
possible cause or causes and go to work on some
Dear Paul: I've got some questions about sex...
1. Does a man with a large penis plant more seeds than a
man with a smaller one?
Bev from Boulder
Thank you for your wonderful questions. I'll try to answer them one by one. "Does a man with a large penis plant more seeds...?" Having grown up in a farm town, I would think that a guy with a small penis could plant just as many seeds as a guy with a big one, unless maybe he were using the thing to plow with as well as plant, in which the man with the bigger penis/plow would definitely have an advantage.
When it comes to impregnating the human female, one doesn't even need a penis, although nature seems to have provided it to help with such matters. Plenty of women have become pregnant with turkey basters instead of penises, and believe it or not, you can get pregnant from masturbating after you've given your boyfriend a handjob. All it takes is a little of his ejaculate on your fingers and it is possible.
Contrary to what you might think, the design of a penis has little in common with that of a cannon. This means that a bigger penis doesn't shoot more sperm or ejaculate than a short one. In fact, a guy with an average-sized penis or a compact penis can easily produce more ejaculate and shoot it farther than one whose penis is seven or eight inches long. The projection devices are little muscles tucked inside the pelvis that convulse ever-so-pleasantly regardless of the size of the barrel that sits above them.
"How about a man with bigger testicles?" The testicles do manufacture the sperm, but the vast majority of a man's ejaculation is not made up of sperm and it is not produced in the testicles. Most of the volume comes from the prostate gland which is located a couple of inches up his rectum.
Sperm are so small that I doubt you'd be able to tell from the volume of an ejaculation whether it has three sperms or three million. It would be like looking at a cup of soup and telling me how much salt it has in it. I don't think you could.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any studies that compare the number of sperm produced with the size of the testicles, so I can't say for sure that actual ball size matters. But please take it on faith that a healthy guy with smaller balls can get you just as pregnant as a guy with bigger balls and just as easily. Even a guy with only one ball can usually do the job.
"Does a large penis necessarily mean larger balls." My first inclination is to say "No, not at all" but that's just a guess. I know of no study that compares the size of penises with the size of the balls that hang beneath them. I also don't know what factors govern the size of the penis and balls. Is it genetics? Is it a hormonal bath during pregnancy that causes boys to have different genitals from girls? I don't think there are any studies that document the size of male genitals across generations.
When I first looked at your questions, I thought they'd be easy to answer. But I haven't been able to answer any of them! I can tell you that there's no relationship between genital size and a man's ability to become the father of your children, but I'm not so sure if that's even a question you were asking.
Perhaps you and your friends could do some research and
let me know. It would be a great project for a college
I have got a question, and I would really like a simple reply like "yes you are a freak" or "no, you're not too weird".
Since I was a little kid I have been masturbating in a really weird way. I think I've been doing it since I was 4 or 5. (Is that weird too? I didn't even know what I was doing until I was 8 and its not like I do it everyday). I have this teddy bear with a big, round, cloth-covered nose and I lay on top of it and wiggle around a bit until I orgasm (usually between one and two minutes). Is that weird? Sometimes, when I'm out of town, I do the same thing with a bunched up towel. I like the way it makes me feel. Is that perverse or deviant? I really need to know because for years I've felt kinda embarrassed.
You are thinking "Am I weird?" and I'm thinking "lucky Teddy bear".
You are thinking "I want a really simple reply" and I'm thinking "Do you have any idea who you are writing to?"
You are thinking "I'm embarrassed about the way I masturbate," and I'm thinking "You should be embarrassed about the way you write." It took me five minutes to properly capitalize and punctuate the email you sent to me so I could include it in this column. I'm far more worried about the way you write than the way you masturbate. In fact, I'm not worried about the way you masturbate at all.
Based on our survey of several hundred women from all over the country, I'd say there's nothing unusual about the way you masturbate. Of course, some women would prefer it if Teddy's nose would vibrate, but it's not unusual for women to masturbate by leaning against something. (Have you ever tried leaning into the corner of the washing machine when it's on the spin cycle? Just be careful in case the load is unbalanced and the thing starts to lunge or jerk.) We guys are a lot like washing machines, given how we jerk when our loads become unbalanced. It must be the big shaft in the middle...
Plenty of girls start masturbating when they are four or five, so there's nothing weird there. And three times a week is nothing out of the ordinary --neither is once a day for that matter. Regarding the time it takes you to masturbate, I know a lot of women who would wiggle around on the noses of Teddy bears if only took one or two minutes. So no, you are not too weird. I think you're in good shape and have nothing to worry about, except for some of my female readers trying to steal your bear.
A writer from a woman's magazine asked me if I had any
tips or suggestions for rear-entry intercourse (from behind,
but penis in vagina). I figured I'd pass the question on to
you, as you usually bail me out in these kinds of
situations. It's the first question on our sex survey at
www.goofyfootpress.com. No need to do the rest of the survey
if you don't want and your answer will be completely
anonymous. We have a filter that blocks your email address
from arriving with your answers. Thanks!
Can you please talk about "bashful bladder" syndrome. Some couples don't mind sharing the bathroom, while others need extreme privacy before the water starts to flow.
At any rate, I have that syndrome myself. Whenever I stand at a urinal, I can't pee if there's anyone else around. This puts me in a pickle, since I enlisted in the Marine Corps and ship out this summer, and there is absolutely no privacy in basic training. Is there anything you can think of, or any direction you can point me that might help?
Standing But Not Delivering
The problem you are describing affects several million Americans, and heaven only knows how many Asians, Europeans, Australians and Africans. The official name for it is paruresis.
For those of you who don't have the problem, try imagining what it's like to never be able to pee while you are at a concert, baseball game or even while dining at a restaurant. Imagine what it's like when you need to relieve yourself but your bladder freezes up when you are at school, at the movies or whenever someone else walks into the restroom.
For millions of Americans, this happens each and every time they try to pee when they are not in the safety of their own home. The only place they can go for vacation is to the beach.
The problem often starts before adolescence, although it sometimes starts later. The person is able to pee as well as anyone when they are in the safety of their own home, but heaven help them if they try to empty a full bladder in a public restroom. Forget even trying to go in a crowded restroom after a movie, between classes, or during an intermission at a large event.
Paruesis comes in different degrees: some people who have it can pee in a public restroom as long as they are in a closed stall. Others are unable to pee in a public restroom if anyone else is in there, and some can't pee at all if they are away from home.
Far more men have shy bladder syndrome than women, but few women are asked to pee next to each other without being in an enclosed stall. Guys are expected to pee where other guys can watch, casually discussing the weather with each other while whipping it out and doing their business.
A lot of people with the problem can remember back to a specific event that triggered the anxiety. For others, the causes can vary from unsconscious concerns about separation (you can't go far from home when you have this problem) to conflicts about becoming a competent adult (it's hard to feel as manly as the other guys when you can't pee freely). Whatever the causes, you almost always end up feeling frustrated and angry each time you've gotta go.
The best way to deal with the problem is through a series of desensitization techniques that are described in a new book on the subject "Shy Bladder SyndromeYour Step-by-Step Guide To Overcoming Paruesis" by Soifer, Zgourides, Himle and Pickering (New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA: 2001). The authors will walk you through various methods for helping to deal with this very debilitating problem.
To check out the Web Site where you can order this book, go to: www.paruresis.com
The cool thing about having this problem is that when you finally get over it, you will enjoy peeing in public restrooms far more than most guys. You'll never forget how awful it once was, and what most guys take for granted, you'll regard as a neat kind of freedom.
To contact Paul, go to www.goofyfootpress.com. The Naked
Truth is written by the author of the award-winning Guide To
Getting It On!--The Universe's Coolest and Most Informative
Book About Sex.
My friends have just gone recently to their first gynecologist exam and the stories they told me really scared me. One girl said it was really uncomfortable and the other one said it was downright painful, she was actually crying. Both mentioned something about the doctor sticking their whole hand inside them, is this true? I am starting to worry because I can't even get a tampon in there, last time I tried it was too painful and I gave up. Should I mention these concerns to my doctor? Do some girls have unusually narrow vagina
About to Have My First Pelvic Exam
I put your question on our sex survey at www.goofyfootpress.com and have included the advice that several women have posted. Also, if you have intercourse the night before the exam, make sure your partner wears a condom. Fermenting sperm can mess up the results of some of the tests the doctor might want to do.
For the exam itself, you'll go into the examination room and take off all of your clothes. You'll put on one of those cute paper gownssometimes blue, sometimes purple, whatever is the latest in gyno fashion. Usually a nurse and doctor will come in for the exam. They will have you lay down on the examination table. You will put your heels in metal stirrups and then scoot your butt all the way to the end of the examination table. Your legs will be open. They will shine a bright light on your beautiful crotch (some women find this to be the worst part, given how there's nowhere to hide!). The doctor will put a speculum in your vagina to help expand it and then will insert a little stick-like device into your vagina to scrape some cells off of the walls. This won't hurt at all, but you might feel something in there. They'll put the cells on a slide to be sent to the lab for testing. Then they take out the speculum and the doctor will insert one or two fingers inside your vagina to feel your cervix, ovaries, and whatever else mother nature put up there. She will also feel the outside of your abdomen with her other hand. Most doctors will examine the lips of your vulva and some doctors will also do a brief rectal exam. They will also do a breast exam.
Here's what the women who visited our website have to say:
"I remember how scared I was my first exam. The best thing to do is to tell the doctor that you are anxious and ask him or her to explain what is going to happen before the exam begins. A good doctor will explain things in as much detail as it takes to help calm your nerves and remember it is okay to be scared. We all were the first time but it really isn't that bad. The worst part for me was the feeling of embarrassment that someone was looking at me. A pelvic exam should not hurt and if it does for some reason you should tell the doctor immediately so that he or she can stop. As far as tampons are concerned, I have the same problem and you might want to check out the tampons that are marketed as slim fit or even the ones that don't use an applicator. I find that these work best for me. Also try to relax. The more nervous you are the tighter your pelvic muscles will be." female age 22
"It's not that bad, and no MD has EVER put his or her whole hand in me for a regular exam. Your friends are probably being overly dramatic." female age 18
"Talk to the doctor about your concerns ahead of time. He doesn't put his whole hand in there darlin--it just seems like you are very full because of the speculum. It is pressing you open from top and bottom and it is what you mostly feel. Also not all girls are a straight shot in. I had some discomfort on a regular basis until a male doctor pointed out that my cervix was tilted to the right hand side of my body. I now know to tell the doctor about this before going in so I don't get banged in the wrong direction. Unless the doctor is using one of the new disposable speculums they do come in different sizes as well. I am very petite and know that a smaller size will be more comfortable. Some of this comes from experience, but it is your part to speak out on these issues with your doctor." female age 33
"I have had these exams and though they may not be the most pleasurable experience, they are hardly the worst either. Most gynecologists are quite gentle and they use lubricant--usually KY jelly to ease their way inside. I have yet to have a doctor's whole hand inside me... that's just not done. The more relaxed you can be, the easier and quicker things go. Try to relax and of course speak to your doctor about any hesitations or concerns you may have." female age 32
"I am a very small woman. My first pap was done with the instruments they use to test small children for molestation, if that tells you anything. Every vagina is different in appearance, size, scent, etc., and no experience is the same. I have since had many pelvic exams, all of which have been done with standard equipment. Breathe deeply and try to think of other things, and let the doctor do her job. And don't let them give you an exam while you're on your period. It's uncomfortable for you, take my word for it." female age 22
"You should never feel uncomfortable during a medical exam. It's your body and it's your right to ask any and all questions. There are no dumb questions. When properly educated about what the doctor is going to do, you know what to expect and how to react." female age 36
"He won't put his whole hand in there. Tell him you are nervous and he'll be gentle. Yes, sometimes it's uncomfortable but it's not unbearable." female age 33
"As far as tampons go, again, try to relax and just give
yourself time. Some lube may help with the initial
insertion. What helped me was to think of all the thousands
and millions of women that use them every day with no
problems. I figured, I could relax just like they do."
female age 26
I've heard that lubes with glycerin in them (KY and Astroglide) can cause yeast infections. Is this true? While I don't usually have problems getting wet, my boyfriend and I can only see each other on weekends, and there are times when I could really use an assist by Sunday afternoon. Is there a lube that you can suggest?
Linda in Slippery Rock
I haven't done any research on sexual lubes, but my friends who sell a lot of lube tell me that women who get yeast infections should not use lubes with glycerin in them. This means no to lubes like KY and Astroglide.
As for the type of lubes you might consider, it depends on the kind of sex you are having and the kind of feeling you and your partner enjoy. The reason I say this is because different lubes leave different sensations.
For instance, you and your boyfriend are cramming seven day's worth of sex into two. So you might consider a lube like Eros. It lasts a long time and doesn't have any taste. While it's perfectly safe to use with condoms, it seems to have a light oily feeling that some people enjoy. On the other hand, it won't make you feel too slick. If you rub it between your fingers, you can still feel the ridges, and if you put it in your vagina, you can still feel the skin on the penis going to and fro.
Another lube to consider is Liquid Silk. This is a good all-around lube that really does have a silky feeling. It is quite close to the feeling of a woman's natural lubrication. It is not as slick and "fast" as some other lubes. You'll get plenty of lubrication but also plenty of sensation. Liquid Silk tends to soak into the skin so it won't feel like you need to wash it off. It also helps moisturize vaginal tissues. Some physicians recommend it for menopausal womenmassage it on your outer lips and one or two inches inside of your vagina twice a day. Liquid Silk is also a good lube to use with all sex toys, including those with the new Cyberskin surface.
If you are fisting, doing anal play or swinging, a good lube might be Maximus. It is thicker than most lubes and won't dry out as fast. It almost provides a light cushion and stays exactly where you put it. Couples who are into sexual swinging often prefer Maximus, given how many different things are going into different places over different spans of time. It is safe for use with condoms and is long lasting. One downside is it may have some taste.
Three lubes which are glycerin-based are Astroglide, I.D. and KY. Astroglide and ID are slicker than most lubes, which means if you rub them between your fingers, you won't feel the ridges as much as you will with Liquid Silk or Eros. People who prefer these lubes say they feel "really fast." You can interpret that any way you like.
I never realized that a woman would complain about her vagina feeling too slick or fast until I started getting feedback from some of the women on our sex survey who say that they get so lubricated during intercourse that they can't really feel the penis going in and out. If you are having this problem, Ellen, from www.touchofawoman.com, suggests taking an over-the-counter antihistamine to help dry up your natural lube just a bit. At the same time, women who are taking antihistamines (often found in cold and allergy medicines) should be aware that the antihistamine might be impacting their ability to get wet in a sexual way. They might want to use store-bought lube to help make up the difference.
Grab your galoshes. In our sex survey at www.goofyfootpress.com , we ask women to describe the good and bad of getting wet. Here's what they've had to say:
"Many of my female friends say that they only get wet enough to comfortably have sex. But I seem to produce a great deal of wetness. Its great during sex since I love the squishy noises sex makes, but if I get turned on in a public place, it totally sucks. My panties are all soaked and it's uncomfortable to walk or sit for extended periods of time afterward. Its just not a good thing."
"It happens when I'm watching a sexy movie or when my boyfriend is starting to feel me up all over. I love getting wet because it makes sex go easier and it doesn't hurt as much."
"Being wet is really great assuming I'm in the midst of a sexual act. It not only tells my partner that I like what's going on, but it also lubricates and makes everything a little more comfortable. However, if I get wet in the middle of the day, when I'm at work or school, I either feel the need to have sex or just feel really dirty. Sometimes I also get paranoid that I smell and that other people can smell that I'm aroused, and then need to rush home ASAP to shower."
"Being wet is good while having sex and just before sex or masturbation, but it sucks when you are in an interview, or walking between classes in school... or driving... or... "
"Bad? There's bad? Hmmmm... that's a new one. The only bad thing is when I'm not wet enough. If he enters me and I'm not well lubricated it can be painful."
"Sometimes it comes all at once, like a flood or a shock. When it is unexpected, it is quite uncomfortable when I am not going to get any sex. Otherwise, it is an incredible feeling. I love his reaction when he realizes how wet I am."
"Well of course it's great to be wet during sex. It sure helps. But many times I find myself being wet when I'm not even thinking about sex, and this can be quite annoying and uncomfortable."
"It's all tingly and wonderful!"
"Getting wet is great. Sometimes I just can't help it, but when I'm not in the mood and my boyfriend is, I really have to concentrate (usually on something else - some fantasy) to get there."
"I can't really think of anything bad, unless you are wet in public and can't get your rocks off."
"When I am excited and wet, I feel naughty and daring. I love to turn my husband on in bed by spreading my legs wide and fingering myself so he can see how horny I am. The "squishing" sound my soaking wet pussy makes when I finger myself or when we are having sex drives both of us wild. The bad part about getting wet is having it happen when I am totally unaroused. It sucks to be sitting in
Accounting and you just know that your panties are soaked. Then you walk around with this uncomfortable damp spot between your legs."
"When I am extremely aroused, I am extremely wet. Sometimes after I have had an orgasm, I get cold from the wetness running down my legs."
"The good: it makes it easier to put things in your vagina. The bad: it can be uncomfortable when you have a moistie (female equivalent to a boner) and your panties are overly damp. When you cool off, they feel cold. Yuck."
"I love doing something around the house, like scrubbing pots or tending to the garden, and then noticing how wet I am. I have no idea what got me aroused, but it always makes me feel a little happier."
"I find that it usually takes quite a while for me to get wet, which can be frustrating when I have a quickie in mind. Sometimes I won't even notice how wet I'm getting when I'm on my own (like if I'm reading or watching something). Also, the amount of liquid secreted really varies, depending on what I'm doing. And I dry very quickly."
"I could never conceive of getting wet as a bad thing. It is very cool. It makes me feel very female, completely in touch with my sexuality and much more alive. But for me it originates in the mind, not in the body. If I give my mind the opportunity to wander into sexual fantasy, the body follows."
"If get wet it's because I am turned on from fantasizing about a man or sexy, porno movies to wearing anything sexy myself. If I don't want to have sex with my partner, I don't get wet at all and that's how I know I am not in the mood. Also, now that I'm past 30, I tend to get wet like I used to when I was a teenager."
"Being wet is a good feeling. It's like being licked without the warmth of a tongue. It may not be good if you are wearing clothes and you are wet enough to soak them."
"The bad: It feels like I didn't wipe after going to the bathroom."
"If you get wet when you don't want sex, or aren't as ready as you would like to be, it can be hard to make a guy see the difference between wet and "WET"."
"Sometimes, it just don't happen, and guys will take it personally. It makes them fumble even more and feel quite inept, that's when you take charge and do something else."
"The bad? Is there a bad?"
"I get wet most often when I start to rub up on my boyfriend. I start to feel it and that just makes me more excited. I usually augment it by climbing on top of him and grinding on him dry-style until I have an orgasm. However, once my genitals becomes wet, I can't seem to get as much enjoyment from vaginal stimulation, including intercourse. That also goes for sex for the second time after round one--it feels like at least fifty percent of the feeling is gone from the act. This is a pretty big problem and I try to combat it by having a towel, sock, etc. near the bed to alleviate some of the dampness."
"I guess the good things about being wet are obvious. It just feels so great, it makes me feel sexy, but I do get quite wet and sometimes the darn thing (i.e. Mr. Penis) just keeps sliding and slipping out if the position is not strictly missionary, and sometimes even then too. And it makes that munching sound that can sometimes make me feel a bit embarrassed, even though you can look at it another way and say it's actually pretty sexy when it does that. But yeah, all in all, I love it when I get wet and I can stay that way for hours and it feels real comfy. I like the taste. I love it when my partner is licking me and then comes up to kiss me and I can feel it on his lips."
"In the beginning it is the greatest feeling. Being wet and knowing what is about to happen gets my adrenaline rushing. Afterwards I feel like I need a shower and that my vagina is some how damaged. Like it just went through a train wreck. It is worth it though, absolutely worth it."
"Getting wet is nice when you are about to have sex, but
otherwise you might feel uncomfortable because it gets kinda
The guy I'm seeing now likes SLUTS. I know you're saying yeah what of it. Really though, he likes sluts. We're exploring the swinging lifestyle. (You don't' mention that in your Third Edition, I won't hold a grudge.) He says that if he were a woman he wouldn't mind going to a club and having sex with as many men as he/she could and would consider it a successful evening if he/she left all the men folk limp and utterly useless as he/she walked out the door.
I've been trying to school him about the main differences between men and women. But what is the psychology behind men who like to see their wives and girlfriends with other men? I need to know more about this phenomena and the male mind. Could you write a book on that subject, say ten pages or so?
Thanks for your suggestions. As for schooling anyone about the "main differences between men and women" good luck. I have no clue what they might be, except for what you see when your clothes are off.
Your boyfriend says that if he were a woman he would enjoy having sex with dozens of different men. From what I can tell, this allows him to have homosexual fantasies without copping to the homosexual part of it. Mind you, lots of straight guys might have entertained this fantasy. On an unconscious level it's a way to enjoy a nice homosexual or bisexual fantasy without feeling guilty or attacking yourself. The protective part of your boyfriend's fantasy is "if I were a woman." It protects him from having to say "As a man, I'd like to do all of these different guys and leave them limp." Of course, he's not going to like hearing this from you or me, so I'd keep it between the two of us.
Regarding his and your options, there are swingers groups out there who can help indulge the pants off of him. I'd suggest he contact the Lifestyles organization for more information. (http://www.lifestyles.org.) Mind you, guys who swing in these organizations fancy themselves as being totally straight and seldom is there any bisexual action. But just getting to see other guys in action might be enough to satisfy the bisexual longing.
You also have the option of doing a threesome. I'm trying to gather more information from readers about threesomes, and will be happy to post this on our website in a month or two (www.goofyfootpress.com). Of course, I would never suggest that you explore these avenues unless they are something that turns you on as well.
If your boyfriend is genuinely into the swinging lifestyle and you aren't, I'd start splitting up the assets now. If you are not into the swinging lifestyle, it would seem unacceptable to take on the biological risks of sleeping with a partner who is into it.
Yes, I know, I know, AIDS is very scarce among straight swingers. I'm not talking about AIDS. I'm talking about whatever else is lurking between the sheets that we aren't aware of yet, as was the case in the gay community during the 1970s and 1980s. For my money, it is a fool who thinks that the straight community won't be visited with its very own plague one of these years.
I also know some perfectly lovely couples who swing every weekend and who go on swingers-only vacations. It's just one of those things that I think is best for most of us to enjoy in our fantasies rather than in real life but that might be my own conservative upbringing rearing its ugly head.
Maybe it will help to know that at a lot of swinger's parties, it's fine if you just go and watch. Then if it turns you on and if it is what you personally want, have a great time but do approach it with eyes wide open.
Dear Paul (FemaleEarly Thirties responds to Paul's previous answer.)
Thanks for writing back... honestly I didn't expect it. I had an inkling you guys were cool when I read your book!
The clarity of your response is incredible. I would say you hit the nail on the head. I have seen indications that he was bi. He has mentioned that his ex wife thought he was gay. He is also afraid that having sexual contact with men would "turn" him gay. I can see where he can live vicariously through me and my experiences with men and their cocks. What I have to do now is create an environment where it is safe for him to explore his sexuality.
We've both been swinging alone to some extent for about a year now. He does check out the fellas for me. After an evening out at the club we discuss the men that we like and didn't like who had nice packages, which ones were particularly good looking etc. The depth to which he notices men and their equipment does raise an eyebrow.
Dear FemaleEarly Thirties,
Thanks for your feedback. This gives me the chance to grovel and come up with a new answer when I really blow it... Fortunately, I wasn't too far off with your situation.
Just so you'll know, a lot of people think that swinging
is something that only guys like to do. We don't like to
think that there are women who enjoy having anonymous sex
with legions of men, and if they do, we assume they suffer
from some sort of emotional deficit. You are a great example
of why I try not to make generalizations about men's and
women's sexual likes and dislikes.
I was visiting my boyfriend last week and he was fingering me. It felt really nice and then all of a sudden I wierded out and he had to stop. All I knew is right then he had to hug me. I was on the verge of tears. I have no clue why but I needed to be held. I scared my boyfriend and he was afraid to let me go (held on a little too tight). I want to know what happened. I have never been sexually assaulted. I love my boyfriend dearly. Why the tears and the need to be held. I am not an emotional person. I do not have the need for cuddling after sex. I have had his fingers in me before. Why did I freak out this time?
Anna in Annapolis
I once had a patient who went through a phase where she would burst into tears following most orgasms. She had never been abused and her incredible wave of sadness seemed to come out of nowhere. Mind you, she was paying me a good deal of money to be her analyst and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on, but with time and work the sadness did pass. This woman now has several very powerful orgasms in a row in a single night without a trace of sadness, so it's not like she wants her money back, but I think her experience helped both of us to be in awe of how the body can be the messenger of emotions that we would never expect.
We tend to view the body and mind as separate entitites--with the mind being the boss of the emotions and the body being the thing that plays football or suffers the morning-after hangover. Your question is an excellent reminder that the two work in concert and if you hit the right nerve, almost any emotion can follow.
Fortunately, you asked your question while completing one of our sex surveys on www.goofyfootpress.com. From your survey answers, I can see that you truly enjoy having sex with your boyfriend. To bring our readers up to speed, here are this woman's answers to three of our survey questions:
Have you ever had an orgasm without your genitals being touched?
"I am in a long distance relationship. When he is gone I remember things he said when we were together and things he did and I get this amazing feeling throughout my body. Sort of a mental orgasm."
What does it feel like to have your partner's penis in your mouth?
"It is a different kind of connection. By the subtle responses you feel when using your mouth you are more in tune with his body. You can sense when he is about to cum and prolong the experience for him or bring him to climax. When he is hard he fills my whole mouth but when he is soft and I get to bring him to erection using my mouth there is this really pleasant smoothness and the change gives you a sense of power. Very delightful"
Have you ever had sex with a partner who is considerably younger or older than yourself?
"He is seven years my junior and my only sex partner (never wanted anyone before him). We have an amazing connection beyond the physical and though he is younger he has a lot more experience. I feel comfortable in asking him any questions or requesting things to try or taking or his requests. If I am not ready we put them in the to try later pile but he never pressures or pushes."
So when I read responses like these I figure there's a pretty good connection between these two people. We've got to give him credit for reaching between her legs and releasing something besides the usual orgasmic contractions! At the same time, we need to be aware that the sexual trigger might be a disguise or a defense mechanism. It wants us to think this woman's sadness has more to do with sex than perhaps it really does. Internal--yes. Private--yes. Beyond that, I don't yet know.
For instance, here are four of a hundred possible reasons for her sadness: the intensity of her need for her lover is starting to frighten her; the long-distance nature of the relationship is becoming intolerable; she is concerned that he might leave her due to their age differences; her feelings about him are starting to make her aware of how sad or depressed she might have been for much of her life, etc. (Mind you, the sexual abuse people would say she was sexually abused and is just becoming aware of it, given how they don't seem to believe there are any other reasons for sadness in a person's life than sexual abuse.)
Some therapists would try to give this woman exercises or techniques for avoiding her sudden sadness. I, on the other hand, would hope that it does happen again! I would encourage her to tolerate more of the sad feelings before making her lover stop fingering her and jumping into his arms. That way, she might be able to give the feeling more of a shape or form.
One of the worst things she can do with something like this is to try to understand it before it is ready to be understood. This is one of the big problems with psychology and therapy: we always feel pressured to "understand" and interpret things prematurely. In trying to give it meaning, we distort it and scare it away.
Instead of trying to understand it, I would want her to explore it further--to treat it like a painfully shy visitor who will only show his or her face in brief glimpses before hiding again. Her job is to make it safe enough for each glimpse to last a little longer so perhaps she can finally get enough of a look to recognize parts of the face or at least the outline of its shadow.
I would encourage her to make her body and mind and sexual relationship a safe place where this feeling can gradually show more and more of itself. Only if she went for several months without it appearing again would I play the guessing game of what it might have been.
PS. Do you think it is safe for us to assume that this
woman's body is not in full agreement with her statement
that she is not an emotional person and does not need to be
held after sex?
Are porn tapes bad for guys to watch? The things they portray don't reflect what really goes on in bed.
Sandy, Sally and Suzie from Hagerstown
How many of you have seen the highly successful mainstream movie, "Independence Day"? Was there a single thing about the writing or storyline in "Independence Day" that would have made us flock to theatres if hadn't included $50 million in special effects?
It's the special effects and stunt work that make us see many of the movies that we do And when there aren't computer-generated special effects, what about the bodies of the actors and actresses? Are these the faces and bodies of the average person? The very people they hire to be in most movies are special effects all by themselves.
So while I am the last person in the world to defend the porn industry, I don't fault them for their tendency to twist reality. That's why entertainment is entertainment--it takes us out of our daily lives and throws us into a world of fantasy. It doesn't matter if the name of the movie is "Independence Day" or "Debbie Does Dallas"--reality is the first casualty when we turn on the TV or got to the movies. We wouldn't have it any other way.
One of the special effects that the porn industry relies on is called "trained wood." This is porn speak for a penis that gets hard when the director says "go" and shoots on a dime, so to speak.
"Trained wood" is as important to porn as that scene in "Independence Day" where they blew up the White House. It's also as difficult for the average guy to generate as it is for you or I to create "Independence Day"-like special effects on our home computers.
So do I think it's bad to watch porn flicks? No. Do I think they give young men the wrong idea about how to please a woman? Perhaps, but I can tell you this. Back in the prehistoric days when I was first having sex, I had never seen a porn flick. Yet I honestly doubt I could have done a worse job of pleasing a woman.
In the past couple of years, I've reviewed a number of tapes on sex--some educational, some blatant porn. The only one that stands out as being even remotely fun and arousing was a brief softcore tape called "Beverly Hills Poolman" (Sorry, I can't find the ordering info.) I don't even think the guy got an erection, and I can't recall the woman sucking on a thing. But this tape was SEXY and it had a FUN quality to it--an important combination that few porn films, whether traditional or female-directed, seem to ever have.
©2006 by Paul Joannides
In America, sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it is a fact. - Marlene Dietrich
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