Q: Women who can’t get enough. My girlfriend seems to be more interested in sex than I am. It’s not that I don’t like sex. I do, but I’m not into the “multiple rounds” that she seems to want when we get together. After I’ve ejaculated, I like to cuddle some and extend the positive feelings. But after that, I’m ready to roll over and sleep like a baby. Meanwhile, my girlfriend often acts disappointed if I don’t start up again after our cuddling session. When I ask her if she had an orgasm, she says yes. If that’s true, why does she want to go at it again? Or is she multiple orgasmic? ––Doug
Dr. Linda: Most likely, your girlfriend is telling the truth about climaxing—and she apparently likes sex a lot. Since multiple orgasms occur within seconds or a minute or two of each other, she’s not having “multiple” orgasms. She’s simply an eager lover if her interest is piqued again after 15 minutes or so. Her orgasmic pattern, assuming she climaxes during subsequent rounds, is more accurately called “sequential.”
Your question suggests you feel burdened or uncomfortable with her high sex drive. (Most guys who are reading this and are green with envy.) Couples do not automatically have the same sex drive, and men do not always have a higher drive than women. Compromise is in order. Indulge her some of the time, not all of the time. For a nice twist, offer to hold her and caress her while she strokes her genitals herself and brings herself to orgasm.
Q: Wand Sizes. Could you please comment on women’s attitudes about penis size? Can they actually feel differences, or is it just a mental thing? —Chris
Dr. Linda: As a “bigger is better” culture, the prevailing belief is that women prefer larger penises. Actually, it’s men who prefer bigger penises and get obsessed about the adequacy of their size.
If you’re like most men, you’re probably thinking about length. For all the obsession with length, however, many women comment on girth, and yes, many women prefer “more” to “less.” A few years back a Penthouse article succinctly concluded: “long and thin goes too far in; short and thick does the trick.”
I can assure you that I’ve never worked with a single male or a couple who complained of his small penis (girth or length). Whenever size has been an issue, it’s been about the discomfort the female experienced because of his large size. Various approaches, including changing positions, having lots of foreplay, using lubrication and less depth of penetration have all been helpful solutions.
Finally, there’s something to be said about size and “visual appeal.” However, if the differences in sensation based on size that some women report were simply “mental,” it would logically follow that so are men’s when they speak of “tight” and “loose” women. And that would fail to explain why obstetricians regularly ask husbands if they’d like an “extra stitch” taken during the episiotomy. So it looks as if men’s ability to discern size differences is also “all in their head,” but it’s clear which one that would be.
Q: Revealing your wild sexual past. I’m in a new relationship and my girlfriend and I are having great sex. But lately I’ve been and little uncomfortable with some of her questions about my past. She wants to know what wild and crazy things I’ve done with previous lovers. I just tell her she’s the greatest, and that my past sex life has been pretty vanilla. The truth is I have done some pretty wild things. Why is she asking me about my past? Would this turn her on even more? I’ve always thought women got jealous about previous lovers. ––Steve
Dr. Linda: One recent informal survey of women included the basic drift of your question. The answers ran the gamut from “what happened in the past happened, but keep the details to yourself” to “If he’s an especially good lover, I’d be grateful to [his past lovers] for teaching him.” Still other women felt that sharing past experiences could inspire new experiences or illuminate pitfalls to avoid.
It’s tough to know your girlfriend’s motives, so my gut reaction to your question is, take your lead from her and approach cautiously. Has she revealed a “wild” past? If so, she might feel comforted to know she’s with a kindred spirit.
Are there any signs that she’s wanting to move beyond her previous escapades and settle down with a stable, conservative guy? If she’s always been conservative (or was, until you inspired her to be more daring), I’d suggest you keep your colorful past to yourself, despite her queries. She could be looking for “red flags” that could become her exit ticket. When in doubt, hold your tongue on this one.
Q: “Natural” penis. I have an uncircumcised penis. Can I pull the skin all the way back until it pulls over the head and leave it that way so that it looks like a circumcised penis? —Tony
Dr. Linda: In a word: “No.” Sounds as if you’ve got some negative thoughts and feelings about uncircumcised. And no, they aren’t all living in third world countries. Did you know that there are men that envy you so much that they are taking extreme measures to attempt to recreate their lost foreskin? If that seems farfetched, consider that about 85% of men in the world today are uncircumcised. And no, they aren’t all living in third world countries.
Uncircumcised men live in places like Germany, France, Scandinavia, Holland, Italy, Spain–throughout Europe and in Asia, including Japan, another advanced nation. Circumcision is rare in all of these countries; its absence has nothing to do with living in impoverished or ignorant circumstances. So what gives? Obviously, circumcision has been around for a LONG time, and is a ritual in some religions, including both the Jewish and Moslem. If you’re Jewish and think circumcision was established as a hygienic practice, guess again. Ask a rabbi–the bris on Day 8 represents a covenant with God to embrace the tenets of the religion. And certain high-profile Jewish physicians encourage an end to this religious rite. On his radio and television shows for example, Dr. Dean Edell freely discusses his perspective that the foreskin is a valuable part of male anatomy and its removal is genital mutilation.
Circumcision became routine in the United States in the 19th century as a cure for masturbation (thank Queen Victoria’s influence for that bizarre idea). So the interesting truth is, circumcision largely reflects social custom. (20)
Currently, the overall rate in the U.S. is 64%. Its widespread popularity has been falling, especially among the highly educated. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a strong statement saying there are too few medical benefits to justify recommending routine circumcision of newborns.
So, it’s time for you to be proud, not ashamed of your natural condition! Reveal to any partner who’s never been with a “fully equipped” man how your foreskin retracts when you’re erect. And don’t forget to introduce her to the delights of playing with that fun, squiggly tissue. Maybe Queen Victoria knew something, after all.
By the way, most men enjoy their status, whichever one it is.
Q: Finding a condom you won’t mind using. I’m single, in college, and not an idiot. I know I’m supposed to wear condoms when I have sex, but frankly, I hate the damn things. I’m really tempted to just take my chances. Naked is so much better. Any suggestions for brands or styles I might like better? —Ben
Dr. Linda: I can appreciate your temptation, but I’m sure you can rise to the occasion (in all ways) even with protection. A few years ago, Consumer Reports did a major survey of condom preferences, but I’m not aware of any recent ones.
Before I make any suggestions, let’s consider a few basic facts. Penises come in different sizes, shapes and sensitivities, and so do condoms. It’s quite naïve to say “one size fits all.” If that were true, why would brands with names like “Max” and “Magnum” exist? Although it might be quite helpful, for some obvious cultural reasons, no company has the guts to manufacture “Slim” or “Shortie.”
You don’t automatically settle for the first cell phone, car or shirt you see, so don’t purchase condoms without any sense of selectivity. Start by buying the smallest package you can of four or five brands and then try them out, on your own, in a some in vivo “genital friendship” moments. Discover which ones feel the best to you. Some will fit better; some have better textures and/or offer better sensitivity.
Also, decide if you have a dual or sole purpose. Are you, like most single college students, interested in both birth control and disease protection, or do you need them exclusively for birth control? You need to use latex if your goal includes disease protection, since pathogens (nasty bugs) can’t go through. But if you only need them for birth control, you might prefer lambskin condoms (bugs can get through these). They’re more expensive but they conduct heat better, so many men report they have more sensation.
The latest type of condom is made of polyurethane, and is reputed to be thinner, stronger and more heat sensitive. Anecdotally, the men I’ve talked to give them mixed reviews. So dude, have fun trying out the saddles!Condomania: www.condomania.com
Q: After an Affair: What to Do? I just found out my wife cheated on me once while I sleep or concentrate. I feel like I’m going crazy. All I can think about is what this jerk did with her. My wife says she wishes she’d never been so stupid (she was out with a bunch of her girlfriends and picked up a guy). She is begging me to come back. One part of me wants to work things out with her and another wonders if I can ever trust her again. What should I do? —Jake
Dr. Linda: This is a very difficult situation. Your roller coaster emotions and behaviors are perfectly normal. Lots of soul searching and talking with your wife should help you decide what you want to do. Some couples find such an experience actually brings them closer and helps them reach new levels of honesty and intimacy together.
Others find it plunges them into chronic disharmony. Still others split up as a result. After the Affair: Rebuilding Trust After A Partner Has Been Unfaithful, by Janice Spring, offers lots of tips for helping both partners through this experience. Therapy is often a good bet as well. Good luck!
Q: Love, Sex and “Special Friends.” My girlfriend believes that sex and love are two separate things. She says that she enjoys sex, but sees it as a purely physical thing that she could have with anybody and not feel guilty because she loves only me. Although she says she hasn’t had sex with anyone else yet, I worry that it’s only a matter of time, especially since we attend different colleges. I truly believe that she does love me, but I also think she’s sexually insatiable and will have sex with someone else. She says there are lots of people who have the same views as she does, but I certainly don’t know of any personally. Have I just not been exposed to such people? ––Jason
Dr. Linda: Although your girlfriend’s view does not reflect the majority of young women, it is not as rare as common stereotypes would lead you to think. Some people of both sexes separate love and sex. One study found older women (in their late thirties and forties) were more likely to make this distinction than younger women.
On the other hand, ask around on college campuses today and you’ll find most are very aware of the concept of “sex buddy” or some variant term: “friends with privileges,” “special friends” or even “fuck buddy.” And yes, I’ve met young women who openly talked about such sexual arrangements, which usually were active when they were between relationships.
I recall one who said, “Well, I like sex. I’m not going to get into a lousy relationship or sleep around randomly just to satisfy my needs. This approach works very well for me.”
Obviously, a little soul searching is in order. The point isn’t whether your girlfriend is a simply a “modern” woman. You’re clearly not comfortable with some sort of “consensual extra-relational” agreement, and your perspective is also contemporary and legitimate. Give her credit for being so honest and up-front. That beats “cheating” behind your back.
You’ve left out a number of details that could help determine if you want to resolve this difference with her or want to move on. Whatever decision you make, it should be one you’re emotionally comfortable with, not one you arrive at intellectually.
Q: Getting her to open up. I’m 36. I’ve been married to my wife, who’s 10 years older than me, for almost 11 years. We have always had a very active sex life. We used to be very adventurous and tried all sorts of things, which she said at the time she really enjoyed. In the past two years, however, sex has been limited to three things: missionary, 69 and oral sex both ways. She does not seem to be involved in it (she just lies there and literally asks “Are you done yet?” She says she only wants to have sex “to express our love” but does not want to do anything adventurous or for fun.
Her gynecologist says she is not having problems with menopause and I swear I do lots of things that should please her–“warming her up,” telling her my feelings, complimenting her, etc. We went to a marriage counselor a couple of years ago, but when we got to the subject of sex, she refused to continue counseling then or now. What do I do? —Bob
Dr. Linda: You mentioned a number of things that caught my attention. First, you’re still having sex frequently. Second, you had marital therapy a few years ago. Third, she now wants vanilla sex to express love, but her heart is not even into that the way it used to be.
What prompted you and the wife to go into marital counseling a few years ago? Your timeline presents the sexual changes as following the therapy, or perhaps they happened at the same time. In either case, my hunch is that some unfinished business exists.
How about asking her how your sex life might be revitalized and be more satisfying to her? The odds are that she’ll suggest both “horizontal” (in-bed) and “vertical” (out-of-bed) changes. Be prepared for her to mention both relationship and personal issues such as her health, job or weight.
When she opens up, be very attentive, empathic, and non-defensive. In a nutshell, listen up and let her air her feelings. Don’t rush to solve the difficulty; discover what it’s all about first.
Q: Getting her drive to follow yours. Over the last year or so my wife’s sex drive has almost disappeared, while mine seems to be very normal. Although we are very close in age (I’m 29 and she’s 31), our sex drives are very different. Is there a time in a woman’s life where her sex drive is somewhat lower than other times, or is her peak a thing of the past. —Stressed
Cultural myth has it that many women reach a “peak” of sexual interest in their 30’s– some go so far as to more precisely pinpoint age 35. This is a wildly exaggerated belief. Many factors enter into equation that accounts for sex drive in women–and men.
Women who have been the most influenced by other negative cultural myths about their sexuality are the ones more likely to have a higher sex drive in their 30’s than in their 20’s. That’s because those myths (“good girls save themselves,” nice girls don’t touch themselves,” etc.) oppress women. It takes them a decade or so to push those false ideas aside and fully express their sexuality. Women who never bought into that junk in the first place embrace their sexuality from the outset.
As for your wife, her age is not the source of her lack of interest in sex. When things change sexually, start with the obvious. You say that her sex drive took a dive this past year or so. What else happened in that same time frame? Consider major events–you or she lost a job, you and she had a baby, she went on or off birth control pills–the list is endless.
Also consider trends. Have the two of you been fighting more? Was your sex life routine prior to her loss of interest? Did she climax often? Again, there’s a long list of possibilities.
Start talking openly with her about the problem–without judging her. Odds are the source of the problem is a joint one. Don’t make her the one who needs to be “fixed.”
Q: Do I have to sleep with every girl who wants me? This may sound weird, but sometimes I have sex with a girl when I really don’t want to. I’m in a band and lots of girls are attracted to that. Sometimes I think it’s fun, but other times I wake up in the morning feeling exhausted and empty. I don’t even know the girl and wonder why I bothered. —Can’t say no
Dr. Linda: You’re normal, not weird. Men are not mere robotic sex machines. One of the great sexual myths perpetuated by the media and other cultural forces is that men are always ready and eager to have sex–anytime, anywhere. Sometimes it appears that way because men are encouraged–even expected– to be the initiators when they are interested.
Your experience shows that the tables get turned when women become sexually aggressive. Suddenly you’re not the initiator. Of course, the offer is flattering, but knee-jerk acceptance can get you in trouble. Sometimes the result is as you described. Other times, “the equipment” shuts down, which can be quite embarrassing.
The solution? Practice saying no. Be gracious. Thank the woman for her interest. Make advance plans to do things after your performances that would prevent you from spontaneously having sex with groupies or other willing women who hang around afterwards.
Try feeding your ego in other, healthier ways. Nurture your relationship if you’re in one. If you’re not, think about whether you want one. Select women who genuinely interest you as prospects. Arrange initial dates that can’t lead to sex, like lunch dates, coffee dates or other time-limited activities.