Summertime Sex -- Louanne Cole Weston, PhD -- 7/8/03

By Louanne Cole Weston
WebMD Live Events Transcript

Ready for some hot fun in the summertime? It's everything you've ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to type. WebMD's Sex Matters® expert, Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, joined us to discuss our members' intimate questions and concerns.

The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Member question: I am a female age 56 who has gone through menopause but still have all my "parts." It requires almost 20 minutes of oral sex to bring me to orgasm. Is there a topical cream or something I could use to help? Would taking a half of a Viagra help?

Weston: I'm glad to hear you have all your parts, because that will make our job easier. I don't think that 20 minutes of oral sex is a particularly long time but it sounds like you do. Perhaps your partner has expressed some opinions about that as well. If your partner has not complained, then I wouldn't be that concerned myself. One thing that will slow you down from reaching orgasm is worrying about how long you're taking.

Something you can do that you don't need to buy is to allow your mind to think about whatever is erotic to you while you're receiving the oral stimulation. You would be amazed to know how much effect your mind can have on the speed and intensity of your arousal. Many women don't feel comfortable allowing their minds to meander through sexual images when they are with a partner. They worry about being disloyal. If that's a concern to you, then see if you feel comfortable sharing some of your erotic images with your partner, thereby including that person.

Sexual interaction with another person does not need to be only about them.

So rather than trying Viagra or the topical creams that make great promises, first try using your mind differently when you're receiving. See if that helps. I suspect it would.

Member question: How can I incorporate mutual masturbation into our sex life? My husband feels he has to hide the fact that he masturbates and is not open about it. How can I get him to open up and share with me?

Weston: It's great that you would like to include shared masturbation with your husband, not that many couples think of doing that. It can be a very intimate experience for both people. It's quite a private experience generally, and so the decision to share it can create a strong connection between the two people. There's a good chance that your husband would be very interested to see you masturbate. It's a fairly common sexual fantasy of many men. Women are also starting to get interested in seeing men masturbate, too, or at least they're getting more open about their interest, just like you.

You could say to him, "You know, hon, nearly everyone masturbates from time to time. It's a really nice gift to give to one's self. Would you be interested in seeing me do that for myself?" There's a good chance he might say yes (though not a total guarantee). Once he has expressed interest in that, you are free to ask the same of him.

Lots of couples find that the first time they try to share this it's a little bit different, if not occasionally awkward. My motto around new things when it comes to sex is this: Try something three times before you decide that it's not something you want included in your repertoire.

  • The first time you work out the logistics
  • The second time you get over the giggles
  • The third time you can start to enjoy yourself

So see if your husband would be willing to approach it from that angle. It's a wonderful thing to do with a partner and it gives your sexual relationship so many more options, particularly as we age and our bodies start to change on us.

Member question: What is the most enjoyable position for a woman? My girlfriend loves the doggy style position, as well as cowboy, but she will not tell me which one she likes best. How can I find out?

Weston: It's too bad that your girlfriend won't just tell you, but you do have the information that she enjoys them both. In light of that, when you're in a mood to please her, pick whichever one interests you the most at that time. Not all women enjoy positions for intercourse and sexual activities in the same way. In fact, research has shown that women are more varied than men when it comes to sexuality. There is a wider range for women than men. So until your girlfriend's willing to tell you what she wants on a given day, pick whatever you're in the mood for.

Member question: This is a very serious matter for my girlfriend and me. I found out that she was sexually abused about six years ago, and since then she cannot have an orgasm at all. She gets a LOT of pleasure from sex, but when she is just about ready to have an orgasm, she gets flashbacks of that event and has to stop having sex altogether. We do have great sex and foreplay, and she is getting better at getting closer every time. I am just trying every angle to please her and take her mind off things so she can relax. I want her to picture us or other things that excite her, rather than picture this awful event that happened to her. I am the only person who knows this about her. I asked her about it because I could tell something was wrong. She has made comments such as "I'm just broken," or, "He took something away from me that I can never get back." I know she won't consider seeing someone about this, because she doesn't want anyone to know. She thinks that maybe she could have prevented it (blaming herself) so she is embarrassed about the whole thing. Is there some thing I can do to help ease her mind?

Weston: It sounds like there are a number of issues that your girlfriend is dealing with. The one that stands out most prominently is the fact that she blames herself for not preventing her assault. It would make sense, then, that she backs away from reaching orgasm. She may not feel that she is entitled to have the pleasure of orgasm because of her belief that she used poor judgment somehow in regards to the rape. It's unfortunate that so far she thinks that discussing this with a therapist is something she's unwilling to do. In the hands of an experienced therapist, she could probably get over those feelings and let herself off the hook. If the nature of the assault was in a social setting, as in date rape, it's probably going to affect her opinion of herself even more. If she consumed alcohol prior to that experience she may have additional self-blame about it.

I would encourage her to talk with you more about it, at the very least. Help her, if you can, come to the thinking that when someone assaults you, it isn't your fault. No one has that right. Second, encourage her to consider therapy, even brief therapy, to unravel the self-blame she has.

It sounds like you're doing a great job of caring for her, listening, and being creative at helping her recover. Carry on in the same manner, and encourage her to get just a little bit of help from the outside. She could even consider using the sexual abuse message board at WebMD if she couldn't face talking to someone live and direct. I hope this helps some.

Member question: I have been told that certain foods affect the flavor of male and female sexual excretions. Is this true and where can I find out more about what and how?

Weston: This question comes up on the Sex Matters message board fairly often. I don't have a good scientifically researched answer. The folk wisdom includes this:

  • Avoid asparagus (Ever smell your pee after asparagus?)
  • Increase fruits, particularly pineapple
  • Consume lots of fluids, particularly water
  • Decrease red meat consumption

Keep in mind these recommendations are only those of people who have made posts claiming that these things work. I have not yet seen scientific research to support this, but it has to be only a matter of time.

Member question: What to do if I am allergic to latex condoms?

Weston: There are condoms that are not made of latex; they are made of lamb intestines. They will prevent pregnancy, but they will not block the transmission of HIV. So you could use those but you need to be sure that both you and your partner test negative for HIV. I believe one of the brand names of that is Fourex. In addition, there are polyurethane condoms, and my recollection is that they do block HIV transmission. I can't recall the brand name of any of these, but scan your pharmacy shelf and you'll find one or two brands. Those two choices should probably be enough for you to avoid using latex condoms.

Member question: Is it really safe to have sex in a pool or a hot tub? What about the chlorine -- will that harm anything?

Weston: Many people say "have sex" when they mean "have intercourse." I'll assume that's what you mean also. So my thinking is that you are worried about chlorine going inside of your or your partner's vagina.

It's a good concern, but it's not likely to get that much chlorine inside of you or your partner. Here's why: Most people find that trying to have intercourse requires getting inserted and staying inserted when they're in water. That's because the water washes away the lubrication that a woman produces. So in and out thrusting becomes nearly impossible or certainly quite uncomfortable, since the lubrication is constantly being washed away. Most people who have intercourse comfortably in water do so by inserting and then staying inserted with very small thrust movements, not large ones.

Member question: Sex on the beach looks great in the movies, but in real life, sand is scratchy. Any suggestions as to making it feel as good as it looks?

Weston: I really don't have a good answer for this question. I have found sand to be a total nuisance on the occasions when I tried to bring this fantasy to life. Does anyone out there have any suggestions about keeping the sand out of sensitive places?

Member: Bring a blanket and try to stay on it.

Member: A big blanket or towel on the beach can help a lot.

Weston: OK, then I'll vote for a really big blanket.

Moderator: And it had better not be windy!

Member: Plastic under a big painter's cloth works well also.

Member question: I am recently divorced after a long-term marriage and have just begun to date. The last time I was dating, safe sex was not really an issue, so I am trying to get an understanding of risks of various activities. I've read that unprotected oral sex is considered relatively safe for the receiving partner, at least with respect to HIV. How significant are the risks for HIV and other diseases, both for the giving partner and the receiving partner. Is it possible to reduce the risks by methods other than use of a condom for a man and a dam for a woman?

Weston: It sounds like you've been informing yourself because you already know about using condoms and dental dams for oral sex. If you want both parties to be completely protected, using those items is the way to go. Some people date monogamously and have each party go through testing prior to sexual activity. This requires that both people be very conscious of what they're doing and not decide to have sex when they are "swept away" by their feelings. It strikes me as a very good way to approach the whole difficult area of being sexual while trying to be safe. The one hitch is you need to be able to trust your partner that he or she will inform you if the monogamy of your dating has been broken.

I have a way of thinking about that issue: If you would feel comfortable handing the person you're dating $10,000 cash that belongs to you, and asking him or her to walk down the street and deposit that cash into your bank account, then you would be fairly trusting of that person to let you know about a break in the monogamy. If you would hesitate to hand them that cash, then I would suggest that you hesitate to trust them on the issue of monogamy also. Of course, your life is worth more than $10,000, but the thought of it generally helps people focus on the level of trust that they have for their date. These are the only things that I can offer you to help you sort out your risks while dating in a world that requires practicing safer sex.

Member question: Recently, after nearly two years of no sexual activity other than masturbation, I began a relationship and began having sex regularly. I know that neither she nor I have any sexually transmitted diseases, yet after this past weekend, after engaging in sex more than usual with her (about 15 times over two days), I noticed my penis has an itch that at times will not subside. When the itch occurs (usually two to three times a day for an hour or two at a time), it is accompanied by fluid buildup around the bottom of the head of the penis. I asked her if she has a yeast infection, and she assured me she does not, but I'm worried. Is this a normal thing to happen after a long time of no sexual activity?

Weston: While your theory is a possible explanation for the symptoms you're having, I personally would go see a urologist as soon as possible. The build-up of fluid would concern me quite a bit. Even if your buildup is due to overuse, I would want to have a physician tell me how to treat that problem, as well as the itching.

Member question: Is there anything wrong with a couple if they only have sex about two to three times a month?

Weston: In my mind there is nothing sacred about any particular number of sexual encounters per month. In fact, we could even make that per year. It's the two people who are being sexual together that need to feel content. What their neighbors are doing has no bearing on what you do. Unlike something such as blood pressure, where we look for a particular range when it comes to the numbers, sexual encounters are much more flexible.

I once had a couple as clients in my therapy practice who were both very dedicated research scientists. They came in to see me because they were worried about the fact that they didn't have sexual contact very often. In fact, they only had it a few times per year; once on his birthday, once on her birthday, and a few other special occasions. They were quite happy with one another, but they felt pressure to be more similar to what they thought other people were doing. After two visits, they realized that they didn't need to make a change in what they were doing, since neither of them was dissatisfied with the relationship. So if you and your mate are content, I would advise you not to borrow trouble.

Moderator: Our thanks to Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, for sharing her expertise with us. For more information, go to our message boards, Sex Matters®, with Louanne Cole Weston, PhD and Sexuality: Friends Talking.

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